Why I Quit Whole30

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When I was a freshman in high school, my parents forbid me to date a senior I had a major crush on.

Two weeks later, we were boyfriend and girlfriend.

The Whole30 forbid me to have pizza.

Two weeks later, I ate pizza. Glorious, high-quality, cheesy, gluten-filled pizza.  A pizza I was so excited to eat, I forgot to take a pretty photo of it, so now you get to look at a mangled pizza instead. You’re welcome.
Why I Quit the Whole30
And I have no regrets. I quit Whole30.

Apparently I do not respond well to being told I absolutely can not do something. I made it two weeks through our semi Whole30 and it was enough. I couldn’t take the pressure of making sure I never broke a rule. It was making me miserable. I was constantly checking labels for compliant ingredients, Googling “can I eat XYZ on Whole30″, researching, second-guessing my choices. And cooking at least 2 meals a day, every.single.day. And cleaning up from cooking all.of.the.time.  I never felt the mythical “click” with my energy levels or alertness. I felt exactly the same as I did two weeks prior, but with the added stress on top.

The Whole30  is a great program…for some. It’s well researched, has a proven track record, and can put people on the path to a healthier lifestyle. But, it is not for everyone. It was not for me. One size never fits all and don’t let anyone try and tell you it does.

For me, moderation is key. Telling me I can indulge in a pizza every now and then is enough to satisfy my cravings. Just knowing I could have something if I wanted it is enough. We ate the pizza this weekend and I was completely satisfied. I’m not sitting here wondering when I can eat more and it hasn’t caused me to go back to eating tons of gluten-filled foods. I ate, I enjoyed, I moved on.

Moderation, not elimination.

My semi Whole30 experience was not a complete loss, however. I tried new foods, fell in love with new recipes, and I learned a lot about myself. I know I can live without bread every day (or even every week.) I know homemade mayo is amazing and there’s no need for the store-bought junk. I know I can live without soda and candy. I know I can kick a sweet craving with an apple and almond butter. I know I can watch a movie or tv show without a bowl of chips or popcorn. I know to make a healthier choice over an unhealthy one, but I also know I will not feel guilty for an occasional indulgence. I will not forbid myself any food (unless it were medically necessary) and I will allow moderation back into my life.

If you’re considering a Whole30, please do not think I’m trying to discourage you. I think anything is worth trying once and you never know what you’ll take away from your experience. I am glad we tried it and, who knows, maybe we’ll do it again someday. For now, I’ll take the lessons I’ve learned and go back to finding the joy, not stress, in food.

Semi Whole30 Update

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10 days in, 20 days to go. (see why I call this a “semi” whole30 and why we’re doing it here)

Here are some takeaways from my first 10 days of this semi-Whole30/paelo/whatever you want to call this thing we’re doing for another twenty days. Spoiler alert: they’re not all positive.

  • I love homemade mayo. Somehow raw egg and olive oil is the most delicious thing to ever be blended together and no matter what comes out of this whole experiment, I know that the homemade mayo is here to stay.
  • I don’t miss a lot of things I thought I would. I haven’t had a craving for bread, chips,or soda once. I haven’t missed cheese or ice cream that much, either. It’s like I don’t even know myself.
  • I miss pizza a lot. But not just any pizza. I just want a thin slice of the good stuff. It’s definitely going to be my first indulgence.
  • I don’t miss alcohol. Sure, I’ve craved a glass of wine after a really rough day, but I’ve started taking hot baths more, coloring, and doing other things instead of pouring a glass of wine and plopping in front of the tv to unwind.
  • I do miss pasta a little, but not as much as I thought. I made the kids homemade pasta one night and didn’t sneak a single bite. We’ve actually enjoyed scampi made with spaghetti squash, pesto zucchini noodles, and cauliflower rice with tomato and meat sauce.
    Whole30 Day 10 Update
  • I’m sick of cooking. Seriously. I wake up and cook. I cook again at lunch. I cook dinner. Cook. Dishes. Cook. Dishes. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I am not sure if I can do another 20 days of this based on the amount of cooking alone. And yes, we prep veggies as much as possible. Food still needs to be made and I’m over it.
  • It’s expensive. I haven’t sat down and crunched numbers, but it seems like we’re at the grocery store every other day to replace veggies we’ve eaten. SO MANY APPLES AND AVOCADOS you guys. And I’m pretty sure we need a backyard chicken coop to keep up with the amount of eggs we’re eating. But, we also haven’t eaten out (except once: see below) since we started so that savings could add up over 30 days.
  • You can still eat Chipotle. Which was my savior last week. Carnitas, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo. Extra carnitas, please.
  • I’m sick of reading labels. Sometimes I just want to eat and not have to worry if the food I’m eating has added sugar or is made with soy. Analyzing food sucks the joy out of eating sometimes. So much thinking. This is also why we haven’t gone out to eat. I hate being “that person” that has to grill the waitress about food. I just want to order and eat and not worry if my chicken was cooked with vegetable oil and not olive oil.
  • I’m still hungry a lot. Even with making sure I have lots of healthy fats, carbs, protein, and fiber, I’m still hungry a lot. Like now, I’m hungry and eating more veggies or avocado as a snack is losing its appeal.
  • My workouts have not felt as productive. I am trying to learn to carb load for long runs without pasta, rice, or other “no” foods and it’s hard to find the right balance after using the same formula for so long. I’m still drinking my chocolate milk after workouts, though. Because I’m not about to give up the one thing I know makes me feel great after a workout (and we’ve discussed my previous dairy eliminations which resulted in no adverse reactions when reintroduced, so I know it’s not a problem food for me.)
  • My stomach is flatter and my skin is a little brighter. I can live with those two things.
  • I don’t feel any different. Honestly. I feel exactly the same as I did on day 1. I’m probably even grumpier than before because  of all of the constant cooking and thinking about food. My fatigue and brain fog (my two worst Hashimoto’s symptoms) aren’t improving at all, which is discouraging. Again, I know a diet can’t cure a disease and that’s not what I want from this. What I was hoping for was a little relief from my symptoms, which  many Hash’s patients experience. Many experience it within a few days of going gluten-free or doing a similar program to paleo/whole30. I got nothing. And if we’re being truthful, this last point makes me question whether or not I want to keep going the full 30 days. My next round of labs have been ordered and I have an appointment with a new doc to see what she thinks of my numbers and this whole no-gluten thing.

