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July 31, 2014 in Whole30 Reintroduction
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THE FIVE STAGES OF (FOOD) GRIEF
A guest post by Robin Strathdee, the newest Whole9 team member
This Spring, I discovered the ridiculous connection between refined sugar and seasonal allergies and, let’s be honest for a minute, it really ticked me off. I mean, come on! A couple of swigs of (albeit waaaay too sweet) organic strawberry lemonade and poof! I’m ALL of the seven Spring dwarves – itchy, sneezy, scratchy, stuffy, puffy, drippy and whiny.
As I was loudly and enthusiastically complaining to my patient husband, I realized that (for me, and maybe you too) switching to a Whole9 eating style required the loss (pretty much death) of my old eating patterns. And whenever there is a loss you encounter the five stages of grief. Sure, I’ve joked about mourning the loss of cupcakes…maybe more than once… but I never really gave it much thought. Then, as I really contemplated it, I realized that every stage of grief was (and still is, as things adapt and change) identifiable in our lifestyle transition.
This is especially applicable to those of who have are just beginning a Whole30 program. Switching up your eating habits, even for 30 days, takes major adjustment. You’ll notice that every area of your life begins to change, and some changes are easier than others. Take heart knowing that the rest of us are right there with you, no matter how many times we’ve done this.
The first stage of grief is denial – denial of the loss and isolation from usual social contacts.
I’m sure we all remember the day we stumbled across that magic piece of information, the proverbial straw, that convinced us once and for all to go full throttle into this diet-style. Chances are that the information was so novel, and so impactful, that in a single moment it trumped our old habits and made this healthier eating plan a priority. We cleared out our cupboards and cleaned out our fridges. We replaced our usual BYO work lunches of frozen Healthy Choice meals and leftover spaghetti with grilled organic pasture raised chicken and steamed broccoli with coconut oil and gluten-free soy-free tamari.
I’m willing to bet all your friends noticed the change. I’m also willing to bet that you fielded way too much, “Don’t you miss bread?” and, “I could never give up pasta!” There were probably even a few, “All that saturated fat will give you a heart attack!” and “Eating so much meat will give you cancer.” folks in the mix. But we would hear none of that. Oh, no! We had found the light and it had overtaken the darkness of cupcakes and chocolate pudding in our hearts. So we answered their comments with our vehement reassurances of, “Oh I wouldn’t change a thing! This is so easy. I don’t even miss my afternoon half-caff, all skim, no foam caramel macchiato with extra whip. Really! I’m fine! This is awesome!”
Eventually, though, that enthusiasm becomes hard to maintain. As much as we have convinced ourselves that giving up all the food we’ve ever known and loved is no biggie, it’s hard to withstand the constant ogling and questioning. It’s no fun to be the girl eating the salad with no dressing while everyone else stuffs themselves with the pasta of their choice. And so we start to pull away a little. Soon, we’re not going out for drinks after work and we only put in an appearance at the monthly office birthday party. We’re looking and feeling better than ever, but we’ve distanced ourselves from all but our closest (and maybe even those) friends and family.
I don’t know about you, but this stage was pretty intense for me. Here’s how it usually went down:
Now, for me this is kind of a rinse and repeat process with each new food group I grieve. Cupcakes were pretty hard to let go of. The holidays were a fairly continuous cycle of the above steps. I know some people who do this as a whole, for their entire diet, and then are done. It works differently for everyone, but everyone feels the rage now and again.
Okay, so we’ve moved from complete denial through complete ticked-off-ity and now we’re ready to bargain. In my house, this bargaining took the form of compromise. “Okay, so I know I can’t eat real donuts without serious consequences, but what about coconut flour donuts?” You Google every food you’ve lost, only adding the prefix “paleo,” and try to resurrect the ones you love in more acceptable form.
This is where the little cracks slip in and before you know it you’re having Gluten-Free Friday – everything is game-on as long as it’s gluten free (I may have done that once or twice). You waste half your budget on mysterious flours said to have magical properties that, if combined in just the right way, cooperate to produce a slightly more glutinous reaction and some black magic juju.
This leads to three things a) bags under your eyes from late night muffin-baking sessions; 2) bags on your porch filled with the failed results of said sessions and, c) the stark realization that no matter how hard you try you will never be able to achieve the same double mondo chocolate chunk cookie you made before.
