As I’m preparing to start again the 30-day Whole30 food program (an elimination, anti-inflammation program), I’m thinking back to the first time I started it and why it was so easy. Because it is not feeling so easy now, I think while eating a donut and suffering the various physical reactions I have to dairy, wheat, and sugar: itchy eyes, congestion, cough, exhaustion. Why was it so easy in January, when it was dark and cold and depressing?
I have no easy answers, except to say that my journey is clearly not over. But I’ve come a a long way and I’ll hope that by sharing my journey, somebody else’s will be a little easier.
When I first started the Whole30 program at the beginning of this year, I told myself and everybody else that my primary motivation wasn’t weight loss. No, the real reason I embarked on a radical change to my diet was I was facing multiple nights a week of late night dance rehearsals. I was battling fatigue and joint pain. I knew I had to change something. I lied. To myself and everybody else. Yes, that was a really compelling, close #2 reason, but the truth was, I was ready to lose weight.
I am lying to myself and to you if I don’t admit that the desire to lose weight is constantly on my mind, as it has been since I was in my teens. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve lost weight and gained it back. The times I was so sure I had it all figured out. The year in nutrition school, becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. When “life” happened in the form of one of my biggest and hardest lessons and I gained the weight back. For the last time. And started for real my journey of learning to love and accept myself the way I am, the journey I had to begin before any kind of diet would ever work for me long term.
I maintained my weight for a few years. This is important, because nobody was congratulating me for looking thinner (because I wasn’t), but I was doing the real healing work to bring me where I am now. I learned to happy with who I am and where I am right now. I learned to stop waiting until I was the perfect size to start living my life. I started dancing before I had the “body of a dancer.” I proceeded with following my dreams of changing my occupation and other experiences I desire in my life.
One of my big dreams for my life is to be free of dieting and the desire to lose weight taking way too much of my energy, way too much of my life.
So, when I started Whole30 in January, I was ready to make radical changes to lose weight and feel good, have more energy, get rid of joint pain. And the fact that those 30 days (turned into a few months) were so easy was a miracle. A pretty big fucking miracle.
A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. ~A Course in Miracles
This journey has been a spiritual journey. I cannot explain away synchronicity and miracles without belief in a higher power and the connection of all beings. A higher power that is only love and desires what is best for us and will assist when we ask. One of the most empowering things I have read on weight loss is the introduction from Marianne Williamson’s book A Course in Weight Loss (based on her studies of A Course in Miracles). I’ve read the entire book more than once, but I keep coming back to the introduction. Some of the important messages (her ideas, my words):
- If this was easy, you would have done it already. Let go of shame.
- The extra weight is a symptom. Overeating is a symptom. Fear is the cause.
- This is bigger than you. Give it up to a higher power and believe in miracles.
I have had doctors shame me for my weight and put me on a restrictive diet that left me hungry and depressed. I have worked with personal trainers who have put me on an 800 calorie diet (I kid you not, I stuck to it for 3 days). I have been on weight watchers and every other weight loss plan you can name. I have worked with loving coaches and naturopathic doctors who have helped me get in tune with the real needs of my own body, mind, and spirit. I have studied A Course in Miracles and I have read A Course in Weight Loss. And I have prayed, and surrendered, and prayed some more.
This is how it happened: I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a health coach colleague was doing this Whole30 thing. I went to the website, researched it, checked in with my health coach, started it within a few days, stayed with it through the end of May, lost 30 pounds.
From January through May, it was easy. It was a miracle. I thought I’d write about this profound experience of my Whole30 journey, but it was just easy. I was busy. I found a way to eat healthy, the same thing every day, but I was too busy to care. I was focused on dancing, getting ready for the Salsa Team Performances in May. I hit my goal. Then traveled for a graduation celebration, celebrated my 50th birthday, and went on vacation: celebrations through June and July.
The real story is how I got to where I could succeed with Whole30 the first time and what happens next. I have different challenges now, new goals. I’ve changed. I’m showing up in whole new way but I’m hitting the same obstacles on a different level. Whole30 is going to be a different experience this time.
Praying for some miracles.