Whole30: Results, Regrets, and Reintroduction



“How’d it go?”


“Come on! WHOLE30?! How’d it end?!”

Has it been a full week since I finished that Whole30 days?! It seems like I just started it. And then I was 20 days in. And then I was finished.


It ended with success. The results were fantastic, and I woke up on Day 31, June 30th, feeling incredible. But I just want to start off with one part that I did not succeed in. The second part of Whole30: Reintroduction.  They recommend introducing foods back into your system one group at a time, in order to figure out how your body responds.

I introduced just about every possible lousy food into my body in one fell swoop this weekend. And I’m paying for it today. See, the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I spent it with my favorite people, surrounded by my favorite food. And instead of gradually reintroducing, I rocked my body like a hurricane.


Captain of the S.S. Eatsa Lott

From pizza to beer to hoagies to donuts, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. And on the morning of the 5th, I woke up with an aching tummy finally understanding why they suggest gradual reintroduction. Feeling like a garbage fire the past 2 days was NOT part of the plan.

I’m back on a semi-healthy wagon for a bit, not quite as strict as Whole30, but I would like to feel as incredible as I did on day 31. Ideally, I’d like to feel that great all the time, but I could realistically shoot for 80% of the time and still be living my best life.


Ok, let’s get to what you really wanna see. The results.  Left is the morning of Day 1, right is morning of Day 31.

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So yes. 30 days of clean eating. I forgot to weigh myself on day one, but remembered by day 3. So, in 28 days, I went from 173.2 to 166 lbs.

166 lbs is the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life (I believe I hit 166.1 once before back in 2012, but in a much less healthy way that involved over-exercising, under-eating and ZERO socializing).

The most amazing thing about this experience?

I never felt like I was missing out on things. Not even once. Were there some nights when I wished I could’ve attended a PR event or try a new restaurant? Sure. But I never experienced the crippling FOMO that my generation is known for.

My friends all knew I was on Whole30, and (even though they knew I couldn’t drink or eat fried foods or food truck offerings) invited me to dance, to explore daytime festivals, to festive Game of Thrones finale meals. I felt supported and encouraged every step of the way.


To my squad: Thank you. I love you and would be lost without ya!

Advice for folks who wanna try Whole30

I was lucky enough to have a wildly supportive partner AND a super enthusiastic mother who were both doing Whole30 with me. It definitely would’ve been nearly impossible without them. If you’re thinking about undertaking this challenge, find your support network. Teamwork REALLY made the dreamwork here.

Also: trust the process. Do NOT introduce ALL your favorite foods in the weekend after you finish. Sure, have a slice of pizza. But you don’t need pizza for 3 meals in two days (oops).

Going forward

I think I can sustain, as I mentioned, about 80% of this type of lifestyle. Whether that’s eating clean during the week and partaking in one night of indulgence every now and then, or adding cheese but not grains, or shifting my focus to some grains to fuel exercise (I never really felt SUPER STRONG during this challenge. Didn’t feel hungry after the first week, but the sustained energy just wasn’t there.)

I’ve got to feel it out. I’m thrilled to continue this journey, and learn more about what makes my body feel good, look good, and operate at peak efficiency.

Advice I Wish I’d Received 4 Years Ago

It’s graduation time for undergrads the world over (or at least the US over. I don’t know how other countries operate). In fact, Penn’s commencement was yesterday (which made me mostly uninterested in getting anywhere near campus.) And as my social media outlets are crammed with Instagrams of grad caps and heartfelt Facebook statuses bidding institutions of learning fond farewells (or less-than-fond ‘f*** you’s, for the jaded grads), I can’t help but harken back to 2009, my own college graduation year. Chapel Hill does grad weekend right, and the sun was shining as the Carolina blue reminded all of us that Mother Nature is probably a Tar Heel.

The Gang's all here!

The Gang’s all here!

The weeks leading up to graduation were some of the most socially packed, emotionally wrecked weeks of my life. It wasn’t until I’d received a formal hiring letter that I finally let myself breathe. My partner at the time didn’t understand why I was getting so worked up (he, a year younger, was still a ways off from the panic I was experiencing, and wasn’t one for panicking regardless.) And after a weekend of pomp AND circumstance, a jaunt back north for a mini “summer” (during which I broke my left foot, not part of the ideal “summer break”), I went back to Carolina, ready to begin my grown up life.

Like a butterfly, ready to flap her wings out of the cocoon!!

Like a butterfly, ready to flap her wings out of the cocoon!!

Only, I’ll be totally honest, the first 9 months after my graduation were some of the most miserable of my life.

