30 Day Challenge: Week 1

I’ve been feeling like I’ve needed a Paleo reboot ever since the holidays, so I decided to bite the bullet and embark on the 30 Day Challenge, and Erica has been awesome enough to do it AGAIN with me (she just did it in January, loser). For those of you unfamiliar- the 30 Day Challenge is basically eating SUPER clean for 30 days (no grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, or legumes). I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile, and kept telling myself “oh I’ll do it after {enter any one of my 100 excuses here}” and then I realized.. there is NEVER going to be an ideal time to go balls to the wall with this. Life happens. There are ALWAYS going to be weeks when I’m busy, and won’t have a chance to cook, and there will be parties that I’ll want to drink at, and meetings where I’ll want to house cookies and treats. So, I decided last week- March 1st, I’m going to start.

And then I read this:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip”. Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no “slip”. You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even started.

You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your Mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.

And then I decided to start right then and there. Thank you Whole9 for the much needed tough love.

So here we are, 9 days in to the Whole 30 Challenge, and I have to say- it’s going much better than expected. Since I’ve been Paleo for about 7 months now, it hasn’t been a drastic change, it’s just been being more disciplined and not allowing myself to have Paleo sweets, chocolate Larabars (so sad), and non-Paleo cheats. The hardest thing so far? Shockingly, it’s been alcohol. I am NOT a big drinker by any means, I actually am not really into drinking at all. I am the definition of a lush. Seriously, I’m tipsy off the smell of wine. So, I thought it would be no big deal to cut it out (Joey Gladstone anyone?!?! No? Nothing? Uncle Joey? Damn, rough crowd). But last weekend, I had a crazy long day at work and met friends for dinner and “drinks” and was surprised at how badly I wanted a glass of wine or a tequila. I definitely think it was more of a social setting than it was me craving alcohol, but I think this will be the hardest part of the Challenge.. unless I want to be a hermit for the next 21 days… which actually doesn’t sound horrible..

Anyways, we took some wicked sweet “before” pictures so we can compare the changes after 30 days. So here we are, in all our glory. I’m the sweaty beast (photo taken after I taught a class), and Erica is the one taking selfies and posting them on her MySpace page.

          Not sure why I feel the need to make this face in nearly every photo taken of me..

Erica, clean your mirror!

We’ve both been keeping food diaries, and will be posting some samples of our daily menus (be warned: I eat A LOT). It really is amazing how different you feel after just a few days. Everything everyone says about this challenge is true. I’ve been sleeping like a rock at night, have way more energy throughout the day, and have already noticed my tummy is a little flatter. Neither of us are doing this to lose weight btw. We’ve both been working out a ton, and want to have our bodies be in the best physical and mental shape possible. Really, why not? What do you have to lose? 30 days is NOTHING in the grand scheme of things. And, March is a horribly long month with no long weekends, so why not give yourself a goal to look forward to? Who’s with us?!

Sorry to quote Nike.. but c’mon, JUST DO IT.



168 thoughts on “30 Day Challenge: Week 1

  1. two things:

    1. instead of saying “don’t eat no grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, or legumes, it would be a lot more effective to instead say, “you can only eat blah, blah, blah, blah, and blah.” to tell us what not to eat doesn’t really help.

    2. why are you holding your stomach in?

  2. You had me at no legumes.

    Congrats on being Freshly Sweaty….oops, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Mr. Bricks

    OK I will take one for the team and ask…can we get more photos at day 30?

  3. I’m SO happy that this post was featured on FP because I’ve been trying to figure out a good 30 day bootcamp type regimen! And what good steps to stay motivated – I need to print those three bold sentences for motivation. Good luck to you guys! You already look great so I can’t imagine how fit you will get!

  4. Props to you guys! I’ve recently gotten into pilates/am trying to cut my Dr Pepper addiction, hopefully it works!

  5. Congratulations! I did a 30 day challenge at Whole Foods Health Starts Here program and have not gone back to meat, dairy, oils, and processed foods including sugar. I then started a 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge and I am on my 25 day. I feel so amazing that I am doing a 90 day challenge. It is so worth it. Stick to it! God bless!

  6. I’ve been eating Paleo for 15 months, and have been slipping a bit lately. My frequent travel makes it really, um, challenging to do the challenges. Still, I think I need to do a challenge to reset. Will have to find a way to make it work. Good luck to you!

