Whole 30 — The Summit


So yesterday marked the halfway point in the Whole 30. Also coincidentally, the 2 year anniversary of us “trying” Paleo. When it comes to the Whole 30, I swear my opinion changes daily – heck sometimes hourly. But it always generally circles back to “I’m so glad we are doing this.” Of course Garrett and I don’t always feel the same way at the same time, so it has definitely made for continuous conversation.

The Good

I really can’t underscore how good it feels physically to focus on eating foods that make you healthier. And feeling good begets more healthy eating for me. When I have tons of energy and zero cravings, it’s so much easier to say no office treats and frappucinos on hot days, you know? It boils down to this: making healthy food choices is just SO MUCH EASIER when I’m not eating sugar or marginal foods. It’s harder when I’m not. I enjoy life being easy. The end.

This sounds like a tiny thing and a HELLO HOLLY THIS ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE MOMENT but it is really enormous actually, and I am a person who needs physical proof to stay motivated. Stable blood sugar, zero cravings, constantly feeling satiated, never needing to snack: all of that is pretty damn awesome when you look at the big picture.


The Bad

But life is not only about the big picture. There are lots of little micro moments. While I’m still getting really creative in the kitchen, my passion is feeling a little bit confined by the limits of the Whole 30. I was inspired to try a new recipe for pancakes the other day with completely Paleo ingredients, but then I remembered “Oh, I’m not supposed to be Paleo-ifying junk food.” Right.

On these crazy hot nights I’ve been really wanting to mix up some frozen banana berry ice cream, but running up against the same limits. I don’t really have a particularly alarming “psychological response” to pancakes or fruit-based ice cream, and I know this is the concern and the reasoning behind not paleo-ifying junk food, but I’m still feeling annoyed about those limits. I don’t like how that feels. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, WHOLE 30. 🙂

The Ugly


Also, while I totally love cooking at home — LOVE IT — I miss socializing freely, and can you believe that this sentiment has nothing to do with the booze anymore? I can hardly believe it. The halfway point is where my desire for a GOD DAMN GLASS OF WINE completely dissipated. I’ll have it when I have it. Whatever. Self-control, regained in two weeks or less. There you have it.

HOWEVER. Every time we get a social invitation lately I look to the calendar with panic. Will we still be doing this Whole 30? Will we be able to find something to eat? Should I just turn it down? Should I push it back to September? And I reeeeeeeeeeeeally don’t like living my life like that. Socializing and seeing friends and family is an important part of my life. And it should be fun and really have nothing to do with food panic. So that’s definitely where some of the negative feelings come from.

What I’m Learning

Ultimately though, it is making me feel super grateful for how flexible our regular lifestyle is. Two years into this paleo gig, I have found sticking to a regular paleo framework is not difficult at all. Like AT ALL. Man it’s amazing to actually think how far we’ve come and how many changes we’ve made in such a short amount of time. Living a normal life where I feel fantastic yet also get socialize and indulge in rituals that really do make me happy (my weekend wine) are really awesome. I’m so happy we made the switch! But getting super strict for the past two weeks has me really look forward to getting back to the old normal.

One of the main reasons I’m looking forward to the old normal is because thus far for the amount of thinking about food and talking about what I am eating, and meticulously monitoring ingredients — I don’t feel that drastically from when I’m staying within the normal paleo framework. Sure I feel better than when we are attending food truck festivals and going out of town every weekend and boozing, and eating mexican food more than once per month — but that’s not my “regular life.” And recalibrating will be worth it, as ugly as it feels at times.

But I have actually found some great takeaways and improvements from this experiment already, and these alone make it worth it:

1) I depend on cheese because I’m lazy and it’s yummy. But the truth is, I haven’t really missed it. I will absolutely go back to eating good cheese by itself (mmmm, triple cream mushroom cheese and stilton!) and I will never give up the occasional gorgonzola. But I don’t need cheese in every salad I make or on all my burgers or in all of my egg dishes. So hey, win!

