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December 28, 2017

Surviving & Succeeding: a Clean Eating Challenge



Things have been super quiet on the blog front this month – but that’s just because once December hits, our lives turn into a real life version of that movie Four Christmases. Between Jeremy’s one billion families and trying to see everyone, December brings a lot of travel and recover and travel and recover for us. It’s the best, and getting to see the people we love love on our girls is worth all of the bending over the front seat to return a pacifier or juice cup. But here we are, last few days of 2017. I’m planning on doing a bit of a “year in review” post to wrap up, but I wanted to look forward for a moment.

I posted an instastory earlier this week, asking who else is doing anything Whole30-esque in January, and the answer is approximately everyone. Which is great, because doing this with people makes it much easier. The Huz and I are starting our second round of the Journey on January 2nd, and I am pumped. The Journey is, in our opinion, Whole30’s better sister. We loved it so much when we did it from October to November, and both saw great results! When we launched into it last time, I kept it a little hush hush. I have a lot of fear of failure (working on it), and didn’t want to be shouting my clean eating from the social media rooftops only to fall on my face. But as we waded through, by the time we got to days 14, 15, 16, I started sharing a little bit about our journey. We successfully made it all the way to day 30, which conveniently landed on the day before Thanksgiving. Talk about a cheat meal, haha. We’ve mostly stuck to paleo during December, but let’s be real – there was a fair amount of cheating.

I am no expert. I’ve only done one round, and I am not anywhere near being the next Melissa Hartwig. But I am a real life person that’s done a clean eating challenge and had great success, and has turned into one of those annoying people that “loves” it. So I wanted to share a few of my tips and tricks to not just surviving Whole30 or the Journey or whatever clean eating challenge you’re taking part in (even though it’s totally okay if you feel like you’re surviving a lot of the time), but succeeding!

1. “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” This is the line that convinced me to jump into this head, heart, and soul first. It was a much needed punch in my (soft, full of junk) gut. I was always able to make excuses and come up with a million reasons that there was no way I could give up cheese for 30 days (fun fact: I don’t eat dairy even if I’m not doing Whole30 anymore). I can promise you you’ve done harder things than Whole30/the Journey, I can almost guarantee it.

2. Consider asking your significant other to do it with you. I got lucky and Jeremy was all-in with me, but I know a lot of people really struggle with even asking, much less successfully convincing their significant other to do something as drastic as Whole30/the Journey. But I’ll tell you this – having your person be on board will make it much easier on you. If they’re not willing to do it with you, ask that they at least be okay with eating what you eat for dinner and not having non-compliant foods in the house.

3. There’s always a good reason not to do it. There will always be birthday parties, baby showers, even vacations. There will always be something on your calendar that you can convince yourself is a good reason not to start “yet”. I went to no less than 7 showers or parties during my time on Whole30/the Journey, and I knew they were all on the calendar before I started. This is as good a time as any, friend,

4. Set your self up for success. Speaking of those parties, I’m here to tell you it sucked not getting to eat birthday cake while everyone else around me did. But you know what sucks more than not eating cake? Food guilt. And you’re pretty much guaranteed food guilt if you cheat on Whole30/the Journey. So when those things come up, plan ahead. Eat before. Bring an RX bar with you so you have something to munch on. Tell your friends that you’re on Whole30, so you won’t be having cake, so they can hold you accountable (did this all the time!)

5. The timeline is for real. This is the Whole30 timeline, and it’s the closest thing to sorcery I’ve ever experienced. Every single day was spot on for both me and the Huz, as well as all of my friends who have done it. There’s so much power in the knowledge of what’s coming. Whether it’s a hard day or a crash or even a good day, knowing that it’s normal and that everyone experiences it makes it so much easier! But I can tell you, after a few days (okay – maybe weeks), you’re going to feel so great you won’t know what to do with yourself.

6. Learning to cook healthy is life changing & Pinterest is your new bestie. I was amazed at how many recipes I could just tweak with some healthy options and continue using in our dinner rotation, but some things had to go completely. All the cooking was definitely the hardest part for me, but just trust me – it’s worth it. That first month felt like torture, but now that we’ve continued with the healthy eating and cooking, it’s second nature. I wrote a post with the highlights of my favorite Whole30/the Journey meals, but you’ll also find my Pinterest board below. Pinterest is a literal Whole30 treasure trove that is one of the best weapons in your arsenal in this battle!

7. Last one, learn a new reward system. This was one of my biggest take aways from my first round of Whole30. You know that quote that’s really true but also feels really mean: “you’re not a dog, don’t reward yourself with food”? Pretty sure it was written for me. Good day – celebrate with food. Bad day – compensate with food. It’s a vicious cycle I’v been caught in since I can remember. But not having those old rewards to fall back on has started the process of reframing my brain and teaching me that it’s not the rewarding that’s bad, it’s what I’ve been rewarding with. Come up with new things for yourself, a few of mine are a long bath, guilt-free me time (which looks like asking J to take care of the girls while I go read a book or paint my nails or whatever my heart desires), having a very loud dance party, writing out some self-affirmations or gratitudes, and my personal favorite – the rare nap time-synced-MOM gets a nap!

There are about 700 other things that you’ll learn and glean through doing Whole30/the Journey, but these were the ones that stuck out for me through my first round. I want you to do more than survive (even though it’s going to feel like you’re doing just that a lot of the time), I want you to succeed. I want you to love it. I want you to look back and be able to say I did that. Because I can tell you from experience, it’s a pretty incredible feeling.

I’m super excited to be doing it again, and obviously will be sharing through our journey on Insta – if you feel inclined to follow along. Here we go, friends!

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