My Whole30 Experience: Answering Popular Questions 🥗

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My Whole 30 Experience: 5 Popular Questions Answered 

Happy Friday, everyone!

I wasn’t going to share this post with anyone. I was going to move on with my life, but after reading your kind comments about Whole30 on my recap post the other day, I felt excited about sharing my Whole30 journey with you all. This is the first of three posts I have planned. Today, I’m going to be answering five popular questions about my Whole30 experience. Next week, I’ll be sharing the day by day outline that I wrote each day along with what I ate. It’s so helpful to go back and look at what I was feeling each day and how I powered through. Your body goes through some pretty crazy changes when you cut out some problematic foods for 30 days. I will also be posting the Whole30 grocery list that I stuck to each week. I mentioned this in the post, but I ended up saving so much money on groceries during Whole30.

**I want to say this! This was my Whole30 experience, and I’m not here to tell you that I think you should try it. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes. I’m just here to share my experience, and please understand all of our bodies are different, so what I experienced may not be the same for you.**
DAY ONE WHOLE30, whole30 diet, whole30 plan, whole30 results, what whole30 did for me, my whole30 journey, 30 days of whole30 , what I ate

What is Whole30?

The first thing I want to set straight is that Whole30 is NOT a weight loss diet. Atleast for me, it wasn’t. Sure, some people do lose weight, but the diet wasn’t built for that purpose. Whole30 is a diet that consists of whole and unprocessed foods. For 30 days, you’ll be eliminating foods that the scientific literature has ruled to be the most common problem to our cravings (**cough** ADDED SUGAR), metabolism, digestive, and immune system. Things like meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, spices, and seeds are all acceptable during the 30 days. The Whole30 is meant to help you figure out which foods affect your energy, sleep, digestion, moods, cravings, focus, anxiety, self-confidence, chronic pain, fatigue, and so much more. The goal of Whole30 is to reset your body from these problematic foods and take you back to the “baseline.” Even after the 30 days, you have to be careful with adding the foods back into your diet slowly and taking notes on how you feel.

Read the Whole30 guidelines here! 

Things you cannot have while on Whole30 include: alcohol, dairy, added sugar (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol), legumes, grains, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or baked goods with compliant ingredients. So many paleo recipes use Whole30 compliant ingredients in their baked goods, but they must be avoided during Whole30 to help with cravings. This was one of the rules I didn’t LOVE but followed it 90% of the time. A couple of Friday nights, I wanted something chocolately, so I made the three-ingredient brownies, and I had no regrets. It helped me stick to the Whole30 by allowing myself that treat. I didn’t add any honey or anything that would take away from the purpose of what Whole30 was doing to my body. Now, if you’re doing Whole30 to help your relationship with food, then maybe the no baked goods rule is better for you. If you want to learn more on that, definitely check out the Whole30 guidelines and purposes.

Read more on what the Whole30 is here!

What made me decide to try out the Whole30?

Inflammation, bloating, swelling, and continuously getting stomach aches. What I had been battling behind the scenes has been unreal when it comes to inflammation and swelling. There have been many nights of just tears because I’ll wake up feeling great, and then by 1 pm, my face is round, my knees are inflamed, my stomach is swollen, and my entire body aches. I’ve gone to doctors, cut out dairy and gluten for years, and have tried many supplements. Nothing was working. It wasn’t normal for someone to go up two pant sizes within hours, but the doctors had no answer for me (I do have an appointment with a new allergist in a few weeks, which will hopefully help!)

I chose Whole30 to help me figure out if it was a food I was consuming that may have been causing me to feel this way. After reading many testimonials, I wanted to try it out myself. I was already eating a healthy diet, but most of the foods I was eating fell under the problematic foods on the Whole30 list. I was consuming legumes, hidden added sugars, sugar alcohols, gluten-free baked goods, rice, protein powders, oatmeal, grains, and “healthier” processed foods. I thought it would be worth a shot, and I was pretty excited to change things up for a while. What I loved about Whole30 was that it was simple. You could memorize the list of things you’re allowed to have within minutes, which made grocery shopping and meal planning easy. I’m the type of person that does not like to have too many options, so this was my style of diet. I was so motivated and inspired to try it out after reading up on it.