2) Fermented foods are pretty easy to incorporate into my life. They really kind of scared me before, but man there is such an availability of high quality stuff where I live. That has LITERALLY spiced up my food life! I would not have even explored that if it weren’t for my need to find new burger toppings to replace my cheese. 🙂

3) Fruit is a completely awesome and satisfying dessert. When you make sure the house isn’t filled with dark chocolate, coconut milk ice cream and chocolate chips. For me, keeping that kind of food in the house just makes me lazy. I LOVE coconut milk ice cream, but honestly it’s not any better than the freaking amazing plums and apricots we’ve been eating. I promise. But you know I’ll pick the ice cream every time. So I’m going to try and keep that stuff as treats only. Whole Foods is 2 minutes from my house in case of emergency, no need to just “have some chocolate chips on hand just in case.”

4) Sleep continues to be an area that I need to focus on. But hot damn, that is a pretty fun goal to work on! And keeping working on it I will.


So I’m continuing to chug away at this 30 days. There are times when I am so happy that my body feels fueled and satisfied with such simple, delicious food! But my environments have to be so controlled and that limits my life. Also, I really, really, REALLY do not want food to be taking up so much space in my mind.

Enjoyment of your life is just as important as fueling your body in a healthful way. The two have definitely overlapped some in the last two weeks, but not enough for me to be fully satisfied. But that is the cool thing about this: IT’S ONLY 30 DAYS. And I can do anything for 30 days. I’m hoping the next 15 days open up that venn diagram overlap area even more. And if not, I will certainly have such an awesome appreciation for my regular life, and more importantly for how far I have come in the last two years. Heck, the slope is all downhill from here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

19 Responses to Whole 30 — The Summit

  1. Christina says:

    I stared yesterday- my first try into Paleo started July 21st and I went 18 “whole” days, of the 30. I need (ed) to drop some lbs before a fancy vacation and nothing else was working. I’ve been about 80% since I got back but I noticed a lot of bad patterns so it was time to stop it. So on the wagon I go. I feel so much better when I’m following all of the rules. I feel you with the social aspect- my husband isnt doing this outside of what I cook for dinner so our dates are tempting….

    • Holly says:

      You know, that is definitely how I roll — stick to things pretty well but when I notice those bad habits creeping up (for me, it’s wanting to make Paleo chocolate chip cookies EVERY Saturday night with my wine LOL) I gotta get myself in check. Challenges like this are hard every once in a while, but they also make you realize that “regular” Paleo — um, totally manageable. Especially when you think about how great it makes you feel!

  2. sizzle says:

    I’m guilty of making junk into paleo-junk. (Cookies!) I do better when I don’t keep those things around like you mentioned. I haven’t been very good about cooking at home. Life has been very busy and I’ve been distracted. I really do want to find a balance where I can get enough sleep(!), cook good food, and have time to connect with the people who mean the most. I sometimes wish we had 5 extra hours in a day.

    You’re doing great!

    • Holly says:

      Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies are my gateway drug. OMG. And trust me, the balance will come. You have like 9000 VERY important things on your plate right now. I think you are getting an A+ in life, currently. If you were also cooking fantastic, healthful amazing meals at home every night — I mean, you’d just be off the charts. No one likes a show-off, Sizz! 🙂 hehe

  3. Beth says:

    Great summary and congrats on making it past the half way mark! I totally hear you on the not wanting to think about food SO MUCH thought. It gets exhausting by the end of the thirty days to constantly be vigilant and on guard, but it does make me realize just how much less-than-ideal food sneaks in even when I think I’m eating pretty darn good.

    • Holly says:

      Oh yes, so sneaky! I’m completely guilty of letting that marginal stuff slide in while priding myself on clean eating. 🙂 I can’t wait to stop thinking about food so dang much, but I am genuinely happy to have found some pretty great substitutes for some of my most marginal foods. Good experience no matter what.