  7. This has gotten me thinking. I have been looking for ways to exercise and eat in a way that doesn’t interfere with my myriad of health issues and treatments but I haven’t been putting enough time and energy into it. I am going to change that.

  8. Wow! I’m not paleo, but I am a vegan and thinking about doing a similar 30 day challenge (including grains, but cutting out sugar…) thanks for the encouragement! I also don’t want to do that to lose weight, but just to be in shape and have mental clarity.

  9. Congrats on being freshly pressed. Its’ great that the post came out now ‘coz I am on my “clean” diet mode right now too though I’m staying away from diff things! I’ll be looking forward to your food diary post.

  10. I wanted to try this 21 day fast i read about . I may try this instead! I tried keeping a food diary ..no bueno. So instead I have been trying the method of cleaning out my house of all junk food and only stocking it with healthy things. Thanks for your post! 🙂

  11. Good luck! I’m giving up sugar, alcohol and gluten this week. It’s been five days and counting, but it feels good to get the crap out of my system.

  12. Interesting. I am a big nutrition snob, myself. I eat 7 meals a day and calculate macronutrient ratios(yeah, I’m a dork). I love eating healthy and training hard. Keep going strong! In fact, just make it a lifestyle. I can’t imagine eating any other way then the way I do now! I love it :).

    • That’s the take to have on the whole deal. Reward instead of punishment. And getting rewarded for rewarding yourself. That’s how I did, and that’s how I stayed on track. That’s how it became a way of life for me.

      Author looks pretty happy though. It’s not punishment for her. And she’s looking buff. And she made freshly pressed!

  13. Wow! Glad I ran across your blog! And since I am running my very first 5k in June, I am up for as much clean eating as I can ingest! 🙂 I’m a vegetarian, but I still feel weighted down by my diet. So it’s time to get a bit more drastic.
    And I’m not even gonna kid you – this 50-year-old IS in it to lose more weight!!! 🙂

    You go ladies! And I’m going with you!! 🙂


  14. Congratulations on being freshly pressed! As a fellow sleep, eat, gym, repeat do’er (since it’s my job- corporate wellness/fitness) I am always looking for the next thing to keep myself motivated and to share with my personal training clients. Thank you for this post, I think I might have to give this a try. Keep up the good work!

  15. Thanks for posting this! Encourages me to keep going with my “project” too. On the road to sexy 😉


  16. It is not hard.
    Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip”.
    You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat.

    Such good points and the principles can be applied to lots of other things in life as well. With commitment and discipline we CAN be who we want to be. You go, girls! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  17. It sounds great but if you are staring out the way you both are, which is higly lean anyway, I think you’re going to have to take some real close-ups for us to see the difference! I have always been interested in the Paleo diet but also the Plant-based diet. I have started neither but have the plant-based book Forks over knives and find it makes sense. Great job ladies and you are both an inspiration to us all! Congrat on being Freshly pressed!

  18. I found this just in time! I’ve been off Paleo for a few months and the difference was ridiculous. I’ve started back up (as of Monday, or “No More Excuses Day”, and with a party this weekend I think I needed that extra support!!!

  19. I AM WITH YOU! I have been threatening myself for most of this week with a raw food diet of non-specific duration, so I am taking Whole9’s advice and Starting. Right. Now. Is coffee allowed?! Faqfaqfaq… 😛

    Also just added the ‘I’m doing the Whole 30’ graphic to my blog so there’s no going back. I shall endeavour to measure and photo myself tomorrow morning, although chances of me posting the before photo publicly are Zero, give or take No Percent.

    Nice blog!! Congrats on your Fresh Pressing 😀

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  21. You have both motivated me to get up from behind the desk and lose this extra stone or so I’ve added over the last two years. Keep up the good work!

  22. I live in utter shame. I work at a freaking gym. Yet I don’t bother to work out. I eat the most terrible foods in great quantities too. I’ve tried getting into eating better, but with me being so picky, it is hard. Aside from spinach, veggies disgust me and I love cheese and bacon! I’m a wreck. I’m gonna see if I can find a friend who would do something like this with me. I could obviously use the discipline.

  23. I love your tips and motivational words! My husband and I are on a 28 Day Challenge – no gluten, dairy, meat/poultry/, coffee/black tea, refined/artificial sugars, and alcohol. Its actually not as bad as we thought it would be – we just find it takes a LOT more planning. Since you’ve done this before, I’m sure this time around will be a breeze! And you are absolutely right – there is no good time to do a cleanse.