DAY ONE WHOLE30, whole30 diet, whole30 plan, whole30 results, what whole30 did for me, my whole30 journey, 30 days of whole30 , what I ate

What were some of the ups and downs of Whole30

I thought Whole30 was going to be much harder. I thought I was going to miss my morning oats, my protein shakes, and my nightly ice cream treats. Of course, I did have times where I was craving something, but I went for a banana or a handful of nuts instead. And it magically worked. I think learning how to push past the sugary cravings and go for something more nourishing was an up for me. I learned that even though I ate healthily, I had a sugar problem. I depended on my sugary treat each night, even if it was sugar that came from honey or monk fruit. It was a habit that I was so excited to break. I never thought Whole30 would make me even more intuitive, but it did.

Some of the downs were that eating at restaurants was harder, and I avoided it at all costs. Restaurants use a lot of sugar to make things taste better, and there is no sugar allowed since it’s a reset. If you consumed sugar, you had to start at day one again. So figuring out how to navigate restaurants was tricky. Chipotle does make Whole30 approved bowls, which was a nice treat.

Whole30 taught me that cooking at home is so much better, and I took the time to eat meals and not graze throughout the day. It gave me a better pattern for eating, and I took the time to cut up veggies, prepare food in advance, and to put less thought into my meals. I mentioned this before, but the simplicity of this diet is what made it so easy. I knew that my meals would consist of protein and vegetables. My grocery shopping was so much easier because I stuck to three sections. I was also shocked by how much LESS I spent on groceries. Buying seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables is much cheaper, and I found myself using up everything in the house rather than letting produce go to waste. My produce consumption skyrocketed compared to before. I was eating piles of vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I mentioned this before, but the no baked goods rule was a bummer for those 30 days, but it did help with training my brain to eat food rather than focus on what I’m craving.

What results did you get from Whole30?

I know this question is a popular one. Let’s talk results!

Everyone wants a magical quick fix, and even though I had terrific results, I didn’t get the magical fix. I gained a lot of knowledge about my body, food habits, and ways I can treat it better. The most significant result I got was fixing my inflammation and bloating. It’s unreal that I can look in the mirror and finally see a flat stomach. This made me realize that one of those foods was 100% problematic for me, but now it’s up to me to determine WHICH food it was. I had blood tests done before Whole30 and after Whole30, which surprisingly remained almost identical. I had the doctor weigh me before and after so she could see if I lost any weight because I knew that would be a huge question. When I have the doctor weigh me, I don’t let her tell me the number, but I do let her tell me if I’m up to or down. I ended up losing 4.1 pounds at the end of Whole30. I’ve been the same weight for about two years now, so it did cause a bit of weight loss. I didn’t count calories or work out a ton while I was on Whole30, and if anything, I was eating way more than normal. I will share my before and after photos in the day by day post so you can see the difference in my inflammation and bloating.

I learned that added sugar was a problem for me, and now I’m depending on fruits and nuts to curb my cravings. I now do not crave desserts or other sugary treats, which is great. I also pay more attention to ingredients with added sugar and try to find options without any added sugar. I also learned that it is possible to eat foods without ketchup 😆. I’m keeping the no-ketchup rule for life now (let’s see how long this one lasts.)

I slept better. I’d be in bed at 9 pm and up by 6 am, and hardly ever craving that afternoon coffee. My joints were a lot less sore during my runs, and I had so much more energy during the day. I was notorious for hitting that afternoon slump and feeling anxious, but I don’t think I had one episode of anxiety while being on Whole30, which just proved that those foods were affecting my moods.

