Whole30 Day 18: The NeverEnding Story

by Jen Burdick

I’ve decided I want to make #falkorfriday a thing. Imagine I can round up enough ‘old millennials’ — someone called me that last week, oof — to get this trending. What a kind, wise, selfless drog (binomial nomenclature at it’s finest) we all could learn so much from. Just imagine the incredible Friday you’d have if you had all sorts of on point Falkor giphys streaming through your feed?

No? Just me?

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Falkor Friday aside, got to thinking about the beloved NeverEnding Story today as my brain has slowly transitioned from being able to recount the days, hours, minutes left in my Whole30 to ‘ermahgerd, only have 12 days left, how will I defend myself from the dark arts, please time, slow yourself’.

Likely some PTSD at play here. My first Whole30 experience abruptly ended on day 31. I didn’t understand — or really care to — the reintroduction process, it’s role in the journey, or how exactly to navigate much of anything after the 30 day mark. I viewed my inaugural Whole30 as a means to reset my brain, blood sugar, save some money on wine, and give my insides a break from the self-induced inflammation. A break from regularly scheduled programming for a month, but not much beyond that. In the end, Tiger Blood ran through the ‘ol viens, had great slumbers, consistent energy. So, mission accomplished, yay me!

Though, eventually … gradually … I found my path back to habits that certainly weren’t Tiger Blood producing. Enter scene: aforementioned pounds of chocolate covered popcorn.


This go ‘round, I’m committed to seeing this thing through. First on the list — beckoned Amazon, clicked twice, and now I’m the proud owner of Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever. Past few nights, it has quickly become the bedtime routine I look forward to the most, and very clearly (and loudly at times) articulates just how wrong I was to approach Whole30 Round One the way that I did.

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Let me first share how Melissa defines Food Freedom:

“I’d say it means finally feeling in control of food, instead of food controlling you. It means indulging when you decide it’s worth it, savoring the experience without guilt or shame, and then returning to your regularly scheduled healthy habits. That’s real food freedom.”

She then goes on to detail The Food Freedom 3-Step Plan. It’s a simple one:

  • Step 1: Reset your health, habits, and relationship with food. AKA Whole30 and Reintroduction phase
  • Step 2: Enjoy your food freedom. This was once a thing of fairy tales.
  • Step 3: Acknowledge when you’re starting to slip. Hello month of December.
  • Repeat as needed. Hi, January.

In other words, the process is a cyclical one, one that most certainly doesn’t wrap up with a sparkly bow come Day 31. Reset, practice, slip. Rinse and repeat.

A NeverEnding Story, if you will.


This mindset shift has both eased my anxiety as the days pass at greater and greater speed, and has reshaped the lens on how I view this entire process. It went from a 30 day survival race, to an empowering lifestyle adjustment. A sustainable one, that if all goes to plan, doesn’t leave you in a pile of your own sugar dust on December 26.

I’m particularly intrigued (and nervous/anxious) by the reintroduction phase and the discoveries that’ll emerge. If I’ve learned anything from my new bedtime ritual, it’s that this piece of the puzzle arms you with the tools you need to find and create your personal food freedom. So, gosh darn it, you better believe I’m grippin’ this thing TIGHT.

More to come over the next few days as I shape what that experience will look like; what food groups I plan to bring back to the plate first, how often, etc. Very much looking forward to the scientific experiment. As a liberal arts gal, I don’t often dabble in the sciences. This feels extra thrilling.


A total aside, but being that it has become a significant part of my day, and I can tell moving forward, life … I introduce to you the newest member of our family, Ember. The temperature controlled mug. (insert all the eye rolls and judgements). I received this as a gift last night, and was brought to tears, literally — reminder that it doesn’t take much.

I’m a hot coffee drinker. Like, really hot. Unless it’s 95 degrees outside and I’ve knowingly ordered cold brew, I’m zero percent interested in your cold coffee. What my hubby has to listen to most mornings, are my complaints about my favorite form of caffeine transforming into lukewarm bleh. You might be thinking to yourself … Hey, Jen. Go buy yourself a thermos. A travel mug. There are literally billions of options that keep your coffee scalding hot just the way you like it.

I have those. A great one in fact. However, I love me a good wrap-your-hands-around-it mug. The experience is changed once you trap your coffee in a travel vessel. So, with that justification behind us … lets get back to Ember. This guy is a thing dreams are made of. You CONTROL THE TEMPERATURE WITH AN APP. I can’t even. (insert old millennial jokes here). And down to the last sip, I had hot coffee this morning. In a coffee mug.

My coffee has found it’s very own food freedom. I’m next in line. #falkorfriday


p.s. Did you hear Tara now has the largest social media following in the world? One magical night was all it took — give a read. It’s a fun one.

PSA: if you reside in the DC, SoCal, San Francisco or Dallas areas and want to give Territory’s Whole30 Approved meals a whirl, use code JANW30 when creating your account to snag $50 off your first order. Or just click the magic box below.

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