Isn’t that awful? I recognize that this was largely my own doing, but that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to remember… Four years removed, I’ll say I picked up a little perspective. And there are heaps of advice I’d give myself… But I’ll stick with the stuff that might actually be valuable for sharing with the general population, not those pieces that would only be relevant to me (i.e. stop watching your friends play frisbee if you have a broken foot, it will only make you depressed.)

1. Don’t live beyond your means, but try to at least live a little. I had this confused world view which led me to believe that until I had heaps of money saved, I should live like a hermit. I didn’t use the AC or the heat during the wild seasonal extremes that Carolina loves so much. Shivering under blankets in my own home in the middle of the winter was not only unpleasant, but just dumb. Turn the heat up. Bask in the fact that you’re making SOME money. Take the Slanket off for ten minutes.

Don't let the smile fool you. This is stupid.

Don’t let the smile fool you. This is stupid.

2. Figure out your body chemistry. I mean this specifically regarding alcohol. And I’ll follow up by saying I’m STILL working on this. I wish someone had slapped me upside the head at graduation and been like “HEY! Just a heads up, you can no longer handle the following: shots (including, but not limited to, shots from glasses, bottle shots, body shots), beer bongs, drinking games where the only goal is not skill but speed-consumption, mixing alcohol types of any kind, and probably a number of options you haven’t even thought of yet.”

Chances are, though, someone WILL slap you upside the head with that information at some point in your life, and you’ll still take a few years for it to sink in. So thanks to that person who slapped me with it, and sorry that I’m not faster at taking it to heart. I’m a work in progress.

3. Learn to feed yourself right. Now, this one kind of went with the Living within my means/hermit lifestyle, but my steady diet of rice, black beans, cheese, and chicken if I felt like “treating myself” did not a healthy woman make.



The occasional entire massive turkey leg or frozen pepperoni pizza probably didn’t help either.

Learn the deals at your grocery store, figure out what you like that ALSO is healthy, and enjoy those “treat yourself” treats occasionally. Not nightly.

4. Get a gym membership. And don’t get the cheapest one. Because if it’s super cheap, I bet you won’t go. Just saying. Financial commitment SOMETIMES means ACTUAL commitment. Not always, but enough.

5. For the LOVE OF GOD meet some grown-up, totally new friends.

Whew, y'all are lifesavers.

Whew, y’all are lifesavers.

College buddies are great, don’t get me wrong. So are those “Lifers” that you’ve known since elementary, middle, or high school. But after about a year and a half of longing for the days of bar-hopping on Franklin Street and feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t just stumble out of my room and be surrounded by fraternity brothers and sisters, I took some action. And I decided I, to, could make friends OUTSIDE of school.

This has been the best decision of my “grown-up” life, thus far.

It’s not as hard or as scary as you might think. There are websites entirely dedicated to meeting new people. Get on Yelp, on Meetup, find something going on in your community, join an adult rec league for sports (that was my preferred method for my favorite post-college gang). Maybe you’re even lucky enough to work somewhere where you can find (GASP) work friends!

Whatever you do, though, find some buddies. It stops you from living in the past, and makes it all that sweeter when you DO go back to your college/high school/preschool buddies and show them how cool you still are, even after all these years.

Here’s the thing: there’s no “right way” to grow up, I guess. Hell, I haven’t even done it yet, hence the whole “college 2.0” idea of grad school. But I think those little bits and pieces of advice would’ve helped ease the transition.

I hope they help ease someone’s transition.

Coachellapaloozaroo: Advice on Music Festivals (from a one-timer)

To quote a cousin of a friend, “I wish I loved anything as much as you weirdos love Coachella.”

Click Image for Source

When this rather impressive lineup was released a few days ago, my various social media outlets EXPLODED. Statuses like “Let’s just go to Coachella.” or “Can I fast forward the rest of my life until Coachella?” or “I will sell any and everything I own in order to get to Coachella.” hit my newsfeed. Admittedly, the lineup is something to be impressed with; there really is something for everyone. And for $285 a pass, you gotta figure that if there are even 4 major shows that you’d shell out $70 to see. Then, there’s the camping fees (most of which are sold out). They look to be $82.50 (though that could be per day). And trust me, at least one night (or, more likely, all nights) you’ll end up drunkenly buying 1-2 slices of $4-5 pizza. Clearly, the costs add up (hence selling any/everything you own.)

If Coachella is anything like Bonnaroo (or Lollapalooza or any of those other crazy festivals), then I can speak a little bit to the music festival experience.

