Life After Day 30…

You made it!  Thirty days – Paleo with no exceptions, no cheats – not even one M&M from the bowl on your coworkers desk.  You were hardcore and you’ve definitely reaped the benefits.  You feel good, you aren’t craving ‘junk’, your workouts are awesome, and damn – you’re looking pretty good too…  But, now the 30 days is over.  It’s day 31 and all bets are off.  The final measurements have been taken (if you were completing a challenge) and the Twinkies, copious amounts of coffee, and pizza are once again, on the table…  Some of you have been waiting 29 days 23 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds for this exact moment; planning your ‘first meal’ and all of its gluten, sugar, and cheese filled goodness.  Others of you are apprehensive – what now?  Do you go back to what you were doing before or keep going on this path?  And then, there’s you hardcore – all or none folks that swear you’re ‘in it for life’ and will never again touch ice cream, caffeine, cheese, or fruit for that matter.  So, where do you fall?  Are you calling it good, questioning the future, or adopting a new ‘religion’?  What’s the right course and what’s your plan?

Okay, let’s be sane and rational here.  If you’re in the first camp and go completely gangbuster on day 31 (we’re talking ‘Man vs. Food’ crazy…), I’m going to warn you – day 32 is going to be HELL!!!  In fact, the whole next week is going to be less than pleasurable and at the end of it all you may find yourself right back where you were on day one; trapped in the cycle of insatiable cravings, lethargy, and brain fog.  (This may not apply to you – but just go with it – I’ve seen this happen a lot…)

On the other side of the coin we’ve got the militant paleo – who by no means is EVER going to touch anything ‘un-paleo’ ever again.   If you are in this camp you swear that there is not a cell in your body that remotely even wants any food other than steak and broccoli for as long as you live.  You’ve made it your life mission to ensure that everyone eating something other than an approved food knows just how awful it is and that it will surely kill them.  (NEWSFLASH – it doesn’t matter how hardcore you are – you are going to die too and sadly, you may never again taste ice cream…)  To put it simply, you have morphed into “That Guy”.

Finally, we’ve got the confused middle – these folks just aren’t sure what to do now that it’s all over.  Do you jump in and start another round, go back to life as it was before the “30 day challenge”, or try to strike some sort of middle ground.  I mean really, you feel great and you want to keep feeling like this.  You don’t want to just throw away the progress you’ve made in the past 30 days.  But – life without chocolate, coffee, an occasional drink?  Really?  That just sounds kind of miserable.

Stop!  It doesn’t have to be this way!!  You don’t have to ‘let it all go’, become militant, or be confused!!  There IS a middle ground and that is exactly what you need to find!  Unfortunately, there is no exact definition of what that happy medium looks like for everyone.  It’s an individual recipe – it depends on your goals, your health and your lifestyle.  This paleo gig doesn’t need to be an all or nothing game for most of us.  Again, this depends greatly on your health and your goals.  If you are healthy and feeling like you’re right where you need to be in terms of performance, lifestyle (sleep, stress, training), how you look, and how you feel  – it’s okay, from time to time, to indulge – just KEEP IT SANE.  Remember that you will eat again and this is not a gorge fest.  Choose one or two foods that you really like (I would highly recommend keeping it gluten free), and ENJOY them.  It isn’t necessary to never again taste chocolate, sushi (with rice), cheese, wine, etc.  Just keep it SANE and truly focus on the entire experience (that means NO television, computer or multi-tasking while you are eating).  Sit down – smell, taste, and ENJOY the food.  There is no need to eat it as fast as you can (no one is going to steal it – PROMISE), or to eat every single bite even if you are stuffed or no longer enjoying it.

Find what works for you (need some guidance?) – it may be an 80/20 break or a 90/10 (that means you’re 100% paleo 80 or 90 percent of the time and 10 or 20 percent you allow some – READ: SANE  – out of bounds foods to make an appearance).  It doesn’t need to be ‘all or none’.  Think of it this way – if you revert back to your old way of eating you’ll be miserable; if you go the opposite direction and vow to never let anything remotely ‘un-paleo’ cross your lips – yep, miserable.  So, strike a balance and be satisfied.  I’ll tell you right now – I’m having some REALLY GOOD ice cream on Friday!  You only live once; take care of yourself, but every once and a while – throw caution to the wind, just be smart about it.

What’s your plan for Day 31 and beyond?

Categories: General, Paleo Diet Basics


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Amy says

    The problem with this approach (moderation, et al.) for some people is that certain foods are like drugs/alcohol in their bodies. You’d never tell an alcoholic to have a sip of beer/wine because you only live once. For some people the moderate approach does work & beautifully so… but some DO need to be as near to 100% compliant with not eating their individual binge foods as they possibly can be – or they risk heading right back into completely destructive eating again. I believe you can be a 100%-er and not be “that guy”. :-)

    • says

      I am that person when it comes to sugar. I cannot eat it in moderation. I’ve been trying for a year and one bite always leads to a major binge. At least I am aware of it and everyone around me knows not to offer it to me.

