The Whole 30 Made Me Gain Weight, I Don’t Regret It

I completed the Whole 30 by the beginning of February. It changed my life for the better. It also made me gain weight.

Yeah…. after 30 days of no sugar, dairy, WINE, and a list of other stuff- 30 days of no weighing myself- 30 days of feeling like I was changing and making healthier choices than I ever had before- I stepped on the scale on day 31 and saw I gained half a pound.

I felt completely defeated and like a total failure, WHICH WAS DUMB because I didn’t even do it to lose weight.

In fact, I didn’t even take measurements or before pictures before because that wasn’t the goal. It was to reboot my relationship with food. And I did that!

I totally kicked my sugar addiction. I realized I CAN live without dairy. I learned how to feed my body what it needs, not just what it craves.

But still, to not even lose a pound? What had I done wrong? Did I eat too much fruit? Did I snack too much? 30 days of followthrough on my part is a RARE thing for me. I was so proud of my choices up until the moment I stepped on that scale.

Every other person I’ve known to complete a Whole 30 reports they lose 5-15 lbs by the end of it. Honestly, for a few weeks I had to stop following the hashtag and checking in at my FB support group because their weight loss was making me feel totally inadequate.

I didn’t measure myself right before the challenge, but I had measured my bust, waist, and hips a month prior for something else. I measured myself on day 31 thinking maybe I just gained muscle mass, but lost inches. Wrong. No change.

The whole time I was doing it, though, I thought for sure I was losing weight and inches. I felt slimmer, I thought I looked slimmer. I don’t know.

The first half of February was a mind fuck in terms of diet and body image after that. It really threw me for a loop. I didn’t update here immediately because I knew I needed to sort through some emotions before I wrote about it.

Let me stop here and say that, for me, if I lost 10 lbs that would really be all the weight I’d want to lose. So it’s not like I was looking for big numbers. And I am mostly okay with the weight I am now. 10 lbs would help me tone up, not be scary thin.

Now, almost 30 days after I completed my Whole 30, I’m able to say with a clear mind that I am SO glad I did it.

And I probably won’t do it again.

Not because it was bad for me! I think it taught me so much about food, and how I respond to it.

For example, I know without a doubt that sugar was the reason I was dead tired and crashing at 3 p.m. every day. Now I won’t touch sugar of any kind before 4 p.m. and my energy levels thank me for it.

I enjoy vegetables far more now, and no longer feel like I need to cover anything in cheese.

I haven’t had a sip of soda since I started, and I honestly don’t miss it or crave it. The thought of it actually makes me a little sick.

I’m drinking coffee without sugar like it’s no big deal now. Occasionally I can rock a black coffee, and sometimes I’ll have a latte (with no sweeteners), but mostly it’s coffee with full fat coconut milk.

And since I was forced to cook nearly every meal for 30 days, I have a lot more ideas when it comes to coming up with dinner now, and am far less likely to run out to a drive through.

I hate to say that the not losing weight part was somewhere I went “wrong,” but I did think quite a bit about what happened to keep me from seeing the kind of results all my friends did.

I’m guessing it’s a combination of a few things.

First, I’m still breastfeeding Lowell. So I wasn’t about to completely cut out snacking, and I ate a lot of full-fat foods because of it.

Second, I actually FED myself. Prior to the Whole 30, my day would go something like this: coffee, coffee, coffee, random processed food in the pantry, water, iced coffee, dinner, wine, cookies.

I was feeding myself 3 full meals a day for the first time in… I really don’t know when EVER in my life I’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 days.

I also didn’t workout the entire 30 days, though I hadn’t been working out for a couple months prior to it.

Now I’m finding balance between life before and after Whole 30. Like I said, sugar is a NO before 4, but after? Sure. I’ll treat myself.  Wine is back because of course, but not as much or as frequent. Dairy is really scaled back. Processed foods have no appeal to me anymore. I drink more water, and try to have something small for breakfast- like a Larabar or a hardboiled egg. Veggies take up much more of my plate, and I rarely eat bread.

I’m also working out again, and most days I don’t eat 3 full meals if I’m not hungry for it. I still keep good fats in my diet, though, like coconut, avocados and almonds.

I don’t think I’ll do it again because I think I got what I needed out of it. None of the food groups were real triggers for me in a life-changing way beyond how I react to sugar and dairy, and I am adjusting accordingly. My cravings are minimal.

Instead, I’ll focus on moving forward, adopting what the Whole 30 taught me about myself and incorporating it into a healthier lifestyle.

I’m still a big cheerleader for Whole 30, and think anyone could do it. It’s just for 30 days, and you will learn so much about your relationship with food.

Life After Whole 30 |

That awkward moment after you upload what you thought was the perfect pic for a post, only to realize you look like a toddler holding your pee in.

If you want to learn more about it start with the Whole 30 website, read the book It Starts With Food for even more info, and follow TeamWhole on Instagram for tons of inspiration (also the #Whole30 hashtag, of course, and check out #JillsWhole30Journal for all my #whole30 related IG posts).

