Whole30 Wrap Up (Finally)

I understand I have faithful followers who are quite tired of my posts about Whole30. To you, I apologize. Truly. Please stick with me and I promise to be funny again very soon.

But for those of you who have continued to follow my journey (or started your own), thank you for your encouragement, support, and sharing your stories with me.


I didn’t start Whole30 to have content to blog about. My reasons were purely selfish. And I honestly didn’t know if I could stick with it for 30 days. It was going to be a test of my strength and willpower. First and foremost, I did it to heal my body and mind after my dad’s passing. But as I continued on the journey, it became so much more than that. It was a refuge, a distraction, a healthy obsession – and at the end of the 30 days, I felt better than I have in more than a decade. So this is for those of you (more than 10 now) who have joined me in Whole30 and the 10 others who are still considering it.

Thirty days can change your life. Your relationship with food. But you have to give it your all. Here’s what I found helpful.

  1. Follow the rules. Prior to starting Whole30, I would begin each Monday with a renewed commitment to my health: “Today is the day I am going to eat better/give up sugar/drink less wine/etc.” My intentions were good. And I usually did fine – for a day or two. But I always fell off the wagon. Whole30 was different. Having very specific and STRICT rules left no room for error. I kept reminding myself that it was a very short period of time. 30 days. And the results people had experienced (physically and emotionally) were unbelievable. I wanted to have similar results – and so I never wavered from the rules of the program. Even when I was taunted for drinking Kombucha instead of red wine.
  2. Find a friend. This program is not for the faint of heart. It will strongly test your mind and body. I would never have made it through the first week without my mom’s support. We shared recipes and headaches, vivid dreams about food and a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen. When it came down to it, we were doing this not only for ourselves but for each other. I knew there would be healing at the end of 30 days – I just didn’t realize how much.
  3. Publicly share your commitment to Whole30. I was ready to throw in the towel on Day 3. My friends still laugh that I commented: “I’m a tenth of the way done today.” It was that bad. Had I not shared with hundreds of people on my blog and Facebook page that I was taking the Whole30 plunge, it would have been so much easier to spend the Fourth of July lit up like a firework instead of sipping water and eating a bunless burger.
  4. Make preparations ahead of time. Pick a day to start the program and use the 2-3 days leading up to your start date to prepare. Shop for groceries. Write a weekly meal plan. Make paleo mayonnaise and dips and dressings. Roast a chicken. Make an egg casserole. Fry bacon and save the drippings for future use.
  5. Seek online support. I had a LOT of questions as I maneuvered my way through the first couple weeks. Can I use a curry with rice bran oil? (No.) Can I have LaCroix Sparkling Water? (Yes.) How much fruit can I eat? (Approximately 2 servings a day). The Whole30 Forums were an excellent source of information and support. I spent a lot of time reading websites for recipes and inspiration (Nom Nom Paleo, The Paleo Mom, and Nerd Fitness are a few of my favorites).
  6. Take Before and After photos. Though the changes happen over a very short period of time, they are still gradual. I lost 7 pounds over the course of 30 days, but nothing is better than pictures to show the real results. I have worked out regularly for the past 20 years and have NEVER been able to see my ab muscles until now. At the age of 39. It validates that 80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat and only 20% is determined by exercise.Whole30BeforeAfter
  7. Don’t look at this as a weight loss program. While the changes to my body have been exciting, the emotional changes have been even better. My PMS symptoms that have plagued me since a teenager have literally disappeared. I sleep 7 hours a night and wake up without an alarm clock fully rested. I haven’t taken one pain reliever or sleeping pill or laxative (TMI, sorry) since starting the program June 30. I have a ridiculous amount of energy and clarity that has left my husband scratching his head. Whole30 is healing – and better than any medicine you could ever try.
  8. Stop waiting for the perfect time to start. There is always going to be a wedding. Or a weekend get-away. Or a holiday. While 30 days is a short period of time, it’s hard to go a full month without any excuse to binge on food and drink. So just bite the bullet. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be reaping the benefits.
  9. Use it as an opportunity to try new things. Cashew butter, kombucha, coconut flour, almond meal – several things I had never tried, are now daily staples in my diet. I have found 101 ways to make sweet potatoes. And I feel like I’m missing my cell phone if I don’t have vegetables with breakfast.
  10. Believe in yourself. Believe in your strength. Believe in your worthiness. There will be times when you question why you are “torturing” yourself for no good reason. When you believe a giant gelato or a buttery croissant will make everything better. There will be times when you long to grab something out of the pantry without putting 30 minutes of effort into planning/preparing/cooking your next meal. Don’t. Because your health is worth 30 days of investment.

That’s it.  I’m stepping down from my soapbox and will stop preaching about the total awesomeness of Whole30.  But should you decide to do it, let me know.  I will be your biggest cheerleader and behind you all the way!

