My Whole30 | Recap & Results

Hi! Today's post is going to be a little different from what I normally do on this blog, but I was requested to share this info with you guys so I will :)

From April 28-May 27 (yesterday) I did the #Whole30 challenge. If you've never heard of this diet (which is so immensely popular now you probably have somewhere at least), it's a detoxifying month-long program to retrain your brain to think in a "healthy foods" manner. It cuts out any form (including additives) of sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol, tobacco, MSGs, carageenan, sulfites, and legumes.

The main reason I wanted to go on this diet was to retrain my brain. For a long time now I've been eating in an unhealthy way -- emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Though of course I couldn't see every effect my eating habits had, I'm pretty sure it led to more mental issues than I would have had otherwise -- low self-confidence, low self-esteem, depression, OCD, anxiety, mood swings, you name it. You'd be surprised how much food affects your mental state. 

So on Tuesday, April 28, I started this with my mom and my friend Rebekah (my mom mainly did it as my moral support, while Bekah was my personal "Whole30 hotline" [she'd done it before], moral support, and accountability partner). I cannot emphasize this enough: I could not have stuck with this diet if not for these two people. It's not so much that it's "just that hard" as it is that when everyone in your house (or in your life) gets to eat foods you want, it's more likely for you to cave in and eat those foods too. 

What did I eat? Ermmmm . . . a lot of things. And yet not very much, at the same time. Let me get this straight: You are allowed to eat loads on this diet (a palm-size of complete protein [meat or eggs] -- at least; as many vegetables as you want; and quite a bit of fat [one avocado, a handful of nuts, or two tablespoons of compliant oil -- all that in one meal). In fact, my "I'm hungry" hormone, ghrelin, was so happy during this diet that I was able to go 7 to 9 hours without eating -- and hardly be hungry at all! (I will freely admit, because I want to be fairly objective in this post, that in the first couple days I was STARVING by dinnertime. Like I had never been so ravenous in my LIFE before.) My favorite meal hands-down is one Aidell's sausage (the chicken and apple kind are the only flavor compliant with Whole30 -- read your labels!) with one big sweet potato that's been cut into big coins and roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil. I had salads sometimes, but they never tasted very good and always stuffed my poor stomach (and my appetite . . . sheesh), so I didn't have them too often.

What about going out to eat? I allowed myself to go to Subway multiple times during the thirty days (particularly between math and guitar classes on Thursday nights) because food prep is a beast, and their salads are usually compliant. For sauce, get the olive oil and vinegar, and for meat, I'd recommend the chicken. Why not the others? Tuna usually contains soy (a legume), while the spicy Italian (pepperoni and salami) likely has parmesan cheese and/or nonfat dry milk. (I learned this the hard way -- Bekah was fine with eating the spicy Italian so I figured it was okay. I found out at Fred Meyer that the salami probably had dairy in it.)

Another major problem I know lots of people have is coffee, which on this diet you're forced to drink black or with coconut milk. (I had coffee homemade a couple times and put cashew milk in -- I couldn't find a coconut milk at Fred Meyer without added sugar.) If you go out to buy coffee, you pretty much have to buy it black. I bought an iced Americano with coconut milk at Starbucks twice, and asked both times (like a dutiful little Whole30'er), "That doesn't have any sugar in it, right?" The barista the first time phrased his reply in such a way to make me think the only sugar was that which is naturally found in a coconut, while I learned the second time that there is added sugar in the coconut milk -- ! I gave that coffee away, haha. The only other time I've bought coffee I just got it plain iced with water. It was good.
I'm trying to condense this information but it's SO hard. Gah.

So yep, I did make some mistakes on the diet but they were all on accident so no big deal. I have to say that if you consciously choose to eat a doughnut, you should probably start the diet over. If you accidentally eat added sugar or dairy or whatever, don't sweat it. Try a little harder next time to read the label or ask questions (I don't think asking tons of questions at restaurants is needed, though).

What were my results? Well, let me start with one huge drawback of the program for me. The last half of it, or fifteen-ish days, I felt lethargic, exhausted, or just plain ordinary. You might think "ordinary" is okay, but this is the time of the Whole30 when I'm supposed to have boundless energy! Come on, people! I had more energy during the second week than in the last two. That doesn't make sense to me, unless I was deficient in something (B vitamins, maybe?). 

