On the weekend, my MIL kept asking why I'm doing this, hinting that it's not healthy and that I should be checking my vitals weekly since it's basically Atkins and Atkins is unhealthy and only for losing weight.
Last night, my husband told me that even though I told him I'm not doing this for the weight, he's asked around and everyone says it's for the weight, that this is the reason people do the Whole 30. Then he asked me why I'm doing this, since I'm healthy already so saying it's for health doesn't make sense to him either.
Both of these exchanges bothered me tremendously, and I see now that it is because I didn't have a clear answer for them (or me) as to WHY I'm doing this. So here is my attempt to sum up why I chose to do a Whole 30, and why on Day 16 I remain committed. I will come back to this list when I wane in motivation, which is sometimes hourly :-)
1) Connecting with my food connects me to the earth and to what is really important for me. Choosing to eat only whole foods for 30 days nourishes not only my body, but my mind and spirit as well.
2) The Whole 30, for me, is a celebration of how far I've come with food. I have a history of eating disorders (which may explain why my family is concerned), but I do not feel at all that my Whole 30 is about losing weight (which I don't need to do). It is about celebrating food, eating when I'm hungry and as much as I need to feel satiated, eating lots of fats, and eating animal protein and being ok with that after various failed attempts to become vegetarian when in my heart I knew it just wasn't for me.
3) The Whole 30 is about saying YES to me, and kindly being firm with others when they try to tell me what to do (in overt or subtle ways). I have always been a people-pleaser, and while I already know sugar, white flour and alcohol are not good for me, I often partake because it's the social thing to do or because I know others will feel better if I have something with them (my mom - sweets, my husband - alcohol). This time is all about ME, and asserting that I don't have to eat or drink things I don't really want to to make others feel better.
4) The veggie, protein and fat combo is delicious and satisfying. I've been trying Whole 30 recipes at home and the whole family loves them. I have discovered new combinations of foods, new foods altogether, and rediscovered foods that I had overlooked (hello tahini and shredded coconut!)
5) I recently made a big decision in my life, choosing to step down from a management job and stay at a more comfortable job in order to have more space and time for myself, my family, and my passions. Doing the Whole 30 at this time feels like a RESET. Starting fresh, becoming new again, recommitting to the things that are most important to me.
6) It is only 30 days. I do miss whole grains and the occasional sweet, but I know that soon enough I will be able to partake if I really want to. Yet it is more than 30 days. Getting so crystal clear on what my body needs and likes will help me be more conscious of my choices going forward. I love Melissa's questions around whether to eat something post Whole 30 - something like - Is this a special occasion? Will it make me feel terrible after? Do I really want it? Do I really want it is key for me, and will help me make good food decisions going forward.
7) The community. I love the book, the website, the Forum! I feel like I've connected with like-minded people who are committed to good food, to taking care of themselves, and to working for something they believe in despite of what others may think. It's all about tuning in to what is right, and to working with others to help you see that when it is not clear.
8) Although I feel I am now a normal eater after many years of eating disorders, I still fall to sugar, white flour and alcohol when I am stressed or depressed, and was falling into that habit again before Whole 30. The Whole 30 is a good way to just stop those bad habits and remind myself that the short-term pleasure is not worth the lethargy, low mood and negative thoughts that I fall into when I'm back on a daily sugar hit.
9) On Day 16, I've hit Tiger Blood. I feel connected, refreshed, energized, and able to make good decisions about food and life. Having an experience like this reminds me of what's possible, and that happiness is an inside job.
10) Last year I went off anti-depressants, and good food was a big part of that. Kelly Brogan's book, "A Mind of Your Own" uses food as the first way to reconnect with yourself and heal depression, and her dietary guidelines are very much aligned with Whole 30 - lots of good quality proteins and fat, lots of fruits and veggies, no sugar, flour, alcohol. When Dr. Brogan works with patients, she has them do a 30 day food reset eliminating grains, legumes, white potatoes (resistant starch), and processed food, so doing this is something I had been thinking about, and I'm already seeing improvements in my mood.
So there you have it! My top 10 reasons WHY I'm doing the Whole 30. I will send this to my hubby :-)
What about you? Why are you YOU doing the Whole 30?
Lots of love,