Today’s guest post (a follow-up to Monday’s article, “Is your Whole30 Unhealthy?”) was written by Camilla N, who blogs at http://tgipaleo.wordpress.com. We encourage you to leave your thoughts and own experiences in comments.

Camilla’s Story

“Stop.  Before you assume I went on a McFlurry-bender before I wrote this, just stop.  Stop. Judging.  Right.  Now.

Up until this very second, I haven’t eaten any grains/legumes/dairy/added sugar/alcohol/white potatoes/bacon or stepped on a scale/measured myself/insert anything else here that you’re not supposed to do on a Whole30.  And I’m not going to anytime soon.

I am, however, officially ending my Whole30. Why the hell would I do that?  Because it’s making me bat-sh*t crazy, that’s why.

The Background

I’m a huge fan of the Whole30 and all other brands of clean-eating challenges.  They work wonders because they force you to re-evaluate how you eat and live, and the Whole30 in particular helps you look more critically at the source and quality of the foods you put in your body.  But I also believe there is a correct time and place for it all, and this is not it for me.

The Man and I have called ourselves “Paleo” for a while now – frankly, it’s second nature.  The Whole30 didn’t require many changes in our diet at all–we nixed the dairy and booze and double checked all our labels for added sugar/honey/stevia/whatever.  That’s it.  I didn’t stock the house with anything different.  We didn’t eat anything we weren’t eating before.  Besides the cravings for whipped cream, I was just dandy.

But starting this coming week, I’m going on three weeks of temporary duty to San Antonio for a special course.  I’ll be living in a hotel room and living off a meal allowance.  I’ll probably get a mini-fridge and a microwave but otherwise won’t be able to cook.

Again, the Whole30 is a wonderful thing… but as soon as I started wondering how I was going to take the Whole30 with me to San Antonio, things got weird.  

Yes, I am fully aware that it’s possible to keep on track no matter where you are, and I have a ton of respect for you if you’ve done it.  For me…not so much.  I may or may not have mentioned before that I have a history with disordered eating and body issues.  I clung to Paleo because it was the first time I could be healthy and feel good about myself at the same time.  There was no weighing/measuring/counting/timing…I could just eat good food and lo’ and behold, I felt and looked great.

It started earlier this week as I was reviewing my packing list and doing some early prep for my trip.  Naturally, my mind wandered to meal planning, and I started putting together some meal ideas from what I knew I could buy from Whole Foods/Central Market and that I could prepare in my room with such minimal cooking implements.

I contemplated just eating salads for three weeks straight.

I wondered if it was possible to cook three weeks’ worth of food at home to haul down with me.

I thought about bringing a crock pot, toaster oven, and hot plate to the hotel.

This stuff literally kept me up at night.  I was so worried that a) I wouldn’t be able to find enough to eat, and b) that what I did find would have trace amounts of Forbidden Substances like peanut oil or soy or white potato.

(Side note but sorta related: Four months ago, I flipped sh*t at The Man because he put a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce in a meatloaf.  He hasn’t cooked for me since.  Yeah…)

The Plan

To make a long story short, I’m putting an end to the madness now before I have a stroke.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to start ordering pizzas and living out of the mini bar.  I’m going to eat what I would normally eat–the best, highest quality Paleo-friendly food in all of San Antonio, because that’s what I like to eat.  When I eat crappy food, I feel crappy, so why would I do that to myself? Heck, I’ll probably finish out the month perfectly Whole30-compatible.

But I need to flip the mental switch.  I need to take myself off the “program” because it’s going to consume me.  When I started wondering whether the spinach on the Whole Foods salad bar could be contaminated by the canola-based mayonnaise, honey, or tamari from the store-brand tuna salad in the bin next to it, I knew I had a problem.

Do I feel like a whiny, yellow-bellied failure?  Oh, yeah.  Big time. All I can say is that this isn’t out of the blue. I didn’t just wake up this morning, drop everything and decide to quit so I could go swimming in a tub of ice cream.  I’m not going to do anything different, I’m just trying to give myself a break while I’m a less-than-ideal location.

That’s all.  Thank you for listening.  I’m probably a poor role model and all my food is contaminated with failure…but at least it’s not contaminated with crazy.”

Thank you, Camilla

For the record, Camilla, we don’t think you’re a failure, nor do we think you’re a poor role model. To the contrary, this was the healthiest dose of common sense we’ve read on the internet in a darn long time, and we thought you were the perfect role model for others who may be going through the same experience with their Whole30 plan. So thank you for being brave and sharing your story – and for donating to our community with the kind of message that inspires, motivates and changes people’s lives.