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Hey everyone, My name is AE, and I am currently on my 3rd Whole30, Day 3! Background information: I've struggled with my weight my entire life, developed incredibly bad eating habits and an eating disorder in my teenage years (binge eater)... My highest weight was 100kg (about 220 lbs) and I was so miserable. I was ashamed of myself and through constant overanalyzing and fear of what others thought of me I developed an anxiety disorder, panic attacks and depression (also runs in the family, woohoo) - all of which went undiagnosed for about 8 years. 2014: Moved to a new country and completed my 1st Whole30 that year... I really felt like a changed person and continued to live this healthy lifestyle, until I met my first boyfriend at the end of 2015/ beginning of 2016... 2017: The relationship was a nightmare (my boyfriend was psychologically ill) and I was constantly stressed out (this did NOT help my undiagnosed mental illnesses by the way, it only made them worse). Ended up back at 97 kg and finally called off the relationship. One month before I moved out of our apartment I did another Whole30. Again, changed person! I continued living a Paleo lifestyle (although reflecting back I think it was a bit too restrictive). 2018: Although I was eating clean and working out, I continued to experience anxiety, panic attacks, and bouts of depression. I went to a pyschiatrist, realized that I have major childhood/family issues that correlated with my eating habits and started seeing a therapist and taking medication. Lo and behold, my issue is that I have this undeniable need to feel wanted and liked by everyone, and therefore I do anything and everything for the people around me and do not put myself first (that's what happens when your parents only love you when you do something for them in return) My thought process went like this... I knew pizza and cheese weren't good for me, yet felt guilty and couldn't turn it down when someone offered it to me, because then they wouldn't like me Yeah, that's a really terrible way to think... 2019: I'm back to around 80 kg, (I don't feel comfortable in my body at this weight) but what bothers me more than the weight is that I haven't found my food freedom. Everything I've learned from Whole30 is quickly forgotten. I haven't quite found MY style. I've been doing what everyone else has wanted for so long, I don't really know who I am at this point. Not this time - with this round, I'm journaling every day and really putting an effort to make changes that I can sustain in the long run... taking the reintroduction phase more seriously by leaving food groups out that I know affect me poorly! I WANT to figure it out so that I can feel good in my body EVERYDAY. I don't care what people want me to eat or drink or whatever... what's good for them isn't good for me and I need to stand my ground. Hence this 3rd Whole30 - well, I'm going to take the wait and see approach, but in my head I'd like to extend it to a Whole60 or Whole75. It takes an average of 66 days to make a habit stick (quoted from The Whole30) and I want this habit of cooking daily to stick! I've never gone "public" (aka written in forums or signed up for community groups) but I feel like this is an important step for my success. I want feedback, I want to hear criticism, I want encouragement! I want to support others in their journey because I know personally how hard this all is! Well, not the Whole30 part.. but the life after. Dealing with stressful situations and not reaching for a candy bar or not mindlessly eating due to boredom is HARD. It takes effort, time, and willpower. I'm right there with you guys the entire way. Thanks for reading my story! Now onto the fun part. My 3rd Whole30: The first few days have been fantastic. My only complaint is that my nose is extremely running and I'm sneezing nonstop. I'm wondering if this is due to a (currently) unknown pollen allergy. My nose has been stuffed up for a month and a half now, but it was never this extreme until I started the Whole30. I will monitor my symptoms and will go to an allergist if it continues getting worse. I haven't experienced any general malaise or carb flu symptoms though, and I was running on pretty much only sugar and grains the past year and a half. Why I feel this round has started significantly better than the first 2: 1. Experience. I knew what I was getting myself into. I read the book in depth again from start to finish. I was mentally prepared for what was to come. 2. Research. A couple weeks ago I started researching for recipes that would help make my meal prepping significantly easier. In the last 5 years Whole30 has become quite a hit, and there is so much information to be found out there! I personally benefitted the most from this post: https://www.theendlessmeal.com/7-staple-whole30-sauces/ The sauces are AMAZING and that is the most important component to a successful Whole30... and now I know I can make better tasting homemade sauces than all those store bought ones that are full of junk my body doesn't need. 3. Mindset. The first 2 Whole30s were about weight loss. That was a bad mindset. It is even written in the book that it shouldn't be about weight loss. I wasn't really focused on my relationship with food - I just wanted to control my eating. I did feel extremely good eating Paleo, but that wasn't my focus. My concern was keeping my weight down. This Whole30 I have a very different mindset. I want to know how food affects me. I want to be able to eat everything that makes my body feel good, and I will. I want to find my food freedom - not focusing on the macros and how much I'm eating, just focusing on whole foods, feeling satisfied and full! 4. Time. I am living with my kids from work (long story, my job needs a post of its own, haha) and am home all day. Sure, I have to entertain the kids, but my teenagers are out most of the day (summer vacation in Germany) and my youngest is in daycare until 4 p.m.. this means I have plenty of time to cook for myself, experiment, go grocery shopping, and relax. I'm not working out currently because I want to focus solely on my nutrition - I might try working out when the tiger blood kicks in, but, until then, it's early bedtime and lots of rest. This weekend I only have the youngest kid at home so we will go to water park in the afternoon on Sunday - I have already planned our snacks and emergency food/water supply stashed away. Having time is really important for Whole30! 5. Confidence. At the beginning of my 1st Whole30, I was worried about cooking so much. I didn't learn how to cook at home. I thought I was a terrible chef. Well, 5 years later, I absolutely love to cook. I've become quite the chef! I'm very confident in my cooking skills and am taking on more challenging recipes to continue improving and growing. I can cook all the basics, and can be more creative this time around! All right, I feel like I've written enough for today. I'll check back in a couple days. Anything you guys have questions about? Let me know, I'm happy to answer Best, AE