You can read more about my Whole 30 experience here. 

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  1. That half pound could have been a pee or a poop. Or just water weight fluctuation. But I bet your body was full of vitamins and minerals you were missing out on. Good job!

    • But seriously, I stopped weighing myself. I have been strength training and getting so much stronger since last October. My clothes fit me better. I was feeling great. Then I stepped on the scale at the doctor and I weighed the same. EXACT SAME. It fucked with my head too. Like, I did not even lose A POUND? Which made me real glad that I do not have scale at home.

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  3. I did the whole 30 last year and kept it up for 6 weeks until I stopped being so strict. I didn’t lose any weight for the first 4 weeks and it was really pissing me off because I was struggling and I wanted to be rewarded. After 4 weeks I lost about 5 pounds but I did lose belly fat and it stayed off for about a year and I started eating like I had the metabolism of a toddler again. So now I’m on day 2 of the 30 day so that maybe someday I can see my fine China again (which I can’t see because of my fat. I hate the headaches and the fact that I want to scratch everybody’s eyes out the first couple of days but oh well.
    I love your blog by the way.

  4. I love that you did it for reconnecting with food, not to loose weight. I get so tired of people telling me how to eat to loose weight when what I really want is health and that takes time and dedication. Whole 30 is a great way to focus on food. I can’t tell you how much I love this post!

  5. Hi, I was searching the internet for experiences of fat gain following a Whole30 way of eating and came across your post. I just wanted to add that I think it’s crazy you think you could even have 10 lbs to lose! You are very thin! Even if you say you have a belly behind that blouse, I doubt there is 10 lbs of belly fat – 10 lbs is a lot of fat.

    Glad you had a good Whole30 experience. I just can’t get myself to complete one. I think that is why I am searching the internet for negative experiences – a form of self -sabotage, I suppose 😉

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  7. Lauren Morrison Martin on

    I appreciate this post so much. My Whole30 is done tomorrow…and I know I haven’t lost weight. And I need to–and did it largely to lose weight. I’m nervous about getting on the scale on Thursday…but your list of why it was worth it will help me. A lot. Thank you.

  8. I’ve done a Whole 30 and multiple Whole Life Challenges which are 8 weeks long. I don’t notice any changes until week four or five so a Whole 30 just isn’t long enough for me to make any real changes that stick.

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  10. Elissa Lansdell Gorgi on

    You could have been me writing this (less the breastfeeding bit!). Thank you! I’m only ten days in, but I am feeling the changes in terms of my relationship with food already. Pants are still tight and I haven’t lost an ounce. (Since weighing is not allowed, I’ll just say it’s a gut feeling. Ok I lied. I weighed myself.). I have the same questions you had – like seriously, no wine, no sugar, no grains, black coffee and STILL?! But my skin is better already, and I’m sleeping deeply (with the strangest dreams I’ve ever had). Thanks for encouraging me to keep going with that post! You look gorgeous, happy and healthy. Cheers (when I can toast again)! Elissa

  11. Doreen Satterwhite on

    Thanks for this post. I’m 16 days into the Whole30, not cheating at all. My clothes do NOT feel a bit looser. My husband cheats often and has weighed himself–10 pounds down! Not fair! I did it to loose weight (really wanted -10 pounds, not unreasonable for 30 days) as well as introduce better eating habits. I plan on continuing on, adding even more exercise and see what happens. Again, thanks for your perspective. I’ll try to take the good (healthy eating) with the bad (???weight gain???– yikes!) BTW I’m a 50+ year old woman, about 10 pound overweight.

  12. Genevieve Erny Maul on

    If you didn’t lose weight, you may be celiac – I gained ten pounds when I quick eating gluten because my gut was healing and finally absorbing nutrients (and calories). I know your post is old, but I am desperately looking around as to why I haven’t lost weight on Whole30 either!

  13. Thank you for this! I thought I was going insane! I just finished my whole 30 today and was really excited to weigh myself. Although I didn’t actually do it, like you said, to lose weight, I was pretty excited about the side-effect outcome that everyone has talked about. I myself gained 2 lbs, and one of my friends said it’s probably muscle you were running more and working out more, but still, to eliminate so many foods, and I even restricted my fruit intake the last week, I just couldn’t believe my body reacted that way. Much to your point, while I won’t ever do a whole30 again, it taught me cooking isn’t always a huge commitment. You can always figure out something simple with the ingredients in your fridge. I have the power to say no! at work events, social functions, even my best friend birthday and cookie cake, I can say no and don’t feel like I’m missing out in the long run.

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  19. Wow thank you for sharing this! I am on week 1 and feeling like I am gaining weight, because like you said I am just coming out of college and I NEVERRRR used to eat 3 meals a day. In fact it’s hard for me to eat so much protein in 1 meal on this plan! Thanks for sharing!

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