This article is part of our special #Whole30AtHome resources meant to support you during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to see our entire collection of resources.
We’re all settling into our new reality, and the uncertainty of what the next few months might bring. I’m adjusting to having my son home from school, feeling isolated from family and friends, and the kind of daily pleasures I once took for granted, like leisurely Target runs and a daily gym session.
If there is one thing I need right now, it’s a sense of control and some normalcy. A healthy foundation on which I can build our new routine. Oh, and great sleep, steady energy, and a stable mood would be nice. My kid would sure appreciate that.
There is a lot out of my control right now. I don’t know how long I’ll be staying home, or how long my kid will be out of school. I don’t know if my grocery stores will continue to be stocked with produce and meat, or whether my family will even stay healthy.
For these reasons, we are launching a worldwide group Whole30—#Whole30AtHome— starting Monday, April 13, and we’d love for you to join us.
First, an acknowledgment: There are a lot of reasons NOT to add more stress to your life right now. If this isn’t the right time for a Whole30, please don’t feel pressured to take it on. Above all, we want you to practice self-care, and maybe that doesn’t include more rules and structure in a moment that’s already thrown a lot of rules and structure at you. Show yourself grace. This doesn’t have to be for everyone, and if you decide to opt out and keep working your Food Freedom plan in April, we’ll have JUST as many resources and just as much community support for you.
But if you have been searching for some grounding, if you know your current routine isn’t serving you, if you crave a return to structure and accountability… maybe a group Whole30 is exactly what you need.
Let’s look at the potential upsides of a #Whole30AtHome:
- Less hassle, because you’re not traveling or navigating unfamiliar restaurant menus
- Less peer pressure, because you’re not socializing in person
- No stress planning on-the-go and emergency foods, as we’re all staying home!
- More time at home means more time to meal prep and cook
- Meal prep can become a family affair, bringing your partner, kids, roommates, or parents into the effort
- For those who live alone, enjoy community during meals (like cooking with us online and virtual Whole30 dinner parties)
- TONS of free resources from Whole30 and the community, including lots of recipe ideas for leftovers, freezer meals, and DIY dressings, sauces, and condiments
- A community spending more time than ever on social media, there for accountability, support, and motivation
- Whole30 Approved partners ready and willing to support with online ordering and delivery of everything from meat to freezer meals to pantry staples
- Whole30 Certified Coaches ready to become the expert at your fingertips, prepared to lead you through virtual groups
- Even MORE Instagram Stories, Live broadcasts, Pinterest boards, and special newsletters to make this Whole30 the most energized, community-focused, uplifting effort yet
If you’ve been considering jumping back into another Whole30, but felt like you might struggle doing it on your own, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for! But first, a little level-setting for us all, in the name of our mental health and self-care.
If you decide to join us, here are a few things I’d like you to keep in mind:
- GOOD ENOUGH IS GOOD ENOUGH. I’ve railed against the idea of doing the “perfect Whole30” for years, but this time, it’s more important than ever. Your ONLY job is to eat Whole30 food. You don’t have to cook fancy recipes. You can eat the same thing three days in a row. You can microwave a compatible hot dog any night of the week. This is a time for GRACE, not perfectionism.
- On that note, however, we are not relaxing the rules, even for this round.* Habit research shows that black and white rules are actually easier for the brain to follow, and right now you’re making lots of difficult decisions with your willpower on overdrive. And you KNOW the rules feel comforting and secure, because you’ve been here before. (Or if you haven’t, trust me… most people feel a HUGE sense of relief in not having to battle with your Sugar Dragon day in and day out.) The rules are the rules, and that can feel good.
- Ask for help. Not sure what to do with the leftover chicken, apples, and spaghetti squash in your fridge? Not sure how to navigate a longer drive without meat sticks? Feeling like a cookie is going to solve all your problems? WE’VE GOT YOU. We’ll be all hands on deck to support you through the Forum, social media, and more, so don’t be too proud to ask for help.
- Remember your WHY. There will be days when this Whole30 feels harder than other Whole30s. You’ll have to go back to your “why.” Ask yourself, “What would my life look like without the Whole30 right now?” If you imagine yourself face-first in a bowl of candy, eating popcorn and wine for dinner, feeling sluggish and anxious and restless… there is your resolve to stick with the Whole30 for one more day, one more meal, one more bite. If you’re striving to sleep better, have more patience, and have more energy for your kids at home, there’s your why. If you want to prove to yourself that you can do hard things, keeping your health commitments even when life throws you obstacles, there’s your why. Keep coming back to it when things get hard.
Our #Whole30AtHome kicks off Monday, April 13, the day after Easter. We’ll spend the next few weeks helping you prep, matching you with a Coach, providing you with resources, and gearing up our own households to participate. I hope you’ll join us. Return to your foundation, lean on your community, practice self-care, and rack up a host of non-scale victories along the way. We’re ready and raring to go!
If you’re IN, let us know below. And stay tuned, as we roll out even more resources right here in the coming weeks.
*Remember, if you have a history of disordered eating, diagnosed or otherwise, the Whole30 is not recommended. The rigidity of the rules can be triggering, and the last thing I want during this stressful time is to trigger old behaviors. Stay in touch with your therapist, and build an approach together that better suits your context.
Got a question for Melissa? Submit it here.
Remember, we aren’t answering questions about the Whole30 rules via this column (use the forum!), nor are we able to offer you specific advice about your medical issue, health condition, or body composition.
Melissa Hartwig Urban is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, and a 5-time New York Times bestselling author (It Starts With Food; The Whole30; Food Freedom Forever; The Whole30 Cookbook; The Whole30 Day by Day; and The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook). She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Details, Outside, SELF, and Shape as the co-founder of the Whole30 program. Melissa lives in Salt Lake City, UT.
Photo credit: Marie Carmel Photography