I feel like a cranky, entitled, TEENAGER! Anyone understand?


raptah

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Here goes.  I have been REALLY struggling and am mired in all-or-nothing thinking.  I feel like an addict!  But I had never seen myself this way before completing my first Whole 30.  I did not struggle the first time around (this summer), except for the usual (had some cravings, a little headache the first few days) but mostly, I was pumped!  I loved the control (all or nothing) and I felt so good for the whole month.  I lost over 10 pounds and many inches. I never felt tempted to stray from the template and thought to myself, "why would I ever eat any other way?"  I had the blood of a tiger for sure.  Then I did a quasi-reintroduction, while also being out of town.  When on vacation with my family, I started drinking wine again.  Then when we got home, the slippery slope began. I made plans to do another W30 in September, and in the two weeks before that start date, I went completely off the rails and had this yucky entitled feeling (forgetting, I think, that I actually don't feel deprived on the W30!). 

 

By the time I started in September, I had gained back a bunch of the weight, but my second W30 (9/1-9/30) went well and I had similar results as the first.  I wasn't as pumped as the first time around--the novelty wore off a bit I think.  Anyway, I'm getting to the worst part.  I decided to take a few days "off" and then do another 30 days.  Maybe my mistake was to take the days off, but I have started at least 3 times and haven't been able to do more than 2 days in a row since.  It hits me at night, and I'm craving especially alcohol.  It scares me that I'm craving wine because to me, alcoholism is serious  and somehow shameful.  But then so is food addiction, and these days, the drinking of the wine leads to eating of the sugary carbs and I feel very out of control.  I never, ever would have described myself as a sugar or food addict before this whole thing started.  I'm not blaming the w30 but I am curious about it as it relates to this all-or-nothing entitled adolescent that has come out in me. 

 

There is no question that eating clean, and on template is a really good way for me to be at my healthiest, physically and mentally.  But I apparently have to be entirely rigid to be able to do it all?  Or maybe I'll get better with practice?  Or maybe I can't drink wine?  Wah.

 

I would love to hear from others who have struggled like this and found their way.  Or anyone at all, even if you haven't found your way but you're trying like I am.  Thanks.

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It sounds to me like you are struggling with a diet mentality still. The "I decided to take a few days 'off'" raises the red flag. I think rather than attempting another W30 right now you would do well to settle into a generally Paleo lifestyle. For me this means that most of my meals look like W30 but I'm less strict about some of the things I felt fine with during reintroductions especially when I eat out. It seems to me you know what is and isn't worth it so put the not worth it things out of your realm of possibilities. I also tend towards an all or nothing attitude but practice makes perfect.

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I can relate. I feel like W30 "for me" has been just another notch in my dieting belt. I act the same way..when I'm on, I'M ON...but when I'm off I'm way off. I can truly see addict behavior in me I never realized I had before. I just thought I was a person who liked food. I will confess, I have hidden food and eaten it in private, I have eaten so many sweets to the point of illness and then thought about when I could have more. I was definately lacking support throughout my W30's so it was difficult and isolating to maintain. I feel good eating that way but the external factors (time consuming, expensive, low variety, not very convieient) were taxing to me. I agree with physibeth, as I am trying to follow a more general paleo template right now. I had a serious talk with my husband about the lack of support and I think it is getting better. I have asked him to do a W30 with me in January, but I won't hold my breath on that. I think, each meal or each day that is on track is still better than no days at all. Just don't give up. One bad choice doesnot have to lead to more and doesnot make you a failure. You can accept it (can't change it) and move forward. Best of luck to you :)

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Thanks Physbeth, Bibliophile, and Mom2A&M for the jolt of reality.  The thing is that I thought I was OUT of the dieting mentality finally.  I don't know if this makes sense but doing the W30 was the first time in a long time, if ever, that I really felt like my relationship with food had changed and I was eating to fuel my body; not to comfort or reward or punish myself.  That's precisely why there's still a part of me that wants to only ever eat that way, because it's when I felt so healthy.  As Melissa says, moderation is hard! 