      • Rochelle says

        Me too. I have been Paleo/primal for 1 year and the sugar was creeping back in. I am currently Doing Dr. Kruse’s leptin reset to fine tune some things I never really fine tuned, like sleep. Although I hate the whole diet approach it is helping me listen to my body again. He suggests 4-8 weeks but because my diet/lifestyle was not too far gone I think maybe 2 weeks will get me back on track. It is a little drastic but has jump started my weight-loss again. I was kinda stahled. Will I eat sugar again… yeah will I enjoy it…. yeah will I feel crappy after…. yeah and then I’ll swear off it again till the next time. That is just the nature of THIS beast. Overall this website and a few others have taught me how to feel good again and that is a gift I would never abandon. I keep trying to tell people what works for me may not work for you. It is your own responsibility what you put into your mouth and you and I get to suffer our own consequences.

        • Chris says

          I can understand peoples argument between food and drugs. No matter what, addiction is addiction and it not even really the same for everyone. People who say “oh no! 80/20 is just not how it should go.” Or “I dont have self control and therefore others should also be 100% clean” are really talking about themselves, self reflecting and then shoving that introspection back on other people.
          If you suffer from symptoms or problems with addiction you need to see an addiction specialist, or therapist. Having neolithic foods and not binging is totally possible. This 100% or gtfo can do the opposite and make people turn into bingers/addicts. Anytime there is a deprivation and then a introduction or reintroduction the person may feel like they should drain everything out of what was deprived and may never want to let go afterwards. There is a difference between chemical addictions and physical addictions and mental addictions as well.
          If you lack self control, thats on you, hence why it is called SELF control.

  2. Dave says

    Thanks – these are the words I needed for all the doubters around me who ask/claim “you can’t live like this for the rest of your life…”


  3. says

    My one year paleo anniversary was January 2nd. I did a 30 challenge last month to celebrate and also cut the sugar that crept back in through the holiday’s. I have learned through my full year plus 30 days that I am a all or nothing person when it comes to sugar. I can’t just have some dark chocolate. I have to eat a lot. One bite seems to lead to a week or month of overeating before I get control again. Been working on it for a year and I hope 2012 will be the year I kick it for good.

    • sharduncombe says

      I’m the same way w/ sugar. It kind of stinks but when I’m honest with myself, I know I can’t go back. I did 3 1/2 yrs. without sugar before having my first kid 6 years ago. I’ve had 3 kids in those 6 years and let’s just say the stress coupled with baking for my kids triggered a HUGE, long sugar binge, causing me to gain about 100 pounds. I stopped a few times but never for long. I’ve now gone w/out for a month and really feel better. I think I’ve lost about 20 pounds in one month! My local Crossfit is now ending its WHOLE30 so I’m a little nervous about keeping up with the protocol but know this is where I need to be. A little sugar= me out of control.

      • says

        I’m SO glad to see other people who are like me. I just can NOT process sugar or grains. I’ve known this for years, I even have PCOS. This is the FIRST time I feel successful. I’ve “done” atkins, lowcarb before..

        but I am exactly the same. One bite, and I’m done for.

    • Dee H. says

      I also just passed the one-year anniversary mark. It’s been an interesting and educational year. For me, I have to walk right by sugar and desserts…there’s just no give there. Having conquered hypoglycemia which plagued me all my life, I have no desire to ever go back there. What I did find is that the last 6 months, I have inadvertently let my carb level creep up (too many fruits, nuts, and occasional grains). With it came an extra 5 lbs. Over the past couple weeks, I went back to 90/10, mostly meat and vegetables, and it’s finally coming back off. In my case the scale has been a good barometer for how many carbs I need.

  4. paleoslayer says

    I dont get too many sugar cravings anymore (paleo for 2+years) and but if I do I go to sweet fruits- mango,pineapple,etc. If I really really want a treat I save it for after an intense metabolic workout.

  5. Andy Barge says

    I highly recommend the guidance with Amy after having a consult with her.

    I have done the 30 day challenge and had good results it has to be said but I definately needed a few tweaks here and there as I needed something personal to me. To get one of “Robbs Angels” on your side is invaluable help.

    Plus, as a bonus I now understand what a cup measurement actually is! We dont have this in the UK, so I was stumped :). Very useful to know especially when attempting Sarah Fragoso’s recipes.

