The Whole 30 Breaking Point

whole 30 burnoutOkay. Here it is. Sometime around Thursday during my dinner of yet another steak and some roasted broccoli, I put down my plate and said, “No more.” I didn’t mean “No more Whole 30, pass the cheese.” Instead, it turns out I meant, “No more food. Over it.” At the time I just thought I had wasted a decent amount of grass-fed ribeye and organic broccoli, but this state of being carried over into the next day.

On Friday I refused to eat. Yeah, that’s crazy. Well I did eat a handful of almonds for breakfast and drank black coffee all day. And at some point I ate an apple because I thought I should, but I did not enjoy it and in fact, could have done without it. You guys, I even took my kids through the drive-thru at In ‘N’ Out and only ordered for them. I didn’t even eat my kid’s leftover french fries. Wasn’t even tempted when he ate like four of them, and left the rest. I know. Shit got real.

By the time my husband got home I was in bed (kids, dog and LEGOs all around me) and feeling sad. I told my husband I was on a hunger strike. He promptly pulled out the vodka, but alas, that did not do the trick. You see, I’m stuck in this guilty place where I know anything not on the approved list is going to make me feel horrible. Not even just physically horrible, but mentally. After all, I made a promise. 30 Days. And I do not feel so awesome about breaking it. I feel like a failure even thinking about stopping this crazy (yet healthy) train.  At the same time I do not want one more fucking piece of meat or any kind of green shit on my plate. Don’t even get me started on eggs. And that, my friends, is what you call an impasse.

So I’m pretending I’m fasting for Yom Kippur, but really it’s just me being mental. I don’t think it’s a great idea to just not eat for the rest of the 30 days. Yet creative cooking is just not cutting it, as I’m also getting super duper burned out about working, commuting like a mother ‘effer, coming home and cooking, doing that whole “mom” thing, that whole “Oh, right I’m also an author” thing, and that “I do love my husband, but he wouldn’t know it right about now” thing. So if anyone has any suggestions that won’t make me completely homicidal, I’m wide open. My husband is super duper hoping for suggestions as he just went from being “supportive” to being “scared shitless” of me. K, thanks, bye.

image via Whole 30, via Maura Hernandez

32 thoughts on “The Whole 30 Breaking Point

  1. I did a month (last year? a couple of years ago?) where I was vegan, no oil, no sugar. Same as you, it was just a month – I could do it, right? I have the willpower to go gluten free, I could do a month of this diet. I could eat (rice) pasta! And (gf) oatmeal! And (gf) crackers with natural peanut butter! Here’s the thing I learned – I get mean without chicken. MEAN. I think I made it 2 whole weeks, and then I caved at Chipotle. But the next day, I got right back on the diet. I lasted another week, and cheated again. But you know what? I still felt good about myself. I was good literally 95% of the time, and that one non-restrictive meal a week kept my sanity. It’s not like gluten; I’ve never cheated on gluten. (On purpose. The only thing I do is not worry about cross contamination as much as I should at times.) You’re not doing this because you have Whole-thirty-iac disease, you’re doing it because of a challenge you gave yourself. I say one cheat meal is better than a hunger strike. 🙂

    • that’s so true..give yourself that break…and get back on the horse….don’t beat yourself up over it….say ..OK so i missed a beat ..that’s OK…I’m human remember…and keep right on with what you set out to do…..everything is a learning experience…sometimes we learn things we hadn’t expected when we set out….

  2. Maybe do a cheat meal that’s not 100% cheating? I remember reading a Health Bent blog post where they “cheated” and had nachos. But they didn’t want to go totally rogue so they used sweet potatoe chips, ground meat, guacamole, salsa and maybe cheese. I don’t remember exactly, but I loved how they felt like it was cheating without going and eating something that would make them feel totally horrible.

    That or eat some super dark chocolate. Maybe even make this awesome gluten free chocolate dessert? http://www.bigredkitchen.com/2013/04/cooking-salon-flourless-chocolate-cakes-2/

  3. You are nearly to the finish line. You can do this! Once you are done, you never have to do it again – but this, this you CAN do! Anyone who can go gluten free can handle the Whole 30. Make you some zucchini pasta or some 30 day approved cookies.

  4. Hiya!

    I’m not celiac, but have severe ulcerative colitis and SIBO – and oh yeah, a bunch of annoying food intolerances including gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar. My GI doctor suggested the FODMAPs diet, which is very similar to Paleo, but eliminates some fermentable fruits and veg too. So now I eat a pretty strict regimen, combining the two. I have to be really vigilant or else I can be ill for several days. In the worse case, I have to take strong antibiotics for 2 weeks after eating the wrong food. No fun.

    I can totally relate to your dilemma. I wasn’t hungry today and couldn’t figure out what to eat. When this happens, I try to think of really flavorful food (a lot of times Indian or Thai food) and see if anything sounds appealing. Focusing on the possibilities, rather than all my damn restrictions is the key – I can always figure out how to adapt recipes. This afternoon, a slowly simmered, spicy tomato “pasta” sauce with salami and zucchini noodles seemed like just the thing. For me, bold flavors help me break out of the doldrums.

    On days when it’s too hot, and I don’t feel like cooking, I often have sushi without rice – and maybe add a bit of avocado and veggies. My other standby is to make a large refreshing salad with lots of smoked salmon.

