January 13, 2014

Do you REALLY want to quit the Whole30®?


Did you know that Days 10-11 are when you are most likely to throw in the towel on your Whole30® program? It’s true—we’ve compiled hundreds of data points in a scientific-ish survey, and Days 10-11 are where most people bail (or want to). We can make a few guesses why this time period is so tough; you’re still feeling some of the less pleasant side effects of the first week, but not yet into the “tiger blood” feeling-like-a-rock-star stage. And you’re thinking, “I still have 20 more days to go. Twenty. More. Days.” Yep, we get it… Days 10-11 are tough to get through. In fact, some of you may even be thinking about abandoning your Whole30 right this very moment. If that’s the case, we’re glad you’re here, because we are not going to let you go quite that easy. So before you officially bail on your Whole30, self-identify why you’re thinking of quitting, and follow the appropriate action item below.

I’m Thinking of Quitting…

Because it’s too hard. Because I miss cheese/wine/bread/chocolate. Because I don’t have time to cook all this food. Because it’s hard to do this with my job. Because my family is making me crazy. Because my pants are still tight. Because this clearly isn’t working. Our Response: None of these reasons are good enough to bail on your commitment—not to us, but to yourself. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you’ll miss foods you used to eat. Yes, it requires some planning and preparation. Yes, it can be a pain. But it’s worth it. You are worth it. You believed that when you signed up, and that has not changed. Here’s where the tough love comes in: you are not going out like that. We won’t let you, and you wouldn’t want us to. So before you dive head-first into a box of wine, you must complete our action item. That’s an order. Action Item: It’s normal to have moments of self-doubt. Just don’t let an emotional moment ruin the days of hard work you’ve already put in. Right now, tell someone (out loud, in public) that you are thinking about quitting your Whole30. Tell them why, too. Announce on our Facebook wall, post in our Whole30 forum, stream it in our Twitter feed. “I am quitting the Whole30 because it’s too hard.” The act of saying it out loud will make you realize you don’t really want to quit—you’re just going through a tough time and need some support. So let others help see you through, tell you that you can do it, help you brainstorm ways around your challenges. (And be sure to click our “I Need Support” button for more help.)

I’m Thinking of Quitting…

Because I have a special event and I want to indulge. Our Response: This may or may not be a valid reason to put your Whole30 on pause. It’s time to take a deep breath and evaluate the situation honestly. Maybe your special occasion is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing—an unexpected trip to Paris, the offer of a private wine tasting at your favorite vineyard, or a surprise weekend get-away with your husband. In that case, we don’t blame you for putting your program on hold and embracing this experience. But if you’ve got a 4-year-old’s birthday party, or a wedding, or a business dinner, well… is that actually special? Is that Costco sheet cake, $12 bottle of sparkling wine, or restaurant bread basket really worth abandoning your program? We didn’t think so either. Figure out how to make your Whole30 work around these special-ish occasions and you’ll be so much better prepared for other challenges life throws at your new healthy-eating self. Action Item: Make a plan, right now, for how you will handle this special occasion. If you’re going to Paris and plan to break your Whole30, spell out exactly how. Will you abandon it all and eat every piece of bread and slab of cheese you walk past, or will you stay as close to Whole30 as you can until something comes along that you just can’t pass up—even if that happens ever single day? If you’re working through your occasion while sticking to the Whole30, figure out how to make that happen. Call the host ahead of time and talk about your options. Bring something you know you can eat. Brush up on your Whole30 mocktail options and practice saying, “No, thank you.” You’ll find that successfully navigating your way around this scenario will leave you feeling even more confident than ever—and happy you stayed committed to the program.

 I’m Thinking of Quitting… 

Because my life has become stressful, and the Whole30 is adding to that stress. Our Response: This may or may not be a valid reason to cancel your Whole30. Maybe ditching the program and just eating “clean” (whatever that looks like to you) takes a huge burden off your plate, and allows you to tackle some other issues. Or maybe, the healthy food you’re eating right now is the only thing holding you together—helping you sleep better, feel more clear-headed, keeping you calm and feeling good about yourself. Only you know whether the Whole30 is a help or a hindrance right now. If it’s taking more than it’s giving back, it’s time to put the program on hold. If, however, it’s adding to your reserves and giving you the extra resources you need to keep on keeping on, it’s worth the extra effort. Action Item: Take a minute to visualize what your life would look like right now without the Whole30. If you picture yourself continuing to eat healthy foods but not stressing about the sugar in your ketchup or the cream in your coffee, you may be in a good enough place to put the program on hold while you deal with your stress. If you picture yourself immediately returning to old, unhealthy habits or binging on candy, cookies, donuts, and chips as a way to comfort yourself during these difficult times, perhaps the rules of the Whole30 are what’s best for you right now, even if they are extra effort. Be honest with yourself, ask for help if you need it, and adjust your program (if necessary) accordingly.

I’m Thinking of Quitting…

Because the rules of the Whole30 are triggering some disordered thought processes or behaviors. Our Response: This is a valid reason to immediately put your Whole30 on hold, either temporarily or permanently. The program was not designed to help those recovering from eating disorders (though it has), and the rigidity of our rules aren’t right for everyone. If your Whole30 has become a trigger, or your counselor, doctor, or psychologist believes the program isn’t right for you, you have a responsibility to your health to stop right now. This is not quitting. This is not weakness. This is not failure. This, if anything, is strength, and courage, and success. You are making a conscious, deliberate decision to do what is best for your health at this moment, and that is to be applauded. Action Item: If this is your scenario, please put your Whole30 on hold immediately, seek help from a trained professional, and use the tips in our Whole30 Gone Bad article to evaluate your next steps. Should you and your counselor decide a return to the Whole30 is okay at some point in the future, know that sometimes, it is hard, and let our special affirmations guide you along your path.

Are You In?

We hope these scenarios have helped you evaluate your own context, and that you are even more secure in your decision to stay on the program (or let it go). Have we missed a scenario we should have addressed? Did we just save you from bailing when you didn’t really want to? Share your thoughts in comments.

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