Day 22.

This challenge has felt off. I feel like it came at good timing because I think if I didn’t have this right now I would be drowning because I would just be trying to acclimate to work and just eating junk and sitting on the couch all the time. Now, although I feel like I sit on the couch all the time, at least I’m not eating junk.

Everyday is still such a struggle. I picked up a grocery order this morning and was excited to have new options. During lunch I didn’t have enough time to make anything and after work, I had to run out. I went to pick up a package that I accidentally had delivered to my old job. How awkward. Anyway, I texted my former manager and asked her to leave it outside when she left so I could pick it up around 7. I drove there, it wasn’t there.

I had a slight premonition that she would forget, simply to make sure I knew that I wasn’t a priority. Even the texts were a little snippy. It doesn’t matter, I had realized when I got there that I was starving. I had a really small lunch – left over pork chop and zucchini from last night. The pork chop was over cooked and gross and the zucchinis were soggy. However, it was my first time baking zucchini slices and I really liked it. They’re so tender, I put some everything but the bagel seasoning on it too and they were a good addition.

So, while I was picking up my ghost package, I decided I was just going to get dinner out. By the time I got back home and prepared any of the food I bought, it would have been after 8. There was an in-n-out, a starbucks and a chipotle down the street from my former job. I opted for chipotle. I wanted the starbucks.

Chipotle has cauliflower rice now. Which, well.. whatever. I didn’t think it was that good, I don’t think the flavor meshed with the rest of the food BUT I am one of those people that cilantro tastes like soap to, so I think it just messed up the whole meal for no reason. I ate in my car, as the lightening and thunder flashed and crashed above. The pouring rain, which never really did start to pour, just a dry sky storm.

The good news is when you can eat a meal like that, where you get very little enjoyment out of it and you’re literally just thinking “food. protein. fuel.” it helps to relieve the grief of missing the other foods. My friend who started this round with me sent me a picture of a donut today. I don’t think she’s still doing the round because she’s in the middle of moving and honestly, that seems like the worst time to have to cook every meal.

I saw the donut and was part jealous and part proud of myself. I obviously want a donut and don’t think I haven’t been thinking about them since I started this challenge. Mostly I was proud that I had kept to this challenge because and surprise: this has really been challenging.

Food as convenience, food as a mood booster, food as a reward are all really bad habits, if not an addiction/disorder. However, it’s just so common among people. For me, it was a win that I didn’t have one donut, for my friend it could have been her victory to only have one donut. It’s all about the boundaries and parameters you set for yourself.

Let’s say I’m doing a round of Whole 30 and you invite me to a restaurant. I order a salad with grilled chicken and you order chips and queso for the table. Now, when I eventually grab a chip and dip, I’m gonna feel a few ways about it. At the end of the day with all the fussing and fighting and blame throwing, it will be myself that I’m mad at and solely for the reason that I had set a boundary for myself and then I, myself, deliberately crossed it.

Do you live your life the same when no one is looking than you do when everyone is looking? I always used to think about that. I am a big fan of cutting corners. I’m lazy and anything I can do to make my life easier, I will do. The thing is that depending on what the corners are that I’m cutting it may bother me to do it, like if my integrity were involved.

When I clean my apartment – I cut corners. Why? Because I’m the only that has to live here and deal with my corners. If I were asked to clean my moms house, I mean I’d be super pissed first of all but then once I started doing it, I wouldn’t cut corners. Then I was wondering why I’m so willing to cut corners in my own life and not in others’.

In part, it’s because of how others would view me. Right, like that’s always a thing “how will I be perceived.” The other is the personal integrity aspect. This one is tricky. It varies, person to person and situation to situation. I think the goal is to try to be as persistent as possible with the integrity, go into every situation trying to be your best. This could seem completely obvious and for some people natural, but for me it’s not because there are so many situations where I’ve “reacted” instead of actually understanding the situation in full. Just off the top of my head, what bothers me the most is when I’m shitty to a retail sales person.

I do try really hard not to be, ever, but sometimes these people get so snippy and it’s like “girlfriend, sass is my first language, I could do this all day.” Whenever my own attitude gets the best of me and inevitably the poor girl at the register it bothers me for hours. If not days, but mostly hours. I get embarrassed and ashamed and wish I could take it back. First, I spend a few hours defending my own reaction and over-reaction, pathetically trying to convince myself I was right. When it comes down to it, it could not matter less who was right in any situation or conversation, because the one who acts with the most civility, class and integrity is the better one.

This is all just to say that it’s your own personal credo that matters. It doesn’t always matter to others, unless you’re a dick or something but if you’re being your best and giving your best, even to people who you may not care about it’s passing on the torch. The light of life, kindness, generosity, patience, empathy all things that are the highest virtue.

Cutting your own corners is a disservice. Although I cut corners in life, I try to never in my challenges. If I can’t do this for 30 days, to be the best version of myself when it comes to eating, then what are we doing here folks. Do you ever have that feeling at the gym? When you give yourself a goal – let’s say 25 squats. No one is watching, no one is counting but you’re at 20 and your legs are burning, you can’t possibly do 5 more. As you get to 22 you think, just stop, what’s the difference between 23 and 25. Well, it’s two. Fooled you, this is secretly a math lesson.

But then, there you are staring yourself in the mirror, having just completed 25 squats. How do you feel about yourself? That’s how I want to feel about myself all the time. That’s the goal.

Chip O’tellay.

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