Skin? The first two weeks my skin was pretty bad. I think this had to do with me introducing eggs back into my diet. I avoided eggs for a long time and ate oatmeal or protein shakes for breakfast instead. After day fifteen, my face cleared up, and it has been clear ever since. I didn’t even get the pre-period acne. Another thing I noticed is my eczema on my legs that I get nearly disappeared. Oh, and my dark circles under my eyes decreased by 75%. I think a lot of that has to do with my iron level increase.

Oh, let’s talk period. I was secretly hoping this would help me with my period cramps, but my cramps were actually way worse during Whole30. I don’t think my cramp pain can be helped with foods because it’s an endometriosis problem, but I still thought I’d give it a shot.

Would you do another round of Whole30?

100% yes. Right now, I’m eating 80% Whole30 because I loved the format of the diet. I’m continuing my morning eggs, giant lunch salads, and protein with veggies for dinner. I am adding honey and paleo-style baked goods back into my life, but I do LOVE the Whole30 foods and I feel like they make my body feel the best. I would love to do another round in Mid September or October. This time, I’ll for sure do it publicly. And if you’re interested in following along with me, let me know in the comments, and I can set up a Whole30 challenge for those wanting to join!
DAY ONE WHOLE30, whole30 diet, whole30 plan, whole30 results, what whole30 did for me, my whole30 journey, 30 days of whole30 , what I ate
I’m excited to share more about the experience, and answer any questions you have! I’d also love to hear all about your Whole30 experience if you’ve ever tried it. xo


Questions for you!

  1. Have you ever tried Whole30?
  2. What are your questions for me?

 

Comments

  • Allyson

    Just to provide a different perspective on Whole 30, I tried it and it was horrible for me. I made it through 90% of the round before I gave up because I was so miserable! I gained weight, my skin broke out so horribly it took months to subside, and I was exhausted and irritable the entire time. I kept waiting for the initial “detox” symptoms to go away but they just never did. When I went back to my normal diet, I immediately felt much better. It’s definitely something that will impact everyone differently – just wanted to provide the other side of the experience in case this happens to any of your blog readers!

    Reply to Allyson
  • Jenny

    Tara, would you consider posting about the acceptable foods and some meal plan ideas that you used or would recommend in advance of the challenge? It would be a big change to go from processed foods here to whole 30 and its confusing with all the diets out there (paleo, whole 30, etc) to know what people buy and eat on this. Any guidance welcome if you decide to do this one publicly.

    Reply to Jenny
  • Lisa

    Hey Taralynn,

    I would be very interested in doing a Whole30 challenge. My body definitely is in need of something like this. Keep me posted 🙂

    Reply to Lisa
  • Brittany Martin

    I did Whole30 in January 2018 and it was best jumpstart to my weightloss! I lost 40 lbs in 2018, and then I got pregnant in November. Now that I have him, I would LOVE to do another round to jumpstart to lose baby weight 🙂

    Reply to Brittany Martin
  • Nickie

    I indirectly did “whole 30” while I was doing the “Medical Medium 28 day cleanse” and I felt AMAZING while doing it. The MM 28 day cleanse is basically raw fruits & vegetables for 28 days… I added a cooked protein meal at night but the results were still great. He has a blog and podcast on “healing endometriosis” if you get to a point where you might want to read/listen to it. While I don’t have that, I have other things that I have dealt with over the years that I have learned so much about from his podcasts and books. His story is a little unconventional but I can’t argue with the results!

    Reply to Nickie
  • Emily

    There is an awesome brand called “Primal Kitchen” that makes Whole 30 (and paleo) compliant ketchup, salad dressings, marinades, and mayonnaise! Their ketchup is totally sugar free and it is so good I could drink it haha! 🙂 Thought you might like to know!

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      ommg ill have to try that. All the sugar-free ketchup I’ve had has been SO BAD! I didn’t like Primal Kitchen mayo, but I’ll try their ketchup!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kassie

    I’ve been thinking about trying whole 30 for a while now. I think a challenge/group would be what I need to push me!