Whole30ers: Watch it with this phase. Use the food lists in your Success Guide and online to help you fight the urge to compromise on the rules. No matter how much you want to compromise during this stage, it’s not worth bailing on your Whole30. And don’t think no one sees you standing in the kitchen late at night, sneaking a little honey into your Super Paleo Crunch Granola. You see you and the guilt will eat you alive.
No matter how much healthier you feel eating this way, it really is sobering to know that you can’t go back to what you used to do without serious consequences – physical, mental, emotional. When everyone at work goes out for cupcakes, I can get a cup of coffee. While everyone dives into the pizza at lunch, I eat my leftover pot roast. Sometimes it is lonely, and sometimes it is depressing.
At one point, I stopped cooking, stopped caring about food at all. I didn’t eat enough of anything, I couldn’t work out the way I had before. I didn’t even want to. My kiddos survived on grass-fed hamburgers, steamed broccoli and frozen peas. But they survived. At this point, it’s okay to cry and to actually mourn the death of your old lifestyle. Change – especially such a big lifestyle change – is not something to be undertaken lightly. In fact, I don’t trust those types who just fly through the transition. It’s not natural. But eventually, fairly quickly actually, this phase passes and normalcy returns.
And finally, you accept and you adjust.
Once you’re done feeling sorry for yourself, you begin the phase of actually adjusting to your new lifestyle. This is where you learn what does and doesn’t work for your family and where you’re willing to make compromises (ahem…peanut butter). You learn how to become more efficient with tools like the crockpot and meal plans. And, you begin to make the connection between your ability to control what you eat and your ability to control how you feel. This is where you feel fully comfortable in your new skin. You’re able to explain your diet decisions without too much science or shameless proselytizing. You can simply answer “yep” when someone asks if that’s a Tupperware container full whipped cream, and if you are indeed going to eat it. All. With a spoon. This is acceptance. This is comfortable. And this? This is good.
Robin Strathdee, our Whole9 Director of Communications, has a B.S. in Print Journalism from Missouri State University. She has used her education and training everywhere from corporate conference rooms to her own kitchen table – where she authors the blog Confessions of a Paleolithic Drama Queen – and is currently pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams as owner of a freelance communications company
- See more at: http://whole30.com/2012/01/the-five-stages-of-food-grief/#sthash.SI1CVziX.dpuf
The Difference Between Allergies and Food Intolerance Allergies
An allergic reaction happens when the body's immune system mistakes a part of a food for something harmful. Foods that cause the most problems for adults are peanuts, tree nuts (like walnuts or almonds), fish, and shellfish. Any food can cause an allergy, but some other "highly" allergenic foods are: milk, eggs, soy products, and wheat. Allergic reactions usually happen fast—minutes to hours after eating the allergen.
Food intolerance is the digestive system's response to the part of a food or additive that it can't process or that causes irritation. Sugar intolerance, for example, could be from a biological cause in which the body lacks the enzymes needed to process lactose or fructose. It could also be from an additive, such as a sugar substitute in diet foods, that is poorly absorbed by the gut.The body's response to food intolerance is usually based on portion: A small amount provokes a small reaction; a large portion provokes a larger reaction. The time frame for problems is longer too. The body's reaction to food intolerance can take place immediately or over a few days.
Aghhh darn iPad thinks it knows better than me and corrected what I was typing. How embarrassing, lesson learnt, re-read what I've typed. I tried to say you are a shining light .
MeadowLily, I'm still not there with the weight loss. I have to admit that it was a goal for me. As was to have a more healthy approach to what I eat and ditch the diet coke addiction. Fortunately all were achieved. It's interesting that while I am still mostly eating Whole30 (maybe 1 or 2 meals a week or fortnight where I may off-road) the weight loss has slowed. I don't have a problem with this, but I understand people's disappointment when they don't lose weight. This is where I can see sharing food logs may help for some.
The most exciting part of the Whole 30 for me is the brain reset.
If the brain doesn't get on board it doesn't matter how many of these you do. The body wants what it wants but the brain's in charge.
The brain reset takes you from the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting, bingeing, purging and starving.... into wholeness, wellness. It takes you from pretending you understand to knowing you understand.
I'm not moving over into bravado because I have much more to learn. Many probably absorbed these rules at lightning speed. It took me a good long while.
"Pretendians". Pretending you don't care about weight loss until the end when the you want to kick a can down the street. If you made it through 30 compliant/complaint days, you're a Grand Champion.
Your internal structure has changed and you can't see it. It changed. Now let your brain get back in the driver's seat and really shoot you on down the highway.
