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Here Are 12 Things I Learned on Whole 30, a Month of My Life I’ll Never Get Back

“The cheese-free life is not worth living.” -Socrates

Post Whole-30, my body is about 90 percent almond. Image via Shutterstock.

No one is more surprised than I am that I completed Whole 30, aka 30 days of my life that I’ll never get back. No cheese, legumes, dairy, grains, or alcohol make for a very spartan existence. Think of this as the exact opposite of Food, Money, Sex. Here’s what I learned so you don’t have to.

  1. If you’re going on Whole 30, be sure to tell everyone you encounter. This way, not only will you be held accountable by those around you, but they’ll also find you so annoying they won’t even ask you out to do things, thus lowering the chances for you to break said diet.
  2. Don’t start a new job while on Whole 30. You will have to drink water at happy hour or pass on bagels at a morning meeting, and you will look like a teetotalling, carb-hating tool.
  3. You will not save money. Any funds you would spend on dining out or drinking will automatically be directed to things like sweaters at H&M, bougie workout classes, or, during a particularly dark time, buying three dog jackets on Amazon (you don’t own a dog).
  4. Clean eating is about as expensive as chartering a private plane. Not surprisingly, things like ghee butter or coconut sugar live in the gated community known as Whole Foods. Your grocery receipt will resemble the bill for a semester of in-state college tuition, and in return you will be left with a pantry that looks like a deconstructed bag of trail mix.
  5. You will miss cheese a lot. Like, a phantom-limb, deep-ache, can’t-sleep-at-night kind of missing. It’s just like The Notebook, except you’re Noah and Allie is a bowl of queso.
  6. Not drinking is boring. Suddenly, time stretches before you like an unending, dreary, wine-less vista. You’ll hang out with friends, they’ll go off to a bar, and you’ll go home to alphabetize your spice rack, call all your grandparents, or workout for the second time in a day because, face it, what else do you have to do?
  7. Do not go on dates while on Whole 30. One of your best friends (also on the diet) goes over to a new guy’s house for tacos. He stares at her while she consumes a heaping plate of ground beef topped with salsa like a Tex-Mex caveman. They do not go out again.
  8. You will be hungry all. the. time. Any sort of nut product will become your best friend—cashew butter, almond butter, you name it. You’ll find an almond in your scarf on the way to work, and you will eat it right then and there on the bus while an old lady stares in horror.
  9. Do not go on diets with significant others. Your boyfriend is on Whole 30 at the same time, and he attacks it with the competitive gusto of an Ironman triathlete, measuring body fat and streaming workout videos with shouting Australian women. Once, you accidentally use dairy creamer in your coffee (okay, a few times) and he looks at you as if you’ve been found guilty of war crimes.
  10. Take your kicks where you can get them. On an especially wild Friday night, you treat yourself to kombucha and a dried bag of mango because, hey, it’s the weekend and you just got paid!
  11. Everything you’ve accomplished will go to shit on Day 31. If it isn’t nailed to the ground, you’ll eat it, and you’ll spend $60 on cheese products that day alone. Any tolerance you’ve built up for alcohol in your life has been completely eradicated. You’ll have a few beers and get up the next morning with a hangover not experienced since you came to on a beach in Cabo one morning during senior spring break.
  12. You’ll learn fad diets are like that vegan poet you once dated who owned a motorcycle and worked on an organic farm: Distracting dalliances that consume you for a month then, all at once, are over. All that’s left are a couple of stories, a bit of wisdom, and a reminder of how much you really, really love cheese.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.