Week 2 has come and gone and just like that, I’m half way through the Whole 30. Cue Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” because I’m halfway there!
That was pretty terrible, I know, but c’mon! Halfway through a 30 day challenge is a pretty big accomplishment. For those of you who are also doing a September Whole 30, you’re doing amazing! I hope that when your 30 days are through, you will realize how strong and capable you are! This optimism I’m feeling was not with me all week though. In fact, Week 2 downright kicked my butt. Allow me to explain.
Once the initial haze of my first week wore off, I started to notice some changes happening, and they weren’t positive. While I wasn’t feeling sick or bloated, I wasn’t sleeping well. Most nights I tossed and turned and woke up in the middle of the night. I couldn’t get comfortable and each morning I either woke up an hour before my alarm, or cursing the annoying sound coming from my phone. As a result of my less than restful sleep, my energy levels were pretty low. I recognize that having a large cup of coffee before bed Wednesday night may have contributed to my lack of sleep, but there’s a good chance my late night sweet cravings may have been a culprit. Just like the last time I did the Whole 30, around 7:30 in the evening my sweet tooth would kick in and I’d reach for an apple with cashew butter. So, from Day 10 on I vowed to spend the rest of the month avoiding snacks after dinner.
There was also a difference in my headspace lately. Every time someone would mention pizza, cookies or any of the other things that were off limits for me, I would find myself thinking, “Once I’m done the Whole 30, I can have it” or “Only 23 more days until I can check out that amazing Mexican restaurant”. In the moment, it felt fine that I thought this way because I was doing well – I hadn’t slipped up once and I never even thought about “cheating”. But, later on there was a nagging feeling that I had cheated. Even though I never ate anything I shouldn’t have, I was anticipating it which felt just as bad. Was I going to throw away all the hard work I put in over 30 days just because I could? I felt disappointed in myself for thinking this way.
And the dreams I’ve been having haven’t helped! I dreamt one night that I was eating donuts and another night that I was snacking on M&Ms. Perhaps the worst dream was where I went on a trip to Paris and decided it was best to put my Whole 30 on hold only to realize when I returned from my trip that it was Thanksgiving, so I couldn’t resume it. There were a million excuses in my mind as to why I couldn’t do this so I ended up just abandoning the idea altogether and grabbing a croissant instead.
It was clear that sweets were on my brain both day and night and I felt like I was failing. I couldn’t get these foods out of my mind. Why did I have to focus on the foods I couldn’t have instead of all the foods I could? It was only 30 days! Anyone can do anything for 30 days, right? This. Isn’t. Hard.
But, the truth is, it is hard. Sometimes things are harder than you think. I assumed that because I had done this before, the second time through would be a breeze. I needed to cut myself some slack and just take it day by day. I’ve made it 15 days and I was doing great! Being down on myself wasn’t going to make the next 15 days go by any faster and it wasn’t going to make it easier.
Even though I was discouraged by my negative thoughts, this past week taught me a very valuable lesson. It was a reminder that I do not need to have it all together all of the time. I am not perfect, and that’s okay. I am doing my best. None of us are exempt from feelings of self-doubt. What’s important is to remember that we’re only human. I would never come down hard on a friend for having a dream about a donut, but I did on myself and that’s not fair. I am supposed to be my own best friend! It was time I gave myself some credit.
I can do hard things. I’m strong, determined and capable. I can do this.
If you have been having some difficulty in your life, whether it is with food or something else, I hope you take a moment to be kind yourself. Give yourself a few human moments to relax. Take a break, have a cup of tea or go for a walk and clear your head. You can do this. I’m here for you, my friend.