Food + Drink

Why I Quit Whole30 (And What I’m Doing Instead)

Well, it’s official. I’m a Whole30 dropout.

I made it a full two weeks on the diet before deciding to call it quits – and today, I’m here to tell you the story of why!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that for the past couple of weeks I’ve been sharing some updates on my Whole30 journey. I was doing a day-by-day blow of my experience doing the really intense, 30-day diet. You can see week one right here, and week two right here, if you missed them!

My husband, Corey, and I decided to start the Whole30 because he has always struggled with digestive issues, and we’ve always assumed it was food related. He’s made half-hearted attempts in the past to figure out what could be causing his problems, but he’s never stuck with any one method long enough to really make a difference.

I convinced him to try Whole30 because I thought it was a great opportunity to really figure out exactly what was going on with him. If we cut every single unhealthy thing out of our diets for a month, surely he’d feel great! Then, we could start working on reintroducing food and narrowing down his issues.

He was reluctant from the beginning, but agreed to appease me. I had no personal motivation to be doing the diet. I have no food sensitivities or issues, and I’m not trying to lose weight. But, I like to challenge myself and I wanted to help him. So, I was all in!

Corey’s Whole30 Experience

From the beginning, Corey struggled with feeling even worse than he did on his normal diet. I assured him this was normal and if we could just push through the first week or so, things would be better.

Only, week one went by and his issues were only getting worse. He was absolutely miserable – he loves food and cooking, so having it be this restricted and STILL feel bad was a special form of torture for him.

As we headed into week two I was really hopeful he’d start to feel better and better, but he didn’t. He continued to be sick every day and felt like this diet was only making his issues worse. Around day 12, he decided to schedule an appointment with his doctor. He said he’d tell the doctor everything that was going on, and if his doctor told him to stick with it, he would. But, if his doctor said to stop, he was (obviously) out.

Corey’s doctor told him in no uncertain terms that it was clear this wasn’t a good diet for him. Without going into all of his personal details, the doctor said that given all he’s been through and all he’s tried, he doesn’t think it’s food related at all!

This appointment happened on day 15, so Corey was officially out. And for a really good reason.

After going back to a normal diet, some of Corey’s issues leveled out almost immediately. He still has a journey ahead of him to find some answers to what is causing his health issues. But, we feel really confident now that it’s not food-related, so that’s a major thing to cross off the list!

So…What Now?!

And that left me sitting there wondering what to do. On one hand, I had poured two REALLY HARD weeks into this, and I desperately didn’t want to just throw all of that effort away. But on the other hand, I wasn’t actually trying to find any food issues or drastically change my eating habits. I had no skin in the game.

In the end, what decided it for me was a conversation with my dad. I told him of my dilemma and how I really hate quitting things. I said, “I hate the idea of being miserable these past two weeks and then just giving up and throwing it away.”

His response? “So, you’d rather just keep being miserable for another two weeks?”

Oh. Yeah.

Good point.

In the end, I decided to throw in the towel on Whole30 as well. I made it two weeks and I’m incredibly proud of myself for that.

But, I wanted to take a second to break down some of my observations from my two weeks of Whole30. I’m obviously not any sort of expert, and I didn’t finish the whole thing so I can’t speak to the full experience. But, I can tell you what I observed about myself personally.

My Whole30 Observations

  • Doing even just two weeks of Whole30 did a lot to curb my sugar cravings. I’ve always had a major sweet tooth, and would have something sweet pretty much every day. Plus, I picked up a half and half tea from Sonic almost every day as well. After my two weeks of Whole30, I’ve cut waaaaaay back on the sugar. I don’t crave it nearly as much as I did, and in the week since I quit I’ve only had a couple of teas. And I didn’t fully finish any of them!
  • My workouts are way better when I’m NOT doing Whole30. You might argue that I didn’t make it far enough in the program to see the positive results. But, two weeks into Whole30 I was still majorly struggling with my runs. On Day 7, I ran 10 miles and it felt like a million. One week after quitting Whole30, I ran 11 miles. My average pace was 1 minute and 45 seconds FASTER, and it felt a hundred times easier.
  • I did feel more clear-headed on Whole30. Looking back at my daily recaps, one thing I saw myself mention over and over was how clear-headed and focused I felt. I think part of that is due to a reduction of sugar in my diet, and part of it is just all the healthy, whole foods I was eating. I liked that feeling and want to try to keep capturing it! More on that plan in a minute.
  • And finally, I definitely think I could have done it. When I started Whole30, I genuinely thought it would be impossible for me. I’m a picky eater and I love to indulge in some fun food, so I thought I just wasn’t cut out for it. The two weeks of Whole30 I did was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I DID IT! And, honestly, had Corey wanted to finish it out, I’m fully confident I could have made it another two weeks. I think that in order to do it, though, you really need to have some personal motivation to get through. Once Corey quit, I had no reason to keep going! I also think being the only person in your house doing Whole30 would be very challenging, so that’s something to keep in mind too!

Moving Forward

I got my delicious-drink-on-a-patio experience!

I’ve been off Whole30 for a week now, and I’m still feeling great. My runs have gotten so much easier than they were on the diet, and I have kept feeling clear-headed and focused most days. I didn’t do any sort of re-introduction, just kind of jumped right back into normal life. I didn’t have any issues with feeling bad as I started eating normally again.

But, I will note that there are a few things from Whole30 that I’ve decided to try and keep with me. One of my biggest observations was that doing Whole30 reached a point where it was almost easy for me Monday through Thursday. I enjoyed eating healthy foods and I barely missed any of the fun stuff. I have no intention of maintaining a Whole30 diet moving forward, but here’s what I am planning on:

  • Monday through Thursday, I’m going to stick to healthy foods. That means I’m not getting teas from Sonic, I’m not grabbing fast food for lunch, and I’m not having dessert after dinner. Of course, there will be exceptions to this because LIFE. But, as a general rule, I think I can stick to this. I’m trying to simply make it a habit in my life to make only healthy food choices during the week!
  • On the weekends, I’ll loosen up! I learned during Whole30 that I need to pay more attention to my hunger signals, so that’s something I’ll continue to work on. Sometimes I think I’m hungry when I’m actually just bored. Or thirsty. Or cranky. So, as I head into the weekends and the fun food choices, I’ll continue to pay attention to that.

Overall, I’m really glad that we decided to give Whole30 a shot. We learned a lot about ourselves and our habits. And, I think I’m going to be making some really great changes for myself because of it!

Do I think Whole30 is for everyone? Absolutely not. It requires a special kind of discipline, and I think you really have to have a good motivation if it’s going to work for you. I’ve been working on mentally reframing it it for myself to help me remember that quitting Whole30 didn’t mean I failed. I accomplished a lot! And, in the end, it just wasn’t right for me. And that’s fine. I succeeded in exactly what I set out to do – help my husband solve some of his health issues, and reset a few bad food habits.

So, all in all, my two weeks of Whole30 was quite a success, I’d say.

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