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whole30 results & styling session giveaway


I know some of you have been waiting to hear about my whole30 results and I can’t believe I haven’t shared them before now!  I wanted to share, but I’ve been debating with myself about how much to share and I always need a little extra time to work up the courage before I get really personal.

So, here is my whole30 review and the results…

Deep breath, muster that courage and here we go.

In case you missed it, I spilled my guts about my food/body image/yo-yo dieting issues HERE.  I gave an update on day 11 of whole30 HERE.  All of the tears and tantrums happened before day 11, so it was pretty boring from that point on.  I got into a rhythm and eating real, whole foods became a habit.  I still had my ups and downs, though.  I really wanted to see “miracle-esque” weight-loss results after just a couple of weeks and I had to constantly remind myself that this isn’t just about weight.  It’s about establishing a healthy relationship with food and I pressed onward.

The hardest part…

The hardest thing was dealing with the emotional aspects of changing my diet.  I never, ever would’ve considered myself an emotional eater.  I was never crying over a quart of ice cream by the light of the fridge after a bad day.  But, I did mindlessly eat chocolate and salty snacks and definitely ate more of said goodies when I was feeling stressed.  When those crutches were kicked out from under me, I was exposed for the emotional eater that I was.  I actually ended up crying one day over the fact that I didn’t have any yummy food to look forward to.  That was unexpected, embarrassing and eye-opening.

What was interesting, is that I pulled my entire family into this with me and I was the one who struggled the most.  After that teary episode, it was clear to me that my relationship with food was really unhealthy.  I was hating the fact that I shared my whole30 commitment on my blog and ticked that I had hundreds of people join a Facebook group that I was suppose to be leading and encouraging.  I just wanted to quit and enjoy my yummy foods.  That group was absolutely key in me not quitting.

 In Jeff’s words, “You can quit and then go tell 700 people on Facebook that you quit.”  Gee, thanks.  Look out as I throw my compliant sweet potato “bun” at you.

But, you know what?  I woke up the next morning and I was just fine.  I ate my scrambled eggs, zucchini cake and some fruit for breakfast and the world kept turning.

And things got easier.

Meals that once felt overwhelming to prepare became no biggie.  Spending the day away from the safety of my stocked pantry and fridge weren’t something to fear.  Cravings faded.  The dreams about food (seriously, I dreamed I was in an ice cream eating contest) stopped.  My desire to snack was curbed.  I started to recognize when I was hungry, full or just bored.  I was in control of food instead of the other way around.

What I gained…

I can honestly say that following the whole30 plan changed my relationship with food and I learned a lot about myself.  As I mentioned above, it addressed the cravings, mindless eating, emotional eating and over-eating.  When I woke up on day 30, I didn’t have a buffet of off-limits food at the ready.  There wasn’t a countdown.  The only thing I ate was hummus with my raw veggies.  Usually, once a free/cheat day is declared or a diet is “over”, I shovel in all of the no-no foods I can.  I just didn’t want to this time.  It wasn’t that I was holding myself back; I was content with how I was eating.  That was huge for me and exactly what I was hoping for out of this.

It’s natural for me to snack on and prepare real food.  I have rediscovered a love for mangos, cashews, olives, dried apricots, sunflower seeds and clementines.  I have also started eating meat again, but I usually just eat it for dinner.  I was eating it at every meal in the beginning and it was just too much for me.  I do eat more at meals usually and mix of veggies, fruit and fats (nuts, nut butter, avocados).

I have also noticed a big difference in my complexion.  I shared this picture on our Facebook group.  Both are without any makeup or touch-ups in the development.  They are straight out of the camera…

whole30 review & results | miss mustard seed

You can see how the redness is fading and my skin is healing.  Now, I wish I could report that it is 100% clear without any blemishes at all, but that’s not the case.  I do still have some breakouts, but they seem to be smaller and heal faster and the rest of my skin overall looks healthier.

Here’s a picture I snapped on day 30 with just a little bit of makeup.  I did loose a little weight in my face and around my jaw as well.


