Whole 30 – Reaching the Summit

Living up to its name: Damn Good Chili! #whole30 #hwisc

Whole 30ers…can you see the summit? Maybe for you it is today. For me it is tomorrow. Regardless I wanted to pop in and share a few thoughts since we are halfway there:

*If you have made it this far — CONGRATULATIONS! This Whole 30 has been both easier and tougher on me than the last time around. Easier in that all of you are really helping keep me accountable. This weekend I had the desire to really go off the rails and just eat what was easy since Garrett was out of town. When I have no one to cook for I sometimes just want to eat mindless things which, while Paleo, are not necessarily Whole 30 compliant.

*It has also been harder though because I have really FELT all of the ups and downs. I’ve basically been a snapshot of The Whole 30 Timeline complete with random cravings for things I’d never eat (Mac and Cheese) and anxiety dreams that I bought the wrong almond butter with EEEEEEK. Evaporated Cane Juice OMG DRAMA. ha! If you are still wondering if your reactions are “normal” I highly recommend that read.

*My favorite part of that timeline is this quote from days 8-15, which is super appropriate. I think it is really worth marinating on:

All joking aside, though, this phase gets really intense and for some people. This is the part of the program where our minds try to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to know. Our food relationships are deeply rooted and strongly reinforced throughout the course of our lives and breaking through them is really big deal.

*Understanding how you relate to food is one of the major points of the Whole 30. People often forget this or hop into the challenge thinking “Oh I want to lose weight and feel great!” And of course those things happen too. But to get to the “feeling great” part, you have to put in A LOT of work that sometimes involves working through your relationship with food. I really want to commend you if things have gotten difficult and you haven’t yet thrown in the towel. Dealing with those emotions and issues and rationalizations can be really difficult and it can be super easy to find a legitimate sounding reason to put it off until later or just quit altogether and say “It wasn’t right for me” So high five if you have felt those emotions and are pushing through!

*But what if you haven’t pushed through? What if you have strayed, or found it difficult or decided it’s not right for you right now? Well to that I want to say, better luck next time and don’t spend too long beating yourself up about it. It’s important to remember that not being able to complete a Whole 30 does not indicate anything else about you except for that right now, you are not able to complete a Whole 30. That’s it. Let the judgment go. It’s not a failure. YOU are not a failure. Learn and move on. It’s the best thing you can do.

*At this point I also feel like it’s worth reiterating that the Whole 30 isn’t about losing weight. Yep, seriously. It’s not. At all. So, difficult as that is, try not to get all wrapped up in that idea. Dallas and Melissa have written two really great articles about this exact thing and if you have sneaked on to the scale (DON’T DO IT!) and are feeling discouraged, please read them both! Then I would recommend making a list of some of your health or fitness victories over the last few weeks. I had two last night that I’m going to keep in my back pocket for when I feel challenged during the next two weeks.

*The first was our warm up in last night’s workout — Run a mile. UGH. I am always so god damn slow so I just headed out and figured that I would run as fast as possible but not beat myself up for being last. I did my best, clocked my time and expected to see around 11 or 12 minutes, which is my average (Remember my hilly half marathon? I averaged 14 minute miles!!!) So when I got back to the gym I was shocked to see that I ran that mile in 9:34. Under 10 minutes! Victory. I have no doubt that part of the reason for the improvement has had to do with being diligent about properly fueling my body for the last two weeks.

*The last was during the metcon portion of the actual workout:
I got through 9 of those wall walks and my arms basically felt like we noodles. (Here, watch {one of} my CrossFit boyfriend(s) Chris Spealler do them at about 30 seconds in if you have no idea what I’m talking about.) Anyway, wet noodles. I was ready to modify the second time around by my lovely coach basically said “Sorry, no dice. FINISH IT UP, CHUCK!” Well, she didn’t call me chuck, but you get what I’m saying. And in the end, I *did* finish. And it was hard as hell and my arms STILL feel like wet noodles 16 hours later. But last night also felt like the night that I got *my* fitness back. It’s been such a struggle over the past few months with the extra lbs and the crappy food in my body! Last night I really remembered what working hard and performing well (for me!) felt like. And it felt great! And that is way more important than the number on the scale right now.

NY Res to get better at body weight exercises like wall walks. Also to NOT play dead on the gym floor  #htcone #trooponex

So tell me about some of your victories over the last 2 weeks? I know it has been hard at times, but surely there have been moments when you noticed positive changes. TELL US ABOUT THEM!

