The Original & Plant-Based Whole30 Timeline

Preview your Whole30 journey, start to finish

Timeline

The highs! Some lows? We’ll prepare you for all of it.

Big picture, your Whole30 Timeline happens in two phases—30 days of elimination, and 10-15 days (sometimes more) of reintroduction. However, no two weeks on the Whole30 look the same—and while there are plenty of benefits, the program can have its challenges, too.

Since 2009, we’ve guided millions through their Whole30 elimination and reintroduction. At this point, we have a pretty good idea of how your Whole30 is going to look. And we want you to head into your program feeling confident and prepared. Previewing the Timeline before you start will help you plan for every phase, avoid common mistakes, and get excited about the next 30 days.

For each phase of the program, you’ll discover:

  • Positives: Benefits, non-scale victories, and positive results often seen in each stage
  • Cautions: Common challenges you may encounter along the way
  • Strategies: Tips, mindset techniques, and action items to help you succeed at every stage
Made By Whole30 Made By Whole30

Your week-by-week Whole30 Timeline

Whole30 alumni say the Timeline helped them better prepare, feel more confident in their program, and successfully navigate challenges. Now, you can preview your Whole30 journey week-by-week.

In this phase, you’ll choose your start date, clean out your pantry, plan some meals, grocery shop, and start cooking in preparation for Day 1. This phase also includes building your support system, creating strategies for challenging situations, planning some “on-the-go” emergency food, and reinforcing your Whole30 mindset.

Your Day 1 experience is greatly influenced by your dietary choices in the days leading up to your Whole30. Cramming in all the sugar, alcohol, bread, and pizza you can before your program starts is a recipe for headaches, crankiness, and lethargy. Many people “soft launch” their Whole30 by conscientiously eating less sugar and processed foods, cutting back on alcohol, and eating more vegetables in the days leading up to their Whole30. This is a fantastic idea—just sayin’.

You can’t be too prepared for the Whole30.

Our planning and preparation guide will help you get ready before your Day 1.

Read now

Welcome to the Whole30! The excitement of your program will see you through the first day or two, feeling energized and confident. But we’ll be honest—this week can be challenging.

The abrupt decrease in added sugar and processed carbs can leave you feeling lethargic, headachy, and brain-foggy until your metabolism adjusts. Cravings for the foods or drinks you’ve eliminated can also make you cranky, fidgety, and easily irritated. (Food dreams are common here, too.) You may also experience bloating, constipation, or loose stools as your gut adjusts and learns to process these new foods more effectively.

Rest assured, it’s not all rough roads! Many people also report improvements in symptoms (including digestive, joint pain and swelling, migraines, and anxiety), better sleep, and fewer cravings once they get through the first few days. Your best strategies are to take a nap or go to bed early; tone down your workouts; drink lots of water; eat Whole30 foods whenever you’re hungry (don’t limit calories or meals); and keep reminding yourself of your Whole30 “why.”

Wondering if your Whole30 symptoms are normal?

Read our guide.

You may still be adjusting to this new way of eating, but some things are already feeling better or easier, and you’re surely feeling more confident. By the end of the week, you may notice you’re falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and waking with more energy. (Do you still need that 2 PM hit of caffeine?) Your cravings may be down, you’re discovering new ways of navigating stress, you’ve got some new habits, and eating to satiety feels good. And as your taste buds adjust, you’re discovering a newfound appreciation for the sweetness of a strawberry or sweet potato. You may also have noticed a reduction or improvement in symptoms, like acne or eczema, allergies, asthma, migraines, joint pain and swelling, chronic pain, or anxiety.

Digestion can be a mixed bag here. Many have less gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and digestive distress at this point in the program. But if you’re still bloated or irregular on your Original Whole30, try eating more cooked vegetables than raw, eat fewer high-FODMAP veggies and fruits, and eat fruit in smaller servings. If you’re doing the Plant-Based Whole30, are new to eating this many legumes or soy-based protein sources, and are still irregular or bloated, see this troubleshooting guide.