What I lost…

I know if I were reading this post, I would be eager to see how much weight was lost.  I ended up losing 7 1/2 lbs, which isn’t a ton of weight, but given that I had about 21 lbs total to lose, that’s a really good chunk of it!  Now here’s the focus of my debate with myself…do I show pictures?  I decided I would share one, because I was shocked at what a 7 1/2 lb weight loss looked like and I don’t think this post would have the impact it could without a picture.  (I don’t know why I rolled out of bed and didn’t bother to fix my hair before the “before” picture, but there it is.  Bed-head and all!)

whole30 review & results | miss mustard seed

The biggest difference is obviously in my rear and legs.  You can also notice a difference in smaller things, like my collarbone and jaw are more pronounced.  I was scared there wouldn’t be a difference in my before & after pictures, but was pleasantly surprised.  Obviously, my clothes are fitting much better and even getting loose now.

My family did really well, too.  My dad lost 18 lbs, Jeff lost 10 lbs and my mom lost 4 lbs.

My keys to whole30 success…

I did make it through the entire 30 days without one cheat.  I think the key to that was having an amazing support group and putting myself out there to be held accountable.  I also made a no-excuses commitment to do it.  I think if you go into it with an “I’ll just try it” attitude, you’ll start to negotiate with yourself when things get hard.

This commitment to no sugar, no grains, no alcohol, no legumes and no dairy also takes planning and it does take money.  Our grocery bill was definitely higher because all of the fresh produce and pastured/grass fed organic meat.  I’ve gotten better at having leftovers in the fridge for quick dinners, but I do need to be on top of meal planning and prep, which stressed me out at first.


Life after whole30…

So, what now?  As I shared, I didn’t run out and buy all of the foods I had been craving during the 30 days once I was “free”.  I was used to how I was eating and there was absolutely no good reason to change it.  I added in a little hummus to eat with raw veggies, some all-natural, yogurt-based ranch dressing on salads, a little (and I mean a very little) cheese on my eggs and a small square of 70% dark chocolate with almonds for something rich and sweet.  Otherwise, I’ve been eating as I did on whole30 and I plan to continue that.  I have lost another pound eating this way and hope to lose about 14 more to reach my goal.  

I do feel some of my old mental struggles with food returning now that the boundaries have been taken away.  I have to have conversations with myself about my trigger foods and listening to my body and making choices that won’t self-sabotage.  I’ve been leaning on the Made to Crave book more during this time.  “You crave what you consume” has been running through my mind as I drink more water and eat more veggies and fruit.  I can eat anything I want, but I want to make the best choice for me.  I want to stay in control.  

I do feel like I need a new challenge, so I’m going to commit to P90x3.  I did some of it after p90x, but didn’t make a no-excuse commitment to it and sort of petered out.  I’m going to focus on getting stronger, not on exercising to reach a calorie burn, so I’m in deficit on my Up bracelet.  I get too obsessed with that approach and it isn’t sustainable.

Eat real food.  Get strong.  That’s what I’m boiling it down to.


As I mentioned earlier, I would’ve quit if it weren’t for the amazing support group on Facebook.  I intended it to be a way for me to encourage others, but I think I got the better end of that deal.  I have been so encouraged and inspired by the ladies who have shared their stories, triumphs, confessions, fears and failures.  We have whole30 gurus who keep us all straight, women who shared their meal ideas and recipes with us and even a nutritionist who has been acting as a consultant and a resource for the group.  It’s been really special.

And, as a part of that, Ella from Start Close In Styling, who has worked with me as my stylist, joined the group and was really inspired.  She was so inspired, that she wanted to offer her styling services in a giveaway.  We did one giveaway within the group and decided to offer one to all of my readers here as well.  (This isn’t sponsored, by the way.)  So, just leave a comment here and you’ll be entered to win a virtual or in person (in the DC metro area) styling session with Ella.  You can read about my experience with her HERE, but I wouldn’t unleash her on someone else if my experience wasn’t awesome.  The giveaway will end Wednesday, February 11, 2015, at midnight PST.


