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My Reflection on the Whole 30 & My Feelings of Embarrassment

August 21, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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After two weeks of seemingly avoiding writing at all costs, I found myself fighting for it at the computer last Thursday. I opened this blog post, gave it a title (something I didn’t know I was going to do when I first opened this tab), and hit save.

That was the end of that.

Life Lately

Then I went away for a whole weekend.

Thursday night, we celebrated a dear friend of Casey’s who is PCSing soon. We went bar hopping on a weekday, and I don’t know the last time I did that. Making it home well after midnight put my typical Friday morning for a whirl. While I set my usual 445 alarm, I did not make it to my 530 class at the gym. You know all that sleep that I preach? I mean it. I don’t drink but not getting my 8 hours of sleep makes for a much worse Emilie than any hangover you can imagine.

After getting some things in order, we skedaddled out to Wilmington, NC. I hadn’t been to the beach in two years! A Jersey girl until the day I die, I love the beach and was meant to be there but moving, travel, and living have all come in the way of settling so I just haven’t had the chance. Plus, with my backyard pool, I’ve been getting my share of sun. We haven’t gotten away in a while getting the chance to do so at the beach was exciting.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of the weekend, but I’ll give you a quick overview because the context here is important.

We spent the afternoon at the pool and the evening restaurant- and bar-hopping. Our first stop for dinner was Dock’s Street Oyster Bar, and it was a place we’ll probably go back to every time we get the chance. All the seafood we ate was phenomenal, but the oysters were really out of this world. We also stopped at Circa 1922 and The Shuckin’ Shack. Then we hit the bars downtown. So. Much. Fun.

Saturday morning started with a bright and early trek to the beach. I have always believed in getting to the beach early (7-8 AM) and getting out early (noonish). I know that not everyone feels this way, but this is an area where I wholeheartedly agree with my Mom (where I learned this behavior). Early mornings at the beach means that parking is easier and you can nap on the beach. After some much needed time laying out, catching some waves, and a long walk along the water, we wrapped up a phenomenal morning with lunch at South Beach Grill, just a block from the beach.

After relaxing and recovering in the afternoon, we had dinner at Dock’s Street Oyster Bar again (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was phenomenal!). We went bar hopping again, including catching two live bands and a karaoke stint. I may or may not have belted out some Spice Girls. (Hint: I did.) The night ended in my favorite way: drunchies (drunk munchies). To clarify, I still don’t drink at all (I hit 18 months on the 12th of August!), but
drunk food at 2 AM is one of my favorite indulgences in the whole world! We filled our bellies with Islands $1.99 tacos, and it was SO good.

Sunday morning, we slept in before enjoying Betsy’s Crepes. Soon after, we hit the road and headed home to our Bo, who held down the fort back home all weekend.

This weekend away might not sound spectacular but to me it was exactly what I needed to recharge.

But How Does It Relate To The Whole 30?

Remember how I shared that I was doing the Whole 30. Then I did my one week update and I didn’t write about it again.

On day 16 of my Whole 30, Casey came home from his field exercise and I texted him

I’m right by Chik-fil-a. Want some for dinner?

And he replied


So that was the end of that.

You see, I was hating the Whole30. I didn’t feel good. I was constantly hungry and constantly tired. No amount of food left me satisfied. I was just all around miserable. Even though my gym performance wasn’t noticeably different, I felt a lot worst the whole time.

Nonetheless, when I stopped the Whole 30, over half way through an incredibly restrictive diet that was making me feel terrible, I was embarrassed. The only thing I could think of was Melissa Hartwig saying:

You can do anything for thirty days.

In some ways, it felt like I failed. I have a Whole 30 on my 101 in 1001 list. Why couldn’t I just finish it to cross it off? Why couldn’t I do this thing for just thirty days? It’s not that long!

I was deeply disappointed in myself.

It wouldn’t have been considerate or convenient.

Soon after stopping my Whole 30, I hit the road for a 10 day road trip. I went to DC, Baltimore, NJ, and NY before ultimately ending with a 12 hour NY-to-NC nonstop drive. To be specific, I began by trip on what would have been Day 18.

In retrospect, I know that stopping my Whole 30 was the right thing to do since not stopping would have been inconsiderate. I wanted to be able to go out to eat with my friends without demanding some terrible jumping through hoops, and if I was on the road, I didn’t want to starve myself because I hadn’t found any compliant places to eat. While I had stocked up on Rx Bars, there are only so many one can eat in a day.

I wanted to be able to enjoy &pizza with Blair, Irish fries at Fado Pub with Vinny, FarEastTacos with Chris, Indian food with my former coworkers, Ekiben and Insomnia Cookies with Sne and Ders, Chik-fil-a with Lenita and Leonidas, late night ice cream runs with my sister, and camp breakfast with my VFAmily.

Nonetheless, I felt embarrassed for not being successful for 30 days.

I wanted to feel good.

My goal for the Whole30 was to feel better. Ten days in, I was sure that wasn’t the case. Instead, it just destroyed me.

It took this weekend, this recovery for me to be remember that the goal was to feel good. If I wasn’t feeling better, I wasn’t succeeding at the Whole30 anyway.This weekend fully recharged me and brought me back to feeling good. That feeling reminded me that I shouldn’t be feeling bad for not going through with something that was making me feel worse. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed for not just sticking with it for just thirty days. What for? Just to say I did it? Not worth the shittiness I was feeling at all.

What’s next?

Before doing the Whole30, I was tracking my macros. I stopped because you can’t do macros and the Whole 30. Right now, macros are kinda under attack (with some people arguing that the reason Katrin Davidsdottir didn’t place at the Crossfit Games is because she got too lean), but I’m not doing or not doing it because of that.

I think what will work best right now is intuitive eating. I’ll eat real food and not too much of it. I’m going to indulge occasionally in a way that accounts for my other physical and fitness goals, fully aware of the tradeoffs that I’m making.

Most importantly: I’m going to eat and do what makes me feel good, and I’m not going to feel embarrassed about it.

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