The Original Whole30 low-FODMAP shopping list, covers fruits, veggies, fats, and pantry goods.

See our list

On Days 10 and 11, you are statistically the most likely to quit your Whole30. (That’s why they’re “the hardest days.”) By this point, the newness of the program has worn off, and though you’ve made it through most of the unpleasant physical milestones, you’ve yet to experience significant benefits. This in-between place can leave you feeling impatient, anxious about whether it will be worth it, or tempted to self-sabotage. Those who stick with it have three things in common:

  1. They have a strong “why,” and focus on the long-term goal.
  2. They are willing to examine their emotional discomfort and look for other ways to self-soothe. (Journaling, movement, and meditation can all be helpful here.)
  3. They lean on their in-person and online support system for encouragement, advice, and accountability.

Prepare yourselves for these days, because if you can see them through, things get much easier.

The Whole30 Day by Day to helps you stay motivated, track your non-scale victories, and hold yourself accountable.

Use Whole30 Day by Day

By the third week, most people notice small (or big) non-scale victories (NSVs) in many areas of their lives:

  • Energy and sleep
  • Mood, anxiety, and depression
  • Focus, productivity, and creativity
  • Less bloating, swelling, or pain
  • Fewer cravings
  • Smoother skin
  • Lessened or eliminated symptoms
  • Improved self-confidence

This may not happen like magic in your third week. A huge number of factors influence which benefits you see and when—and there’s a reason it’s not the Whole20. Trust the process; stay on the lookout for small, gradual improvements to keep you motivated; and celebrate the wins you are seeing. Also, lean on your support system here! Talking about how you feel and asking others to share their positive observations thus far can help keep you motivated.

Don’t let food boredom stand in the way of your Whole30 goals.

Try a new recipe this week!

You’ve lost track of the days, because this feels like second nature. The NSVs continue to roll in, and, though you’re excited to reintroduce the foods you’ve been missing, you already know you’ll take a lot of what you’ve learned with you into life after your Whole30.

Start thinking about your reintroduction phase, to ensure you have a solid plan in place. It’s tempting to dive into pizza, beer, and ice cream on Day 31. The Whole30 can teach you so much about how foods work for you, but not until you eliminate and reintroduce them carefully, and then compare your experience. Your Whole30 isn’t done until you’ve finished reintroduction. And reintroduction brings you one step closer to your own Food Freedom plan.

Finish this week by revisiting your favorite Whole30 meals. Start planning your reintroduction schedule and shopping for the first few foods or beverages you’ll be reintroducing. For extra credit, start reading or listening to Food Freedom Forever to prepare for the next phase of your Whole30 journey.

Use our Reintroduction guide to help you create your plan for Whole30 Day 31

Time to celebrate your Whole30 accomplishment! You made a promise to yourself, and you kept that promise. You’ve developed new healthy habits; discovered other ways to self-soothe, navigate stress, and relieve anxiety; expanded your kitchen and cooking skills; and improved your self-confidence and self-efficacy.

You’ll spend these 10-15 days (or longer) in reintroduction, bringing back one food group at a time, then returning to the Whole30 elimination for 2-3 days in between. Pay attention to how the reintroduction of these foods impacts your energy, sleep, digestion, mood, cravings, aches, pains, and health conditions. This experience will inform your Food Freedom plan, helping you make the right decisions for you about the foods that are “worth it” in life after the Whole30.

Many alumni stay closely connected to the Whole30 community even after their program is over. Continuing to share your Whole30 learnings can help motivate and inspire others, keep you firmly entrenched in your healthy habits, and help you continue to refine your Food Freedom plan.

Food Freedom Forever will get excited about life after the Whole30.

Read or listen

Testimonials

The Whole30 changed their lives—it can change yours, too.

