Well, I did it. With a little bit of support in real life and online (THANK YOU!!) I made it through 30 days of clean eating. No sweeteners, no alcohol, no dairy, no cookies and chocolate… just clean paleo eating. And not only did I make it, I breezed through it. Yes, I had a day or two when I craved a glass of wine for dinner, and the dark chocolate in the cupboard looked more than just a little tempting. But generally speaking, this time around things were easy.
And so I’m asking myself why was it this way. Why did I struggle so much the last 5 times I tried to do it? Why did I quit all other times and this time around stick with it?
The answer is easy, but it didn’t occur to me until I spoke with a friend, who also tried and gave up after a while. I’m very much driven by my emotions. Not in a way that keeps me from being a rational thinker, but often it’s my emotions that drive me to eat certain foods and stay away from others. The glass of wine that I drink with, before, or after dinner… most of the time I want it to wind down after a long, busy day. I don’t NEED that wine. I want it, because I feel like it will help me. I like the way it makes me feel, how it soothes my soul, and how it relaxes my body. I want this wine, because it makes me feel good. The same is true for certain foods like chocolate and brownies. It’s emotional. When I’m stressed out, where do I turn? To food! Still! Two years of paleo have not made a difference at all.
To get back to the issue at hand though… here is what made the difference in why I stuck with this Whole30 and not others. I found myself consistently letting stress factors in my life take over. Usually, around day 5 I would be so stressed out by children, household, schedules, that I’d break down and eat. This time though, I made myself the priority above all else. When I don’t eat clean, I don’t feel good. And I deserve to feel good. I deserve to feel the best way possible. By making my health and wellbeing my top priority I made it impossible for the stress factors to get to me.
Yes, this also means, that now and then I told my children that Mom needs a break. It means that I stuck with my 8:30am CrossFit routine even if that meant that they had to fend for themselves for breakfast… or that the kitchen wasn’t cleaned by them (it’s their job, but often I have to remind them)… or that we had to rush to get out of the house for classes.
It means that I did make a few treats throughout the month, but I didn’t go out of my way to have a chocolate-y treat for them every week. We have fruit and vegetables. Enjoy!
It means that I would sneak a 30 minute nap, when I needed it most, despite the ever growing Mt Laundry and the dirty living room floor.
These 30 days were a great turnaround point for me. They were a way for me to analyze my triggers, and turn them into something positive rather than to let them take over and break me.
I would argue that I am not the same person after this month as I was before. Something clicked in my head, and I’m grateful it did.
As you all know by now, my sugar addiction has pretty much ruled me for most of my life, starting at the tender age of 10. That’s a long time to be addicted to something. And I would be silly to assume that I’m safe now that I stayed clean for 30 days. But I took a step in the right direction… and as I was starting to eat certain things again in the past couple of days, I couldn’t noticing a cautiousness about those foods, that I didn’t have before.
For instance, my daughter and I decided that after my Whole30 we’d go to our favorite frozen yogurt place and indulge on yogurt with fancy toppings. And I was looking forward to the day, when I could! Today though I really don’t have the desire to go. Yes, there is the fear that the sugar will trigger something in my brain, that I may not be able to control. But even more so, I’m thinking of their advertising their “low-fat” and “non-fat” frozen yogurt… and I’m picturing the ingredient list. And I don’t want it! I detoxed my beautiful body, and it’s thanking me by functioning so well. Why would I go and punish it, after I rewarded it for 30 days?
So for now, the frozen yogurt place will have to wait, and I’ll opt for that piece of dark chocolate instead. And maybe I’ll make some brownies today. My kids will be delighted!