About that Whole 30 Thing

Just so you know where this post is coming from: oftentimes what I put here is a fraction of what's really going on in life for me and oftentimes just the lens around body issues/food and fitness. If you follow me on Facebook you know that's a more accurate picture of whassup. Yesterday, for instance, nearly did me in, as it was my first day taking Lucia to school by myself and managing baby's eating/my eating/pumping schedule. Seemed really straightforward from the outset, but left me sobbing by 10:30 a.m. Lessons were learned, let's just say that.

What I am trying to say is that if you're reading to check in on what's up with me, know that this isn't the whole picture. Kinda goes without saying, right? Just in case it didn't, DISCLAIMER.

Hookay, anyway. 

As I mentioned, the oatmeal = puffy HL. Ok maybe it was the sugar too, and it's been no holds barred in that area too. Hello daily Thin Mints ritual. Whenever I feel puffy like this, I am always drawn to the restricted nature of the Whole 30, thinking THAT'LL DO IT. And it has, and it does. And there's something very appealing about having it be non-negotiable in my brain; these are the rules, here's what's allowed and here's what's not. There's no gray area, there's no well maybe just the more than 72% dark chocolate qualifies because of the flavonoids, etc. There's no wiggle room. 

However. 

I find myself whenever I do these trying to be the goddamn valedictorian/perfectionist of the Whole 30 and I get all this energy around MUST DO IT PERFECT. It's exactly what Krista Scott-Dixon talks about in this article (she's the creator of the Lean Eating program, btw) I highlighted the resonant parts: 

It starts so innocently…

If you have any interest in health, fitness, and nutrition, you probably have at least some awareness of how sugary, crappy food contributes to poor health, inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Naturally, you as a conscious eater want to do The Right Thing. So you start reading labels and eating whole foods. You get rid of sugar, or at least cut your intake way down.
Pretty awesome start. You could probably stop right there and still be better off than most of the Western population.
But of course, every little positive, health-affirming step inspires you to take another.
Again, you could quit right here. In fact, you probably should. Now you’re at 99th percentile of food and lifestyle quality. And with some practice, you could live that way pretty easily and sanely.

…and then…

You keep reading. You swirl down into the blogosphere of half-baked opinions, speculation, anecdotal evidence, pseudoscience, and what my colleague Dr. John Berardi so aptly terms “hysterical negativity”.
This is where the rabbit hole of madness begins.
Because you start to think: What else could I do to be better? How could I nudge this generally pretty decent situation into awesome? Into perfect?
And naturally, you work harder. You train harder. You Paleo harder. You cut harder. You pound that shit in. To. The. Ground.
You’ve heard that cutting carbs is primal. So you go for rock bottom.
You’ve heard that cave people never ate Food XYZ so you’re restricting everything that isn’t a dead animal or something green.
You’ve heard that wasting an hour on a “workout” is bullshit. Cave people got ‘er done hard and fast. Ready for anything. So you trash yourself with 100 rapid-fire power cleans or 2 miles of sprinting sled drags or box jumps until you can literally hear your Achilles tendons sobbing. You do it again the next day. And the next. And the day after that.
You throw in some fasting just for good measure. Cave people didn’t have 24 hour buffets, after all.
For a while, this feels great. Heroic.
You often have lots of energy because you’re running on the fumes of your body’s stress response — natural painkillers and adrenaline. Your skin glows and your joints feel fantastic because you’re not eating processed junk that inflames them. You’ve shed some pounds and are sliding effortlessly into your skinny jeans.
Plus let’s be honest. You’re also feeling the high of being smug as shit now.
You’re a zealot. A recent convert. Fuck the hatas and deluded drones of Big Food. You have your Cavepeople Club and it feels stupendous — or is that the endogenous opioids your body is pumping out to kill the pain of another vomitworthy workout?

So I'm not going to do a Whole 30. It feels too nuts and while effective, I tend to get caught up in the extremes of it and well, I'm not sure that's good for anyone, and certainly not where I am right now, with newbabyness. So for the next 30 days here's what I'm committing to:


  • No sugar
  • No peanut butter
  • Minimize processed food as much as possible (no GF bread, for example)
What I will be eating is tons of protein, fat, fruits and vegetables. I'm not weighing, I'm going by how my clothes are fitting. I'm not agonizing if I have non-homemade mayo or bacon (most bacon is cured with sugar) and feeling like I'm not doing it perfect and not in the cool kid's Paleo club. I'm listening to my body and tweaking my diet for what feels right to me. That's likely the single best lesson I learned from the Lean Eating program; listening to my body, stepping away from the judgement and tweaking accordingly. I'll keep you updated of course throughout the month. 

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