Whole30: Day 27

As the end draws near, my mind is bombarded with all the food and treats I want to indulge in on Wednesday when I am finished. To be honest, it is a little discouraging that the cravings have come back in such great force. It is possible, that as I have the freedom to eat again, I might discover that my old favorites do not taste or make me feel the way I remember, and while that does bring hope, would it be wrong to mourn their loss? I love food.

I put off dealing with my health and nutrition for so long because I live to eat. Eating strictly Paleo, 24/7, is not something I am willing to maintain forever, and the opposite, eating anything and everything I love without regard to it’s nutritional value is another extreme that my body cannot survive. The Whole30 has been a my nutritional “training wheels” and starting in October I will be traveling without them.

I have come up with a few possible solutions. Maybe we will eat clean 5-6 days a week and allow a cheat day (yes, this goes against the advice in It Starts With Food). One thing for sure, we will keep our sugar intake as low as possible. I want to continue to avoid processed foods and have more home cooked meals. I will bring back dairy, grains, and beans, as long as my body tolerates them well. I think my overall goal is to use ingredients that my great great grandmother would have used and get 95% of my food from the perimeter of the grocery store.

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Whole30: Day 9

I watched the movie Fed Up this afternoon. It is a documentary about how deadly and addictive sugar is. I highly recommend seeing it. My heart broke for the overweight and obese kids in this movie. I had a glimpse of that pain in middle school.

My mom took me to the doctor when I packed on 50 pounds in less than a year. She was understandably worried and concerned for me and had the doctor run some tests. If I recall correctly, one of those tests was a blood test that determined that I had high cholesterol. I was chubby and depressed and didn’t understand what was going on with me.

This documentary explained so much about what was going on. Middle School was the first time candy, treats, and greasy foods were available at every lunch and after school in the student store. My mom only gave me money to buy a school lunch once a week, but what she probably wasn’t aware of is how often I spent my own money to buy hostess cupcakes to go with the lunches she packed. They came in packs of three and I could not resist those things. If that wasn’t enough, I also sold See’s chocolate bars to make money for camp. I am pretty sure I singlehandedly paid for camp that year with all of the chocolate I sold to myself. 

What is so scary about sugar is all the places it’s hidden. It is added into everything. The movie stated that of all processed food on the market, 80% have ADDED sugar. My mom tried hard to provide us with nutritious meals at home but she was powerless to stop me from finding sugar-laden food elsewhere.

My biggest hope is that this Whole30 will help me find the strength and knowledge to live on less sugar. I hope to provide my two girls a home of clean, healthy, whole foods where sugar is a rarity. I pray they are able to resist sugar’s temptation better than I have.

Addictions

A few months ago, I was chatting with some friends from church and we got on the topic of anti-smoking ads. There were a lot of comments about how someone can keep smoking when they know how bad it is for them. The general sentiment was, the guilt they feel when seeing these anti-smoking commercials should be enough to get them to stop. I was a little shocked that they had so little understanding of what being addicted to something feels like. I must admit, I was also a little jealous too!

I cannot speak for those addicted to cigarettes, as I have never tried one, but I know enough about what addiction to feel great sympathy for those who want to quit but cant. Addicts don’t need a commercial to make them feel guilt. They feel enough from themselves, and this guilt usually drives them right back into the addiction to help them cope.

My addiction is food. I obsess over one treat or meal and the cravings torments me. If I try to resist, I can’t concentrate on anything or feel peace until I give in. If I am able to hold off for a while before I give in, I loose all control and eat myself sick, getting little to no actual enjoyment of the food, just the satisfaction of momentary relief from the constant nagging of temptation. Then I feel shame.

I have tried cutting unhealthy foods out of my diet and on the other side of the spectrum, I have tried eating anything and everything that sounds good to me. In my experience, both extremes yield the same results, binging. I love good food. Now, I know myself well enough to understand that I can’t forbid myself from eating certain foods. I need to find the right balance.

The last few months, my  goal has been to eat balanced meals. I try to make sure that my meals, dinner especially, have protein and vegetables along with my beloved carbs. I have avoided counting calories, because I have found for me, I obsess too much over staying below a certain number and if I mess up then I use that as an excuse to go crazy. Instead, I don’t eat unhealthy foods unless I really enjoy them. For instance, I am not going to eat a store bought cookie, just because it’s there. I don’t like them and then I just feel guilty about the wasted calories later. I indulge in foods I love, but I try to enjoy each bite–quality over quantity.

I try and eat until I feel full, and then stop. I have had a tendency to overeat, to the point of being sick. Being sick was almost comforting. Now, when I don’t listen to my body and I get to the point of feeling sick, it feels bad and I don’t like that feeling anymore. I try to remember that feeling and use it to help myself stop. I want to get to a place where I can enjoy good food but not let it control me. I want to get rid of all the guilt and shame I associate with food.

Exercise helps. Feeling happy and getting enough sleep helps. I turn to food to self-medicate, so when I am taking care of my body I don’t crave unhealthy food as much. The endorphins I feel after a good, sweaty, CrossFit workout make me feel satisfied in a way food cannot. Eating healthy foods makes my body feel better and when combined with exercise I find myself actually craving more nutritious foods.

No amount of exercise will “cure” me of my food addictions but for now, it seems to be a step in the right direction.