In my book, the phrase “to diet” reads an awful lot like “to die.” Being that my work and play are grounded in a sincere adoration for eating, the idea of restricting what I put into my mouth can feel a smidge blasphemous. You know, because sometimes being true to yourself requires downing a second doughnut. But when a trusted friend and former colleague asked our mutual “lean in” group if anyone has had experience with the Whole30 program, I—without totally understanding what Whole30 is or what it entails—eagerly volunteered to take it on it with her.
I’m 23, I hit the gym more days than not, I’m an editor at one of the most prominent health food magazines in the nation… and I’ve felt like a pile of exhausted anti-wellness for months. Something doesn’t quite add up there. And my gut instinct says that the disconnect in this equation is linked to the present state of my relationship with food.
Fun fact: working at a food magazine can really jack up one’s connection with what they eat. Let me tell you. If you’re trying to sample bites of: 8 potential contenders for a holiday cheese plate, braised shark, Moroccan spiced leg of lamb, new flavors of low-fat ice cream, 4 renditions of roasted fingerlings, 10 variations of bruschetta, etc., etc. at various intervals throughout the day, your stomach and brain have to establish a connection that focuses more on “Is this delicious?” than “Am I full?”. Some [most] days my gut is confused as to whether it’s empty, full, or digesting.
Let’s be clear, I am not complaining about being paid to taste food, talk about food, and think about food all week. It’s a dream, really. But when your work life and personal life start blurring into one homogenous stream of constantly putting food in your face, the things that you’re eating because it’s your job, because it’s what you want, because you’re being social, because you’re tired, and because it’s right in front of you all get confused and ultimately receive less appreciation than they merit. Moral being that living the dream demands a certain reality-based dose of balance.
All that said, it’s not like you have to have a test kitchen on the second floor of your office to foster a deep appreciation for grubbing or for your work to interfere with your health/pant size. The three other fun- and food-loving ladies I’m tackling Whole30 with are active, self-aware journalists who likewise happen to be in need of an intensive bodily recharge. So here we are, 4 young women looking to take back control of our bodies and our bonds to that which feeds us.
Right so, what is Whole30?
This paleo-inspired program developed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig is more or less a means of pressing the “reset” button for anyone feeling out of whack. The theory being that whether it’s digestive problems, exhaustion, weight gain, etc.-- whatever happens to be knocking you physically/mentally/emotionally off kilter… starts with food.
Streamlining your diet into strict clean eating for 30 days is a great exercise in stepping back and being conscious of what goes into your body and how those foods affect its functionality. Even for a “diet” skeptic, the food philosophy at the core of this program is something I can get behind.
How’s It Going?
Today marks one solid week since the exit of grains, legumes, [added] sugars, dairy, and booze from our lives. It’s not quite as painful as it sounds. I swear. Even within 7 days out of our 30, I believe each of us has pulled out some incredibly valuable take-aways. Come on back tomorrow for a taste.
I’ll be posting weekly updates (i.e. sharing excerpts from our group text) on behalf of the team throughout our Whole30 because we know for an ever-loving fact that we’re not the only ones who’ve ever needed a dietary reboot. We sure aren’t the only ones who felt the need to reevaluate our relationship with what we put in our mouths. Life happens hectically, we all get busy, and sometimes our steady relationships demand some extra TLC. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
By the end of this whole shebang, perhaps you’ll be inspired to try your own Whole30 (or hold fast and hard to every carbohydrate and dairy product in your kitchen). Either way, we sure do hope our experiences can serve as an amusing/educational spectacle for all to see.