Yes, this blog is about home, DIY, antiques, decorating and all of that stuff.  I love it and it’s what I talk about 99% of the time, but I so often get busy with those things that I neglect myself and I know that’s something a lot of women can relate to.

So, here’s to moving mountains in our home and our lives.

PS – I bought a toilet on Amazon today.  Yes, I did.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I joined the Facebook group (a few days late…) with every intention of committing to the program as well. I lasted about 3 hours. I have managed to cut out a huge soda addiction, so that is a pretty decent accomplishment for me. I give each and every person who was able to get past day one, so much credit.
    I still am a bit frumpy — a little help in the “style” department would be a wonderful treat!
    Thank You.

  2. I just stumbled on your website tonight because of the #whole30. I have terrible breakouts, worse than anything in high school, and ready for a change. I’m excited to learn more and get started with this change. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Zonya says:

    I have followed along with all the positive encouragement on the Facebook page even though I have not yet participated in the Whole 30, I am trying My Fitness Pal for the moth of Feb! Thank you for sharing your struggle and reality!
    I would LOVE a styling session with Ella, I know you had an amazing experience with her!

  4. P Boszko says:

    Wow, you look great… I’m inspired to stick to my regime

  5. Candace Moore says:

    marion, i just read your post and wow—
    you are making such good progress. that photo of you above the top of your post (with just a little make-up on) is lovely. you look happy and healthy and your skin is fresh and clear.

    i applaud your efforts and wish you all the best. thank you for being the honest, open person you have always been with us readers. press on.

  6. Seleen says:

    Ooooh, a styling session with Ella? I’d love that! Count me in, please!

    I’ve been inspired by all the posts on the Whole30 plan. Even though I haven’t used the program yet, it helped motivate me to lose my Christmas-goodies weight. Thank you!

  7. I’m impressed with your journey. I am so in need of something to spur me on in my food challenge…eating healthy seems so boring that I never get too far. You look great…its obvious that you don’t have too much to lose because that 7 1/2 # made such a difference. So proud of you.

    I ordered some of your milk paint lately and have had fun experimenting with it.

    I would love the virtual styling session…thanks for the opportunity.

  8. karen piehl says:

    marion, reading this post and wondering if you may have rosacea. i have it, many people do that do not know, so i thought i would offer that as a possibility. i was so thankful when a friend told me that i had it. google it and see what you think. – karen

  9. Sandy says:

    awesome job, very inspiring – – sounds like just starting something is one of the hardest parts! congratulations on starting and completing 30 days!

  10. If I wasn’t convinced about whole30 before I sure would be now! You know, one of the things I love about you and what you write is that I’ve come to know I can count on you to give details and say it exactly how it is, so I was really looking forward to hearing about your results. WAY to Goo!!! You really are moving mountains, so I guess that means I can too! 😉

  11. Congratulations! Hearing your struggles confirms what I already know about myself and now I just have to choose to be strong.
    I love reading your styling blog post and I love the style that came out of it! Count me in – I’d love to try some of that.

  12. Congrats! So brave of you to share your journey! As a Nana of 12, I could really use a new style… lol… and am excited to learn more about whole30! Love your blog.

  13. I could instantly see the changes in your complexion. It really looks beautiful! Way to go on your accomplishment. Working on talking my husband into the Whole30, I really need to get my sweet tooth under control :)

  14. Thank you for sharing your experiences. What a difference you are making in so many of our lives! I would love to work with your stylist. Thank you

  15. Marion, you inspire all of is!! I thank you for sharing…..the pics definitely show the difference!!

  16. So, MMS, what an inspiration you are, ALWAYS, and in all things. Bloglandia is where my people hang out. I am absolutely amazed at what a 7 and 1/2 lb. loss looks like on you! You’ve lost around your waist also. WOW! that is so inspiring. Thank you for being so brave. I am on day 2 of a personalized menu plan and my brain is wondering where its caffeine is and my taste buds are searching everywhere for sugar, wah… 22 pounds to lose is my goal, along with building some muscle and revving up metabolism. I needed your post and I will be needing that personal styling as inspiration to keep me going. I’ll be looking forward to updates

