Jacob Henriquez is the Atlanta-based 2019 Whole30 Certified Coach of the Year, and Community Manager for Whole30 Approved brand The New Primal. Jacob specializes in motivation and creating self-accountability, and runs an ongoing LGBTQ+ Whole30 Support Group. In today’s episode, we’re both here to help you crack the code to a successful Whole30, going beyond the advice in my books. We share our best insider tips for all phases of the Whole30, including planning and preparing, socializing, navigating challenges, and measuring Whole30 success. Whether you’re gearing up for your first Whole30 or your fourth, Jacob’s experience and observations will help you fill in the missing pieces, and make the most of your Whole30 self-experiment.
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Hi, my name is Melissa Urban and you’re listening to Do the Thing, a podcast where we explore what’s been missing every time you’ve tried to make a change and make it stick.
Today my guest is my friend Jacob Henriquez. He’s an Atlanta based Whole30 Certified Coach, the Community Manager for Whole30 approved brand The New Primal and a newlywed. You may remember Jacob’s handsome husband Carlos from his Whole30 Recipes takeover. Jacob specializes in motivation and creating self accountability and hopes to kickstart his client’s food freedom journey and as an advocate for the LGBTQ plus community running an ongoing LGBTQ Whole30 support group. One other fun fact about Jacob, he was recently named Whole30 Certified Coach of the Year at our August coach summit. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today, cracking the code to a successful Whole30 in today’s discussion, we’ll share our best insider tips about planning and preparation, socializing, navigating challenges, and measuring Whole30 success. Jacob will explain why two little words (if then) can take your Whole30 from stressful to I got this, share his best do as I say not as I do moment from his first Whole30, and dish out some tough love, heavy on the love designed to help you really find your why making Whole30 victory all the more meaningful. Whether you’re gearing up for your first Whole30 or your fourth coach shakeups insider tips and observations will help you fill in the missing pieces and make the most of your Whole30 self experiment. We talked for a really long time and I think we could have talked for like another hour or two so let’s get straight into the conversation. All right, Jacob Henriquez our Whole30 Certified Coach of the yYear. Welcome to do the thing.
Thank you. I am so excited to be here.
We just spent all weekend together of course at the coach summit and shared a bunch of information and connected with the community. But in this discussion we are going to hack the Whole30. I am going to pick your coach brain to help our listeners figure out how they can make the most of their Whole30 through every single phase. Are you ready?
I am as ready as I can be.
To kick it off the first thing I ask all of my guests is, Jacob, what’s your thing?
My thing is driving connection. So whether it is my client’s connection to foods or even if it’s better foods that you know, help them have better psychological or gut responses or even connecting people to the right people, that’s a gift. I honestly can say that I felt like I’ve had for a really long time and um, I really cherish the ability to do that.
I love that. That’s beautiful. And that’s exactly what I observe you doing through your work with the new primal through your Whole30 coaching is connecting, connecting people with each other. So let’s connect some of our listeners here with the Whole30 process. I want to start by talking about planning and preparation. I have said over and over again that planning and prep is the key to Whole30 success. Do you agree and what do you think about the planning and prep process?
I feel like so much of this and I, this is probably going to come up quite a bit, is really knowing yourself and your own tendencies. Like even when you think about like Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies. There are definitely the people who have to plan and over plan going into it, but I also believe that there is a group of people, myself included, my very first Whole30 I decided to do it 11:00 PM at night and went grocery shopping at an all night bodega and that’s how I started.
Is that like a do as I say, not as I do or do you think that actually works for some people?
I think for some people, like I’m an obliger, I believe once I set that intention or that intention has been set on me, don’t give me the opportunity to talk myself out of it. That being said, I do see value of course in planning as far ahead as you think you need. I don’t necessarily think going to a grocery store at 11:00 PM at night and starting your Whole30 is ideal, but it’s what I did in 2013.
So how did that work for you? Did, what were you like, did you find that you had stumbling blocks where you were like, Ooh, I should’ve thought this through a little bit more or were you self sufficient enough that you kind of made it work,
you know, self sufficient in the sense that like I completed the program. Yes. But looking back, could I have done probably more research on recipes and substitutions? I could have been a little more confident in the kitchen, maybe 100%. Um, I think that’s probably where looking back at my food journal that I kept, there was a lot of spinach and eggs.
Yes. Yeah. Which is fine. We’re going to talk about keeping it simple, but I love that you started this off with the idea of knowing yourself that some people will need the spreadsheets and the meal plans and the grocery lists and to have like everything color coded and charted. People show up to the program with their like color coded binders with everything printed out and then for other people that’s going to feel really suffocating.
Yeah, and I, I’m in that suffocating group where I’m like, well I know the rules, so what? Why do I need anything else? But working with clients, it’s my job as a coach to really understand what their needs are in that, but also to help them realize that themselves.
