I cut dairy and gluten out of my diet recently.
My brain wants to make up a lot of reasons WHY. My brain thinks there needs to be a big health event, a solid story to tell, a diagnosis.
The truth is, I have been counting macros and eating in a way that supports my body for months now — but I was still feeling off. I was having a lot more headaches than usual, culminating the last week of April when I had a migraine every day for 8 days straight. My digestion has been less than great. My last period was HORRIBLE. I have been feeling 5/10 in terms of energy for a while.
(All of those crossed out things are true, but…)
The big T truth is that I cut these things out of my diet because I wanted to.
As my friend and coach Sarah has reminded me, “I want to” is a full sentence.
It also sounded fun. I was curious about how I would feel. I knew it would shake up my normal eating patterns in a way that would probably encourage me to explore new foods and habits. I would probably cook more at home, and I knew CRAVING those foods would be a front row seat to my own brain’s desire to use food as stress relief.
I don’t have an end point. It’s not a 30 day challenge. It’s an “I’m exploring this for however long I want to” type of situation. There are no rules. It’s just that I used to eat those things, and I don’t right now. And that’s it.
And to be clear – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gluten or dairy. I’m NOT trying to lose weight. (HELLO, I’m actually consciously AVOIDING that!!). I don’t think they are “bad” foods. I’m going to stop making caveats now to make myself feel better.
I know what you’re thinking — but wait, Karin, I thought this post was about personal reinvention.
Okay, so let’s pivot.
About a month ago, I bought a leopard print skirt. I bought it despite it being Not Something I Would Wear. I bought thinking I would hate it and return it, only to be shocked when I put it on and actually loved it. I kept the skirt. I haven’t worn it anywhere.
This summer, I’ll go on our annual trip to Indiana. I WANT to stick with powerlifting at least one of the two weeks that I am there. That would involve me finding a gym in town, leaving the house every day, and being gone to workout. My brain wants to find every reason why I should not do this, because it’s Not Something I Would Normally Do.
I talk a lot about change. I talk a lot about the beauty and fun and joy of growth.
And I stand by the fact that it IS FUN to change yourself, just for the heck of it. But what I also want to remind you (and to be honest, perhaps remind myself as well…) is that it can also get REALLY FRICKIN UNCOMFORTABLE.
My whole life, I’ve acted in avoidance of being “high maintenance.”
Do you see the thread yet?
Being the girl who shows up to brunch in a leopard print skirt, asks for a gluten-free bun, and doesn’t drink because she has a workout later… honestly, that girl seems like a lot to deal with.
But what if that’s the girl I want to be?
What if I feel AMAZING in that leopard print skirt? What if gluten + dairy removal is the reason that every single day this week, I’ve slept SIGNIFICANTLY better and woke up with ENERGY to start the day? What if making the decision to get that workout completed is a decision I’m so FUCKING proud of later this year, when I hit my 600+ powerlifting total at my first meet?
Our brains have a negativity bias, so we don’t often do the “what-if’s” that end in positivity.
Instead, my brain does loops wondering if people will think I’m trying to be something I’m not, or wondering if people will assume I’ve bought into diet culture and crazy health gurus who scream about “inFlamMatiOn”, or think I’ve become “obsessed” with exercise.
Personal reinvention is terrifying because it requires us to come face to face with uncertainty.
If we stay EXACTLY the way we are, our identity feels certain. We won’t rock the boat, we won’t surprise anyone, we’ll be able to predict and control our interactions, and there is safety there.
I could go to brunch tomorrow, order the same thing I normally would, have the same conversations we normally have, and let go of the workout the same way I always do.
And to be clear – there’s nothing wrong with that option – AT ALL.
My brain would know exactly what to expect. I would feel comfortable, and safe. I would probably have a lot of fun! It would be a really great day.
To adopt the behavior of Karin 2.0 in that situation is to throw all of that into jeopardy.
It’s a risk — one that potentially has a reward that I want. But my brain doesn’t know what will happen. And that is what makes it terrifying, and hard, and mentally challenging.
Right now, I am living in the land of uncertain reinvention.
I am choosing to reflect often on what I really, TRULY want.
I am questioning what I think is possible and impossible for me.
I am pushing back on the default settings my brain has relied on for years.
And apparently, I’m using this blog to write about it.
Feel free to follow along.