Whole30 Round 2: Day 31


Well folks, I made it. Thirty days of clean eating in the bag. And y’know what? Even though I eat mostly paleo, ate strict paleo/zone for the first several weeks of the year, and practically never eat dairy – let alone gluten – I still learned a LOT during this Whole30.

The first time we did Whole30, we really only made it about 3ish weeks. Thanksgiving and a trip to California got in the way, and that was fine. But sticking it out for the final 4th week really did teach me a lot about, well, sticking it out and, most of all, making my diet a priority–for better or worse.

Finishing the Whole30 was hard, but not for the reasons I expected it to be hard.

I am a very firm believer in the fact that there is no single diet for every person. Everyone’s body has different needs and a different way of meeting those needs. But I know that I have a very sensitive digestive system, and always have. I tested positive for both lactose and gluten sensitivities in high school (and I cried on the drive home from the allergist when I realized that would mean no more mac & cheese). In the 10ish years that have passed since those tests, I have (very, very) slowly cut out dairy and gluten, and, as most of you already know, especially in the past year I have cleaned up my diet to include almost zero processed foods.

Even though I know the consequences when I eat dairy and gluten, in my daily life I am typically not that worried about little “cheats,” or “breaks” as I like to think of them. Breaks from worrying about what I’m eating, breaks from people asking me why I don’t eat grains or dairy, breaks from the people of Boulder rolling their eyes at me for jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. But in a lot of ways, these are also breaks from taking care of my body.

This month I learned that in a lot of ways, those breaks are my way of telling myself, “Sometimes, I’m just not worth the effort.”

So this month, I made the effort.

I did not have any medical breakthroughs, I have no idea whether or not I lost weight (I don’t really weigh myself anymore, like a lot of people I have finally realized that my weight has almost nothing to do with my fitness except for giving me a Snatch PR goal…), and I feel less bloated but my body didn’t change dramatically. But I did learn that it is important to take some time to make yourself a priority. It’s important to learn to advocate for yourself, to turn down a drink when it’s offered to you even though it may seem rude, to take the extra time to make a home cooked meal instead of going out for Thai again, to turn the computer off and go to bed even though there are wedding things to be pinned and blog comments to be answered.

Honestly, that mental shift was the hardest part. Quieting the voice in my mind that tried to say, this doesn’t matter–it’s fine for you to feel a little bit bad, it’s fine for you to have just a little less energy or be just a little more bloated or a little grumpier. Even through my weeks of eating Zone, I would have cheat days and go home with a headache and a belly full of air, but I told myself that it was ok. And sometimes, a cheat day is ok. But not because it’s ok to feel crappy. I needed to shift my thinking and convince myself that it is never ok to feel crappy if you can help it, and when it comes to my diet, I can help it–and it’s time to get better about standing up for my right to feel good.

Other bloggers who did the Whole30 in April…

Courtney from Journey of a Dreamer

Kristen from Change of Pace

Evan from Salt, Dogs, and Duct Tape

Jess from Paleo Jess

  • Kelsi

    I’m on Day 17 of Whole30, and I have seen some pretty significant changes. After being bloated and sickly for weeks, I decided maybe I had an intolerance to something. Within the first week my bloating and gastrointestinal distress had subsided. I had a cheat day and ended up having an allergic reaction to the food I ate!My mouth got sore and my tongue went numb and everything tasted like metal. It had never happened before. Freaky. After that, I decided no more cheating on Whole30!

    Well, then my beau broke up with me and I emotionally turned to food again. I said f*** it, and I ate some cookie dough and drank a chai latte. My mouth had a reaction again, though much less this time. And, the food didn’t bring me the joy I thought it would, because it had no flavor, and later my belly felt distended. To be honest, I haven’t had much of an appetite since, and if I do it it is mostly concoctions form my juicer or soup I prepared and froze a while back. I have lost some weight (even before the break-up) but I noticed other changes like clear skin and better sleep. I believe Whole30 works, I’m just not that interested in how great it’s been for my system since I’m living in Bummer Town.

