How to lose 17lb in 30 days on the Whole30 program

This post is about 2 things. How to lose 17lb in 30 days and my story about how this changed my life. In an effort not to bury the lead, I'll start w/ the steps of how I did it, then get into my story.

Steps to lose 17lb in 30 days:

  1. Decide you want to be healthier and that you're finally going to do something about it.
  2. Go read the Whole30 program, subscribe to the emails and follow them meticulously.
  3. Exercise 3 or more times per week. Focus on functional training (versus muscle isolation aka body building) and do this in a group setting where you can be motivated by others with a shared goal.

That's it, but of course, this is not as simple as it sounds. Here are some additional changes you'll have to make to be successful:

  • Make preparing your meals, 3 a day, a priority. This means you'll have to do less of something else. Really sit down and consciously make this decision. Say you like playing golf on Sundays. Well, you're going to have to miss the next 4 rounds in order to prepare your meals. Sounds lame, but this is when it is critical for you to decide you want to be healthier. If you're unwilling to make this choice, you will fail.
  • Stop going out to eat. Eating on the Whole30 requires 100% commitment for 30 days. In my experience if you do go out to eat you'll have to ask so many questions and substitute so many things you'll hate it. Just avoid it all together.
  • Prioritize being active over being sedentary. Less television, less facebook, less whatever keeps you planted in that chair. Get up and get moving, no excuses.

View gallery of what I ate

Now for my long drawn out story:

It was a lack-luster weekend. I enjoyed many cocktails for my thirty-first birthday at a local favorite but other than that it was the usual mix of Lowes, Ikea, and Home Depot. Thirtyone is not nearly as exciting as thirty. If you haven't found that out by now, you will soon. A couple days later I found myself digging through the garage where I pulled out an old dusty scale. I used to use this when I was really into the typical meat head stuff, back-and-bi's, chest-and-tri's kinda workouts. Before I knew what I was doing basically.

198lb was the readout. This is about 10lb shy of my heaviest 5 years prior when I was eating 8x a day and wasting my time in a globo-gym. I need to clarify, the weight wasn't what bothered me. I would be ecstatic if I could be 198lb while remaining lean, athletic, etc. This of course was not the case. Despite my 4-6 days in an outstanding gym, I found myself dragging anytime I did something focused on conditioning.

Working from home I have no excuse not to eat right. So this isn't an excuse, it was my own lack of self discipline that was killing my diet, and ultimately my waste line. I need structure. Going back to my days in college I would always struggle, and often fail, classes which lacked concreteness but others which dealt with absolutes I excelled at. This is why a simple “Hey, just try eating cleaner” wouldn't work for me. I needed someone to give me a roadmap, a plan of sorts that was easy to follow. I also needed many words of encouragement, especially when I didn't want to hear them. For the latter, I have my wonderful wife to thank. For the former, I turned to the Whole30.

The Whole30 is a program developed in 2009 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig that has helped tens of thousands of people realign their eating habits with ones that actually improve their health. The general rules are simple: “Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds.” If you're familiar with the “paleo diet” this may sound familiar. For those unfamiliar this also means, no added sugar of any kind, no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no legumes (beans, peanuts, soy, etc.), no carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, no white potatoes and no bacon.

That's a long list, holy sh*t!

Yes, but it works. Believe me…

I started the Whole30 just 5 days after my birthday on Jan 31st, 2013 and it ended on March 2nd, 2013. During this time I cooked nearly every meal I ate, except for the last week of it where I was in San Francisco. Even in a city like that, with tons of great food options, it still is REALLY hard to stay strict on the diet. My results (drummroll) a whopping seventeen pounds! I went from 198lb to 181lb in 30 days following the Whole30 program. During the time I also capture a pic of every single meal I ate (gallery).

Overall I have to say this diet really works. Not only did it help me reset my metabolism, mind, and soul, I have insurmountable amounts of energy during my workouts and generally am full of energy and happiness. Now that that Whole30 is over I plan on making some lasting changes including no dairy or added sugar at all, and much less alcohol.

If you're looking for something to help get you back on track I cannot recommend the Whole30 program enough. Dallas and Melissa definitely know their stuff, and I am a big believer after going through this.

Stay healthy my friends…



  1. Great (and helpful) post, Ben! It takes a lot of effort and determination to stay true to a plan like this. It’s great to hear you had such positive results with it.

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