It’s the 24th day of Lent and the 24th day of my Whole30 experiment. I remember reading the first few chapters of that book a few weeks ago and what jumped out was the painstaking detail the authors put into describing each day of the Whole30 and how people feel each day. It was doom and gloom. I thought to myself, well, this must be for people who are grossly overweight, horribly out-of-shape, and can’t even find the produce section at the grocery store.
Me? I’m barely 10 (or 15 pounds) heavier than I want to be and most medical experts wouldn’t even call me overweight. I rationalized when I start eating only good food, I’d be happy.
I won’t compare myself to a drug addict or alcoholic, but I’ll say this …NOT putting sugar, bread, or booze into my mouth has been torture. Ever bump into someone who’s only a few weeks into the process of quitting-smoking or cutting-back-on-coffee? If you have, that person is grumpy and irritable. Family members will tell you how difficult it was for them coping with the person quitting smoking.
I have been very, very irritable these past few weeks. I’ve cursed (under my breath) my family as they eat fresh bakery bread, when they pop popcorn on the stove and drizzle butter over it, and when they bake and eat cookies …oh, my daughter makes incredible peanut butter cookies, and I often have eaten four or five at a sitting with a big glass of milk. I’m so happy when I’m eating cookies and milk. That’s my fix.
So here I am on day-24 and for the first time in, I’d say, a decade, I’m not hearing McDonald’s, Subway, Five Guys, or Potbelly (or my new discovery, Penn Station) calling to me in the 11 o’clock hour right before lunch. When donuts and bagels get delivered to the office by clients, or the boss brings them in …I walk right by and don’t feel like I’m the victim of something.
This is good. It takes time. I think my body and mind were (and still are) going through detox. In the past, stress and guilt could be wiped away by a quick run to Speedway for a .75 cent pack of Nutty Bars. Or maybe two packs. Sometimes if I had a little cash in my pocket, I’d head to the bakery section at Busch’s market and buy a six-pack of these amazing chocolate chip cookies. Or I’d head to Little Ceasers for a bag of breadsticks. Soooo good. Soooo garlicky. And I leave the office for the, oh, 45-minutes it takes to go grab a snack and “clear my head” …but it’s not actually a solution in any form.
Whoa. Did I tangent, or what?
The point of all this is simple . . . it gets easier. Ten years ago when I said I’d try and join my wife and run a 5K, the first time I ran (run-slash-walk), it was hard. I felt so weak and defeated compared to the 18-year-old me who’d neglected his body for more than a decade. And then it got easier. And eventually it turned into my competing in some triathlons.
Now I need to turn those lunch-time runs for carbs into something better . . . because clearing my head or getting away from my glowing monitor for a few minutes isn’t a sin. I need to use that time to do something in the positive, and not stuff my face with tasty food.
15-minutes a day. It’s all it takes. Start something. And each day, it gets easier.