In honor of the September Whole30, we took the time to sit down with newly minted Whole30 Certified Coach Judith Forman to learn what drove her to complete 7 rounds of the program, and get her pro tips on completing a Whole30.
Hannah: First off – Thank you again for taking the time to chat. We sincerely appreciate it.
Judith: Not a problem. Thank you!!
H: Okay so let’s talk about your journey – WOW! 7 rounds of Whole30 since 2015 has rapidly become quite a bit more. What about the Whole30 program clicked with you and inspired you to take it this far?
J: I learned about Whole30 in 2015 and I did my first round in October of that year. At the time, I was a newly single mom with a new job, a new condo, and a 2-year-old. Although I was fit and ate pretty well, there was something inside of me that pushed me to take my health to “the next level.” With my first round, I really struggled with the cooking. I was NOT a great cook at that time, but I got through it and I had awesome results. My energy was higher, my sleep was better, my thinking was clearer, and my fitness absolutely exploded. I lost a few pounds during the first round, and I have to admit, I was motivated by weight loss back then but now, I have a completely different view of Whole30.
Whole30 has taught me so much about my body, and how to be mindful and thoughtful around eating and food. Almost three years and seven rounds later, I live a mostly Whole30 lifestyle and feel really confident in my Food Freedom.
H: That’s so inspiring to hear. Could you tell us a little bit about your passion projects?
J: Absolutely! In late 2015, I was asked to take over a small Whole30 Facebook support group where I was regularly posting. That tiny group had about 40 members when I began with it, and now, it has almost 44,000! Currently, we have seven admins including myself running it and it has been a labor of love and passion to share the Whole30 lifestyle with thousands around the world. It gives me so much joy to do that!
Earlier this year, I was the recipient of a Whole30 Coaching Scholarship from The New Primal, and I became a Whole30 Certified Coach in June of this year. It was the icing on the cake, so to speak, of my journey with Whole30!
H: Congrats on such a huge accomplishment! That’s really amazing. Now Whole30 is a nationally recognized brand at this point. So, what is their Whole30 coaching program?
J: While all of the information about Whole30 is available free online (and in the Whole30 books), sometimes people need more support and guidance to get through the program. Whole30 did a survey a few years ago and found that 75 percent of Whole30 participants were doing the program alone, without a spouse, friend, partner, colleague or anyone. So, Whole30 created the coaching program to have boots-on-the-ground support around the world for people who wanted a little extra guidance.
To become a coach, you have to apply to the program and if accepted, go through a rigorous, four-track testing process. Not going to lie – it was hard! However, it 100% worth it. At the beginning of August I was lucky enough to travel to Park City, Utah for the first annual Whole30 Coach Summit. Together we learned, connected, and shared our passions and best practices for the program. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
H: How special! I’d imagine you bring all that insight from the summit into your coaching sessions now. What does having a coach for Whole30 look like day to day in terms of what you provide to your Whole30ers?
J: The beauty of the coaching program is that there are many ways to coach – and work with a coach. Some coaches offer in-person group training, for example, at a school district. Others work with clients one-on-one. Some coaches partner together and offer events and experiences in their local cities. Others work with clients on Facebook or virtually by phone or Skype or Facetime.
For me, my platform is Facebook and I am currently running a small September Whole30 coaching group of 20 women in a closed Facebook group. I provide them with daily posts, support, recipes, discounts, access to Whole30 partners, giveaways, and Facebook LIVES. It’s super fun for me to share Whole30 with others, and they receive a lot of personalized attention to help them succeed!
H: That sounds fun! So for those about to start their September round – what are your best Whole30 tips for first timers?
J: I am so excited for everyone who is doing the September Whole30! My best overall tip is to plan, plan, and plan some more. It’s super hard to “wing it” on Whole30 so in order to succeed, you need to think ahead and be organized. Map out a meal plan, make a shopping list, stock up, and always keep “emergency” proteins and vegetables on hand for days when you don’t feel like cooking or are tired of leftovers.
Don’t make it too complicated – stick with easy recipes or mix and match different proteins, vegetables, and fats. Our blog — www.everydaywhole.com — which we (me and some of our group admins) started to complement the Facebook group has lots of practical tips for meal planning, recipe ideas, and posts to help you stock your pantry, get creative with sauces, and use your Instant Pot. Plus, lots more!
H: And speaking of stocking up – what are your Whole30 shopping list essentials?
J: Each week, I sit down and work out a meal plan – and then shop accordingly. I get different types of protein, usually ground beef, chicken tenders, and make sure to have lots of things like eggs and tuna fish, which have a long shelf-life. I also make sure I have lots of vegetables — some that I will use sooner and some that can hang around for a while, like potatoes, onions, and carrots. This summer and fall, I have a farm share so I have been getting local produce which has been amazing.
I always recommend people have a stocked pantry, and keep items such as Bare Bones Broth, coconut milk, olive oil, ghee, almond flour, avocado oil, raw nuts, and the like on hand. I am a big seltzer drinker – so I usually have lots of cans of LaCroix or Polar Seltzer stocked up as well. I try very hard not to waste any food. I shop between my local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and get some of my favorites, like Bare Bones Broth and Gather Superfoods ghee, online!
H: I can definitely sympathize with the seltzer obsession! Haha.
J: Haha – We all can!
H: And just one last question for you today. Do you think it’s worth it for everyone to complete one round of Whole30?
J: Great question! Whole30 is an amazing way to help you reset your mind and body around food. It can help you pinpoint food intolerances, and teach you how to be empowered around what you choose to put in your body and when. It gives you incredible NSVs – Non-Scale Victories – that can include everything from better sleep to better skin to lower blood sugar to a reduction in inflammation to less anxiety. Many people who come to Whole30 also lose weight as a by-product, and many like myself, discover a passion for whole foods and cooking.
That all being said, Whole30 takes time, energy, and dedication and it’s not something that can be done “halfway.” You have to do the work – both the physical work to prep and cook and the emotional work to be willing to change bad habits and reset your life – to be successful at Whole30. It also may not be right for individuals with past histories of eating disorders. So, yes, I think most people could benefit from a Whole30 and at the very least, everyone should check it out at www.whole30.com to learn more and decide if it’s a good fit for them!
H: Great feedback Thank you so much Judith! It was great chatting today. Best of luck with your September Whole30 round!
J: Thank you so much for having me!