Hey! How Do I Get Off This Thing?

Blog Post - Hey

The cookies are stale, the parties and gatherings are over, the holidays have come and gone for another year and the damage has been done. But it’s okay, because January 1st is fast approaching and that means it’s time to get serious. You know what I’m talking about – it’s 30-day challenge time. Time to cut the crap and do this clean eating thing, like, majorly hardcore. Thirty days of no grains, no dairy, no soy, no added sugar, no legumes, no alcohol and what many would call – NO FUN. But you’re ready for this, after all the holiday feasting, 30 days of nothing but meat and veggies doesn’t sound so bad and you’re ready to retire the elastic waistband  until next year, right?

Starting the year off ‘fresh’ is definitely not a bad idea, especially if you went a little overboard during the past month (or three…). Unfortunately, many of us have come to rely on these 30-day resets to clean-up what we do every day that’s not one of the 30. It becomes a cycle; 30 good days followed by what might be termed as a food face-plant that continues up until the next 30-day clean-out. The infamous day 31 strikes again. It’s the same old situation. I’ve heard and witnessed it over and over again. These “Whole 30’s”, “Whole Life/Paleo Challenges” and Sugar Detoxes are a great way to jump start things IF you need jumpstarting.  Where they fall short though, is in preparing you for life after day 30. See, this eating well thing isn’t something that just happens in 30 day time slots or during a challenge at the gym and not being ready for what’s to come when the structure goes – well, let’s just say chocolate, ice cream, French fries and chips taste pretty damn good – especially when you haven’t had them for 30 days…

So how do you avoid this sudden direction change, I mean really what can you do? Well, I’ve got a couple thoughts. The first being, if this isn’t your first 30-day rodeo and you and have a pretty good idea about the foods that are and aren’t an issue for you – then is it really necessary to do this – AGAIN?  They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing you’ve always done expecting to get a different result, and well, you’re in the same spot you were last time you jumped into one of these deals. Bang your head against the wall much? Maybe a saner, longer lasting lifestyle approach would be a better idea.  Instead of 30 days of hardcore living followed by complete food debauchery, just cut the daily treats and/or gorge fests that have been all too regular lately. Watch your portions and make healthy choices most of the time. I know; CRAZY, right?

I get it though, everyone at the gym is all fired up and dammit you want a piece of the action. Or maybe you’ve never done this total clean out before and want to establish a baseline. Well then, by all means jump in with both feet, BUT (you knew that one was coming) go in with a plan for coming out. There’s a great program for getting people started in the gym called “On Ramp”. What we need in this case is a 30-day challenge “Off Ramp”. Gym challenge putter-on-ers PAY ATTENTION! I know your intentions are good and you’re trying to get everyone healthy and eating well – but you gotta prep them for day 31! Without a plan for ‘what’s next’, there’s a whole lot of people out there that spend days 10-30 planning their first move on day 31 and that first move often includes a trip to Krispy Kreme…  (Yes, I’m looking at you.).

So how does this “Off-Ramp” thing work? Well, that’s going to depend on where you’re at. For all you first-timers, your situation is going to be more delicate than that of the habitual challenge-cycler. I would suggest that you add foods back one at a time in order to see how your body responds to them. You might find that dairy makes you break out or that bread and pasta (gluten free or not) really mess you up. If you make pizza your first taste of freedom – you won’t know if you’re reacting to the cheese, the crust or both. I know, it’s a total buzzkill, but you’ve come this far – don’t give up the ship now, you’ll be glad you were patient when you figure out what does and doesn’t work for you.

If you’re one of the seasoned pros, (Here’s your sign: the Krispy Kreme staff knows that you disappear in 30 day cycles), you know which foods do and don’t work with your body. So instead of completely jumping ship when the show is over, try a more gradual approach. Maybe you celebrate with a glass of wine or two at dinner and a piece of chocolate for dessert. Just make sure dinner isn’t an entire large pizza and breadsticks. If you really want pizza though, have a couple slices (if you’re okay with dairy and the crust ingredients) instead of the wine and chocolate – save those for another day. The key here is to decide what you really want and based on your goals see where it might fit in your life for the long haul.

Confession time – My name is Amy, and I eat oatmeal every day for breakfast. (Disclaimer: I am by no means advocating this for everyone.) I have found that my digestion, my energy, my level of satisfaction and my mental and emotional health have all improved since I’ve found a happy balance of foods (paleo or otherwise) that my body tolerates. This flexibility isn’t going to look the same for everyone and I am by no means saying that you all need to start eating oatmeal or anything else that might make you less healthy or conflict with your goals. What I am saying is that there is no one PERFECT diet for everyone and if what you’re eating is making your body OR your mind sick, then it’s definitely not the best choice for you.