So there they are the thoughts running through my head as we close out day 10. Someone told me day 10 is the hardest. We’ll see. For now, the plan is to stick with the plan, but I won’t say that I’m thrilled with the idea of 20 more days of this. I could very easily convince myself to eat a slice of pizza this weekend and not blink an eye. If it weren’t for the husband (who is feeling awesome with all of this, by the way) keeping with it, I’d probably seriously consider quitting.


The Walking Dead Season Five Finale Predictions: The W’s

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SO MANY SPOILER WARNINGS. If you have not watched last night’s episode (515: “Try“), then DO NOT READ THIS POST. Walk away my friend, walk away. If you’re reading the comics and haven’t reached the same time frame, walk away. I am not responsible if you ruin the show or comics for yourself, ok?

One of my favorite parts about Monday is talking The Walking Dead with my friends and soaking up every bit of episode analysis I can. I’m rewatching scenes, cross-referencing with the comics, and pretty much being an insane human being for a few hours every Monday morning.

Now that we’re clear about what’s about to go down in this post, I’m going to make a few predictions for next week’s Season Five Finale (90 minutes, no less.) Mainly, about those W’s. Because they seem to be a big part of the discussion surrounding the finale.

First, what I don’t think the W’s mean: I don’t buy into the internet theory that the W’s are really M’s made by Morgan. Morgan is crazy, yes. But I don’t think he’s THAT crazy. Truckloads of walkers marked with the W, all done by one person? Nope. Also, why on Earth would the M’s be upside down? We’ve seen them on roaming walkers, so Morgan would have to knock them down, put the M on (upside down, no less) and then the walker would have to get up and move. While, I guess, it’s possible, I just don’t think it’s plausible. I do think Morgan will show up in the finale, just to mess with us yet again. Because why not?

I also don’t think the W’s are the sign of The Whisperers, a group of survivors from the comic books. The Whisperers use walker skin to disguise themselves so they can travel among the walkers without being attacked. The Whisperers, however, aren’t known for killing walkers, let alone maiming them and bounding their naked bodies to trees. That’s just not their style. The part of The Whisperers theory that does make sense is the W’s would allow other Whisperers to tell the difference between a walker and a Whisperer wearing walker skin. But that’s not enough to convince me these W’s are Whisperer W’s.

No, I’m convinced the W’s were made by a brutal group. Remember this from “What Happened and What’s Going On” when the group reaches Noah’s neighborhood of Shirewilt?
wolves not far Walking Dead Season 5 Finale Predictions
W=Wolves. Yet, there are no Wolves in the comic series. And there aren’t any groups that are known for marking walkers. So, this means we’re essentially in the dark when it comes to the W’s. We know that the writers change things up from the comics, but tend to keep the essence of storylines, so we can assume there’s some parallel here.

My prediction is the W’s are made by a group named The Scavengers, lead by Derek. The Scavengers are a gypsy-like group of survivors who raid and loot camps and live out of a van. They have no safe-zone or homebase to speak of. They’re brutal and kill who and what they want. I can easily see them cutting up walkers for their own enjoyment. They could be marking the walkers with W’s to mark where they’ve looted, I’m not sure. But, if the W’s are, indeed, The Wolves/Scavengers, then the Alexandria Safe-Zone should be expecting a knock at their front gates in the finale. Luckily, Derek and The Survivor’s appearance is short (perfect for a season finale showdown), but it does cause a domino effect of issues that could put the paradise of the Alexandria Safe-Zone in jeopardy. This leaves us with an exciting season finale and a great set-up for Season Six, especially if Rick (and Sasha because we all know Sasha is the show version of comic book Andrea at this point) can redeem himself to the group and/or take Alexandria for himself.

There has also been talk that Negan and The Saviors may be tied to the W’s. If that’s true, I don’t expect to see Negan or his group until Season 6. His storyline is too involved to simply be a blurb in the finale. So it is very possible that we could still meet Derek and The Scavengers and then the Wolves end up being The Saviors next season, but that’s a whole lot of build-up of the W’s for no resolution this season. Then again, when are we ever left with resolution during The Walking Dead season finale’s? (see also Morgan)

Of course, every prediction and tie to the comic book I’ve mentioned above could be totally wrong and the W’s don’t mean anything related to The Scavengers or The Survivors or Morgan. It could be a completely new storyline and I’ll be looking like a fool after next week’s episode. It wouldn’t be the first time.

What do you think the W’s mean? Morgan? Negan? Derek? Something else?