Dreading your Whole 30? Just start it now (with 9 planning tips).

Planning for your Whole 30 | Modern Mrs Darcy

Last year I planned to start a Whole 30 on January 1, but I was dreading it so much that I started it early. I figured the sooner I started, the sooner it would be over with.

I know some of you are planning on a January Whole 30. If you’re dreading New Year’s Day, might I suggest to go ahead and jump in with both feet … now?

(If paleo’s not your thing, have no fear. Most of these tips apply to any dietary experiment you’re taking on in 2014.)

Regardless of when you begin, here are my tips for diving in:

It Starts With Food: the Whole 30 handbook

1. Read the book. I started my first Whole 30 before I’d completed It Starts With Food. Big mistake. While you don’t need to read the book to have a successful experience, the book provides piles of background information, plenty of extra info that helps you get it right, and the motivation you need to carry it through.

2. While you’re at it, might as well be thorough. One of my key motivations for doing this last year was to pinpoint the source of some nasty headaches. My doctor said coffee and wine were likely suspects, so I gave up coffee, even though it’s officially allowed.

After the 30 days ended, I carefully reintroduced coffee and wine a full week apart to determine the source of my headaches. (It was the coffee.)

If you suspect tomatoes give you heartburn, or caffeine makes you queasy, save yourself time and trouble in the future by giving it up for your 30 days.

Intelligentsia coffee

3. On that note … if you’re a coffee drinker, this is the month to drink good coffee. Cream and sugar are out, so you can’t use them to camouflage mediocre coffee. (Yes: coconut cream is allowed … but I put that in my coffee once, and I’m never doing it again.)

4. Stock up: the Whole 30 relies on fresh, whole foods, so make sure you’ve got ’em on hand.

5. Embrace routine. It’s much easier if you don’t have to cook three new recipes from scratch everyday. (Unless that’s your idea of a good time–in which case, can you come cook for me, too?)

baked avocado eggs: whole 30 approved

6. Batch prep. This isn’t necessary, but stocking your fridge or freezer with grilled chicken strips, browned ground beef, soups, and stews will make your life easier during your 30 days. (Check out the “weekly cook-up” in Well Fed for inspiration.

7. Don’t be a produce snob. Frozen vegetables make my life so much easier during the Whole 30. (Who am I kidding? We use frozen vegetables all the time, regardless.) Pro tip: some brands are better than others. Experiment to see which ones you like.

8. Don’t spend a fortune: There are plenty of frugal Whole 30 hacks. My big three are eggs, whole chickens, and in-season produce. I also ordered a few staples from Amazon, like coconut flakescanned tuna, and organic tomatoes.

Well Fed 2

9. Get a new cookbook to keep things interesting. I’ve tried a lot of paleo cookbooks, and my favorite is Well Fed 2, closely followed by the original Well Fed. I actually do recommend beginning with Well Fed 2 because it has a substantial section devoted to the Whole 30. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s twice as long and significantly cheaper on Amazon right now.)

I’ve created a Whole 30 Pinterest board to share some of my favorite tips, recipes, and resources.

My previous Whole 30 posts are here:

My Whole 30 is over. I feel amazing. It’s complicated.

A more objective, less complicated look at my Whole 30

Discovering my coffee personality (and breaking up with caffeine)

Kicking the 30-something 15 (a Whole 30 wrap-up)

Are you thinking about a January Whole 30?


Leave A Comment
  1. Kelty says:

    Thank you for this! We’re starting ours on Jan 13. I just couldn’t get it together in time for New Years, but I’m actually looking forward to it. That’s probably the insanity of ignorance talking but sometimes it’s just time, you know? I got the book last night with some Christmas gift money and I’ve enlisted several family members to do it with us (who may or may not know exactly what they’ve gotten themselves into.) I’m planning on spending the next 2 weeks getting everything ready and then we’re jumping in. Thanks for all of your pro-tips!

  2. Kelli says:

    These are great tips for any reboot plan. While I’m not paleo (not even vegan paleo), and I love to cook and blog about it, it’s so helpful to have some things ready to go when needed. I’ve also seen research that talks about how the people who eat a greater variety of meals tend to gain more weight, so keeping a simple routine is also great for a weight-loss jumpstart.

    Anne, are you still off coffee? That is always my stumbling block with any type of cleanse…

    • Anne says:

      Yes to everything about routine and preparedness–no matter what kind of plan you decide works best for you. 🙂

      I’m back on the coffee (and loving it). My month without it was painful, but ultimately really beneficial. I found out that I feel terrific with one (80% decaf) cup a day, and I feel just fine with a second cup of decaf before lunch. But any more than that–caffeinated or decaf–gives me horrible headaches. I don’t understand why, but I’m glad to have the info.

