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What's the right thing to do?


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Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone on here has gone through the same struggle I'm currently going through and can provide some advice/suggestions. My guess is, many have.

I've done 3 full whole30s over the past 3 years. Each time, I felt amazing and, each time, I struggled really hard to find my food freedom. Since my last whole30, I've done a number of things to try to lose weight like counting macros, a juice cleanse, intuitive eating and just about any other eating plan that would help me get to where I wanted to go. Some worked - like i lost 15 pounds while counting macros - but I just haven't been able to make any of them a lifestyle.

Over the holidays, I sat back and really tried to dial in to my "why". The reality is, I'm not a big person (by any standard) and so I wanted to figure out why I was trying to get back to a weight I was 6 years ago. I managed to come to terms with that and I'm no longer trying to lose weight...but what I also discovered is, the reason why most other eating plans haven't worked for me is because I haven't felt like I felt when I did the whole30.

Now, knowing that doesn't make it easy to get back on the whole30 and I guess my question is, do I even need to. Over my last 3 whole30s, I've learned that dairy makes me bloated and gassy, when I have too much gluten I start to feel a little foggy and beans...they give me massive indigestion. Besides that, I'm pretty much ok with most foods. So my question is, do I have to complete another whole30 in order to get back to a place where I feel amazing again or can I create my own food freedom plan, that limits the stuff that impacts me, and find my "tiger blood" from there.

I'm very much an all or nothing person so part of me is saying that I can't feel great without doing a full whole30...but I'm trying to challenge that mentality and see if others have had success getting back to tiger blood without having to do the entire 30 days.

Any thoughts or advice would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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I think the end of ISWF addresses this really well, along with Melissa’s book on Food Freedom. Basically, after a Whole 30 I think it’s fairly normal to revert to some not-great habits after awhile, but every W30 you do helps your baseline. And if I recall correctly, they recommend a “reset” of anywhere from 7 to another full 30 days to help you get back to feeling like you did on your full W30.

I’ve done two Whole 30s, and I’m doing a third this January. After just 7 days, I’ve felt amazing. Not convinced I’ve made it to full-on Tigers Blood, but it feels close. I’m going to finish the full month because that’s what I committed to and planned for (and I want to see if these last several days are just a fluke). But it’s nice to know that just 7 days may be what I need for a reset, and likely won’t ever do a full Whole 30 again if I’m right.

So I’d say do another Whole30, but spend a lot of that time monitoring your progress and estimate for the next time you need a reset, how long it takes to feel good. With your past results, and how good you felt, I suspect you’ll find you don’t need the whole 30 days. And then won’t it be nice to know how long it does take for you? You can think of it as another part of the experiment/testing that W30 provides.

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I am in the middle of my 3rd W30, like you about a year between each, so I'm speaking from a place of 'this is so doable and I feel great,' but I feel like the 3rd time's the charm thing might be true for me, too, as this one has been such a good exploration of mental habits, fears (why was I ever afraid/ashamed to order what I wanted at a restaurant where I pay them to make me food??), and emotional relationships. There's a good Dear Melissa answer-- (https://whole30.com/2013/06/dear-melissa-food-as-love-and-post-whole30-crash-and-burn/) see the second half-- talking about having a plan, or mini-plans, to help you navigate your eating while you investigate the emotional/psychological habits that give you a hard time, especially if you feel like an all-or-nothing person.

It sounds like you've already started an internal shift when it comes to goals and food monitoring, so doing the W30 again but this time really focusing on your mental habits around meals (are you 'counting' right now? would you like to eat without counting? are you judging whether this was 'good' or 'bad' of you? would you like to stop spending 85% of your brain ruminating about food?) might be just the thing, as it gives you a nice safe structure within which you won't make any off-plan choices (making 180,000 decisions a day is exhausting). Trust yourself, know you'll do it, don't consider not doing it. That really opens up your mind to non-judgmentally consider your mental habits. And then you can follow with Whole 7s as needed or desired to keep you mentally in tune with your deliberate decision making, and help you find a joyful relationship with eating--which is the lifestyle-not-diet part that we all want to get to!


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