I wish I could say that after completing Whole30 I continued on with my paleo ways until now, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. Eventually, life got busy and I got back into my old habits of convenience eating, weekend binges, and drinking my coffee with creamer. It’s not easy to eat [restrictively] healthy all the time and it can also be expensive. But after a while of being off the wagon and seeing my life start to turn back into a hopeless mess, I had to do some reevaluating of what really mattered to me. If I had found a solution to my problems, why wasn’t I embracing it, donuts, pizza, and tortilla chips be damned?!
I decided to make small changes. If I was really going to live this way forever, I had to let go of my lifelong habits slowly: one by one. I started by cutting back on sugar, since that seemed to be the strongest cause of debilitation—and of course, it was also the hardest habit to break. I switched from vanilla coffee mate to organic half and half and eventually learned to love it black most days. I passed on the brown sugar in my sweet potato and enjoyed it naturally with a little coconut oil and cinnamon. I munched on berries or larabars instead of cookies. And eventually, it became second nature. Whenever I did eat sugar, I found that I was satisfied with a lot less than I had been satisfied with before. A couple of bites of ice cream did the trick instead of having to down a whole cup and still wishing for more. I found myself growing in confidence with every act of self-control.
Next, I cut out gluten. I still enjoyed my popcorn, corn tortillas, rice cakes, and gluten free pizza. And slowly I transitioned to an 80/20 way of eating. Eighty percent of the time, I would eat grain free, 20 percent of the time I would indulge in popcorn, chips and salsa, even pasta, breadsticks, or beer on occasion! There are so many gluten/grain free options these days that the switch wasn’t really that difficult. And trust me, pancakes taste so much better without having your belly protrude out like you’re seven months pregnant after eating them.
Now after many months of transitioning into this lifestyle, I continue with my 80/20 mentality. It’s about progress, not perfection. I have learned to understand and listen to my body. If you listen carefully, it will tell you what it needs and what it can handle. If I’m feeling good, and I want some chocolate ice cream, I’ll have some. If I’m having a difficult day, I know that it’s important for me to take it easy and give myself good things. There isn’t always a concrete pattern to follow when it comes to eating healthy and living well. Your relationship with your body is just like any other: in order for it to thrive, you have to be attentive and willing to sacrifice for the ultimate benefit of the relationship. Trust me, with time and consistency, your body will go above and beyond to pay you back for the effort you put in.