ABOUT PAIGE TAPP
Former USA competitive Volleyball player Paige Tapp knows how important it is to stay in top condition for performance on the court, but after making the tough decision to change professions, her next task was to explore what this major life change meant for her health both mentally and physically. While her physical demands looked different after stepping back from professional competition, Paige's next evolution was exploring a new approach to personal wellness as she acclimated to her new routine. Looking for sustainable and healthful ways to enrich her professional transition while still focusing on what would help her feel her best, Paige found Model Meals and was eager to see how automating one facet of her new normal, her nutrition, impacted her.
Transitioning out of sports at any level can be intimidating. Earlier this year, I decided to begin a new chapter in my life and left my life as a professional volleyball player. I had played three professional seasons overseas and spent three summers competing with the USA National Team. I had endured over ten years of the same physical demands, day in and day out. Listening to my body and creating my own wellness routine designed for how I wanted to feel was a relatively new concept to me.
"I’m allowed to breathe now, and to be good to myself according to how I feel. There is no more empowering feeling. I can love myself where I am at. I don’t need to strive for constant change. I can be how I am now, and feel good here, and have my goal to keep learning and exploring what makes me feel good."
There are so many people that say the end of their sports career marked the end of their ideal physical health. It is scary how many people said this. An unbelievable amount of people attributed their best selves only to “the glory days” when they were held accountable to a practice and competition schedule. It is true that the volume of physical activity and nutritional demands endured during sports is incredible and challenging, but I refuse to accept that feeling empowered and the best version of yourself is only attainable with the help of organized sports. If you’re fortunate enough to experience the gift of moving, sweating, and pushing your physical boundaries, you have the capacity to do it regularly, and with a grateful attitude towards your capabilities. Additionally, fueling and nourishing yourself properly is a privilege that many of us have the liberty to explore. I personally have always been passionate about nutrition. I love learning about how food affects me and how I can use it as a way to be happier and more energized. Up until recently, I hadn’t had the opportunity to safely try out different eating plans to see how my body reacts and feels its best. My teammates and I since high school had mirrored each other’s nutrition. We ate, without fail, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks at similar times. A skipped meal could mean a weak practice or training session, which for an athlete at such a level could be detrimental to our goals. Intermittent fasting sounded to nutritionists and coaches like an intermittent eating disorder. Vegetarian and veganism, despite recent articles and research promoting the benefits, would always be questioned about their protein deficiencies. On the road it was nearly impossible to monitor catered meals and ingredient lists to consider trying Whole30. So now, after having a fitness schedule that offers me the flexibility to rest and recover when I need it, I could try out a few health practices I’d read so much about.
The most incredible, empowering, and life-changing results occurred during my month of Whole30. This style of eating emphasizes whole foods and eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. My previous eating habits were very “clean”- full of nutrients and always balanced, so I was pretty skeptical of just how much difference cutting out a slice of sprouted toast here, a glass of red wine there, and a bowl of popcorn every once in a while would make. However, the difference that I felt after just over a week on this plan was shocking. My face was no longer puffy, my cravings no longer ruled my thoughts, my mood was consistent, I was less irritable, I began to see my abilities in my workout classes take off, and I began to feel truly good about myself. Sure there were a few sacrifices involved, the main one being a little more planning be it packing lunches or bringing a kombucha when I met my friends for happy hour. The planning nearly disappeared when I found Model Meals, a company that made phenomenal dishes completely compliant with Whole30. I ate foods I couldn’t have even dreamed of eating regularly before and was constantly was inspired with new recipe ideas and creative ways to prepare dishes. I’m the girl who gets the greenest salad on the menu everywhere and now for lunch I was having veggie pad thai, buffalo chicken sliders, stuffed peppers, tamales, dishes redone to be made out of organic, locally-sourced whole foods. Where had this been my whole life? Now I was enjoying foods I usually shied away from while testing out a supposedly “restrictive” eating plan. I was in heaven.
Now, if you’re skimming this to get to the part where I tell you how much weight I lost, you must know, I didn’t weigh myself before the month began and I didn’t weigh myself after. I came to the realization I will never again be forced to weigh myself after coming into the gym after a day off and I will never use the numbers on a scale to access my wellness goals. I’m allowed to breathe now, and to be good to myself according to how I feel. There is no more empowering feeling. I can love myself where I am at. I don’t need to strive for constant change. I can be how I am now, and feel good here, and have my goal to keep learning and exploring what makes me feel good. I don’t need to hit a PR to be happy. I can be happy everyday as I am.
Throughout my month of eating Whole30 and enjoying Model Meals, I felt empowered. I felt like I was truly taking care of myself. I felt the stress that has accompanied achieving wellness disappear. I felt like the best version of myself. I love the way I am today and I am working to be radically accepting of myself, always. I know that wellness is something to be enjoyed by everyone at any stage in life. I am no longer a professional athlete, but I am healthy, happy, and just as deserving of me at my very best. I am excited for other women to realize this, and transition into different chapters of their lives, only to continue uncovering the best versions of themselves.
Are you ready to tackle the Whole30 challenge for yourself?
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