  6. bnuttree says

    Awesome post Amy, I’ve only just started my 30 day challenge (thought i’d wait till February – just to be different) – can’t wait to start feeling in control again but I do need to find that middle ground… One little taste of sugar seems to set me off on a sugar binge. There has to be a better way to control it and still enjoy the “sweet” things in life :) Great to know that i’m not alone in this.

  7. ktrivedi says

    Gotta treat yourself just gotta remember not to let it go too far it a treat not a meal plan ;). All this is to make your life better overall. I used to be that guy but being that guy doesn’t actually make your life better either. Go be healthy and enjoy life, just know you limits.

  8. lynn says mouth is shut…I was “that girl” mostly because I got questioned over and over every time we ate with someone outside of my immediate family…..I need something to be able to say with out giving the whole history of candida and chronic migraines and chronic sinus infections…Maybe I should just say…eating this way keeps me from getting sick.
    If I do 80/20, I am sick again. So knowing my body after 6 months of doing this, I am about 98/2. I will have a Grey Goose on the rocks with olives once or twice a month.
    I have worked hard to make foods that are appealing and great substitutions for foods I no longer eat. It is not hard.
    I have a huge bag of meds I no longer take. I keep them around for a visual of where I came from. Inhalers, allergy meds, sinus meds, narcotic pain relievers,blood pressure meds, antibiotics. I’d rather spend my money on food.

    • lynn says

      I should say…not that hard…At first it was a big challenge and I was a whiner…but not anymore. I have been making my own recipe book of favorites.

    • jessica says

      This comment she be posted as a heading on the blog….sometimes the positive side effects get lost in translation. Bag of meds gone! How awesome is that!

  9. Evangeline says

    When people ask me about Paleo I tell them it’s a lifestyle and not a “diet”. So far with that mindset, I haven’t had issues with the cravings… But yeah Amy yeah you’re right, we need to know our own selves to be able to complete the 30 day challenge because that’ll help us determine how to live life after the challenge.

  10. Andrea says

    I’m pretty well done with sugar for good, and don’t miss it. Day 31 I’m going for what I’ve been wanting all month- a pot of REAL tea. No more herbal stuff. Constant Comment, here I come!

  11. Sylvia R says

    I am actually coming up on the end of my 7th week. I have quite a bit of weight to lose, so I am sticking with the plan. However, I am not “that gal” because I don’t tell anyone what they shouldn’t eat. I hope to let my results speak for itself. I know that I need to tweak my own food plan though. I ate too many raw nuts, raw, unsalted, in-the-shell sunflower seeds and fruit, especially berries. I also know that I will have to reward myself at some point but I haven’t decided what the goal will be for the reward. I am probably scared of slipping. And I am actually looking for something to reward myself with that would be considered Paleo, like baked pears with Canadian maple syrup and/or honey.

  12. Sylvia R says

    I agree that we have to know ourselves and also that this is a way of life. Maybe that is why I ate fruit everyday for the past month. That low-carb diet I did for a few years didn’t work for me because the artificial sugars kept me craving sweets and milk products cause lactose-intolerance issues. But these things were allowed and I took full advantage of everything that was allowed. Now I realize that it didn’t take 30 days to put all the weight on, so it definitely will not take 30 days to take it off. If I eat whatever Paleo food I want, my brain has no need for craving signals. And you can binge on fruit and not feel like a pig, unlike ice cream or cake!

    • says

      Hi Amy,

      Great post! I have a question that may go a bit against the ‘grain’. What if you do a hardcore Paleo 30 Day challenge, and do not see the awesome results that everyone talks about?

      As an aside, as a former competitive BB’er, I do know how to weigh, measure and track food intake to the point of obsession (even tho’ we’re really not supposed to… old habits die hard). Sleep is bang on in a blacked out room. No fruit, no dairy, no sugars or processed foods, limited nuts. Pastured and wild caught fish and meats. Farm eggs. Workouts consistent with Mark Sisson’s ideal of intense and not often enough to cause trouble. Fish oil every day.

      Not on any meds, no illnesses, and I have all of my body parts (tonsils, gall bladder, appendix, etc…). No signs of menopause in a 44 year old woman….

      What if after a month of that, you feel OK, but the junk is still in the trunk, you have only dropped 2 to 3 pounds and have no other noticeable changes?

      Have you seen this in any clients? Any direction would be so appreciated!!

      • Amy Kubal says

        Barb! I would need to see more details on your diet and training. Sometimes it just takes a few adjustments and a little fine tuning to get everything moving the right direction. Are you eating enough? Are your portions in check? I would love to help you get it all dialed in if you would like! Let me know – and we’ll solve the mystery!!

  13. Jen D. says

    Great advice! I just finished the 21-Day Detox program, but was 80% Paleo since June. I love the way I feel but also want to be human so I try to stick to 100% gluten free but will still have wine, gluten free beer, and/or my favorite snack popcorn once or twice a week. I’ve managed to lose 19 pounds and I’m no longer overweight. In order to stay this way I think it’s best to eat Paleo but treat yourself occasionally so you don’t get burnt out.