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43 Responses to Whole 30 – Reaching the Summit

  1. Kristabella says:

    That part of Days 8-15 is SO TRUE. I think because I had eaten Paleo-ish for a few months prior to this Whole 30, the no grains thing wasn’t as hard for me. I didn’t have such a crazy carb flu in the first few days (as when I first started Paleo).

    But good grief I’m craving anything and everything. I want milkshakes. I never have milkshakes. But it made me realize how deeply rooted my food issues are. I’m really glad I’ve done this. It sucks at times, but I cut off the tip of my finger slicing sweet potatoes and I didn’t console myself with sweets! YAY ME!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for linking those articles! I have sneaked on the scale, and then jumped quickly off, a few times over the past 17 days. For the remainder of the Whole30 I am not going anywhere near them! I have noticed how much better I am sleeping, and how my body feels tighter. My relationship with food used to be obsessive, now it is care free and doesn’t stress me out at all! I can’t believe I can now get through the day without snacking!
    I have been having a few dreams where I have been stuffing my face with marshmallows (my guilty pleasure) and woken up feeling awful…and then remembering that I am stronger than my cravings when awake, hurray!
    Those handstands look BRUTAL! but you rocked them like a pro.

    • Holly says:

      What I think is so enlightening about the Whole 30 is you really learn what your physical cravings are for (the first few days) and then what your mental cravings are for (right around summit time.) Both are tough to deal with, but after I’m done with the Whole 30 I find it so much easier in my real life to recognize the symptoms of my mental cravings and then deal with them. Kudos to you for keeping up the good work!

      (And your scale secret is safe with me! ha!)

  3. Erica says:

    Good job, everybody! Pretend you are running a Whole 30 race and I am holding a hilarious and encouraging sign on the side of the road.

  4. Congrats on your mile time! I love it when you get surprises like that! (i.e. my pull-ups from Friday)

    I’m calling my version of this The Whole 30 Lite Vegan since I’m not doing 100% what everyone else is doing – Plus a couple of lapses along the way… But I’m most proud of baking cookies for my house guests this weekend and not eating a single one. And they smellllled so good. I ate cauliflower. 🙂

  5. Theresa says:

    My victory last night was two fold; 1)making a positive difference in someone’s workout last night and 2) not getting socked in the gut for telling you, ahem her, “No” when asking for piece of equipment to do it scaled.

    Love ya Holly, girl!!!

    • Holly says:

      HAAAAAAA! I’m so glad you forced me to put my big girl pants on and just suck it up. Last night was such a great workout and it feels so good to be pushing myself and my body actually cooperating! It makes the lack of wine worth it! Thanks again T!

  6. Cami Sebern says:

    Hi everyone,

    I too am on the second time around and finding it more challenging in some ways. The first time I started from such a SAD (Standard American Diet, pop tarts anyone?) place that anything had to be better, but since eating more Paleo since May, this time I didn’t feel as rotten when I started so the motivation is harder to stick with. Thanks to all of you (especially the author of this delightful blog) for helping me stay on task and not be depressed that I am not seeing the same results as I did last time, because I didn’t start quite at the bottom, so no dramatic changes at this point although I did knock 2 minutes off my time doing Karen (150 wall balls) this morning in Crossfit!!

  7. Day 9 over here, I’m definitely going crazy thinking about forbidden foods! I’ve been dealing with some of sugar cravings with fruit… probably too much fruit, but hey you pick your battles right?

    I’m definitely getting a lot of sleep. I went to bed at 9 pm last night, which is probably a record for me!

    • Holly says:

      Totally agree on picking your battles. There are far worse things than fruit, I think! And I find in the last couple of weeks no matter how fruit crazy I have been in the first two, I just generally eat less. Keep it up girl!

  8. Well, crap. I’ve only ever done walking up the wall to do a handstand hold, which means, of course, that now I have to try that metcon. THANKS A LOT, HOLLY! I’ll be cursing you while I do it on Thursday.

    • Holly says:

      Bring some arm reinforcements so you can drive home when you are done. It was so freaking BRUTAL! 🙂

  9. Sam says:

    Womp, womp, I’m one of the ones that have strayed, but am working on not beating myself over it. It’s strange as I found it effortless and then one night, my brain went “NO :|”

    • Holly says:

      My brain did that last time right around day 20 and I will tell you what, my brain is REALLY CONVINCING so I totally get the feeling! Don’t beat yourself up at all. I bet you still gleaned some useful information that will help you if you ever try again. Don’t sweat it!

  10. Rose-Anne says:

    Hey, I’m watching and reading from the sidelines over here, but I wanted to commend you, Holly, on your kind words for the people who have strayed. I feel like we Americans tend toward such an all-or-nothing attitude that when we do fail, we handle it really, really badly. Which actually makes it much riskier for us to try new things in the first place! This seems profound to me. Maybe we all need life lessons on how to handle failure with more grace (and less self-destruction?).

