Week 1 of My “Whole 30”

The first time I heard of Whole 30, I thought “these people are nuts.”

For those unfamiliar: it’s a challenge/elimination diet — 30 days of no gluten/grains/dairy/added sugar/legumes/booze/fun. (Longer explanation here.) After the 30 days, you add one those items back in slowly to see how they affect you. The idea is that the elimination allows your body to heal from any inflammation/damage that these so-called inflammatory foods have caused.

But why would I do that? Well, in short, moderation hasn’t been working out so well for me the past few years. I’ve inched further and further away from the really healthy diet I once had. I’d like to think I was still eating more healthy than not, but there were a whole lot more “treats” and wine than is really healthy.

I’ve long had digestive issues that are exacerbated by stress (and hi, stressful time in my life right now) and diet, and I tried going gluten-free two years ago and felt much better…but didn’t keep it up. I knew strictly giving up dairy would also make me feel better, as I’m kind of lactose intolerant? sensitive? (I save exceptions for cheese because cheese > yogurt, duh.)

But to give up all of that AND wine and sugar? Yikes. Which is precisely why I thought it was worth a try. And…yeah, I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds right now.

Also, the book’s authors are pretty intense. One section says “Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard.” If my mom can handle chemo like a champ, I can give up some of the crap I eat. (That line was what really convinced me to finally try it.)

I’m finishing my seventh day! How’s it going so far? I’ll share the positives and the negatives with you. I will be 100% transparent that I guess I’m not doing a “true” Whole 30 because there’s two cocktail parties this month I’ve identified as exceptions for me. Could I make it through them without wine or hors d’ouevres? Sure. Do I want to? Not really.


  • I know you’re not supposed to weigh yourself on this, but I have already lost 5 pounds. Likely all water weight, but hey.
  • My clothes are already feeling better.
  • I can see more of my muscle definition and less fluff.
  • My stomach has largely been happy.
  • I am sleeping like a baby.
  • And saving SO MUCH MONEY.
  • No hangovers.
  • Meal prepping like a champ. I used to cook so much more but got seriously out of that habit. I’m baaaack.
  • I’m already learning so much about my attitudes towards food/booze and using them as crutches. Bored? Wine. Want something sweet? Go for those chocolate chips in your fridge that you always “buy for cookies” but never actually make. There’s been multiple times already when I’ve gone to go for an easy snack and when I realized I could only eat fruit/veggies/protein decided not to. I wasn’t actually hungry, I just wanted something because I was bored.
  • Making myself find alternate methods of weekend fun other than going to bars and restaurants with friends at night. Friday night, Meg — who’s doing something similar, the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse — and I went to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway the other night for about the same or maybe less than we would have spent going out for dinner and drinks that night.

It’s not all good though.


  • I’m spending a LOT on food.
  • This meal prep business takes a long time, and it makes things much more difficult if you don’t do it.
  • It’s difficult to go out. I’ve so far used this as a great excuse to lay low, but I don’t want to be a recluse all month.
  • My energy levels are like a yo-yo. I’ve woken up foggy, feel better after I have my coffee and then sometimes have a distinct crash later on.
  • I go from completely full to hangry with seemingly no warning (mostly between breakfast and lunch.)
  • I’ve had some terrible headaches. To be honest, this probably isn’t entirely to do with Whole 30 since they started as soon as we found out about my mom, but it’s worth mentioning they’ve gotten a little worse this year. Maybe a coincidence?

Have you done a Whole 30? Would you? Is there anything else you want to know?

27 comments on “Week 1 of My “Whole 30”

  1. Pingback: Week 1 of My “Whole 30″

  2. Mary

    I’ve been really thinking about doing it! After several months of really awful eating, I feel and look preggers (and I’m definitely not.).

    I think the hardest part for me would be the no cheese. I don’t drink alcohol so I don’t mind that, and carbs would probably be hard but is be okay…. But cheese?!? Cmon. (Although I bet I would seriously feel SO much better if I even just ate half the amount I usually eat Haahha)

  3. Jenn

    Thanks for recapping your experience as I have been thinking about doing the Whole30 and love hearing how it has worked for others. My biggest question relates to workouts. Are you doing them and how do you feel? I do Orangetheory 4-5 times a week and last time I tried a low-carb diet I had no energy during my workouts. Would love to hear how it is working for you! Thanks!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      That’s what I meant to address! So…no. I have definitely had a hard time working out to my normal intensity, which can def be pretty high intensity. I’m trying to be sure to have the nutrient-dense carby veggies like sweet potatoes, but my brain is still confused. I’m also using this as a time to dial back on my workouts a bit.

