Starting the Whole30 Journey

A couple weeks ago I was out for coffee with my best friend Mimi. Mid-conversation, she said, “Hey, let’s do the Whole30 program.” And I said, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” I’d heard of Whole30 before and I know some people who have done it and loved it. So I thought, how hard could it be? We decided to start after Memorial Day so that we could still enjoy our pie and alcohol and other bad yummy foods.

I didn’t give Whole30 too much thought again until Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Mimi and I were at the Market gathering produce for our new diet and we started talking more about this Whole30 thing that we were about to start. She said, “You know you can’t have dairy, right? No milk or cheese or anything. And no added sugars, no grains, no baked goods.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I love sugar, chocolate, carbs, milk, cheese, and wine. I love all the foods. “Maybe I should go read the Whole30 book and figure out what I’m getting myself into.”

So I ordered the book on Amazon and then I had four days to prepare myself for this Whole30 journey. I studied, I went grocery shopping, and I did a little meal-prep for the week. To be honest, this seems hard. Hard and not very fun. But I know it’s going to be worth it.

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So what is the Whole30?

Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss program, or a “get thin quick” fad. The book says, “Think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health, your habits, and your relationship with food.” We tell ourselves that we have to have certain foods. We have to have warm bread and butter while we wait for our food at the restaurant. We need to add sugar to those strawberries or they won’t taste as good. But the truth is that we don’t need any of those things. Whole30 is about giving your body only what it needs, not what it craves. The Whole30 makes you spend 30 days breaking your addictions to cookies, chips, grease, whatever it is, and redefine your relationship with food. Losing weight has nothing to do with it (the book even tells you to throw away your scale while on the program); It’s all about health.

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One Year Post-Grad

It’s been 365 days since I graduated from college. What do I have to show for it?

I have a piece of paper that says I have a Bachelor’s Degree.

I have student loans to pay for every month.

I don’t have a fancy job to brag about. But I do like my job.

I have a mind that is jam-packed with four years of knowledge about everything from Chemistry to the recurring motifs in the work of Hemingway (that’s what a Liberal Arts school will do to you).

I have an awareness of the world around me. I know about the desperate need for life-giving water wells across Africa, about the devastating monstrosity that is human trafficking, and about our responsibility for taking care of this earth that we live in. You can’t live the same way after you learn about these things.

I have character that has been shaped by four years of life experience in a diverse and vibrant community. I can’t turn a blind eye to injustice anymore. I stand up for the right of  all people to live their lives in freedom and peace, regardless of gender. I show compassion to people who are hurting. I care deeply, I live strongly, and I keep my spirit calm.

I have unforgettable memories from spending four years with close friends. Late nights in the dorms, library dates, and meaningful coffee shop conversations. Faces, adventures, smiles, and kind eyes– memories that will never leave.

So everyone asks this question: Was college worth it?

To be honest, I have struggled with this question. I’ve been living in the adult world for a year now, paying bills and going to work 40+ hours a week and fighting the monotony. Has my college education made an impact on how I navigate this world? Was all of the money, homework, and headache worth it? Do the benefits outweigh the cost?

The answer is yes. 

My college experience has enabled me to live in the real world while not falling victim to it. It has enabled me to thrive, to set myself apart from the machine of the working world. There is more to life than going to work, making money, and paying our bills. There is always something to learn, to try to see differently, or to explore. Life is vast and grand, if you let it be. Yes, college is expensive. And no, I don’t currently have a job in my field of study. But at the end of the day, my college education shaped me into a better person than I would have been without it. It’s worth it. And I’m thankful for it.

The Strangeness of Not Being in School

Fall has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. Summer can never end soon enough, and I love watching it slowly bow to Autumn. I love falling red and orange leaves, crisp air, scarves, oversized sweaters, cozying up with hot chocolate or chai, and the feeling that comes when a new season is here; Something about it makes my soul stir with the contentedness of a fluffy cat napping in front of a fireplace.
As I’ve been waiting for Summer to end over the last few weeks, a weird, unsettled feeling has been creeping its way into my heart. I tried to shake it, but it keeps hanging around. A few days ago I suddenly got the urge to rearrange my closet, and then that turned into a weekend-long project of rearranging and reorganizing my entire bedroom. The unsettled feeling had gone away while I was working and progressing. When I finished, I sat in my favorite chair and basked in the outcome of a weekend’s worth of work. But as I looked over at my newly organized desk, that unsettled feeling rushed back in and it dawned on me:
Fall is coming and I’m not going back to school.
I’ve graduated. I’m done with school for now.
I knew this time would come, I guess I just wasn’t ready for it.

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One month post-grad

It’s been just about a month since I walked across the graduation stage in a heat stroke-inducing gym and earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Roberts Wesleyan College.

rockin that Hefty trash bag look ;)
Rocking that Hefty trash bag look 😉

I’ve been in a reflective mood and wondering about what I should be accomplishing now that I have a college degree.

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Staying sane in the new year

There’s always a lot of hype around this time of year. We set goals to lose weight, have more money, and be nice. Essentially, we are trying to be better people, as if the person you were this year wasn’t good enough.

I’d like to propose that we are good enough. In 2014 we’ve all accomplished great things, met some goals, broke some resolutions, experienced some truly great moments, and went through some hardships. We are awesome human beings.

Sure, there are some changes that we’d like to make in order to enhance our lives, but I encourage you to be realistic. Don’t set a “new year’s resolution” to lose forty pounds by summertime. Resolutions like that are nearly impossible to keep.

Make lifestyle changes, not resolutions.

If you want to see improvement and enhance your quality of life, make little lifestyle changes instead of huge resolutions. Try to replace a cookie with a banana once a week. When your co-workers get on your nerves, take a few deep breaths instead of saying that snarky comment. Slowly develop a routine that will bring you towards your ultimate goal.

2014 is almost over. Hold onto your precious memories and throw the rest of the garbage away. Don’t get caught up in making crazy resolutions, just be true to yourself and start the new year with fresh eyes and an optimistic heart.