36 thoughts on “Whole30 Wrap Up (Finally)

  1. You’ve definitely piqued my interest. It will be a while before I’m completely in charge of what I eat- we’re staying with family on and off for at least the next month and a half- but once I’m the sole person in charge of meals again Jeremy and I want to take on the challenge. I’ve Googled and found some french blogs about doing whole 30 in france so surely it’s possible.

    • I could see how living in Europe could pose challenges considering how much I loved starting my days with fresh cheese and croissants while traveling there. But when you are in charge of cooking your own meals, it’s definitely feasible. And remember, it’s very temporary. It’s not “farewell” to these foods – it’s simply “until next month.” Let me know when/if you begin the program.

    • I really love this wrap up, for someone about to start you have made soo many great points. I to found the the strict nature of the plan almost better than other half arse attempts at cutting out sugar/carbs/wine. Making an announcement to your friends and family is such great advise, it makes you more accountable stops people thinking you are preggers when you decline a white wine, also I found that if I explained it was for health reasons rather than weight loss people are sooo much more supportive, if I mention weight loss it seems like a challenge for people to make me eat chips but if you mention health people are loving and supportive.
      Thanks x

  2. I was just now telling my sister-in-law about Whole 30 and trying to explain it to her. Your testimony is a perfect example of what I was telling her! I myself am on day 14 and have not felt this good in years!

    • Congratulations on making it halfway! You’re through the most difficult part of the program and it will be (mostly) smooth sailing from here on out. Keep up the good work and imagine the goodness the next 16 days will bring.

    • Hard to believe, but my workouts didn’t change over the course of the 30 days. I typically workout 4-5 times a week and focus on High Intensity Interval Training that includes weights 2-3 times a week. The other 1-2 times a week I run, walk the hills of the neighborhood, and/or do Power Yoga.

    • hello my name is lateef am a teacincihn i can repair tv dvd car stereo lcd platsma tv micro wave e.t.c i have 10 yrs experience i can permanent my self if i can be employ to canada i can work harder i realy need the job

    • I HATE … I mean I LOVE to use a foam roller! I need it on my calves and hammies. But, it definitely “hurts so good.” Fav sweat? I sweat a ton when I run, but I actually love to sweat on the gauntlet machine (the running escalator machine at the Y).

  3. You have so eloquently put what I try to explain to others that the Whole30 program has done for me. My husband and I are starting our second Whole30 this week and I am actually very much looking forward to it. There is no denying the program is hard but what it is so worth it. Thank you for sharing!

    • I appreciate your comment so much! I’ve found myself wanting to shout from the rooftops how incredible the program is. The best of luck to you in your second round of Whole30! I’d love to hear the additional benefits you reap in this next go-round.

  4. Your transformation is incredible! I did a “Whole25” in May of 2013 right before graduating college. I hadn’t read “It Starts With Food” yet and committed to the 25 days between May 1st and my graduation party. Even without the full program, I lost 12 lbs, had more energy, was sleeping better, etc.

    I recently went through several big life changes and have been wanting to give Whole30 a try “for real” this time, complete with the reintroduction of food at the end (and this time with more vegetables!). Thanks for the inspiration! I have a few big trips coming up and was planning on starting mine on September 22nd, the day I return home. Now I’m not sure I can wait that long. 🙂

    • Congratulations on completing 25 days of the program! I think the book offers really great advice regarding the best time to start Whole30. If these are big trips, it’s probably best to wait. You want to ensure you’re set up for success prior to starting the program. I wish you the best of luck beginning Sept. 22. It’s definitely worth the effort you put into it. Happy, safe travels!

  5. I am so glad I came across your post on the whole30 FB page today, because I desperately needed it! For various reasons, (leaky gut, sugar addiction, chronic inflammation) I KNOW that I need to do the whole30 to kick start my healing. However, I’ve started 3 times in the last month, and have quit about 3 days into it because I want sugar or some other forbidden food. I then beat myself up and feel like a failure. I so badly want to be healthy again, and I don’t want to be rules by food…..but I am. Ugh. Your whole30 story was so motivation, and I’d love to talk with you more about what helped you get through on the really hard days.
    Thank you for sharing your story

    • I’m so happy to know you found my post helpful. The first week is brutal. BRUTAL. A friend recently started and was ready to give up on Day 3. I had to remind her that her body is not use to being treated so well. My best advice is to take things one day at a time. If you focus on how many days you have left early into the program, it feels overwhelming and defeating. Consider each day a significant WIN. By Day 5, things will be easier. By Day 15, the program will be second nature – not to say there won’t be difficult minutes or hours – but the ability to walk away from off-limit foods will be less difficult. And you’ll start to crave all of the foods you CAN have. That was a pivotal point in the program for me. My dad passed away just over a month before I started the program and my emotional eating was out of control. I turned to food and alcohol for solace, but it never took away my grief. I truly believed that my health depended on my ability to take control of my life. Evaluate why it’s important for you to stick with it – and remind yourself each and every day that it will BETTER your life. Without question. I hope this helps! Please fee free to contact me anytime through my blog or Facebook page. I wish you the best of luck. You CAN do this!

