Whole 30 sucks.

Sup, peeps.

My IRL friends know this, but just to keep us all on the same page, Clayton and I decided to embark on a new adventure on January 6th, and that adventure is Whole 30. We are currently 15 days deep into this “journey” (or as I like to call it, challenge, or even, mistake). I’m not going to bore you with the details of the cleanse, but if you haven’t heard of it you can check out the actual website here for some foundational information.

Now, I don’t really know why I decided to start this, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I am half-heartedly continuing to do this, maybe, kind-of. I like to think of it as me deciding to make some healthy changes in my lifestyle, and hopefully cleanse my body of all the junk and wine I had just put into it on our post-Christmas trips to Memphis and Nashville. Maybe I just agreed to the challenge, and wanted to prove to myself that I could go 30 days without wine, cheese, rice, and chocolate. Maybe I had FOMO and didn’t want to be the only one in our friend group not participating. Or maybe I thought it would be something that would strengthen my relationship as we learned to support each other in a different type of way. Clearly, I wasn’t very clear about my purpose, which, like with any idea, is necessary for buy-in and action.

Yesterday, day 14, I finally experienced animosity, frustration, annoyance, and resentment for Whole 30 for the first time. I was halfway though snowy 3 day weekend (thanks, MLK!), and all I wanted was some wine and pizza on my day off. Clayton had gone out with his friends from out of town the night before, and he was already cheating the diet by drinking celebratory amounts of beer and bourbon as they enjoyed each others company for the first time in months. All I could think was, “This diet is stupid and I don’t want to do it any longer.”

Now, regardless of my current distaste for Whole 30, I have noticed a few benefits/changes/whatevers since I started 2 weeks ago. First of all, I have been a hell of a lot more mindful about food. I am so used to grabbing a spare cookie in the teacher’s lounge, or having a glass of wine when I get home from a long day of working 2 jobs, or ordering out when I don’t feel like cooking, or making plans with friends to grab drinks and apps. Consequentially, in a good way, I have also saved a ton of money by choosing to eat at home, and not buying alcohol or $7+ glasses of wine at a happy hour. It’s been really nice to have that extra cushion of money because I have been eating healthier. Clayton and I have loved trying new recipes together, and it’s time-saving to come home to leftovers from what we made the night before. Finally, I GUESS my jeans are a little looser, so there’s that.

I’m not perfect. Just admitting that is a huge win for me as I struggle with perfectionism and have for a long time. However, I have let that constant battle seep into this Whole 30 thing. I didn’t PERFECTLY follow the rules of the game and made some snack energy balls with dates and almonds, when you’re supposed to squash your snacking habit over the course of the month. I clearly didn’t set a motive for completing this thing, and therefore started off a step behind. I ate some potato chips last week, though technically they are “Whole 30 compliant.” And finally, I had popcorn at the movies yesterday, convincing myself that I was abandoning this diet so I could eat the best movie popcorn in STL (Hi-Point Theater, everyone. You’re welcome). PS—I brought the extra popcorn home.

Now that I had my little “acting out” moment at the movies yesterday, I’ve gained a little more clarity on how I feel about this whole thing. I have long believed in the 80/20 lifestyle, which is eating healthy 80% of the time but still allowing yourself your pizza, tacos, and ice cream 20% of the time. My eating habits weren’t horrible to begin with and I realized I had a gluten sensitivity back in October, which maybe explains why I haven’t felt huge differences in my body. I’ve also realized that Whole 30 is making me feel like I don’t have power or control, which is incredibly off-putting. I exercise at least five days a week, so if I want to eat some pizza or have a glass of wine, I most certainly should be allowed!

Clayton constantly mentions that Whole 30 is ultimately a product it’s creators are trying to sell, and he is right. They market all these perks, benefits, and guidelines you HAVE to follow, or else you won’t see or feel maximum results. My take (and I think his, too) is that I don’t need it to have a healthier lifestyle. My lifestyle was already healthy!

So will I continue this the full 30 days? I don’t know. I might as well, I guess, since I’m already halfway though it, but I am still undecided. Stay tuned…