Putting the words together to talk about a life changing event is hard. The digestion of the event seems to take much longer than the event itself. You don’t get big results without big changes and big work. And, that’s what we did.
The nutshell: Thor and I began and successfully completed a Whole30 in March.
Those 11 words weren’t too hard to write.
But, how we got to that point, what we experienced and how we wrapped it up are the hard parts. The muddled words that evolve from emotionally charged and chaotic journal entries. The clarity of realizing just what we have accomplished and the impact of these changes. All that is the hard part.
Deep breath. Here goes.
Body image has always been a bit of a quagmire for me. My “view” in the mirror has always been distorted compared to what others see. I was my own worst critic. The minute flaws and imperfections were akin to red blemishes that I focused on. When Pepper was born, I had a growing awareness that my view needed to shift. I wanted to be the mommy she saw. I wanted to appreciate the beauty she was a genuine witness of. I wanted to be in the front of the memories and not behind the camera.
My end goal was clear. But, I was not authentic or honest in my approach to reach it. I played the part of confidence and self-love for my imperfections, but did not have the conviction and oomph to back it up. I still nit-picked and found my flaws. I did not carry myself with the air of confidence my individuality deserved.
I was not my biggest fan.
I am in my 34th year of life. Come July, I will be closer to 40 than 30. I will have been with my husband longer than I have been without him. I will no longer have children who are tots, but are now free-thinking individual treasures well on their way to independence.
There has never been a doubt in my mind that my husband finds me attractive. And, thinks I am gorgeous. He embraces all my imperfections, both inner and outer and caresses the scars and changes that have happened with childbirth, pregnancy and the rollercoaster from teenage years to mid-thirties. His love is for all.of.me. It’s true and authentic.
So, I made a choice. I chose to live in myself wholly and genuinely.
This is my life. My body. My one time and my one opportunity. And, I choose to seize it.
The Whole30 interested me for a number of reasons. I liked the clear cut elimination rules that would possibly offer answers to my increasingly annoying and downright disturbing digestion issues that had manifested. I liked the community of participants and followers who would offer support and help. I was also painfully aware of my addiction to sugar. It was a demon that I wasn’t in control of and I needed to slay it. And, I will unabashedly admit that a wee bit of me likes a challenge. I appreciate putting my name up where I can say: “I just did THIS. This really hard thing and I conquered it.” Whole30 also offered the structure and rigid rules my type-A personality thrives on.
We spent the week prior to “start” prepping our pantry and fridge and devising the “plan”. This was not going to be a diet. It was not going to be a 30-day thing that meant we reverted to our old ways on day 31. It was not going to be about weight loss or shrinking bodies. It was about healthy eating and healing our bodies from the inside out. It was about conquering and clearing the cravings. It was about shifting the mindset.
And, so we jumped.
Thor has competitiveness running through his veins and thrives on a challenge. He is linear in his mechanics and processes and for him each day was simply one step in front of the other. Follow the rules. Prepare the food. Eat the food. Start the cycle over again. His cravings and demons were no match for his laser focus and intense determination. It was clear and concise and effective.
Then there was me. An entirely different experience. Almost completely unrelatable because of its polarity.
I struggled hard for the first ten days. My refined carbohydrate and sugar cravings would not relent their death grip on my psyche. Headaches. Emotional breakdowns. Hormonal mood swings that swept all who were *blessed* with my presence into a whirlwind. I find solace in journaling. I was able to release my frustrations and be entirely candid. And, I could throw my word vomit onto the pages instead of into the face of my loved ones.
One of my greatest frustrations during this beginning phase was the isolation I felt within my own cooking skills and my familiar recipes, culinary creations and back pocket kind of meals. I could no longer rely on my previous skills that could whip together last minute dinners or comforting breakfasts. I had to shift my mindset and, with it, my skillset. My old ways would not work in this new place.
Days ten through twenty were transitional and filled with daily milestones, both big breakthroughs and minutely inconceivable blips. There was progress being made and new grooves were starting to get worn. The greatest stride I made was in my cooking. New was the operative word. I began scouring Pinterest, blogs and the Whole30 community for new recipes. New ways of preparing of new foods to broaden our palette.
It was time to breakaway from carrots, broccoli and lettuce.
It was the time to find interesting ways to serve the standby morning fried eggs.
It was time to make sure that vegetables became the star attraction on each meals’ plates and were a rainbow of variety.
All of this brought joy back into cooking. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and confidence in my ability to fill both my belly and my heart as I found enjoyment in new tastes and successful experimentations.
The fruits of our labors were starting to pay off, too. Energy was on the increase. Bodies were feeling stronger and running more efficiently. Skin was glowing. We were starting to feel good. Mind blowingly good. My pleasure in this new process was growing exponentially as the struggles began to seem more like humps instead of hurdles and the benefits were starting to stack up one on top of another.
My mindset was shifting. Big time.
The journal entries became fewer and farther between. The tears of frustration and ineptitude had subsided. I was no longer a slave to an out of control dragon. The food was tasting damn good and our “menu” choices were growing. The groove we were were in was stable and doable.
So, day 30 rolled around and we kept going.
We made it over the biggest hump (read: days 1 to 15) and we were feeling good. Really effing good. Better than either one of us had felt in our entire lives. We were fueling our bodies with the most efficient and healthy fuel.
The focus of month 1 had been following the rules and successfully completing a Whole30. Month 2 and the continuation into a Whole60 (or 75? or 100? or??) would help us refine and focus our other goals. We would bring exercise back in and see how well our optimally fueled bodies would perform. We would more fully envelope the kids in this lifestyle while still ensuring that their nutritional needs were met without the shock factor of pulling entire food groups away.
We would continue to work towards finding the happy medium of give and take and push and pull that supported good eating habits, emotionally, spiritually, personally and whole food choices that were affordable, of the highest quality and deliciously varied.
Day 75 was met with an honest and conscious choice. I chose to eat a snickerdoodle cookie from my favorite bakery on my favorite drive up my favorite mountain on a day for me: Mother’s Day. I savored it. I enjoyed it. And, I was in control. There were no demons rearing their ugly heads. It wasn’t a slip. It was a deliberate and well thought out choice.
So, we are on this road. Continuing and listening attentively to our bodies’ rhythms and messages.
One day at a time, one step at a time. Stretching and growing and loving this one body for all that it is right here and right now.
This is the moment and I have chosen to seize it.