I made a decision in September about my health that kind of went against everything I believed about deprivation and restriction.
I hit the point where I had enough. After returning from our summer vacation where I spent every night having a few beers (IPA of course so high in calories) and eating differently than normal I was exhausted. I mean hardly able to get off the couch, almost falling asleep while driving exhausted.
I was so frustrated with myself because of the exhaustion. Even though by now I understand that a lot of the fatigue has to do with where I am in my cycle. But I wanted different for myself.
Not only was I feeling tired two to three days a month, I was also feeling like my patience was next to nothing and my boys and husband were getting the brunt of it.
By the end of the night I would feel as if someone literally took a vacuum and drained all the energy out of my body. This lack of energy made the kids bedtime treacherous.
And lastly, I was waking up in the morning feeling so foggy and out of it. I would huff and puff at any demand my kids threw at me (which is a lot first thing in the morning).
I seriously just thought I was feeling this way because I was getting older, dealing with two active boys all day, and running a business. I thought it was normal.
A friend of mine was frustrated with her lack of weight loss and mentioned that she was starting a program called Whole30. This way of eating eliminates sugar, dairy, gluten, soy, and alcohol for 30 days. Talk about major deprivation and restriction!
My mind was telling me this type of eating was crazy and way too difficult to obtain with my lifestyle. Plus, I really didn’t want to deprive myself!
But deep down I heard a little whisper that said, “You need this. This may be your problem.” I’m always up for a good personal challenge and this sounded like one for me.
I immediately went online and read whatever I could find on this Whole30 thing. I saw the list of what you can and can’t eat. I saw some of the recipes that were suggested. They looked really good and not too difficult.
I realized a lot of the foods they recommend I really like anyway like avocado, olives, fruit and nuts. I became excited thinking about all the different things I could make and eat.
What I realized was that what the Whole30 was recommending was matching up well with how I had wanted to eat for a while. I had been drawn to the idea of eliminating sugar and dairy in order to see if I would notice a difference in my mood, energy level, and digestion. But the thought of eating that way was too overwhelming to me. I didn’t know where to start. This seemed like the answer.
I made up my mind to commit for 30 days to the rules of the program and see what happens.
Once I made this decision, it was like my mind was in tune with my body and this is why I felt excited. Even before I took the first step to clean out the sugar, dairy and other foods that were not in the plan, I felt more confident in myself. I knew that this was something that I could make fun for myself.
I also had a friend who was doing it too and she was a few days ahead of me so I knew what to expect. We traded recipes and even baked one extra meal a week and swapped it.
Ultimately, the whole experiment opened my eyes to how food was impacting every area of my life. I had spent a week or two getting my mind in the Whole30 mode so the first few days of a different lifestyle were not that difficult to adjust to.
Here are just a few things I noticed within the 30 days:
-I no longer craved or desired sugar and alcohol – in the slightest. In fact, the one thing I missed the most was my flavored coffee creamer.
-I experienced so much energy that I easily went from one task to the next throughout the day. No more mid-afternoon slump.
-I was much more calm and patient with my kids and my husband. My edginess and frazzled feelings went away.
-I no longer had to limp down the stairs slowly in the morning holding on to the railing because of all my aches and pains from my feet up to my lower back. I could get out of bed and move freely!
-I was also clear headed when I awoke and I attribute this to sleeping better.
And some of the other benefits that I was not expecting were that I felt much more in tune with my emotions and I wanted to get out and do fun things – like go to a movie, or have coffee with a friend.
As far as weight loss goes, I have to say that I was one of the people who really didn’t lose weight when I started eating this way. It was extremely interesting to me that I completely removed certain things from my diet and I didn’t lose weight. But I felt so great I didn’t care.
Now clearly, the food had something to do with the changes I noticed in my life, but I also think a big part of my mental and emotional happiness was due to my lack of decision making with food and alcohol.
Alcohol and certain foods were off limits, so I never had to waste mental energy figuring out what I would eat, or if I should have a drink. Not having an internal battle with these questions left me open to enjoy more things out of life.
So…let’s fast forward now to the end of October through December. At this point I was still eating one or two clean meals a day, but I had slowly started to incorporate alcohol and mostly processed foods in the form of sweets into my life.
And within weeks I noticed that I was tired, short tempered with my kids, craving cookies once the kids were asleep, and wobbling down the stairs again in the morning.
This hiatus back to my old way of eating (within excess of course for the holidays), was just what I needed to start thinking about making a serious change for myself in 2017.
After a few weeks of pondering about how my life would look if I eliminated the things that I think bother me the most – sugar, flour, and alcohol – I decided to make a commitment to myself that I would abstain from these substances in 2017.
This seems like a HUGE goal, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it really is a step in the direction of simplifying and decluttering my life.
And so I came up with the Declutter Cleanse of 2017. After I thought about eliminating things from my diet, I figured there were plenty of other areas in my life that I could benefit from decluttering. So I created a different area to declutter each month.
January is the month where I am decluttering food and alcohol (as you can tell). But my intent is to carry this food and alcohol thing throughout 2017. I’m interested to see what changes occur, plus, I owe it to myself to enjoy my family and everything else in this world without any unnecessary mental chatter.
I will be documenting on this blog how things are going and sharing with you ways that I have found helpful to stick to my commitment even when life gets rough – because it will.
Is there an area of your life that you would like to simplify? What could you declutter so that you can really enjoy 2017?
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