I Tried Whole30, Here's What Happened...


I’m Sunnie; a pizza loving, wine drinking, overall life enthusiast who just completed her second attempt at Whole30. My first attempt last year ended on day 14 with me sniffing my now fiancé’s plate after discovering some crumbs.

“NOTHING WE CAN EAT CAN MAKE CRUMBS” I screamed after he denied eating a frozen pizza.

It wasn’t pretty.

This year, we tried Whole30 take 2 and I’m happy to report that we completed all 30 days and there were no incidents of pizza eating or plate sniffing which is a #win in my book. If you’ve ever been curious about Whole30 or why anyone would want to try it, you’re in luck because I’m here to do just that. I’m here to share the WholeTruth.

What is Whole30?

I like to describe Whole30 as an experiment to discover what certain foods do (and don’t do) for your body rather than as a “fad diet.” Whole30 is meant to teach you how food makes your body feel, specifically grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol and sugar. By cutting out these foods that are often eaten in excess and that we have become dependent on, we can see what kind of effects it has on our every day lives.  

When I tell people what I can’t eat on Whole30, I’m often met with a blank stare followed by a “that isn’t a realistic or sustainable way to eat.” And I would agree. That is why it is called Whole30; 30 days dedicated to cutting out certain foods, not Whole365.

Why I Wanted to Try Whole30

Did I originally set out on whole30 because my wedding dress was way too tight and I’m too frugal to pay for alterations. Yes. But I discovered so much more than weight loss. Aside from feeling really great (more details on that below) I have also reset my relationship with food.

Before Whole30

I wasn’t terribly overweight before I started Whole30. I was definitely was packing on some extra fluff from all of the goodies the holidays bring so my clothes were feeling too tight for my liking. As a little background, I enjoy both healthy foods and anything covered in cheese. In fact, you are looking at a girl whose bridal shower was pizza themed…

My poor diet meant I woke up crawling to the coffee maker in order to stand a chance at surviving the day. I would arrive at work at 9:30am, eat some breakfast, and then spend the next 2.5 hours staring at the clock until 12:00PM when I would run out to the closest food truck and stuff my face with whatever looked good that day. I hit a slump, everyday, around 3:00PM that required me to either eat something salty or sweet or grab coffee #3. I was exhausted by 8:30, would drink 2 glasses of wine to take the edge off the day and was in bed by 9:00. The days were beginning to blur together as my lack of energy and enthusiasm for optimizing my days had really plummeted.

After Whole30

  • I lost around 10 lbs so my clothes finally feel like mine again.

  • My energy levels have been consistent throughout the day (I have even replaced coffee some days with tea, just because I want something warm, not because I need energy.

  • I eat 3 good meals a day with little snacking in between, feel satisfied and am not yearning for something else or something more.

  • My hair and nails are legit. I’m talking pantene-pro-v-slow-motion-flipping-your-shiny-hair-around, legit.

  • I discovered alternative ways to wind down the day like writing and reading

  • Oh and the other great thing? I saved almost $700 not eating out or drinking.

SO if you are thinking of trying Whole30, I wanted to give you the inside scoop on how to set yourself up for success. I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor, remember…I had a pizza themed bridal shower, so these are just suggestions! I highly recommend you speak to a professional before making dramatic changes to your diet. 


What to expect during Whole30

  • A LOT of planning and prepping. I think the #1 reason people don’t succeed at completing Whole30 is lack of planning. It is time consuming to prepare 3 meals a day for 30 days. However, with a good plan, it can be done and it can be delicious.

  • A whole lot of feels. The Whole30 website actually has a great timeline here that details how you might be feeling on certain days. For example: days 1-7 are hard. Your body is not getting what it is used to and it’s telling you all about it. You’ll begin to doubt whether it’s worth it. On the flip, days 15-20, you’ll be feeling like superwoman. It is all normal.

  • Opportunities to say “no.” It is hard when your co-workers are all grabbing a drink after a really tough week in the office and you are stuck drinking water. You will learn it’s ok to say “no” when you are invited to a restaurant made out of cheese. This is good—it is called self-control and Whole30 will teach you that it feels good to not feel like you have to drink or eat what is in front of you just because it’s there.

  • Transformation. Whether it be your body fitting into clothes better, your lack of cravings for candy, your ability to intake more water, things are going to change for the better.

How to Get Started

  • Decide your “why.” Do you want more energy? Do you want to try something different to clear your skin up? Are you trying to enhance your workouts? Make sure you have a solid why to come back to when you begin to doubt yourself.

  • Choose your 30 days: Whole30 is best completed during a time where you don’t have a ton going on since there is a lot of cooking involved. So don’t plan to do whole30 in high wedding season or during a very stressful and busy time at work. Choose a month where you don’t have a ton planned, can avoid the temptation to cheat and where you have the time and willpower to cook.

  • Get a positive friend to come along; like a good sports bra, support is always key. Having someone to share recipes, woes, triumphs and all of your cravings with makes everything a little better.

  • Prep your kitchen with the right tools: If you are an avid cook, you probably have most of what you need to get started. If you are just getting into cooking, don’t run out and grab every gizmo out there. My staple pieces that I definitely think you need are: A good frying pan (cast-iron or stainless steel), a food processor/blender, slowcooker/pressurecooker/instantpot, and a decent set of knives, large pot (for boiling).