  6. Way to go on completing the whole30! I’m on Day 11 of the August Whole30 challenge and pleasantly surprised so far. I have now acquired a taste for oced plain ol’ black coffee which tells me I did not need all those sugary sweetened coffees in the morning that I previously had to have. I haven’t experienced a “starving” hunger where my stomach is growling so much or feels like it wants to eat itself. And surprisingly on day 11, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything foodwise or feel guilty for not having one of the krispy kreme doughnuts someone brought into work today. Hoping this trend continues and that by the end of the reintroduction I’ll know which foods may contribute to my migraines.

    • Thank you! Congratulations on making it to Day 11 – over a third of the way there. You’ve got this. When I look back on the things I “fueled” my body with in the mornings prior to Whole30 (that I truly believed were healthy), it’s almost laughable. No wonder I was crashing at 2PM and always SO hungry. That “starving” hunger has been gone since Whole30. It’s wonderful to feel in control of eating and my life. May you continue to reap the amazing benefits of the program. Wishing you a happy and healthy 19 more days.

  7. Your post is just what I needed! Point 10 resonated with me the most. I am 39 and have a 14 month old baby. My hips/spine were effected by my pregnancy and for a year I haven’t exercised and my weight has ballooned. I started on August 1st and the same day I broke the rules and ate corn. Restart. Day 3 of the restart, I ate peanuts. Restart again. Both times it was a matter of just not reading “the rules”. So now I am on day 6 and 10 minutes ago, I wanted to go eat ice cream to ‘make it all better’. But I read your post and I didn’t. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was a great list and I am more motivated to keep doing this. My W30 log is titled, “I’ve Got This” and I know I do. Thanks again for your post and my condolences to you and your mom on the passing of your dad. x

    • Hello! Thank you for your post and condolences. It thrills me to know that it was influential in keeping you on track – even if a tiny bit. Online support was so important for me during the program. I scoured the Whole30 Facebook and Twitter feeds each day. I LOVE this blogger who finished her third Whole30 in July. Her writing and journey helped keep me motivated: http://www.maydae.com/. The cravings will get easier. For me, it took some time. Drink water or kombucha or go for a walk whenever you feel overwhelmed or tempted to eat an off-limits food. You are worth this – and you will feel amazingly better once the 30 days are done. Hang in there! Please feel free to contact me via the blog or my Facebook page any time.

  8. I’m starting TODAY. Halfway through the day and so far, so good. I did something similar a couple years ago, though it was also calorie restrictive, and lost a lot of weight. That was fine and good, but what really amazed me was how good i felt; lean, energetic, PAIN FREE in my crabby knees. No brain fog, no mid-afternoon drowsiness after suffering through sleepless nights. I was at a lower weight than I’d seen since high school. But eventually all the old habits came creeping back, and I’ve spent the past 6 months telling myself it’s time, but not really committing. As a result, I feel bloated, cranky, sore, and am back to having insomnia issues. Unfortunately, though I don’t weigh myself anymore, i can tell I’ve gained back anywhere from 15-20 lbs, and I’m opting for my looser clothing more than ever.

    So, it’s time. Paleo is great for me, but I find myself eating too many of the treat-type foods (If you are what you eat, I am most definitely an almond. lol) and that’s lead to venturing way further off track than I ever thought I would. This is my come-to-jesus moment, and I KNOW it’s going to be a hard 30 days, but my body will thank me. Looking for blogs like this to keep me motivated 🙂

    • Congratulations on Day 1! Good for you for recognizing the need for change. To get back on track. To feel better. To be the genuine you. My mom has been on Weight Watchers on and off for years. After some coercing, she agreed to do Whole30 with me. Within the month, she was down to her goal weight. She didn’t count one single calorie over the 30 days and has continued to lose – without being hungry. I truly believe Whole30 is different. I look at food differently since doing the program. I know there are things that will help sustain me and fuel my body – and I realize there are things that will make me feel blah 10 minutes after eating them. But the cravings are gone and my desire to feel well outweighs any satisfaction that can come from eating a sweet treat. The first week is the most difficult. Stick with it. Realize your strength. And know your mind, body, and soul will be refreshed at the end of the month. You CAN do this! The best of luck to you.

