This Whole30 timeline will help you know what to expect at each stage of your Whole30. It isn't for the faint of heart, but if you can make it through all of these stages the level of self-empowerment you will feel will very likely change your life. Because if you can do this...what else can you do?
If you're not familiar with Whole30, it's an elimination diet program that lasts for 30 days. You can read more about what Whole30 is and how to do one here, and find a whole boatload of my Whole30 resources here.
This particular post is to provide those of you who are preparing for or currently in a round with a Whole30 timeline, and each of the stages you'll likely incur.
You'll be in certain stages for a few days, and not everyone moves through these at the same pace. Keep in mind these are general ideas of when you might feel some varying physical, emotional, and mental shifts.
Additionally, you might not feel every one of these, or any of them at all. Each person's journey with Whole30 is different.
That said, I hope this Whole30 timeline provides you with both a bit of insight and a bit of humor as you navigate your own health journey!
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 1
Day 1: So what’s the big deal?
On the first day of your Whole30 timeline, you're going to feel great. Really great. Super great. You'll make healthy choices, be prepped and ready, and you'll wonder..."what's the big deal?"
You probably have a few snacks and meals prepped and your fridge is stocked. You feel ready to go and can't wait to grab this bull by the horns and take charge!
Remember that power that you feel right now, that confidence. Put it in your back pocket. You're going to need it a few days down the road, I promise.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 2
Days 2-3: The Hangover
This doesn't always happen the same way for everyone, and it doesn't always happen right on Day 2, so keep that in mind. Sometimes it takes until day 3 or 4, especially if this isn't your first time.
What it does do is feel like a legit hangover. You'll feel lethargic, tired, and probably have a headache. No, you didn't go on a drinking binge. Yes, you are going through a detox.
Your body is processing out all the junk and crap you have been giving it. The worse you feel, the worse you probably ate prior to getting started.
It will be especially noticeable for those of you who are consistent in your bad habits - diet soda drinkers, I'm looking at you.
It's normal to not feel great for a few days while you detox. Drink lots of water and hang in there. The worst is yet to come!
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 3
Days 4-5: Kill ALL the things!
At this stage of your Whole30 timeline, you wake up with a clear head, recovered from your hangover. You feel good, you think.
Then someone starts talking to you, and you just feel...annoyed. It doesn't matter who they are or what they're saying, you'll likely just want to punch them in the face and walk away.
Your body is starting to feel better. But your brain is now catching up on all the things it can't have. And no one likes to be told they can't have something.
So the wires in your brain start firing and when it doesn't add up the way you want it to, because you CAN'T have butter on toast for breakfast, you get...grumpy.
Try to be patient with those around you and remember that this is not their fault. This is a conscious choice you are making to feel better, and you're going to want those people around to support you later on.
Trust me on this one.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 4
Days 6-7: I just want a nap…
Remember what you used to give your body for energy? Starbucks for breakfast, Diet Coke for lunch, wine at dinner?
But why are you so tired now? Aren't you supposed to have all the energy by eating all the big and strong foods?
Now your body is learning how to use healthy foods as its main energy source, and there's a bit of a learning curve. You can't learn things overnight, and neither can your body.
It's figuring it's ish out. Keep holding on. I promise it will be worth it.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 5
Day 8-9: For the love of Gosling, my pants are TIGHTER.
Nope, you didn't gain weight. It's typically just bloating.
I know, this seems like a negative thing, and not something that should happen when you're eating healthy. But remember - from the inside out.
We are healing our guts and digestive systems, and it's going to take a minute to get it right. You'll likely experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or maybe even all three.
It won't last long, I promise. Find some leggings and move on. This is what stretchy pants were made for.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 6
Days 10-11: The Hardest Days.
Reward yourself on these days with something other than food.
Reframe your thinking around "reward" and what that means to you. Does it have to be food? No, it doesn't.
Here's why these are the hardest days on your Whole30 timeline - you've been through what feels like hell and back over the past 10 days, but you have nothing to show for it.
Your body hasn't started showing you outward results of its inner changes. And that, my friends, is maddening.
When you put in all this hard work, you just want to SEE RESULTS.
Listen to me: they are coming. I promise. But not just yet.
You can do this. It is only 30 days, and you're already a third of the way there. This is a blip on the timeline of your life.
Don't self sabotage, don't self pity, don't go eat something non-compliant out of anger, or frustration, or sadness. Identify what you're feeling and why, and then treat yourself to something that feels like a reward for making it this far.