    My husband laughs at me for always reading about Paleo, but these blogs keep me motivated. Thanks!

  14. TheKid says

    I think we are seeing some common responses here from people who, like myself, really have a problem with the reintroduction of carbs. I can say that after hitting 8 weeks strict low-carb Paleo and seeing a pretty decent weight loss (255-215), I plateaued and started regaining weight almost as soon as I added carbs back into the mix. I’m up to 230 now and constantly fighting cravings.

    What’s worse is that getting back on the wagon feels HORRIBLE, more horrible than the initial challenge. I mean, I started Paleo because I plateaued after going from 305 to 255 by killng myself for 5 hours at the gym. And after doing that, I was still having reactive hypoglycemic symptoms. So cleaned up the diet going Paleo and felt AWESOME. Then when I added carbs back in I felt like a damn drug addict. Got a little taste of sugar here and there and ended up relapsing. Then would get back on the wagon and have to deal with AWFUL Hypoglycemic sensations, which I simply can’t seem to shake.

    I too am turning to Dr. Kruse’s Leptin reset protocol just in case I somehow never truly reset it in the first place.

    I think it would be helpful if you, Amy, or even Robb (with his big biochemist’s brain) could lay out a more comprehensive picture of what is going on in the bodies of people with broken metabolisms and what pieces of the puzzle need to be there in order to succeed going forward.

    I bought the book but felt it was more tooled to those who had not already gone over the metabolic syndrome waterfall. It would be helpful to know scientifically why there is recitivism and what limits really exist for those of us who are trying to overcome diabetes, syndrome x and other conditions that separate us from those who are just overweight. Thanks.

  15. kerry says

    good article and very timely for me just finishing today my 30 days…I know I will be somewhere in the 80/20 area and I think that is pretty healthy to allow room to live life and not stress out.

  16. Gary says

    Just finished 30 days. For me an entre into what I’ve been moving toward since last February when I gave up beer for Lent at about 210#. Migrated to brown rice and ezekiel bread and away from anything “white”. Read both Gary Taubes books. Picked up Robb’s book and Plateaued at 185#. Cut out grains, dairy, (had pretty well eliminated sugar and its evil corn derivative), added fish oil and D3 and sleep and exercise to meat fish and fresh veggies and greens.

    . 30 days or so later, I’m at 175# (6’0″, 62 yrs old), and fat around my waist keeps slowly melting off. Its been over 20 years since my body was this size, and I felt this good. Nice to have cravings abate. Eating “on schedule” is not “essential” as it once was, the added protein and fat has smoothed that out.

    For me, this way of eating and living is something I can happily adopt. I think I am having a positive impact on my immediate household, too. :). Thanks to you, Robb, and the rest of the band of happy Paleo warriors. What you have discovered and make available is most helpful.

  17. says

    What a great post Amy! Today I celebrate 12 years as a low carb to Paleo 85lb. weight loss maintainer and I can honestly say that my journey has been one of self discovery and the most important, discovering what works for me is not what works for everyone.

  18. Karen T says

    On day 35 of a 60 day challenge and looking forward. This is a great post for me right now!! On day 60 will be going to a movie premere a friends son is in followed by a Pomogranate Martini party back at their house :) So a drink or two will be my first cheat, but as of now, plan to keep them in check, gluten free for sure. Thanks for the insight and what 80/20 really means (aka, NOT paleo 80 % of the time and “eat anything you want” the other 20……….

  19. Tahoepaleo says

    I just completed the first 30 days of the rest of my life. I am blown away by how much better I feel and look! I was wondering about what happens after the first 30, I’m glad there is this blog. I am lucky to say I have had no cravings of any sort so I plan to stick with the lifestyle. I can hear my body so much clearer now!!

  20. says

    Love it. Got some laughs.

    It’s nuts – there’s such a tendency for most folks to go off on the deep end after 30 days of doing it right.

    I did this.. at some capacity, with nut butter w/ a bit of maple syrup in it. (3G sugar per 2 TSP) and BAM, hypoglycemic episode. No fun.

    Interestingly, white potatoes did this to me recently to.

    (context – Below 50G of carbs for the last two months, adding carbs back in now and feeling better overall, but still hypoglycemic a bit after anything high GI)

    I guess the question I’d have, considering the context, is will the hypoglycemic response to high GI stuff ever go away ? I’m now at about 100-150 G of carbs a day (just ramped em up).

    I suspect it’s transient (the reaction to high GI stuff) – 29. Super healthy. Exercise a lot (but not too much) Sleep awesomely. Meditate daily. Lots of stress though (entrepreneur)

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