So, my friends, it’s Day 12 of this here Whole30 Challenge. Do you know what happens on Day 12? I FREAK OUT the minute I see pizza, donuts, soft pretzels, or any other of the number of things I’m not supposed to be eating right now.
Now, I knew from the beginning I’ve never been the “dieter” girl. You know the one I’m talking about. Miss “Oh no thanks, I’ll just have this teeny side salad and a friggin’ grapefruit for lunch”. That girl and I don’t really get along. So going out to impromptu work lunches where everyone’s ordering fries and burgers and I’m extolling the virtues of beets was not an experience I expected to have. I’m also a HUGE fan of moderation; as in, extremism where you tell yourself not to have ANY of something you love will only leave you wanting it more. A moderate worldview that says “I can have this once in a while as long as it’s not a daily habit” has always been more my speed. I knew all this about myself going in, and I think that was my problem to begin with. Huge amounts of bread and cheese were becoming my daily habit, thus my body was starting to look and feel like a huge amount of bread and cheese.
Something else I know about myself: I am exceedingly stubborn. So if I lend all of my willpower toward a certain goal, there is no way I will not let myself meet it without huge, extenuating circumstances. Even if the only person I’m trying to prove anything to is myself. This is either an incredibly healthy practice, or an incredibly UNhealthy one. I haven’t decided yet.
In the picture above you see a typical shopping haul of mine during these past days of healthy eating. (And I don’t use the term “shopping haul” anything but literally. I have one reusable bag I walk to the grocery store with, and then I lug everything that will fit in it back to my house on foot. Active lifestyles, my friends.) This experiment so far has been so much more about buying more veggies and meats and learning to cook them in ways that are DELICIOUS than it has been about depriving myself.
In the last 12 days, I have gained a lot more confidence about buying organic meat I can use in multiple ways.
In the last 12 days, I have been adventurously trying new vegetables. (Hello, kale!)
In the last 12 days, I have probably tripled my confidence in the kitchen.
The downside of the Whole30 is that the materials I have to work with can get a bit repetitive.
Still, I have a new-found appreciation for eggs, squash, steak, onions, asparagus, and bell peppers I probably wouldn’t have picked up without trying this.
So here’s where I talk about how I’ve been struggling. First, this is expensive and time consuming. Yes, I’m glad I’m learning to plan ahead when it comes to food. But cooking for yourself, by yourself every single night is repetitive and frustrating if you’re trying to use up foods you’ve already been eating before you buy new things. I have skipped working out countless nights because I know I have an hour ahead of me until my dinner is ready, and that’s just not right. (Sure, I should be making things in bulk beforehand, but that is SO hard to carry out consistently.)
The other problem is the work-socializing situation. Publishing involves a lot of schmoozing, guys, and one of my editors has been kind enough to invite me to an Asian fusion dinner with two new authors on Friday night, not to mention I’d probably already be doing lunch with them that day. HOW CAN I PASS UP ASIAN FUSION, NETWORKING, AND A BIT OF MENTORING? Not to mention, if I attend and order some crazy-specific meal excluding half of the ingredients in the dish, I will look like a giant douche. In the grand debate between my job and my health, my job should probably win right now.
So Internet, I beg your reprieve for my extenuating circumstances, lack of willpower, whatever you want to call it. Friday, March 15th I will definitely NOT be on a Paleo diet, because I am not cheating myself out of a chance to fully enjoy a meal at a new restaurant. I haven’t decided if this is me surrendering the whole month yet, and promising myself to continue cooking healthy meals but lighten the fuck up about eating a piece of bread, or if I plan to try my hardest to continue after Friday. To be honest, I’m leaning toward the former. After all, it’s better to eat in moderation and understand fully what you’re eating than to force yourself into a diet that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, right? I’d appreciate any thoughts from my nearest and dear, because I’m actually feeling conflicted about this.
As far as the benefits associated with the Whole30, I have noticed some of them. Namely, my pants have already started to fit better. I’ve always been awesome at sleeping, so there was no change there. My energy level is the same, and quite honestly, the gradual change in temperature and longer days is making me feel more energized than anything else. So what’s a health-conscious girl to do?