Well folks, I made it. Thirty days of clean eating in the bag. And y’know what? Even though I eat mostly paleo, ate strict paleo/zone for the first several weeks of the year, and practically never eat dairy – let alone gluten – I still learned a LOT during this Whole30.
The first time we did Whole30, we really only made it about 3ish weeks. Thanksgiving and a trip to California got in the way, and that was fine. But sticking it out for the final 4th week really did teach me a lot about, well, sticking it out and, most of all, making my diet a priority–for better or worse.
Finishing the Whole30 was hard, but not for the reasons I expected it to be hard.
I am a very firm believer in the fact that there is no single diet for every person. Everyone’s body has different needs and a different way of meeting those needs. But I know that I have a very sensitive digestive system, and always have. I tested positive for both lactose and gluten sensitivities in high school (and I cried on the drive home from the allergist when I realized that would mean no more mac & cheese). In the 10ish years that have passed since those tests, I have (very, very) slowly cut out dairy and gluten, and, as most of you already know, especially in the past year I have cleaned up my diet to include almost zero processed foods.
Even though I know the consequences when I eat dairy and gluten, in my daily life I am typically not that worried about little “cheats,” or “breaks” as I like to think of them. Breaks from worrying about what I’m eating, breaks from people asking me why I don’t eat grains or dairy, breaks from the people of Boulder rolling their eyes at me for jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. But in a lot of ways, these are also breaks from taking care of my body.
This month I learned that in a lot of ways, those breaks are my way of telling myself, “Sometimes, I’m just not worth the effort.”
So this month, I made the effort.
I did not have any medical breakthroughs, I have no idea whether or not I lost weight (I don’t really weigh myself anymore, like a lot of people I have finally realized that my weight has almost nothing to do with my fitness except for giving me a Snatch PR goal…), and I feel less bloated but my body didn’t change dramatically. But I did learn that it is important to take some time to make yourself a priority. It’s important to learn to advocate for yourself, to turn down a drink when it’s offered to you even though it may seem rude, to take the extra time to make a home cooked meal instead of going out for Thai again, to turn the computer off and go to bed even though there are wedding things to be pinned and blog comments to be answered.
Honestly, that mental shift was the hardest part. Quieting the voice in my mind that tried to say, this doesn’t matter–it’s fine for you to feel a little bit bad, it’s fine for you to have just a little less energy or be just a little more bloated or a little grumpier. Even through my weeks of eating Zone, I would have cheat days and go home with a headache and a belly full of air, but I told myself that it was ok. And sometimes, a cheat day is ok. But not because it’s ok to feel crappy. I needed to shift my thinking and convince myself that it is never ok to feel crappy if you can help it, and when it comes to my diet, I can help it–and it’s time to get better about standing up for my right to feel good.
Other bloggers who did the Whole30 in April…