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  • Lauren Makowski

The complete beginners guide to a successful Whole30

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

It’s the end of week 1! I went back to the gym today, at 5 a.m. and normally by this time I’m struggling to stay awake and ready to shove any snack I can find down my gullet. Today is different. I’m still a little tired, but not nearly as much as I was before, and my hunger level is completely under control. What a difference in just 7 days.  This week has been a challenge, mainly because I decided to start the program in the middle of the day, so I was not even close to being prepared. Over the weekend, I finally went grocery shopping and now I feel like I am good to go!

Over the course of the week, I’ve been journaling about my days, how I’m feeling, etc., and I noticed a pattern. Each day, I remembered certain tips that helped me succeed in the past. Now, I am happy to be able to share these tips with you, just in case you might be struggling to get through the next few days.

Get your mind right

There is just something so different about this round for me, and I think I’ve finally realized why. I have had the right mentality about it. I am not just doing this to lose weight (but if I do, it would seriously be awesome!), I am really focusing on those non scale victories like improved energy, better sleep, and clearer skin. My intent is to feel better, not to look better, and boy do I feel better already. Here’s my tip for you if you’re looking to start the Whole30. Get the right mindset and it will be so much easier to complete. Don’t go into it thinking “I need to lose those last 10 pounds” or “I need a 6 pack for bikini season” (don’t we all?!). In order to really succeed and not feel deprived, you need to focus on fixing your overall well-being. If you can train your mind to focus on that, I promise you, the 30 days will be so much easier.

Always have Whole30 compliant food stocked in your kitchen

Truth bomb: This is the NUMBER ONE tip I have for you. You may be thinking, um, well duh, what else would you have in your kitchen? But there will come a time where you’ve either 1) Been too busy to go to the grocery store, or 2) You’ve eaten all of the Whole30 food in your home and the only thing left are your child's graham crackers. Don’t let this happen to you like it did to me. It makes things even more challenging on you.

Make a plan and stick to it

This tip goes well with tip #2. Make a meal plan. What do I mean by that? I typically will map out what we’re going to be eating for the week so I know how much food to buy, and exactly what I’ll need. We do our absolute best to stick to that plan and it seems to be working so far. I used to meal prep every Sunday morning (find some helpful meal prep tips here!), but my design business has kept me pretty busy on the weekends, so I haven't been sticking to it. My strategy: make breakfast the night before and make enough food at dinner so that there's extra for lunch. Some of you pro Whole30'ers may be shaking your head, but this is the best way for me to survive. If that doesn’t work for you, then maybe meal prepping one day out of the week is your best strategy. Do whatever works best for you, but always have a plan in place so you’re never in a situation where you don’t have Whole30 compliant food available to you.

Have easy to cook meals available for busy days

Let’s all face the facts; there are going to be days when you’re really busy. You’re going to get home, be exhausted form the day, and the last thing you’re going to want to do is cook. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s the perfect scenario for you to break, especially within the first week. My life saver this past week has been the Applegate Organic chicken sausages (I find them at Whole Foods!). They’re so easy and quick to cook, and require almost zero preparation. If those work for you, great. If you have something else that you like that’s simple to prepare, just make sure you have enough of it. It’s nice to think that you’ll have time to make all of those yummy recipes you see on Pinterest andInstagram, but real life will eventually get in the way, so prepare yourself for anything that may sabotage your success!

Always carry a snack with you

In order to help me get through day 2, I went to Trader Joe's at lunch to pick up a few things. I found compliant turkey, which was very exciting, and I picked up some pineapple slices as well. When I got back to the office, I felt so much better knowing that I had something to munch on in case the hunger beast decides to show up to the party. Moral of the story, get yourself some healthy snacks, especially if you have an office job. The temptations are endless in an office environment. If you’re not prepared, you run the risk of diving head first into the candy jar before your co-worker, Susan, can tell you to stop. A few snacks that I like to keep on hand are:

Compliant deli turkey

Lara bars (read your labels!

Sliced almonds

Compliant plantain chips


Baby carrots

Don’t get frustrated, keep going!

It’s such an amazing feeling, knowing that you’ve eaten healthy for the past 6 days and the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to be finishing day 15 because that’s when the benefits of the program become noticeable. My suggestion to you, if you’re on any day between 7 – 13, keep pushing through. I promise, once you break through that 2 week mark, you’ll see what the hype is all about. On the Whole30 website, it states that most people are likely to quit around day 10-11, which is crazy because a mere 4 days from then, you’ll start to see a change occur. It may not be a drastic change, but I say, if it’s even a small change and you feel better, it’s worth it.

Grocery Staples

Below is a list of the items I purchase almost every week. Whole30 also has a great grocery list checklist that you can check out. I hope to write a post about some of my favorite Whole30 recipes, but more to come on that later!


Ground chicken

Ground beef

Whole chicken

Pederson's Sugar Free Bacon

Applegate Farms Organic Chicken Sausages (Fire Roasted Red Pepper)

Trader Joe's Turkey


Chicken Breast


Bell peppers

White onions

Red onions

Romaine Lettuce

Sweet potatoes

Russet potatoes

Red skin potatoes



Yellow Squash


Butternut squash

Baby carrots


Fuji apples







Sliced almonds

Trader Joe's Cashew Butter

Plantain chips


There you have it, my best advice to survive the Whole30 program. Do you have any tips that have helped you along the way? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

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