Down, Dirty & Whole30 – Week One: Am I Basic?

I think anyone who knows me at all is shocked that I would even do such a thing. And to be honest, I’m shocked too. I know who I am, okay? I am a girl who double fists burgers while drinking beer through a Crazy Straw. I have ordered pizza to my boyfriend’s apartment from my Uber even though I also had pizza for lunch. I don’t drink light beer, or a number of beers that could be considered “reasonable for one sitting.” This isn’t to convince you that I’m a cool, approachable J-Law type, because I’m not. I’m a lazy bag of farts, unable to deny myself even one of life’s many pleasures.

But honestly- how long can that last? I’d been chugging along doing my “Slightly Concerning but Adorable Lush” thing for a while, but weird stuff started happening. I started getting hangovers… that lasted 24 hours. I could no longer eat a grilled cheese and half a pint of ice-cream in the same meal without having to cancel all my plans for the evening. I was routinely winded by a flight of stairs, despite the fact that I take stairs every. damn. day. Also, I just felt bad. I was tired all the time and bloated most the time. Food is supposed to give you energy, and it seemed like mine just zapped all my energy away. I needed to change a couple things.

I started taking Barre classes at a studio by my train stop – picked because of its proximity to my house and a dope Barbecue place I really like- and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For those of you not well versed in Young Urban Lady Fitness Trends, Barre is a low-impact strength and toning exercise method based loosely on ballet and Pilates. It burns like a mother fucker. But, I spent the money on a month-long membership to guilt myself into going, and it actually started to make a noticeable difference. At the end of my second week, (attending a 50-minute class 3 times a week) I did 20 push-ups- something I have probably never done in my life. It got me thinking- I am capable of way more than I give myself credit for! So, I decided a reasonable next step would be to immediately start denying myself all the foods I loved.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole30 diet, do yourself a favor and google it real quick. I’ll wait. Great, so now you know that the basic idea of the diet is “Fuck You, Paige.” No dairy, no carbs, no booze. All my greatest loves. It’s really more of a cleanse than a diet, a period of strict dietary rules followed by a diagnostic period to tell you which foods might not work with your body. Fellow Besties Christine and Christly had both completed a Whole30 or two each, and swore it gave them super powers. I wanted super powers! Sure, I’d never gone on a diet and this seemed pretty extreme to start with. Okay, BUT- have you considered that I am VERY impulsive?

Days 1&2: This is Fine!

Here’s a little-known fact about me- I am a pretty good cook, but also lazy as hell. So I don’t cook as often as I should, and this was challenging me to cook way more! I whipped up a tasty and protein-packed egg bake (with veggies and beef sausage) to bring with me to work in the mornings, was doing pretty okay mixing up salad topping to keep me from getting bored at lunch, and was hitting up the produce section at the fancy Jewel Osco by my office with renewed enthusiasm. 30 Days of this seemed very doable!

Days 3&4: I have to eat way more veggies to stay full! Good thing my body is full of evil.

Hi, ya’ll know what detoxing is? Like the real kind? I guess all that broccoli and sweet potatoes were starting to push the bad things out of my body, and it was not pretty. I don’t want to go into too much detail, except to say that I am now way more familiar with the tile of my office bathroom. Also my sweat smelled like cheese curds. Maybe it was because of how quickly everything was running through my system, but I noticed it took WAY more food to keep me full! I could eat a pretty large salad with an entire chicken breast chopped up on it, and I would still be hungry in two hours. I was starving every morning when I woke up. I was like a hungry ghost who could only be satiated by bottomless baked sweet potato fries and people telling me they think what I’m doing is impressive.

Days 5&6: Send Snacks, Because I am Very Sad

According to the Whole30 approximate timeline, a lot of people go through a period of time where their tempers are very short. According to this same timeline, shortly after that people often experience a period of being very, very tired. I think I experienced those two phases together, which resulted in me feeling really sad for a couple of days. I felt like the diet wasn’t doing anything, that I was torturing myself for no reason, and that life wasn’t worth living if you’re not drunkenly going to town on some Dimo’s Pizza. I got in bed at 9PM on a Saturday and watched TV, because I felt too weird and sad and listless to do anything else and I was pretty sure the only cure was a brownie.

Day 7: Maybe this is Starting to Make Sense

Maybe it’s because I’d been asleep for ten hours, but I woke up on Sunday with SO MUCH ENERGY. I went to a cardio kickboxing class and had a ball. I met up with my boyfriend at drank a GREEN DAMN SMOOTHIE. I went home and pounded out this entire article in one sitting! I felt better – quicker, happier, more at peace with myself. Like I was running cleaner.

According to the Whole30 timeline, pretty soon I’m going to get bloated and gain a couple more pounds before my body starts to head the direction I want it to. Maybe I will! Maybe not. I think more than losing weight or inches around my tummy, I’m in this to prove to myself I can do hard, unpleasant stuff. I’m in it to feel better. I’m in it to improve my relationship with my body. As women, we know that most weight gain or loss is temporary. We all fluctuate. I’m not gonna worry about the number on the scale as long as I still look like me to me. But maybe I can pick up some better eating habits with some staying power! From where I’m standing, there’s no way I’m getting done with these thirty days and staying away from pizza for the rest of my life. I probably won’t last a full 24 hours. But maybe I can make that pizza a choice, and not something Satan compels me to do.

I used to be a person with an aversion to the whole Fitness/Fitspo/FabFunFitGoFuckYourself thing. Because its easy to judge someone for taking gym selfies from the comfort of your couch and a sweet Take-Out Thai embrace. But out of all the things people are into (Drugs! Murder-Cults! Pumpkin Spice Lattes!) treating your body well is probably one of the better things to obsess over. I’m never going to be a perfect, smiling Instagram fitness model with 12k followers and six pack abs. And I still can’t get over feeling silly when I tell people that I’m “on a diet.” But the high I get from leaving Barre class proud of my work is a damn good one. Is it as good as the high I get from inhaling an entire pizza by myself in the secrecy of my apartment? We’ll see.

Article by Paige Wharton, Artwork by Christly Guedry