  17. Loretta says:

    I did the Whole 30 too, but did not join Facebook. It was hard but like you, I learned a lot about myself. Accidentally cheated once with potatoes I did not realize had dairy, but otherwise stuck it out. I have a lot of weight to loose but only lost 3 pounds. However, I feel so much better and am adding foods slowly and learning from that as well.

  18. Congrats to you for the weight loss thus far; glad to know you are conquering your food issues.
    I lost almost 30 pounds in 2012, 10 have crept back on, but I am actively working to lose them. I would so welcome a personal styling consult, if I am the person who is chosen!

  19. Sharon says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun to be styled by Ella?

  20. I just read your post on your styling session with Ella. I would love to have a session with her!

  21. Dorothy says:

    Thanks for the update. I think blogging is a great way to inspire others.

  22. Krista says:

    Wow. The pictures tell the story! Looking good.

  23. So proud of you! Thank you for your raw honesty. You are a true inspiration! Keep going!
    Phil. 4 :13 <3

  24. B Folk says:

    Marian, isn’t it nice when we can see even the “little” changes? I noticed your collarbone right away, plus the firmer jawline. It feels good to feel good, but it’s a bonus when you can see the “feel-good”, too! Keep with it!
    I read your post about Ella when it first appeared. Went back and read it today, and I still like her approach. Target, TJ Maxx, and local thrift stores are my go-to places to clothes-shop. I also like that she works with each client’s style, instead of trying to change it. Alas, I am on the opposite coast from her, but it would be nice to have a Skype consultation with her! She is so sweet to offer this giveaway, and thank you for hosting it.

  25. Hi Marian,
    I have followed you for EVER.. I have always been inspired by your creativity and your strength. I always thought you were beautiful, inside and out but this Whole30 lifestyle change has obviously helped your complection and your eating habits! How encouraging! Now I want to go check it out :)

    I have seen what Ella has done to help style you and would love to look more ‘put together’ even while covered in MMSMP! lol

    All the best Marian in the next few pounds ~ Twila

  26. I so need styling services! I love the things I have but I have no idea how to put them all together in a beautiful, cohesive way.

    You look great, by the way! Keep up the good work!

  27. Marion, you are an inspiration sharing this. As a pretty fit late 60 years I have been fighting fat for about four years but started growing my own veg’s and been reaping the rewards over the past month so added to your insight I’m going to try this Whole 30 and see if I cant enhance my aging years.
    Best wishes with your ongoing progress

  28. Stephanie says:

    Marion –

    You are truly a brave soul. I thought you have always look fabulous. I am 49 and you have given me inspiration to lose the 30 lbs I have been hanging onto like it was gold.

    I read Ella’s blog! She sounds like my kind of friend. I need help because I am afraid that one of my family members is going to hook me up with Stacy & Clinton for an episode of “What Not To Wear!”.

    Please keep your faith and courage up! You make a difference in people’s worlds.

    PS – Always love your furniture and I wish I lived in the area to take one of your classes!!!


  29. Ronnda says:

    Congratulations on making a positive life style change that will benefit you and your family forever! 😀

  30. Amy Jo Newell says:

    That’s amazing what you accomplished. So proud of you! Keep on keeping on. – Amy Jo

  31. You have inspired me and so happy you are doing this giveaway! Would love to win.

  32. Wow, I have to say you are one inspiring woman! I just found your blog about a year ago so don’t know your roots but I’m a bit of a blog junkie (yes, get several daily;) and yours is the most professional, yet real, one I’ve seen. So often I ask my computer if there’s anything you can’t do!
    Thanks for sharing your amazing talents while staying real and honest!