I love that. Very much. So the first thing I want to talk about is the start date. So occasionally twice a year we kind of set a start date. We run group whole thirties in in this case September 2nd and then again we’ll run one in January. Is there magic to helping your clients set a start date or do you tend to run groups like around the first of the month because that’s what’s convenient.
I really try to work with them around what Whole30 is doing initially I think it’s such a magical time. That being said, of course there’s one. Often there is a situation where someone says, well this really is the best start date for me and I try to work as a group or you know to get a consistent consensus on what’s going to work the best. But ideally I typically run groups in January and September for that reason because nothing beats going into whole foods and seeing Whole30 displays everywhere. You know and understanding that like there’s a behind the scenes drive to make this experience
Phil this way you do, you get so much extra support, so much extra like resources and partners are involved. So definitely the group will thirties are the way to go. Do you talk to your clients about making sure that they don’t plan something really important on day 30 for example,
in my group specifically, we talk about re-introduction and food freedom on like a day 13 like really? I’m like, once you’re not in a bad mood and your pants aren’t too tight anymore, it’s really time to talk about like what does forever look like? Because if they don’t have that idea and they’re just waiting for day 30 without, you know, really the right mindset going into it, then there are 100% going to quote unquote fail even though there is no failure.
Yeah. And that’s another benefit of working with a coach. I think, you know, for someone new to the Whole30 you’re probably going to follow along and going to do the program, but it might not occur to you to ask what happens after the Whole30 until your Whole30 is over. Whereas you as a coach are gonna Guide and lead them to that information at the time when they’re most likely to receive it. Well
correct. Cause we’re not really ending it. We’re just going into the next phase of it.
I love that. And the language is so important here too. That’s another thing that I think I’d recommend for someone new to the Whole30 is really embrace and you can read about it a little bit more in food freedom forever. This idea that it’s not a diet, it’s not a weight loss program, it’s not a cleanse. There is no beginning, there is no end. Your Whole30 isn’t over. There is no like cheat week that comes after the program. There’s so much of the language in terms of our diet mentality that doesn’t apply to Whole30 and I think emphasizing that throughout the course of your program can really help you understand how different this thing is.
100%. We kind of set almost like a glossary of terms in the beginning of how we approach this entire subject because you really do have to learn or unlearn what you’ve known about quote unquote diets. Um, from probably your first inclination of what a diet was.
Oh, I love that. What are some of your glossary terms?
I mean really, we talk a lot about, you know, good foods and bad foods and we don’t use that. I mean, a lot of it is taken from food freedom forever. Um, we talk about if/ then strategies, you know, rather than planning to do a certain thing. Of course we talk about what a why is and why your why really can’t be so superficial. And we actually have an entire like email message that I send out about good and bad whys.
And it’s not that the why is bad, it’s that because we’re so conditioned to this diet mentality, our wise can be very superficial and we’ve never really taken the time to dig past, you know, I want to lose 10 pounds. Okay, but why, what do you think w what are you gonna feel like when you lose those 10 pounds? What’s going to change about your life when you lose those 10 pounds? And there are sub reasons of that that can be very uplifting and very, um, come from a place of self love. And then there can be others that are kind of damaging and destructive. So getting to the bottom of that is important.
Yes, I agree so much.
Yeah. All right. So we’ve talked about a start date. We’ve talked about some of our language. I love the idea of the glossary of terms and continuing to remind yourself that there are no good or bad foods, that this is not a diet really framing the Whole30 as like a reset or a self experiment. I love that. Um, that takes, especially for Gretchen Rubin rebels, it takes a lot of the pressure off. What about cleaning out the house? You know, we always talk about making sure you clean out your pantry, get the bad food out of the house. How far do you have your clients go?
This comes down to individualize. Again, really knowing yourself. I have those clients who can have dinner at night with their family eating pizza and whatever and they can be perfectly content with their stuff, sweet potato. But then I have those that really, they can’t have any junk, I don’t want to say junk food, but you know what I mean, in the house. And that’s something you kind of, we kind of have to work on individually. And I, you know, understanding their relationship with food beforehand is what matters. And it really takes with them going inside and saying, on my very worst day, if I had a terrible day at work, or my boss yelled at me and I come home, what’s gonna tempt to me the most? And if it’s anything that quote unquote would not be Whole30 than it really doesn’t need to be in the house. If you don’t have those temptations for food, then you maybe don’t have to clean out as much. I have a not Whole30 box in my pantry that usually, it’s like, it’s just a way to keep it as not an option. So when I’m looking for something to, you know, to eat in the spur of the moment, I don’t see it. It’s not that I’m tempted by it, but it’s just a good practice for me to have. I know.
