When it comes to losing weight, I am an expert on what to eat and what not to eat. I’ve done it all. Fit for Life, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, Nutrisystem (or did I just dream that one?), Atkins, the Zone, Body for Life, Weight Watchers, Eat to Live, Medifast, juicing, vegetarianism, veganism, a raw food diet, paleo, counting calories…you want to do it? I’ve probably done it and I can tell you all the tips on how to make each plan livable. You want to get even more extreme? You’re thinking maybe bariatric surgery? Don’t worry, friends. I’ve done that, too. I am YOUR GIRL when it comes to information on how to lose weight.
But losing weight and living a healthy, happy life don’t always equate. I’ve lost tons of weight. Or maybe a ton. Over the course of my 38 years–27 of which have usually involved some kind of dieting–I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’ve lost close to a literal ton. Losing 2 pounds one day, gaining them back the next, losing them again the day after that…I’ve been yoyo-ing for a long time, the details of which are a post for another day.
For this day, we’ll just say that after a nice holiday period of gorging, I decided yet again that I should somehow tap into the magic weight loss bullet and DO THIS THING! What that means for me is that I pick a plan, pick a Monday, and the weekend before I buy tons of food and ingredients, I make lots of treats, I eat all that food and those treats on Sunday (I belieeeve these days the kids call it “binging”), and then I feel crappy on Monday and decide that maybe this plan should start on a Tuesday.
This time around, my new motivation was my friend Sarah. My sweet friend Sarah had cancer (which is in remission, thanks be to God) and as part of her post-cancer treatment, her endocrinologist wanted her to go off dairy and grains for a period of 120 days. That sounded like a good plan to me and so, in part for myself, and in part as an act of solidarity with Sarah, I told her I would go off dairy and grains for 120 days, too. And in my mind I was thinking, heck, I might as well do that Whole30 thing that everyone is talking about these days.
To show my new, super-motivation, I announced to my husband that although Sarah was starting at the beginning of 2015, we were going to start the Whole30 on the Monday before 2015–a couple of days early. My husband was fully supportive and happy because he always wants to be healthy, but he relies on me to buy and make the food that we eat around these parts.
However, my husband also knows that his beloved wife has ADD, she’s not that great at planning or organization, she tends to get really excited about something and then peter out when the going gets rough, and that since she had children, she has gotten really used to talking about herself in the third person. My husband asked me what my plan was this time, what kind of structure I had in place to make sure this worked and that it was sustainable, etc., and like many a good person with ADD (or maybe I’m the only one that does this), I got totally annoyed, told him he was raining on my parade and dampening my enthusiasm, to back off, and just know that I had it covered…all of which served to make my husband feel very (in)secure in my newest endeavor.
So I did the usual thing. The weekend came around and there were tons of holiday treats I hadn’t gotten around to making this season, especially because I had accidentally eaten a whole bag of Oreos that were supposed to be used as ingredients in another concoction I had been planning, so I went to the store and stocked up on more ingredients for treats. And then Saturday was busy and Sunday was super busy and I didn’t get to make all my treats and eat all of them and I was really bugged and irritable. Hungry, if you will, but I wasn’t truly hungry. But I told my husband we were rarin’ to go for Monday morning, knowing that in my mind I was secretly thinking, “I’ll start on Tuesday after I make all my treats on Monday.”
Monday came around, I made some healthy meals for my husband and ushered him out the door to work with treats on my mind and…unfortunately for me, it had snowed, none of the roads had been plowed yet, so my husband didn’t even make it down the street. He came right back home. I suggested that it would be difficult to get any work done with our three little kids–and he agreed–and told him he should ask our good friends and neighbors, who were bachelors, if he could work in their house while they were at work (they had left earlier before the snow had fallen as hard). They agreed and I thought, “Now’s my chance!”
But Monday was crazy and my kids actually wanted me to pay attention to them instead of making treats all day. So I told myself, “I’ll just make the treats on Tuesday and start on Wednesday.” I rationalized that I would still be starting before my friend Sarah, so pushing it back one more day was no big deal.
Tuesday morning came and my husband was having a slow morning getting out the door. Meanwhile, I was antsy about my treats. By late morning, he was ready to go and for some reason, he paused and asked if I had cleaned the cupboards out of all the junk on Monday like I said I was going to. And of course I hadn’t. You can’t make treats without junk. Helloooo. But I didn’t want to tell him that. Instead I kind of waffled around. My husband and I are actually very open and honest with each other, so I knew I had to come clean and I told him I wanted to make one last treat and my husband was not impressed. He’s a mental health therapist by profession, and I think he even said disappointedly something along the lines of: “Spoken like a true addict.” Here I was yet again not following through on a plan I had made with him. He told me I could do what I wanted, that I didn’t have to keep my end of the bargain and then he left for work.
And I felt totally irritated. He had called me an addict. But I knew I had to keep my commitment to him. I couldn’t back out now for the millionth time and look like an unreliable failure. And as that started to sink in and I realized no treats would be forthcoming, I started to feel depressed. Like REALLY depressed. Like I need to call my OB and get some meds depressed. And when I realized how depressed I felt at not having sugar and how I was willing to be sneaky about it behind my husband’s back, it was like an arrow pierced my heart: “I AM an addict. I have a real problem.” That scared me. And I didn’t want to live my life as an addict.
And suddenly I felt empowered. I quickly gathered up all of the food in the house that we shouldn’t be eating on Whole30 and I put it in a basket. And what we had was more than double the size of the basket. But I piled it all up to go to a good home, one that wasn’t concerned about eating junk the way I, as an addict, needed to immediately be concerned.
That was midday on Tuesday, December 30th. I started my Whole30 in the middle of a day. When you’re ready, you’re ready, and admitting to myself was the step I needed in order to have the power to truly make a change.
And then of course I announced my discovery and commitment on Facebook and Instagram because ain’t nothin’ official until it’s social media official.