I was reading through old journal entries the other night and I came upon one from late November, written after having exploded at my kids. I was clearly feeling loads of guilt and remorse when I wrote it. The last line read, “I know beating myself up isn’t going to help. I can only think that maybe drinking and eating poorly doesn’t help either. I don’t want to be so controlling. I feel like I can’t even feel lately. Please god, help me get in touch with my feelings.“
I can’t remember exactly when TJ and I decided that we would do Whole30, but it is evident that as we entered holiday season I felt I needed a major change in my life; I needed to throw a wrench in the gears of normal daily operations so that I could slow down, reset my machinery and feel what needed to be felt. Whole30 has provided me just this opportunity.
Not only have I calmed my system by abstaining from the food and drink most likely to cause inflammation, but I have also hunkered down and slowed time. The very nature of Whole30 lends itself to being home more and socializing less. Our presence has changed our space. The kitchen has transformed and come to life. Preparing food has taken center stage, and I have become much more culinarily adept. I can find my footing chopping veggies and filling the house with the smell of warm spices. Family meals linger and the kitchen clean-up isn’t such an event. I don’t know where the rush has gone, but I enjoy it’s absence.
The nature of Whole30 has also leant itself to aspects of self-care far outside those of the kitchen. Adhering to the plan has required me to build a support system. Blogging, connecting with friends via written and spoken word and chatting with TJ multiple times a day about how we are feeling is new for me. Whole30 has brought me connection that I hope I can sustain long after the days when experimenting with food takes center stage. Adhering to the plan also necessitated minding myself as carefully as I do my children. I followed rules, I reassured myself with kind and compassionate words, and I set boundaries and reviewed the consequences of what would happen and how I would feel should I step outside of said boundaries. I was constantly checking in with myself about my needs and my feelings. I was more mindful than ever.
Noting all the positives of the Whole30 journey, I better understand my fear around reintroduction. In my last post I shared being fearful of reintroducing the food groups I had eliminated for the past 30 days: alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes and sugar. I was fearful of adding them and feeling like crap, but I was just as fearful of continuing the course and causing inconvenience for my family at home and being a nuisance to TJ and friends when out and about. I was fearful of abstaining from alcohol and being socially awkward. I was fearful of being judged.
It took surrendering just a bit to see that I can still be “in control” and advocate for myself. I can continue to mother myself just as carefully as I mother my children. I can be gentle and give myself as much time as I need to reintroduce. I can take two weeks, two months or longer. Most importantly, I never have to give up the self-care that I’ve learned. I can continue to nurture my support system. I can continue to be mindful of what I’m putting into my body and how it affects me. I can continue to abstain from alcohol in overwhelming social situations and respect the introversion that I may try to mask with a glass of wine.
Perhaps I could even celebrate it.