I have a confession to make: I didn't last even two weeks on Whole30 this round. And, because I told so many people that I was doing Whole30 this month, I have to actually own up to it and can't just sneakily start eating bread and drinking wine again, womp womp. So, instead of a recap of what I ate last week (spoiler: there was pizza more than once and a girls' night with much wine), I've been thinking a lot about why I was so successful in my first Whole30 round in October and why I failed so spectacularly this go-round. Learn from my mistakes! Or don’t, and we can be Whole30 dropouts together - want to come over for pizza?
Mistake #1: Making Exceptions
This is easily the biggest mistake I made that led to quitting Whole30 this round. I told myself before starting that I could make exceptions for two big work events, but having that mindset led to granting myself other exceptions as I went along, eventually spiraling into just eating whatever I wanted whenever. When I did my first round in October, I was super strict about staying on the plan (even at a wedding!), which actually made it easier because I didn't have to decide what was an exception-worthy occasion and what wasn't worth it.
Mistake #2: Drinking Alcohol
Shocking exactly no one, I learned that drinking can lead to bad decision-making - specifically, in this case, around food. Although I'd told myself that my exceptions would just extend to alcohol, drinks at a work event led to late night pizza (as it often does...), and feeling less-than-spectacular the next day made those bagels in the office too hard to resist. Staying on track food-wise is hard enough without alcohol - add wine and I'm reaching for the nearest carb.
Mistake #3: Weighing Myself
One of the biggest rules of Whole30 is not weighing yourself during that month. I stuck to that during my first round and was thrilled to have lost 13 pounds in those 30 days. This time, expecting a similar result, I weighed myself every few days since (I thought) I'd get a little self-esteem boost every time I hopped on the scale. When I didn't see that number go down, though, I felt discouraged and generally irritated. I thought, "Why am I putting myself through this if I'm not losing any weight?!", which definitely led to a more casual approach to the food rules.
Mistake #4: Jumping into Another Whole30
I just did a full (and strict!) Whole30 in October. I thought that would make it easier to follow the rules, but I think it actually made it harder! My first round was all about proving to myself that I could do it, and quitting would have felt like a total failure. I stuck to the rules even when traveling and attending alcohol-fueled events and was so proud of myself when that month was over. I also followed the reintroduction plan and felt like I had a good handle on how my body reacted to certain foods. I think, though, that because I did it so well the first time, I didn't feel like I had anything to prove to myself this time. It felt less like a personal challenge than a diet (boring). Giving myself more time between rounds would have helped rejuvenate that sense of challenge and made it easier to stick with it.
Overall, I learned that, while probably not sustainable for the long-term, an all-or-nothing approach really does work best for Whole30 - at least for me. That said, both Tim and I feel our best when we're eating whole, unprocessed foods, so we're trying to stick to that at home. We're just going to be a little more flexible, just in case that late night pizza just happens to show up at our front door (thanks, Seamless).