The food’s still good. The menu planning is still working. My pants continue to get baggier, and by Day 21 I was shouting to anyone who would listen, “The Whole 30 FREAKING RULES.” It hasn’t been easy every single step — both Garrett and I have each had an anxiety dream about accidentally eating something “off limits” (mine was an Iced Mocha with whipped cream, his was Chicken Wings and Beer) which is sort of hilarious and very demonstrative of our level of commitment to this project — but overall it has been really eye opening.
One of the things that the Whole 9 folks are famous for — their tag line, if you will — is “Let us change your life.” Listen, that sounds lovely and all, but since I went into this little experiment already understanding the nuts and bolts of Paleo, feeling pretty confident in my choices, and not really needing to be convinced of anything, I wasn’t really expecting my life to be changed. I mean WOO WOO — if it changes someone else’s life, great. Prooooooobably isn’t going to change mine much.
You see where this is going don’t you?
God I’m such a smug, stubborn ass sometimes.
Twenty One days has changed my life. And there are still 9 days to go! And I’m actually excited about it. What a nut job, I am. I’m trying to figure out how to succinctly sum things up but it’s hard. It’s an entire experience and it’s not black and white. I’m not having one specific light bulb moment that I can share in a soundbite, but if I had to force myself to say one it would be this:
Managing Little Things Has Made Such A Big Difference.
It’s very easy to ignore the little things. To say, “Oh a few cocktails with friends, a handful of chocolate chips every night — those things are just small, they don’t matter in the long run.” But it’s also very easy to get SO caught up in the little things. “How many carbs are in these carrots? Maybe I should be eating less fruit. Maybe I should fast. Maybe I should eat 5 meals. Maybe I should try…” But doing an overwhelming amount of either of those things can really get you off course over time. It didn’t happen to me over night, but the combination of not thinking/overthinking allowed me to meander a bit while still feeling productive instead of moving directly and progressively towards my goal.
The goal for me has always been to get healthy, lose body fat, prime my body physically and hormonally so I can have a cute little baby with my very adorable partner in crime. It’s been amazing how freeing this experience has been from both of those thinking connundrums, and it is remarkable the amount of progress that I’ve made towards all of my goals. The commitment to go for 30 days without consuming booze, dairy or any sort of added sugar (in addition to the regular Paleo parameters) is tough. No honey, no molasses, no maple syrup. No glass of wine on Saturday night. No making technically Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s a little bit Draconian at first. But along the way, there was a tipping point where it became freeing. No need to manage the moderation.
And in the meantime, because I was already adhering to the Whole 30 guidelines, I allowed myself to spend a month on just “Eating food that makes me healthier” with no focus on macronutrient ratios or specific timing or combinations. That meant sweet potatoes if I felt like it, without wondering if I had worked out hard enough. Fruit if I wanted a little touch of something sweet, or to feel like I’m having a treat. More chicken at lunch if I wanted it. A little slab of ghee on my broccoli. Just consuming food that does good work. Not overthinking it.
I gave myself a 30 day window for my brain to be off the hook. The only requirement was to listen to what my body wanted. And what do you know, without giving your body little hits of disruptive things like sugar and booze and cheese here and there that confuse its innate signals — your body tells you pretty clearly what it wants. It is really freaking smart, actually, and works with an alarming amount of efficiency that can totally be trusted. I’m humbled by it, and have really felt in awe of how the body works when you give it good, real food and don’t try to outsmart it. It is recalibration in it’s truest form, with no need to only drink liquids, feel hungry, or eat during specific windows. It’s been 21 days of eating with my heart and not my head.
And IT’S AWESOME.
Now…is this feasible in the long run forever? No, frankly. Not for me, at least. Because life happens, and no matter how flowery and happy I feel about this whole experience right now, I don’t plan to live the rest of my life without sugar or booze or the occasional nose dive into a bowl of corn chips (WITH SALSA!). I plan to see friends and socialize freely and make the best decisions I can in the moment.
In September I plan to BBQ with my family, pick up my wine shipment with Garrett and enjoy some tasting. I plan to make a Paleo Apple Crumble when the air starts to get crisper and the tree branches in the foothills get heavy. All of that is going to happen, and that is okay. But now I have the muscle memory of what consistent, good food decisions feel like. And when you’ve got that, it’s hard to let it go.
What I’m sure of, is that for a while, something is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally going to have to be worth it to derail me from all this goodness. I imagined myself penciling in Mexican food and feeling relief at being able to drink again, but honestly I don’t feel like any of that right now. EVEN MY GLASS OF WINE…I’M NOT EVEN COUNTING THE MINUTES. I swear. I would not lie to you about wine. I love wine.
I’m sure that I will get to a point again where I will feel the need for my body to reset. Life is long, I don’t have any desire to get through it perfectly and without deviation. I will not always make the best decisions all of the time. But now I know that I am only 30 days away from inspiration. 21 days, even at the most. From feeling like my best self. And I can do all that without to much grumbling really. And knowing that, has given me confidence and a security blanket that I didn’t even know I needed.
And it has definitely changed the game.