  33. colette lee says:

    Congratulations on your Whole30! Wow! You look great! Amazing how 7 1/2 lbs makes such a difference! Thanks for sharing and inspiring me as I started after your posts about your difficulty! I’m on day 19 and my family joined me as well!! Cheers to sticking with healthy eating and good health!! Colette

  34. Angie W says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Your after pictures are amazing. 7.5 lbs doesn’t sound like that much but what a difference it made.

  35. Looks good! Question for you or anyone – why no dairy???? Isn’t that necessary for good bone health? Or is the “no dairy” only for those 30 days and then you add it back slowly? I personally don’t eat much dairy besides good ‘ol mozzerella cheese on pizza (my vice) but milk is such a good source of protein and calcium. Just wondering! Thanks!

  36. Congratulations! I have to admit I did not join the Whole 30 FB group because I knew it would be virtually impossible for me to do it right now. That being said Chris and I have been talking about it and are really considering it the month of March. A couple of questions for you…. did your boys eat this way too? If so were you able to come up with family friendly meals? If not, how did you address this? We have a 15 year old boy and an exchange student as well. In the past my biggest pitfall was cooking two different ways and since I cook virtually everything from scratch I have a tendency to taste to determine what seasonings are needed. Thanks! (oh and we might be in D.C over spring break so a consult would be incredible!!! I may sign up for one anyway!)

  37. I joined the a Facebook group and, even though my 30 days wasn’t perfect, I feel soooo much better! I have lost 17lbs and my aches and pains have gone! My skin is glowing and my attitude is lifted. I’m actually scared to eat off limit foods now. I’m worried they’ll make me sick. I do love the fact that wine is back in my life :)

  38. darlene says:

    I joined the facebook group but was unable to start till after Superbowl. I am on day 8 and actually feeling pretty good. I mostly only miss wine! It has been challenging to go out and eat and have only attempted it once. I thought I was compliant but my tummy heart the next morning. Worried about Valentines. What is a romantic dinner without a creamy sauce and a glass of wine?
    I have not read about Ella yet but am excited to follow up. I’ve been enjoying your blog for about 4 months and love to get your email updates.

    Thanks for the honesty and can’t wait to have before and after pictures with results like yours.

  39. Debbie M says:

    I seriously considered joining in but I’m not in a good place right now. Super stressed that I can’t find a job. Maybe a style session is just what I need.

  40. Wendi says:

    Just began in the last couple of months eating more towards the whole food regime. Love seeing and feeling the difference. I am not as hard sore with some of the other items as you have been. Way to go, what a great difference for yourself.

  41. Lynn Osborne says:

    Congratulations on your perseverance. What a great accomplishment and to experience som tangible benefits is icing on the cake. I appreciate your honesty about the tough parts. Thanks for the chance to win the virtual styling session! I think the fashion gene jumped from my grandmother to my daughter, skipping both my mother and me!!

  42. What an inspiration! You may not have wanted to share, but you have obviously touched so many with your story. I too am working to loose some stubborn pounds. Thank you so much for the motivation!

  43. Holly says:

    I would love to meet Ella!

  44. Sara C says:

    I am inspired!!!!

  45. Lynn Wells says:

    Way to go! You’ve inspired me. If it’s not too late, I would love to be entered in the drawing for a personal style session with Ella!

  46. I have followed you for years & you were a huge influence on me when I first started refinishing furniture! I love your transparency & the fact that you share your life with us, thank you! I agree that accountability is KEY in weight loss & maintenance, it’s helped me lose 27 lbs & over 20 inches, yay! I’d like to invite you to my accountability group, we do 21 Day Fix, very similar to Whole 30, but you get wine, lol!

  47. Hi

    I’m surprised with its determination to change habits so ingrained. I myself did it two years ago and I can say that I’m feeling too well. Change bad food for real food and add some physical activity in my daily life turned me into someone else. Much more beautiful and happy. Congratulations on the achievement. Keep sharing your successes with us. Big hug

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