whole 30: thank heaven for little girls + ghee

For 34 days, I went Whole 30. The whole 9 yards, no cheating, reading every single label of every bit of food I ate. Whole30? It’s the #1 Best Seller in Weight Loss Recipes on Amazon. The authors tell you not to begin with the “not’s” when explaining the “elimination eating plan” (lest you call it a diet), or people will immediately say, “Yeah, good luck with that.” If you begin with all you CAN eat, people are more inclined to lean in and listen.

Fcuk that.
Here’s what I haven’t consumed for the past 34 days:

That’s right; I gave up added sugar. No sugar or any sweeteners of any kind including sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, honey, agave, dextrose. Things sweetened only with fruit juice are permitted. Splenda = Nada.

No hooch, no shooters nor chasers. No alcohol of any kind. This means that you may not use vanilla extract or use dijon mustard (because it has wine in it). You may not even cook with wine, despite the fact that the alcohol cooks out. Nice try, though.

Nope, no bread, no rice of any color, no quinoa, no barley, no sprouted grains, no millet, NO CORN, no sorghum, no amaranth, no buckwheat, no gluten-free mixes, no gluten-free pasta. No creating baked goods out of substitute flours like coconut flour or almond meal. No modified food starch. No to the no, no, no.

No peanuts (or peanut butter, obviously), no frijoles, no lentils or chickpeas. The only bean you may have is a trip to Beantown, Massachusetts. Did, I also mention under this category: NO SOY. No tofu or soy products. No un-turkey or fake chicken nuggets. No soy sauce. No tempeh or edamame. No soy lecithin.

“We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.” Oh, joy.

Oh, come on. This is getting ridiculous. That’s right, no milk in your coffee. No cheese on your salad or burger. So, out goes that cauliflower pizza you just pinned. Almond milk is fine… ONLY IF YOU MAKE YOUR OWN! I’m sorry, but if I find time to make my own almond milk, there’s a lot more broken in my life than an extra 20 lbs. Nope, no yogurt, and no butter (milk solids). Though, you may have clarified butter, aka Ghee. Thank heaven for little girls and ghee.

No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, to be more specific. Carrageenan is in a lot of shit. Forget it. It’s out.

No French fries or potato chips. Nice try. Because you CAN have potatoes.

Yuh, so a month of not eating out, no oreos or cheesecake eaten with my finger, refrigerator door open, and I’m bound to lose some weight, right? It should melt right out with slippery banana poops. I make no apology for that sentence. It did not melt off me, and I was NOT “regular” in the BM category.

Okay, so they say you shouldn’t do this “reset” with the goal of losing weight. But come on, how do you NOT lose weight when you cut out all sugar and grains?

In total, I lost 10 pounds in 30 days. But it’s more like 8 pounds depending on what time of day I step on that scale. Great, you think. 10 lbs. is something. And hey, I’ll bet your clothes fit better. You’d lose that bet, friend. I still feel bloated and my jeans are still tight. Maybe my pants were grossly tight before and now only moderately obscene. Yes, but do you sleep better, feel better? Is your skin clearer? Do you have more energy? No. Sorry, but if I’m being deeply honest, no.

Coconut Oil MiracleBut how is this possible? You’re eating fresh fruits and vegetables and coconut milk. Olive oil, avocados, raw almonds, coconut oil. Yuh, I also read The Coconut Oil Miracle, and I found this book super informative, and I totally believe it! But I’m still uncomfortable in all my clothes.

You’re drinking your espresso BLACK. You eat smoked salmon and an orange for breakfast, or eggs and a handful of berries. You’ve even tracked your food in a diary, being mindful of what you were eating. Grass-fed beef, and I’m still a moo. WTF?

I don’t know people. I didn’t cheat. The other night, now that my Whole 30 is complete, I went out and drank wine. I was fine. Except when I then opted to eat 3 of Phil’s french fries and ordered a soft serve vanilla ice cream on a wafer cone. And still, I felt totally fine the next day, as if it never happened. This Whole30 is wholly depressing.

The ONLY benefit I’ve seen from this program in terms of how I feel is that I’ve stopped craving sweets. I don’t want to stab anyone when I see them enjoying cake, while I abstain, at one of the many kids’ birthday parties we attend. I’m ridiculously happy sucking on a strawberry or eating a handful of cherries in lieu of any dessert. Though, man, I could go for a walnut brownie dipped in cold milk.

