Sports nutritionist and author of The Whole30, Melissa Hartwig, shares her tips on how to power through the tough early days of your new diet!
When you start a new diet, it can be hard on your body, both physically and mentally. By choosing the right foods, you can power through the symptoms that will likely will be bogging you down:
Crankiness due to blood sugar dysregulation
Thanks to less than healthy diet and lifestyle choices, your body probably isn't as good as it used to be at managing your blood sugar. In the early days of The Whole30, or almost any diet, that can lead to blood sugar dips that feel a whole lot like "need sugar now!" and can lead to hunger, cravings and crankiness.
The solution: Make sure you're eating within an hour of waking (even if you're not hungry).
Here are some food suggestions to help combat this issue:
Egg frittata for breakfast, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, leafy greens, broccoli, apples, pears, oranges
Energy access issues
When your body is used to running on sugar all the time, it's not very good at using fat as fuel. We'll teach it to use body fat and dietary fat as energy on The Whole30, but that process can take a few weeks to really ramp up.
In the meantime, you may feel lethargic, and your performance in the gym or in your sport will probably suffer.
The solution: Don't load up on sugar (go easy on dried fruit and nut bars, dates, etc.), and don't skimp on healthy fats! We want to teach your body to use fat for fuel, which means you have to give it some gas.
Include a healthy amount of fat with every meal (approved nuts, oils, olives), and DO NOT CUT BACK portions in an attempt to lose weight faster - that will backfire when your metabolism slows even further!
Low blood sugar, disrupted hormones, and chronic stress all point to one thing –cravings – usually for sugar, sweets, and other high-carb foods. Knowing they're coming and creating a plan to deal with them is half the battle!
The solution: First, make sure you're well fed, because hunger can mask itself as a craving. Next, create an if-then plan for dealing with them in a healthy way.
Distraction is a great technique, as the average craving only lasts 3-5 minutes. "if I feel tempted to grab a donut on the break room counter, then i'll walk down the hall and chat with a co-worker for a few minutes." It can be as simple as that to quickly forget your craving!
Other suggestions to distract you from cravings: Go for a quick run, call a friend, clean a room in your house.
Feeling jittery due to your habits being disrupted
We often don't realize how dysfunctional our relationship with food has become until we can't use food to relieve boredom, anxiety, show love, or comfort ourselves. People are caught off-guard when they have a hard day, come home, and can't have that glass of wine. Again, creating a plan for this is key!
The solution: Think about stressful situations or habits (like dessert) that might throw you off your Whole30/diet game, and create an if-then plan that doesn't feed into your bad habits.
"If I'm dying for dessert after dinner, then I'll brew a pot of my favorite herbal tea" or "if I'm struggling during family movie night when they're all munching on popcorn, then I'll snack on the kale chips and toasted coconut flakes I made earlier.”
Remember, if you set yourself up for success, your chances of sticking to your diet plan will be that much better!
The information provided on the show is for general information purposes only. If you have a health problem, medical emergency, or a general health question, you should contact a physician or other qualified health care provider for consultation, diagnosis and/or treatment. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-diagnosis or treatment based on anything you have seen on the show.