A Shift In Habits: How Whole30 Changed The Way I Eat

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

whole30-eating

Until recently, I had no real interest in changing my eating habits.  Mainly because I had no reason to. On a scale of constant junk food to health nut, I would rate my eating habits as a five. Not horribly extreme in either direction and that was fine. It worked for my body for almost twenty-five years, until one day it didn't. 

The journey to changing the way I ate started two years ago when Mark and I did our first round of Whole30. I understood the benefits of it and I noticed a difference in the way I felt while we were doing it, but the only thing that got me through it was the thought of treating myself to donuts at the end. Obviously, I had no intention of changing my diet permanently. After that first round, we tried it twice more (after plenty of splurging in between). The first time we quit during week one. The second time we quit during week four. 

We completed our fourth attempt/second successful attempt last month and it was the first time that I actually felt the desire to change my eating habits as a result. This round was different than the others because I was actually working out during the full 30 days. The results were shocking to me, even though they shouldn't have been. Turns out, combining healthy eating with exercise really does work! Seeing such a improved difference in my body is the main reason that I've stuck closely to a Whole30/paleo diet since finishing. Instead of having a hard stop at the end of day 30, we slowly brought some dairy and grains back into our diet while keeping sugar completely out. 

Over time, I've loosened up on the rules a bit and have just been paying attention to how I feel. It's crazy for me to even type those words out, because I have never liked the whole "listen to your body" motto.  Mostly because I knew if I "listened to my body" I would be eating apple pie, ice cream, and Sugar Shack donuts every day. But I get it now. There's a time for strict adherence and a time for....not so strict adherence....aka living life

What that looks like for me is simply making the healthy choice as much as possible. I try to look ahead every week and plan for special occasions when we'll be eating with friends or going out. Then I'll cook healthier meals leading up to that to balance the week out. It's really all a matter of balance and consciousness.

I will say that I don't think I would have gotten to where I am today if I had just started by "listening to my body". It took some really clear restrictions and boundaries to get me to the point where I felt okay letting up on the rules a bit.  

One of the best tips I've heard is to make eating out a really big deal rather than a typical thing to do. Invite some friends and turn the whole thing into an occasion. That has been such a help to me because, before, running out for Mexican or Chinese food was a weekly thing that was dangerously close to becoming a daily thing. It wasn't a treat, it was just dinner and that quickly became a problem. Now it's a matter of enjoying the special occasions and balancing them out with everyday food choices during the week that are more utilitarian than Instagram-worthy.

We're about to head into one of the best seasons of the year, food-wise. If you don't believe me, just check out some of the things I've been pinning lately. Fall and winter are all about the cozy kitchen smells that come from baking all sorts of deliciousness. While this would normally be torture for any person trying to eat healthy, I'm actually looking forward to it. Of course, I'm not going to bake an entire pie for my own consumption but I think participating in the fun parts of the season while still making the healthy choice is possible.

Balance.


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