  • Start following some Whole30 Instagram accounts for support, recipe ideas and overall cooking knowledge! I have a list of my favorites here.

Grocery Shopping

Setting up your expectations for grocery shopping is really important. Depending on how much you cook at home currently, this may or may not be a hard part to grasp! Seeing a big total at the cashier can be shocking but just keep in mind you won’t be spending $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner or $5 for a beer. I guarantee you will save money over the course of all 30 days.

  • Your first big shopping trip will probably end up costing more than you are used to spending. This is because you will be buying the staple items that you will likely use every day but that will cost more than their processed counterparts. For example: cooking fats. You likely use butter or vegetable oil to cook your eggs or steak but because butter is not allowed on Whole30, you’ll need an alternative like ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil. Ghee can cost anywhere from 8-12 dollars a jar as opposed to 3 or 4 dollars for a couple sticks of butter. Don’t let that deter you—remember, whole, unprocessed foods are likely going to cost more but they are good for your body and you will use it all up. We all have our own budgetary limits so don’t do more than you can, but if you are going to splurge, these are staples that will set you up for success.

  • On that same note, do the best you can. Just because you are doing Whole30 doesn’t mean everything you buy needs to be totally organic (which tends to be more expensive.) If you need to buy the grocery store brand of chicken instead of an organic brand, it’s ok.

  • Stock up on frozen veggies. Frozen veggies are amazing because they keep for a really long time (yay modern conveniences!) and will be easy on nights where you don’t feel like cooking a lavish meal. A few staples I suggest are cauliflower rice (they make any meal feel more whole,) broccoli, spinach and green beans.

  • When you find compliant tomato sauce/diced tomatoes, stock up. I was shocked to see how many canned tomato products had extra sugar put in them and would get frustrated when I needed to go to another grocery store to get a sauce that was compliant. Tomato sauce will be useful in so many recipes and is easy to just dump on top of some veggies on those lazy nights. When you find compliant tomato sauce, don’t let it go! Stock up!

  • Look for what is on sale. If there is a buy one get one free on brussels sprouts, grab them, even if you didn’t have a plan for them. If you were planning on having turkey burgers but compliant sausage is on sale, go with the sausage. This will help you save money and you will eat it because you won’t be going out for food. It is amazing how quickly food get consumed when you are making 3 meals a day.

  • Find compliant sausage and bacon. Many bacon brands have sugar and nitrates in them but there are brands that exist that are complaint (thank goodness for that!) As you have probably heard before, bacon makes everything is better and the same is true even if the bacon doesn’t have sugar or nitrates. Bacon and sausage are an easy way to get a filling meal and don’t make you feel like you are on a diet.

  • Always buy big bags of onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes. These are staples for cooking, thickening and bulking up your meals if you are still feeling hungry! Oven baked fries are easy and delicious.

A Typical Week:

Sunday: Prepapalooza.

On Sundays I cook breakfast for the entire work week. This is usually some prosciutto egg-cups, or a large breakfast frittata cut into slices. Once I cook these (so easy!) I will wrap each individually for the week. I will also usually cook lunch and dinner for Monday. In this case, a large pot of chilli will do for both. I would also roast some veggies for universal use.


  • Breakfast: Egg cups/avocado/veggies
  • Lunch: Chili on top of cauliflower rice
  • Dinner: Chili on top of potato wedges


  • Breakfast: Egg cups/avocado/veggies
  • Lunch: Leftover tomato and sausage sauce on top of veggies and cauliflower rice
  • Dinner: Slow cooker whole chicken with gravy, and kale salad


  • Breakfast: Egg cups/avocado/veggies
  • Lunch: Pulled chicken in lettuce wraps
  • Dinner: Pulled chicken, over easy egg and oven baked fries


  • Breakfast: Egg cups/avocado/veggies
  • Lunch: Deli meats wrapped with bell pepper, carrots, mustard, and lara bar
  • Dinner: Butternut and roasted vegetable soup


  • Breakfast: Egg cups/avocado/veggies
  • Lunch: Roasted vegetable soup
  • Dinner: Chicken Thighs with veggies


  • Breakfast: Hashbrowns with sausage gravy, eggs and fruit
  • Lunch: Brazillian fish soup
  • Dinner: Brazillian fish soup
  • Dinner Drink: Sparkly water with pomegranate.


  • Breakfast: Egg’s benedict
  • Lunch: Roasted Vegetable soup
  • Dinner: Potato Gnocchi

Planning the week is a good idea but remember to try to use everything you bought for the week before you go out to buy more food for a recipe you found on Pinterest (which can be very tempting). Keep it as easy as possible in the beginning. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You can do it.

By day 14, cooking and not eating the forbidden food groups became second nature to me. I’m not going to lie, I did have several dreams where I would eat a cookie and feel immediate guilt. Not sure what that means, but just throwing it out there. After day 20, I started feeling a little sad that it was going to be over in 10 days. I am in the midst of planning my next steps towards a larger health goal and am thankful Whole30 has given me a great start.

I could write on and on about Whole30 but in the end, you’ll find your own groove. You can find more about my Whole30 on my blog JustTriItOnce. I highly suggest it if you are looking to regain some control when it comes to food and boost your overall energy for everyday life and your workouts!

Feel free to comment below or visit Justtriitonce.com if you have any other questions!

FoodTakia McClendonComment