During the #SeptemberWhole30, we are providing resources for moms in all seasons. Today Whole30 Certified Coach Bree Shields. Bree shares in her own words tips for sustaining a solo Whole30, finding support from the Whole30 community, and working your Food Freedom. You can connect with Bree on Instagram.

I did 3 Whole30 resets before my husband was on board. The Whole30 equipped me to handle the rougher days as a veteran spouse and brought out who I knew I was on the inside. Fortunately, my husband didn’t give me too much of a hard time, but he definitely did not want to join me at first. He promised to not rub it in my face when he was eating pizza, but my biggest concern was feeling like we were living two separate lives as I created these new habits. I had to get creative on how to weave our journeys together.

In 2018 my husband finally got on board with a Whole30, and we did a Whole100 together. In that time his confidence grew, he felt accomplished, and he saw his body transforming. My love for the Whole30 grew when I watched it improve my struggling husband’s life. I knew I wanted to be a resource to support the military community and veterans specifically, which is why I became a Whole30 Certified Coach.

On Surviving a Solo Whole30

Add “no prep carbs” to your Whole30 approved meals to make them more family-friendly. You don’t want to spend a ton of time preparing meals that you can’t or don’t want to eat, so you can buy items that you can add on to a meal to make it more appealing to your partner or kids. You may find that even though you offer the option, over time they might not take you up on it, as they see your choices. Examples:

  • A burger, with homemade baked fries, and a side salad—add a bun for your non-Whole30 family members.
  • Taco Salad with all the toppings—add taco shells or a tortilla.
  • Chili—add cornbread, sour cream, and cheese.
  • Bolognese sauce over roasted veggies—add noodles.
  • BBQ shredded chicken and side salad—Make chicken without sauce and have a two different sauce options (one Whole30 approved and one that’s the family fave) and add a bun.
  • Chicken tenders—we’ve found that even the pickiest kid can’t resist even Whole30-compliant chicken fingers but if you have someone who’s not a fan, coat some in your compliant flour and some in regular flour.
  • Ribs and roasted veggies—add rolls.

Do not announce when things are Whole30-compliant! Not everything needs the “Whole30” title, since there are so many options that are naturally compliant. When serving watermelon or your family’s favorite vegetables, just call them by their normal name. You wouldn’t say, “this cucumber is a Whole30-compliant cucumber,” right? Try making a compliant meal that you think would be appealing to your family without announcing that it’s compliant. This way, you’re not turning them against it before they’ve even had a bite.

Meal prep your compliant meals ahead of time as much as you can. That way if there is something special your kids or partner request, you won’t have to make two dishes from scratch on one night.

Lead out in food decision-making. If you’re the one who goes to the grocery store, you have a lot of control over what food comes into your house. You can ask your partner to make requests for non-compliant options, but especially if you have kids, you can slowly transition away from foods that you’d rather they stop eating. When going out to dinner, you can suggest a few restaurant ideas that you know have some menu options that will work for you. At family functions or parties, bring a side dish that works with your Whole30!

On Finding Support from the Whole30 Community

During my first Whole30, I completely submerged myself in Whole30 culture. I had struggled with my health for so long and had labeled myself as a failure in this area. I put the following in place to make sure I would succeed:

  • Read all the Whole30 books. Equip yourself with knowledge!
  • Follow the Whole30 everywhere on social media, as well as coaches and Whole30 partners. Many of them share free advice and practical tips for success!
  • Find friends to do a Whole30 reset with me who can support you on a daily basis. Ask for specific accountability that will help you succeed.
  • Engage in Facebook support groups. You may even be able to find a local group! Always be aware of the advice given if it’s not from the Whole30 or a certified coach and double check it against what you know of the Whole30 rules.
  • Announce that you’re doing a Whole30 everywhere. Tell everyone at work, on social media, friends, and family. Share with them your grander vision. Those who truly care about you will support your efforts for personal growth.
  • Change the way you talk to yourself. I told myself that I was no longer going to label myself as a failure! The only thing I would be saying to myself were words that promoted success.

Bonus: On Working Your Food Freedom

Food Freedom can sometimes feel mysterious because there is no one size fits all, and it’s something we actively practice! I always tell my potential coaching clients that I want to help them past the thirty days to develop habits that they can take with them for a lifetime. Being intentional and proactive in food freedom is a must!  It’s something you work towards. If you want to work toward sustainable habits, start by reading the book Food Freedom Forever.

Start with three Food Freedom tips that you will implement and master the first month after your reset. With each new month, add in a new tip as you continue to strengthen your habits. For example, you might start with the “one bite rule.” If you try something off-plan and it’s not as delicious as you thought it was going to be, set it down after one bite. You don’t have to “clean your plate.” 

Write down how new foods you introduce affect your body. Use the notes app on your phone. The brain has a tricky way of telling you that the effects from the piece of toast you ate last week weren’t that bad and you didn’t feel too bloated, when in reality you felt like crap! Keeping track of how you feel will help your brain to not convince you otherwise.

Do not keep food with no breaks in your house. This will prevent you from feeling like a war is raging every time you open the pantry! As Melissa says, if you really want something and it feels worth it, you are an adult with agency and the ability to drive to the store and buy anything you want. As you start to realize that nothing is off-limits, foods start to lose their power over you.

“CHEW” consistently. Chew stands for:

  • Connect with others who are like minded
  • Help others going through a Whole30
  • Explore (new outlets, recipes, etc)
  • Words matter…be kind to yourself, tell yourself you will find food freedom, we are past beating ourselves up over having a cupcake!

Bree Shields has an natural energy and enthusiasm for life! Bree combines her artistic background, military experiences, and family and human development studies to pass along tools that aid in life management creating a sense of hope as people find community and begin investing in themselves. Roadblocks may have prevented forward movement but Bree believes Whole30 can allow for sustainable momentum in your life. She creates the space that says all are welcome.

“For so long I thought I would remain in the same place I had always been with my health and that to properly care for the things around me I needed to put myself last. I learned through the help of Whole30 that investing in yourself can have the greatest influence in the life you live.”