My Third #Whole30 Challenge Complete!


Woo hoo! I just finished 30 days of no grains, no sugar or artifical sweeteners, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no processed foods at all. This was my third Whole30 challenge, and even though they all basically follow the same rules, each time has presented its own challenges.

My first Whole30 reset came with a steep learning curve. I had never cut out whole food groups before, and it was new to me to check every single ingredient list, make all my own condiments, and cook every meal from scratch. Despite this, the novelty of it all and the extra help from hubs who was working part of the time from home, made this first attempt go pretty quickly.

In my second Whole30 challenge I had a better idea of what I was doing, but hubs was working full-time out of our home and commuting almost an hour and a half each way. I burnt myself out doing almost all of the meal prep and cleanup on my own for the entire 30 days in a row. Healthwise though, I noticed a definite difference in my skin and mood stability, and I lost eight pounds.

This third time started out smoothly. Hubs and I had figured out a routine with meal planning, and we had agreed that I would cook and he would clean up after dinner. Things were going well until the kids got sick. Between all the meal prep and cooking during the day, and sick kids keeping me up at night, by Day 30 I was worn right out. Now, I won’t say never, but for sure I don’t want to do this again for a long time.

But we did stick it out. When I felt like giving up, I kept reminding myself it’s only 30 days. 30 days is not that long in the grand scheme of things. Plus I’m stubborn like that. I did not want to have to come back and publicly admit to you all that I couldn’t stick out a measly 30 days.

30 days

At any rate, after those 30 days, the most noticeable results (other than the exhaustion) were weight loss and improved digestive health. I lost eight pounds again, but unfortunately it was weight that I’d gradually put back on since the last Whole30 challenge. (I have to admit I had fallen into some bad habits the last few months.)

And my digestive system? Before changing my diet a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is a chronic condition that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Without going into details, let’s just say I was uncomfortable a large portion of the time. Eating a paleo-friendly diet made a difference in the frequency of episodes, but I had no symptoms at all while eating Whole30. That’s a really striking reminder of the impact that food has on my health.

I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made in the last 30 days, so my plan coming out of this is to continue eating a clean diet at least 80% of the time. Trying to be perfect will burn me out and just isn’t sustainable. But since I know that late night snacking is my weakness, so my focus will be on staying out of that trap.

If you’re interested in reading about my journey over the last 30 days, you can see all my Whole30 posts here or check out my weekly meal plans below.

Week 1 Whole30 meal plan Week 2 Whole30 meal plan Week 3 Whole30 meal plan Week 4 Whole30 meal plan

Image Credit: Calendar by Dafne Cholet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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  • Wow! It’s amazing that your IBS symptoms were completely eliminated. That is definitely motivation to stick with whole foods.

  • Awesome! Committing to healthy eating is a big commitment. I get you about the burning out part. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been eating very well or taking that great care of myself. I need to do some more research and see if this whole 30 challenge is something I could do.

  • Sounds a lot like Wheat Belly, I think I will be giving up sugar and grains for lent this year and I’m not even Catholic!! My friend and I used to give up ‘crap’ which was pretty much anything good! We would phone each other to see if we were allowed something or not, sometimes we found ways of justifying certain crap to make it sound healthy like a banana muffin…but most times we were pretty strict. No chips, fries, candy, pop, etc.

  • Kudos for doing this not once, but three times! We haven’t done this one yet, but I’m just about to make the soup from the Sacred Heart Diet – have you heard of it?

  • I was doing so well for the first three and a half months now I need to get back on the horse I feel better when I am not eating “white foods” bread sugar pasta rice etc even milk

  • Ive always suffered with IBS and my aunt recently died of colon cancer. When she got diagnosed I switched to veganism and I felt so much better! I should really give the whole 30 a try ! Im sure its a lot of work but sounds like its worth it

  • This sounds wonderful and I am very interested in it because of my IBS and I want to lose weight and feel better. However taking away Dairy sounds so painful to me.

  • I love the idea of the 30 day challenges and I love reading about your journey! I will be taking some inspiration from you to try my own 30 day plan, thanks!

  • This is great, I am sure I suffer from IBS have had chronic issues for years and will be going for a colonoscopy later this month, and after I will be starting a clean eating program.

    • Clean eating is a good idea for anyone, but when you have digestive issues like we do, it makes such a difference! I wholeheartedly recommend cutting out processed foods and sugars at the least. Good luck with everything!

    • Oh, yes. Very much so. I just remind myself it’s only 30 days. (And then, it’s only 28 days, only 20 days, etc.) 🙂