Some ideas I love for rewards are:
A date with a friend
Going to a movie
A bubble bath
Self care will go a long way. Give yourself a little to get over the hump. You've got this.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 7
Days 12-15: Boundless energy! Now give me a damn Twinkie.
It might not be a Twinkie for you (it isn't for me), but you are going to have cravings during these days. And, they might be weird.
If you've ever been pregnant, you might find them to be similar to pregnancy cravings, at least in their intensity.*
It's possible that the things you crave are also not things you actually like, or things you ate prior to being on Whole30. But your brain and body are both going through some crazy changes right now, so stuff can get weird.
The good news is, you are through the negative physical ramifications of the program, and your energy levels will start rising. You feel ready to go and back on your game! (Except for the cravings. But those will be gone in a few days.)
*I hate pickles. I love pickled things, but not actual pickles. When I was pregnant with my son, my husband really really wanted me to crave and eat pickles. It never happened. I've never craved them on a Whole30 either.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 8
Days 16-27: Tiger Blood!
This means different things for different people, and doesn't always happen for everyone. I've had rounds where I feel Tiger Blood, and rounds where I don't.
Sometimes its physical - clothes fit better, you're sleeping better, you feel stronger and clear headed. Sometimes it's mental - you've found confidence in your capability to DO THIS THING and realize that if you've come this far, you can make it all the way.
You're probably getting competent in your cooking, prepping, and dishwashing (oh dear, the dishwashing) and feel like you're owning this thing.
And mental affects the physical, so even a bout of inner confidence can radiate outwards.
But remember - this stage doesn't happen for everyone, and doesn't always happen at the same time for everyone.
Keep on keeping on - even if there's no breakthrough moment for you, this is still going to be totally worth it.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 9
(Interlude) Day 21: I am so over this.
There's so much damned cooking on Whole30. And the dishes. Did I mention the dishes?
It's exhausting, for sure. When you start to feel burnt out, keep it simple. Make easy one pan recipes like Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas or things that don't require actual cooking like this Whole30 Charcuterie Plate.
The crock pot is your friend - set it and forget it, and when you walk into the kitchen that evening and dinner is done? It's all gravy. (The Whole30 compliant kind, of course.)
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 10
Day 28: 28 is as good as 30…right?
You committed to a Whole30 timeline of 30 DAYS. That means you owe yourself and your body the ENTIRE 30 DAYS.
I know this is hard, I know you want to cave, and say to hell with it, I made it 28, 2 days aren't going to help me any more.
But they are, I promise. There is pride and bragging rights on the other side, but not if you quit now.
Two sleeps and you're there. You've got this.
Whole30 Timeline, Milestone 11
Days 29-30: HolyOprahIt’sAlmostOverWhatAmIGoingToEatNow?!?!?!
It's super easy to start to feel panicky at this point in your Whole30 timeline. Where do you go from here? What do you do when it's over?
Answer - nothing.
You don't have to change anything. In fact, at this point I'd recommend heading over and reading my post on what to do after Whole30, so you have a game plan.
Reintroductions are highly recommended if you want to know more about your body. You can see the full Whole30 Reintroduction Guide here.
If you go and eat ALL THE THINGS, you'll lose a lot of the benefits you gained from the program. Seeing how your body reacts to certain food groups while staying mostly on Whole30 is the best route.
Either way, don't stress. You did the hard thing. You can do more hard things.
You're done...or are you?
Day 31: Deep breathing. And maybe some ice cream.
Look, don't go eat everything under the sun. If you're not doing reintroductions, that's ok. I won't judge you. I didn't do them on a few of my rounds either, and I'm still here. You might not learn quite as much as you could, but you probably feel better either way.
Whether you add to your Whole30 timeline with reintroductions or not, you'll still find your body reacting to things it hasn't had in awhile.
You'll also probably find yourself more consistently reaching for healthier options and making meals you enjoyed while on Whole30, and you'll have a newfound batch of confidence to boot.
The end of your Whole30 timeline: what now?
You no longer have the excuse of "I'm on Whole30" in social situations, but that's ok. You probably also have the confidence now to say with conviction, "I'm choosing not to eat that."
One of my favorite phrases that I still use to this day is "There will always be another _______ ."
Fill that in with whatever you want - cupcake, piece of bread, glass of wine, ice cream cone. But remember - there WILL always be another. And when I think about it that way, I find it easier to leave it behind.
I don't need this one right here and now, because I can have a different one at a later date. Will I? Maybe, maybe not. But once I get in my head that the option still exists down the road, I feel less like I need THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.