It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything here so I thought I’d share an update and hopefully some inspiration.
Today marks my 30th day doing Whole30. I made it! I can’t believe it, to be honest. For those of you who don’t know what Whole30 is, it’s a diet where you eliminate all sugar, dairy, grains and processed foods for 30 days. That means no ice cream, no Oreos (my favorite), no cheesecake (my other favorite), no rice, noodles, bread, butter…you get the idea.
In order to convey the enormity of my finishing 30 days on this diet without a single cheat I need to tell you that I’m that guy that up until 30 days ago NEVER said no to a snack. I’m that guy who stopped a couple times a week at Dollar General for a box of Milk Duds, or who routinely sat down at night to watch TV with a big glass of milk and 5 or 10 Oreo Double Stuffed cookies. All day at work I snacked on anything from fudge to brownies to candy my co-workers brought in.
All that to say this: It seemed like an impossibility to give all that up cold turkey for THIRTY DAYS.
But I did it! And I feel better than I’ve felt in YEARS! Let me share with you some of the benefits I’ve discovered…
- I lost 18 lbs! My clothes fit better and I’m no longer huffing after tying my shoes 🙂
- I have more energy. In addition to eating better, I also started training to run a half marathon in July. I’ve been following an 8 week training plan and over the past four weeks I’ve gone from running 2 miles after my first full week to running 6.5 miles just this past Sunday!
- I discovered a new hobby – cooking! Having to prepare fresh food every day meant I had to organize my time in such a way that I had time to cook and prepare meals. I found that I really enjoy trying new recipes and preparing food not only for myself but for those I love. It’s a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to have others eat what I’ve prepared and see they enjoy it (check out some pics below!)
Those are some of the more obvious benefits – things others can see (or taste). One of the less obvious benefits but no less important was how I discovered this really bolstered my recovery health. There really is no secret to fighting addiction. At some point when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired (hit bottom) you have to just do something else. Replacing old, bad, destructive habits with something new, good, and life-giving is one of the best things you can do for yourself for long term recovery. It gives your mind, body and spirit something new to pursue, creating joy that you didn’t know you were missing and giving you even more reasons to pursue sobriety. You really are worth it!
The other advantage this brings to recovery that I have found, and I talk about this on other posts here related to fasting, is how being disciplined in this area flows out and over into other areas. Discovering that I am able to say no to the urge to have an Oreo (and not die because I’ve deprived my body of something it wants) helps strengthen my spirit to respond positively when tempted with other ungodly desires. If you can discipline your body to say no to food it wants, you can do the same when lust comes knocking at your door, or any other drug of choice to which you’ve been enslaved.
I think Jesus knew what he was doing when he fasted himself and taught his disciples to do the same. He knew the spiritual secret behind saying no to the desires of the flesh, (even to something neutral, even good, like food) – that such a practice can prepare one’s body and soul to say no to Satan’s other means of temptation and attack.
I want to encourage you if you are struggling today (or this month or for the past years). If you have never considered how food or other areas you keep saying “yes” might be contributing to your unwanted compulsive behaviors elsewhere, maybe do so now. Consider putting yourself to a 30 day challenge and say no to something other than (in addition to) your drug of choice. If it’s porn, but you also love donuts, give up donuts for 30 days and just see if that doesn’t make you stronger in your fight against porn. In my experience, it will.
What are you waiting for? Today is as good a day as any to start. Just do it!
Grace and peace,