More Than a Number: Whole30 Non-Scale Victories

More Than a Number: Whole30 Non-Scale Victories | Stephanie Drenka

My very first shoot with Andrea from Loubies and Lulu was last year, almost to the day. I remember, because she wore the most fabulous red heels right around Valentine’s Day. The concept of time is a funny thing– it feels like I’ve known her for ages, and it’s difficult for me to comprehend how much she’s impacted my life in just a year.

We decided to team up and blog about our Whole30 reintroductions while sharing some of the ways Whole30 affected us. Click here to read her recap!

Photographing fitness portraits was a new concept to me. Shooting/editing pictures of Andrea in her athletic apparel and workout poses rendered me in awe of her strength and acutely aware of the lack of wellness in my life at the time. I wrote previously about the many reasons I committed myself to doing Whole30 in January, but the ultimate deciding factor was Andrea.

During our shoots together, I’d casually say things like “one of these days I’m going to get myself back to the gym!” or “I’m going to have to try (insert healthy meal/workout/drink here).” Andrea would always give me encouragement without being forceful or condescending. She just genuinely wanted to help me whenever I was ready.

Back in December, Andrea wrote a post announcing that she would be doing the January Whole30 Challenge and I made a casual comment about how I was interested in joining her. The next time I saw her, she gave me the Whole30 book as a gift. As intimidated as I was by the concept, Andrea’s generosity and encouragement gave me motivation to go for it.


I loved Whole30- don’t get me wrong, but it was not a breeze. I was in constant communication with Andrea for advice and support during the month. She gave me restaurant ordering tips, recipe suggestions, and most importantly… reminded me about the concept of Non-Scale Victories.

Since we were not allowed to weigh ourselves in the duration of Whole30, Andrea taught me to set small goals and celebrate accomplishments not related to a number on the scale. She knew from our goal-planning workshop that I was trying to overcome my fear of going back to the gym and getting back on a regular workout routine for the first time in over three years. She invited me to join her at The Move Project where her amazing husband Ryan customized a fitness plan for me and asked one of his trainers to work with me and go over each exercise.

I was incredibly nervous to workout again, let alone in front of people, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised by my endurance. I didn’t feel like I was gasping for air and in need of my inhaler while I was on the treadmill… Non-Scale Victory!

After the workout, Andrea sent me back to work with a delicious, healthy, Whole30 meal from Snap Kitchen, and I didn’t feel the urge to stop for fast food for lunch… Non-Scale Victory!

Surviving my first Whole30 workout gave me the confidence to try out KaiaFIT, and I quickly became hooked on the endorphins…. Non-Scale Victory!

My pant started feeling looser, and I started having to pull them up all the time…Non-Scale Victory (and slight annoyance)!

The most significant and impactful Non-Scale Victory of them all actually had little to do with my weight or appearance. Somewhere along the way, Whole30’s philosophy about food bled into my everyday routine.

Eliminating processed and unhealthy foods and focusing on things that made me feel good and improved my quality of life inspired me to rid myself of unnecessary stressors and habits outside of my diet, too. Suddenly, I had more time and energy every day. I realized that I didn’t have to choose between quantity and quality when it came to the hours of my life. Whole30 gave me the strength to say no to things that I knew weren’t healthy for me, and embrace the comfort of essential things… Non-Scale Victory!

By the end of the thirty days, I was not ready to let go of my new diet and lifestyle. Luckily, the creators of Whole30 gave me a reintroduction option that would let me hold on for a little while longer. While Andrea decided to go with the traditional Whole30 reintroduction plan, I tried the Slow Roll option.

Because Whole30 had so dramatically improved conditions such as my allergies and asthma, I didn’t want to reintroduce things too quickly and lose the momentum I had built. This conservative reintroduction plan allowed me to stick to Whole30 (with small modifications like adding a small amount of sugar back into my diet) and wait until something came along that was worth trying again. For me, that was chips and queso during my birthday weekend.

Within minutes of eating, I started to notice how the dairy was affecting my body. While I had thoroughly enjoyed partaking in aforementioned queso-eating, I realized that it didn’t give me the satisfaction that it once did. Celery dipped in my dairy-free dump ranch was just as delicious, and made me feel better after eating– not worse. Back to Whole30 I went for a mini-reset.

I’ve lost the Tiger Blood I started experiencing mid-Whole30, but I’ve gained control over my cravings and the gift of discernment. I’m able to look at a non-compliant food item and decide it’s value. I can indulge without gorging. And with this reintroduction plan, I have the ability to return to Whole30 anytime I feel the need or desire… Non-Scale Victory!


In the same way that I can’t believe I’ve only known Andrea for a year, it’s hard to wrap my mind around a “diet” that could so profoundly change my life in the short span of a month. This post is a testimonial that it can and did. What I’ve gained from my Whole30 experience is invaluable and worth much, much more than any number on a scale.

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    • Ahhh we need to do some sort of hangout so you can meet Andrea and more friends!! She’s wonderful. And yes!! Text me if you have any questions whatsoever– I’m so glad I did it. Anxious to hear how it works for Katey, too.

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