I’ve been going over and over in my head about how I wanted to write this post. Even now as I type, I keep writing a sentence only to immediately delete it. So I’m just going to come right out and say it, “I failed my Whole30.”

I know I’m not the first person to do this, or the last. I’ve seen countless posts online on how people have ruined their Whole30 experiment and have started over. I just didn’t think I was going to be one of those people. I’ve been keeping more or less primal for a while now. And beside my choice to drink alcohol over the weekend, I’ve been incredibly happy with my resolve to stay away from dairy, grains and added sugar. But this past Tuesday I not only “cheated,”  I full out binged. 

In the effort of full discloser, and hopefully in order to help others who are going through the same thing, I am a recovering anorexic. No I never got under 100 pounds or creepily had ribs sticky out. But I am a perfectionist. It got to be the worst when I was a dancer in college. Even though I was 120lbs and a size 4, I was still one of the biggest girls on the competition floor. I remember looking around during the final of a pre-champ latin final and realizing I was a good 20lbs heavier than every other girl on the floor with me. So when I developed an ulcer and couldn’t eat anything, I didn’t tell anyone. I was still training hard 3 hours a day but my typical daily intake consisted of: no breakfast, a protein bar for lunch, massive amounts of red bull (which caused the ulcer in the first place) and maybe a pita from Pita Pit at midnight. Obviously I lost weight. And obviously my body health-wise was in terrible shape. 

When I finally was forced to go see a doctor, she prescribed pills and I threw them in the trash. I was terrified that if I took them, I would be hungry all the time and would gain all the weight back. When my mother found out, she made me come home for a week so she could watch me swallow them. 

Since learning about paleo/primal, I’ve begun to have a much healthier relationship with food. I’ve really learned to love cooking and keeping this blog. And just the act of posting recipes and especially posting my Whole30 days has kept me from slipping back into unhealthy habits. But a few key characteristics remain: 1) I am vigilant about what I eat 2) I fail so therefore I bing 3) I guilt trip myself to tears.

On Tuesday, day 15 of Whole30, I had a golf outing with the office. I considered for a few moments if I should bring my own food, but decided against it. Of course a country club would at least have a salad, right? Unfortunately all they had was pre-made lunch bags for all of us with a turkey sandwich, a bag of Doritos and a cookie. I considered for a moment just pulling out and eating the 3 slices of turkey meat, but decided in the end I would be too hungry. I ate the sandwich. And about an hour later, ate half of the bag of chips. I immediately could feel my gut reacting but decided it was just in my head.

But it gets worse. At the end of the day, we had dinner at the club before going home. I was starving. But when I looked at the buffet table of our choices, my heart sank. Choice was either pizza or lasagna.  That’s it. With a white potato salad as a side. At this point, I should have just waited. Yes I would have been hungry, but I knew I was going to be home in a few hours. Instead, I got so incredibly frustrated that I literally said “F it.” I filled my plate with lasagna and potato salad. And then I grabbed a cookie…and then another…and then a third. This wasn’t a “cheat.” This was a binge.

I came home and immediately began the guilt trip in my head. Then got worried about how I was going to blog about it. Then tried to convince myself that maybe this Whole30 thing is a load of hogwash and just to scrap the whole thing. For the last week or so I’ve been struggling with heartburn and constipation. Maybe my body just isn’t meant to be paleo. And more importantly, my back felt fine. Or so I thought.

Jake made the good point last night that just because my back didn’t hurt immediately, doesn’t mean that the food didn’t affect it. And man was he right. The next morning I woke up in so much pain. At first I thought it was just soreness from golf. But as the day progressed, I could tell it was fibro pain. 

Of course, the cause could really be anything. It could have been the cheese or the beer, the sugar from the cookies, the gluten in the pasta. Or it could just be the guilt and the stress from binging. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I ate crap, period.

The point is I’ve learned a lot from these few weeks on the Whole30. And today I went right back into it. I’m not necessarily “starting over.” Honestly I don’t think I need a full 30 days in a row to realize what I can and cannot eat. Processed foods, grains and maybe even dairy make my pain worse. I don’t need to start the 30 days over because I’m not going to suddenly stop after day 30. This is the way I need to eat. And if there are some days when I choose to not stick to it 100%, I can make that choice but have to deal with the consequences. 

8 thoughts on “Whole30 Day…fail”

  1. I am no stranger to self-guilt-trippage myself, but don’t we ALL have (sometimes numerous) days like that? 🙂 Major props to you for your accountability and getting back on the horse so quickly!

  2. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. This is one of the reasons why I don’t think I could ever do a Whole 30 — I’m not in the right mindset and the feeling of such restriction would probably lead me to binge.

