Funny story – I gifted It Starts With Food to my best friend several years ago. I gave the book to HER. She has since done SEVERAL whole30‘s and up until recently I still hadn’t done one! We are talking YEARS!!!! I knew it was the most amazing thing to do, yet I hadn’t done it myself yet! I had been eating 75-80% paleo for all this time, with ups and downs along the way, but I had never done the entire whole30 program to reset my health and learn more about my body. BFF though has become my guru on the subject. Go figure.
For years I could never complete a 30 day challenge.
Whether it was a yoga challenge, a meditation commitment, a habit change exercise or a food challenge like the Whole30. Even if it was shorter like 10 days, I likely wouldn’t see it through. Part of why A Paleo Yogi is about small baby steps towards sustainable change is because in my personal experience an all or nothing attitude simply never worked for me.
It was always something! It was harder than I thought. Something came up in my life to throw me off course. Or maybe I simply lost my resolve. But I always caved, and I never finished.
Until last November. There was a 30 day yoga challenge at HappyTree Yoga, as there is every year, twice a year. I had yet to complete one! And it was starting to bother me. So, I made it happen.
The only way I could, was to make for some allowances for myself, of which I defined BEFORE I began.
Those allowances included my attendance to the weekly meditation workshop I was enrolled in and my personal yoga practice at home. The point for me was that I was focused on my personal practice on the mat or meditation cushion for the full 30 days – and I made it!!!
After completing my first 30 day challenge, I knew
I was now ready to tackle the Whole30.
But since I knew it would be hard I came at it from my own angle. First, I did it for 10 days. Then a short while later I did it for 7 days (I squeezed it in between two social commitments). And it was time. Time to do the whole 30 days.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my almost daily posts about what I was eating and how it went. It went REALLY well! But this blog post is call Confessions. And here is why.
CONFESSION: I did eat a few things along the journey that were not whole30 compliant.
- My fish sauce. It’s a super flavour booster in many of the recipes I love, but I can’t get my hands on a brand that doesn’t have sugar on the ingredients list. So I chose to over look it.
- A couple times I ate out and I was able to make some seriously great whole30 compliant choices – but I confess my baked potato had butter on it. Not my whole30 safe ghee I make at home, but the full dairy butter from the restaurant.
- One time when I was eating out, I found myself in a Lebanese fast food place and I chose a salad to have with my chicken – that I only noticed as I was eating it was full of beans. D’oh!
- I did come down with a cold part way through the program. I needed to suppress my symptoms to still be able to work and all the cold medication had added sugar in it. Why?!?
- During said cold I really wanted OJ. So I drank some. Daily for about a week. It was no sugar added, but you’re not supposed to drink juice during the program, so on this I was not compliant.
All in all though, I don’t feel bad about those little slips. But that’s me. I need to make allowances.
If I say “all or nothing” I’ll pick nothing. This was infinitely better!
Now my lack of diligence didn’t end there. After the 30 days on the program there is a period for reintroducing the foods you want to test out in your body. It is here that we get to learn if we really need to eat this strictly all the time, or if other food groups can come back into our diets and if so in what amounts, and frequencies.
During my reintroduction I slipped.
I started out well. I celebrated on day 1 of reintroduction with my glass of wine. And I saw how tired I was for the 2 days afterwards. Then I introduced peanut butter and hummus (the only legumes I figured I’d ever want to eat going forward). My skin got itchy and my seasonal allergies acted up. I also had an upset tummy.
Then, one day before I was supposed to give non-gluten grains a try (I was aiming for rice and popcorn!) I fell. I collapsed! Normally that day is my cooking day where I can prepare food in advance for the week. Instead I had to spend the morning at the vet with my cat (she’s fine just a UTI that antibiotics should clear up). I spent the afternoon out with my partner and then it was dinner time. We were both STARVING and got home late to nothing ready to eat at home.
I confess to you, that we got pizza.
Nooooooo! What happened to learning how gluten free grains would affect my body? The dairy? Then the gluten? Why did I eat both gluten and dairy all at once when my body wasn’t fully recovered from the peanut butter?!
Well, because I let my planning slip. I wasn’t prepared.
But I’m still not concerned! Do you know why?
I refuse to stress over such things, and I will never beat myself up over food again.
I’m also lucky that those foods don’t cause severe reactions in my body so the damage isn’t as impactful as it could be for some.
At A Paleo Yogi I teach that we need to love ourselves first and foremost. That especially during pursuits of a happier and healthier version of ourselves we must practice compassion.
I can do another Whole30. I can strive to eat this way every day until then too. I’m still very proud of what I have accomplished, and I will continue to do my best to be prepared and not have those moments of weakness and improvisation too often. Because you know what?
We really enjoyed that pizza. We made an evening of it with some wine and a movie too. It was a great night.
How do you feel about all or nothing programs? Are you able to see them through without a hitch? Or does the mere idea stress you out?
Share your stories in the comments! Maybe even share your confessions!