If your happy place happens to be the fridge, you are not alone. This blog is named, “Work hard, be nice, eat clean & splurge a little,” for a reason. Eating clean is essential, but splurging just a little is the key. In a world that has a quick fix guide and a pill for everything, it’s hard to remember that changing our eating patterns and rewiring the hyperactive sugar raccoon that lives in our brain takes time. Over a year and a half ago, I started my very first Whole30. I had the book “Whole30 Day by Day,” delivered from Amazon, I had done a complete clean sweep of all of the non-compliant foods in my kitchen, and I was ready to take on this new movement. If I dropped a few pants sizes in the meantime, I wasn’t going to be kicking and screaming about it.
Now please take into account that my family used to find me in a closet as a child, ravenously eating candy. Family-sized boxes of fruit-by-the-foot were no match for me. I would take them down with ease. But my first attempt at the Whole30 was nothing. No added sugar, no dairy, no soy, no legumes, no grains, and no alcohol for thirty full days. Even with all of these restrictions in place, I remember quickly feeling more energetic, slimmer, and could fall asleep at night like my middle name was Benadryl.
The first round of anything new can be easier for a few reasons. We usually have no idea what shit storm lies ahead, and we are motivated to give the shiny new lifestyle a whirl. Fast forward to the present day, and you’ve got yourself a challenge. As you may have guessed, I decided it was time to dust off my old book and throw out the precious sourdough bread I kept on hand for late-night grilled cheese sessions. I was craving that excessive energy and jeans that didn’t feel as though my button was going to fly off and hit someone in the eye. I had been following the food guidelines religiously, going to bed as early as I could, and counting down the days on a physical calendar that I kept hidden near my desk. The Whole30 creators have put together a timeline addressing where you should be when you’ve hit a certain number of days. If you’ve done one of these challenges, you know which one I’m referring to. Days 2-3 are “the hangover”, days 4-6 are “kill all the things”, 6-7 “I just want a nap”, 8-9 “noo my pants are tighter”, 10-11 are “the hardest days”, 12-14 are “I dream of junk food” and day 15 is the “halfway marker”. If reading this timeline has not convinced you to start the Whole30, then you’re completely sane. Days 16-20 are what they refer to as “tiger blood,” where great motivation and stamina arise. I was on day 17, and I could barely stay awake at my desk. I was moody and anxious and felt as though all of my hard work was for nothing. Quite frankly, my tiger was taking a deep snooze in the jungle.
I wanted to give up and eat a burrito while sitting in bed watching trash TV. I looked no different, I was having a hard time sleeping, and I was frustrated with all of the money and time I had spent on this. But I decided that I had come too far to give up that easily. I forced myself to recall all of the reasons why I started, and I knew that if I gave up, I would be giving into temporary temptations for temporary satisfaction. Thank goodness for that. I kid you not; just one day later, I felt that tiger blood coursing through my veins. I was going crazy waiting for immediate changes from a very long list of poor eating habits before starting this challenge.
The moral of this story is that great things, especially when it comes to our dietary habits, take time. They take patience and willpower and all of the things that I usually lack as a human being. I can honestly say the fridge is still my happy place; it just has a lot of healthier options in it. Tomorrow always seems like a stable place to start because it doesn’t exist yet. But I encourage you to try it out. It is worth it, and you owe it to yourself to treat your body with a little tender loving care.