You’ve probably heard of the Whole 30 program.
If you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably one of those naturally slim women with a red-hot metabolism and luxuriously thick straight hair and eight letters from playing varsity sports at your high school. If that describes you, hon, you can stop reading right now. Also, we can’t be friends.
Me? I’ve been waging war with my weight all of my life. I’ve mostly won the battles since my late 20s and have managed to maintain my weight for the last 20+ years within a 10-pound range.
Lately that’s been 15 pounds and it’s creeping slowly toward 20 and I don’t like it. It didn’t help that I was injured and couldn’t do any physical activity for nearly seven months, including the holiday (feasting) season. It also doesn’t help that I’ve now got two feet firmly planted in middle age.
Desperate to shed some of this winter/injury weight before summer shorts season and a family trip to Mexico in June, I decided to give the Whole 30 thing a try for the month of April.
I’ve done the no-sugar, no-grains, no-dairy thing before and know that A.) it works, B.) the first week that is the worst, C.) Once you stop eating sugar, you stop craving it.
I downloaded all the Whole 30 materials. I planned out a menu and shopping list. I cleared the kitchen of my favorite junk foods. I swore off the office candy jar. I bought tons of vegetables and fruit.
I started out strong. I prepared a week’s worth of meals on Sunday and I even found a recipe for a sugar-free salad dressing that I could tolerate. But I soon found myself swapping my “bad” habits (a handful of peanuts after work, or pretzels before the gym) with new habits, like eating four pieces of fruit or handfuls of nuts a day.
By the 2nd weekend, I was cheating in small ways — tortilla chips with salsa before a meal at El Canelo, a few peanuts (they are legumes, not nuts, you know!) or sprinkling a little cheese on my eggs.
I gave it all up entirely in spectacular sugary style by Day 22 when we went for a walk at the peninsula and stopped at Sara’s:
The funny thing is that I don’t even really like ice cream all that much, but….dang, was I sick of depriving myself at that point. I don’t do well with deprivation. It just makes me want the things I can’t have.
So f**k it. I’m done.
If never eating sugar, pizza, tortilla chips, or cheese is what what I have to do to be a size 8, then I’m just going to go buy some damn size 10s and 12s.
I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it. Really.
It hit me like a truck on Day 19 of the Whole 30 thing when I was sitting at the kitchen table choking down a gritty (perhaps I should’ve washed the greens) kale salad with lemon-olive-oil dressing and sliced almonds while Dan cooked up a skillet dinner rife with pasta, cheese, and ground beef.
I looked at my disgusting kale salad and thought: This is so f***ing stupid.
It might be because I’ve been reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***k” by Mark Manson and absorbing wisdom like this:
“OK, you may hear this and say: ‘I get that my values suck but how to do I change?
And to this I say, in my best Yoda impersonation: Do or do not; there is no how.
“You are already choosing, in every moment of every day, what to give a f**k about, so change is as simple as choosing to give a f**k about something else.
“It really is that simple. It’s just not that easy.”
Manson goes on to say that it’s not easy because you’ll feel like a loser, a fraud, a dumbass at first. You’ll be nervous. You’ll freak out. You may get pissed off.
“These are necessary, though painful, side effects of choosing to place your f**ks elsewhere, in a place far more important and more worthy of your energies.”
I can think of a thousand things more worthy of my time, energy, and focus than food and weight. I just don’t give a f**k anymore.