First things first: I am not one for fad diets. I consider it a human right to be able to enjoy a beer in the summer while the sun sets, and most things in the world are improved by cheese. But I can also admit that I probably exist in a state of mild misery (physically – from an emotional perspective, I feel like a rock star most of the time) that feels “normal” because it is consistently present. I can also admit that some of the junk I put in my body is likely contributing to the misery. With all of those admissions, it seems logical for me to consider adjusting my diet.
So how does a girl that hates diets decide to go on one? For starters, I’m hoping this won’t be a diet but an opportunity to get back to eating better in general. Prior to moving to Virginia, I enjoyed foods as they were, without additions of salt, sugar, and/or lots of other “stuff.” I could easily enjoy a bowl of plain berries and would devour roasted vegetables like they were on the brink of extinction. Since the move, however, I find that sugar and salt (don’t get me started on my beer intake) have crept back in. And not just a little bit – they are once again becoming staples in my diet. Maybe a little clean eating will help remind my taste buds of what it is like to enjoy more food with less ingredients. I have also packed on a few pounds since moving to Virginia, which I do not inherently find bad. I’ve come to terms with the idea that my body is continuing to change with little regard for my opinion. But this change is less natural and more a consequence of attempting to adjust to a new life outside of Chapel Hill/North Carolina. (Hey, I’m human. I cope by eating and binge watching Netflix.) If I go back to eating better and find that I lose weight, great. If I don’t lose a pound, who cares. My body will do what is best for it if I give it the proper tools.
I think there is also this nagging sensation that I need to be better for the future. I’ll blame it on the recent nuptials (I can only use this excuse for so long…so I intend to use it frequently while I can), but I find myself thinking ahead more. I’m thinking about future travel plans. I’m thinking about a future with a growing family – whether that means with children or animals (some combination of both is also likely). I’m thinking about the longevity of my life with Bradley and how I want to be the best wife and partner I can be. I’m thinking about my parents and how I want to provide them with the care they deserve even if it means a little manual labor. I think about my friends and the children they are having/will have. I want to toss them in the air and run around with them in the back yards until we pass out in giggles. I never want to pass on a beautiful experience because I chose to neglect my body.
This stud has me wanting to live longer if only to beat him one more time at Jenga.
After a year of using the move and changing jobs as an excuse, I’m ready to get back to a lifestyle I enjoyed in Chapel Hill. I had a healthy relationship with food, was energetic, enjoyed exercise (even if it was just a walk with the dogs), and felt so great about how I looked. That Britney was simply unstoppable. This Britney is out to regain her.
So why not just eat better and skip the “diet” part? I am a sucker for rules and protocols. I enjoy a good rule book and find something relaxing about letting someone else do the planning for me. Following a diet fulfills that part of my psyche. It also makes it easier for me to set up concrete goals and objectives. Simply put: I want to reap the benefits of someone else’s work and planning.
And this sweet girl needs a momma that will take her on endless walks.
Cue Whole 30. I went this route because it most resembled my eating habits prior to the move with a few exceptions. It seems pretty straightforward: no added sugars, no alcohol (gasp!), no grains, no legumes with the exception of green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas (this one seems a bit weird to me but I’m not making the rules), no dairy, and no MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan (no clue what that is). On the flip side, I can enjoy all of the allowed foods without any size or frequency restrictions. And the main point of this is that it lasts for 30 days so that you can slowly re-introduce the previously not allowed foods to determine which ones make you feel like crud and which ones can be incorporated back into your diet with little damage. You aren’t expected to maintain this type of diet forever. Truly, you make some sacrifices for a month in the hope of having a better understanding of what fuels your body and what causes you discomfort. And they avidly object to weighing or measuring yourself during your 30-day trial. They aren’t advertising this as a weight loss plan. They are promoting it as a way to develop a healthier relationship with food while also encouraging you to become more aware of how body responds to certain types of food.
I purchased two of the Whole 30 books, “It starts with food” and “The Whole30: the 30-day guide to total health and food freedom,” as preparation. Given the restrictions and my general lack of enthusiasm when it comes to cooking, I know I won’t stand a chance without some preparation. I have read very little (cut me some slack – I’m a newlywed and I’m not starting the program until August 1) but preparation seems to be the common recommendation. Since most processed food is out of the question, you basically have to cook/prepare everything. Including ranch. And mayo. Yep. The woman that openly hates cooking is going to make her own mayo. (Or, which is more likely, just skip those recipes. I can’t have bread so what am I putting the mayo on??) I also figure it will be a much more gentle transition if I start tweaking my diet now rather than diving in headfirst. As I read more, I’ll share more. Especially the part that says I can’t have beans. I want to know why. (If you know the answer, keep it to yourself. This is part of my preparation!)
And my original fur baby will love having cuddle time with a momma that is wore out from those earlier mentioned endless walks.
I’m going to have to cook. A lot. There will be grocery lists, “meal prep days,” and lots of tupperware. Bradley loves me something good but I have lost my mind if I think he is going to go down this rabbit hole with me. That means that if I want something cooked in coconut oil or ghee (I don’t even have the heart to tell Bradley about ghee) I’ll be sauteeing it my darn self.
It is only 30 days. So…basically an eternity. Nothing feels like it will be that long when you are before it and after it. I’m not foolish enough to think that I won’t be counting down the days at least once or ten times during this process.
Even though the list of things that I cannot eat is long, I can still enjoy lots of meat (that aren’t super processed or full of sugar), vegetables, and fruits. So, I’ve got that going for me.
I should be able to catch up on some knitting projects since mindless snacking will no longer be that enjoyable. No one mindlessly snacks on baby carrots.
I intentionally chose August 1 as the start date because I refuse to deny myself a beer at our house party at the end of July. We are also seeing Jon Pardi, Dierks Bentley, and Cole Swindell this weekend – you can bet your paycheck that I’ll be cracking a cold beer for that one.
You should all invest stock in Marie Callender’s because I see many of those in Bradley’s future (he loves those things!) as I begin this experiment.