Why I Started Whole30 and Quit (and What I’m Doing Instead)

why I quit the whole 30 challenge
I read a lot about Whole30 over the summer. I had seen a few folks online do the challenge successfully, not just to give their bodies a chance to reset but also to explore their relationships with gluten, sugar, and dairy, among other things. At the time, I was interested enough to read about it, but not interested enough to try. I like sugar! I like wine! I like gluten!

So it wasn’t until the calendar turned over that I felt like maybe it was time to give it a shot. If you don’t know what Whole30 is, you can read about it here. But the gist is no grains, no sugar, no legumes, no dairy, no processed foods, and no alcohol for thirty days. And I thought, ‘What the heck! Let’s give it a try.’

I read and read and read about it. The things that appealed most to me were the crazy amounts of energy you were supposed to have about halfway in and that most people end up losing weight (I have about five stubborn pregnancy pounds on me that will not melt off!). Adam decided he’d do it with me, so we bought a ton of food — lots of fruits and veggies and enough meat to feed a football team. We were totally prepared.

why I quit whole 30 challenge

I’m certain you won’t be surprised when I tell you that we only lasted four days (I mean, I put it in the title of this post). Four days and we were done. I had a terrible headache every day that got worse in the evenings, and I couldn’t concentrate to save my life. I’d sit down at the computer and take four times longer than usual to do simple work tasks. And during the witching hour, when the kids were climbing up the walls, Adam and I were ready to lose our minds. We were starving (even though we were eating all day long) and, for heaven’s sake, why won’t these kids just sit down and watch TV?!

So, we had a long talk about whether this was all worth it, and then we spent over an hour scouring the internet for something, anything, that would tell us if we should hold on or let go. As I searched, I read so many comments from people saying they were grouchy, irritable, and generally feeling like crap even twenty or more days into their month. Don’t get me wrong — we read lots of articles and blog posts about people feeling awesome and generally better than before, but there were just too many people saying they felt awful even at the end that made us feel like it just wasn’t worth it.

Do we want to feel grumpy all day? Do we want to yell at the kids at the drop of the hat? Do we want to get anything accomplished this month?Β No, no, and heck yes!

So we stopped. Or, I should say, modified. We are still off booze and I’m off sugar (Adam had a chocolate chip cookie and then felt terrible — shame on him!). I’m doing limited grains, but only whole wheat, which is hard when I have a two year-old trying to shove Goldfish crackers into my mouth at snack time. I’m also limiting dairy. Basically, it’s a lot of whole, real foods, but no radical elimination of food groups.

why I quit whole 30 challengeToday is day twelve. I feel a whole lot better than I did in those first four days, but every day I think about chocolate and red wine and potato chips and giant greasy cheeseburgers (which I could have, but haven’t). I realize I use food as a treat for myself, and breaking that psychological barrier is rough. But I’m doing it.

The last day is January 31 because the following Sunday is the Superbowl and, come on, we are going to have a party that day! Beer and chips and desserts. I can’t wait!

As for the Whole30 challenge, I still believe it’s good for people who have a legitimate gluten problem or who are lactose intolerant. The diet is good to help people with a lot of different ailments, and I root on anyone who takes on this challenge out of necessity. I will cheer you on! And I promise not to eat any bread or butter in front of you!