Setting a Goal and Seeing it Through: Completing a Whole 30

Whole 30 coping tools, sparkling coconut water, trips to the farmers market, writing with coffee and cooking at home. 

Whole 30 coping tools, sparkling coconut water, trips to the farmers market, writing with coffee and cooking at home. 

Over the winter I developed some eating habits I didn’t like.  I was eating out way too much, not getting enough vegetables and drinking more than was necessary.  My cravings for sugar were starting to become absurd.  I knew it was time to reevaluate my eating habits, cook at home more, eat less processed foods and focus on nourishing my body.  I also knew a Whole 30 would allow me to evaluate my cravings and examine my relationship with food.  

From past experiences I've found that various forms of detox eating programs can be very helpful in resetting relationships with food.  But embarking on this whole 30 I had some reservations. I tried to do a whole 30 while I was training for a half marathon early last spring and the whole 30 derailed the training completely.  For me running (or working out in general) and lack of grains = horrible outcomes on both sides.  I felt like a failure in my running and I felt like a failure for ending the whole 30 early.  It was disaster any way I looked at it.  

Last year's first try at a whole 30 damaged my feelings of self worth.  I walked away from that feeling like I had failed (when it really had more to do with very poor timing on my part). Now, in addition to feeling like my body needed a reset I've felt like I had unfinished business with the whole 30.  I'm confident that I can do just about anything for 30 days if it's a goal I know in my heart is important and given the right circumstances. After all did I run a 5k every day of the month in December.  So surely I could see this program through start to finish at least once.  I’ve put a pause button on my running until I’ve quit the day job (4 days and counting).  Since I'm not running (but I will be again soon) I knew there's no better time than now.

This time I went in promising myself that if it felt like I wasn't doing something good for my body then I could drop the plan no guilt, shame or feelings of failure attached just an understanding that the whole 30 isn't for me.  Otherwise I did everything I could to make sure I was set up for success in this goal.  No big trips had been planned, no parties that I would have felt strange about not partaking in the dish they were serving or the wine others were drinking. I also didn't talk about this goal on-line while I was doing it.  I told a few folks so that I'd have people to text when i was feeling weak in resolve.  It sounds counter intuitive to success, but I wanted to be able to quit without a public to do, after all the only person I was doing this for was me.  

The last 30 days were a challenge and I was successful in completing the program.  My sugar cravings are gone, I've eaten much more at home and re-developed healthier habits around food. There were a few times where I almost quit the program, but knowing it was just a choice not a judgement of my self worth made it easier to stick to my resolve when it came down to it.  This isn't an eating plan that will be long term right for me (and whole 30 isn't meant to be long term) and I'm not sure how much I'd recommend it to others.  For me it comes down to everything in moderation.  

For me the down sides of this program are...  it wouldn't work for me if I'd been trying to run, even a little.  I did miss cheese and chocolate and while I'm not craving them I do still miss them.  In my experience the whole 30 does remove the joy from eating. 

For me the perks of the program are... I learned some new self care options.  For instance when I was craving a glass of wine after a hard day of work instead of the wine I drew myself a hot bath, added epson salts, lavender oil, put on a mud mask and hot oiled my hair, then dove into a book while soaking.  It was more decedent than the glass of wine and felt like it was a real treat.  My sleep has been the best I've had in ages, and my skin is clearer than it's been since before puberty.  

I do feel like I've positively reset my habits, learned a few new recipes and I'm glad I saw this through to completion, but I'm really glad it's over.  

What are your tips and tricks for setting goals and sticking to them?  What keeps you sticking with a goal you've set even when it gets tough?  I would love to hear your motivators.  Please share in the comments below.