    Reply to Kassie
  • Paige

    I’m so happy that you were able to experience results that made you feel so much better. I also deal with bloating & stomach pain almost constantly and I’m always looking for ways to make it better to live a happier & (mostly) pain-free life. I would be very interested in joining your next Whole30 experience! I do have a question if you’re up for answering it: I’ve been dealing with female problems for the past 8 years & my OB finally said this year that he believes that I do have endometriosis (which I’ve thought for a long time), but he didn’t want to perform the testing to be 100% sure because he didn’t want to put my body through it. He has been treating me for the condition in the only way possible at the present time. Did your doctor do something similar to this or is not being tested for the condition not normal?

    Reply to Paige
    • Taralynn McNitt

      After the cysts, the excruciating symptoms, multiple ultrasounds, and an MRI, my doctor diagnosed me. Getting the Laparoscopy is the final testing and hopefully solution, but it’s nothing something I’m ready to go through yet.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Dorothy

    I did whole30 a little over a year ago! I’d been considering doing another round, or at least going back to what I said I was going to keep from whole30 (my bad habits trickled back in) and this post definitely motivated me to get serious about it!

    Reply to Dorothy
  • Kelly

    Hi Taralynn!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I also have tried Whole30 in the past because I was also experiencing some of the problems your were. But it was a bit difficult because I am vegetarian and struggled to find ways to get enough protein without legumes. But I’d like to try it again and challenge myself to find more plant based protein options. I would totally join you if you started a Whole30 challenge!

    Kelly

    Reply to Kelly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yeah, I’m sure it would be hard to do this as a vegetarian for sure! But eggs, sweet potatoes, all the veggies, and nuts would be your best friend!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Samantha

    I would definitely be interested in doing a group whole30 challenge with you! Super interesting to read about your results. Would maybe even be helpful to set up some sort of a Facebook group or something for those participating so we can motivate each other to stick to it!

    Not sure if it’s one of your planned posts coming up, but I’d love to see what you ate at each meal while you did this! I know that’s an area I’d struggle with if I did it, and your meals always inspire me!

    Reply to Samantha
  • Anissa

    Taralynn, I’m so happy you jumped on this bandwagon as you are my favorite blogger and I have looked up to you for about 8 years. I tried whole30 on a whim in January and lost 26 pounds which I have managed to keep off. I learned how to eat better as well as not spend so much money on take out, dining out and groceries.

    My lifestyle and eating is still based around the diet and I still stay away from gluten and dairy. I can not wait for you to share more about your journey and will deff be down to do a fall whole30 challenge!!!

    Reply to Anissa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Awwww thanks so much, Anissa!!! Sounds like you had incredible results on Whole30!! I love how it changed my diet for the better as well.

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Gaby

    Glad you’re feeling better! My experience has been to blame eating this or that on something I ate, but I’ve learned that it’s actually due to how I’m feeling when I eat. I thought it was gluten and dairy bc that two sizes larger after meals happened all the time. When I gave up those things, I was forced to eat at home more often and symptoms went away. What was causing it? Social situations I didn’t want to be in, not the actual food! I recommend reading The Gut.

    Reply to Gaby
  • Sib

    That sounds very good thing, maybe I’m gonna try it too.
    Why don’t you get a laparoscopy to lessen the symptoms of endometriosis? I’ve always been a little bit curious about it as of why you never mention it and what are your thoughts about it.

    Reply to Sib
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I really don’t find joy in talking about the personal side of endometriosis on the blog. I know many bloggers find it helpful to share all of their struggles online, but sometimes this is my place to just forget about the hard things I go through. And to be honest, my doctor and I have chatted a lot about laparoscopy throughout the years, and it scares me. I can’t even get a shot at the doctor without fainting. And a lot of the conversation about endometriosis with my doctor revolves around my future and when (IF) I plan to have kids. So, I just love being able to keep that chapter of my life offline. Now, when I do decide to go through a laparoscopy, I will share my experience and talk about it, but right now it’s just a conversation between me and my doctor.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Abbey

    Thanks for sharing, Tara. It seems that you were hesitant but I appreciate your sharing!

