So…I’m not doing the 90-Day Challenge because I would be missing out on a solid third of it while I’m out of town for the holidays, but one of the box owners from CFSWP persuaded me to participate in a 30-Day Paleo Challenge to help get me getback on track after the Kuehnel Family Christmas Cookie-Palooza planted several pounds worth of itself on my ass by January 1 (I was really banking on the world ending on that one…). Shan told me I could do the challenge informally, but that she wanted me to do it just because, and to give me a reason to pay more attention to my nutrition (simultaneously, it was probably negative reinforcement to be eating like shit and still PR a clean and jerk…).
So the challenge started, and I’ve broken it probably almost every day since it did. I’m not gonna turn this into the DK Confesses Her Sins Post, but it is true: I’m not perfect, and I haven’t been staying strict. Most days, I would start off pretty great, and then go get a latte in the afternoon with whole milk (or sweetened almond milk), all the while stealthily Instagramming the beautiful cheat foods, hiding them from Shan’s watchful eye.
One night, she and a bunch of other members from CFSWP took me to a Paleo- friendly restaurant here in Portland, and I ordered my delicious dork (duck/pork) burger atop some lettuce greens, all while secretly envying the yummy-looking housemade potato buns and gluten-free chocolate tortes. But Shan put us all to shame when she asked to see the ingredients list for their aioli, ultimately saying “no” because she wasn’t sure where safflower oil fell into the Paleo spectrum.
Why did it feel like I was shame eating?
The purpose of having a buddy system is not to feel shame in your choices, but sometimes it’s the byproduct of knowing you’re not doing what you probably should be doing. Not that I had any particular investment in eating strict Paleo for 30 days, especially because I cleaned up my Holiday Eating Cliff significantly since its beginning, but I knew that there was someone on the other end, who was taking the challenge very seriously, and checking in with me regularly…and I wasn’t upholding my end of the deal.
Feel free. It’s okay. Wag your finger at me. I know.
Every day, Shan has checked in on me: DK, how’s Paleo going? And every day, I’m kind of like….Okay-ish?
Until yesterday. Yesterday, I came clean. We met up for coffee, and I sadly abstained from milk. We chatted, and she asked me why I was having trouble staying strict. We talked for a while about the challenges for both of us, our goals for the next year, and what we have to do to achieve them (nutrition being a big part of it). And she left, teary, with these words: “There are very few people who put 100 percent into every workout like you do. Those are the people that I go out of my way to workout with, and want other people to spend time with. It’s why I know you can do this.”
Can we say douchebagfeelslikeafraud real fast?
So here’s what I have to say to everyone on the 90DC right now: Many of you are probably on a buddy system. But historically, whenever I set out on a buddy system, we ultimately become enablers, or just sort of drop off the face of the earth. If you have an accountability partner, be that accountability partner. Be your partner’s Shan. Don't make your partner feel like crap if they’re having a hard time sticking with the program; lead by example and take the time to talk. Check in every day. Make that effort to be present.
As for me? Well…I’m looking toward a full two weeks of strict Paleo once I return from the Magic Land of Foodie Delights (aka Portland) next week. And I look
forward to not letting my girl Shan down.