I really didn't know how to label this journal, I just threw something up there and not really sure if it means anything. I am a whole30 believer, starting back in 2015, but I didn't do it 100% correctly, I just followed food rules, so in fact I've never seen through a whole30 utilizing the template and hunger cues. Even still, I felt so amazing back then. The problem was that doing the whole30 this way, I was still fixated on the scale. When I was in my paleo glory, I got to around 153 lb and was pretty lean and I have to say in retrospect that is where my body thrives (I am 5'9"). I got caught up in chasing 145, and started messing with everything, ignoring my ideals and made everything about weight loss, and thus now am back where I started because it led to binging behavior. I never got my food freedom and I eventually ended up gaining all the weight I lost. I'm still a healthy weight, but my moods are finicky, my hunger is substantial and I'm just not feeling well. I am only up around 11 pounds.
Two months ago today I lost my mother to breast cancer. This loss is actually the motivation of my journal because I want to track my thoughts in an online format and I love the format of the W30 forums. I prefer this format over pen and paper because it is easy to look back through past entries, and the writing itself isn't tiring. My mother's story of cancer lasted almost 3 years, and she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in Sept 2015 when I was in my paleo/post-whole30 glory. My mother got through an intense round of chemo and in Feb of 2016 turned the corner and lived her "best life" from 2/2016 to around 10/2017. She had a few hiccups along the way, but her cancer was stable. In October 2017, right around Halloween, the cancer spread to and fractured her leg, which disrupted her treatment. She had setback after setback, and the cancer spread to her brain. On Memorial Day weekend of 2018 she had brain surgery, and after that she was never the same. I feel like that is the point where I lost my best friend. We used to chat and text all day every day. It stopped then and never came back. She wasn't the same, but if you asked me if I thought she'd be gone in 2 months I wouldn't have thought so. I thought she had a year left. By the time of our family vacation in July, the complications were mounting and the cancer had spread to her liver. She and my dad fought to get her out of the hospital to vacation and they did, but at that point I knew it would be her last vacation. If you had told me she had a month left to live I wouldn't have believed you, even though I saw the life fading and the hope disappearing. Every time I saw her she would look worse, and it was no surprise to me when she was hospitalized on 8/24... even then I thought she had months to live and didn't know she would be gone forever on 8/30. I never understood that someone dying in peace after a battle with cancer really meant that they battled and struggled until their breathing stopped and it is only then that they find their peace.
I live close to my parents and was lucky to be able help my dad with caring for her, especially during this past year, and be present with them in the hospital during her last days. My two older brothers were there with us too. I regret that I didn't push my mother to have difficult conversations back last winter when things were shifting but we still had hope at that point, and we had time, and while saying things would have been hard, it would have fueled meaningful moments in the months following and maybe would have left her open to saying things in her last weeks. I don't feel like I had something special to say to her. I know that she loved me and I know she knew that I loved her. I know that she loved and trusted my husband and that she adores my children. I am quite certain I am the person she was least worried about in her passing. I just feel lost now and I wish I knew what she wanted and hoped for me (and my dad and brothers) after she had to go.
I am struggling with my identity. Before October of 2017, I relied heavily on my mother for helping with childcare and transporting my kids. People often commented to me about how they didn't know how I do it all, since I work full time and manage to have my 3 kids involved in activities and I take care of most things in the home. I have been lucky in my job in that it's been flexible - I work from home a lot, and I have caring leadership. I have been there for 12 years and with that I have a bank of personal time I can use, and I do use it easily which gives me additional flexibility. Every time someone commented, I knew I was only able to "do it all" because I wasn't doing it all, at all. I had my mother's strong support in addition to my very supportive and loving husband and wonderful and supportive friends. Now I am left trying to do it all, and really falling short. Part of it is because I have too much on my plate. Part of it is because I am grieving, but not terribly so in a way that I can't go on with my day to day life. My days are still filled with smiles and wonderful moments with my children. And a BIG part of it is that generally don't feel well or energetic. I don't get anything productive done during the weekend, then I'm behind for the week, and then I never have the energy to get back on track so I'm feeling behind, overwhelmed and in chaos. I got behind at work during bereavement, and because I'm not truly motivated I can't get back on track to get ahead. I just do enough to get by. My career woes are for another journal entry, but out of the 2 months since my mom has passed, I just don't see a way for me to continue to work and also be the mother/daughter/wife/aunt/friend I want to be. My job is so reliant on personal/independent motivation, direction and accountability. I am struggling to find those qualities that used to define me. They just aren't there right now and it's confusing and disappointing. At the same time, I can't imagine giving up my job, which has intangible benefits I strongly doubt I could match anywhere else. It feels silly to go from working mom to stay at home mom when my youngest is 4 and in preschool full time. It feels silly to leave a job with no plan of what to do next or any idea of what I want to do, other than focus on home and family. It feels silly to leave a company that I have built 12 years of trust with.
While I know I am dealing with significant loss, my diet over the past 3 months has gone from generally low carb and mostly paleo to tons of beans, grains, fruit, increased consumption of alcohol (up to 4 nights a week of 1-3 drinks). I would consider this SAD plus in that it's probably what a lot of SAD eating people would consider healthy, even the alcohol. I thought I was experiencing hangovers, but when I wake up I feel dehydrated and hungover even when I don't drink. I've also been managing TMJ pain caused by a displaced jaw disc, and since my mother's death and my changing food choices, my jaw has been telling me something is wrong. I'm guessing the main culprits are sugar and grains.
Since the end of September I've been counting calories. When I say counting calories, I mean counting my meals, but then not sticking with it because I'm hungry and need snacks. It has had no effect on how much I weigh, which is good data for me to have. I am hungry so much it makes sticking to small portions very hard. I keep craving toast. I decided over this past weekend that I can't keep kidding myself that I can do moderation because it has such a gigantic effect on my hunger. So as of yesterday, I decided to nix the grains and sugar (including fruit) for now - with no expectation of stringing together a perfect 30. I have my anniversary, holidays and a Disney trip all lining up about every other week for the next 10 weeks. I certainly don't need the expectation of perfection to get in the way of progress. I am putting faith in that maybe this 80/20 lifestyle when done right is enough for me, at least in this season of my life. I also think monitoring my behavior (any binges, food guilt, etc), appetite, mood over the next 10 weeks will let me know if I do in fact need a complete whole30 to truly reset my appetite and patterns.
So to sum up where I am at: I am 164 and while it's a pretty healthy weight for me... I have a fair amount of belly fat, my energy sucks and my mood is all over the place. I'm hungry. I'm low, I'm not engaged in my work. I want to watch a lot of TV. I am grieving, but not in what I think is in an unhealthy way. I want to move forward in making good choices rather than push it off until I can commit to a complete whole30. I am willing to be kind to myself and forgiving during this process. I want to be accountable and I want to set achievable goals. I have so many WHYs for adhering to this lifestyle. I have so many reasons to pursuit my bets health. I know it starts with food.