Once upon a time, there was a young man who felt like he would live forever. Surfing, skiing, pick-up sports with friends, it was all easy and fun and it seemed like things would never change. Over the years, the boy became a young man and then middle-aged, and the activities ebbed and flowed, but the general fitness remained. When needed, such as for a big race or special event, extra effort was expended to make sure the race was competed adequately and the young man looked good at the special events.
Somewhere along the way to middle-aged, even extra efforts started becoming fewer and farther between, with the efforts less noticeable and harder to come by. The young boy looked in a mirror and truly did not like what he saw. The young boy did not like that even a short run was cause of leg pain and shortness of breath. But still nothing was done, as the now-middle-aged man was deeply and truly unhappy, drowning his sorrows in alcohol and food. It was a tough cycle to break.
One day, I realized that a dream I had, of longterm happiness by changing my current situation, simply wasn’t going to happen. I no longer could wait for the happiness to come, I had to make it here. It involved tough and painful emotional decisions, but once made, I suddenly felt free. I now looked inside for what would make me happy, and I knew my health was the first thing that had to be corrected. As an all or nothing personality, moderation was foreign to me. I could cut out unhealthy foods or drink if I wanted to, but I didn’t always want to. I didn’t need another diet, and I wasn’t in the shape to ramp up the exercise very much, so I thought about the many lifestyle ideas I had come across and rejected over the years. Whole30 came to mind almost immediately.
What I like about Whole30 is that it is not a diet – there are no calorie counts or restrictions on the amount of food you eat. It is a look at the foods that are generally harmful or unhealthy, and how I react as an individual to those foods, or lack of. The “bad” foods are removed for 30 days, your body (hopefully) recalibrate, and then those foods are reintroduced and one decides whether the negative consequences are worth it. Everything in this plan is up to the individual, from the choice of menu plan to whether or not the full 30 days is adhered to. There are no special foods to buy, just many not to, haha.
Whole30 promises several things to those that follow it to the letter: lots of physical improvements, possible medical improvements, and a newfound relationship with food. It does not promise weight loss (you’re not supposed to step on a scale during the 30 days or even immediately after), though the majority of people following the plan do lose weight. Everyone starts Whole30 with their own goals, hopes, and expectations, and of course I have my own.
My hopes for this program are simple: to change my relationship with food, but also to lose the bloat that makes me so uncomfortable and get rid of a cough that has been plaguing me for several months. If the weight loss comes, and I really hope it does, that will be the icing on the cake (though of course I won’t be eating that cake).
My journey starts today – I’ll report back in 30 days.