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I have a binge eating disorder. There, I said it. The worse thing to me about it is that my job is to help people with this as well as other health issues. So knowledge clearly is not power. I need someone to outline a clear path for me because "just drink a cup of water to make sure you're just not thirsty" isn't working for me. Enter Whole30. I am very excited about this concept. My weakness is sugar. I have the sweet tooth of a Willy Wonka character and the uncanny ability to hide the effects of said sweet tooth with occasional weeks of vigorous exercise. It is simultaneously defeating and cathartic to write this down somewhere that isn't one of the myriad journals I have poking out from under my couch where I've forgotten them. And I am not yet comfortable enough to reveal this to my friends and family as I would likely be pressed to reveal the origin of my disordered eating. Never mind admitting perceived weakness to people who view me as the "pillar of strength". Those words were actually used by one of my loved ones to describe me once. I almost choked on my powdered doughnut. So, I hope that I find a community here that will help me with this path because I am sick of the double life, the bloat, the shame and the power that food has over me. By my start date, I plan to finish reading the Whole30 book, read this forum obsessively building a successful kitchen so that I can hit the ground running. Good luck (is that what you say about something like this?) to me and to everyone on this journey.
My paleo journey began over a year ago when I suddenly discovered that wheat was making me ill. I immediately eliminated it from my diet and the changes to my digestion and disposition were almost instant. No more chronic heartburn, no more gas and bloating, no more painful cramping and diarrhea for no apparent reason. No more intense mood swings or PMS. After a few months I was happily adjusted to my new life as a â€œgluten-freeâ€ person, so I sat back and waited for my body to change. Having made such a huge change to my eating habits, I expected the pounds would just float away. They didn't. This was happening against a backdrop of body image, weight management, and disordered eating issues that had plagued me for as long as I could remember. Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and early twenties this was the primary battle of my life. I hated my body and my body hated me. By my late twenties I knew this needed to change, so I devoted much of my time and emotional energy to tackling the underlying issues that had led to this internal conflict. I made huge, life-changing progress. I stopped chronically â€œdietingâ€ and finally just learned to accept myself. Then, when I found paleo, things finally clicked. It was unexpected, but I realized that it wasn't until I starting eating to care for myself and my body that it became truly impossible to hate myself. How could I hate my body while eating to nourish, love, and care for it? The two could just not exist in the same space. Any last remnant of unhealthy self-criticism or shame simply dissolved. But while the mental and emotional battle had been won, the physical battle was still raging. It turned out that living life in a cycle of bingeing and purging had wreaked havoc on my system. Despite cutting out all wheat products, decreasing other grains and processed foods, and increasing vegetables and healthy fats, the composition of my body stayed exactly the same as when I was bingeing on bowls of cheesy pasta and junk food. That didn't make sense to me. It was frustrating. I had finally accepted my body but knew for the sake of health that I needed to lean down. I began to think I had a thyroid problem. Pursuing that particular avenue was like falling head first down the rabbit hole into wonderland. Confusing. More frustrating than ever. Then a friend who really DID have a thyroid problem told me about Whole30. Of course I'd heard of it in the paleosphere, so I dove right in to see what all the fuss was about. I consumed It Starts With Food like I used to consume Doritosâ€”with great enthusiasm and like I couldn't get enough. I would get so excited while reading the book that I couldn't read it before bed or I wouldn't fall asleep. My heart would race like I'd had too much coffee. THIS. WAS. IT. The mental preparation I did leading up to Day 1 was intense. I entered my Whole30 with a steely and unmovable resolve. But just as important was the preparation I did in my kitchen! If you aren't prepared to cook for yourself, you aren't prepared to eat whole food! Then, as the days rolled by, it was just like everyone said. Hard in the beginning, thenâ€¦.magic. The sleep was the best part. There's no way to describe it other than delicious. For the first time in my life I would put my head on the pillow and be OUT and stay out. For the first time in my life I didn't become overwhelmingly sleepy in the afternoon. I could walk for hours without aching feet and legs. I could rise above the gossip at work because my mood was so positive. And finally, finally, finally, I could feel my body changing. By the second week my pants were baggy. By the third week I could barely keep them up. Even after washing and drying them on hot! And was that a collar bone I just saw in the mirror? I went for a total of 37 days. I fumbled the re-introduction (see that post under OOPS!), but still considered myself wildly successful. It wasn't until after a week of re-intro that I decided to take my â€œafterâ€ pics. I wasn't in a hurry. I knew I looked different, but not that different, right? WRONG. What I saw in my pics truly surprised me. To see the physical manifestation of my hard work and self-love was overwhelming to the point that tears ran down my face. The grand total of my weight loss was 15 pounds in 37 days. I've certainly lost more (and faster) in the past. But this was weight loss for the sake of health, and it was sustainable. Besides, it wasn't about the number itself. It was about the fact that this was the first time in my life that I'd ever lost weight without pills, compulsive exercise, starvation, or any form of self-harm. Essentially, it was the first time I'd treated my body as something to love instead of something to punish. My body had done it on its own. Naturally. Healthfully. I had wondered for years if that was even possible. I'm not sure I can ever truly put into words the significance of this change. But I know I'll be forever grateful to Dallas and Melissa and this community for their support. The best part is, this is only the beginning. Who knows where this journey will ultimately take me? Wherever that may be, I know I'll be healthy when I get there. J
I am on Day 29 and, though I did not weigh myself when I began and do not plan on weighing myself the day-after-tomorrow, on Day 31, I am clearly bigger than when I started. My clothes are tighter and my belly protrudes. I did take pics. When I started, I was about 10-15 pounds heavier than I would like to be, but within normal (5'5" 145-150). I remind myself that my goals for the W30 were to overcome my sugar addiction and figure out what could be causing the bloating and bad digestion (constipation) for the last 3 years. NOT to lose weight...but I have to say, I've battled disappointment and was secretly hoping that this program would slim me down. I am 49, so peri-menopause is part of the equation, for sure. I take progesterone. I have hypo-thyroid and take a low dose of Levoxyl. I exercise 4-5 times a week--various workouts. And have been taking saunas afterwards to get rid of toxins. Also, from age 22 until just a few months ago (27 years!), I took a small dose of antibiotics every time I had intercourse. I have seen many docs and that was the only way I could stay out of the ER at 3 am. I recently found an alternative to antibiotics that seems to be working, but that's another story... On Day 12, I had a massage with a friend who mentioned that acupuncture might address the constipation. I went that next week for acupuncture and have been 2 times total (will continue). She is working to strengthen my kidneys and relieve my constipation. She says she's seen the W30 radically change the clients who have done it. I looked at the W30 Forum and started using Digestive Enzymes, Magnesium, and take a huge dose of probiotics to address the probable candida after so many years of antibiotic use. Oy. Still no relief. I just found some posts that recommend sweet potato and butternut squash for constipation. Coincidentally, other posts mention that veggies with higher carbs are also recommended for hypo-thyroid. I will add more of these and see what happens. I am very clear that going back to starting the day with tea, milk, and honey, and then battling cravings every 2 hours, is not the way to health. To cut out anything that could be contributing to inflammation and hormonal imbalances, can only be good. I plan to continue a modified W30 for...who knows? I love it. I feel great. My skin glows...and most important and profound, is that for the first time since adolescence, I have real balance in my eating. I have no cravings, either physical or emotional. And that is, simply, extraordinary. I am so grateful to this program. I am continuing with faith that going back cannot be better, that this feels just right for me, and that things will/must get better! Will post again around W45! Or W60, or whatever it takes.