  4. Denise says:

    I love the format you’re using to chronicle your Whole30. Very great. Thinking of doing the same thing for my workouts/eating, so it frees me up to write about other things.

    I don’t think I’ve eaten any fermented veggie in my life but now I want to try it. Your food looks so great.

    • Holly says:

      Thanks, Denise! I’m trying not to be All Whole 30, All The Time. But man it is definitely consuming more head space than I thought it would. If you like cabbage, definitely try some kraut. Bubbies makes an awesome one, but there are tons in Whole Foods. I always thought sauerkraut was kind of icky, but it is suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper delicious and makes an AMAZEBALLS burger topping with some grainy mustard.

      PS — I made your chicken thigh recipe for lunch yesterday. DELISH. 🙂

  5. Linda Sand says:

    I got an invitation to a wedding shower in the mail yesterday and my first response was, “Oh, no!” That’s not how I want to live my life either. But, I am learning a LOT about quick but healthful cooking so I am happy with that.

    • Holly says:

      This. Exactly.

      It’s a lot of give and take so I just keep telling myself it’s only 30 days. And I really am learning a lot that will helpful forever, so it’s probably just growing pains, but I got an invite from a friend recently and I was just like “noooooooooooooo!” in my head. And, um…SERIOUSLY??? 🙂

    • Holly says:

      Right?????? This is not how socializing should be. 11 days left! haha

  6. Holly I can relate to SO MUCH that you said here! I eat cheese because I’m lazy too – it’s so easy to just grab some when I’m hungry, or throw some on veggies for a meal. And I laughed out loud when you said you’re not the boss of me Whole 30! That’s exactly how I feel! I hate that I’m doing it because it’s in the rules if it isn’t actually cheating. But it’s definitely making me think more about my choices which is a good thing. And I miss bourbon and dark chocolate but not as much as I thought I would. Definitely makes my old low carb paleo way of eating seem like a piece of cake though, and like you I’ll be happy to have more flexibility again! It’s been great reading your updates, I’m going to share it on my FB page because I think a lot of people can relate and you expressed it so entertainingly! 🙂 So glad I found your blog, I’m really enjoying it!

    • Holly says:

      Thanks Mellissa, glad you liked it. I don’t like ANYONE being the boss of me! I will rally against that even if it is for my own good. ha! Flexibility is 11 days away and even though I’m loving how I feel, I can’t wait!

  7. Dianna says:

    I almost cried when I read your description of “food panic” in relation to social events and not wanting to think about food so much. I’m a celiac (also intolerant of soy) who has been cruising paleo sites for new recipe inspiration, and you just summed up the last few years of my life very succinctly. It’s nice to know that others feel the same–even if the situation is a little different. Best wishes.

    • Holly says:

      Oh Dianna, it is so tough to find a happy medium. I imagine it’s even tougher when you *HAVE* to be super strict. I admire you!

  8. Dr. Maureen says:

    I am really enjoying your chronicling of this experiment, Holly. I think your whole attitude about life is absolutely inspiring, frankly. I appreciate your whole attitude of people doing what works for them; how working out and eating right are very important, but so is socializing and relaxing; and fashion can be a fun – and important! – way to take pride in yourself. (You and Princess Nebraska both, on that one!) And I was very interested to see how this Whole 30 was going to go for you, so thank you for telling us about it! You’re so down-to-earth and frank and reasonable about it all. You are truly a pleasure to read. 🙂

    Someday when my baby stops being a huge pain in the butt about sleeping and I can once again reasonably get up to exercise in the morning, I will again be calling upon you to hold me accountable.

    • Holly says:

      You are too kind, Ms. Maureen! I look forward to your early am tweets when you get back in the saddle! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Whole 30: Days 22-30 — WE DID IT!

  10. Pingback: 10 Tips to Make Your Whole 30 A Success