  3. Kerry says:

    I am also starting on 1/13! I ordered the books and need time to read and prepare. However, the title of your post made me laugh, because I am indeed dreading starting it….but I can’t start yet because I need more info first!

  4. Hannah says:

    It’s good to know others are doing the Whole30 in January! We did a month of pseudo-paleo before Thanksgiving, but I need more discipline and accountability. I’m stocking up on freezer meals now and It Starts with Food is on its way… I’m going to start January 1 and read at the same time. I feel confident I can stick with it before/while reading the book, plus I’m anxious to start! Some of my biggest issues are being hungry even though I eat all day long and waking up in the middle of the night hungry and not being able to fall back to sleep until I get up for a snack.

    Has anyone pay for the Daily Whole30? Is it worth it?

    • Anne says:

      I’m not sure about the daily Whole 30 …. but as to being hungry all the time, I’m curious to see what your experience is. I have always been a self-described “grazer” (because, basically, I’m hungry all the time) and it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve managed to reign that in by learning to eat well for my body.

    • Susan says:

      I did and was worth double the price! You get daily tips about what to expect about how you feel and how to deal with the challenges. For example day 10 is reported to be the one most people feel like they are “all good” because they feel great and start to slide on the rules, but the daily email gives you the hard line and soft messages to keep you strong.

  5. Kerry says:

    I was wondering about the Daily Whole30 as well. It is going to be hard for me, I am going to be the only one in my family doing this. But I already eat differently because I can’t have gluten. I get hungry during the day sometimes – being too hungry is a real fear of mine, because it makes me very, very cranky!

  6. I was planning on starting mine on the first, but thanks to the stomach bug over the weekend which virtually has eliminated the desires for all of those “unhealthy” foods, I am now on day 2 and have already begun to notice a difference. Thanks for all these great resources too! I’ll be sure to check them out.

  7. Sarah Wells says:

    I hadn’t thought of ordering tomatoes from amazon! i get a lot of other groceries from them…I have to say though, I’d really avoid canned tomatoes of any variety, organic or not. The acidity of the tomatoes really leaches a lot more BPA from the cans that other canned foods will… so not good.
    I only buy boxed tomatoes—and I just checked and my favorite brand ((Pomi) is on amazon too!

    • Anne says:

      I didn’t know you could buy boxed tomatoes! I’ll have to check it out. I buy Muir Glen, which are BPA free (I think–now I feel the need to double check immediately!)

  8. Karianna says:

    Thank you for this! Hubs and I have decided a little competition is needed for us to begin a healthier lifestyle. He gifted me with a FitBit and that’s been great seeing how our days compare (he’s had one for 6 mos or so.) I like the tip about frozen veggies! I keep broccoli and green beans around but that’s about it… Time to try some others! We’re headed to the library today… I’ll have to see if they have a copy of the book.

  9. I wasn’t even considering doing a Whole30 until I read your post. I’ve been struggling with a LOT of joint pain (I am only 34 and have no diagnosed ailments), inexplicably bad skin, and energy problems, and something struck a chord and I decided to go for it. I’m on vacation through the New Year and following weekend, but yy Day 1 will be January 6th. Thanks for the nudge!

  10. kimberly says:

    I’m on day three here. It’s my second W30. I was able to continue it mostly-except for traveling- for several months. It helped a lot. I stopped though and regret it.
    Here’s to getting back up again. 🙂

  11. Shelley R. says:

    Well, I’ve peeked in before via SimpleHomeschool and just looking for encouragement (found!) and Yes, I will be launching a restart mid-Jan of a Whole30. completed my first in Oct-Nov. of 2013 (after a mock-attempt in April 2013) and after the full 30 days (do the whole thing ladies and gents!) I was amazed at the alterations in my hunger cycles, my energy levels (better) and elimination of migraines. It’s such a worthy journey. I’m curious if your whole family participated? Maybe I should read the prior posts better first, but I’m uncertain how much to have my kids follow same eating choices and I and my husband.

  12. Halee H. says:

    Great tips! I have one Whole30 already under my belt. However, I almost feel the second time around it harder. I think it’s easier to stick with something when it is new and exciting. I have restarted my second round twice already. I kinda wish I never stopped eating Whole30 after the first round.

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