Yeah. And so that can also come in handy if your partner or family aren’t doing the program. If you’re doing it alone, I often recommend that people find they designate like a drawer in their fridge or a container in their pantry for like the non Whole30 stuff. So you’re not moving aside the Oreos every time you’re reaching for a can of coconut milk. Exactly. Exactly. And this is what I like to remind people to, you know, anytime they’re tempted during their Whole30 like chances are what’s in your pantry is not special. If it’s like the m and ms or the Reese’s peanut butter cup or the bag of potato chips, like you’re a grownup with a car and a credit card, you could go buy that anytime you want. So like having that kind of out of the way in your pantry, but then reminding yourself that like you’ve committed to this 30 days and the stuff that’s sitting in there isn’t this like once in a lifetime, super special food that you have it when your Whole30 is over can relieve some pressure.
So we’ve talked a little bit about meal planning. I’m kind of like you where I don’t really have to plan any meals. I never really planned meals for my Whole30 I just sort of like went to the store, bought ingredients and waned debt. I also wasted a lot of food that way cause I would get ambitious and I would buy a bunch of vegetables and then like they go bad. So if I didn’t cook them and eat them, they went to waste. I find meal planning can be really, really helpful for anyone who’s on a budget. Do you have meal planning tips or tricks or resources that you like to give your clients?
I think it ultimately comes down to deciding to meal plan with the way you’re going to eat. So for instance, I’m not a recipe person. I’m not going to make like a huge batch of buffalo chicken salad and eat that all week. I know by the end of the week I’m going to be bored with it. So instead meal prep by components and learn how to build a meal based on those components. I think for anyone, especially if you’re just starting to to cook for yourself, this is for some people the way they learn how to cook. And so I think it’s important to think about, you know, if I’m having like a really bad day and I really don’t want to put forth a lot of effort into a meal, but I would like to come home and just be able to throw something together still and mix and match. That’s how I would suggest meal prepping rather than doing a bunch of 10 different recipes and by the end of it you’re tired of it all.
Yeah. Um, t can you tell me some of your favorite like throw together meals?
I love like a good s of course like a sweet potato base and just doing like a big loaded baked sweet potato. So taking whatever vegetables I have in my pantry, I just roast them. I mean I have done sheet pans with like 12 different types of vegetables that were just about to go bad and putting that inside of a sweet potato with some type of protein. And then a sauce. I mean to me sauce is like where you invest in a whole third.
I could not agree more. It sounds like my ground meat with stuff, overstuffed template where it’s like whatever ground meat I have in the fridge, all my leftover veggies get chopped and diced. I mix it all together and I eat. I leave it bare because I can then put different sauces or dressings on top.
Yeah, and I always joke that I hate to be the lame person who talks about, oh great salad, but on Whole30 like you have some really good salads because you have to get creative, you’ve got to add fat, you’ve got to add, you want to add a crunch factor. You want to add your challenge so much more than if you just order something and so I’m like, God, this is a really good salad.
Yeah, I love that. So I’m like you, I definitely like, I would prefer to just like throw things together. I make recipes pretty infrequently at this point, but for some people that feels really intimidating and they like the, the comfort of a recipe where it’s like all planned and they can double up and they can eat it later for breakfast or lunch. What are your, some of your favorite recipe resources or do you have anyone right now that you love following for recipes?
First as far as like technique as I, as I learned how to build my own meals, I’m Stephanie, Cook by Color. If you’re ever want to know how to throw meals, her fridge foraging is gold. Um, and so I’m, I really love that. I love, I mean Whole30 Recipes is of course a great source cause I had so many different people on there you might find me on there. But really honestly I like to go to the brands websites and see who they’re working with. I think like that says a lot about who is really trying to build this community. So whether that is of course, you know, the New Primal or whether it’s Pederson’s or Pre Beef those, those brands work with so many people in our community that maybe they don’t advertise. And so I like to go and see who they’re working with and like that. Let that kind of be my guide.
I love that idea too, because some of these dressings and sauces can be a little bit of an investment in that. You know, if you’re on a limited budget, you might only be able to buy one or two of these. If you then don’t know what to do with that. Like some of these cooking sauces, like the Mesa Davita are so magical. They add so much flavor and so much like spice to a food, but if you don’t know how to use it, then you’re going to be left with this like dressing that you’re just going to like dip vegetables. And so I love the idea of going to a brand’s website and looking for their Whole30 recipes. That’s genius.
Yeah. There’s also the sense of FOMO because my very first jar of Mesa Davita, I like use the whole thing and then I found all these recipes later and I was like, why didn’t I do that?
