#Whole30 Wrap-Up

'Day 31' is here!

Strange as it might seem to put this experience up there with something as physically grueling as training for and completing marathons, I'm just as proud of this 30 days as I am of each marathon I've run.

I'm the kind of person who devours 'Before and After' stories, who flips to the 'They Lost 100 Pounds!' features in the magazines... and now I have an inkling about how they must feel.

It's been fascinating to unplug the cravings, starve out the bad habits, and really learn an excellent way to take care of myself. Because, after all, at its root, that's what Whole 30 teaches you to do: to take exquisite care of yourself.

From planning meals and not skimping on preparation; to feeding yourself wonderful things so you don't crave the crappy stuff; to paying attention to what you're eating and making sure you build joy into each meal... it's been an education.

Best things I've learned:

• I can make my own salad dressing, and it *is* as easy as everyone says it is! (Sorry, Tina, Fiona, Laura... I should have listened.)

• Where sheer willpower can be limited, personal integrity and strength is buildable and potentially boundless.

• Thai curry paste + canned coconut milk = nearly-instant dinner! (Just don't get the green kind if you're a gringo like me. Thermonuclear, that stuff!)

• I am just as attached to beverages as I think I am. (Missed those milky drinks most of all!)

• There is life after toast.

• Salad every day for lunch is a great thing! (One more thing to simplify! hooray!)

In this 30 days, I negotiated how to host a party and not indulge (key: cleanup crew; and make yourself absent during the dessert service); how to negotiate a restaurant menu (hint: it's not as hard as you think - there's nearly always a meat & veg. option somewhere in the entrées); how to take a trip out of town that doesn't turn into a feast fest. Plus: Starbuck's does coconut lattes now! Revelation!

So Day 31 started out just as Days 1-30 had: eggy breakfast, pack a salad for lunch... and the only differences were my first mug of proper tea in a month (!) and a dinner out where the deviations were Caesar salad w/ dressing and Parmesan and a glass of wine.

This new life? Shaping up to be pretty good.

(Oh, and not that it really counts, but I like it: lost TEN pounds. In a month. That has NEVER happened, and certainly not while I was eating like a prince!)