Whole30 and Me: A Journey

Look at all of this compliance.

Look at all of this compliance. Sweet, sweet compliance.

Typically we start stories at the beginning, or at some point close to the beginning. For the sake of this story, though, I’d like to work backwards.

Last Friday, I posted a photo that showed my progress since I started to make some positive life changes. I’m over 40 pounds down from where I was this spring, and have been learning so much about my body and how so many of my choices factor into its performance. The photo, for reference, is here:

So, a couple of things: 1- I finished a second cycle of #whole30 yesterday. June was my first, and I'm amazed at the things a little bit of a reset can do for you. It's easier the second time around, but I still couldn't have done it without awesome support. Learned a lot, did a lot. 2- I'm down 40 pounds and some change from where I started. I feel like I've noticed the changes all along, but seeing them compared to this picture taken in March (on the left), I cussed at myself. Progress really IS a process, and my mind and spirit have been changing along with my body. I'm becoming a better me all around, and that can't be so bad, right? 3- I'm wearing unpants as actual pants today. Almost did it yesterday but had a long talk with myself. Still unlearning some previously held notions about body image and all that. Today, no effs given, and I have a jacket anyway. 4- toot. toot. #whole30approved #whole30taughtme #weightlossjourney #journeytoself #gawtdamb #thesnatchening #evenmyforearmsgotdefiniton #imworkingonpullupsnext #stayingcute #quietgrind #iaintbuynobodysproductsforthis #butifyouneedtothatscooltoo

A photo posted by Erica B. (@beezhunny) on

All along I noticed changes mostly in what the Instagram/fitness world calls NSV’s for non-scale victories. When pants fit a little looser, I’m able to fit into clothes I intentionally purchased too small (word to the wise, don’t do that), my face was clearer, nails growing out of control, I counted those all as wins rather than obsessively taking note of how much I weigh this day over that day. I explained in a fairly recent post about how I don’t want anybody’s body to become my goals, so for me, goals have been little surprises that pop up in the form of progress.

So, how did I get from point A to point B? For me, it started with this program called Whole30, created by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. I saw a few people on my Twitter timeline talking about it, and got curious. I read the book It Starts with Food, and the big picture started to make sense. I decided 30 days was a worthwhile investment to learn more about my body and how it works, and this program was just the push I needed to get myself on the track of “better for me” decisions. Since posting my progress, a lot of people have been asking me what Whole30 is, and before I go into that, I’d like to share what it is not: 

1- Whole30 is NOT a diet. In fact, by reading It Starts with Food and Food Freedom Forever (by Melissa Hartwig), I know now that diets are essentially a a short-term plan in long-term failure. Think about it- you commit to something extreme for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Once you’re done, you reward yourself by GOING BACK TO THE SAME HABITS THAT CAUSED YOU TO WANT TO DIET. It’s a circle of strife, friends. We don’t need that. I’ve been doing a lot of “unlearning” in the realm of creating a sustainable lifestyle for myself. With that, the word diet got the boot.

2- Whole30 is not a get slim quick plan. In fact, once I read It Starts with Food, I didn’t place my expectations for the program on losing weight. My desire was to give my body a proper reset so I could start to make decisions that felt good. I wanted a different relationship with food, and the decisions I made around it. I didn’t want to take any pills or shakes or get a surgery or any of those other means you see all too often on social media. I just wanted to do better and be better, that’s it. The rules even forbid you weighing yourself during the program, and I totally support it. Now this eventual slim down that I’ve termed “The Snatchening?” It didn’t happen overnight. And it won’t. It probably won’t for you either, and the sooner you become okay with that, the sooner you can be on this road of better decisions as well.

3- Whole30 isn’t for everyone, but I still believe everyone should try it as intended. In talks with people about the different rules of the program, the first thing I often here is “So… I can’t have *insert food here*?” I get it, the thought of foregoing cream and sugar in your coffee is terrible. The thought of not sitting down with a little chocolate at the end of a tough day was killer for me. You know what, though? I did it. We’re talking 30 days. One month. The program isn’t asking you to give up essentials, like water and air. And no, you cannot tweak the program and do it in your own way. Simply put, you cannot half-ass a Whole30. If you read the book, you’ll understand why it’s important to do it as written.

With those things considered, here are a few things the Whole30 is, in my view:

1- Whole30 is a learning process.  Look, if you cut out grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and soy from your life, you’re going to learn exactly what foods contain those things (plot twist: everything). My grocery trips became longer as I spent time reading labels, googling words I didn’t understand and sending photos to my Awesome Partner in these shenanigans on whether said product was a go or not. I learned how so many words are used to describe sugar, or sugar alcohols. I learned how sweet a strawberry could be, and how different foods I never even knew existed could be wonderful. I learned my own strengths, vulnerabilities, and capabilities in a way I was unable to hone in on until this process. I started some physical activity too- a little more running,  a little more Zumba, some stretching and yoga and dancing in my living room on Saturday mornings. I felt stronger because I was slowly becoming stronger.

2-Whole30 is just the beginning of a longer cycle. In Food Freedom Forever, Melissa Hartwig chronicles the cycle as 1-reset; 2- enjoying food freedom; 3-acknowledging when you’re slipping and begin again. The Whole30 is just the kick before the push that helps you get your food habits on a better cycle. What I’ve found, though, is that so many are afraid of making just that first little step, they continue to stick with the comfortable. This takes you out of your comfort zone. It gets a little unbearable in the beginning. Soon enough, though, a breakthrough happens and you’re able to push through a little stronger and wiser.

