Past the Point of No Return

w30 collage bar 2

As I write this, I’m on Day 16 of my Whole30 (today, 1/20, is Day 18). I had to refer to the calendar I posted on the inside of my kitchen cabinet to check–it’s a great sign that instead of counting down the days, I’ve felt pretty excited about food this whole time. Instead of “going without” a few categories of foods, I’ve been discovering a new way of defining abundance.

The hardest part of the Whole30 for me has been the social aspect. Let’s be real: I definitely have hermit tendencies, and the Whole30 has brought out the worst of them. It’s hard to go out with friends and be the one person who won’t eat any of the food and is sipping with intensity at a glass of club soda and lime. On the plus side, my meals at home have become more extravagant than usual to make up for the lack of restaurant fare. My favorite so far has been Whole30-friendly, Paleo sushi with cauliflower rice.

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Looking at on the last time I tried to complete a Whole30, I didn’t have particularly clear goals or motivation. I knew it would be healthy, I’d feel good, all the cool Paleo kids are doing it–eh, okay, cool. Still, I committed to taking pictures of everything I ate, posting here daily, and writing about the experience. A word to the wise: forcing yourself to think even more about food when you’re already scrutinizing each thing you’re putting in your body is a recipe for burnout. Instead of savoring fresh-from-the-oven meals, I insisted on snapping pictures of them til they got cold.

The completely self-imposed pressure of showing off my happy, healthy, Whole30 eating style ultimately led me to go out with a whimper somewhere around Day 20. In retrospect it was clear that other negative habits and attitudes toward food hadn’t changed in those first 20 days either.

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This time around, I made no commitment to anyone other than myself…though you can tell that I’m still taking snapshots of delicious meals. I reread The Paleo Solution, finally got It Starts with Food from the library, and thought about what I wanted to accomplish in advance. I framed my Whole30 as a way to experiment and hone a way of eating that I already knew worked for me.

The most powerful realization I had this month is this: no one cares what I eat. Really. I’m pretty sure none of my friends could care less if I eat a piece of cake or red beans and rice. So the only judge who matters is me. Since I’m feeling good only two weeks in, I have plenty of resolve to keep it up.

As I continue in the pretty flipping awesome “Tiger Blood” phase of the Whole30, I want to share two amazing blogs that have made this process even better: Holly Would If She Could and Nom Nom Paleo. If you’re looking for motivational reads, inspiring food, and a strong sense of Whole30 community, you won’t be disappointed.

Good luck to all the Whole30ers out there this month! If you’re doing the January Whole30, how are you feeling?

About Humble Foodie

While we both love to eat well, life as AmeriCorps volunteers doesn’t afford us the budget to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. With many post-graduate expenses and limited financial resources, what’s a foodie to do? The answer is here, at The Humble Foodie. Instead of spending our hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for us, we’re spending as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home.
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15 Responses to Past the Point of No Return

  1. I really really enjoyed this post.I especially liked this part, “a word to the wise: forcing yourself to think even more about food when you’re already scrutinizing each thing you’re putting in your body is a recipe for burnout” simply because, that’s my problem in a nutshell. It’s a big part of why I had to put paleo on the shelf. Kudos for getting to the bottom of what your motives are for following the lifestyle and for making it work for you. Plus- your pictures and food look incredible. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Alicia says:

      Hi Maribel! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for the warm words of support. I’m looking forward to some food relaxation after I finish the Whole30 and reintroduction phase, but this month definitely feels like a valuable experiment. Also, look out for a curried carrot soup recipe inspired by your flu-fighting curried butternut squash recipe! Once I ran out of squash, I had to find a substitute and a new recipe was born.

  2. That’s really cool! Looking forward to seeing what you came up with. 🙂

  3. Holly says:

    Great post!! So true that nobody else really cares. Glad it’s working for you this time – I’m feeling the Tiger Blood right about now too 🙂

  4. Brandy says:

    Loved your thoughts and can relate to it! The only time people, “care what I eat”, is when they notice the weight loss, positive attitude, increased energy, and clear skin. Then, they want to know what the “secret” is, lol! 🙂

    • Alicia says:

      Brandy- exactly! When people first noticed a transformation after I went Paleo, I got a lot of comments and questions. Now, when my friends ask questions about the Whole30 or about what I am/am not eating, they’re genuinely curious because they want to learn more about me. It’s a great feeling!

  5. I’m on day 22 of my third successful Whole30, and I think you absolutely nailed it: you must have clear motivation and goals (and I would add, an understanding of what a Whole30 actually is and isn’t) going in or there’s really no point. The two that I started and failed were both started for the same reason you mentioned, the paleo cool kids were doing it and that just wasn’t enough to get me through. Sitting down and figuring out concrete goals ahead of time has definitely helped me through the rougher days (yes, day 7, I’m talking about you) and it’s helped me to gauge my progress.

    And day 22 finds me feeling great, slept awesome, my stomach bloat is totally gone and have energy to spare!

    • Alicia says:

      Hi Sam- wow! I’m so impressed that you already have two successful Whole30s under your belt and another on the way. Sleep is my favorite part of the Whole30…it feels like there has to be some kind of magic going on.

  6. Yay! Right there with you, Sistah (Day 17, I think). Thanks for the reminder that no one cares (this from a girl who posts pics of everything she eats). I find myself insulting my own diet out of embarrassment for my perceived fussiness. You are reminding me to own it more fully. Word!

    • Alicia says:

      I still take pictures of most things I eat, so I’m definitely not knocking it! I love seeing other people’s day-to-day deliciousness. It’s easy to fall into making self-deprecating comments about “pickiness” or “fussiness”- I do it too, usually without thinking. But you’re right- let’s own it! 😀

  7. Laura says:

    It’s a little true that nobody truly cares what you are eating – but I have found in my whole30 journey – and beyond, what you eat and prepare are inspiring to others – to eat better, to care about what they are eating. It inspires them to spend some time thinking about what they are going to cook next time – to shop for next trip. And you can tell by those who comment – people who thank you along the way for the inspiration – people who write to ask “how to” questions, looking for a way to begin living Paleo. It’s all good. And it’s also ok for you to post your happy food photos and enjoy doing it and not care if anybody else cares…cuz you’re doing it for you!

    • Alicia says:

      Laura- you make a great point, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree that just going about a certain path (and showing health and happiness as results) can be inspiring to others. The Whole30 and Paleo in general have sparked some wonderful conversations with friends who span a variety of diets. I also LOVE reading daily food posts like what Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo used to do. This time around, I’m happily filling my Instagram feed with tasty Whole30 meal pics but without putting pressure on myself to post daily. Definitely way better for me!

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