Common Whole 30 “symptoms” That Will Make You Absolutely Question Your “Why”

Whole 30 Common and not so common symptoms

When starting off on your Whole 30, you may not realize some of the common side effects that come along with drastically changing your diet.  If you’ve been riding that gluten and sugar-laden train, you may experience more of these than others.  It’s better to be aware of these symptoms and know they will not last forever.  Push through and keep going.  Here is a list of common symptoms you may experience, especially during your first 14 days.

  • Headaches (dull)  I know I will because I cannot drink coffee black, therefore I will be giving up my caffeine habit cold turkey.
  • Lethargy  There again, no caffeine or sugar
  • Sleepiness
  • Crankiness
  • Brain Fog
  • Cravings 
  • General Malaise
  • Breakouts
  • Mild digestive issues such as bloating and irregularity

A General Timeline

The first time I did the Whole 30, I signed up for a daily email sent to me that would touch on something you may be dealing with that day.  I must admit, it was usually spot on and really helped to know that it was normal and would soon pass.  Use the information in this post as a general timeline to help you, also.

  • Day 1: Rock Star Status  You have been prepping for this day for a couple of weeks, have eaten a delicious breakfast and lunch and are looking forward to your dinner you have simmering in the crock-pot.  You’re wondering why everyone thinks this is so hard.  You’re feeling like a rock star, as you should because you’ve made one good decision after another.  Remember this feeling!  You will need to refer back to it.
  • Days 2-3: The Hangover  I read this quote on the Whole 30 website and I would love to use it here (it was just too good not to).  “The amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of crap you consumed before you began the program”.  Your body is going through a detox.  Drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and know your body will thank you later.
  • Days 4-5 Kill ALL the Things  This phase must be what my children were referring to when I told them I was going to do another round of Whole 30.  They said I was grouchy and mean.  For some reason, you will go through a phase that will literally make you want to kill all the things.  Just ask for forgiveness from everyone before it even happens!  And know that this too shall pass.
  • Days 6-7 I just want a nap  This is what I always refer to as the pregnancy tired. If you’ve ever been pregnant you will know what I’m talking about.  It’s a tired that you just can’t even describe.  You will have to fight through this phase pretty hard.  I’ve been known to fall asleep at my desk during this phase.  What’s going on here is that your body is realizing it can’t rely on all those energy sources you used to feed it in the form of sugar-filled treats. Give yourself a break during this phase and get to bed early.
  • Days 8-9 My pants are TIGHTER??   During this phase you will probably experience bloating, constipation, or diarrhea as your gut starts to heal itself with all the healthy foods you are feeding it.  Give it time to heal itself.
  • Days 10-11 The hardest days  This is the phase you start to realize the psychological hold food has over you.  You’ve been working really hard and have yet to see the results and just want to give up.  You feel like you want a reward and you’ve conditioned yourself to use food as that reward.  This is very important.  You need to rethink your definition of rewarding yourself.  Whatever void you are feeling, remind yourself that food cannot fill that void.
  • Days 12-15 Boundless Energy!  This phase can be a bit tricky because you now have boundless energy, your pants fit again, you’ve gotten over the exhausting phase, but now your mind is telling you (even in your sleep) that you should be craving all the bad foods.  This is where our minds try to drive us back to the comfort foods we used to know.  Journalling during this phase can be very helpful in figuring why we want the foods we are craving and help us figure out how to break that cycle.
  • Days 16-27 Tiger Blood!   This is everyone’s favorite phase.  I mean, who doesn’t want the tiger blood feeling??  This can mean different things for different people.  It may have you feeling like you’re on top of the world, in control of your eating habits and kicking ass in the gym.  For others, it may be a sense of pride over what you have accomplished, a new sense of self-worth and confidence that you can keep going.  You may have more energy, a handle on the cravings, and learning new ways to cook in the kitchen.
  • Day 21  I’m so over this  You’re loving your results on the program, but you are just over it.  You are on week 3 and just don’t know if you can go one more week.  And if you see another egg, you may scream.  You may be getting bored with the food choices.  Take this time to find more interesting meals to try to keep you engaged.
  • Day 28 28 is as good as 30, right?  No!!  You’ve made it 28 days!!  Don’t cave in now.  Keep that commitment to yourself and go 2 more days.
  • Days 29-30  Holy crap I did it!  Now what do I eat???  Don’t panic.  There is a great re-introductory phase.  It helps you reintroduce those foods you eliminated one at a time so that you can honestly evaluate how they make your body feel and if you should be eating them.  Don’t do what I did and go straight to Chick-fil-a and eat all the things.  You will feel so sick.  I promise.

Don’t look at this post as something to scare you off.  I want you to be well equipped to be ready for what is ahead.  If you’re prepared for what is coming, you will be able to handle it better.  And know you’re not alone.

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