For one (long) weekend in 2007, I was a Bonnaroo-ian.

Talk about the hippy cliche

With henna on my hands/feet, hemp around my neck, and tye-dye everywhere, I fit the part to a T.  I flew to Nashville, bussed to Manchester, and hoofed it into the campsite to meet my two buddies who’d driven.  It was intense, and I figured I’d share some tips/info/advice for any of you brave enough (or wealthy enough) to shell out the dollars for the FULL festival experience.  I’m fairly certain this could apply to any of them, but I’d love your input below if you’d care to share…

Admittedly, this is only relevant if you go the route I did (read: campsite, no hotel, whatevs).


You’re gonna get dirty. And, for a modest fee ($10-20 during my festival, but with the economy these days, who knows?) you can take a shower. Otherwise, you’re screwed. I didn’t really think about this (or know this). My recommendation: Bring baby wipes. Get creative with the sinks nearby. Invest in some of that dry shampoo that Sierra can tell you all about. Bring baby powder.

Or, alternative route, revel in the dirtiness.  Hug strangers who are just as dirty as you.

(not a stranger. Not a problem.)

(not a stranger. Not a problem.)

Pack smart. If you’re going to a festival in the summer, it’s going to be sweltering out. If you’re going to one in the winter, I can’t help you (I don’t know… invest in blankets… Bring layers?) But I can’t stress this enough: Pack lots of little things.  I wish I’d brought about 15 camisoles, because I’d sweat through one every 2 hours. Oh well, I guess this goes along with the dirty point. Just do you homework, know the weather ahead of time, and be ready for the elements. Rain and wind, we were unprepared for… but we made due (FREE SHOWER!)

Gatorade Mocktail Hour!

Gatorade Mocktail Hour!

On the subject of Do Your Homework, know the food/alcohol/grilling policy of your festival. This can help you avoid those pesky $40 spent on pizza with the help of a $2 loaf of bread and a $2.50 jar of peanut butter OR the $80 spent on beer with a $12 bottle of cheap vodka and some Gatorade (ELECTROLYTES!!).  However, some festivals (Coachella included) don’t allow outside food/drink. For some, this can translate to shelling out the dollars.

For others, it can mean smuggling in your PB&B (Peanut Butter and Bread).  Choose wisely, you never know how strict they’re gonna be that year (we saw HUNDREDS of beers snagged at Bonnaroo when we went, and I’ve heard absolute horror stories about people watching their food/drinks poured onto the dirt.  So sad.

Breakfast (and lunch?) of Champions

Leave the diet at home. If you can survive a festival while eating healthy the whole time, I’ll clap for you. But I’ll probably just assume you spent too much time or money or effort on it, and toss you a poptart.  Save that energy to rock out to your favorite bands.

So Studious

So Studious

Bring alternative entertainment.  Whether it’s tiddlywinks, cards, an iPad (we didn’t have those back in my day) or the old fashioned book, you probably won’t go to a show every hour of every day. And there’s gonna be times when you’re waiting for your favorite group to go on, but they’re late (I heard Kanye was 3 hours late for one Bonnaroo). Be ready to entertain yourself during those times. You might even branch out and talk to a stranger!! But if you’re anti social, books are top notch. I read (cover to cover) 3 books when I went to Bonnaroo.  It is, to date, one of my proudest/lamest accomplishments.


If you’re going to camp, spring for a nice tent. Seriously, this is your home for the next 3-4 days. You’re already sweaty and dirty and maybe hungry. The least you can do is be comfortable.

Soak up every second. For some of us, going to a weekend festival is a once (or a few) in a lifetime experience. For others, it’s what you save up all year for… Either way, live it up, go to as many shows as you can, don’t just get so messed up/dehydrated/grouchy that you end up missing it all.  There’s much fun to be had, so pace yourself, and be awesome.

Gateway to Adventure!

Have you ever done a music festival? Which one? Any tips?

If not, which would you like to attend?

Eating Good in the Neighborhood (pool.)

Good evening all you morning glories!!

I’ll admit, last night I was running on empty for a few hours before I got home. Two and a half hours volunteering in the blazing heat, a long day at the pool, emotional episode of Extreme Home Makeover (I have more feelings than I should), so when I got back to the apartment, I could barely keep my eyes open let alone my hands typing.  My sincerest apologies to anyone who was chomping at the bit to hear about the life and times of Jordan.

