Why I stopped my Whole30

Happy Inauguration Americans!  Did you watch POTUS take his second oath today?  I watched a bit of it but since I work in DC just a few blocks from the White House and the Capitol I feel I get a lot of political stuff everyday and did not have the desire to watch the whole thing.  But what I did watch was very humbling and made me thankful to be an American.

So as the title states, I stopped my Whole30 short.  A few things led me to quitting early so I’ll start from the beginning. I eluded on Twitter what a rough week I had last week.  I haven’t spoken much about it recently, but for those new to reading my blog I lost my father to suicide in April 2009.  I was 23 and just moved out on my own close to my job in DC. I was daddy’s little girl working hard to make him proud. His death came as a gut-wrenching shock and absolutely shattered my world and belief system.  If he loved me as much as he said he did, why did he leave me? How did I not see the warning signs? Where do I go from here?  How do I take care of my mom, his wife of 27 years, he left behind?

Post tumor removal September 2008

Post tumor removal September 2008

For months I was a wreck. I visited my mom as often as I could.  I kept working full time, hoping the distraction would keep my mind occupied.  I was also attending grad school at night full time; another welcome distraction.  I also attended bi-monthly support groups for people that have lost a loved one to suicide.  This group was such an amazing comfort, I cannot even describe.  I am so grateful for my friends and coworkers that were supportive during the initial aftermath, but there is something about sharing the unique grief suicide leaves behind.  The guilt, anguish, sorrow, intense sadness, anger- all of it I experienced in fluctuating waves.  I could cry, yell, and share my innermost darkest thoughts with this group and connected with others that were experiencing the same awful feelings.

About a year and a half later I finally started to see a little light in my seemingly darkened world.  I didn’t think of the act my father did as much as I began to love remembering small things about my dad.  The way he would put on the grungy sweatband and spend hours making his yard the best in the neighborhood. The sound of his voice as he sang a funny beer song while opening a Corona for taco night. How he would bring my mom coffee on weekend mornings.  How I loved his smell and the tickle of chest hair on my face when I needed a big hug after a breakup.

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007

I welcomed these memories with mixed emotions.  I cherish the memories and the warm glow they brought to my heart but hated that they were memories I can never again recreate.  I began to turn my sadness to anger.  I was angry he chose to leave my mom and I instead of reaching out for help.  I was angry I could no longer spend evenings watching Jeopardy with him.  I was angry he was gone forever.

My anger started to wreak havoc with my emotions and personal life.  I had the shortest temper and everything got under my skin.  I decided to seek counseling for my anger issues, which was the form my grief-depression took.  Therapy was extremely helpful and I regained a ‘normal’ life again with friends and family.

Disney Family Vaca 2011

Disney Family Vaca 2011

Flash forward to summer 2012.  I was the happiest I had been since my dads passing.  I was in a new relationship with the most amazing, patient, and loving man.  I was spending loads of time with family.  I was doing well in a new position at work with new challenges I craved. Then the holidays, my absolute favorite time of year, arrived and I was just loving how my life was going.  I was surrounded with love from family, friends, and my new boyfriend.

Eye squish kiss

Eye squish kiss

Friends Wedding

Friends Wedding

Skip to last week.  Since New Years I had been feeling a bit down.  Post holiday blues really kicked in.  But it was more than that.  I was so happy during the holidays and all the family I was able to share it with.  However, I felt I never got to share my happiness with my dad who also loved the holidays.  This sadness just grew and grew, day by day.  While everyone was excited to begin another year with new goals and ambitions (including myself), inside I was going stir crazy.  To me, it’s just another year my dad is still no longer here. This sadness really took hold and I found myself crying at the most silly things at the drop of a hat.

During this time I began my second Whole30 January 2nd with Michelle, hoping this would be a great distraction/activity to keep my mind occupied and sadness at bay (in addition to help shed some bad holiday eating habits).  Even though I was doing everything 100% compliant, I was not happy.  I was sick of planning meals, spending loads of money on groceries, avoiding any fun times with family and friends that involved food. I was getting super stressed about making sure I had enough vegetables, meat and healthy fat sources at every single meal that I started to force myself to eat meals when I wasn’t hungry to stay compliant.

By the middle of last week hit I was so incredibly exhausted.  My mind was going over and over thoughts about my dad and how much I missed him I felt it was taking over my whole being.  Work was extremely stressful that I nearly bawled at my desk.  I consider myself one to walk away when stressed, but I have never cried for work issues.  Not last week.  I ended up leaving work early to rest at home.  It didn’t help.  I tried to get a good workout in.  I was so mentally fatigued I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted, and felt so physically weak that I started crying at how pathetic I thought my workout was.  The final straw- I got into a ridiculously stupid argument with the bf (that I unnecessarily instigated) that hurt us both.

Christmas and New Years 2012 005

Thankfully we made up the same day I started the fight.  Although he wanted to help me and support whatever I was going through, I was being childish and kept him at arms length trying to ‘protect’ him from my grief issues. I am still learning what a real partnership entails and just and so thankful he said that we are and in this together.  We both feel we are so much stronger after this fight and I am so fortunate to have such an understanding and kind man in my life. I spent the majority of the weekend spending time with him and sleeping- just what I really needed.

So why did I end my Whole30?  I was not happy.  The first time around I learned a lot and enjoyed meal prepping and seeing how great I felt.  This time I feel the extreme exhaustion I experienced, the lack of joy in preparing meals, the crazy emotional roller coaster I was on, and the stress of work took such a toll on my emotional and physical well being.  Add the extremely strict, rule-driven and restricted diet of Whole30 and I was a sobbing, irritable zombie. So I ended it and enjoyed a fabulous weekend with libations, chips and guac, and nut butter that had cane syrup.

And you know what?  I feel fabulous.  My body and mind clearly needed me to be gentle and handle them with care. So I did. And I don’t regret ending early at all.

Rock on Lovers 🙂

Did you ever ‘quit’ something but not regret it?

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13 thoughts on “Why I stopped my Whole30

  1. This post takes a lot of courage to write, and I’m so very sorry about your father. Stay strong. Quitting something that doesn’t bring you happiness is a good decision. Glad you’re feeling great and listening to your body. You’re pretty awesome.

  2. I really adore your blog and you! You are such a brave person, I’m constantly blown away by your courageous honesty. Being healthy is listening to your body, if it ain’t workin…move on! Way to go girl! (and I too start fights with my boyfriend when I’m carb/sugar deficient or feeling sad) Remember it’s the grief taking hold not anything wrong with you. Keep up your awesomeness, I admire you!

    • Thank you so much, you are too sweet! I love your reminder on how big a role grief can take in my life if I allow it and that it isn’t something wrong with me. And our boyfriends deserve medals for being so patient 🙂

  3. I’m sad I won’t have you as my Whole30 buddy for the last week but I know you have to do whatever’s best for you. I’m sorry you were having a rough week and know that I am here for you no matter what.

    I don’t know who these so-called “die-hard whole30-ers” are but you gave it your best shot, you recognized it wasn’t working for you, and you were truthful to yourself about your needs. Stay strong, lil. xoxo 🙂

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  5. This post is very brave – I admire your honesty. Sometimes it’s tough to do what’s right for you, especially when you are worried about what others will think. You rock for staying true to yourself and recognizing what your body was telling you.

    Also, having lost my mom several years ago, I can totally relate to the ways in which grief just sneaks up on your unexpectedly sometimes. There’s definitely no need to add additional stress on top of that if Whole 30 wasn’t making you happy. ((hugs))

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