So if you’re getting ready to leap into your first or next Whole 30, Paleo Challenge, Whole Life Challenge or Sugar Detox make sure you’ve got a solid “Off-Ramp” plan ready. Remember that being healthy isn’t something that you commit to doing for 30 days at a time. You’re in this for life and if you’re not enjoying it what’s the point?

**NEW YEARS SPECIAL**  From now until January 5th, 2014 get $5 off Robb’s 30-Day Paleo Transformation Guide. Just use the coupon code NEWYEAR when you checkout and get ready to make 2014 your healthiest year yet and if you’d like some help with the “Off Ramp” let me know. It’s going to be a great year!


Categories: General, Paleo Diet Basics, Paleo/Low Carb, Weight Loss


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.


    • Amy Kubal says

      Exactly! It’s not a lifetime recipe for everyone you have to find what works for you for the LONG HAUL! I did a Whole 30 minutes once. It was the worst half an hour of my life… 😉 (I joke!)

  1. Mortisha Jecklin says

    Thank you for this article. I usually avoid 30 day challenges and could never figure out why. Now I know why. There’s never a plan for day 31. I think the lack of a plan for that is why there is such a pervasive belief all or nothing when it pertains to a diet. In the end, there really must be a balance. Finding it is the next challenge.

  2. Jim McCloud says

    My medical test results after 6 weeks on the Paleo diet were so good, I never thought about going back to my old way of eating. The only waivers during that time were a few coconut macaroon cookies and a couple of well spaced PiVa ( Piedmont Virginia) margaritas. I have felt and slept better since the diet. My energy level and strength have increased. I even lost weight, going from 175 to 161 pounds without trying. Why would I want to go back?

  3. says

    As a practicine physician I recommend paying attention to two things when you are trying to improve your health. First, pay attention to how you feel. If you are consistently feeling better with your lifestyle choices, then you are likely on the right track. Cutting out most processed foods is a good place to start.

    Next I recommend looking in the mirror. Patients who are healthy tend to have what I calle “the look of health”. They have a healthy glow that’s hard to miss. People are naturally attracted to those with this “look of health” so if you want to be attractive, focus on being healthy.

  4. Ed says

    Great article…definitely need to do the sugar detox in a big way and need to pull Robb’s ebook out of the virtual mothballs, dust off the Paleo Solution and see what 2014 brings. :)

  5. Joyce says

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s as if you read my mind! It seems like everyone and their brother is going on the Whole30 day after tomorrow. As for me, earlier this year, I did the granddaddy of all elimination diets (also known as GAPS Intro), and I am not keen on doing another one. Ever. Unless absolutely necessary. I was starting to wonder if I was the only one left who felt that way.

    Also, it’s really refreshing to have a “respected authority” come out and admit to eating foods that aren’t strict Paleo on a regular basis because it works for them. Me, I seem to need raw milk kefir to maintain hormonal balance, and sometimes I get to wondering if I’m crazy or something. :)

  6. Colleen says

    I did my first Whole30 back in August. It’s become my life style. I am doing another whole30 but only to kick my sugar cravings. I’ve allowed honey back in and I don’t like that its become addictive! I’m also having trouble keeping weight on! So I need to relearn 3 meals a day. Protein & good fats keep me full!! Anyone else have this problem?

  7. says

    I love 30 day challenges because there’s an end. I did a 30 day no alcohol or grains challenge in December, and then on NYE I had a few drinks and pizza as a reward. I wasn’t even craving it by then, and didn’t splurge like I thought I would. Today I’m back to no alcohol or grains because I’m used to it now.

  8. says

    You admit to oatmeal, Stacy Toth admits to rice, Sarah Ballantyne admits to popcorn. What is the paleo world coming to???? Just kidding. Your admissions loosen the cage a bit and encourage each of us to personalize paleo in a way that works best or us. Just another way you’re all good role models.

  9. Barbara says

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this, and I actually find the challenges work really well for me. I generally do a good job of eating clean, but after travel and holidays there is a slippery slope that I tend to head down. A challenge gives me the motivation to do a reset. After spending 30 days or so cleaning up my act, I break some bad habits and maintain a much cleaner diet. I might add alcohol such as wine back into my life, but with much more moderation. I also stop going for that one cookie, one piece of bread at a restaurant, etc.

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