There are so many things I learned being on Whole30. If you are at all considering it — do it! You will feel so proud of yourself and will be able to look back on the year knowing you accomplished something major.
As your favorite foods are calling your name throughout Whole30, you will dig deep to find resolve you didn’t know you had. It will be especially thrilling when you start seeing results. For me, that was Day 26, and it was incredible.
If you are at all thinking of doing Whole30, be sure to read this entire post! I’m hoping by the end, you will be motivated to do it.
When I agreed to start Whole30, I only knew I wasn’t allowed to eat dairy, grains, sugar, and legumes. My goal was to lose weight and feel better.
In my first attempt at doing Whole30, I was successful. It was very difficult, especially in the beginning.
For better or for worse, I didn’t buy anything special to prepare. I scavenged around my kitchen eating whatever was already there…. eggs, vegetables, fruit and meat.
Once I made it through those first difficult days — after all, old habits die hard and so do chocolate cravings — there was NO WAY I was going to stop until I made it to Day 30.
In the process, I learned a ton. Check out my Whole30 daily log for updates on each day. I’ve also included tips for success.
Here are the best things I learned being on Whole30. If you haven’t done Whole30 before, now is the time.
Table of Contents
Top things I learned being on Whole30
30 days will come and go so you might as well accomplish something.
So much of what we do in life is thankless and hard to quantify. It’s not like you count how many loads of laundry you washed, how many meals you made, and how many times you swept the floor.
Unless you’re getting a paycheck, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate what you’ve done with your time.
If you’re anything like me, you look back on the past month and think, “Where did that time go, and what do I have to show for it?”
When you’re doing Whole30, you’ll feel empowered at what you’ve accomplished. You can look back at those days and weeks and feel proud you made it through.
This is a particularly great at the end of the year.
Imagine yourself in December 2019. You can reflect on your year and think, “Yes, I accomplished being on Whole30 and doing something for myself.”
When you can give up your favorite foods for 30 days, you can achieve anything.
Holy heck, because I was able to give up all my go-to foods, my comfort foods, my habit snacks, and stick to Whole30 for the entire 30 days, I can do anything!
Food doesn’t have to rule our lives. Even though it seems like you can’t live without certain snacking habits to relieve stress and favorite foods and drinks — you can!
Giving them up for 30 days is proof you can break any habit you want to.
If I was tired, it was because I was tired, I wasn’t carb-crashing.
In the midst of doing Whole30, I realized I rarely felt tired. And when I was tired, I knew it was because I actually needed sleep. It wasn’t because of a sugar or a carbohydrate crash.
You will feel proud and confident.
Your favorite foods will be calling your name, especially in the beginning. Each time you bypass them, you will be proud of yourself.
You will use that confidence and those positive feelings to get yourself through the next craving, snack, meal, and day. I got through that first week and there was no way, no how I was going to let myself down and not finish Whole30.
You will really feel amazingly proud which will fuel you in other areas of your life.
You don’t have to be particularly great at — or interested in — cooking.
I never heard of ghee or clarified butter. I never knew people use tallow and coconut aminos and that they drink kombucha. Even now, I don’t really know what these things are. That’s okay!
Stick to what you know if you want, and venture into one or two new things as you become interested in learning more.
I didn’t realize how much sugar and processed food I was eating until I wasn’t eating it.
Many of my habits were to just grab whatever was in my refrigerator, without really thinking about it. Sure, I made some healthy choices each day; however, I also ate a lot of cheese, snacks, frozen and processed foods, and chocolate.
Being forced to be much more mindful on Whole30 made me have to consciously think before I ate anything so that I didn’t slip and eat something I wasn’t supposed to.
Just one thoughtless mistake — like popping something in my mouth while I was preparing food for my kids — would have derailed all of my efforts.
After being on Whole30, I’m still more mindful.
I still eat many of those non-approved Whole30 foods, but much less often.
Time goes fast but being on Whole30, time went slowly.
It was amazing how time seemed to really slow down being on Whole30. Really slowly.
I would look at the calendar and think, “I can’t believe I still have XX days left.” If you feel like time flies by, start on Whole30… really.
Don’t ever let yourself get too hungry.
This was another one of the great things I learned from being on Whole30. Letting yourself get hungry on Whole30 or in life creates problems.
This was especially true being on Whole30 because when hunger would strike, it would strike to the core. At that point, it would be difficult to eat enough to be satisfied.
Oftentimes, in regular life, we overeat when we are hungry. When you don’t let yourself get to that point, you can make healthier choices.
