I feel like I blinked on July 1st, only to open my eyes on July 10th – today. Ten days ago, I decided to make a change and cut out all the delicious food that I’ve been living on for as long as I can remember – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nachos, creamy soups, cheeseburgers, garlic bread, and the precious liquid refreshments that I didn’t think I could live without… coffee and beer. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I could do it. The first two days were terrible. The night before switching to an all-Paleo diet, I downed an ice cream sundae while closing El Gaucho. On July 1st, I woke up to prep for a bridal shower (after four hours of sleep) tired, bloated, cranky and all kinds of irritable. By the time I left work on Monday night, I was ready to throw in the towel on Paleo, eat the bun on my burger and down a six-pack to boot. I refrained, went to bed and woke up on Tuesday morning with an inexplicable amount of energy. I felt good. Rested. Ready for the day. Every day since then, I’ve woke up similarly invigorated (even today, when my alarm went off at 5:15am for bootcamp). It hasn’t been all roses, but it’s been far easier than I thought it would be.
Moving forward, today is Day One of my first Whole 30 Challenge. I’ve done the research, read the Hartwigs’ book – It Starts With Food, and am ready to give this thing a whirl. While the book’s claim that making it through a Whole 30 Challenge will “change my life” seems a little extreme to me, I have no doubt that it will make me healthier. The past ten days are proof enough that good, whole foods paired with ample sleep and exercise are the centerpiece of a healthy life. I am no longer nervous about being properly “carb-loaded” for marathon training. In fact, I have more reserve energy for training and am recovering at a faster rate now than I have in the past month. This morning, I ran a 8:46 mile during bootcamp – beating out my timed personal record by well over a minute. Woot!
For the record, some aspects of transitioning to Paleo eating have been easier than others. The next few weeks will be a test to see how far I can push my willpower and how my body responds to these tests. Things that have been easy:
- Welcoming back bacon.
- Eating as much protein and produce as I need to feel energized. Goodbye calorie counting!
- Setting aside time to cook every day.
- Grocery shopping, which I have always loved and look forward to even more now that I’m testing out and trying new recipes every day.
- Ordering Paleo foods at restaurants. Turns out, they’re everywhere.
Things that have been challenging:
- Meal planning. There is so much food in my fridge these days and I am so eager to try new recipes that I forget about leftovers, forget to pack tupperware properly or leave Lara Bars in the wrong purse at least once a day.
- Doing dishes. I use to run my dishwasher once every two weeks. In the past ten days, it’s been run 5 times.
- Facing my food budget. I don’t know why, but spending money at the grocery store is far more difficult for me than spending money at the pub. Probably because I’m sober.
Things that have been downright difficult:
- Not grazing on fruit at work. For the past six years, every time I have walked into El Gaucho’s kitchen, I have grabbed a handful of grapes. Or an apple. Or some dates. I know I can break this habit, but it’s been really difficult to taper.
- I miss coffee. Desperately. Last night, I stuck my nose in a bag of freshly ground espresso and tried for a contact high. It didn’t work.
- I want to go to happy hour with my friends. Hit up Belltown Pizza after work with my co-workers. Enjoy the heck out of a summer BBQ. All of these things are strongly correlated with alcoholic beverages in my book and it’s been hard to avoid them all.
So, with all this in mind, I am moving forward with Phase Two of this challenge. Goodbye chocolate, hello coffee (But first, it’s time for a nap).