Monday, August 27, 2012

Healthy Living: The Whole 30

So last week in my Insta-Week 8.20 post, I told you all about this new plan I'm on called The Whole 30. Before the summer was out, I promised myself that I would jumpstart a new path to health and vitality with a nice detox or body reset plan. I've done everything in the past from the Master Cleanse (I lost 6 lbs in a week last summer but I also nearly passed out in the heat and snapped at everyone in my path) to the juice fast, so I knew what cleanses I did NOT want to do. I wanted to do something that involved eating actual food, but just...better. In came the Whole 30 plan!

 I peeped Erika of Style Activist and Vahni of Grit & Glamour chatting about it (on Twitter of course - best place to be nosey without anyone noticing) and suddenly I was diving head first into the Whole 9 Life website. So here's a "Whole 30 For Dummies" break down of what the plan is, as well as a simple step-by-step guide highlighting how I got started and my results to date:

The Whole 30 Plan

The plan isn't very complicated at all. The rules are simple. Eat whole foods. Processed foods aren't allowed on the plan at all. It's very similar to the "paleo" or "caveman" diet, in which the focus is on eating just what the cavemen ate. Meat/Seafood, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts & Oils. Plain and simple. Here's what you'll eat on the Whole 30 Plan- an easy, 60 second breakdown:

Whole9′s Nutrition in 60 Seconds

"We eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

This is not a “diet” – we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat animals and a significant amount of plants.

Eating like this has helped us to look, feel, live and perform our best, and reduces our risk for a variety of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions."

Essentially, the emphasis is on the above described food groups eliminating the following: sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy.

5 Steps To Jumpstart Your Whole 30

1. Put Together a Meal Plan
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Nothing rings truer when it comes to starting a new nutrition plan. Preparation is everything! Especially with a diet that's very restrictive. The first step in attempting the Whole 30 is to plan out your first week of meals. Knowing what you're going to eat on which days, helps alleviate a ton of stress. And it's exciting! You can try new things when you make a little extra time.

2. Go "Clean" Shopping

This step is pretty important. My personal favorite place to get whole, organic foods without high prices is Trader Joe's. Not everything at TJ is organic, but everything that is, is properly labeled. I absolutely love the prices and the fresh food. If you can afford it, head to Whole Foods as all their items are organic for the most part. If you don't live near either of these, hit up a local Farmer's Market. The emphasis for Whole 30 is to eat clean, organic natural foods. Stay far away from processed foods, meats & poultry pumped with hormones or antibiotics, and fruits/vegetables laden with pesticides.

3. Tell Your Homies

Do NOT keep this plan to yourself! Not because you need to rally the troops, but because your "boo" needs to know not to send you boxes of Godiva chocolate at work. Your friends need to know which restaurants they can & can't do catch-up sessions at for the month. Your Mom needs to know to make you a special batch of baked chicken wings when you come home for the holiday, since everyone else is eating fried. Save yourself the heartache and let them know in advance. Also, you need to be held accountable! If your homies know, they can help you stay on track.

4. Plan For The Worst

Aside from having your meal plan together, you should also plan for those times when you'll need a little extra strength. Family eating birthday cake in your face? You should have an action plan for fending off potential pitfalls. For me - tweeting was my refuge in times of trouble! Any time I was faced with a challenge, I took to Twitter with the hashtag #Whole30 and immediately had encouragement from my community. For others, it might be eating an apple. Or calling your Mom. Whatever it is, plan in advance!

5. Expect The Best

Get ready to experience a life-changing 30 days! I'm only on Day 23 (and I haven't even been a complete angel) but I feel amazing! It may take a longer or shorter time period for you to feel like a new person, but just wait on it - it WILL happen. And when it does, you'll be happy that you put in the work.
My Results (So Far)

Clearer Skin

Since starting the Whole 30 plan, I've noticed a significant difference in the overall appearance of my skin. It has become really clear, barely a bump in sight and it has a glow! I feel like Leroy in The Last Dragon. "You possess the power of the GLOW!" More than that, it feels healthier. Softer, smoother and clearer. I've barely been using foundation at all.

More Energy

I used to have SUCH a hard time waking up in the morning. I'm a night owl, so I stay up till the wee hours of the morning, crash, then get back up a few hours later. Never sleeping through the night. I'm also always in dire need of a sugar "pick me up" mid-afternoon at work, or I won't survive. Thankfully, after being on Whole 30, I'm getting my full rest each night (yep, all 8 hours) AND I have consistent energy from the time I wake up until I go to bed. No more afternoon crash, sugar highs & lows and drowsy mornings. 

Loose Clothes

I dropped a dress size in a little under 2 weeks! I kid you not. There are some items I couldn't even zip up a few weeks ago that now fit snug and smooth. Like the dress below...

This was a dress I purchased from ASOS.com but was planning to send it back. I'm glad I didn't! Because now I can zip it without busting out the seams. I couldn't be happier with my Whole 30 results. For more information about the plan, check the resources I've listed below.


- First step, check out the Whole 9 Life website for more information

- I would advise you to start with this post as it's a great beginner's overview

- Next, you should probably tap into the "It Starts With Food" book they have for sale. I haven't purchased because, at the moment, I have no time to read it BUT I've heard it's a great starting point for this plan if you have the time. They break down everything in the book.

- Vahni of Grit & Glamour has an awesome comprehensive post on Getting Healthy here

Disclaimer: I'm not a health professional - at all. In any way, shape, or form. Please consult your physician before starting any new diet and/or exercise routines to make sure you're getting what your body needs. Don't go passing out in the street and then come on this here blog saying LoveBrownSugar made you do it! Love yall  - be healthy (and smart)!
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  1. I love your plan! I think its so inspiring to map things out and detox yourself to have a healthy living style. I found this social networking site I have been using called Juniperks that has a whole list of daily challenges to keep you active and on your Whole30 plan.

  2. I'm doing the same plan! It's amazing how our bodies react to just eating the foods we're supposed to be eating and cutting out all the other gunk! haha!

    Take care, and good luck! :)


  3. Cece, this is a super post! Excellent tips for someone contemplating a successful Whole30. I especially love #3 and #4...so true and so useful!

    I've been seeing the same effects and I've dropped two sizes now that I'm in my last few days. Back in fighting shape, woohoo!

    I can't wait to read your final post. Stay strong, honey, you GOT THIS!

  4. You look amazing & how you feel shows all over your face. Your instagram posts and now this blog post have led me to decide to take the leap starting Sept 1st.

  5. Great post!! You look amazing. I have to work on taking out the sugar and grain from my diet. I am fine with everything else. Congrats on living a better life

  6. Looove the tonage on that thigh, girl! :) You are looking radiant and beautiful as ever! Most importantly you're prioritizing your health! I have experienced a lot of the same challenges (learning to plan as a result of an unforeseen failure), and seeking cost-effective alternatives. Ditto on Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but don't forget Costco! They have great prices on organic spinach and other veggies.


  7. You are adorable! Hubby and I defiantly chose December to do our Whole30 challenge. We eat Paleo now but need to take it up a notch and instead of having the mindset of being defeated by holiday food, we're going to join forces with whole foods and win. I can't wait to start. You really are adorable!