My Reflections on the Whole9

About an hour ago, someone posted a good question on the Whole9/Whole30 Facebook page to prompt this post.

Those of you who have visited the Whole30 site for information have probably already picked up that Dallas and Melissa Hartwig have designed a program and community they refer to as Whole9, home of the Whole 30 program.

It must be the critically thinking college professor in me that has always made me a fan of programs and conversations that focus on multiple perspectives than, say, any single idea or, as is often the case, the dueling “either/or”, as if there are only two choices.

Similar to the CrossFit paradigm where there are multiple dimensions of fitness (may follow-up in another post), I wasn’t surprised to learn that Whole9 represents the multiple dimensions of optimal health driving the Whole30 program.

I decided to evaluate myself on each factor 10 days into this journey. I think this will be very helpful to keep the program in perspective as well as in re-evaluating myself at the end.

Exercise: WODs, glorious WODs. My CrossFit seems to be complimenting this program. My WODs have held steady or improved (moved from red band to purple band!) since the beginning and I’m proud that I’ve had at least 5 WODs a week since the beginning of the year. My goal is to hold that until the end of this program.

Also, at the end, in addition to completing the baseline again, I’d like to do Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 hand release push-ups, 15 air squats on the minute, every minute, for 20 minutes). I did this workout on 12/31/11 just before I started this program and I completed 7 rounds before I had to take my first minute off. I took 5 additional minutes off during the remainder of the workout. (I did make-up the rounds to get to 20 total, it just took me 27 minutes 😉 I would like to improve that.

Temperance: Although we tend to think of this with regard to alcohol usage (or lack of), the Greeks define this as “moderation in action, thought, or feeling; restraint.” What a powerful message. I have begun to learn that I have to be intentional about taking a moment when faced with choices and decisions (about all things–not just food or drink) to exercise temperance. I’m not sure modern life provides us with these opportunities or reminders often enough, and so we must do so ourselves.

My temperance in the first 10 days has definitely been food- and drink- related for the most part. I will challenge myself to infuse this in other parts of my life as well over the next 20 days.

Quick note: I will post reflections about my alcohol use before the W30 before the end of the program; don’t let me off the hook 😉 Let’s just say that today is my 16th day without alcohol and I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened in my adult life with the exception of pregnancy.

Personal Growth: I have noticed a few items which I think may be related to this dimension. One is this blog which I have become quite committed to over the last 10 days. I have not missed a post; in fact I find myself embracing the opportunity to post.

I have also started to play the piano again which is something that I haven’t done since high school. I found it interesting the other night that I was seemingly drawn to the instrument and then played for almost 30 minutes. I am considering taking lessons!

Fun and play: I feel like I have lots of this in my life thanks to my 7 and 5 year-old children. I will continue to cherish it, and seek to cherish it even more!

Injury Rehab: This has been very important over the last 10-15 days. In fact, I started 2012 in the emergency room with a complex migraine and a pulled back muscle. I have had several caring health professionals including hospital physicians and staff, doctors of chiropractic and staff, and massage that have helped me to not only rehab my injuries, but also realize what I can do proactively in the future to maintain long-term wellness. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this had been included in the Whole9, and I feel like the Whole30 has motivated me to handle this injury differently than I would have before (pills, time off from workouts, etc.)

I definitely want to commit to wellness long-term in the next 20 days and beyond.

Active Recovery: Since our Coaches program our WODs, I know there is some recovery built in to the program. I also consider the low intensity exercise that I can maintain through an active lifestyle to  contribute to this as well. In the next 20 days, I want to seek out more of these opportunities. Some colleagues at work are discussing a walking program for the new year and I’m going to join them. I think its important that I use wellness and activity to expand to other parts of my life and this is a great opportunity.

Stress Management: At first it may seem surprising that this is part of the Whole9, but this makes sense for me since I think I previously used food (and drink!!!) as a stress management tool (which I’m learning it isn’t). So, understanding better stress management techniques is important to maintaining a healthier balance long term.

I have noticed myself doing more of what my kids call “self talk” over the last 10 days, often involving a voice in my head and a few deep, calming breaths. I have found myself taking notice of other situations that help me find perspective a bit more. Now this story is based only on observations and conclusions without evidence, but that said, I noticed a family in the grocery store that seemed to be having trouble paying for a small number of items, and was without fresh items such as produce and meat. It happened to be a day that I was feeling particularly bad for myself about my W30, focusing on what I couldn’t have in my cart. Then I looked back down at my cart and thought, “Look at all of this beautiful food that I can comfortably shop for and bring home and I’m feeling bad for myself about what?”

That is just one instance that I can recall when I used my own thoughts and attitude to change my outlook on my life. I need to keep this up over the next 20 days.

Sleep: I have gone back and forth on good decisions about sleep. The 5:15 am WODs help push me in a good direction. I have heard that sleep deprivation can have worse effects than substance use, and I believe it. I notice that I’m especially impatient with people (who I love especially) when I lack sleep. The goal of 7 to 9 hours per night for the Biggest Winner has been especially helpful to target the right amount of sleep.

I have noticed myself declining a few evening commitments that will keep me out later than I want to be out. I need to continue to do this.

Nutrition: I have roasted my first chicken, peeled more sweet potatoes than ever, discovered coconut butter, thrown away less food (especially produce and leftovers),  eaten out only once (if you know me, you know I would have told you this was impossible), prepared meals in advance, developed healthy recipes, blogged about it, etc., etc. My goals over the next 20 days:

1. Eat a food I have never eaten before (I still have that yucca root). Feel free to suggest more. Although I have eaten a lot of foods. (I had 77 on the Facebook list of 100)

2. Cook more fish (I am good with shrimp but want to do more)

3. Cook ribs (always a goal of mine)

There you go! My analysis of each dimension of the Whole9. This is a great exercise for anyone, especially you W30-ers out there.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading it.

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5 Responses to My Reflections on the Whole9

  1. Erika says:

    My first blog post is going to be a green chili with yucca root! It’s seriously one of my all time favorite meals. Might be worth a shot so you can use that darn yucca!

  2. How are you planning to cook your yucca root? I LOVE fried yucca, but I’m not sure that’s Whole 30 approved. 😉 I enjoyed your analysis, too!

  3. Pingback: Day 11 | Jen's Whole 30

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