    Today is a new day, and it sounds like you know that. Still, I would try not to be extremely restrictive — anorexia is the art of restricting. Paleo can be almost an excuse to restrict certain things from your diet with a legitimate backing. You and I both have to be careful and recognize whenever Paleo becomes an “excuse” to indulge in the emotional desire of plain old eating disordered restriction. I’m not saying that that’s what Paleo is for you, but it’s a fine line we walk. I feel much better eating whole foods, etc, and I wouldn’t call that eating disordered at all. But when I purposely exclude certain food items from my shopping list that rides the border of being “paleo,” I know that the eating disordered part of me doesn’t want me to have it because it’s not 100% paleo.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I do think you’re right. Without even realizing it, I became obsessive with the Whole30. Yes it’s good to really read labels and learn about exactly what you’re eating. But judging by my reaction when I binged, it clearly was not working for me. Decided to continue with the Whole30, but i’m taking it slow. Also I”m really trying to focus on my health instead of my weight. Eating paleo is supposed to be for my pain, not to drop dress sizes. So I’m using my pain’s reaction to food as my monitor, instead of what I see in the mirror.

  3. this is the problem with they way most people approach a Whole 30–there’s the facade (and believe me, it’s just that) that the people who do them do it to the letter, perfectly, but they absolutely do not. They just won’t tell you.

    In my mind, there are very few people who can do a Whole 30 as strict as they’re “supposed to”. Unless you’re an alcoholic, for most people, avoiding booze for that long is nearly impossible (I don’t even drink much in general, but when it comes to seeing my friends and hanging out, beer/wine is almost always present). Not to mention, your whole story here just PROVES the major failing of Whole 30’s, which is “life happens.” You don’t always remember to pack a lunch, or you get hungry when you didn’t expect to and you are short on options, or dammit it’s a friend’s birthday/wedding/insert-special-occasion-of-choice-here. The truth is, that’s life and if you rule yours by living to a way of eating, you will be miserable. Every time. I can say that because I’ve been there. I’ve done probably 3 or 4 Whole 30s in the last two years and I’ve “cheated” in every single one of them. You could even say “binged”, but it didn’t derail to outcomes of my Whole 30 enough to stop it altogether. Sure, you backslide, but also, that’s life. Sometimes you fall down, and unless you like being trampled on, you get back up and go on with it. That’s the way you should approach a Whole 30. It’s all about awareness and doing as much good stuff for yourself as you can. I think you’re doing a great job, so keep it up and march ahead. That’s all you can do!

  4. I see this is an old post, but I’ll comment anyway since I stumbled upon it while lurking in your blog.

    I know the feeling about well.. All of it. My cravings is often carbs in form of gluten and white bread. I LOVE white bread with loads of butter and some cheese. I never ever have this in my house, but when me and my boyfriend is traveling and staying at hotels I surrender to the breakfast buffet. Every f*ing time! But last time, I got a scare. Not just did I get the fibro pains and the tummy ache, but I actually fainted in the bed afterwards! I guess this is something telling me I shouldn’t eat white bread (I can deal fine with cheese and butter – that’s not a problem for me)..

    So in May we are traveling again, I’m kinda nervous now for the food. I can manage the pain from eating a fancy cake, but I’m scared of the white bread. I hope the “carb voices in my head” will keep down so I don’t eat white bread. I’m doing whole30 now in March and I feel SO GOOD. I really should stick to it as much as possible without going crazy in a eating disorder way (I’m prone to this too).

    1. Yup, yup and yup. But yay for traveling again. And that you’ve figured out giving up gluten will help with your fibro. That’s one big step further than so many people. It’s definitely a journey. And like I’ve been saying in some of my more recent posts, pick your battles. Little by little you will find yourself moving towards a more Whole30 way of eating but it’s not going to be so black and white.
      One of the things that really helped me was to find something that I really loved that I knew I could eat. Then whenever I had a craving for something I knew would be a bad idea (cupcakes) I would tell myself I could eat something else. For me that’s normally yogurt. I love Fage greek yogurt. It’s like ice cream to me. And yes I know my body hates it. But it’s better than gluten. So I tell myself that can be my “treat.” Maybe when you’re traveling, think of something you love at the hotels that you can exchange for white bread. Or if you’re staying in the hotel for a while, go buy a loaf of gluten-free bread. Again, it’s not perfect. But whatever. Pick your battles and do a little bit at a time 🙂

      1. Yeah! Although I don’t think it was the gluten alone causing the reaction. Since flour (and bread in general) have a high GI I think the combination of the gluten and the fact my blood sugar raised and then dropped made me pass out. But no. No more bread for me! I’ll just eat the butter and cheese next time.. ^^ But your glutenfree bread-suggestion was quite clever! I’ll keep that in mind. And help my self with a lot of greens and meats from the breakfast buffet..! 😀

        My (third?) Whole30 is coming to and end, and yet again I have discovered that I feel a lot better without a lot of dairy too. I can handle a little bit as long as it is lactose free, so I think I’ll be having cheese at my tacos and a tbs or so of cream in my coffe, but not much more. Dairy also make me crave MORE dairy! To me that is kinda fishy, I don’t fancy things that make me crave more of it. So I’ll keep the intake low. Eat it sometimes, not all the time. For me that we’ll be a good plan. I think. I think a lot haha! 😀

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