  24. Thanks for the inspration & encouragement. Our daughter has recently done the challenge and is encouraging us to do the same. We (my husband & I) plan to start together when I get back from an upciming trip, so we can keep one another on track. Looking forward to it & will let you know how it goes!

  25. Really cool, I’ve been trying this whole Paleo thing myself (as much as I made fun in my blog) but I have noticed it’s easier to get lean for sure. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve had bread and I finally don’t care! Plus, the eliminating of gluten and dairy made my allergies go away, and joint pain has decreased with all the healthy fats. Great diet, like I said, I am so much more lean and the muscle is so easy to acquire. 🙂

  26. I have just started a regime for 30 days to stablilize my blood sugar levels and it is tough to get back to our roots and eat healthily – you guys already look great though so I can’t imagine is is much of change for you.. I hope you reach your quest..!

  27. major props. looking forward to hearing how you do.
    What’s the Paleo diet btw? I’ve been trying to diet and exercise for the last three months but doing horribly on the diet. Can’t get my mind on it.
    I’ve done WW in the past and was thinking of going back to it, but I just don’t have the heart.

  28. This is so awesome! 🙂 so glad i stumbled accross your blog! I am someone whos life was changed by the power of exercise and nutrition, and i love reading things like these! keep it up xx

  29. Joey Gladstone!!!! ❤ memories 😀
    thanks for the inspiration… I'm a fitness freak and have true love for food. bit of a contradiction but i make it work. I should do a before and after piece… lets hope for good afters 😉

  30. Yep working out is pretty hard and dieting wow is much tougher when all nice eye catching sugary eatables are along with you and of course alcohol 🙂
    Very nice fittness you got btw 🙂

  31. Nice. After reading your blog, it made me realize to finally start my 30 days challenge! whew! Im sure it will be very tough for me.
    Need to lose weight before graduation.
    Good luck to all of us! 🙂

  32. Like your motivation, I do similar transformations and try a ton of other diet and fitness stuff for fun and to see how effective things are. Good post look forward to the after pics. 🙂

  33. I really like the part about this not being hard! it’s a good motivation and so true.
    but I do wonder one thing. WHY not legumes? they’re healthy. they also say sugar snap peas are an exception to the rule, but these if any legumes are roughly sprayed = not so healthy.
    I do know another challenge; it’s quite new but truly good and gives amazing results. it’s originally Swedish, but try to find anything about the “Fustra method” in English.

  34. You got me inspired and challenged at the same time. I would like to thank you for boosting my self-confidence. I am aware that I really need to have change of lifestyle but I find it hard to do it. Hopefully I will manage to do it like you do before it is too late.

  35. I’ve put a note on my desk (where I spent most time of my day) saying “lose 10lbs” and I’ve been feeling very much motivated by seeing it everyday as a constant reminder and I’ve started feeling that I’m drinking more water than ever, eating lesser fries than ever and dancing without a reason 🙂

  36. I’m gonna track your progress. I did this for two days and then ran out of the right food so I happily bought this yummy egg & bacon sandwich and then things went a bit downhill from there It’s hard for me. I love bread.
    But you know, I would be keen to get back on track and do the challenge again too.
    Question: what do you eat for breakfast?

  37. Congratulations and good luck!
    I think that i have to do this too. As firt step i’ll give my cookies to my mother! 🙂
    (Sorry for my english, i’m italian) 🙂

  38. I am so excited that this was on FP and I saw it.
    I’m trying to start the challenge myself, but I’m having a lot of difficulty with it. I’ve never eaten paleo before, and I’m a terrible cook (seriously, I’m trying to improve but I often don’t have the time to attempt a meal and then often have to throw it away.) But I think one of my problems is that I want variety in my diet… I could totally eat grilled chicken and veggies every day and be just fine, but I get so bored. And Melissa over at Whole9 is right. It’s not hard, I’m just weak. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in Crossfit, it’s that every time I find a weakness in myself, I need to work doubly hard to eradicate it.

    I’m going to read back through your blog, and especially your challenge. Maybe it’ll help mine. 🙂

  39. Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

    As you said, there will never be a perfect time to start a workout or diet regimen. You can paint yourself into a corner for years with excuses.

    With working out, OR ANYTHING IN LIFE, the most important first step is (like you said) JUST DO IT.

    Great post and a real wake up call! Thanks!

