Thursday, July 1, 2021

Our June Whole30-ish: How We Cheated and Still Succeeded!

For the month of June, Phil and I decided to complete a Whole30 diet with some modifications to make it more doable than the last time when we followed the Whole30 rules 100% and hated life the whole time.  Nobody wants to hate life, so we decided to make it work for us while still getting the benefits of weight loss and less inflammation and better sleep, etc.  

We have tried going Keto a few times when we want to lose some weight, but I realized that each time I ate Keto, my cycle would become irregular.  I know that's TMI, but it was enough to make me realize maybe it wasn't the best diet for my body.  I wanted to add in carbs, but only healthy ones so I thought the Whole30 would be a better choice for me.  

The basic premise of the Whole30 is that you cut out a lot of foods that potentially cause your body inflammation and give digestion troubles and are not nutritious.  

You can NOT eat:

Preservatives/MSG/other additives

You CAN eat:

Nuts (not peanuts)

You are also supposed to just eat these foods as naturally as possible, and not combine them in ways to create pancakes or smoothies or ice cream.  The point is that you get away from eating treats altogether, even if they are "healthy" treats.  So while freezing a banana and blending it into "ice cream" would have acceptable ingredients, you would still be cheating by eating something like ice cream.  Whole30 says just eat the banana in it's pure state.  Don't try to get tricky.  This is the book you want to read to get started, and then you can google tons of recipes to try.

Now, this is REALLY hard to follow for 30 days.  You might think, "Oh I can just fry an egg for breakfast" but then you go to fry said egg and realize you can't use butter, you can only use ghee.  So then you have to make the ghee.  And drink your coffee black.  Or "I'll have a salad with grilled chicken for lunch" but then have to create your own marinade for the chicken because bottled stuff has non-approved ingredients.  Then you have to make your own salad dressing for the same reason.  Maybe I'm weaker than most, but things like this aggravate me and make me want to quit on the first day.  So in order to keep with it, I allowed the following:

Bottled salad dressings (I chose low-sugar options but most had dairy)
Mayo and Ketchup (sparingly)
Marinades (homemade but had some sugar in them)
Cream in my coffee 

We also added in weekly cheats.  We allowed ourselves one cheat meal per week (plus Father's Day was a cheat day!), as well as two nights a week where we could enjoy an adult beverage.  

Um, Colleen, you are not really following the Whole30 Diet.

I know!  That's why I called it Whole30-ISH.

Oh and we also have been Intermittent Fasting for a couple years now, so we didn't want to change that.

So typically, our day would look like this:

Coffee with (forbidden) cream and collagen at 7 am.

Lunch of a Whole30 approved soup or chili plus a fruit at noon.

Snack of RxBar (I like the Blueberry ones and Phil likes the Coconut) or fruit with handful of nuts around 3:30.


Dinner of Whole30 approved foods (with the exception of dressings/marinades/butter) around 6.

Walk the dog a few miles.

Tea or Seltzer and our Whole30 approved fruit "candy" each night.

Here are some dinners that I remembered to take photos of:

Burger with salad and sweet potato homefries

Pork tenderloin with baked potato, roasted cauliflower and roasted beets

Salad with tuna

Another burger wrapped in lettuce with tomatoes and basil and cucumbers and a few plantain chips

Grilled chicken sausage with green beans and tomatoes and cucumbers

All week, we would plan what we would eat on our cheat meal and they were really gluttonous and wonderful.  Think pizza and ice cream, chicken tenders and onion rings, loaded nachos, cookouts with chips and more ice cream.  Look at the giant chocolate chip cookie with ice cream that we ordered for dessert on one of our cheat nights:

Our workouts stayed the same from before we started this diet throughout the whole month.  I never felt like I didn't have enough energy to workout, but I think that's because I would eat an RxBar or a banana before I worked out.  My goal is always to burn 800 Move Calories each day, and I hit that most days.

So, how was it?

Thanks for asking!

It was pretty ok.  Ha!  While it wasn't as hard as not cheating, it still took perseverance and willpower to stay on task.  I renewed my love for fruits, and June is a great month to get them fresh and ripe.  When you are eating this strictly, there's nothing easier to grab and go than an apple or nectarine so it becomes my go to snack.  I would drink a decaf coffee or tea sometimes after lunch, just to feel like I was having a treat.  

I learned that I can eat dinner at 5 or 6 and truly not need to eat anything until the next day at lunch, as long as I have something to sip on all evening.  I also learned that the evening sipping leads to 3am potty calls, but that's ok.  Sleep was less hours but better quality, meaning I would wake up earlier but feel rested.  My resting heart rate dropped into the 50s which always makes me feel a lot calmer and less anxious.  

As for the weight loss?  Well Phil lost 16 pounds and I lost 13 pounds.  To be honest, we lost most of that weight after 2 weeks, and sort of kept steady with small weight loss for the last two weeks.  The last time we did the Whole30 for realsies, we started around the same weights and Phil lost 19 pounds and I lost 15, so I would concur that cheating the way we did was worth it!  I would happily lose 2 less pounds to have all of those fun cheat nights.

Moving forward, I think I want to keep eating this way but add in another cheat meal each week and see if that puts us in maintenance mode.  I do like the planning of cheat meals versus just eating badly and calling it a cheat meal.  Deciding all week what we wanted to eat on our cheat night was *almost* as much fun as eating it. I know diets are not for everyone, but we have found a nice rhythm of dieting a couple times a year and then trying to maintain but inevitably gaining weight, and the cycle continues.  I'm not a stickler for a number on a scale, and don't even weigh myself often, but whenever I feel like my clothes have suddenly shrunk (how does that happen?!) or I just don't feel good in my skin, it's time to reset the eating habits, and this way will become our go-to diet for that.  If you don't think you can live this way for a month, I challenge you to try two weeks...even ten'll be amazed at how you feel!  Good luck and good health!


  1. Thanks for sharing this! My husband and I are going to try it.

    1. Good luck and I would live to hear how it goes!


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