Maria B.
I cannot put into words how Whole30 has impacted my life: Maria’s Story
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Through reintroduction, I learned how certain foods affect me, and how to make informed decisions about what I eat: Don’s Story
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Lauren|Lauren and her family
I dropped my cholesterol from 201 to 164: Lauren’s Story
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Andy McIntosh
Whole30 changed my view of food: Andy’s Story
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Pri A.
By the end of my Whole30, I saw a dramatic difference in my energy levels: Pri’s Story
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jakelia-s-v2
My family needs me and I choose to be healthy: Jakelia’s Story
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Cathy headshot
I feel a sense of peace and serenity that I haven’t felt in years: Cathy’s Story
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Jennifer H.
My PCOS symptoms completely vanished, and my diagnosis was removed entirely just one year later: Jennifer’s Story
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Kristyn S.
There is no doubt that the Whole30 program had a huge hand in my preconception health and body’s preparedness to conceive: Kristyn’s Story
Read More
Sabrina Pereira
Three weeks into Whole30, I was a new person. By the last day I knew that my life was forever changed. I felt AMAZING: Sabrina’s Story
Read More

FAQs

Frequently asked questions (and our answers) about the Whole30 Timeline

See all FAQs
Yes! It’s called The Whole30 Day by Day, and it’s part Whole30 handbook, part guided journal. The book includes a day-by-day timeline for your Whole30, personal motivation, community inspiration, habit hacks, and meal tips. Each day also offers guidance for self-reflection, food journaling, and tracking your non-scale victories to keep your momentum going and help you plan for the days to come. You can also see a high-level preview of a typical Whole30 experience in our Whole30 Timeline.
Not in the least. No two people’s Whole30 experience is the same. You may find you breeze past some of these phases in our Whole30 Timeline while being stuck in others for longer than you anticipated—or you might skip certain phases altogether. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong! However, if you feel uncomfortable with how your Whole30 is progressing, or if the improvements you hoped to see just aren’t appearing, please consult your healthcare provider or registered dietitian for more specialized guidance.
Yes! As we share on our Whole30 Timeline, it’s incredibly common to experience food dreams on the Whole30. People report dreams about eating chocolate, drinking wine, or ordering fast-food burgers. Sometimes they wake up feeling gleeful, and other times they wake up in a panic, thinking, “Did I just blow my Whole30?” It’s normal to have food on the brain, especially if the Whole30 is a dramatic dietary change. However, this should ease quickly, and by the middle of your program, making Whole30 meals and snacks should feel far less effortful. However, if at any point your Whole30 starts to feel like it’s taking your mental health to an unhealthy place, please discontinue the program and consult a therapist or healthcare provider.
Habit research conducted with smokers demonstrates that the average craving lasts just 3-5 minutes—and the most effective way to resist is distraction. Make a list of things you could do during a craving to distract yourself from the sensation, and keep it handy. It might include:
  • Tidying a small area
  • Paying a few bills
  • Writing and addressing a thank-you note
  • Chopping some vegetables
  • Going outside for a few minutes
  • Reading a few pages of your book
  • Journaling your feelings
  • Making a pot of herbal tea
  • Doing a few simple stretches
You can also use co-founder Melissa Urban’s famous “Am I hungry or just having a craving” test here. Ask yourself, “Would I eat a chicken breast and broccoli right now?” If the answer is yes, you’re legitimately hungry—go eat a Whole30 meal or snack! If the answer is, “No, but I could go for a Larabar…” then you know you’re just having a craving. Employ one of your distraction techniques and you’ll be on your way in just a few minutes.