    • Holly says:

      I agree. Failing happens. It should happen! It’s the easiest way to learn, frankly. But I also know I am so hard on myself when something fails too. This is good food for thought on a future post. How to fail better? Hmmm…the wheels are turning.

      • Rose-Anne says:

        I completely agree. I wonder if there’s a sweet spot in failure, where you can learn some new lessons, congratulate yourself for trying something new and hard, and yet maintain some sense of self-respect. Forgive yourself! Failing gracefully is, I think, essential for a good life. I want to write more about this too–if you’re in, then I’m in 🙂

        There was a great Chronicle piece called “Next Time, Fail Better,” which I really liked. Here’s the link:

  11. Caitlin says:

    I found and wrote about that exact section from the timeline last night! It’s so poignant for me right now – I thought I was going crazy.

    I got 8 hours of sleep last night and feel better for it. Overall I have noticed that my short term memory has improved by leaps and bounds, I do have more energy, and I just feel like I have better mental clarity. I don’t have to ask my husband five times what he wanted from the store – and I don’t even need to jot it down. I just…remember stuff and recall it. Amazing! I have to say, it has been hard for me to tell what’s Whole30 related and what’s still normalizing from my sinus infections & such, but definitely seeing improvements. I love this post & your encouragement. It’s definitely been hard, but it’s happening!

    Can you believe we’re almost halfway done?!

    • Holly says:

      It’s SO profound, right? Every time I read that I want to highlight something different. Man…so good. I’m so glad you are doing this! I know it’s tough, but I am really interested to see how it affects you and I am SO SO SO HAPPY you are blogging finally! the internet needs MORE Caitlin!

  12. Caitlin says:

    Oh, and my blood sugar has stabilized and I don’t get suddenly, ravenously hungry any more. I’m also mostly not needing to snack, or starving at 11am. I go about 8-9 hours between lunch & dinner so I do often need a snack then, but something small and sometimes not even that.

    I also have weighed myself and it did mess with me, but I’m only weighing once a week for Jennie’s Biggest Blogging Loser competition. It’s an exception I had to make!

    I’m less puffy and bloated and my clothes look better, so that’s something. I definitely look and feel different – and better – like I’ve lost weight.

    • Karen B. says:

      I’m weighing once a week too. It’s better than weighing myself every single day, which I did during my first Whole30. I just see it as another measurement and I like to know what it is and how it’s changed. I think I SHOULD know how my body is affected by what I’m putting into it, especially now since I’m menopausal and my body is changing so much.

  13. Madison L. says:

    I had a few good food victories last weekend when I went to THREE restaurants in two days, plus a birthday party, and managed to stick to my Whole30 (thanks, boring salad!). At the birthday party there was a lot of cake-oogling going on, but I just ate some of (most of) the red bell peppers from the crudite platter and creepily smelled my husband’s wassail.

    I’ve only had one food-related dream, but it was a powerful one. My mom (who’s doing the Whole30 with me) took me to a Mexican restaurant and somehow talked me into eating nachos. I was so upset with myself, and with her, the back-stabber! Then my dog made a really loud noise and woke me up… I was elated that I hadn’t ruined my Whole30 with stupid nachos!

    Also, I obviously have mommy issues… Don’t tell her, though. She’d probably cry.

  14. Georgia says:

    Hi Holly! I read a lot of Paleo-centric blogs and I have to tell you that I find yours to consistently be one of the most inspiring, interesting, motivating, delicious, and well written sites out there. I really appreciate you and your posts. And way to kick tush on that mile girl!

  15. Mariah B says:

    Aw, I love this post, Holly.

    Last week was filled with so many victories for me..both in the gym and eating. But this week has been rotten! I found out after I enjoyed my steak, dry sweet potato, and steamed-no-butter broccoli from Texas Road House that they cook all their steaks in butter! Ack! (Update, I just called as I was writing this and they said margarine, which is bad, but wouldn’t call for a re-start… now what?!)

    So, I’ve restarted based on the guidance of the Whole30 forum, (half-hearted cheer for Day 2, anyone?!) and I’m kind of wondering if the stress I put myself through the last few days is worth it. Stress about eating/hormones is one of the biggest factors they warn against, right? I guess the positive is that once I did find that out, I didn’t eat anything else off plan since I was re-starting.

