I love to start the New Year off with a Whole30 reset. It’s something I’ve done, or attempted to do, for the last 6 years, minus the two Januarys when I was pregnant. Something about starting the year freshly committed to healthier habits always calls to me. It probably has something to do with the surplus of sweets I’ve eaten during the holidays. My body always feels ready and I get a surge of determination that I struggle with at other times of the year.
However, the same two things always happen:
I get sick in the first week, normally with a cold or sinus infection. Probably a combo of too much indoor time/allergies and overdoing it with inflammatory foods. This year it was norovirus - YAY!
We celebrate both of my parents, and now my sister in law and nephew, birthdays in January. Even though they are health conscious, it is such a bummer to know there are two social events at a minimum that I need to make a plan for.
The last two years, I’ve done a “reset” - a shorter challenge, but sticking very rigidly with it. Last year, I had a date with my husband on day 15, and the year before we had a trip to Kauai 21 days in. Both times I felt great during the reset, but it was too easy to slip back into old habits.
This year, I decided to try something new. I’m bending the rules, baby! I know what I have been doing for the last four weeks is absolutely not a Whole30, but hear me out.
I knew I wanted to make a drastic, sustainable, ongoing lifestyle shift. I didn’t want this to be a restrictive month and then go back to my regular YOLO diet. So, I have been allowing myself grace. I’ve been pretty strict about not eating wheat. But otherwise, I have had small amounts of dairy, alcohol, non gluten grains, legumes, and sugar - when it makes sense.
I had a glass of wine, and opted to make a zucchini boat pizza with cheese, during our DIY pizza night for my mom’s birthday.
I had a martini at a dinner with two of my girlfriends I hadn’t seen in 3-6 months. We also ordered 3 veggie side dishes as our appetizer (the chef teased us to eat our vegetables as we left).
I enjoyed popcorn a few times during family movie nights and watching True Detective with my husband.
I had rice during a hibachi style dinner out with my husband and kids.
I had a few pieces of See’s candy we received as a holiday gift - this is the hardest one to justify, but it was just 1 piece a night a handful of times.
I truly think being gentle and flexible with myself allowed me to get through this month without making any choices I regret. Normally by the second week of Whole30 I’m ready to be done with it. Now I’m on my Week 5 meal plan and I’ve barely thought about how many days it’s been since I had bread - which brings me to my biggest realization.
Creating weekly meal plans made this month possible.
During the holiday lull, I made a master list of recipes to last a month. Two breakfasts per week, one batch lunch, a soup or salad, and 2-3 dinner recipes with leftovers abound. I created menus in Canva and memos on my phone with grocery checklists and recipes so I didn’t have to open Pinterest or look at screenshots to follow. It made getting in the kitchen and making healthy meals SO much more enjoyable and easy. I realized over the last few months that I’d be on a good track, plan out a few recipes and cook for a week or two, and then we’d have a busy weekend, I wouldn’t have time to meal prep or grocery shop, and we’d end up scrounging meals from the freezer for 4-5 days before I found time to make a plan.
The thing I’m most excited about - now that I’ve done the work and created the plans, after this week I can circle back to Week 1, and before I know it, it’ll be March and I won’t have had to think much about what I’m eating. Genius! I also have an appointment scheduled then for bloodwork, so it will be great to see how my labs look after almost 3 months of following a meal plan filled with healthy foods and modest indulgences.
I’m sharing my first weekly plan here in case you’re looking for inspiration or guidance. I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment or send me an email.