  4. Naomi Nakamura

    I did Whole 30 a few years ago. I felt great and really learned a lot about myself – not just physically but also got more in tune with my habits. I haven’t followed it “to a T” since because I have individual needs I have to address that the program doesn’t, but have used it as a framework since. It’s tough the first few weeks but I think a worthwhile experience.

  5. Kristin

    I did Whole 30 last year and liked it, but it was a lot of work. And it was really hard with my boyfriend, who accepted the no sugar, etc, but couldn’t understand no legumes. (“But beans are good for you!” “Yes, I know. No legumes. Just for 30 days.”) In order to fuel for running, I strategically took advantage of permissible carbs, particularly sweet and white potatoes, bananas, dates, and Larabars. Right now I’m doing a sort of Whole 30 light, omitting sugar, but also avoiding most of the other unpermitted foods, most of the time. I am thinking of trying a month all-in in February, although perhaps with an exception for beans. 🙂

  6. Alison

    Thanks for the great information. I too have eliminated many things from my diet such as gluten, sugar, legumes and grains to lose weight and improve my psoriasis. It has worked but I like the concept of slowly adding back to see which ones were having a bad affect on me. Will definitely try this, thanks.

  7. Susan

    This post really resonated with me! I am on Day 5. I decided to do it for many of the same reasons- “moderation” is turning into more wine and treats than it should, along with a few other issues that I am hoping this will help me figure out. I am celebrating my birthday next weekend, and while I know that, yes, I can just drink sparkling water all night, I don’t actually want to. I had planned on making that an exception for alcohol so in that sense I am not doing a “true” whole 30 either. So far I am feeling pretty good but I feel like living abroad makes this more complicated in some ways (I live in Spain). There is a lot less processed food here in general it seems, but finding compliant turkey sausage/deli meat/coconut milk is a bust so far. Really looking forward to your posts about this for inspiration!

  8. Laura

    Do you think it’s possible to do Whole 30 while primarily eating at restaurants (and not having control over which restaurant you go to)? That is what’s always kept me away, since I eat out 12-15 meals a week and the restaurants are often chosen by my colleagues.

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      I tried responding on my phone and it didn’t go through… honestly I don’t think so. I don’t feel like you ever get down to exactly every ingredient in everything much less how it’s prepared. I am def still eating out occasionally but am cognizant that those are probably the times I’m not 100% compliant.

  9. Cindy

    I’ve done the Whole30 twice and I’m amazed by how much I learn about my body and my habits. You’re right about the work. You HAVE to plan ahead and prep even when you don’t want to, which my husband heard me whine about more than once. But I suppose that’s another great lesson in how doing the “right” thing pays off, even when it isn’t fun at the time.

    Keep at it! It’s empowering to see it through to the end.

  10. Lauri Doody

    I am on Day 8 of this and literally felt like I could have written this post! I am horrible with moderation. It’s 0 cookies or 10 for me! I NEVER in a million years thought I could do this. Now I feel like I got it!

    I especially relate to the below –

    “Go for those chocolate chips in your fridge that you always “buy for cookies” but never actually make. There’s been multiple times already when I’ve gone to go for an easy snack and when I realized I could only eat fruit/veggies/protein decided not to. I wasn’t actually hungry, I just wanted something because I was bored.”

    I was the queen of a handful of white chocolate chips here and there. Last night I wanted a snack but realized I was bored and made peppermint tea instead. I also passed my first real challenge this weekend – wine/girls night. I survived and woke up Sunday feeling amazing compared to if I had indulged in wine and sweets. This is hard, yes. It takes time and $$ but I have branched out and forced myself to try new recipes!

  11. Tracy Schwartz

    January 2015 I saw a nutritionist for the 1st time after almost 20 years of gastro issues that went undiagnosed. I was always told it was stress and or lactose intolerant. However after a month with the nutritionist everything started to change. He had me on the Whole30 and for about 8 months it worked. I felt better. My stomach wouldn’t constantly act up. If I went out with friends or family I chose the restaurant knowing I could make substitutions to the meals I would order. After 8 months I started to fall off it. I only started back last week and I already feel the same difference. I would say I am sticking to it 90%.

    Best of luck!