The following post is for my sake as much as advice for others in a similar situation.  In this summer season, it’s extremely tempting to lay out by the pool, eat a mountain full of burgers/hot dogs/grilled delicacies and throw back dozens of Bud Light Limes (the beer snob inside of me cringes, but luckily my inner Jersey girl enjoys it too much to be judgey.)  However, with two days in every weekend, this can really add up.  I’ll admit, my Memorial Day weekend was a bingefest full of the following:

Each of these was filled with at leat 12 Bud Light Limes

Don't worry, I only ate 2/4 bags of chips

I decided to up my game and come up with some ways to keep your body from ballooning into a lobster shaded blimp over the course of those summer days and nights by the pool.

  • Rolls are for suckers and saps. Seriously, if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it is that cheap hot dog buns and burger rolls can actually make the delicious grilled meat significantly less delicious. Lettuce = your friend.  And I promise you, I’m not saying this as part of any ulterior Atkins motives, I love bread and think you should enjoy it… when it’s good. But why waste carbs and calories on cheapy rolls that have all the nutrients bleached outta them?! If you’ve got quality bread, go for it. but if not… don’t even bother.
  • Fruit, fruit, the magical fruit. Summertime is that beautiful season where you can get delicious fruits on the cheap. And it’s always a welcome addition to any BBQ or grill out experience.  You’d be amazed at how surprised people are when you show up with cut fruit, like you’ve given them a new opportunity to live their wildest dreams.  But really, you sliced some watermelon, threw in a pint of washed blueberries, and pulled some grapes off the vine like any quality future soccer mom or dad would. The best part about this? You’re guaranteed that something at the BBQ will be delicious and healthy.  And you seem like a MasterChef.

    this is a game changer

  • Healthy dips are your friend. That being said, while I could (and would love to) bathe in a vat of guacamole, moderation is important in every way/shape/form. Use some crispy veggies as your dipping tools or, if you must, baked chips. Hummus, guacamole, they give you the same feeling as dunking baguette slices into pizza dip, without the same level of bloating poolside.
  • If you must drink beers, go for light. I know, I know, normally I would never advise this. But truly, the sun and dehydration and lack of eating normal foods can make those heavy beers go straight to your head. No one wants to have to call the lifeguard on you for being a wastey face at your neighborhood watering hole.  It’s not classy, and it’s just the worst hangover you’ll ever have in your life.

    Thank goodness for the Miller Lite-guards to save the day. But seriously. This is someone's job.

  • Speaking of which, get in that pool! It sounds like a given, right? Getting in the pool at a poolside event?! why the heck not? However, let me share a fun little pearl of wisdom. “Be like the duck.”  Doesn’t make sense? Roll with me…  Ducks look like tiny cute calm critters on the surface but, under water, they are a flurry of activity.  Yesterday was the first time I did a few of these exercises from the Fitness Magazine Pool Workout, and it was great because no one realized that I was working it or they were too embarrassed to mention it in front of me. Either way, I feel like I squeezed in some fun little exercises without cutting out any fun times with my friends. Even just treading water is more than standing there, right?
  • Sweet Sangria. I have to admit, I’ve never made my own Sangria. But I’ve drank other people’s, and it’s. just. the best.  Plus, it’s jam packed with healthy stuff like fruit and wine and… wine.  Here’s a recipe I found which is next on my “list of things I want to make that give me a sense of healthiness and also make me feel like I’m chilling on a spanish coast”: Healthy Sangria.  More often than not, it’s tastier and more refreshing than those BLLs, and much much prettier.

    Did you know Tori Amos has a song called Sweet Sangria? Now you do!

  • Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink?! No way, ladies and gents. Even though you may feel like you do not have to drink water because you are in the water and at the pool, you are not a creature who can be hydrated through osmosis (seriously. didn’t you go to 7th grade science?!) You are a person, and people are happiest and healthiest when they are hydrated to the brim. For every poolside adult beverage you have, why don’t you enjoy a cool water bottle as well? It will slow you down so you don’t get too buzzed, and it will keep you from passing out from dehydration. Once, when I was a little kid, I missed a chance to swim with sharks because I got dehydration and semi-fainted. You don’t wanna miss out on shark swimming, right?! (Feel free to insert any other cool experience if shark swimming scares you.  When you faint from dehydration, you can’t have any fun.)

    I'm fun and friendly!!

I think those are all the little bits and pieces I can think of right now that will keep you (and me!) healthy and happy, without having to roll us outta the pool like Violet Beauregard post blueberry transformation.

Do you have any tips and tricks for staying healthy at poolside BBQs and events?

Did you realize that’s the second time I’ve mentioned Violet Beauregard in this blog which isn’t even a week old?

Stay happy, slather on that SPF (skin cancer is no joke), and enjoy your Sunday!