Now, if you know me, you know that I do have a sweet tooth. Despite that, I do eat a pretty reasonable diet. We all do, since we use diet to manage Mike’s Crohn’s Disease. We rarely eat pasta or starchy foods, ice cream and pizza are a special treat, and processed junk food is only for parties.
But was I really eating that reasonably? Last month I started seeing a new naturopath, and she asked me to keep a food diary for a few days. I showed it to her during my next follow-up appointment, and the first thing that jumped out at her were “sugar spikes” throughout the day. Usually just something sweet after lunch – a little dark chocolate or whatever I had recently found on Pinterest (like these or these) that seemed “healthy”, but still sweet and perhaps an unnecessary indulgence. So maybe there was a problem with my eating habits!
My good friend Ashley had been posting about her Whole30 experience, and since I had been considering following in her footsteps, I asked my naturopath about it. She thought it was a great idea, and suggested I schedule my next appointment in about a month to follow-up on how that worked. Boy, did she have me figured out! If I have to be accountable to someone, I have to get it done – I couldn’t go back and say I never did it! So I started making a plan.
If you haven’t heard of it, the Whole30 is a thirty-day eating plan that eliminates all dairy, grains, legumes, and sugars completely, with the intent of changing poor eating habits and cravings, improving your relationship with food, and helping you learn what is best for your body and your health. That means veggies, proteins, some fruit, and some good fats, and nothing else for 30 days. It sounds difficult at first, but a little perspective goes a long way – a quote from the website:
It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.
Bingo! Once I read this line, I was committed. I mean, pregnant women give up coffee and alcohol and ham sandwiches for 8 months all the time – because it’s best for their baby! Why should it be difficult to commit to something that’s best for your own body? I’ve likened it to my experience quitting smoking, when I frequently asked myself “why wouldn’t I want to feel better?”. I have to tell myself the same thing now as I eat pounds of veggies and say goodbye to my favorite greek yogurt breakfasts and lunches.
I will continue telling myself this as I go to at least 4 parties in the next few weeks that will be rife with cake, cheese, chips, and everything else that is off limits for now. Easter without candy. Wrestlemania without chips and dip. I just have to remember the reward at the other end – a healthier, happier me who can still have a beer. Just not until April 10th.