Dreams vs Reality: What I Gained (and Lost) From The Whole30


outdoor running inspiration | how to do the whole 30 plan | paleo for girls | workout outfit ideas | Little Miss Fearless

I’m a dreamer. I’m energized by the future and what I envision there. It propels me forward and keeps me moving. So when it comes to my visions of the results I hoped to achieve from the Whole30, did reality measure up?
Well, let’s revisit my goals. I started this journey looking for better health. I hoped to improve my relationship with food as well, and while I didn’t talk much about my appearance, I believed eating healthier would naturally bring improved physical results.
outdoor running inspiration | how to do the whole 30 plan | paleo for girls | workout outfit ideas | Little Miss Fearless
How the Whole30 improved my overall health.
I can absolutely say the Whole30 brought improved health, both physically and mentally. Although, I noticed the mental improvements first. While on the Whole30, I felt at peace with myself. I realized how much time I spent in an emotional battle over what I should eat and what I was actually eating. Since I’d committed to this new lifestyle, made a fail-proof plan and prepared my meals in advance each week, I no longer felt any guilt over my food choices. Right away I had a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.
In terms of physical health, I immediately slept better. And while I hadn’t started a fitness plan yet, my positive mindset had me believing I looked better physically, even if I wasn’t actually seeing tangible changes. My pants fit better. I didn’t weigh myself for the entire 30 days, and I honestly thought I might have gained a couple pounds by the end, just because I felt so nourished. But, on my final weigh-in, I had lost 4 pounds. It’s not much (and I take pounds on a scale with a grain of salt anyway), but I was pleasantly surprised.
Did reality measure up to my dreams? Despite my irrational hope to someday wake up looking like a VS model, yes. But I also learned something else.
outdoor running inspiration | how to do the whole 30 plan | paleo for girls | workout outfit ideas | Little Miss Fearless
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
I finished my Whole30 just in time to celebrate the 4th of July. With that came a week of backyard BBQ’s, hot dogs, pasta salad, jello, homemade ice cream and s’mores. I planned my Whole30 knowing the holiday would be a “reward” for me, and I don’t regret it. However, I was so excited to BBQ (and all the feelings of nostalgia that go along with it) that I started having some mental struggles again in my final week. I was so close to the finish that I started seeing it as a “diet” and it was no longer a lifestyle. I couldn’t wait to have a hot dog (bread!) and ice cream. In fact, the first thing I ate on day 31 was a custom ice cream sandwich from The Baked Bear. I wrote down some thoughts right after I finished it, along with a recap of how I felt each time I ate something that wasn’t Whole30 approved (i.e., sweets and candies, my ultimate weakness). Here they are in their unedited glory…
“The first non-whole30 thing I ate was a custom ice cream sandwich. Was good but not what my fantasies had made it up to be. I was extremely thirsty after which reminded me of the role lack of hydration plays in exaggerating cravings. I felt pretty sick after even though I didn’t finish it. Was it the dairy? The sugar? The cookie (gluten)?
The next day I had peanut m&m’s and s’mores. At the end of the night I was in the bathroom with diarrhea and what felt like a bladder infection. It was awful. I felt sick and malnourished.
The next morning I was starving when I woke up (I didn’t eat dinner the night before bec I made the s’mores and was full from those at the time… yeah, I knew better). After being up for an hour, I was back in the bathroom with diarrhea. Hadn’t even had breakfast yet. And still not sure exactly what is causing these symptoms, but I’m guessing the dairy and sugar overload. 
It’s definitely not worth feeling this way. So yucky. I will be continuing my whole30 and starting the reintroduction process in August to more appropriately diagnose the cause of my issues.”
outdoor running inspiration | how to do the whole 30 plan | paleo for girls | workout outfit ideas | Little Miss Fearless
Where to go from here? 
This is the first time I’ve read those notes since writing them. I had completely forgotten how sick I felt. My symptoms have come and gone and I’ve since had more handfuls of M&M’s and spoonfuls of ice cream than I can count. I’ve realized, beyond my quest for better health, that I HAVE A FOOD ADDICTION. It’s emotionally charged, stress- and perfectionism-induced, and surfaces most when I feel inadequate. Should I be embarrassed? I think admitting it is part of the journey to recovery. And I certainly know I’m not alone. But I’m ready for food freedom again and, for the first time ever, I really felt that with the Whole30.
When I’m not committed to a lifestyle (be it Whole30 or some other program with clear, logical guidelines and nutritional boundaries), my relationship with food is total chaos. It reminds me of the line from a Katy Perry song…
“I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.” 
This is my relationship with food when I’m not following the Whole30. And I don’t want to live like that anymore.
It is extremely hard for me to envision a life without my favorite foods (the irony: are they really food?). As of right now, I see myself eating them a few times a year. I don’t know how realistic that is, but given their effect on me, I think it has to become my reality if I want to get my health back (mental and physical). I have decided by my own discovery that a life without them is better than a life with them. And it’s gonna take a helluva lot of courage for me to live this new lifestyle long-term.
As the tough-love authors of the Whole30 said,
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.”
I’m ready to embrace my strongest self ever. Bring. It. On.
nike tank {old; similar style} | lululemon bra | lululemon leggings in navy {I love the pockets on the side for your phone!} | nike sneakers | fitbit blaze +


  1. Congratulations on completing the Whole 30! I’ve been considering it so I followed your journey closely. It’s great that it’s made so many healthy lifestyle changes to you!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted July 23, 2017 | Reply
    • Thanks, Charmaine! It was definitely a journey of discovery. I learned so much about myself. Thanks for following along.

      Posted July 24, 2017 | Reply
  2. Lisa says:

    Congrats on finishing the Whole30! I really relate to the mental side of eating (emotional side …???). I had never considered that pre-planning meals would take stress away but it makes sense. I’m going to give it a try. I did Jenny Craig years ago and remember the freedom that came with not having to pick my meals – if it says fish, you eat fish! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Posted July 24, 2017 | Reply
    • Hi Lisa! Love having you here. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I completely agree. Meal planning is such a life saver (emotionally).

      Just saw your email response and I’ll be in touch this week with an update! xo

      Posted July 24, 2017 | Reply
  3. Rach says:

    I really love how raw you were about your experience with Whole30. I love that you mentioned if there’s no struggle there’s no progression, because it is so true! I’m sure you learned a lot about yourself throughout this process. Thank you for sharing this Amanda!


    Posted July 24, 2017 | Reply
    • Thanks so much for the feedback, Rach! Means a lot. It’s been an interesting journey, but I love learning new things about myself and how to adopt healthier habits for my family. XO

      Posted July 24, 2017 | Reply