I’ve legitimately never cooked with one of their sauces. I only use it to dip vegetables and that’s how good it is. One of these days I’ll get around to cooking with it, but it’s fantastic. One of my favorite tips for someone new to the Whole30 is to have more emergency food on hand. Then you think you’re going to need, what do you do or what are your favorite strategies for emergency or on the go food?
I tend to really think of it the same way you do kind of like a mini meal when someone is like, I really don’t know what to eat. I’m like, do you have shredded chicken in your refrigerator right now? But at the same time I recognize there’s a convenience factor that um, you know, comes into play. So having those like on hand, like the mentally veggies that are collaboration with Whole30 like those are fantastic because they’ve got a little bit of everything in them. Um, of course meat snacks, you really can’t go wrong with when you think of a fat protein car mentality and like building almost a meal of emergency foods. So I would just say like having array and don’t stick to one thing or else it kind of becomes a crutch. And you kind of look forward to it a little too much?
Yes. Or You just get so burned out on them. Like there are times when I’m traveling where I’m like, if I see another meat stick, you know, I’m probably going to throw it across the airport. I think what you said in the beginning is so important. We tend to think about emergency food as those nonperishable like sticks or pouches that we can take with us. But I highly recommend that people have emergency food that is real cooked food sitting in their fridge at all times. Like you said, the roasted chicken. Because if you come home from a long day at work and you know that dinner is a little bit of a ways away, or your errands ran late or whatever, you’re not necessarily gonna want to reach for a meat steak if you’re sitting home. But if you don’t have stuff in your fridge, you’re gonna feel a little bit stuck.
Yeah. One of the things that we actually talked about, so I, I’m in my LGBTQ group, was that someone was stuck on, you know, I’m preparing for this and I really don’t know where to go with it. She has all these stressful things coming up and I was like, you just need to make something you really enjoy and put it in the freezer so that on that really stressful day you can come home and have your favorite Whole30 compatible meal. All you’ve got to do is probably put it in your instant pot to warm it up or your microwave or whatever. And I think like that’s another way to think of an emergency meal is like, you know, what do I have in my freezer that’s ready that I can reward myself with today and say you can take a night off from cooking.
So brilliant. I love that. I almost, man, I don’t really think about freezer food as often as I should, but you’re absolutely right. We have a series on the blog about freezer meals. We have our Whole30 approved great value freezer meals at Walmart where you could grab a couple of those and stick them in your fridge for those emergency situations in your freezer. So I love that idea. If you’re feeling like, you know, one night in the kitchen you’ve got a little extra energy or you’re prepping something that would freeze really well, like a chili or a stew, double it up, stick it in the freezer and like future you will be very happy. 100%. I always have hard boiled eggs, some kind of chicken salad or tuna salad in my fridge. Um, and a bunch of roasted pre roasted vegetables. Usually it’s like a butternut squash, um, pepper, onion, mushroom. But like, like you said, I go through my fridge, whatever veggies are going bad, I roast and then I put them in a big Tupperware in there, in my fridge at all times. So if I ever need to, I’ve got eggs, I’ve got avocado, I’ve got those veggies and like that’s my dinner.
I think our fridges look a lot more like than we think [inaudible]
they probably do. But again, when, when you’ve been doing this for as long as we have a kind of just becomes second nature now. So I, I just know, you know, every Monday I’m making my ground meat dish, I’m roasting some butternut squash, I’m cooking some cauliflower rice, I’m making sure I have eggs in the fridge and like, you know, that can see me through a couple of meals.
And even coming back from the, the coaches summit for instance, I Sunday’s usually my prep day, but I was in the air and so instead I was like, oh my God, I’m so happy I have this in the freezer because now I don’t have to prep or even get my husband’s food ready for work. Like it’s just there and I didn’t have to worry about it.
Yes, freezer food is really, really smart. I love that idea. So another step in the planning and prep is building your support team. And I think there are so many layers and there’s so much nuance to this idea of Whole30 support. What do you talk about with your clients who are in your groups in terms of making sure they feel supported during the program?
The first thing I try to convey, and this sounds probably a little harsh, but it’s your best friend is probably not your best support in a Whole30 typically our best friends are like those yes people for us. And the last thing you want is when it’s like 10:00 PM and you’ve had a long day and you’re like, I really want a Margarita and your best friend says, well sure, why don’t you just do it? That’s really not support and that there’s nothing wrong with that from your best friend. So really you have to surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable if you can’t be that accountability yourself. So I go back to the old days of Instagram and I’m like, you have no idea how many strangers I sent food pics to every day as a level of accountability for them and myself because that was the best level of support I could give. Now we’re fortunate we have coaches and you know, you don’t have to send pictures of like stuff on stuff, bowls to, you know, someone in, in somewhere random. And so I, I think that really understanding that the people you’re closest to may not be the person to see you through your, your Whole30
I think that’s so smart. I often recommend to people that they kind of assign tasks to different people in their life. So you might need a cheerleader during parts of your Whole30 you might need someone to say you’re doing awesome, keep it up. I can really see like the change in you, you know, you’re happier, you’re more confident that person can be your cheerleader. But that’s not the person you go to when you really want the Margarita and you need someone to tell you like suck it up. You can do this for another 24 hours. So I like the idea of thinking about who’s on your team and making sure they each fill a specific role that also doesn’t set people up for failure. Because if you say to your best friend like, Hey Jacob, I’m doing the Whole30 I need you to hold me accountable and then I come to you and I’m mad at you that you’re like holding me accountable. That puts you in a really tough spot.
