Why the Whole30 didn't meet my expectations

This week I finished my Whole30. In fact today is considered to be Day 34. Overall I am super pleased I took on the challenge and got to the end without any major slips. I would say ANY slips but on the last night I acccidentally ate a mouthful of cheese.  And whilst if that occurs at any point on the W30 you are supposed to start from day 1, that is not on my agenda 29.7 days into the job!

At the end of the 30 days I was a bag of mixed emotions. I found that while I had some wins (my blood pressure was the best I've seen it in years), I also had some losses. The biggest being my running stamina. It was off from the start and yet even when carefully following the pre and post work out directions, it never righted itself. Yes there is the theory that I just need some more time for my body to kick into fat burning mode. Maybe that's a reality. I'm just not convinced. My other issue on the energy front is that my bar is so high. I have never lacked energy. So asking for some 'tiger blood' to come forth was maybe setting myself up for failure?! Do I feel energetic in general after the Whole30? YES.  Do I feel more energetic after the Whole30?  I don't know!

The other truth is that I didn't lose much weight. Whilst this wasn't my focus of course I hoped it would be a wonderful side effect. In retrospect though I am not surprised. I just don't do well with 'depravation' and while this way of eating, doesn't limit volume, there are a lot of no go zones. To cope with the long list of which I ate plenty of the 'yes' foods.

Despite this strangely now that it's all over I am having trouble letting go. I got used to being regulated. Task focussed.......who me? So to this point I have stuck to the plan outside of having store bought almond milk that is (rebellious I know). Oh and I believe my shrimp was cooked in butter last night. Off. The. Wagon. Sort of. Except no alcohol as yet.....

Despite my lack of conviction in a Whole30 or paleo way of life longer term, as I said above I am glad I did the Whole30. From a reset POV it was great. Below is the full run down of the good the bad and the ugly:


  • Structure and rules (I respond well to both)
  • Not drinking for such a long stretch, it has literally been over 20 years I'd say since I had a break this long
  • Big improvements with blood pressure
  • Experimenting with new foods - like cauliflower mash and making my own fresh almond milk
  • Re-introduction of red meat went well
  • I didn't feel like I was on a diet 
  • Was good to cut right back on sugar without missing it (much)
  • I ate at least one avocado every day feeding my #avocadoaddict


  • Don't believe my body switched into fat burning mode
  • Didn't experience big energy highs
  • My sleep didn't improve
  • Struggled with aerobic activity
  • Feel like I ate less vegetables overall than when I was following a largely plant based diet
  • I started to get bored with the same old food at every meal - even though I was careful to try and be varied in my choices


  • Which potentially led to the fact that I was not very regular throughout the entire period.....

So that's it. We are all different and I think this is a great reset which I would recommend trying - it might even be perfect for you, many find it is. Personally, longer term it's not for me. I 'm looking forward to welcoming back quinoa and lentils into my diet in particular. And sweets (just not every night after dinner). Once I manage to extract myself from sticking to these rules that is. Given I fly to Argentina on vacation this evening, expect the extraction motivation is about to get a whole lot easier.

For the record this is what I still believe to be best diet wise. Eat whole foods. Don't eat too much. Choose organic. Avoid preservatives, and refined sugar. Eat a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables. Enjoy treats in moderation. Be mindful of how your body responds.