Week 2: Healthy Whole30 Habits
Welcome to Week 2 of Whole30! You made it through the first week, either passing with flaming colors or scratching by tooth and nail. Either one is okay. I’m just glad you’re here. So, now that you’ve gotten a taste of what the rest of your Whole30 experience is chalking up to be, it’s time to start incorporating some healthy Whole30 habits into your routine to make this thing stick.
To get right down to it, everything that makes you who you are is a sum of your habits. If you have a habit of going to the gym 5 days a week, you’re probably more fit than you would be otherwise. If you have a habit of bingeing on junk after a bad day of work, maybe those extra pounds never seem to quite go away (not that the scale matters, of course). But do you see what I’m talking about? If you don’t have a habit of doing something on the daily, like showering, going to work, or even waking up on time, chances are it’s not going to get done.
The same goes for our Whole30. If you don’t have healthy Whole30 habits keeping you accountable and helping you enjoy this process, failure is just lying in wait to rear its ugly head at you. I’m not going to let that happen. In this week’s Whole30 Thrive Blog, I’m going to be outlining some of the ways you can build healthy Whole30 habits to make every day on Whole30 better than the last.
To begin, we’re going to be talking about the core habit that will drive you through the rest of your Whole30. It’s tough to stay inspired on Whole30. It gets tougher when that sugary pumpkin spice latte is staring you right in the face. Habits are definitely the things that keep me inspired on Whole30, but I’m going to focus on just one.
I want my strongest habit to be that of eating whole foods. Whole foods matter, and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. We were born to eat things that grow in the ground, not things that were formulated in a lab and have ingredient names that you can’t even pronounce. So, Whole30 or not, making a habit of eating whole foods is a big one for me. The Whole30 helps break our unhealthy relationship with food and get us on the road toward achieving this goal.
This one might seem obvious, but your current chewing habits could be hurting you more than you might think. Not chewing food enough has been shown to cause bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, cramps, nausea, headaches, and even malnutrition! Chewing your food more slowly not only prevents all of the aforementioned issues, but it also controls your portion amounts and helps you feel fuller. Experts recommend 32 as the magic number of chews to make your food digestible, but I recommend at least 10 or 20. Make sure you’re chewing your food until the texture is relatively gone, and you’re good to go. Your Whole30 will be strengthened by this habit as you optimize digestion, decrease bloating, and get the nutrients out of your food that you deserve!
You’ve heard me talking about how important it is to have a support system during your Whole30 experience, but why should you stop there? The Whole30 is an elimination diet, and diets concern one thing: food. The Whole30, in its basic form, is about the way you eat. Eating in a community can support that. Plus, research from Oxford University shows that “the more often people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.” Additionally, social eaters were shown to have more of a sense of belonging in their community, a greater penchant for wellbeing, and wider access to a social and emotional support system.
One of the easiest ways you can become a social eater is by catering your eating habits to your current situation. If you work a 9-5 right now and head out to buy lunch every day during your break, that could be preventing you from a perfect social eating opportunity. Instead, try packing a lunch and starting up a conversation with some of your coworkers in the breakroom. You’ll save on gas, lunch, and cement your brand new Whole30 social eating habit along the way.
Eating is both a physical experience and a mental experience. This is partially why the Whole30 can be so difficult! We need food to survive, but we also have emotional connections with food. Your favorite pie on holidays, ice cream to celebrate, your mom’s triple-decker chili mac, whatever it is. This can all work as a tool against you during the Whole30. Thinking about what you eat while you eat will help you use this emotional connection for good. Research shows that thinking about your food while you eat it can help you feel fuller, present, happier, and less bloated.
Here are a few ways you can form this healthy Whole30 habit. Make sure you eat all your meals sitting, at a table. Not on the bed. Not on the couch in front of the television. Leave the distractions out of your meal. This includes any piece of technology, even a smartwatch. (Which you shouldn’t be wearing, read about that here.) Look at your food and think about it for a few minutes before you eat it. As you’re eating, chew each bite completely and swallow it before you even think about picking up the next bite.
Living is about more than just surviving. Life is full of highs and lows, and our existence should involve taking full advantage of that fact. I want you to be happy, and celebrate all the little good things life brings. However, there are more ways to celebrate than those involving food. The Whole30 is about breaking those unhealthy connections, to finally free you from the power that food has over us all. Here are some ways you can form this new habit.
Go outside every once in a while and just enjoy the beauty of the day, no matter the weather. Breathe deeply and let your feet touch the earth. Instead of spending money eating out, save that money in a fund and use it to do something fun and fulfilling. Record your daily successes in a journal and read them often. You’ve come a long way and you deserve some recognition!
Week 2 is going to be difficult, it’s going to test you, but you’ve totally got this. Keep me updated on your progress. Tag me in any Whole30-related content on Instagram or Facebook and I’ll give you a shout-out!