Yeah. I and I look back and think to every time that I did a Whole30 with a really good friend, they pretty much always found some way to need to reset. Whereas when I think about like when I set someone up with someone, again, being that connector and saying, I think this is who you need to help you with this. Then they really do find success and then you’re right, I can stand there and be the cheerleader and say, Oh my God, you did great. I know I can’t coach my friends. Like it doesn’t work that way. Yes,
it doesn’t. I also love the idea of a Whole30 buddy, but here’s a rule that I came up with based on a road trip I did with my sister. Essentially only one person in a team can be cranky at a time. And whoever calls it first gets it. And this the rule going, it came about during our road trip when like we were stuck in a car for 10 days, but I think it works really well with Whole30 years where if I’m your Whole30 buddy and I’m having a hard day and I wake up in the morning and I’m like, oh, I’m just really struggling today, that means that you by default have to step into like the empowering, motivating role.
Yeah, I think that’s so genius. And now thinking about it, it’s, that’s an easy thing to really implement kind of in yourself going forward. Like, you know, this is really my day to say my pants are too tight. I need you to quiet down. Yeah,
exactly. Exactly. And sometimes, honestly just saying it out loud allows you to realize like, okay, I’m not really this upset or I’m not really this de motivated. Like I just needed to vent a little bit. And don’t underestimate the power of the stranger on the Internet, by the way. You know, I do think that there’s so much benefit to connecting with random people, the Whole30 community through an online coaching group, like the LGBTQ groups that you run, there’s a lot of power in just talking to a total stranger, but having this common experience and having a shared goal and allowing you guys to hold each other up in a way that can be even more fulfilling because you don’t have the dynamics and the relationship of like a real in person friend or partner.
Yeah. And there’s almost a sense of relief when you find out someone else does think like you, someone else does go through the same things but you don’t have the history to kind of preemptively know that. So when you find someone else online who is like, oh my God, the exact same way, I totally get that there is this like, you know, Aha moment that, oh okay, I can do this because you can do this.
Yes, exactly. And that can be so powerful. The last step in planning and preparing and in order of like the way we lay it out in the book is getting rid of your scale for 30 days. And I’m curious how you handle, talk about the scale and body comp and weight loss in your group. Knowing it’s not a primary benefit of Whole30 and it’s like not at all something that we talk about but also knowing that probably your clients care about how their body looks.
Yeah, I mean it really honestly you go all the way back to the first conversation we have and that’s what’s your why and really building that why not around your body is step number one and understanding that at the end of this 30 days your body could change zero and you still completed this program and you still learned a lot. And that’s what really matters when we talk about the scale. I mean it really, it has to be almost as tough love and actually have like a Google check-in form where I’m like, did you get rid of your scale? And that’s one of them because they have to have, some people have to have this level of accountability that says, well I don’t want to lie so I’m going to do it. And I think, um, that’s one thing that I do really do well as a coach is accountability.
I think that that’s where I succeed knowing that they have to answer that to me it was really a way to kind of hold them responsible to it. I had this one client who she was like, I, you know, I’m, I’m down three pants sizes. It’s like, that’s great. And then like three days later she’s like, I really want to get on the scale. And I was like, okay, but what will the scale tell you that you don’t already know? Like what if you get on the scale and you haven’t lost a single pound? Do those three pants sizes magically change? Or are they suddenly no pants sizes. Like why can’t you let your daily non scale victories just be enough instead of having to have this extra on accountability, which means absolutely nothing.
And that’s so hard for so many people. I hear all the time that the no scale rule is harder than any of the foods or drinks that you have to give up for the 30 days.