3- Whole30 really does change your expectations and relationship with food. Do you even realize how many memories we attach with food? We often don’t want dishes on holidays if they’re not an exact replica of mom’s or granny’s. We celebrate joyful events with indulgence. We also mourn with foods that comfort us. We eat when we’re stressed. We eat when we’re not even hungry. We eat when food is just there. We eat because we’re awake. We eat because we’re alone. I mean… I broke a lot of mindless eating while on this reset, and it didn’t hurt to do it. I often asked myself “will eating this honor the long-termchoices I want to make? Will this even satisfy me in the way I want? Am I truly hungry and need a meal, or am I bored/angry/tired/lonely?” By focusing my intentions on meal planning and construction based off of a set of guidelines, I made fewer impulse choices that would leave me feeling like crud, and found a way of living that not only maintains my life, but will sustain it in the long run. I (will eventually) have a family I want to make good choices for. Starting those choices for myself has been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

This is getting a little lengthy, but it’s just the beginning of what this journey has been like for me, and I hope that if you are thinking of doing the same that you will. I’m open to any questions you have, and if you need a coach/cheerleader/buddy, let me know! Share a comment whether you have or haven’t done it. I’m here for you!

Also, buy the books and read them. What are you afraid of?

Yours in Snatchening,

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PS- The book links provided through this post are through the Amazon Affiliates program, which provides me with a little compensation for your purchases. Full disclosure is in the sidebar.

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Teyana Taylor’s Body Ain’t My Goals.

There are a lot of things I could talk about in this space, especially considering I haven’t stopped by this space in a while. The election season, this seemingly national debate around idolization of a flag and a song, Olympic athletes unhinged, the $5 Bonafide Box’s return to Popeye’s… trust, there’s plenty to talk about. Today, though, I want to talk about something that’s had the masses equally abuzz, though.

Sunday was the 8 billionth installment of MTV’s Video Music Awards (how long has it been since video killed the radio star? And did YouTube kill the video star? Did Vine kill YouTube? I have questions.). During this #blessed event, of which I had the pleasure of not watching and catching the highlights later, Kanye West debuted the video for his song Fade, starring a toned, trimmed, and tight Teyana Taylor. Say that 5 times fast.

Miss Taylor was giving us Flashdance, Fame-tastic, 80s style choreography in that workout room. Her moves were awesome, and considering the fact that she just gave birth to a little person roughly 9 months ago, her body looks awesome. Seriously. Mama was showing photos of a one week postpartum stomach, and had the nerve to have abs. I’m not mad at it at all. I wish I could hustle like that. She’s always had this athletic aesthetic, from her skateboarding days on My Super Sweet 16 until now. It’s pretty awesome to see her out here getting recognition.

boom kat.

boom kat.

duck walk with it.

duck walk with it.

seriously. this stomach had a whole human inside of it and is flatter than mine.

seriously. this stomach had a whole human inside of it and is flatter than mine.

 

But anyway, let’s get into the issue. With this video drop came mass proclamations of people deciding they wanted to get in the gym, exist on the crumbs and water and air diet, and do all of the reps. Teyana became the new leader of the #BodyGoals movement. I saw these expressions of admiration as cute, but there’s also been a little something nagging at me, and I think I know why.

For most of the summer, I’ve been on my own version of a “better me” journey, which I’ve recently named #TheSnatchening on Instagram. I’m making conscious efforts to make better choices about what I take in, as well as the energy I put out. It’s a whole mind, body, spirit movement. I completed a Whole30, and have plans to start one in the next week or so (spoiler alert: I cried a lot). With that, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and deep talks (okay, cries) with myself about my own goals in this– what do I want? How do I get there? How long before I get there? What does the endgame look like for me?

I haven’t been weighing myself regularly. I don’t really do any calorie counting or anything of that sort. I don’t want to get caught up in numbers (which is relatively easy for me to do as a numbers person), and potentially introducing less wise choices into my life. Most of my documented wins have been in the differences in how things fit–either I’m fitting into things I hadn’t been able to, or the things that used to fit well are falling off. Yay. Snatch. My workouts mostly happen at home, with the help of the devil… I mean, Nike Training Club. Cussing out burpees in my living room just seems to be a better waste of not showing the world my full weirdo in public, yanno? I do occasionally attend Zumba classes when it fits my schedule, and generally decreasing my level of ridiculousness so I can combat this PCOS thing, as well as this severe iron deficiency thing. I’m not looking for a quick fix, or even a pill, wrap, or surgery to jumpstart what I imagine to be a longer-term, sustainable way of living. If I shed pounds, awesome. If I don’t, awesome.

I guess the problem I have with making someone else my goals is that for me, it undermines my own efforts at a better me. It feels like I’d be betraying all I’ve gone through and done with current body, and would be immediately ready to ditch it for a new model, like a starter wife. I feel that it could do more harm than good, and cause me to set unrealistic goals and stress/obsess over not reaching them. It’s not honoring my journey, and that is definitely a top 3 goal for all decisions I make at this point. So, as I continue on #TheSnatchening, I’m becoming more aware of my body changing, and becoming more and more amazed as it does things I never knew it could. Finding ways to astonish yourself each day is pretty dopesauce, to be real. I’m working on being just as kind to myself as I am to others, which is still a work in progress, but I’m getting better. I may never look like Teyana, but I can look at being a better me day by day.

Step by step, I’m getting better.

Anyway, whether you’re new, true, or do this fitness thing, how do you set and keep your goals? Do you find any struggles particularly difficult? If so, how do you keep it all in check? Let me know.

XOXO (and let me know if you need a guest at the gym),

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