  12. Serenity

    Did this in 2015. found a dairy sensitivity (which I suspected) but that’s it. I was uncomfortable for about 1/2 year for dairy…..

  13. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    I’ve contemplated it but to be honest I already prep about 90% of my meals (maybe eat out 2-3 times a week, if that) and don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I have to be pretty clean with my diet bc of my Crohn’s but I could be leaner if I didn’t eat quite as much good for you food. I do track daily and I know I eat to more or less maintain where I am at. I am all for whatever it takes to recreate healthy habits and learning what works for your body though (I did WW years ago and I am around the same or lighter than I was then).

  14. Glen Snider

    My wife is Type 1 diabetic. She’s learned a lot about LCHF – Low Carb / High Fat. Kinda like Whole 30, but a bit different. Focuses on the impact that carbs and the resulting insulin has on our bodies.

  15. Olga

    I’m also doing whole30 and finding that it’s super expensive…I’m trying to buy organic/grass-fed meat as recommended and it’s really eye opening for me. Prior to whole30, I mostly ate vegetarian, using legumes as a protein source. So much cheaper/easier! However, my carnivore fiance is really happy that I’m learning how to cook more meat-based dishes 🙂

    I’m on day 10, and so far, I’ve noticed that my skin is clearer, have more energy, and definitely sleep better. I miss chickpeas, oatmeal, and ice cream though.

    Would you share some of the meals/recipes you’ve been having? I follow whole30recipes on Instagram, that’s pretty good but always interested in more.

  16. Lauren

    I did Whole 30 with my best friend over a year ago. I had horrific headaches at first, but I think it was the detox from caffeine, too, since I threw that in there, too. However, they stopped and I felt so much better, and my headaches (which are usually chronic) almost completely went away over the course of the program. (I extended the program to 60 days.) I would highly recommend the plan, despite its expense. I have not maintained it, although I have been toying with the idea of doing it again — dairy is so hard to eliminate for me. Good luck!

  17. Amanda Shapin

    I have done Whole30 twice and I LOVE IT. There are definitely highs and lows, but overall, I felt the best I ever did while doing it. I had good energy, zero bloat and just felt really healthy and happy. I lost about 8 pounds each time, eventually gaining it back but it did last for a while! The hardest part of Whole30 (for me) was balancing it with a social life. It was hard to go to parties and not partake in the drinking, but once really get into the program, you (almost) don’t want to drink because you are feeling SO good on the program. To stay social, I hosted friends for dinner so I could cook the food and ensure it was compliant (but still crowd-pleasing). The program, as you know, is very restrictive so while I wish I could keep up with the practice all the time, it’s totally unsustainable. That being said, there are a lot of aspects that I’ve been able to keep up with, and for that I think Whole30 is worth doing. One example, I used to be addicted to Splenda, always having it in my coffee, sometimes on fruit, in baking, etc. I gave it up during my first Whole30 and haven’t had a single packet since, it’s been a year!

    I hope you enjoy Whole30 and find it to be a positive experience! I posted a recap of my first round- you can check it out–http://shapinup.com/post/98888765211/whole30-finish-line-full-recap

    Good Luck & looking forward to hearing how it goes!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Oh yay! Thanks for sharing your recap, going to read it now.

      Now that I’m 9 days in (almost 1/3 of the way there!), I am feeling pretty good. I’ve lost a little weight and I definitely feel a lot less bloated and a lot less stomach issues, which is nice. It’s funny – I have a cocktail party on Saturday that I’d already carved out as one of my exceptions early on, and I will have a glass of wine or two but overall I’m not craving things as much and realizing how food can definitely be a crutch.

  18. Jenn

    I’d love to hear more specifics! (If you are willing) Like what are you eating on a daily basis, prepping, grocery lists etc. Whole 30 has been suggested to me a few times to help figure out some allergy/energy issues. I’ve done the research, but just can’t picture it in action.

  19. abby r

    i just wanted to say that you have an awesome blog. this post inspired me to try to eat more wholesome foods rather than junk that isn’t nearly has healthy or fulfilling. i am not doing a full out whole 30 but this week for lunch i made myself mexican rice bowls with ground beef, peppers, onion, corn and rice. who am i not eating a sandwich and chips? i just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration and sharing your world with readers.

  20. Jannelle

    Just cutting out sugar, grains and dairy alone is going to do wonders for your body. I don’t think you really need to worry about gluten unless you have an intolerance.

  21. Pingback: “Whole 30″: Week 2

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