    I just want to throw this out there, and I apologize in advance for unsolicited advice haha! 😆 Have you heard or thought about any Ayurvedic treatment? I can’t help but wonder if there is an imbalance that could be helped with that route. It has helped me TREMENDOUSLY so I can’t help but suggest it.

    Anyways you are doing great and I wish you all the best with finding your best health!! I know it is a journey. 🙂

    Reply to Abbey
  • Aunt Anne

    Congratulations Tara! Was interested in your journey and happy to hear it was worth the trip. It was life changing for me. I learned so much and four years later still have incorporated many of the Whole 30 recommendations into my diet. Good job!

    Reply to Aunt Anne
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Aunt Anne!

      Your entire lifestyle inspires me. I agree that I’ll also continue to incorporate Whole30 into my everyday diet now!

      Can’t wait to come up and play tennis again!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Hannah R

    I would definitely try the Whole30 sometime! I already know that eating “lean, clean, and green” is amazing for my body, especially my digestive system! Bloating goes down for REAL. I won’t be doing it for a while though, as I hope to BF my baby coming up (any day now!) and things like oatmeal are super important in supporting healthy lactation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do a challenge of cutting out the things we have issues eating – like Hy-Vee’s breaded chicken strips haha. I eat a TON of dairy right now to get my protein in when I eat healthy carbs, like fruit, so that my blood sugars stay regulated for baby, so that would be a tough one to cut out, I am positive!

    This was a great post! I really look forward to your future Whole30 posts you have planned! As well as your big news 🙂 My brain keeps trying to guess… But I’m just already excited for you whatever it is. I feel like it’s a really great thing. I hope you’re feeling spiritually and emotionally strong as you finish out Whole30 as well!

    Reply to Hannah R
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Hannah!

      Hahaha I’m so happy I live thousands of miles for HyVee!! 😂

      I be you’re getting so excited for baby!! I’m so excited for you!

      & thank you! I’m excited to share as well and HOPEFULLY SOON!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashton Jury

    I’ve done three rounds of whole 30 and the first time it was tough because it was when it was fairly new, now that it’s become more popular its so much easier to find complaint items such as Tessemae’s dressing. I will say I didn’t lose weight either but I felt a lot better and ate A LOT LESS sugar after. I think I need to try it out again but Pumpkin spice is here now… lol but I would love for you to share some of your Whole 30 recipes.

    Reply to Ashton Jury
    • Taralynn McNitt

      3 Rounds? AMAZING! The tessemae dressing was LIFE CHANGING! I’m so obsessed with it.

      It’s actually so easy to do whole30 pumpkin spice recipes, but I do agree that it’s hard during the fall to avoid all the delicious non whole30 pumpkin-spiced goodies lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amy

    I love Whole30! I would be interested in doing one with you.

    Reply to Amy
  • Allison

    I’ve done 2 rounds before. It was definitely the best I’ve felt. Then bad habits trickle back in. I’d be up for a challenge group if you do one!

    Reply to Allison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yeah, I can definitely see that being an issue! That’s why I told myself I was going to do the 80/20, but as you said…it’s hard not to go back to the old habits.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Alyssa D

    I haven’t try the Whole30, but would be totally excited to follow along in the fall!!

    Reply to Alyssa D
  • Shannon

    I’d be interested. I’m not doing it for weight loss but interested in see how it cuts my grocery bill and eating seasonal veggies and fruits.

    Reply to Shannon
  • Ashley

    So happy that you had such a positive experience with Whole30 and I can’t wait to see your other posts about it. 🙂

    https://www.makelifemarvelous.com/

    Reply to Ashley
  • Joye Mcinturff

    I would love to do the Whole 30 challenge with you. I’ve attempted it before but didn’t make it to day 30. Doing it with a group I think would help me do much.