    PS In as non-creepy a way as possible while still coming over the internet, both of you look great!

  40. ssooo i hate to come on here as the ignorant one. but how do i find out more about this 30 day challenge? it sounds like something i would want do. i wish i would have found out about this about a month ago when lent started since i gave up alcohol, cigarettes, soda, and fast food.

  41. wow! i dont really think either of you need to be doing this 30 day thing! you guys look amazing already!

  42. Could you please explain why anyone would do a cleanse every-other month? You two look wonderful and I can’t imagine why Erica thinks she needs another cleanse so soon. What about a spiritual cleanse? An emotional cleanse? A mental cleanse? Why so much emphasis on the body?

    • This is definitely a mental cleanse as well! It wasn’t for weight loss at all. We both just like a challenge, and like how our bodies feel eating this way. Truly believe that mental health and physical health go hand in hand

  43. Awesome, I know I could never do it. Something tells me you looked pretty good before though, I take it this was just a challenge to flush out all the “toxins” and not to whip yourself into shape.

    Congrats to you.

  44. I love this! I did a TurboFire challenge back in the summer, but they say sculpting your body is 70% kitchen anyway. I’m starting another challenge soon, so I’m looking forward to hearing about your journey!


  45. So once you eliminate grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and legumes, WHAT the heck is left to eat??? Meat and vegetables (not legumes)…and… what? I think I’d rather die. LOL

  46. Moderation. Gradual introduction. Lifestyle. Ongoing. These seem to be philosophical concepts, which produces positive results, but are curiously absent from the nature of this challenge, not to mention the paleo diet. “Diet,” by the way, comes from the Greek, “diaita,” which means, “manner of living,” (lifestyle). 30 days is not so much a lifestyle, as it is a shock to the body, setting one’s self up for some very negative consequences. I believe the “paleo diet” gets its inspiration from the time just before organized agriculture took flight in the “fertile crescent” 8-10 thousand years ago. From that point on, life expectancies started to increase, populations grew, and the first permanent civilizations arose. Those are all good consequences, at least they appear that way from this vantage point. Legumes sustained, and continue to sustain, the poorest groups of people on this planet. Grains and legumes are essentially caches containing the highest concentrations of vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, and proteins of all foods on this planet.

    If it is improved health, improved appearance, improved feeling, regular exercise trumps everything else. I hang with cross country runners who consume entire galettes for lunch. I worked for a guy, in a French restaurant, who walked around with a Parmesan cheese shaker full of sugar, eating dozens of crepes I made. He also does Iron Man Triathlons. So yes, skip the coke (both kinds), don’t buy the cigarettes, and if the ingredient list looks like an organic chemistry experiment, put it back on the shelf and grab that bag of lentils or barley.

    Oh yeah, and for new music recommendations, check out http://www.liv4music.wordpress.com 🙂

    • Thanks for the advice and the music! We’re big advocates of finding a way of eating that works for you and makes you feel good, and everyone is different. If I could walk around eating cheese, sugar, and crepes all day, I would!! 🙂

  47. Good luck! You are both already fit, so it’s just cleaning up the diet (easy, right? not really.)

    After a year of experimenting with diet changes, I’ve come up with a few rules for my own eating:
    1- NO processed flour.
    2- NO processed sugar.
    3- NO deep fried food.
    4- Minimize processed foods (when you go to the grocery store, your cart should have almost no boxes or cans).
    5- Diets don’t work for the long haul. Pick a method of eating that you can stick with for the rest of your life.

    I have a slightly different take on the Paleo diet. To some degree, it’s become the new Atkins type craze. I think it’s great, but the value of Paleo is in cutting out processed foods, and empty calories, not some secret cave-man formula. Amazing how much better you feel when you cut out the processed crap endemic to the standard American diet.

    I have a slightly different diet journey. Almost a year ago, I stopped eating processed flour. It was very difficult for the first month, but then I began to feel better in subtle ways. I had more consistent energy levels, and just felt “better.” My weight did not change drastically (I’m already very active and fit), but my body fat percentage slowly decreased. After 8 months, I cut out processed sugar from my diet as well (because I realized that I was substituting excess sugar for flour). The combination of no processed flour AND no processed sugar created major changes in a short period of time. I’ve done zero calorie restriction. If I’m hungry, I eat (and I eat tons!).

