Defining Progress

What is progress? It really depends on how you choose to define it. I haven’t been blogging daily about my Whole30 adventure the way I had originally set out to. I wanted to create a journal, and hopefully have it provide guidance and information to others doing Whole30 in the future. Things have changed. The first few days of my Whole30 I spent constantly searching for other people’s accounts of the program. How did they feel? What happens on Day 6? Am I going to lose these last 10 pounds? It only took me a few days to realize that it really doesn’t matter. The details of what happens to me during these 30 days dont matter to you. And shouldn’t matter to you. What should matter to you are your next 30 days, and what matters to me (now) are mine. There are a few things that matter, though: I feel good. I feel happy, I feel confident, I feel in control and so can you.

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Roasted veggies (beets, zucchini, onion, and sweet potato) and salmon..

I have failed on many ‘diet’ plans. Actually, I usually last less time than the average person. If I make it a full week with no slips, ‘cheats’, or ‘off-plan’ choices, I feel accomplished and celebrate with some ice cream (litearlly). That’s the way I am. It’s the way I’ve always been. It’s not that I don’t want to commit, and I don’t want to be healthy; it’s just that it’s exhausting. There is too much guess work for me. Too many choices, too many decisions.. You set out on the latest diet: you eat 1200 calories per day (but no fruit, because fruit has too much sugar), feel STARVING, are constantly focused on/thinking about food (maybe your body is trying to tell you something?) and are surviving off only whole-grain rice cakes and low-fat peanut butter, because you seem to get the most ‘bang for your buck’, calorie and taste wise. Then you start to question if this is even working. You haven’t lost any weight and it’s been 4 days. Your body is craving everything in sight and your brain is foggy. You’re not sure how much longer you can go on. You’re exhausted. Working out is not going to happen. Before you know it you’re head first into a Big Mac and fries (or whatever your thing is). It’s all a blurr, and you feel out of control…next thing you know you’re crying yourself to sleep because you’re such a failure. Sound familiar?

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Apple chicken sausage (so tasty..find this!) and sweet potato ‘stir fry’ with broccoli (and a salad on the side).

Today is Day 17 of my journey. I don’t feel the Tiger Blood. I don’t feel extremely energized, or super focused. But, I haven’t cried, I haven’t eaten ice cream, and I feel good. I don’t feel hungry, and I have almost mastered the art of not constantly obsessing over food. I sleep well through the night, wake up without snoozing, and at 3pm I am still in an up-right position at my desk. I am eating large, healthy, satisfying meals. I have no idea how many calories I consume..but they taste delicious, and each one of them is helping fuel my body. I have learned to distinguish between hunger and a craving. Wanting something sweet after a huge, delicious lunch is not hunger. It’s a craving, and it needs to get away from me. My pants feel looser and my stomach isn’t bloated. My digestion has improved 10-fold and my skin is clear and glowing. I haven’t given up, or even thought about it, because it’s only 30 days, I’m not starving, and I’m seeing positive changes. The expectations are reasonable,  attainable. It’s actually kind of fun…like an experiment with yourself. If this was just like any other typical diet, I wouldn’t have any of those things by this point…and they all seem pretty damn important to me.

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Delicious steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms..complete with a white potato (worth it) with broccoli and green onions!

My pre-Whole30 self is still there, but I’m slowly helping her learn to get her shit together. I still badly want to weigh myself. Every day I wake up, feel good (and skinnier, for lack of a better word), and I think “HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I LOST?!” (in the interest of fulfilling every last detail and rule of the plan, I have not done this). This is something else fun that I’ve learnt, so far. I have let the scale define my progress, sense of worth, and my happiness for too long. I know that if I jumped on the scale right now and saw I hadn’t lost a pound,  I’d stop feeling good. I’d be sad, feel defeated, and want some ice cream. But in reality, why does it matter? If I’m feeling good, gaining energy, learning lots, and fueling my body for physical activity…why do I need to weigh 10 pounds less?  That’s right. I don’t. So basically, you should try this. Go to the website, take a read, and do it for yourself. Spend 30 days commited to yourself. Be selfish. Eat nuts and coconut and free-range eggs. Read labels, learn where your food comes from, and see what works for you. This is life changing.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, because I’ve heard it multiple times already: “one bite won’t hurt”, “it’s too restrictive”, “I could never give up bread”. Wrong, wrong, and very wrong (coming from the queen of bread, herself). It’s actually kind of fun to sit there, knowing you aren’t going to eat something, but just checking it out, and thinking “would that even be that good?”. Is a plain old donut from your local supermarket really worth it? Probably not. Maybe if, after 30 days, you still really want that shitty donut, you can go find a really yummy, deliciously fresh donut…and you can enjoy it without guilt because it was worth it. But trust me, that stale donut sitting on the lunch room table is not that donut. I mean, come on. For 30 days you can’t cut out crap, and just see how you feel? Maybe you’ll think it’s stupid, and maybe after 30 days you’ll go back to your old ways, but I highly doubt it..and really, that’s the worst thing that could happen.

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That’s my Whole30 take, so far. Yours will be completely different. You might lose 20 pounds, you might gain 2 (muscle, of course!). But I can guarantee you one thing, it will change your life.

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