 

I really appreciate your sharing your experience Mom2A&M because I do think that part of what's hard for me with all this is the fact that I'm doing it on my own.  When I was trying to explain what a tough time I was having to my husband, he said "yeah, dieting is hard, that's why I don't do it."  Even though, I've been talking for months about the W30--what it is and isn't (that it isn't dieting).  He has NO interest at all, even though he has multiple autoimmune issues and I think would so benefit from trying a W30 or AIP W30.  Anyway, that's another story, and whether he gets on board or not is beside the point because I need to steer my own ship.  I'm scared to try a more moderate paleo template. I'm just being honest.  But you've given me just what I needed to think about.  Thanks.

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When I realised I had heavy reactions to gluten, I was a bit shellshocked. I thought Whole30 would be good, healthy, but not as profound as it was. For me, it was a big reality check that I don't need a pinch here and there of lifestyle change, I need a swimming pool or two :)

You don't have to do it all in one big go if that doesn't work for you, set some smaller goals and just keep at them if the all-in approach feels too constraining.

 

I did notice a time came when I no longer felt I was "missing out", now I feel that I am creating positive change and that I want it, even when it's hard. For me, that time came when I had to ingest wheat on purpose, to take a coeliac test for my doctor, I was so sick I thought I was going to die. Now nothing seems worth risking feeling that way again. Wheat is just something from my past, it has nothing to do with my future.

PS. sugar always makes me cranky lol eventually - it totally derails me, my decision making gets poorer, then I eat more sugary crap and just feel worse and worse.

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I've never enjoyed wine, so I can't relate there...but I've read that alcohol is basically just sugar, right? If you try to have wine on any kind of regular basis, it could just continue to feed your overall sugar/carb cravings and keep you either out of control or on the edge all the time. From what you're describing, I would tend to think you're craving the sugar more than the alcohol, but I don't know your history. If it were me, I'd have to give up all the sugar and alcohol for several weeks until I was back in control. It's a yucky feeling and will only continue if you give in to the cravings.  

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JJB--this is what it feels like to me too, but I'm still figuring it out.  Alcohol has never been my thing really, although I liked to drink socially--it didn't get away from me.  But I agree it seemed more like I was looking for sugar wherever I could get it, or maybe looking for a "hit", be it from alcohol or refined sugar or both.  I don't know.  I haven't had any wine or refined sugar (or anything not compliant) for a few days now and am starting to feel sane again. 

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I know the way of thinking you're describing. It's exhausting and leads to all kinds of problems, not only with eating and drinking, but in life in general. I've done a lot of things to finally grow out of it, but what was most helpful for me was to understanding the concept of "outer child". I actually still haven't finished reading Susan Anderson's book Taming the Outer Child, but just reading about the concept was helpful to me :-) I was totally over-reacting to everything, going from one extreme to another and feeling pumped while doing it...until the adrenaline weared off, and as I wasn't able to get through with the help of feeling pumped, I was blaming and shaming myself for being a failure. The feelings of shame and guilt made me feel really bad and reach out for food and alcohol to get a temporary fix and in hopes of getting pumped again.

 

When I was able to compartmentalize that "entitled teenager" part of me, it was easier to make decisions like an adult should and not feel shame even if I did have those ridiculous thoughts. I had internal dialogues going "Let's eat all the food and drink all the alcohol and not care!" "OK, that doesn't sound too bright. Calm down. You don't need it." Same thing with relationships "Nobody loves me!" "You're being dramatic. Stop it and calm down." After a while, the constant drama with everything started to die down. Now when I look back, I have been so cruel to myself and it has been exhausting!

 

I know it can sound like psychobabble to some, but to me it really was very helpful. I had to understand and accept my behavior patterns first before I could change them.

 

...and that said, I'm not Ms. Perfectly Mature 100% of the time :-) I still get very immature and I still have action plans based on fantasy, not reality. But it's in a much smaller scale compared to what it was before. I don't feel exhausted in my life all the time anymore, and that's very nice.

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Addiction is a serious topic and hard to talk about in personal terms.  And I don't want to suggest that you don't take your own concerns seriously.  But another approach would be to think about something like Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint (google if you're not familiar), which does allow red wine in moderation, and also allows high-quality dairy and even occasional very high % cocoa dark chocolate.  