    • clairechapman

      Well this is just crappy on all sorts of levels! First of all that thing with your mouth is super weird. I’ve had that happen to me a few times with random foods and I can never seem to fully duplicate the effect but it always freaks me out. The last time it happened was with celery… and let’s be honest, there is pretty much nothing in celery, so what would have caused that? No idea.
      But that is way more sucky about your breakup! And I thought getting through a day or two of PMS was rough. I definitely had a few moments during the Whole30, especially during my Week of Extreme Anxiety, where I started to think that allowing myself to have a few stress-relieving foods like wine or chocolate would actually probably be better for me than trying to tough it out on water and pistachios. I ended up sticking to the program, but just barely, and I still think that a glass of wine on my most anxious night would probably have done way more good than harm. One of the things I love about the Whole30 mentality is that it really is about what is BEST for your body, not what you HAVE TO or CAN’T eat. And sometimes, when you’re stressed and sad and pissed, giving yourself a treat can make a big difference in making you feel better, which in turn lowers your stress hormone levels, which in turn just makes everything in your body much happier. But it can be a fine line to ride, especially when emotions are all over the place.
      I think I noticed way less of a difference in some areas because I went through a period of intense anxiety right in the middle of the Whole30 and that was all I could focus on. I imagine that is probably a much smaller scale version of what you are describing, where the benefits just aren’t that big of a deal because there is another, much more powerful emotion going on top of everything.
      Try to stick with it but don’t be hard on yourself if you have to let your guard down a little! Keep your head up, lady!

      • Kelsi

        Thank you, friend! I do know that Whole30 has ultimately led me to make better food choices, and while I’ll be happy when I don’t have to make all of my tortillas out of cauliflower and eggs, I’ve nearly eliminated my dependence on snacking. If I feel truly hungry, I’ll eat a handful of nuts or grab some fruit. There was that one time I got into some Nutella, but my stomach rebelled afterwards, as in “WHOLLY CRAP I AM DROWNING IN SUGAR! HELP!”

        Yeah, the relationship ending was a complete and total surprise to me. Things were great; I’d never been so happy. I never saw it coming. He’s miserable about our split, too. I just think he’s scared of “the future.” Who knows what will happen, ultimately? But in the meantime I’m trying to function (and well enough to nourish myself). Without Whole30 I would likely be sabotaging my poor organs with processed junk right now.

  • http://twitter.com/fatgirlhealthy Fat Girl Healthy

    I’ve been thinking about giving Whole 30 a try after my upcoming vacation. I’m working through some digestive issues since I had stomach flu that will hopefully get sorted out soon but I’m been on sort of a plateau for a while now. I don’t stress about the number on the scale but if I want to master pull-ups in crossfit I need to do a combination of getting stronger and dropping off some of the extra weight. Doing some experimentation with my diet may get me off the plateau and your journey is giving me some inspiration to give Whole30 a try.

  • dre@grackle&sun


  • http://www.njpaleorunner.wordpress.com/ NJ Paleo

    Congrats on making it thru your Whole30! I know it wasn’t easy! But I like that concept — doing what’s best for your body, not what’s deprivation. To be honest, don’t we all feel better when we’re not eating/drinking certain things? Even though I’m not on Whole30, I eat paleo except for a bit of dark chocolate just about every day, and some wine on weekends. Now when people bring in coffee cake, doughnuts, etc., into work, I look at it and automatically think, “I don’t eat that” and honestly, I don’t even WANT it. I know how I feel after eating that stuff, and it is SOOOOO not worth it. Really, it’s about mindset. I told one of my friends about paleo a few months ago, and she was like, I could never give up XXX. Then a month ago, she came to me and asked to borrow some books. After a few days on paleo, she couldn’t believe that she was no longer bloated, didn’t have to eat every 2 hours, felt better, slept better, etc. A month into it, she swears by it too!
    And you ARE worth the effort!

  • http://twitter.com/winetoweights Jennifer

    Congrats for another one down! I keep thinking about doing another just to see if I could be more successful with it. I mean yes, I did 30 straight days right on par; eating breakfast right when I wake up and taking time away from my desk to eat, focusing on sleep, etc.. but I did not eat nearly enough and I really struggled with becoming obsessive during the process.
    You’ve inspired me yet again, but can’t say I’d suck it up and do it.. just not a priority I suppose.

    Anyway, good job chica :) And snatches stink.


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