Yeah, and former scale junkie. I mean I used to weigh myself every day. I bought like 200 and something dollars scale that like measured my body fat and perspiration levels and all this stuff and I hadn’t been on a scale in two years until earlier this year. Like it, it took a long time for me to get over that and I understand that not everyone’s going to come to this and be 100% right after their, their Whole30 they’re going to be tempted on day 31 to get on the scale and I have to understand as a coach they’re allowed to do that, but my hope is that they learned these man, these kind of mannerisms so that going
forward they think less of that number and eventually they don’t want to be on it anymore. I agree. I do. And I wrote an article about whether getting on the scale is appropriate for your day 31 and I guess the kind of question I make them envision at that point is imagine stepping on a, on the scale and seeing a number that’s not as low as you anticipate. Does it erase all of the good feelings you have about your Whole30 and how proud you are and all of the things you believe you’ve accomplished? Like if it has the chance of even diminishing a little bit, any of that, it’s not worth it.
Right? Oh 100% I mean at the end of the day it really is about the fact that like, oh you are sleeping better. Oh you are having more energy throughout the day. The scale has no relation to those things whatsoever.
No. And I will even tell clients, as I mentioned at the coach summit in my presentation, I’ll even suggest to coaches that with some clients who you think are really attached to that number, don’t even encourage them to do a before and after weigh-in or if you have the kind of relationship with your client where you can just say like, nope, you’re not doing that. I would highly recommend it. Take that out of the equation altogether.
Yeah, and you know, that’s something I was actually pretty careful about when designing my cause my group or to part or there’s a Facebook group, but there’s also an email campaign and we actually don’t mention weigh ins or befores or anything because to be honest, it really doesn’t matter there you should, there’s no comparison to anything physical at the end of the Whole30 that will justify, you know, the mentality that you’re going to gain or sorry, the the issues that you’re gonna gain from constantly holding yourself to I need to be this weight or I should be this size. There’s just no, there’s no value to it.
If you’re thinking about it like, like a self experiment where it’s going to help teach you what foods work for you and how to create new healthy habits around food and how to learn other coping mechanisms around food. Like the scale is literally not a part of that whatsoever.
Speaker 2: 28:54
All right, so when it comes to doing the Whole30 I’m wondering if you have one like overarching theme for your clients who are like in the middle of the program. Is there one thing that you say to them over and over again or if there’s, is there one thing that you kind of always keep bringing them back to?
I would say there’s probably two things. Number one of course is your why. So anytime there is an opportunity it’s like, okay, but why are you doing this? Like if you’re doing this to, I mean I work with a lot of clients actually who are like, I really at the end of this I want to be able to get pregnant. And I’m like, if that’s what you’re working towards, if that’s the goal that you have, then let’s keep doing it. You know, so getting them back to why they’re doing this. The other one is I make them create so many if then strategies by the end of it, I know they hate me because I tried to explain that, you know, it isn’t so much about like this is so I don’t slip up. I’m in my Whole30. This is really creating strategies that you will take with your whole life that you will implement anytime you go to a birthday party and there’s cake and you kind of decide beforehand, well if there is cake that I’m probably just going to have this unless maybe it’s this specific one cause that’s my favorite one and that one’s worth it for me.
And so trying to get them to understand, um, how to really build these if then that stick pass these 30 days because within the 30 days, of course they’re gold. But when I get a DM from someone I coached a year and a half ago and they say, I want you to know I’m still using my, if this happens, then this happens. I mean that means I did my job and it’s the most rewarding.
Yeah. So if then plans came as a result of the habit research I did for food freedom forever, where structuring a plan in a very specific sequence. If this happens, then I’ll do that kind of acts as like a trigger in the brain. You know, in the absence of a plan, when the brain encounters stress or a situation that it doesn’t know how to handle, it’s always going to want to revert back to what is easy and what is rewarding. And on the Whole30 that usually means you’re just going to like eat what’s in front of you or go to your like comfort food. So creating these, if then plans acts as like a trigger. So if I get to the birthday party and there’s cake on the table, then I’ll just say, no thank you. I’m doing a dietary experiment right now. That way when you get to the party and the cake is there that if triggers immediately the fact that you have a plan in the brain feels at ease.
Yeah, I use, so I use an example we have, which I know I’ve seen on your Instagram stories, you have to those I’m hue lights, the ones that change colors and I have mine set up through an app called if this, then that, and so if it’s going to rain that day, then that light bulb turns blue. It has no other option but to turn blue. There’s nothing else that can do because that’s what I’ve programmed it to do. You know? It’s black and white. There’s nothing else to do there
that’s so smart. And the more if then plans you can create, the more comfortable your brain feels. So going into a situation like a work lunch or a birthday party and really thinking through, okay, what are some of the stressful things I might encounter here? Maybe it’s someone asking me about my quote, crazy diet. Maybe it’s somebody really pressuring me to drink alcohol. Maybe it’s having cake there and knowing that I’m not going to eat the cake, but I also don’t want to feel left out of the celebration. What could I do instead? The more detailed you can be thinking through this situation, the more prepared you’ll be to handle it, the better you’ll honor your commitment to yourself and the less stress you’re going to feel in the moment.
