In completing the Whole30, I’ve been having a hard time sharing my feelings (for me that’s like a 2 day lag) about accomplishing the goal. I think my hesitation with sharing though, comes more from the fact that I don’t feel that I am done with this journey (cheesily, I’ve only just begun). I’m very happy with where I am at and I want to continue eating this way for as long as no true cravings or special occasions come up.
The Whole30 journey is different for everyone and everyone’s sense of epiphanies comes from different realms in their lives. I haven’t had such mental clarity and self-awareness as I do now. In evaluating my Whole30 journey, I think I shared that my willingness to start was because I was having a really hard time staying awake after my meals and a really bad reaction to sugar and certain foods (like hummus and pita chips would cause immediate naps). If I were to fully evaluate my life, I was also relying on alcohol a lot for stress, which for me, often leads to a downhill battle of other bad habits (binge watching TV, stress eating, excessive napping, etc.).
On top of this all, wedding planning and navigating my first year of teaching has been such a battle on my self-confidence. Wedding-wise, I pretty much feel like every type of beauty – regime suggestion has been made on me by various vendors (go get facials, your skin is breaking out, your skin is dehydrated, your skin is oily, you need your eyebrows threaded, you need a haircut, you need to lose weight, you should start working out etc etc.). The amount of pressure to “look your best” for one day of your life, is ridiculous to me…but I’m also EXTREMELY hard on myself and am human enough to admit I do feel the pressure. Which brings me to navigating my first year as a teacher, I’m constantly feeling inadequate. Though what I do for a living now brings me immense joy, I have a really hard time processing the fact that I can’t reach every single student in my class and some students have very little hope for their future (because that’s the reality of it). But again, I am human and feel that it is my responsibility to reach every single student, and beat myself up when I give out failing grades to 20/27 math tests yet again after re-teaching, differentiating, and planning. So, yes, I’ve been really stressed on top of the normal relationship, familial, friendship, financial maintenance stress items that pop up. I was pushing this under the rug for some time, but now I acknowledge, this is a lot for me to deal with.
So, when my friend, Amy, mentioned the Whole30, it felt like my calling to do something to make myself feel better and to love myself a little bit more. I was already on a workout routine, but I wanted more clarity and energy. Which is why my number one rule was that, I wouldn’t do Whole30 if it stressed me out more than it did me good. And it didn’t! To be honest, I didn’t find Whole30 to be as challenging as when I first became pescatarian. I had more judgment in that element in my life than I’ve ever gotten doing Whole30 (and still do). I think mainly because when I talk about Whole30 I share the abundance of things that are added to your diet and people don’t see it as a “oh you can’t have…” I also think, there is a logical connection to “oh, I can’t have that pastry because I have a bad reaction to sugar” as opposed to “oh, I don’t eat meat for moral reasons”. If people are interested, I talk about it more and I have gotten pretty good at reading when people aren’t, so I just don’t. I am not big on pushing things on other people, but in just talking lightly about it, I convinced a couple of people to start it and that makes me happy.
So, what Whole30 brought me was a routine meal plan that helped me to maintain my weight (amp up my workouts) and provide me energy. It also allowed me to do this without sacrificing foods I truly love (vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and seafood). I am so much more positive that this step in self-care is essential to providing mental clarity into other aspects of life. I understand now that Whole30 will not change the things that overwhelm me mentally, but will help me manage that stress in a healthful way. I know that Whole30 will not change how hard I am on myself (as weigh in and progress pics have proven), but I do notice some physical gains I can’t ignore. For example, I went to my first Corepower Yoga class in two weeks (I normally don’t work out in front of a mirror) and I couldn’t ignore how strong my arms looked. Whether it’s Whole30 or from my workout routine (or both), it doesn’t really matter anymore. More importantly Whole30 has given me a whole new element of self-love and self-care I have been looking for. I’m just super happy that I’ve found a new (sustainable) way to prep and eat my food so that the food I eat is nourishing me as opposed to poisoning me. I’m still me to the core and need immense encouragement to be nice to myself, but I have really started to embrace certain things about myself more. This process really is an experiment you have to try for yourself. Personalize it, but it’s been proven through my amazing support group (SHOUTOUT TO YOUR ALL OF YOUR AMAZINGNESS!!!!) and now a newly convinced 14-day follower that by day 12-16 you’ll understand and feel the difference.
The last thing I want to share is that I do not judge anyone else for their lifestyle choices, truly. I just encourage anyone who feels they need to make a change to just do it. I’ve been taking small incremental risk-taking steps these past few years as I educate myself and grow as a person and it’s grown from buying a pair of rollerblades, to working out, to changing careers to Whole30. You’re in charge of your life and you’re responsible for your health. I could go on about our corrupt food industry, but it’d lay out some judgment seeds. But, if you are looking for a change, and this is interesting to you, then DO IT! If not, but you’re looking for other changes, DO THAT!! If you’re already happy with yourself, then FUCK YEAH, I’M ALSO SUPER HAPPY FOR YOU!! It’s like that song, “If you want to sing out, sing out”… Self-efficacy!! YEAH!!!