Self-Improvement: Week 1

Upon starting the Whole 30, I had high ambitions.

I was taking on 30 days of a completely new lifestyle with new choices and new habits. I had just recently started living alone, as I started a new chapter in my life where I was no longer a financially-supported student, but an adult with a full-time job “on my own.”

I did not have a partner to do this with me or push me. This was going to be for myself and myself alone. Something I needed to do for me, something I needed to do alone.

And it was – it is.

However, as I started my first week of the program, I realized some obstacles I had already set myself up for – unbeknownst to me.

I was learning how to actually cook for the first time, I was trying to finish my new apartment, I was trying to start a new gym and running plan (which I hadn’t done in months), I was trying to work and flourish in a full-time job, start an aggressive savings plan, grow my personal brand and writing, and oh yeah, work ten hour shifts in Tahoe on the weekends (also, I love socializing).

If you can’t tell, I am often a perfectionist, an all-or-nothing type of person. So, along with all of those things, I was also trying to do the “perfect Whole 30,” in order to lose weight and get fit in as little time as possible.

I was going to eat three perfectly portioned meals a day, with one small pre-workout snack. I was going to limit myself to one cup of black coffee in the morning (I’m used to around six).

I was trying to do everything … and I was trying to do it all at once.

By the fourth day, I could see the reality. Looking at my schedule for the next 30 days and longer terrified me, and I knew that everything I was trying to do simply wasn’t possible – and I decided that that was okay.

I realized that this program wasn’t about trying to be perfect or to gain something quickly.

I realized that it was about my life.

If I truly tried to do this for weight loss and deprive myself of even the allowed foods on the program, all while attempting to keep up and progress in everything else in my life, I would fail (or at least be extremely stressed out). And luckily, I figured this out at the beginning.

I decided that I didn’t have to be perfect, I just had to be better. I didn’t have to change everything all in one day, I just had to take steps.

I didn’t have to beat myself up over every. little. thing.

I realized that this program isn’t about losing all the weight I want within 30 days, nor is it about changing every single “bad” habit I possess overnight.  I realized it is about gradually and effectively changing my life and my habits, but more importantly, it is about teaching myself that I can do it – that if I really want something, the only person stopping me is myself.

It is about teaching myself that things take time, and that is perfectly okay.

I took the time to get myself to an unhealthy state, I can take the time to get myself out of it.

And so, maybe I won’t hit the gym every single day this first week, and maybe I won’t cook the perfectly portioned meals each day. Maybe I’ll even have some strawberries after 9 p.m. (sound the alarm).

But I’ll make it to work, I’ll sleep well, I’ll eat the foods that I am allowed to eat – and I’ll make more progress today, tomorrow, next week, and hopefully, for the rest of my life.

So, if you are embarking on a journey in self-improvement, I encourage you to set yourself up for success. Know yourself, know your past. Create a lifestyle in which you can succeed in your goals. Every person is different, and we truly know ourselves the best. 

Anastasia Warren