  9. Thank you for your post. I’m so pleased I found it. I have started the whole30 today. I’m super excited to get my body feeling normal again. I’m not sick or ill, it just doesn’t feel healthy iykwim. Good to know day 3 is hard. That will help push through it. I’m going to go back and read all your whole30 posts now 🙂

    I have 30 post it notes on my wall, with the numbers 1-30 on them. Throwing one in the bin each day and watching the countdown will really help, I hope 😀

    • Congratulations on starting Whole30! I love the post it note countdown – what a great idea. I was in the same boat. I didn’t think I had any of the inflammatory issues mentioned in the book, but I knew my eating and drinking habits could be healthier. I didn’t realize how awful I was feeling day-to-day until finishing this program. It is amazing how much of an impact the foods we eat have on our overall health and well-being. I wish you the best of luck. The first week is the most difficult. Count each day as a WIN and stay focused on the end result.

  10. Hi! Great post! I have tried whole 30 in the past with good results but I found the farther I got away from the 30 days the more I went back to chocolate, martinis and ice cream with the thought you only live once! I eat almond butter instead of peanut butter now, I drink sparkling water instead of coke and I rarely eat bread but I love sugar! How do you plan to not fall off the wagon so to speak?

    • Thank you! Old habits die hard. I’m sure it’s easy to slip back into familiar ways. As a matter of fact, a chocolate martini with ice cream (might as well combine all of your favorites in one glass) doesn’t sound half bad right now. 😉 I will undoubtedly fall off the wagon. My hope is that I will get back up, dust off my bloomers, and quickly get back on track. I know many people have done two and three rounds of Whole30 to stay focused. For me, feeling good is reason enough to continue with the program. It sounds like the changes you have made resulting from Whole30 have been positive. Congrats to you! And you’re right – we only live once. If eating sugar makes you happy, then more power to you. 😉

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  11. enjoyed reading your blog and replies. my daughter and I finished our whole 30 june 30. we both did good. I got off my diabetes med and nexium. I haven’t really “re-entered” normal life. once in awhile I will have a bun but for the most part sticking to plan. although paleo ice cream is GREAT. maple sugar is the only sugar I am eating. LOVE not running to the bathroom after eating……… bloated stomach is gone too. this is a “change of life” NOT a diet. keep up the good work. condolences on your dad.

    • CONGRATULATIONS! I continue to be amazed by how HEALING the program is. You are living proof that if you give it your all, it can change your life. My mom and I are hesitant to re-enter “normal” life as well. We continue to share recipes and pep talks and the powerful results of Whole30. May you have continued success on your journey! And thanks for the condolences on my dad. He is greatly missed.

  12. Oh girl – I am proud of you. I want to do it, at the same time, I don’t’ want to make the commitment. I’m week! Five year ago I did the 21 day “Clean Cleanse” and had results similar to what you described. I have started it many times since then and failed to maintain. After forty the will power is gone:(> How do you feel off of it?

    • ALLIE! Hello, friend. I haven’t really gone “off” of it. I’ve had wine. And a small amount of cheese (once). But overall, I don’t see any reason to bring back any of the foods I had eliminated on Whole30. The exception is eating out because I have yet to find a mainstream restaurant where I can avoid dairy, sugar, legumes, and grains all in one meal. My mom and I are both committed to transitioning to the Paleo lifestyle and I think we can do it – with a few minor slip ups here and there (mainly wine). 😉 I wholly believe you can do it if you put your mind to it. You are amazingly strong and deserving of a commitment to yourself should you decide to take on the challenge. Love and hugs, my blogging friend!

      • Since I've been writing I find it almost impossible to read a book without analysing the structure, criticising the plot weaknesses etc. And yes I do sometimes end by thinking 'Well, if they can get published . . !'But reading books which are wefcalr-lted is not only a treat, but also provides me with inspiration for my own writing. Which is why, I imagine, the advice for writers is always to read as well as write.

  13. I’m signing up! A year-a-half ago I was so happy with myself when I agonizingly slowly lost 15 lbs with Weight Watchers – great program, but it does go more slowly. And, slowly I’ve put 10 of it back on :(. So I’ve been trying to decide what eating plan to go on to re-lose that weight. lo and behold my best friend Leigh found it for me! I’m newly child-free – and a little sad / without direction / and have a lot of time – since youngsters are now all in school. I also have health issues that could greatly benefit from eating better.

    PERFECT TIMING for a kick start to better health! My start date is Monday 8/16/14. Can’t wait to feel better AND look better – YAY!!!

    • LORI! I am so proud of you for doing this! I was just texting with my friend in Phoenix last night who is on Day 24. She has lost 7 pounds and feels amazing. I really think this will positively impact your health as well. I will be keeping in touch via text, but please let me know if there’s any information/recipes you need in the meantime for Monday’s start date. BUY THE BOOK – It Starts with Food. I referenced it many times throughout the 30 days – particularly the testimonies at the start of each chapter. They were great motivation to stay focused. Eating well can do amazing things to our bodies. You’re going to ROCK this. Love you, friend!

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