hab·it: /ˈhabət/ noun: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
Habits. We all have them, right? I have a few weird ones myself: I like to rinse my face exactly 6 times after washing it, something I read about in Seventeen magazine when I was a junior in high school. I like to have a totally clean sink and kitchen counter at the end of the day to make myself feel accomplished. I shower the exact same way every time: shampoo, rinse, condition, shave, bathe, rinse out conditioner, wash my face, the end. Most mornings are very similar in the letting out of the dogs, the making of the coffee, the cooking of eggs and the emptying of the dishwasher. While far from the OCD days of my college years, I have a little routine in most things that have turned into habits that make my days predictable and comforting.
While I try not to label habits as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I have some decidedly negative ones as well that all go by the name of sugar, sugar and more sugar. Before W I never craved sweets and could go days and days without dessert of any kind. After he was born though? SUGAR ALL THE TIME. I honestly don’t know if there’s been more than a day that I’ve gone without something sweet and sugary as a breakfast, snack or dessert of some kind. Sugar has become a habit that I’ve needed to break for a while, but it’s also become a source of comfort when I don’t feel like addressing emotions or finding something else to take the place of my sweet little addiction. Bad day? COOKIES! Feeling lonely? MILKSHAKE! Still not satisfied after dinner? ICE CREAM!
Nothing is safe, and true to form this sugar addict can’t just stop at one. If I have something sweet it turns into a rabbit hole of more, more, more until it’s either just socially unacceptable to have more or I run out of my drug of choice. Sad, right?
A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook while nursing A in the middle of the night and ran across a friend’s status that was talking about Whole30. Now this isn’t the first time that I’ve heard of friends doing a Whole30 challenge; the popular 30-day paleo diet has a lot of followers and people who praise it for ending all sorts of ailments and fatigue. All this time I’ve ignored the praise, thinking that I just don’t want to adjust my decidedly anti-paleo lifestyle. I don’t want to give up pasta for good. I love chewy, crusty bread, and rice is a staple in our diet.
Maybe it was the middle-of-the-night sleepiness getting the best of me, but after reading that friend’s status update I immediately checked out It Starts with Food from my local library and then devoured it in a few days. After reading about the program, the benefits, the science – well, I figured I could do 30 days of good, wholesome food (and nothing but that) to see if it made any changes in my life. While I certainly would expect to lose a few pounds or inches from nixing sugar and refined carbs, that’s not the goal. The goal with this whole thing is to kick that sugar habit/addiction, beat fatigue, and increase the amount of energy I have. At the moment I have no plans of eating super strictly after the challenge, although I certainly hope that the habits formed in those 30 days will just naturally stick and we can add those old favorites back in sporadically for treats now and again.
After talking to Nate about it he has (sort of) reluctantly agreed to do this challenge with me. I’m a little nervous, but truly excited to make a change and get out of the rut we’ve been living in ever since A was born. And like a good friend pointed out, there’s really no better time than August when fresh produce is bursting from every farmer’s market stall and the summer nights last long enough to grill all the things. I’ve heard the planning can be quite tedious, so the past couple of weeks I’ve been practicing with my grocery shopping and food prep to make sure we’re set up for success. Undoubtedly this is going to be hard, but I’m committed to lasting the 30 days and taking the time to make our lives healthier in the process.
We start Saturday, and I’ll definitely be sharing when I can on Instagram – that’ll be where I share the day-to-day stuff. And every Monday I’ll give updates as needed. So wish us luck? In changing negative habits to ones that will change our lives for the better and pushing ourselves to be better examples of health for our children?
This week’s menu is super simple and aimed toward using up the last of our unapproved food so that when Saturday hits we won’t have temptations staring down from the pantry shelves. The only thing that’s really not approved is the dairy and stuffing mix in the provolone chicken (similar to this but with provolone instead of Swiss). Otherwise we’re going to be working hard to get all the veggies and fruit in that we can. I’m also hoping to hit up the farmer’s market Saturday for an inspirational kick-off!
MONDAY – veggie & chicken stew, paleo bread
TUESDAY – provolone chicken, charred green beans
WEDNESDAY – salmon, grilled radicchio with citrus bagna cauda
THURSDAY – roasted veggies & sausage
FRIDAY – zucchini noodles with meat sauce
As for fitness I’m still loving the Fitness Blender 8-week fat loss program. I think I’m about 3 weeks in and can already tell that my core is stronger and my legs are definitely stronger and more toned. As with all exercise, I know that eating right is going to deliver better results faster so I’m interested to see how everything goes after my diet is totally cleaned up. If you’re looking for a solid, realistic, inexpensive and challenging workout program I can’t recommend Fitness Blender‘s site enough. I’m not getting anything for saying that; they have no idea who I am, I just really love these workouts! Their programs are great because you have everything planned out for you, but they have hundreds of free online workouts for any fitness level. Seriously an amazing site!
So there you have it – our new adventure with eating for August and a little meal plan-workout action. I’m certain that we’re going to have some interesting revelations as we go through our Whole30, but I think it’s going to be a good challenge and one that I’m happy to accept.
Have you ever done a Whole30 challenge? Any tips or tricks to share? I can’t wait to hear!