What I’ve learned from Whole30 + why I’ll never do it again

A Fit Mess
September 30, 2016

Hey, hey. Has this week flown by or what? Things have been busy for us and I honestly don’t know where September went. Like at all. Our weather has started to accept that it is fall (we had a crazy heat wave last week) and I’m looking forward to the cooler temps and crisp mornings. We have some fun things planned this weekend, like a trip to the pumpkin patch and a much needed date night. It’s been forevvvverrr. Who knows, maybe I’ll get crazy and go to yoga. ūüôā


My posts have been a bit lean this week, mostly due to¬†my early (tiny) risers! I skipped writing several times for¬†morning snuggles and I don’t regret it one bit. Today’s post is all about my decision to end Whole30, what I’ve learned this time around, and why I’ll never do it again.


My last day on Whole30

I’m on Day 25 of Whole30 and,¬†after giving it a little thought, have decided to call it quits. I’m ending my Whole30 (or Whole25) early for no other reason than because I’m ready.¬†Sure, I could go the extra few days and make it to 30, but I don’t want¬†to. This is my third time doing the program, and I feel like I got exactly what I needed from it. The reset that I was desperately craving after a summer of indulgences¬†has been achieved. I’m back to reading labels, eating clean, and getting¬†tons of veggies in my diet. Mission accomplished for me.


How I feel today

Overall, I feel great. I’m definitely ending the program on a high note. My energy has been up, I don’t feel nearly as bloated/sluggish after meals, and I once again have a sense¬†that I’m in control of what I eat and how I feel. The most noticeable improvement has been¬†my SLEEP. This seems to be a consistent result every time I do W30. My head hits the pillow and I sleep a solid 8 hours. Sure, I have an occasional kid cry that wakes me (Maddie is a sleep talker), but other than that I get great rest. I typically wake up a few times per night and I always thought it’s been due to anxiety or stress, but I think it could be connected to sugar and alcohol. I just don’t sleep well if I have either of those things late in the day. It’s definitely something I am aware of now and will pay attention to more.


And while the arthritis in my feet hasn’t gone away, I didn’t think it would. But I feel great overall and that’s what matters to me. I have seen a marked decrease in my shin pain, but that could be because I am experimenting with a minimalist shoe (more on that later). I’ve realized I need to be more mindful about properly fueling for workouts and making sure to prioritize my recovery.


One of the central ideas behind Whole30 is by eating clean, wholesome food your body will get the nourishment it needs to heal itself. This leads to less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, balanced hormones, and improved energy. I personally feel like I have experienced each one of these benefits.


What I’ve learned from Whole30

One thing I love about Whole30 is that it forces you to look at your relationship with food. I’ve drawn some solid conclusions about myself this time around.


  • A complete overhaul is needed to break a bad cycle – I was getting into the habit of grazing and snacking all the time. Often, my¬†meals would consist of finishing the leftovers off my kids’ plates.¬†And I was slipping¬†into a routine of having dessert and wine every night instead of one or the other. Unless I actually cut the cord, I’m going to keep having little things here or there. Having grains, sugar, alcohol, and dairy off limits forced me into better habits.


  • It isn’t “hard,” but it’s definitely challenging at times – The Whole30 program is all about “tough love.” There really are no exceptions or bending of the rules. However, in the grand scheme of things, not having sweets and processed foods isn’t a big deal. It’s easy when compared to real hardships that others are going through. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t torture to attend a birthday party and not have a slice of cake. And on those very long days at home with two toddlers, I definitely wanted to throw it all in for a glass of wine.


  • Sugar and alcohol are the devil – We all have our vices. Honestly I could take or leave cheese. Dairy¬†doesn’t do much for me (and I can’t have it anyway). And I already eat mostly grain-free, aside from rice. But chocolate and wine? I need those in my life. The key is balance and to understand the consequences. Sure, I’ll enjoy myself at times, but I will feel like crap after. Some days it will be worth it and some days not.


  • I do much better when I have a plan – The first time I completed Whole30 I spent a lot of time reading ingredients, looking up recipes, and prepping food. It was very time-consuming. It got infinitely¬†easier the second and third time¬†around because I knew what meals I could throw together and how much prep time was involved. If I can prepare in advance I am good to go and I don’t feel deprived or hangry.


Why I’ll never do Whole30 again


I am glad I decided to do a September Whole30. It was exactly what¬†I needed to get back on track. Yet, I’m almost certain I¬†will never complete another one again. I hate sounding so definitive, but it is how I feel. Let me explain…


My first Whole30 was eye-opening. It really helped me understand the effect that food can have on my body and it made me become more critical of the everyday items I was eating. The skills I have learned have continued to stay with me over the last year. And even though I got away from some of those clean habits, once I got back on the program I¬†quickly picked things up. So while I do believe the Whole30 was helpful for me the first time, I don’t think I need to go 30 days to get my¬†reset. I think I would do a Whole7 or Whole10 if I felt like I needed a fresh start.


It’s super easy to let good habits slip away. And with the holidays approaching (seriously, I already see Christmas decorations in stores) I want to be sure I know where my limits are and what works for me.¬†I already know sugar makes me feel horrible. I’m lactose-intolerant so I can’t have large amounts of dairy. And while I do okay with grains, having gluten makes me feel sluggish and tired. But knowing all of this is key.¬†In evaluating ourselves and our food choices, we can decide¬†whether we really want to eat something and what the results will be. Yes, it’s okay to¬†indulge, but are the consequences worth it? Maybe there are times when it is.¬†And I know that I can always come back to Whole30 if I need a reset.


Anyone else on September Whole30? How are you feeling?

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