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Whole30 Cookbook


  1. I did a whole 30 for nine days. I did feel like it helped with joint pain and energy levels but with the amount of things I had to give up I think I would get bored pretty quickly. Good for you for trying it for the full 30 days.

  2. I know you had good success with Weight Watchers before – maybe that’s a better fit? I have type 2 so I stick to a low carb diet for other reasons.

  3. Thank goodness! My fear with a diet like that is that I’d feel loads better and then have to eat like that FOREVER.

  4. Wait, isn’t 10 lbs in 30 days a lot? That’s losing 2+ lbs / week and seems like a good start.

  5. That sounds horrible, way too restrictive to be followed for the long term. I recommend trying the “fast diet” or it’s also called the “5/2” diet. Basically you are fasting two days a week. A woman can eat 500 calories on those days. The rest of the week, it’s all up to you. Of course you can’t eat like an a-hole and expect to lose, but I find it easy and the only thing that took off that weight I couldn’t shake. When I feel hungry I just drink some iced green tea and tell myself, tomorrow I can eat whatever I like. It’s worth a try.

    1. Author

      It’s called the Whole 30 because it’s meant only to be followed for 30 days. It’s not meant to be a long term solution, but rather, it’s a reset, so you may gradually add in new elements to see how your body reacts to each one. If you become ill when your re-introduce dairy, for example, then you know it’s not something your body wants you to have. Others tolerate it just fine.

      I, by the way, am totally miserable. You know, for the record. Because I’ve been writing down every single thing I eat, keeping to 1100 calories daily, aiming for 100g of protein daily, not eating carbs, enjoying healthy fats like avocado and smoked salmon, and I AM LOSING ABSOLUTELY NO WEIGHT. Exercise just makes me RAVENOUS, which always causes me to over-eat. I enjoy plenty of veggies, big mountains, and still I’m bloated and constipated and MISERABLE. I’ve tried to make an appointment for blood work with my GP, and the first open appointment they have? AUGUST 12. What the hairy fcuk is that about?!

      1. OK, that makes more sense, doing that for 30 days. I still encourage you to read up on the 5/2 diet. People think it’s crazy, but it really has health benefits. It also makes you just naturally want to eat better on those 5 days that you do eat. I had been dieting for years and as I got older it was just harder & harder to shake any weight off. I was able to lose it with the 5/2 and I’m eating stuff I would never allow myself to eat in the past, chips, bread, triple cream cheese! You can’t go crazy, but I just eat what I like and try to keep it pretty healthy on my nonfast days. I’m so used to it, that the fast days are really not that hard for me. What you’re describing is how I used to feel.

  6. My stress and sex hormones are in a much better balance when I eat more than 1100 cal and consume carbs in the form of root vegetables, not sugar. Just a thought, if you want to continue this in a different way. Hope your visits and labs give you answers. I know it’s frustrating!

    Hope all is well, lady. :)

  7. Hey Stephanie – I can relate to the frustration. I’ve been trying this hormone reset diet that says you can lose up to 15 pounds in three weeks. I gave up alcohol, red meat, sugar, fruit, caffeine (it also says to give up gluten and dairy but I already can’t eat those things) and I have lost no weight at all. I feel a heck of a lot better but the weight won’t leave. I am guessing next up is having my thyroid checked.

    Hope you get some answers.

  8. Here is yet another suggestion: Chris Kresser’s 14Four. It’s a two-week reset. I bought access to it last year and have not done yet because of the caffeine restriction. I could give up the evening glass of red wine for 2 weeks but my morning coffee? Frown. I like that the 14Four focuses on meals, exercise, sleep and stress management. It doesn’t require giving up dairy, there’s no calorie counting and the meal plan has a snack listing.

    Diets are awful. I refuse to count calories. Who wants to turn a delicious meal into a full blown accounting word problem? I’m also an exercise hater and that includes all the stupid cutesy things people have to do to trick themselves into working out (great playlists, possibility of whatever rewards, putting out your gym clothes the night before, etc).

    I’m impressed with the 8-10 lbs you lost on the 30 thing. That sounds like a lot! I think being able to not crave sugar will be really beneficial to you if you can maintain this long term. That is something I learned about as well but from different experiences.

    When you say you are not comfortable in your clothes, what bothers you the most?

    1. Author

      Not comfortable in my clothes because they are all too small and restrictive now. I cannot button things anymore. It is not as if I’m able to simply grab something quickly and be dressed. Instead, I must try on ten items to see if there’s anything remaining in my closet that actually fits.

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