    Now, at 41 years old, I’m 6′, about 175 lbs, and 10% or less body fat. More importantly, my athletic performance has jumped significantly. A 10-mile run seems easy now. Climbing on the bike or hammering for 2-4 hours is easy. Everything is easier. Having a 6-pack in my 40s is weird, awesome, but weird. Being stronger and fitter and leaner than most 20-somethings is great.

    • Wow, good for you!! Keep up the awesome work! We’re on the same page as you with the modified Paleo diet. Biggest thing for us is no processed foods and gluten. It’s a great way of eating and we’ve been doing it for about 10 months now. And TOTALLY agree with you about the processed flour! Thanks for the tips, keep that 6 pack up! 🙂

      • Thanks! And congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed. You’ve made it to the big time in a short time! (It’s my funky little blog goal, too).

        I actually started with a goal of 1-month strict gluten free diet on a whim (just to see what gluten free is all about). There isn’t a reason for me to be gluten free since I don’t have a gluten sensitivity. The first couple weeks were torture, since I ate a lot of flour normally. I realized that I had been spiking my blood sugar levels for years with flour and processed carbs (despite being a life long endurance sports guy and 10-20 hours a week of outdoor sports). I modified my diet to “processed flour free,” which still kept out lots of empty carbs and white flour.

        Then I committed to eliminating 95% of the processed sugar from my diet as well. (Incidental processed sugar and flour are okay, but are the exception rather than the rule). Without planning it, I unknowingly increased my insulin sensitivity and dumped 2-3% body fat.

        I’ve come to view food as a drug as well as nourishment. Eating releases endorphins in the brain and feelings of well being. Sugars and simple carbs (like highly processed flour), can be subtly addictive (for me at least, and probably millions of Americans). When I eliminated 95% of sugar and flour from my diet, I had less hunger cravings and vastly more consistent energy levels.

        Coincidentally, there is lots of research coming out about insulin sensitivity and the addictiveness and toxicity of sugars.

        Look forward to see your progress.

  48. Pingback: There, Their, They’re Not The Same | sandylikeabeach

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  50. Great post! Quite uncanny that my brother recently embarked on his own 30 Day Challenge (http://30daychallenger.com/about/) including 30 days of exercise, then art, and more recently – cooking. I wrote a post about his cooking challenge recently. Think Come Dine With Me, gone wrong: http://jessseeker.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/i-just-found-a-chicken-bone-in-my-cheesecake-is-that-bad/

    Big respect to you and your dedication and welcome to the Freshly Pressed club! Sorry to tell you that there is no keyring or mug. It’s an outrage I tell you! 😉 Congrats nonetheless!

  51. I am a wellness coach with Herbalife and I read through the 30 day diet and it dosent seem all that healthy. Some of the foods your cutting out of your diet are essential for the right nutrition. You need to eat 25 grams of fiber a day and depending on your muscle mass from 90 to 120 grams of protein a day. That’s what keeps your metabolism active and helps with the weight loss. Drink lots of water and walk a little bit everyday.

    Good luck,

  52. So encouraging to hear about you guys doing this. Just started mine 2 days ago and tore up some chocolate today (in my defense I had been hiking for 3 hrs and had limited options). Anyway, my motivation to start back tommorow came from your post. Let’s do this thing!

  53. First, congrats on taking on the Whole30. It’s unconventional, but we’ve had so, sooo many (like, tens of thousands) of people change not only their health, but their unhealthy emotional relationships with food. Second, since you’re in Boston (our old stomping grounds), I thought I’d mention that we have a Foundations of Nutrition seminar scheduled in Boston in August. (The registration info is here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3184247169) Would love to see you there!


    Melissa Hartwig

  54. Rock it chica! A bunch of people have recommended that I try the Paleo diet becuase of all the digestive issues I’ve been having but the thought of not being able to sink my teeth into a doughy and fluffy piece of bread seems hard 😛

    • That delicious bread might be causing the problems! I was having similar issues, and once I cut gluten out for a few days, they magically disappeared. Definitely worth giving it a shot, even for a week, and noticing any changes. Good luck!

  55. Pingback: Change Your Life in 30 Days: A Nutritional Reset « i♥makeupart

  56. “Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. …..You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. ”


    • So 15 days into the Challenge, I got hit with a really bad stomach bug and had to eat plain white rice for a few days. We did resume the challenge after about a 4 day hold, but haven’t done a follow up post yet! We feel like it was somewhat cheated.. but we do have some experiences we want to share that we’ll be posting soon! Thanks for checking in

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