How quickly digestion improves depends largely on how you were eating before your Whole30. If you were eating a Standard American Diet, Whole30 medical advisor Dr. Michael Ruscio says you should give it a full four weeks before evaluating—essentially, all the way through your 30-day elimination. If you’re coming from a Paleo-style or whole food-based approach, you should start to see improvements after two weeks. However, as we share on our Whole30 Timeline, many people notice digestive improvements right away, sometimes within the first day or two of starting the program. If your digestive symptoms are concerning at any point during your Whole30, please consult your healthcare provider.
If you’re towards the end of your program and still not seeing digestive improvements, there could be a number of factors at play.
  • Time: Your gut flora and digestive enzymes may need time to adapt to the veggies and protein you’re consuming more of during your Whole30.
  • Fiber: You are likely eating far more fiber on your Whole30 (from vegetables and fruit, or on a Plant-Based Whole30, from legumes). A dramatic increase in fiber can lead to gas and bloating.
  • FODMAPs: An increase in fermentable carbohydrates from veggies and fruits (like onions, garlic, cauliflower, apples, or bananas) can promote the same symptoms.
  • Alternative flours: Even if you’re not baking with them, using large amounts of almond or cassava flour in frittatas, meatballs, or other meals can promote digestive distress.
  • Nuts or nut butters: This is another common culprit in digestive issues, especially if you’re consuming large quantities
  • Fats (like coconut oil, ghee, or coconut milk): Yes, coconut milk is delicious in a smoothie and your coffee may taste delicious with ghee, but eating too much fat for your context can promote digestive upset and diarrhea.
Your success strategies (aside from patience) include eating more cooked veggies than raw (like soups or stews instead of big salads), consulting our low-FODMAP shopping list and avoiding the red items for a few days to see if it helps, and eating all fruit in smaller portions. On a Plant-Based Whole30, try eating more soy and fewer legumes, soaking and sprouting your legumes, and choosing fermented varieties of soy, like tempeh and miso. You could also speak with your healthcare provider to see if a probiotic or digestive enzyme would be helpful. If at any point during your program, your digestive symptoms become concerning, please consult your doctor.
That’s not really a question, but we hear you. If you’ve been leaning hard on eggs, your favorite recipe, or the same Whole30 salad bowl from Chipotle for the last three weeks, it might be time to liven things up. Here are some ideas to spice things up no matter where you are on our Whole30 Timeline:
  • Prepare your eggs differently (hard-boil, poach, scramble, or make a frittata)
  • Make some new recipes
  • Add a new dressing or sauce
  • Shop for new vegetables, or prepare them a new way (roasting or air frying are our favorite)
  • Build in variety with Whole30 Approved meals from Trifecta (Original Whole30) or Daily Harvest (Plant-Based Whole30)
  • Swap Whole30 recipes with a friend or someone on Instagram
And remember, you can just as easily eat a burger, chicken salad, or chili for breakfast as you can for dinner. If it helps to think about it as “meal one” instead of breakfast, do that.
We don’t recommend it. The first week or two of the program can be difficult, emotionally and physiologically. It takes time for your body to learn to burn fat instead of sugar, your taste buds to adapt, your cravings to subside, and your digestion to smooth out. Improvements in pain, fatigue, and other symptoms can take even longer to materialize. By staying in the elimination phase for less than 30 days, you’d experience all of the difficult parts without experiencing much (if any) of the potential benefits. Plus, you made yourself a promise to complete the Whole30, not the Whole22 or Whole27. Keep that promise to yourself, trust the process (and the results of millions of people who have come before you), and firmly commit to completing all 30 days. Read more about the Whole30 Timeline here.
Yes. (Can we just say that?) Reintroduction is a necessary part of every elimination program. It’s where you learn the most about the way various foods impact you, and helps you identify food sensitivities or adverse reactions. Without reintroduction, you’ll miss half of the learning experience of the Whole30. (And that feels like a big bummer, considering how hard it is to give up the foods you love for 30 days.) Be patient, take your time with reintroduction, and use that knowledge to fuel your food freedom. We promise, it’ll be worth the extra few days. For more on Original Whole30 reintroduction, read this. For more on the Plant-Based Whole30 reintroduction, read this.