I have not been taking care of myself lately.
In a lot of ways, that’s not entirely accurate. For several months, I have been relentless in my pursuit of self-care. It was a major theme of my planning for the new year and I have carved out a lot of time so far in 2017 to do the things I enjoy and develop healthy habits. Or, well, I have been mindful of carving out that time. It doesn’t always get done as much as I would like.
I have been reading and writing more this year, however, which has made me much happier. I’ve been working on checking in with myself mentally, something that has been increasingly important to me after seeing a doctor about anxiety last year.
I have been bullet journaling for chrissake.
But it hasn’t been easy. I have a hectic work schedule that often cuts into the time I’d rather be spending on myself, or with my boyfriend or family. I haven’t had a full day off since Christmas and, recently, my sleep has suffered.
My exhaustion is leaking in to other areas of my life, too.
I know that working out is a huge stress reliever in my life. I love the way I feel after I do it. I’ve been pretty consistently active (with some pockets of absolute sedentariness) for several years. Right now, though, I’m just tired, so I haven’t been hitting the gym as much.
For good measure, I’ve also been a little lax on my nutrition.
I know this has to change. I don’t feel my physical best right now, and I know the primary reasons are a lack of sleep, activity and balanced diet.
So, I’ve decided to kickstart my journey back to health with my first round of Whole30.
I’m pretty intimidated by the whole thing. I love my breads, wines and — oh, God — cheese. But after hearing enough about it to know it’s had a positive effect on a lot of people, I think it is probably worth a try. And while it won’t necessarily be a fun challenge, it will be the kind of challenge that I just might feel like a badass for completing.
I made the error of thinking that everyone had heard of Whole30 before, but when I mentioned it to both my mom and my brother, neither had any idea what I was talking about. Here’s the gist: it’s a 30-day diet reset where you eliminate added sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol, among other things.
Basically everything yummy and good in the world.
The idea is that these foods have been known to cause problems from inflammation and gut problems to messing with your brain chemistry and grossing up your skin. Take them away for 30 days and then systematically reintroduce them to observe the effect they are really having on your body, and that way, you can customize your own perfect diet.
So what are you left with? Basically tons of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, oils, nuts and seeds. “Whole foods.”
Unlike most fads or what-have-you that I tend to test-run, I have taken a lot of time to aggressively research and plan my Whole30. Thanks to the power of the internet, I’ve picked up plenty of tips, recipes and guidelines, which I have used to create a complete meal plan for each day. I’m going to allow myself some wiggle room if it turns out I don’t feel like vegetable soup on Wednesday, but at least I will have a general idea of what I plan to eat and can prepare myself by having compliant food on hand.
None of my planning is original, of course, but it is new to me. Plus, I have to admit that it’s been kind of enjoyable seeking out new recipes and figuring out what I’m going to be eating for the next month. Terrifying as hell, but satisfying.
I have a major work trip at the end of this week and weekend, so Monday will be my target start date for Whole30. Thinking about it now, I realize that within the first week of my round, I will be attending an MLB home opener and, by the next, I will be going to a concert. After that is Easter, a holiday that I personally associate with Manhattans. This is going to be tough.
I’m up for the challenge, though, and my hope is for any positive experience I have with Whole30 to spill over into the other areas of my health life where I’m slacking. I’m ready to feel like my best again, to have more energy and a less negative attitude. Can Whole30 help with that?
We’ll see. Godspeed, Me.