 

You could perhaps test yourself to see if you can live long-term with that less restrictive plan, without then also straying back to the sugars and excessive or non-paleo carbs.  To do that, though, I personally would suggest a stricter clean up for at least 3 weeks, W30 style, and then reintroduce red wine only, and see if you can stick (1) to moderation in the wine and (2) clean paleo eating.  And if you cannot manage it, then perhaps you know that wine is, for you, the biggest "without brakes" trigger.  Or maybe it turns out that something else is the trigger, which you can avoid.  

 

And I would also suggest -- simply because this is how I approach it -- that you adopt the "1 person experiment" approach.  This is not about whether you can earn another notch, or succeed, etc, but rather an experiment to learn how you, in particular, function best in the world.

 

PS: one might say I am no one to give advice, because I fell off the wagon hard over the summer.  And I think it was because I made life easier for my mom and more short-term pleasurable for myself by returning to bread, pasta, etc, during our family vacation.  In truth, it really would have been hard for her and for me to work around a W30 or even paleo plan.  Really, really hard....for two weeks.  But it was super hard for me to clean up my act afterwards.  That vacation ended in late July, and I am only now getting back to a W30.  I didn't want to believe I needed it, but oh, brother, do I ever!

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Thanks for your posts, WunderHase and Kew. Both very helpful in completely different ways. I am eating W30 style presently, and not drinking at all, and have the clarity back. I think the primal blueprint plan you suggest is a good one, and it may help me to have just that--a blueprint. So far in my 1 person experiment I know I function best with structure.

Kew I can completely relate to your "fall" and appreciate you sharing what happened with you.

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Wow, I could have totally written this. I ended mine a little over a week ago, then I went to a baseball game in a club suite with a buffet. I felt like I was entitled to "everything"! I drank soda and ate brownies. I felt terrible. Then I went to a music festival the next day and figured that since I was off the wagon, I might as well have a corn dog and cupcake. I have had gut pains and gas all week.

Alas, tomorrow is a new day. I like the idea of sticking to basic primal (mark Sisson style) and see how I feel on that.

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I too could have written it.  My first whole30 in August was almost perfect.  Second round that I started this month has been awful.  I'm going to reset November 1, to go along with a running challenge I'm doing (5k/day), and it's a perfect 30-day month.  Hopefully I can get past all this failure mentally, and start fresh!  And re-sedate that horrid sugar dragon!!!

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It's so validating when you see you're not the only one, I know.  I felt crazy when I was on that sugar/carb/wine bender, and I didn't like myself very much.  I think though it's important to accept and like the "failure" (referencing juliejem above) or "teenager" parts of ourselves despite their apparent obsession with derailing us.  WunderHase  describes this too.  When I was watching the baseball game last night and that entitled-sugar dragon-teenager-sabateur (the name keeps morphing) came out, I said to myself "Yup, there she is.  Hi.  You're entitled to your opinion but I'm good doing what I'm doing."  Also the night before last my husband poured me a glass of red wine, because I had thought I might have a glass.  But when I tasted it, it was really really sweet and it just didn't taste good.  So I didn't drink it.  Bam!

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I can totally relate 100%.  It does at times feel like a feast or famine mindset to me which then makes me feel like I'm 'not getting it' because Whole30 isn't a 'diet' etc. etc.    My problem is that as I age my 'feast' stage has to be in a much smaller proportion to my 'famine' stage or I gain a lot of weight.  I'm reading Geneen Roth right now and she says for every diet there is an equal to or bigger proportional binge to balance it out.  Sigh. 

 

I did a great Whole30 in September and then binged the past few weeks (although I really kept it pretty much in check I felt) but I gained 4 pounds in that time and so I am back on a strict Whole30 program at the moment (Whole19 actually) because I am going to D.C. to do an all day immersion yoga workshop in a few weeks and I want to be at my best weight (10 pounds makes a huge difference to me in terms of my yoga experience).

 

So in other words, no answers only more questions.  Eating this way does make me feel my best so I will keep muddling along until I figure it out I hope.

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