Whether you are doing Whole30 or not:
- Have a plan for healthy snacks so you don’t feel out of control
- Carry approved snacks with you wherever you go
After being on Whole30, it’s so much easier to eat healthier.
One of the biggest things I learned being on Whole30 is that it’s much easier to make healthy choices now. So many people who have completed Whole30 agree it was a huge challenge to do it.
It’s great and life-changing but really difficult to maintain long term, longer than 30 days.
Many of us in my Whole30 Facebook group agreed that after Day 30, we would keep the best practices of Whole30 and eat in the spirit of it most of the time.
So many times I thought it would be so much easier to just eat healthier than to do this long-term.
Sure, you might want a Mexican feast with rice, beans, cheese and tortillas… and you can still have that after Whole30. But you don’t have it all the time, as a way of life.
Whole30 will give you the kick-start you need to propel your life in a healthier direction.
You will buy lots of vegetables.
Before starting Whole30, never in my life did I make artichokes, turnips or beets. We ate Brussels sprouts once a year, if that. Since completing the program, I came away with a new love for squash, zucchini, collards, and sweet potatoes, and buy them frequently.
In your quest to find s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g to eat, you will get lots of nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
Hopefully you will come away choosing a wider variety regularly, even after you’re finished with Whole30.
Think of functional medicine and the importance of the microbiome. You want to feed your gut bacteria a variety of vegetables, the full spectrum of colors.
After doing Whole30 for 30 days, it’s easy to do it a day here or there.
When I’m not making a big proclamation about starting Whole30, and just wake up and do it, it’s easy.
A few times since finishing my first Whole30, I would realize I made it an entire day or two or even three of Whole30… giving up legumes, dairy, sugar and grains… and was fine.
Many of us in my Facebook group say we are starting a Whole2 or Whole3, agreeing to do it for just a few days. And that’s great because anything you can do to be healthier, even a few days a week or month, will help you in your life.
I did my first Whole30 in January and my second that September. It was much easier the second time around.
After doing Whole30 the first time, I learned gluten was causing or contributing to my foot, hip and leg pain. What a huge thing to learn being on Whole30.
Being (mostly) off gluten by the second time I did Whole30 made it much easier.
I was able to focus on tasks much better.
Typically, I’m someone who starts lots of projects and then becomes distracted, usually starting something else before finishing. Or, when I would be on the computer, set to do something, I would tend to open multiple browsers, looking up other things.
After being on Whole30 for two weeks and cutting out all of those non-approved foods, I noticed a huge surge in my focus. Also, what helped was there weren’t tempting foods to eat while on Whole30.
Therefore, I was able to:
- Focus better because I wasn’t distracted getting snacks.
- I wasn’t using food to avoid whatever it was I was supposed to do.
- I wasn’t able to overeat and feel tired.
And with better focus came increased productivity and more confidence. If you have brain fog, do Whole30. You will learn this isn’t a to-be-expected feeling.
I look and feel better.
At long last, I was able to lose weight even though I didn’t exercise at all when I was on Whole30.
(I wasn’t a big exerciser anyway, but for months prior Whole30 and during Whole30, I had bad foot pain and was resting. Typically, my exercise was walking a few times a week.)
So by just eliminating all that cheese, chocolate, processed foods, legumes, grains, and dairy, I was able to lose eight pounds in 30 days.
The weight loss helped me look better for sure. Also, my hair looked better when I was eating more fruits and vegetables.
Lots of friends in the Whole30 Facebook group said their skin looked better too.
After doing Whole 30 the first time, I learned gluten bothers me. What a major thing to learn from Whole30. When I keep off gluten, I’m virtually pain-free.
Sleep! Another valuable Whole30 lesson. After being on Whole 30, I learned I can sleep through the night!
I’ve updated this to add a 14th reason about what I learned doing Whole30. It stabilized my moods.
Now when I have sugar and other junk, I can sometimes recognize my personality changing.
I’m short-tempered, crabby, anxious, and not the mom I want to be.
It’s incredible that cleaning up my diet — stripping away all these foods for 30 days — really showed me the types of foods I react to.
It’s a lot easier to say no to these types of foods going forward because I don’t want to have mood swings. Life is demanding enough!
Things I learned being on Whole30
There were so many incredible things I learned being on Whole30. It was a life-changer, for sure.
Please don’t overthink it, just do it. So many times we wait for or try to create perfect circumstances to help ensure our success.
Start Whole30. Really, you will enjoy so many intrinsic benefits from it that will fuel you and help direct you for the rest of your life.