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.
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.