Click this link to see my day-to-day Whole30 food diary, plus, I’m including a week-by-week grocery shopping list!
The Whole30 challenge, that is.
After watching some amazing transformation in the life of my friend Kayla, then stumbling across this blogger’s story with the Whole30, I was game. For many reasons, but ultimately, I’d like to feel better about my “mid-section” (such a weird word for “tummy area”). After reading through Jessica’s whole post about her Whole30 journey, it was her picture of before and after that sold me. Her “before” picture is pretty much what I see in the mirror (lines and all.). And the fact that she changed her physical appearance by eating healthy food, continuing to exercise, having a source of encouragement (her husband), and was dedicated to learning more about new foods and her own dietary needs, was the spur I needed to get myself to a better version of me.
Why do it?
I’ve declared 2014 as a year of learning. Ask my roommates and they know that’s all I’ve talked about over the course of the last four months. I’m taking strides to learn about financing (started a retirement account like a big kid last month), the world I live in (by reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. I know.), my body (I joined a gym and love group classes), and fashion (trying new styles I’m not used to, while actually having money to spend on new items. #postgradrules).
However, all this time, I knew my day-to-day routines for meals and snacks were not the best. (Though not the worst. I mean, I snack on apples and peanut butter, but it’s after I had a wimpy bowl of cereal for breakfast. No bueno.) But the problem was that I didn’t know what to change to make it better. That, and I didn’t really have the mental capacity to try and learn it all, you know, with learning all those other things about my life. Luckily, the Lord had me in the place where I needed to be as I saw some great examples of how food could be a positive way to glorify Him though they way I eat. I am ready mentally, too, and I’m excited to learn more!
okay, it’s happening. I’m no longer just “23-and-a-half.” in fact, the “half” mark passed by a while ago…and I’m now less than one month from turning 24.
thus returns the struggle for contentedness. last year, around graduation, I had this struggle for the first time. probably because I was graduating college and could “now leave” if I “wanted to.” and the most prevalent thought in my mind was, “now, allea, you can only be 23 for one year of your life. where do you want to be?” — haunted by the following thought: “…in Lincoln where you’ve already been for a while, or in some big, exciting city, like New York City or Chicago?”
but, after assessing my love for Lincoln (seriously, that post took an hour to write), I’m more than okay with where I am going to be for Year 24. (and I hope to stick around for Year 25, 26…)
that addresses my physical “where,” but what about my social “where”?
let’s start by admitting that I’m a little bit frustrated with 18-year-old Allea.
at 18, I thought I would “have it all together” (or at the very least “have some of it together) and be starting “that relationship” which would lead me to being married “by the time I’m 26” — when I was 24.
darn it, self! you set really high expectations for Year 24!
let’s admit it, though. at 18, 24 seemed like light years away! a lot could happen in 6 years (holy crap, 6 years!) and it didn’t seem too far-fetched. but now that I’m turning 24, I need to confess my unmet expectations to myself and forgive 18-year-old me for setting a timeline only God can control. I guess I set these benchmarks because I needed to be okay with being single in college — as if all of these desires would come to fruition after college, then all would be made well.
no, allea. that’s not how it works.
but changing my mindset to not include timelines is weird for me. my whole life has been a matter of whens/wheres/whos/hows. setting a syllabus for when the “next phase” will occur will only deter my ability to live in the now.
so I won’t. no more “by the time I’m _____” goals related to relationships. I want to love my world as it is now. I want to love myself as the conveniently single girl who can accomplish a lot of personal goals to better herself for the rest of her life.
24 will be a lot more than “hoping” for “mr. right.” and sorry to anyone who wants to know more about my dating life as a conversation point. I won’t go to the “pity Allea here” zone. it hurts my self-esteem to see singleness as a burden, plus it does no one any good. this is a good time in my life. a great time. I can be flexible with my days, read late into the night, watch an incessant number of music videos and celebrity interviews on youtube, get into the best physical shape of my life, learn to cook meals that are good for me, sleep in absolute silence, and travel anywhere on the globe. this is a great time in my life.
24 is going to be awesome.
Last summer, I wanted to move to Nashville.
I had graduated, started a job, lost a job, and was seeking somewhere different. Somewhere where it was “cool” to live. Where coffee shops call out to you, new bands sprout up on street corners, welcoming parks are down the street and always picturesque, there’s a crowd of cool young professionals with new, innovative ideas, and where there’s a small, Gospel-preaching church just waiting for me to join.
That’s what I saw as Nashville. Granted, it probably is. But from my side of the computer, that’s how I saw a handful of people living in that city, and I was just “missing out” by being in Lincoln - the capitol of boring, flat, you-live-here-because-your-family-lives-here Nebraska. Yes, the Nashville women whose blogs I follow probably love that city more than life itself, and it shows, but I know that what I learned through the last 10 months has taught me a lot about where I am now.
I’ve come to appreciate the Star City. Surely, my “boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”
Little did I know, I have in Lincoln exactly what I would have searched for in Nashville. EXACTLY. Except, even better. It’s everything I would want in a city, but I get to enjoy it all with my friends, my church, my family, my people. I have it all here, and I’m not going anywhere fast.
Let me introduce you to Lincoln:
Cool coffee shops:
Delicious local restaurants:
Nebraska-only restaurants you must visit if you’re here:
Hip bars (that’s right, I said “hip”):
Sweet, picturesque parks:
Places of sweet worship and great company:
And bonus: the city as a whole got a branding makeover last summer, and it is 100% true. Lincoln is a place where you can live, eat, exercise, work, enjoy, worship and just “be.” It’s cheap to live here, it’s easy to get around, people are super super nice, and the number and quality of opportunities are only increasing.
If you haven’t been to Lincoln, you should come. It’s only getting better.