For the past three weeks, I've been doing the Whole30 'food plan' (I hate to use the word 'diet' because I don't see this as one). If you've never heard of it, you eat nothing but whole foods for 30 days, eliminating processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy, legumes... basically everything except vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and good fats. After 30 days, you can slowly reintroduce the healthiest of the previously eliminated items. The plan is designed to help you figure out what foods might be making you feel bad.
When I first heard about it a year ago, when my friend Kati was doing it, I thought, No. Way. In. Hell. I love me some, well, all of the stuff that has to be eliminated. I mean, I've given up ONE thing for a little while (and suffered) but ALL those things at once? Gah! And 30 days sounded like an eternity!
But that was a year ago. That was before I knew how rotten I could feel. That was before all the medicines designed to make me better made me sick. And I've been 100% certain that the crap I eat has NOT been helping me either. So, with my doctor's approval, I decided I was ready to give it a go. I already knew sugar and grains were an issue for me, but the idea of really clean eating for a month appealed to me. And when I decide I'm ready, I don't have to worry about falling off the wagon. It's so weird. I always think I have no willpower... but that's not true at all. I have craploads of willpower. It's motivation I often lack.
But not this time.
It's been a piece of cake. Well, OK, it's been a bowl of fruit salad. Other than the never-ending planning, shopping, cutting, chopping, cooking all the good food, and washing up ridiculous numbers of pots, pans, and dishes, it's been easy.
OK, so the EATING part has been easy. I haven't really craved anything (unless I'm actually in the grocery store and walking past the donuts... so I just walk faster). I've been loading up on veg from the farmer's market - homegrown and organic. My wallet has taken a hit from the better quality of meat I'm buying, but I feel a million times better about it (for a lot of reasons). I'm drinking unheard of (for me) amounts of water (which keeps me in the bathroom for the better of the day and night), a little bit of tea (I make it), and a V8 in the mornings. That's it. No wine. All summer. NO wine, people. All summer. Also? I haven't been out to eat in three weeks. And that? Is something, people.
I wasn't supposed to get on the scale until the month was up, but I was curious. Two weeks out and I'd lost 8lbs. Not bad. I go back to the doctor on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the scale says then, even though I swear I did NOT do this as a diet.
The testimonials on the Whole30 website tout this plan as pretty much the Second Coming. It hasn't had that effect on me. Yet. I can't say that I feel a million times better. Yet. But I'm optimistic. I still have chemo running through my system. I've been in a bit of a dark place this summer, and that will take its toll on both body and soul, and coming back from that sort of place can take some time. So I'm going to give it longer than 30 days. I figure I've spent a very long time stuffing my gob with not-so-good stuff, that I owe myself to fill it with very-good stuff for a bit longer than a month.
And though I can't say I'm feeling loads better (I'm still tired and achy-all-over), I've noticed something significant...
I'm back to walking the whole park trail these days (instead of just dragging myself to a bench to wait while Sunny sniffs around and finally poops). And though I'm worn out by Sunday night, I've spent the last two weekends doing all sorts of work around the house and running a million errands. A few weeks ago? That definitely wasn't what my weekends looked like.
So it seems that maybe I'm on the mend. I see this as a long-haul-sort-of thing -- this clean eating. I don't think for a second I'm never going to have chocolate or wine or ice cream again, but to get to where I want to be? I've finally accepted what I've known for a long, long time -- that eating like a 6-year-old at a birthday party just doesn't work for me.
Who'd a thunk it?