Plot twist: how I did has absolutely nothing to do with the food.
But first, why am I so bad at this blogging thing? October? Really, Nikki?
Anyhow, I’ve wrote before about my lifelong struggle with my weight. And when I say lifelong, I mean at least since kindergarten. I was well aware at that time I was not as small as the other girls. My cheerleader uniform didn’t fit as well as theirs, just like my basketball uniform didn’t two years later. In 1st grade we had a 50s dress and dance competition; I was obsessed with the 50s then – much like the 60s now – and I won, which was amazing. But it was also the day one of my crushes told me my belly looked like a bowl full of jelly. Around a year later, I dressed up as Tinker Bell for Halloween. I was even late to school because my mom put so much effort into it; although it’s still one of my favorite costumes to this day, I remember the looks, the stares, and all the laughs because of how I looked in a leotard.
Given that this all happened during formative years, the feelings and insecurities never left. I’ve made a lot of terrible choices and decisions because of decades of being ashamed of my weight. Not until the last two or three years, full of life’s real problems (not the size of jeans I wear) and a lot of soul searching, have I finally grasped the idea that losing weight, for some, is much more of a mental process than physical. I know many people reading this are thinking “but Nikki, you look fine!” or maybe you’ve struggled even more and want to punch me in the face right now. But it’s all about perspective and one’s own personal experience, and weight has be a huge part of my personal experience.
I made myself stop stressing about all of it over the holidays (cause, really?) and focus on a game plan for Sweet 16. I made the investment in Class Pass in November (more on that later) and decided to start Whole 30 on Jan. 4.
For those unfamiliar, you can find more on Whole 30 here. But the gist of it is no dairy, no grains, no alcohol, and no sugar. It’s very Paleo. You consume copious amounts of unprocessed protein, fruits and veggies, and good fat. I chose this program for multiple reasons: I heard and read great things about its effects (not just on weight, but on overall health); it would still let me have coffee and avocado; it mandated pre- and post-workout meals; and I’ve wanted to cut out dairy for awhile now, but needed a program to make me.
Although you can follow the rules without it, I highly suggest buying and reading the book. The background and details really do matter and provide extra motivation. It gives you a meal plan for week one, which I followed religiously with one exception. I had no desire to cook brisket at home, so I subbed leftovers. My one suggestion for the first week regarding food is eat what you love and don’t mind cooking yourself. If you’re not used to constant meal prep, keep it simple.
Having said that, surviving the beginning isn’t just about the food. You’re going to be overwhelmed. So it’s best to be prepared, not only in your fridge and pantry, but also in your brain. I spent an hour in Trader Joe’s on my first shopping trip. I had never spent an hour there, as I know where everything is. However, this time I had to actually read the labels. Every single one. But I was prepared for that, because of the book. So I chose to go first thing on a Sunday morning when most of my area is still recovering from the night before, and I brought along my earbuds. Which brings me to the next super important tip.
Music is your BFF. I have spent an inordinate amount of time in my kitchen over the past week, which is the size of a postage stamp. It’s often challenging. Regardless of the size of your own kitchen, I suggest you grab your phone and/or your Bluetooth speaker, pour a wine glass of kombucha or sparkling water, and play whatever makes you HAPPY. If I feel fun I listen to Taylor Swift, if I feel fancy, I listen to Frank Sinatra (obviously), if I am moody, I listen to Leon Bridges, and if I am fired up (in a good or bad way) I listen to NWA and Kendrick Lamar. King Kunta will help you spiralize the crap out of that zucchini, friends. Music can help you not only with the time spent cooking, but also doing dishes. So many dishes.
If you have a dishwasher, I don’t want to hear a solitary word from you. Is unloading and loading that thing over and over a pain? I GUESS. But it pales in comparison to hand washing every pan, pot, plate, and fork. And as much as I want to leave the latest load for tomorrow, Scarlett O’Hara, you must think about it today. Cause there will be another. And another.
The way I feel right now, on the night of day nine, far outweighs any frustration I have with the constant cooking, packing, and cleaning. The book walks you through how you’ll more than likely feel each day. Days four and five are known as “kill all the things.” I luckily skidded through those two days and only wanted to cut one person, which I totally blame on the that person, not on Whole 30. Overall, I have more energy during my workouts and throughout the day; I am not starving when I leave work, which has always been an issue; and my psoriasis hasn’t flared up even a little bit. Hashtag blessed.
I have absolutely no idea if I will actually lose weight over these 30 days, or beyond, as I do plan on keeping up a predominantly Paleo diet. Do I want to? Absolutely. I would love to be the size I was when I moved to LA. But that was nine years ago, and my word, I was all of 27. MANY things have changed since then. But for right now, I’m not even weighing myself (in full disclosure, you’re not allowed). It’s about how I feel, how I act, and what I think. Key word: I. Not you, not anyone else. Just I.