30 Days, 30 Decisions

So, I mentioned a post or so ago that I might think about trying the Whole 30.

Well, I didn’t try it.

Here’s why:  The Whole 30 looks, to me, like a decent way to get to the bottom of some of your nutritional intolerances, to examine which foods affect you how, and to test your fortitude for 30 days.  It doesn’t really look like the disease-fighting, life-overhauling magic bullet that some of the literature proclaims it to be.  Maybe for some folks, but not for me.

I think I *might* have been able to hang for the 30 days.  Maybe.  Maybe some day I’ll try and see.  But right now, I don’t want my nutrition to feel like a competition.   I don’t always want to feel like I’m losing a fight.

food_fight

So, I simplified.  Along with a couple of friends, we chose a much simpler 30 day plan.  For me, no dessert for 30 days.  I never used to eat dessert.  I had a big dinner, was satisfied, and that was it.  Then, in college, I started eating junk after dinner, then I ate healthier junk (like almond butter and fruit), but still I was finding a reason to eat after feeling full.  So, I’m not doing that for 30 days.

My friends 30-day decisions include, respectively, no fried food, no fast food, and no eating in front of the TV.

All totally manageable, simple, and good-habit forming.

There is just so much information overload out there when it comes to your nutritional well-being.  Is Intermittent Fasting the way to go?  What about Paleo?  Maybe carb-cycling?  Should I count calories?  Should I weigh my food (thanks for the scale mom)? Should I only eat local? Organic? Vegan?

Should I be struggling against myself every time I go to my fridge?Should every time I don’t indulge feel like a victory?

It sounds a lot like having to sort through the conflicting information out there about exercise selection, strength/cardio balance, and the like.

And the food fight sounds a heck of a lot like wanting to beat myself into the ground with every single training session – muscles screaming, buckets of sweat, never wanting to work that hard ever again.

I don’t know.  That doesn’t seem mentally stable to me.  On either front.

If you kill yourself every time you train, or berate yourself for making bad choices every time you eat, you won’t keep it up.  Trust me.  We crave routine and reliability.  That’s why crazy diets and training regimens only work for a little while, while slow-grown healthy habits work for a lifetime.

Here’s my two cents, if you’re just starting out, keep it simple, and talk to someone who knows more than you (I’m starting to work with a nutritionist).    Instead of making all of the changes at once, change one thing that you know will make a positive impact in the way you live your life.

Once you’ve chosen your small change, find the bright spots – the things you do well – and acknowledge them.  Maybe not eating fast food makes you plan to pack your lunch more often.  Maybe not having dessert automatically makes you more aware of the satiety signals your body is sending.  Notice those things, and apply them to the next small change you make.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, healthy habits are where it’s at.  We need (I need) to learn patience.  It can be tough not to get caught up in the latest thing, diet or exercise, the ones that promise instant happiness and dramatic results.  We should all take a step back and remember that the tortoise beat the hare in the end.  Make one strong habit your focus, and then make decisions that support that focus each day.  Keep it simple, keep it sustainable.

That’s why the Whole 30 just isn’t for me right now.

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6 Comments

  1. “It doesn’t really look like the disease-fighting, life-overhauling magic bullet that some of the literature proclaims it to be. Maybe for some folks, but not for me.”

    You’ll never know if it is unless you do it.

    • True. However, I’m coming at it from what I know about myself when it comes to my own eating habits.

      I don’t doubt that some people might have great success with it, and stick to what they’ve learned about themselves following the 30 days.

      For me, it was too many big changes at once, and an invitation to feel bad about myself when I couldn’t commit fully. I don’t want the way I eat to feel like a game that I need to win, I want to find small ways that I can get better.

      Again, though, that’s just me.

  2. I feel the same way, basically. I look at plans of restriction and it makes me sad to think I can’t have a specific thing for a certain amount of time. I also see people restrict and then when they add that one thing back into their diet it’s with a vengeance. I eat dessert every night and know that it is something I should try and do without just to get rid of my habit, yes it is a habit. Again, I feel sad or deprived when I don’t have it. I am going to try and cut back, that is what I feel I can do without failure (at least I think I can). Keep us posted on how you feel after 30 days without. Your success may help keep me on track! Your blog continues to inspire me!

    • Thanks Julie. I’ll keep you posted!

      I believe that food is a provider of pleasure and community, as well as fuel. That’s why starting from a place of sadness and deprivation doesn’t jive with how I want to structure my eating. I’d much rather think about starting from a place where I’m treating myself well (for example – not eating when I’m already full just because it’s a habit) than a place where I’m denying myself (no dessert because it’s bad).

      Small difference in thought pattern, big difference in impact.

  3. Thank you for posting this! I always see people posting those pictures saying you shouldn’t stop exercising until you’ve passed out or vomited, and recommending really restrictive diets and i think that there must be something broken in you that makes you want to do that do yourself. if that’s the cost of fitness, the cost is too high.

    • Thanks! I think it’s important to push your limits, both with your training and nutrition, but it’s just as important to teach yourself to recognize healthy results. Some extreme exertion and sound dietary choices can help you reach your goals, constant exhaustion and deprivation, not so much.

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