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Thoughts on starting over, emotional eating, and correcting bad habits

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I'm on Day 3 (attempt 2).  I originally started my Whole30 with the rest of my CrossFit gym on July 1st.  I made it to Day 4 (July 4) and then slipped and had to click the dreaded "do-over" link.  I ate plantain chips and carob chips between my lunch and dinner meals.  And while I didn't have some major July 4th cheating blowout, a cheat is a cheat.  You might be thinking that's not that bad.  Plantain chips, though not advised, are still compliant.  Carob is compliant too (but these chips contained soy, and they were basically "healthier" chocolate chips-a dessert food.)  Not allowed, period. But more importantly it was the circumstances, as follows, that led me to start over.


I'm not excusing my behavior here, but simply illustrating my habit of emotional eating.  I was on Day 4 and not feeling so great.  One of my beloved dogs Domino passed away back on May 15th.  Shortly before that we rescued a new puppy, Zira.  Domino was the perfect animal.  She was older when we adopted her and came to us house trained, and with an innate sense of good behavior.  I've never had a puppy before, and as anyone who has raised a puppy knows, they are A LOT of work.  This puppy was driving me crazy!!  My fuse was short, and I was frustrated.  I was feeling like I wanted to "send her back".  This makes me sound awful, but that is how I felt in the moment.  This was further fueled by the fact that I was on Day 4 and raging.  Not to mention it was a holiday, which is a food trigger for me.  And I'm still grieving the loss of Domino.


Because of this, in a moment of bad judgement and weakness, I reverted to my old behavior and ate the plantain chips and carob chips.  I binged.  I was eating emotionally.  I turned to food, in a misguided attempt to feel better, an old habit that is ingrained in my psyche.  


Now I will admit, when I started the program I wasn't fully invested.  I've been doing Paleo for a month already (Paleo-fied desserts included) and wanted to refine my diet a bit to get better results.  But I hadn't fully subscribed to the Whole30 program  (literally, I was skimming the emails) and it's focus on changing habits long term. 


The do-over actually really helped me move forward successfully and find new resolve.  First of all, I thought by clicking that link, I'd resume on Day 1 the next day.  Wrong.  You get to start over on Day 0.  At first I was like WTH, this sucks.  But it actually gave me time to re-evaluate my goals and what I truly want to get out of the program.  Because of this, I also chose not to use the Day 0 as an opportunity to binge again and eat a bunch of crap that would make the first week of my do-over harder than it already would be, and instead continued to eat as outlined in the program.  


I've been struggling with an extreme sugar addiction, emotional eating, and to a degree some BED for most of my life.  I don't want to give up sugar (because my physical addition and emotional attachment) and yet I hate the power it has over me.  After some hesitation, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity this afforded me, to truly change my life. I'm still going through the grieving process, and haven't totally accepted the fact that I might have to avoid sugar (excluding fruit, in which I must still tread carefully) like the plague for the rest of my life.


Meanwhile a friend and support buddy who is also on Whole30 texted me "Had some life complications come up. Taking a day away from the Whole30".  I clearly have the same issues, so I should probably be more sympathetic, but my initial reaction was to call BS (I'm a hypocrite, I know.)  It kinda sounded like making an excuse for emotional eating.  I feel like because the program is geared towards correcting these behaviors, it has to be acknowledged to move on and have a successful outcome at the end.  (FYI I did not call her out, because this is her journey and it's not my job to police her Whole30 experience. It did irk/trigger me in the way that it can when one recognizes their own faults in others.)


So anyways, I noticed a lot of people on here when they have a slip (more often further along in the program) opt not to start over, and just tack extra days onto their Whole30.  It ends up being the same amount of days (total) anyways, so why don't people do the do-over and review the literature?  Is it psychological,  needing to remain at a high count instead of going back to zero?  It sucks, but it seems like acknowledgement and doing your homework will give you more success.  On the other hand, the do-over is counterintuitive to combating an all-or-nothing attitude that leads many people to fail.  Also for some perhaps, the starting over at Day 0 is too much of a temptation to eat junk again before the program restarts, which could inevitably lead to multiple failed attempts.  Although I feel like the do-over was effective for me, I can see how others might feel otherwise.  Still I'm curious about people's thoughts and reasoning on this and starting over in general...


Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place, I wasn't sure where it fit in.

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I think context and how true you want to be to yourself and the Whole30 philosophy has a lot to do with it. It's ultimately about having a healthier relationship with food, and some folks aren't ready for dealing with that aspect.


If I were out at a restaurant, ordered food, checked for whether it was cooked in soybean oil, ate it and the server later came by and said, "whoops, sorry it had soybean oil," I might keep going/tag on some days (especially if I had a bad reaction to what I ate).


If I had a bad day and chose to eat/drown my emotions in non-W30 food/drink (pick your poison), I'd start over.


But that's me  :).  We can't ultimately control anyone else's path or integrity of their W30 - they get to choose and live with the consequences.


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You have some good points, I never even considered an accidental slip up.

The last point you made resonates with me though. As a family member of an addict, I am a control freak and get tend angry with others regarding accountability. Your comments helped me review some of my co-dependency meditations.

An applicable one being, "Changing ourselves, allowing ourselves to grow while others seek their own path, is how we have the most beneficial impact on people we love. We're accountable for ourselves. They're accountable for themselves."

This attitude will help me be a good "buddy" and support for my friend, while at the same time protect me from letting others struggles impact my own Whole30 negatively. Thanks for that.

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I'm so sorry for the loss of your dog.  Taking on a puppy while you're grieving is a difficult thing, even though you feel ready to do it.  You're clearly a very good egg. :wub:


What I get from your post is that you're pretty upset with yourself for relying on a slightly healthier version of old coping techniques in a very painful situation.  But I gotta say, I think you did great.  Really really great.  You didn't binge, you didn't lose sight of the fact that you really do want this puppy and you're just having a rough day, and you didn't let your grief stop you from continuing to evaluate where you want to be, health-wise, using Whole30.


Your friend's idea of taking a break from Whole30 is a very healthy response in difficult circumstances.  It is not everyone's response, and yet you will see here on the forums that there are times when our own moderators encourage someone in their well-considered decision to take time off from Whole30 due to very difficult life circumstances.  In other cases, people regard their Whole30 as the one thing that keeps them sane during times of extreme stress.  It's very individual.


The thing is, Whole30 is always here.  You can start any time that works for you.  And you can start over any time.  It's one of those good habits that's just there, waiting patiently.  No criticism, no judgment, no harm, no foul.  Promise.  You got this.  Go as easy on yourself as you do on your beloved canine companions.  You can do it.  :wub: :wub:

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First of all, I agree with Amy, I think you've done absolutely awesome. As to the add days or start over question, it depends on so much. I think if you're getting the daily emails,( which I'd really advise everyone to do, they're what got me through my first W30) then you don't have much choice, it's start over so can stay on the right timeline.


If you're not getting them, then really it's a question of semantics. Some people like to view it as starting over, a completely new fresh start, recommittment etc. Others prefer to simply add that number of days on because the old habits of "I'm starting afresh tomorrow so I can eat what I like today" rear their head and this can lead to total bingeing, sometimes longer than just the one day. It's a question of each individual learning what works best for them.


I think, for us women especially, emotional eating is one of the hardest habits to overcome and I do think you've done exceptionally well. I'm truly sorry for the loss of your dog, I know how hard that can be and adapting to a new pet, after the death of a loved one always brings it's own problems, you don't sound awful at all, don't ever think that.


I absolutely ove your meditation quote, It's one I'm definitely going to keep and use. You're doing great, good luck with the rest of your W30 and your new pet.

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