A second negative result is I still have trouble falling asleep and sometimes don't sleep as long as I wish I could. My third complaint is my skin still isn't as clear as I think it should be, while my fourth is that, unlike other people, I did not drink nearly enough water on this diet. I frequently only had like 6-8 cups a day, and my goal is more like 12.

So, positive results . . . I'm more self-confident. I've learned I have plenty of willpower to say "no" to the foods I want but am not supposed to have (I still want candy bars, milkshakes, and all that stuff even at the end of thirty days, by the way -- hopefully going longer without them will allow me to keep breaking my addiction to sugar). My clothes fit more comfortably, more flatteringly, and more loosely now. Throughout the first week or so I did feel remarkably better -- no more grouchiness after Day 5, yay (well that's not exactly true but -- it was an improvement at least!)! I'm thinner now. I have clearer skin than I did before. My nails grow longer without breaking off (though to tell the truth they still look HORRIBLE at that length). I'm not hungry all the time! All those were major blessings.

I know you really only read this post for the change in body composition, so here you are: I lost 2.25 inches off my waist in 30 days, probably the equivalent of a dress size (though I'm kind of between sizes right now), and, though I hadn't weighed myself for a long while before the Whole30, I figure I lost somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds. (I did weigh myself this morning though and plan to continue to once every week.)

So . . . what now? Unlike many people who go on the Whole30, I will not become a Paleolithic eater or a "Whole30'er for life." I do plan to return to "normal foods," but I want to stay away from as much sugar and added sugar as possible (except fruit juice concentrate, stevia, truvia, erythritol, or xylitol -- those ones are okay sweeteners), as well as "fake" ingredients like GMOs, MSGs, etc. (There's the "big bad" list in Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism, and I want to be on the lookout for those crappy ingredients in the food I eat.) I like the meal template (three times a day) on the Whole30, and I still plan to combine good fats, complete protein, and vegetables with every meal for maximum health and satiety. 

What are your thoughts on the Whole30?


  1. Hey, great job on your success! You have a lot of will power! I am doing a diet right now that is not a new fad, and it has changed my life and so many others around me. You change the whole way you eat, and you can eat a lot of the same healthy foods, you just have to pair them right. It is called Trim Healthy Mama. Anyways, go you!!! So excited that you always found a way. Sooo funny about the Starbucks! I didn't know that they could put coconut in your drinks. Interesting. Well have a good day, Hannah!!

    1. Thanks, Rebekah! I have heard plenty about THM and I'm glad it's worked for you, but I know from experience it would be way too complicated for me to constantly be thinking about combining the right foods. I also don't think that's the only way to health or weight loss; as far as I remember their main argument is balancing your blood sugar (am I right? you know more than I do!), which the Whole30 does exceptionally well.

      The Whole30 is similar -- it retrains your brain to stop thinking in terms of junk food. It's been around for several years now (2009, I think), and though I've been skeptical of its premise for the past couple years, it really does work well. Still, as I said, I do not plan to be a "Whole30'er for life," rather just to take the healthy principles I got from this diet and apply them to regular, clean, whole foods.

      Thank you so much for commenting, Rebekah! Health and fitness is one of my favorite subjects :)

    2. Yes I totally understand!! THM is more about not eating fats with carbs, so that your body only burns one fuel and doesn't store the other :-) blood sugar does have something to do with it, but it is more of an, "oh yeah, by eating this way your blood sugar won't spike!" I too love to talk of health and fitness! Even tho I am just 16, I still want to be healthy and fit. I just tell everyone that I am getting a head start at being healthy, instead of having to go all out on a diet to get me body back in shape when I am older. Well, nice talking with you, Hannah!

    3. Oh, okay :) And haha, I think it's important to be aware of health at any age so you being ahead of the game at 16 is good, I'm sure. I'm glad you've found something that works and you feel good on -- that's the most important thing. And this is a random observation, but isn't it weird how different diets help different people? I could never be a vegan and nor do I really advocate it for other people, but I've heard that some people feel awesome on it, so I guess it works well for them.

    4. I know it's crazy!

  2. Congrats! Good for you sticking with this program. :)

    1. Awww, thanks, Rissi! It means a lot to have the encouragement of fellow bloggers :)

  3. Congratulations, girlie!! It's a huge accomplishment, and takes a tremendous amount of will-power and dedication. You're awesome. ;)


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