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Almost five years later and I’m back again. Four and a half years ago I successfully completed a Whole100 (read the whole thread here). I was able to off-road successfully for a while afterward, but starting in 2016, habitual eating patterns crept back in. In the three and a half years that followed, I gained 50 lbs, reached the heaviest weight I’ve ever been at, and relapsed HARD i terms of emotional eating and using food as a way to cope with distress. Thinking back, I can identify a number of factors that contributed to this: I stopped journaling about my experience. Quite simply, without logging my experience and taking the time each day to reflect on my eating behaviors, I lost a sense of accountability and got better at rationalizing unhelpful choices. I stopped having daily check-ins with my best friend and accountability buddy, M, who introduced me to the Whole30 in 2013. M and I had done the Whole100 together and kept in touch about it daily. Without that extra layer of support and accountability, I experienced a backslide into unhelpful behaviors. I went vegetarian. Since 2015, I’ve been dating (and am now engaged to!) K, who returned to a vegetarian diet in 2016. I learned more about vegetarianism and decided to transition to a vegetarian diet for a few reasons: Ecological impact/global warming/sustainability Ethical treatment of animals Apparent promise that eating vegetarian would lead to better health Desire to lose weight that I gained since stopping my Whole100 When I switched to a vegetarian diet and cut a main source of fuel from my meals (animal protein), a returned to eating dairy. From my Whole100 reintroductions, I KNEW that dairy would fuck me up, but I ate it anyway (because what else do you eat if you’re vegetarian??). Of course, I started gaining weight and experienced a resurgence of acne (which I struggled with severely as a teen). After a few months, I got frustrated with this and decided to cut out dairy completely to lose the extra weight I had gained and calm my breakouts. I went vegan. After cutting out dairy for a few months, I decided that I was close enough to vegan to just go for it full force. But with cutting out eggs came eating more grains and legumes, and predictably, more weight gain. I could only sustain veganism for about six more months and have since struggled to find a way of eating that fits my values and my body’s needs. I experienced significant mental health concerns, trauma, and stress. In 2016-2017, my anxiety disorders and depression reached peak severity. This came about as a result of moving away from my support system to complete my doctoral degree and learning to navigate a relationship with K, an alcoholic. During this year I also worked a full time job and drove 12 hours every weekend. I constantly ate on the road and chose convenience/processed foods over food that I prepared. Since 2017, I’ve been working a highly stressful and emotionally taxing job as a therapist (note: the stress is related to the institution I work for, not the profession itself) and studying to become a licensed psychologist. I returned to emotional eating. To deal with the stress of my job, my relationship, and my doctoral program, I relied on food to soothe me. This is a deeply-rooted pattern I’ve had since childhood. I started Prozac. I’m super grateful to therapy, 12-step meetings, and Prozac for helping me get my anxiety and depression in check. However, Prozac essentially eliminated my satiety signals. Emotional eating + eating no satiety signals = lots of weight gain. I joined a weight loss study. Through the study, we had to log all of our calories and weigh ourselves every day. I cannot emphasize enough how much this kind of self-monitoring fucked me up. I already knew from experience that this approach does not work for me, but I was desperate to feel healthier and was not ready to give up vegetarianism. I dropped out of the study early and ended up emotionally eating even more than when I started. Archetypically and psychologically, I’m a nurturer. I tend to over-source my self-worth from the act of nurturing others (I am worthy because of how I help you”). When out of balance, this psychological schema shows up in two ways: Over-identification with the schema (e.g., difficulty saying “no” to others, going along with something I don’t want to do to avoid rocking the boat, poor self-care, desire to control others). In a major way, this led to me going with what helped the planet and aligned with my partner’s way of being (vegetarianism) despite evidence that this approach to eating was not supporting my health. Withdrawal from the schema (e.g., abdicating responsibility to others, abdicating responsibility to self, complete lack of self-control). This often showed up as eating foods and quantities of foods that were unhealthy for me because I was too emotionally exhausted to care. My weight and health have been deprioritized, but I’m ready to make a change. I’m choosing to do a Whole180 (rather than a Whole30 or Whole100) for a few reasons: The last time I felt healthy and strong was when I was working my Whole100. I know from experience that eating this way is what supports my health best. 100 days was not enough to change my relationship with food. The biggest hurdle for me is my sense of self-worth and the ways that it impacts my relationship with/use of food. The foods that are eliminated during the Whole30 tend to be my trigger foods and those that I eat emotionally. Going for 180 days (at least) will give me the time I need to work towards changing my behaviors around food AND my psychology around food. Factors supporting the success of my Whole180: I accept that my relationship with food and the way I use it needs to change for good. I accept that I am not, and will never be a “moderator” when it comes to using food. I’m 100% an abstainer. I’m keeping a log here, which helps keep me accountable. I’m keeping in touch with M, who understands the process. K is on board. K is actually OK with eating some meat. He understands that what works for him and his body (naturally slender) does not work for me or mine. We’ve been able to come to an agreement about sourcing animal protein: it comes directly from the humane farms near us or not at all. My psychological health is a major focus this time. So, as of yesterday (9/15/19), I started my Whole180. I’ll be here, updating regularly. Very likely daily. I’ll log my meals, recipes, BMs (my favorite and most reliable indicator of health), and insights, especially as they relate to my psychological relationship with food. I’m nervous and excited for the months ahead. Starting stats: Age: 29 Height: 5’2” Weight: 209.6 lbs Bust: 44” Waist: 37” Hips: 50” Upper arm: 18” Upper thigh: 30”