As you know, a lot of my goals this year center on health and wellness (as they do every year, tbh). I love the idea of living a healthy life, even if I don’t always execute on it. It’s a pretty glaring weakness on my part.
My biggest roadblock tends to relate to the food I eat, for several reasons:
- I love cheese and bread.
- Kyle and I cook a lot — and, not to brag, but we’re pretty decent at it — and we tend to gravitate toward carbs and cheese.
- I don’t spend money on salad if I can help it.
- Long-term relationships breed comfort, i.e. love chub
Not to make excuses, because eating right can be a struggle for anyone. I’m just saying, between my infatuation with cheese and Kyle’s and my mutual love of cooking-with-carbs, it’s hard out here for a girl.
I won’t go into a whole history of how my nutrition has devolved over the past two-plus years, but it hasn’t been pretty. You know how they say fitness is 80 percent nutrition (or something like that)? One hundred percent true. I exercise fairly regularly — even more so now that I’ve upgraded to an unlimited membership at Orangetheory (!!!) — but I know I feel the best when I’m both sweating and eating right.
So, after a bit of splurging through the holidays and, let’s face it, January, too, I’ve decided to revisit Whole30. If you remember, I did my first Whole30 last spring, and had a pretty positive experience. I wanted to do it again this year because I knew I had fallen back into some old habits and wanted to “reset.”
A refresher on the “rules” of Whole30:
- No dairy
- No grains (including corn)
- No added sugar
- No alcohol
- No legumes
Those are more or less the big ones, all things that are known to cause inflammation in the body and can be causing adverse reactions you may not even notice until they’re gone.
For this round of Whole30, though, I’ve decided to make some modifications. This time around, I have a pretty good idea about what my body really doesn’t like (turns out gluten makes me itchy, and I try to limit it, to varying degrees of success). Instead, this time I just want to focus mostly on eating whole foods as much as possible, but not deprive myself in certain situations. This is very much an 80/20-rule scenario this time around.
I started this Whole30 on February 1st, more accurately at lunch of February 1st. Due to poor planning on my part, I found myself driving three hours home after an overnight trip to my alma mater for a basketball game, and needed — I mean needed — a sausage, egg and cheese muffin that morning. The rest of the day was a success.
This time, I don’t think it’s necessary to be as restrictive, because I already have the answers to most of the food-related questions I had prior to the first one. This time, is more of a trial run for a larger lifestyle shift.
Here is a rough set of guidelines I’m following this go-around:
No added sugar (if I can help it) — Sugar is literally in everything, even when it’s completely unnecessary. I am avoiding it 92.5 percent of the time, but will take it in my coffee (girl’s gotta live) and if it’s in something I’m being served by someone else.
Limit alcohol — I’m aiming to cut back on my overall alcohol consumption, but won’t refuse a glass of wine or a beer in social situations.
No dairy or grains — Sticking to this unless it’s in social situations (I had a few slices of cheese with crackers at a Super Bowl party this weekend, L-I-F-E).
When in doubt, make your own — Back to that Super Bowl party: I came prepared, bringing fruit salad and my own compliant mild buffalo wings (thank you, Tessamae’s!). Yes, I also had a bit of cheese and a few beers, but also having my own food made the situation much less stressful. I also ate all the carrots in the crudite.
So no, it’s not really a Whole30 in the strict sense of the concept. I’m simply using some of the major guidelines of Whole30 as a framework to (hopefully) make healthy(ish) eating second nature.
What it comes down to, for me, is really being more conscious about what is going into my body: less processed food; more fruits, veggies and whole foods. If I can do that 80+ percent of the time, which I think I have done in the past week, I hope/believe the rest of it will work itself out.