I am ordinarily snarky and off-color to some degree, but while in the first stages of the Whole 30, I am cranky as well. I put in a little extra effort most of the time to remain upbeat in my day-to-day. This is a coping mechanism that I employ so that I can stand being around humans while chasing the deadline dragon in my professional role.
But at the start of the Whole 30, my snarky and off-color gets a little looser, and my cranky is a version of myself that is a brand of impatience coupled with suppressed rage thoughts that are ridiculous, yet possess a brief intensity that inevitably become comical. Because, come on.
Here are some examples from my workday:
[sees bowl of chocolate kisses] Why are the fucking walls of this place coated in chocolate?
Why the fuck doesn’t my password work to log in?
[realization strikes that I changed it yesterday]
Why the fuck are there bagels in the kitchen?
How the hell am I supposed to work without new batteries in my mouse?
[suddenly finds them in front of own face]
[walks by rice crispy treats] Why the fuck is there always heroin on the kitchen table?
…and other unreasonable expletive-filled nonsense that is the kind of thing I should probably be addressing in the meditation moments I am not experiencing, but that’s another blog.
One other thought that occurred to me during this trying time of elimination and suppressing throat punches (I’m a super nice person, and I love my workmates, I swear) was that I clearly should have unfollowed a number of foodie Instagram accounts that usually hold my gaze with fond appreciation, but that now are just another trigger. I’ve come up with a couple more things to consider for a Whole 30 effort, but let’s start there.
Unfollow or Somehow Otherwise Suppress Social Media Triggers
I love food. So do you. That’s why we’re doing this – so we can lead a conscious paleo lifestyle for the long term and eat real food along the way. But here’s the thing: I am an omnivore, food writer, and fan of food photos. And cheese lover (rage trigger right there).
This week I had to give up the ghost and unfollow a few breweries (my home of Fort Collins, Colorado is referred to as “the Napa Valley of beer”), Saveur, Andrew Zimmern, Bon Apetit, Tasting Table and Waltzing Kangaroo. I’m okay with that, considering the fact that the sight of pie, a loaf of bread, beer, pasta, or a host of other forbidden items makes me stare a little bit too long, and that I find my brain trying to justify a “Whole 15” – Why do I need 30?
Just stop looking and you might be okay.
Follow more paleo and Whole 30-centric social media. The inspiration really does help, the humor is great, and the recipes are what will keep you going. I recommend Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo, the official Whole30, and Civilized Caveman.
Try to Enlist Someone You Know to Get on This Crazy Train with You
I’ve done the Whole 30 twice prior to this, and both of those times I flew solo. This time around, my close workmate and friend Andrea is also on the program. When I say “close workmate” what I mean is that her chair is four feet from my chair. All. Day.
What I mean when I say “friend” is that she is holding me accountable. And she is doing that just by being there to talk about food that we like and can have. We share a love of cooking and that makes it easy for us to be supportive of one another.
But we also admit to each other when we are thinking about beer, or are having a craving that needs to be worked through. Basically, a lot of GIPHYs exchanged in the name of eliciting a smile through the shared rage at cheese in general.
Surround Yourself with the Right Choices
Dudes, I am so guilty of not being prepared out of the gate. It happens. Then you lift your head and realize that you probably need to go get some Coconut Aminos and Nom Nom Paleo mushroom powder (if you can find it) and get over yourself. The idea is, you need to work the plan like a longshoreman, and you can’t do that on just pistachios, spinach, mushrooms and eggs (guilty).
Anything you read about getting on board with the Whole 30 is about being prepared with the right food in the proper quantities. This is a crucial component and cannot be overlooked. Don’t spend your first two days of the Whole 30 eating baked potatoes like I did, cobbling your way from potato to potato with a few nuts here and a green smoothie there.
Whole 30 resources are innumerable. When I first embraced it back in 2013, I did it with hard copies of the books It Starts With Food, Against All Grain, The Paleo Kitchen and Nom Nom Paleo. Today, it’s all blown up thanks to social media. I have to say that Michelle Tam continues to rise above the fray for me with her innovative approach and handy way of making it all so approachable.
One more thing: show up for yourself. You deserve it.
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Sufficed to say, I am going to get over the rage hump. I wrote the above on infamous DAY 11, which I made through just so that I could face DAY 12, which is also a notorious sonuvabitch.
I caught myself almost faltering, hand poised over goat cheese. I asked myself, “Do you want to go to work tomorrow and tell Andrea that you succumbed? Or do you want to share your triumph in overcoming the urge?”
I chose triumph in that moment, and my plan is to continue to do so.
I can do this, and so can you.