Turning The Corner

Today’s diary post is a little shorter than usual. As some of you may have seen, the lovely folks over at WorldIrish.com reposted my Paleo Pancake Tuesday post on their kick-ass website! They also asked me to write an article on my Whole30 experience to date, giving some tips on Flexing Your Will Power This Lent. You can check it out here or read it below:

With Lent starting tomorrow, everyone is talking about what they will give up this year. Whether you do it for religious reasons, to improve your health or just as an act of self-discipline, Lent offers us the opportunity to challenge our daily habits and recommit to bettering ourselves. On that note, I thought I would write about my own ‘Lent’ which started last week.

I am in my second week of a Paleo Whole30. What’s a Whole30, I hear you ask? Well, it’s a 30 day challenge during which you eliminate all potentially inflammatory and overly processed foods from your diet. This means a total elimination of all dairy, grains and sugar for 30 days. The second level to this is to break the unhealthy habits and associations many of us have with food. Whether your vice is sweet chocolate, crisps or fizzy drinks, it is best to avoid snacks that replicate that taste and emotional reaction during the 30 days. The result is that your body will be cleansed of all inflammatory toxins and your mind will have established a different relationship with the food you eat. For more information, check out the Whole30 website here: http://whole9life.com/2012/12/january-2013-whole30/

When I decided to do this challenge, I had three key objectives in mind: To boost and enhance my overall health; to see which foods have a negative physical effect on my body and; to change the relationship I have with food (sugar in particular). I am tired of starting and stopping ‘diets’ and I am concerned that I don’t really know what I’m consuming in processed foods every day. I hope this challenge will kick my sugar habit and that the result will be a healthy, balanced and sustainable diet that nourishes my body and mind.

This, as you can see is no easy change. Not only am I eliminating junk food, I am also taking away many of the staples I generally survive on such porridge, potatoes, sandwiches and milk. And for someone who has never stuck at any diet for longer than a few days before, I can assure you, this is flexing my will power. 30 days seems like a long time when you’re on day 5! I am doing pretty well though and I think this is down to having clear objectives for this challenge and creating support systems in various aspects of my life to ensure I don’t make it even harder on myself.

So, if you’re toying with the idea of giving something up but bail last minute because you don’t think you’ll survive the 40 days (like I always did), check out these Top 5 tips for flexing your will power this month:

  • Set clear goals. Decide what exactly you want to give up and why. What do you hope to gain by doing this? Focus on one or two goals and don’t get distracted by others. I am not doing the Whole30 to lose weight, so I am not stepping on scales for the duration of the challenge.
  • Educate yourself. Read articles and blogs to find out what to expect when you give that something up. If its diet related, you might find you have sugar headaches on days 2-3 or feel grumpy for the first week.
  • Build motivators into your daily life. Get a few friends on board so that you can spur each other on. Sign up to a news letter or blog that gives you words of motivation and encouragement. Find tasty recipes and buy nice ingredients that will make you want to be in the kitchen! I started writing about it on my blog which keeps me accountable.
  • Set up safety nets. Planning is key. Write down all the potential scenarios in which you might be ready to throw the towel in and then think of ways to prevent you falling off the band wagon. Got a chocolate bar hidden in your cupboard? Chuck it! Usually have a mid-morning latte and choccy biscuit? Keep healthy snacks in your drawers at work.
  • Ignore the Negative-Nancies! There will always be someone there to say ‘That paleo thing is ridiculous’ or ‘Go on, one slice won’t kill you’ or ‘There’s no way you’re going to last’. Screw them! It’s not their body, their mind, their life. It’s yours. Take ownership of it! You’re the only one that will be disappointed if you give up and delighted if you follow through. Your example might even inspire a Negative-Nancy to embark on the own ‘Lent’!

Best of luck to all of you giving up something for Lent…YOU CAN DO IT!


Dear Paleo Diary,

I thought I had turned the corner on Saturday, but it turns out it was not a corner but a mere bend in the road that obscured a steep hill on the other side! I had my first proper social event on Saturday evening as we celebrated my dear friend Caitriona’s baby shower. I had packed a few snacks just in case but they weren’t needed. Thankfully, there were some tasty Paleo options available such as a vegetable thai green curry and chicken drumsticks…yum! Let be honest, though, it was always going to be the treats that I struggled with: Red velvet cupcakes, a peach sponge cake, and a box of roses that must have been passed to me at least three times! I faced those sugar demons in all their glory and I won! I know…I surprised myself too!

Instead of celebrating my win, my body decided to fall apart on Sunday. Boyfriend and I were seriously cranky and the fungriness just wouldn’t dissipate. By Sunday evening, my tummy felt ill and I couldn’t stomach another piece of meat. So I didn’t. My head was telling me to eat a slice of toast, like I usually do when I feel ill, but my body wanted the nutrients of good simple veg. I heated a small sweet potato and had that with a big plate of steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and peas. I realise this wouldn’t qualify as a strictly paleo meal (no protein or fat) but I feel I learned a valuable lesson. Listen to your body. Not your head or your sweet tooth, but your body. This made me take a really good look at what I had eaten in the previous 24 hours and recognise that I had eaten plenty of protein, good fats and fruit but not enough veg. And what do you know?! Those veg fixed me right up!

And on Monday, I finally did turn that corner. My energy levels have been far steadier the last few days. I’ve been a busy little bee this week with a few different projects, both work and non-work related but I’ve had enough energy to stay on top of things and keep powering through my kettlebell classes (total beast mode 😉 )! Quite frankly, I’ve been in flying form!

Bring on the next 19 days!

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