Whole 30 Week 3: To Continue or Not to Continue?

Week one was smooth sailing.
Week two presented a few hurdles, but I emerged successful.
Week three, however, has felt like a true test of my commitment.

My sleeping hasn’t improved, my skin is recovering from a breakout and my body has been dealing with some digestive issues. But more than that, I have found myself doubting whether or not the Whole 30 is really a good choice for me right now.

The first time I did the Whole 30, my purpose was clear: I wanted to figure out how some of the foods I ate were affecting the way I felt. This time around, my purpose was to reset my body and help perk me up after a summer of eating whatever the heck I wanted to. The Whole 30 worked so well for me the first time, I figured doing it again would be just what I needed. It turns out, though, that may not have been the case. Yes, I’m eating healthier, I feel lighter and cleaner and I feel good, physically. But, I find myself revisiting the question of why I’m still doing.

Thanks to my first round, I know that I can’t eat avocado or quinoa, wine gives me headaches and I should avoid too much dairy. But, I also know that peanuts and peanut butter are good friends to me, corn doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I feel fine after consuming most grains. So, if these foods are fine for me, is it really necessary for me to cut them out for 30 days? Can’t I just add these foods into my Whole 30 and be done with it? Well, it depends who you ask.

If you ask Melissa Hartwig or any of the Whole 30 staffers, they would say “absolutely not, there are no exceptions, the rules are the rules”. And I get it – if you really want an accurate picture, you need to stick to the rules. But, these days, I feel like being a rule breaker. It’s not like I want to throw everything away and go for pizza, pumpkin pie and a hot fudge sundae (although, that does sound amazing). It would be nice, though, if I could have some rice with my Indian curry or add oats to my breakfasts. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the Whole 30 works.

It’s not that I want to quit, but I worry that I am continuing out of principle. At this point, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I’ve rebooted my eating habits, and I feel like I’m back to my “normal”. So, where does that leave me? Do I stop now or stick it out for another week? If I finish now, how will I feel having made it this far only to come up 7 days short? And if I do wait the full 30 days, what am I going to do on day 31? Will I be resentful that I prolonged reintroducing certain foods or will I be glad that I didn’t deprive myself of the foods I wanted?

At this point, I have so many questions and concerns and no answers. I don’t want to feel like a quitter or a failure, but I don’t think that would be the case. This time around has been a challenge, but it has allowed me to take a step back and re-evaluate why I am doing this and really get in touch with how I feel. I finally decided, I am being too hard on myself. I’m not giving myself enough of a chance to just tune in to my inner voice. All I can do is take it day-by-day and see how it goes in the moment. If that means I wait until Day 31 to reintroduce, then so be it, but if not, I’m fine with that too. I’m at peace with where I am in my journey and I am the only person I need to answer to.

I think the lesson here is to be flexible – don’t stick to the rules just because someone wrote it that way in a book. You have to make these kinds of things work for you. Some rules are there to be followed and others are meant to be broken. Maybe I will follow these rules. Or, maybe I will enjoy a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter later. We’ll see.

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