    I wish you much fortitude on this journey. You can do it! After the Whole 30, if you continue with the diet, remember that you don’t have to be “Paleo perfect.” I’ve done this whole restricted diet thing for almost 3 years, and I’m slowly learning to listen to what my body needs. Sometimes it’s quinoa, and hey, I feel better for it. Well, it ain’t easy, but it’s a lifelong process.

    Best wishes,


    P.S. My very sweet husband brought home your book the other day. I can’t wait to start reading it!

    • Oh FODMAP! I did that in high Summer here in Australia. While my children were delighting in the freshest mangoes and peaches and everything good and right in the world I was so.bloody.miserable.

      I actually totally fell apart and the Dr put me on really low doses of oxazepam for a few weeks while I did the whole crazy diet and gut recovery thing. It was that or actually lose my mind.

      Be careful. Challenging yourself is one thing, but pushing yourself too far is another. Gut health is sooooo closely linked to mental health.

  5. April! So proud of you. That is some major hard sh!t to follow, you know I know what you mean because of Ben! I think he was satisfied with some really yummy Thai food. I’m actually fasting today for Yom Kippur and Thai food sounds really good right about now. Not sure if there is anything in that kind of food that you are not allowed to eat but the delicious basil coconut red curry might save your life and that may save everything else too. Maybe I’m just really hungry right now but give it a shot!
    Congrats on this amazing accomplishment, most people can not follow the 30 thing or even the paleo thing. Good luck to you:)

  6. I’ve been there, where nothing sounds good to the point of repulsion. Just make a few smoothies with protein powder. Use a rice and pea protein so you’re not breaking any rules and still getting the nutrients you need. The feeling will pass eventually. Hang in there.

  7. crockpots! saved my ass when i did a strict paleo diet this summer for a month. meant i didn’t have to cook *all* the time and i was making interesting stews/ soups that weren’t the same boring meat and veggies train.

    this recipe saved me one destitute day (minus the sugar of course): http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Coconut-beef-crockpot-310412

    another thing that saved me from vegetable tedium was baking them. they are so much better roasted! just a little salt, pepper, olive oil and smoked paprika.

    please do not forget about your delicious friend, almond butter. in fact i started making rolls on seaweed with almond butter, avos and cucumber. could sound gross, but actually surprisingly tasty.

    anyhow, good luck, april! you can do it! hearts, your friend (amy g’s friend) anna

  8. I am not on a whole30, but just trying to cut out the processed food, meat and grains, this is kind of creamy and indulgent, and different than the tomato sauces with squash, like a fake alfredo cheesy sauce, you could try with some sliced zucchini fettucini with it I suppose. http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/seasonal-spaghetti-squash-with-avocado-cream-cashew-cheeze-sauce/
    I use avocado also to thicken up my smoothies, it makes them creamy without a weird taste.
    I don’t know how to get rid of the cravings and the craziness. When I am tempted I usually bury myself in work or go to bed. Right now a juicy steak sounds like heaven to me. Meatless is horribly just as bad. Keep it going and just think about getting through the day, and it will be done before you know it.

  9. It probably won’t make you feel any better (and why should it) but I’ve been on an elimination diet since April. I eat green cabbage, double-peeled white potatoes, rice, string beans, amine and sulfate free meat and white fish (that’s not always easy to find), eggs and white sugar. I can drink rice milk, soda water or gin. That’s it really. If I left something out it’s because it’s not worth the mention. I think it’s fair to say that creativity has gained a whole new meaning in this household. I’ve had to make something out of green cabbage three times a day for the last 5 months. I’m pretty sure I could knit you a sweater from cabbage at this point. I don’t really have any words of encouragement for you, but I bet your skin looks great!

      • Haha, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. I find myself increasingly creative, plus there are some awesome bloggers out there with highly allergic kids who share a whole lot of “failsafe” recipes. Luckily for me it’s only temporary (except the coeliac part). And it’s nice not to be sick! 🙂


      • ..there are admittedly more fries and gin in my diet these days. But I was hoping that wouldn’t come up 😉

        I’m stuck with this until I get it right, and who knows how long that might take. I buy potatoes by the bag now (and I recently sourced out which brand of gin gives you more volume for the money)

        I wouldn’t worry about the skin; you’re probably detoxing. Going off chemicals and additives and all the other gunk we eat all day gave me a gigantic 3-day hangover. Felt like a jumbo New Years Day. Just wait, your skin will probably have nothing short of a halo come the end of your diet 🙂

  10. I’m not a proponent of starvation by any stretch, but my approach would be to let my body tell me when it’s ready to eat again. The signal can be very small – just a tiny whisper at the grocery store that says, ‘How about some carrots?’ When I’m home, feeling snacky, and I munch on a carrot (in this case), my body almost falls to its knees in thanks. It may sound stupid, or flaky, but your body really does know best.
    I also agree with the advice about not feeling guilty. Whether or not you jump ship – even briefly – is up to you, but sometimes the consequences that result are enough to give that little slap in the face, the wake up that reminds you why you’re doing this.
    Above all, remember that you’ve got people in your corner, and that you can do anything when you apply your full intention.

  11. Eat seductively! Bring a touch of luxury and opulence to your meals. Bring your focus to how you create the meal. Dine on fine china, use linen napkins, light candles, play soft, sexy music and don’t eat your food. Indulge in it. Take soft, pouty little bites of food, and moan. Moan for the expression of pleasure in the experience of food. Moan to express gratitude that meal time can be family time, it can be an appetizer for sex, and most of all it is becoming you. If you can’t moan over what you eat, it’s just not worth it!

  12. Pingback: 30 Lessons from The Whole 30 | Gluten Is My Bitch

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