Exactly. And, and we create backup plans for everything we do. Why wouldn’t you do it with this?
Oh yeah, that’s so smart. I love that. So I think the most important thing I like to remind people during the Whole30 is that your only job for 30 days is putting Whole30 food in your mouth. That’s it. I think people can get so overwhelmed with wanting to do the perfect Whole30 or making sure that every single one of their meals is laid out perfectly according to the meal template or that they’re eating the rainbow with the vegetables and they lose focus on the fact that like isn’t Whole30 did you put it in your mouth? You’re doing an awesome job.
Yeah, that and that’s, that’s all we asked of you. Exactly.
Exactly. So you know, feel free to keep it simple. You said you ate a lot of spinach and eggs in your first full 30, you know, is that ideal if that were your meals every single day for the rest of your life? No. You’re probably missing out on some variety. Is it fine to keep it simple and put meals you know, you really like and that are good for you on repeat for 30 days? Absolutely. No problem with that.
Yes. 100%. I know I can always come back to my mother’s recipe. Rhonda’sd pineapple chicken and it’s like that’s the one thing that it just makes me so happy to eat. Yeah.
I love that. I love it. And then I think the last thing I want to emphasize on actually doing the Whole30 is I really want you to stay social. I don’t want you to turn into a Whole30 hermit during the program for a number of reasons to talk to your clients about socializing on the Whole30.
Yeah. So, um, we actually, we’ll kind of approach this from two perspectives. One is do you have the willpower to actually be social and still stay compatible? And if you don’t, then maybe our goal is to get you there by the end of this Whole30 then there’s the client who I know like, okay you can say no and you’ll be fine. So this is the if then strategy you come up with, but it is important that your life goes on as normal. Like it’s not. I’m doing a Whole30 so there’s like a barricade on my door and everyone knows it. You know you can surely go out to a restaurant with your friends and get soda water with Lime and find something compatible on that menu or eat beforehand.
Absolutely. But I think what you said in the beginning is really, really important, which is like are you capable of going into what could be a really like craving triggering situation early on in your Whole30 and staying compatible. This is like the knowing yourself part. If you know you can’t man, it is going to be so hard for me to go out with my friends during happy hour and only drink water. Then maybe for the time being you either don’t go or you create a different environment in which to socialize with them. Like, hey guys, instead of going out for drinks tonight, can we like go for a run in the park or go for a bike ride or go see this play that, you know, I heard as awesome. Or go walk around the downtown art festivals. Something that doesn’t involve Booz or it doesn’t focus on booze.
Yeah. I challenged one of my clients one time actually I was like every time you go out with your husband on a meal this month, go somewhere you’ve never been. That way you don’t feel inclined to get the things you know that are quote unquote good and you’ll keep trying new things and hopefully that will help keep you in line because she was worried about tented at her favorite restaurant. I think it was some type of like hand cooked chip and I’m like, number one I can tell you that’s not going to be worth it anyway, but number two then don’t go there. Go somewhere else, find something new that you would like.
I like that changing your environment. The other thing I encourage people to do, and I discovered those in my own, like I’m not drinking right now. Experiment, Look, actually look at the beverage menu. I normally like don’t even look at what they offer cause I’m either drinking water or I’m getting a glass of wine. But since I haven’t been drinking, I’m now reading and I’ve had virgin bloody marys that are totally Whole30 compatible and delicious. I’ve ordered ice tea in so many restaurants, I’ll get hot tea. A lot of them have Kombucha on top, which would mostly be compatible. So like there are probably a lot of fantastic options for you to explore even in the places you already go that you just are overlooking.
Yeah, I, there’s um, actually a place here that serves um, like a charcoal tea that has like no sugar added to it. And I’m like, I’m so excited that I get to go there and have this like random charcoal tea. I can’t get anywhere else, but I know I can go there and be safe on my whole.
Yes. Yes. I like that plan. I think the last part I want to talk about, and you already mentioned this is re-introduction I’ve emphasized over and over again that the reintroduction period is just as important as the elimination for teaching your clients how foods work for them. You said you start talking about reintroduction pretty early in the process.
Yeah, it to me, and we’ve discussed this a hundred times, that like a Whole30 isn’t just 30 days. It actually includes the reintroduction period. And so my strategy with my clients is that you still mill prep on if Sunday is your meal prep day, I don’t care if day 30 is a Sunday, you still meal prep and you add in those things gradually rather than we’ll, I’ll just figure it out as I go. And as we kind of talk about like, well, what are you going to make this week? And they don’t really waiver from what they ate on Whole30 and then they kind of have to start critically thinking about how to add in those reintroduction items. It, um, it really makes it still seem more like an experiment rather than a free for all.