    Reply to Joye Mcinturff
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! I’m sure my round would have been easier if it was more public and with other people. I’m so happy to hear all of you wanting to do a round together!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ami

    I’ve been really interested in Whole30 lately and I think I might give it a shot at some point. I randomly break out and I believe it is food related, This post was very informative on the use of this diet and I am looking forward to rest of the series!

    Reply to Ami
  • Heather Jelinek

    I did the whole 30… but I ended up having to quit early due to low nutrition. I’m a vegetarian… so for me this diet was wayyyy to low in nutrients for me. But, it was a neat experience while I was doing it! And I can see how it might help people fix their gut health!

    Reply to Heather Jelinek
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Do you eat eggs? I can totally see why you’d have to quit. It’s a very protein/veggie/nut/fruit type of diet. And only YOU know what’s best for your body!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Madison

    SO excited for your next post! I want to do a round of Whole 30 but the idea of giving up wine scares me haha! I have my Ironman at the end of September, and I don’t really want to change anything before that. But I think I’ll start a round right after!

    Reply to Madison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Brittany!

      I know that feeling all too well 😞 You should definitely give Whole30 a shot if you think it’s diet-related

      You’re going to CRUSH your ironman!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Candy

    I tried Whole30 one time and like you – I had fantastic results and felt so much better. I would be interested in joining your Whole30 challenge. Having the list of what you can/cannot eat makes Whole30 a lot easier.

    If I did Whole30 again – I think it would be very helpful to keep a journal to keep track of what food I eat and how it makes me feel. That’s a good idea – that you kept a journal. I’m glad you are feeling better!

    Reply to Candy
  • Katie

    Thank you for sharing!! I’ve been curious about Whole 30 for a while now. I have similar issues with bloating/tummy aches, and I hate how I wake up with a flat tummy but by the end of the day look pregnant. Can’t wait to ready more about it! Especially the re-introducing foods part and how that went for you. I definitely would be interested in a Whole30 challenge!!

    Reply to Katie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Katie!

      It’s unreal having that feeling. I know it all too well! I’m still slowly introducing foods back in, but so far it’s the hardest part!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Dana

    It is interesting to read that it helped with eczema. I’ve been having issues with it the last few years. I didn’t think it could be diet related, now I want to try this and see if it helps.
    I had a huge problem with bloating a few years back. I was relying on protein powder a lot for breakfast at the time and when I cut it out of my diet much of the bloating stopped.

    Reply to Dana
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It’s crazy how a lot of things in our body are affected by the foods that we eat. It’s definitely worth a shot! I haven’t gone back to protein powder since the end of my Whole30 round and my bloating is still pretty minimal. Even though it was a plant-based protein, perhaps the pea protein was causing some issues.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jennifer

    I have not tried Whole30 before, but my roommate from college has and she loved it! I did the 30 day challenge that Arbonne has which was similar, they just eliminate different things than Whole30, and it worked really well for me! I would love to join a Whole30 challenge and try it myself, however!

    I’m so glad that you’re feeling better at the end of the day! I would imagine it’s frustrating not being able to get any answers.

    Reply to Jennifer
  • Emily

    I saw a couple of photos in a previous post that made me wonder if you drank smoothies during Whole30 since it’s “technically” not whole30 (even if you used whole30 approved ingredients)? This was my cheat- I definitely drank smoothies for breakfast on whole30. So no judgment- just wondering your thoughts on this!

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! I definitely had smoothies when I felt like I wanted something refreshing after being out in the sun. My smoothies had spinach, ice, almond milk, and usually frozen peaches. All compliant, but it was things like that where I felt like it would be extreme to give up. I did learn that smoothies are just as good without the protein powder 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    I’m glad the Whole30 was a good experience for you! It’s the only “diet” I would consider trying – though not right now as I’m recovering from a surgery, haha! Thanks for sharing! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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