    Also, even though I’ve eaten mostly Paleo for the past year or so, this is hard! It’s “adjusting” my hormones, which means this last week has been the crabbiest I’ve ever been in my life. KILL ALL THE THINGS. My hubby is happy to be working out of town for the first time in his life.

    But, I finally finished my open jar of almond butter last night, nevermind that it had only been open for a week, so it’s a fresh start… and I guess it won’t kill me to eat clean for a little while longer.

    Thanks for this post, Holly… nice to have support down here in our self-imposed trenches. 🙂

  16. Susannah says:

    Good going, everyone! I’m enjoying doing this Whole30 with you all 🙂 Day 15 for me and this morning I wrote down some evaluations. Waking before my alarm is the most noticable with more energy in the morning. My mood is better (except when I am irrationally crabby which has happened a few times, but overall, better), skin looks clearer, (sadly, I have rosacea and now have a kind of bumpy complexion), sugar cravings are dropping. Even my plantar fasciitis is improving! I don’t know if that is from the Whole30 and reduction in overall inflammation or just time but I am beginning to hope.
    My Whole30 goal is kicking my sugar addiction – I’m sure I will be doing the Whole30 at least 5 times this year.
    Thanks, Holly, for all the inspiration and great recipes! And congrats on your mile time!

  17. Mariah B says:

    Ps. Almond butter may be out, as it’s not only food without brakes AND gives me zits, but coconut manna/cream is IN. Score. I have the next 28 days to wean myself off my frozen berries/coconut cream addiction, right? 😉

  18. Paco says:

    Thank God for this 15 day recap, just read it thanks to the WHOLE 30 post on my NewsFeed. I was actually doing pretty good and not getting completely annoyed nor desperate with this challenge up until last night. I have been eating Paleo since April 2012 and I got down to my lowest weight ever back then but then just maintained and fluctuated between 4 and 5 lbs since then. I gained a bit over the holidays and felt like crap eating so much wheat and drinking wine that I decided to do this challenge and in 15 days I can already tell my body looks different and my stomach isn’t as swollen and I know that I would look GREAT if I did this for 100 days but with my social life, it would be a complete disaster.

    I have a confession though, I have had fruit as a snack occasionally, a banana, an apple, and lots of grapefruit. IDK how much this will impact my challenge.

  19. Leah says:

    I just posted to my blog all about the changes I have experienced these last two weeks! Basically my biggest victories: not feeling 70 yrs old, breaking my addictive relationship w sugar, and prepping for success! Btw, so glad I found your blog!


  20. sjanett says:

    Am I the only one crying myself to sleep? It seems that the emotional hurdles are way more difficult that the fysical ones. It’s not even about food, just a unshakable gloomy feeling… hoping on a more victorious descent from the summit?

  21. Thanks so much for this recap. I have been feeling discouraged but the victory is that I have not completely thrown in the towel. Thanks for sharing about how this is NOT about losing weight. Having not stepped on the scale yet, I am not sure exactly what is happening there, but not the results I was expecting. Glad I found your blog, just what I needed today!


  22. Rhonda H says:

    Ack I had a food dream! And it sure was a weird one, so I guess the W30 time line is spot on there! But the real life eating part is still on track — yesterday was a nutso stressful day and I didn’t stop at the Mexican bakery on the way home so I consider it a major success!

  23. Samantha says:

    Today makes day 17 for me, of my third Whole30. This is the first time I’ve gone into one after a holiday season that I sort of threw caution to the wind and ate like an idiot, so it’s been a bit of a different experience for me. I felt change faster, but I also felt the carb flu more deeply than I have before.

    I’m happy to be in Tiger Blood. My energy is more abundant and consistent (at least it is until about 8:30, when I pass out on the couch). And I realized yesterday that I was standing in the kitchen, with my brain saying things like, “let’s eat something!” and my body responding with, “Dude, we’re good.” That’s always a pretty wild feeling for someone who has been a compulsive over-eater in the past, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it!

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  25. Emily says:

    So far, the changes for me have been a definite slimming down of the belly. Not sure if this is lack of bloat or actual fat loss, but I like it! I generally have more energy, though I do find myself tired at night and not wanting to do much. So I think I’m still fighting through something here.

    Haven’t had the dreams this time around, but definitely hearing my brain protest at times when I have to talk myself down from having xyz forbidden substance (more about working through habits than actual desire for said item). That said, I am paying much more attention to the psychological aspect and really trying to reprogram myself to desire good, whole foods and mentally reject the poor choices. If I can do that, I will feel successful at the end of these 30 days.

    • Holly says:

      Oh man, I feel like I was maybe two or three days in and I was like: NO MORE BLOATING! Isn’t that the best part?????

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