Ooh, that is so good. I love that approach. Very often. Re-Introduction can feel a little bit like the wild west, but what you’re saying is keep cooking the same Whole30 males that you know you love and that were delicious and then figure out on each re-introduction day what ingredients you’re going to add to that meal as your experiment.
I mean it works very much the way that I try to teach my clients to build their meals anyway. It’s like you’re just going to add in a different layer rather than putting it over, you know, a better greens. You can do rice this time or you know if you’re going to be cooking, if you’re going to be making some type of sauce, why don’t you make an a m peanut butter based sauce rather than an almond butter based sauce. And really just getting them to kind of switch out those things and add at the end rather than, well let me make this entire dish of this and this will be my re-introduction food. Or, or I’m just going to go to this random and get this one thing with dairy in it. I’m like, just plan. Just be ready.
That’s the one that’s like the most genius piece of advice. Because if you are thinking about this like a self experiment, you already know how that Whole30 meals make you feel because you’ve been eating it during the 30 days. So if you add something, if you do the peanut butter sauce instead of the almond butter or the rice instead of the Greens, and now that meal makes you feel differently. That’s a super clear indicator that whatever you reintroduced is having an impact.
Yeah. And I think the other thing that I really try to encourage is reintroduction is not black and white in the sense that you have to reintroduce then Whole30, Whole30 reintroduce. And it’s like if you have a really bad reaction to something and you’re like, Hey, I’m going to stay on, I’m going to, you know, keep being compatible a few more days. I’m like, that’s fine. Like I got you. That’s my job as a coach. Like I’m not going to stop now just because, and really getting them to understand that this is your experiment. I think in my email campaign I capitalized the word your every single time because I want them to understand that this isn’t whole. 30 is not mine. I mean, I mean it’s technically yours, but it’s theirs to experiment with and understand what works for them and it doesn’t stop on Day 30 so as they go into re-introduction, they have to keep with that mindset of, but I’m doing this because it’s mine.
Absolutely. And honestly, the longer you spend here, the more patient you’re willing to be, the more detailed you’re willing to be in a re-introduction journal, the more you’ll learn about how these foods impact you. And you know, as I’ve always said, like if you’re going to give up the foods you love for 30 days, shouldn’t you learn as much as you possibly can from the experience?
Yeah, I mean I, so one of my rounds, I actually just worked with people who had done a Whole30 before but failed reintroduction. It was a very specific group that I wanted to, to speak with. And as we got further into it and kind of, they all kind of like the light bulbs went off as to why they couldn’t nail reintroduction. And it was really fun to see this kind of fall into place for all of them. And they’d still didn’t all quite get there, but most of them did. And they really did understand the significance of reintroduction, something they couldn’t do by themselves. And I think that sometimes as a coach I’m like, well the rules are black and white. You really brought me on to help you with what comes after.
Ooh, I like that so much. I think there’s so much benefit to working with a coach. Everything from the mindset to the language change to looking and helping you develop your why, to holding you accountable, to digging through like the rules and the things that are on the piece of paper and help you navigate that space. That really does make the Whole30 your own.
Yes, yes, very much so.
I love it. All right. At the end of every episode I ask every guest, what’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who’s ready to do this September Whole30 thing.
I would say know yourself. Ultimately your success on the Whole30 really comes down to how well you know yourself and you may find out something surprising about yourself at the end of this, but knowing your and knowing who you are really will help you guide yourself through this. Even if you do or don’t work with a coach.
Fantastic. And of course that applies to way more than just the September Whole30. This is going to be an evergreen episode that will help anyone coming to the Whole30 for years to come figure out how to make the most of their experience. Jacob, where can people find you and what is coming up next for you?
So you can find me on Instagram @jacoblheath. Um, I know it’s not my last name right now, but that’s what we’re going with. My website is Whole30coachjacob.com. And then I’m also on Facebook as Whole30 Coach Jacob, what’s coming up for me is a large September Whole30 group. I typically would have only coach like five to maybe eight people at a time. And I’m partnering with Alexis of Paleo Rookie and information is on my website
and is the group an LGBTQ+ group or are you also opening a group up to anyone who wants to do the Whole30?
So the LGBT group will actually get, um, most of the resources for free. So that’s already, um, a group that’s ongoing, which you can just go to facebook.com/groups/Whole30 LGBTQ and that will take you right to that group, um, which is of course just for LGBTQ members. Um, we’re scheduling all the content to fall into that group for free just as a way to give back to the community. But then we are also coaching a separate group of people who just generally want to do a Whole30.
Wonderful. I’ll make sure to put all of those links in the show notes so people can find you and join your Whole30 groups, the Whole30 coach of the year. Jacob Enriquez. Thank you so much for joining me and helping our listeners make the most of their Whole30 experience. Absolutely. Thank you so much. My pleasure.