So... Whole 30. Day 13. About halfway... and here is what's going on with me.
Breakfast: most days is eggs with lots of veggies: I.e. 2 eggs, with steamed broccoli and cherry tomatoes on the side. The veg switches in and out. Espresso with unsweetened almond milk. Some days I skip breakfast and just drink the coffee.
Lunch: huge salads... this has become my largest meal of the day. Big handfuls of greens, cucumber, olives, avocado, sauerkraut (great for gut health), leftover protein from dinner the night before, usually chicken or turkey. Sometimes bacon, sometimes not. Olive oil and vinegar for dressing. Never been a crouton person, so I don't miss that. But coming from Mediterranean people, in the beginning of this thing, I REALLY missed that hunk of rustic bread to sop up the juice at the bottom of the bowl. Now, not so much, I don't give it a thought.
Dinner: 4-5 oz of protein... chicken, turkey, or pork... (I do really miss my Beyond Burgers, though...) sweet potato or yam, more veggies. Some nights I make a Bolognese with "zoodles" and sausage on the side. Pretty tasty. Took me a minute to figure out how to properly cook them... SAUTE. Do not boil.
Snacks: fresh fruit and nuts.
Drinks: water and coffee (w/almond milk only) NO ALCOHOL, which doesn't really phase me a bit. I was never a big drinker.
The first week was miserable, because my body was detoxing from so much sugar and grain. And dairy. And processed foods.
A typical day used to look like...
Breakfast: protein shake mixed with espresso
Lunch: salad with feta cheese and lots of veggies and a few dolma
Dinner: a snack bar of some kind and a piece of fruit. (Because I was always rushing.) Then a handful of chips. Then a handful of cookies. Then a handful of chips, again. Then another cookie. Then an ice cream cone. Then a shot of bourbon, maybe, or a glass of wine. I was so carb heavy at night, it was ridiculous. I mean... NO WONDER. That mindless, night-time snacking with my son was not my friend. He's growing and it doesn't bother him a bit. Me? Fuggedaboutit.
The second week was a little better, though I still had cravings, mentally. I did "go off" for one night, unintentionally... I was out at a show, and ate at a cute little bistro beforehand. Ordered a cobb salad WITHOUT the gorgonzola. It came with, and I just wouldn't waste it. I'm just not that guy. Gal. Whatever. Also, I ordered a latte the next morning in town (Rye, NY is ADORABLE) and they gave me milk instead of almond milk. Two dairy goofs... but... I rolled on. I figured... a clean Whole 30 plus 2 tbsp of cheese and half a cup of milk? Still AMAZING. Keep going! So I did.
In my third week now... and I'm back on my fitness routine, and I feel incredible. Down about 7 pounds, face is slimmer, so clear and fresh, I have much more mental focus, and greater perspective. And I'm slooooower. Less rush, more lush. Planning, shopping, cooking, storing, eating... everything is easy, slow, graceful, mindful, and satisfying. Cooking and eating have become mindful and intentional again. I do love the kitchen in autumn and winter... there's something always cooking, good music is playing, I'm dance-chopping vegetables. Good times.
So, perspective? Yes...
The reason I love that I'm doing this is... for the mental transformation. The mindset. Getting over the proverbial mountain, yet again. There is something amazing happening inside...as well. Of course, there always is.
The discipline I'm showing myself through this simple program is spilling over into other areas of my life, and I'm getting more and more grounded and focused and tolerating less of what derails me from my own dreams, including my creative projects. That's the hard part; identifying distractions and steering clear. It's true that everything begins in the mind, with conscious thought. We find stillness, we create a picture inside, we act in line with our ideals, and we take those first tangible steps. But the real transformation comes in the doing, down here, on the ground. In the work. In the sweat and the "saying no" and the sticking to a commitment, no matter what. And the perspective comes in knowing... how easy this actually is, once I got past the hump. The body adapts very quickly to a new routine, if we're consistent. It's the mind and its stories that bring the obstacles and slow-downs. The body needs nutrients, exercise, and rest. We make the rest up.
And I think this is all right on time. The years I've spent understanding and learning to manage my anxiety and learning how to properly meditate and generate joy and gratitude inside... leave me prepared to make those hard changes, physically. Because guess what... it's all in our heads, anyway. And knowing how to look my own inner demons in the eye and keep going, makes the discomforts and small sacrifices so much easier. No cookie tastes as good as this feels, right now. (That's saying something.) And I know I've been here before, and I let myself slip away. Patterns repeat. Reflecting... I'm learning why I did, and there's wisdom in that, too. But in seeing it, I can change it. Disrupt the pattern. And what we confront and transform in the micro, makes lasting change in the macro. If it applies to my behavior in one area of my life, it will apply across the board. Energy flows where intentions flow and I'm finally learning to direct it toward myself. That feels powerful.
How ironic that I had to learn mindfulness and gratitude, that I had to learn how to face and dismantle my triggers... in order to dive wholeheartedly into something as simple as health and fitness.
Here's the simplest, scientific magic that there is: addictions are powered by dopamine. Learn to create it on your own, and you can say no to... a whole lot of things. Because you're no longer dependent on the external to give you joy. On an energetic level that means... you become your own source of Light and you begin to stop looking for other sources to fill you up and inspire you. You learn to glow from inside, you trust your own intuition, you listen to your own body, you make your own choices.
Life is funny.
Also... on the writing front... I've received some feedback about Wild Horses... and I've also grown years in a few short months. And I want to dive back in and make some changes, as much I wanted to be done. There it is again: the work. The grit. The editing. But it will be worth it, I am in love with this project. I owe it 100%.
A work in progress... but I've learned patience. And I'm not afraid of the long game.