"There is a misconception that your image anxiety (or as I prefer to call it, “selfie neuroticism”) has anything to do with what you actually look like. You can be overweight or stick thin, blonde or brunette, have crystal clear skin or suffer from acne. The debilitating thing about image obsession is that you are never “enough.” Never thin enough, or curvy enough, or tall enough, or have “enough” of some attribute that you and your society demand you should possess in order to be happy, valued and fulfilled.
This problem is increasingly recognised both in public consciousness and among mental health professionals.So what do we do to empower ourselves and shift the focus to our more meaningful qualities? The majority of advice seems to revolve around self-love message and positive affirmations.
I don’t think this is enough. When we give weight loss advice we recognise that there are strong environmental triggers and encourage people to remove those to maximise success: clean out their pantry of rubbish foods, avoid catching up with friends at the favourite bakery, or move away from the table full of tempting treats at a party. We recognise that willpower sometimes is not enough. Can we utilise similar strategies when trying to preserve your self-esteem?
Here are some ideas that you can try to implement in your everyday life.
Hunger is a potent anxiety inducer. The more you restrict, count and obsess, the less nutrition your body receives, the hungrier you get, the more you restrict, count and obsess. I know women who have been caught in that cycle for decades. It does not take one good filling meal to put a dampener on your chronic stress causing neuroticism. It takes weeks of nourishing your body to break the cycle of low level anxiety.
When I go clothing shopping after working a late shift the night before, everything looks and feels “meh.” Lack of sleep makes you more susceptible to negative self-talk. The undercurrent of irritability brought on by lack of sleep might just explode into a tsunami of rage if your boyfriend inadvertently implies that maybe this piece of clothing does not suit your body type.
Note: if you are a guy and your significant other takes you out shopping after several nights with less than 8 hours of sleep, run. Or fake gastrointestinal distress requiring you to stay at home locked in a small room. Anything.
You will save loads of money and your sanity. 50% of those mags are ads anyway. It’s like paying for cable and watching only the shopping channel. The other 50% are designed to make you feel inadequate, unfashionable, fat, unattractive, and not hip “enough” unless you buy the recommended $300 bag, the latest lip plumping serum, and a designer outfit resembling a brightly coloured hessian sack. If you are still in doubt, ask yourselfwhen was the last time you felt fantastic about yourself and your life after reading Cosmopolitan?
4. Take a selfie detox.
That means no selfie photos for at least one month. None. Who are you taking them for anyway? Your friends on InstaTwitFace know what you look like. They have seen your face probably more than you have seen your own. And let’s just be honest here, every shot you take is carefully designed and orchestrated to make you look in the best possible light. The sad thing is, your opinion of your best features might be drastically different from that of your friends.
I have a girlfriend whose selfie pose features a smouldering look and a significant pout. I’m sure she thinks it’s off the charts sexy. I happen to think that she looks drop dead gorgeous when she relaxes into a very distinct loud carefree roaring laughter, with her flushed face breaking into dozens of laugh lines and tears streaming down her cheeks.
We all love being told how attractive, sexy and gorgeous we are. But when you are handing out compliments, be aware what beast you are feeding. Are you encouraging narcissistic behaviour by only ever commenting on someone’s appearance and neglecting their other qualities? When was the last time you left a comment on a friend’s Instagram telling them what a great eye for photography they have, or how you admire their original way of thinking? It’s all too easy to reduce our online and in-person compliments to somebody’s dress, their figure, their shoes or their new hairdo. You love your friends and family for more than just their looks. Don’t forget to tell them that.
Yes, ladies. I know you are going to hate me for this one. To every woman who tells me that makeup means nothing to her and she only uses it as part of a feel good ritual I want to say: why then the paralysing fear of going without? Now, let’s not be silly. This is probably not the time to go cold turkey; nobody likes hearing an innocent inquiry from their work colleagues whether they are suffering a debilitating acute illness when they show up au naturelle one day. If your everyday makeup ritual resembles war paint application, you may need to take it slow. Make it into a game: how much can you omit without anyone noticing? Start with skipping a second coat of mascara, forget the lip liner the next day, and do you really need eye shadow for the office?
The barista at the local coffee shop will probably never notice if you are not wearing lipstick when you order your next espresso. In fact, I bet even your friends, family and your significant other would take no heed. The benefits of using less makeup and going fresh faced from time to time? You will save thousands of dollars each year (and won’t have to pretend to your significant other that all these products were acquired “on sale”). Your skin will improve, lips will soften, and eyelashes will get stronger. You’ll probably avoid exposure to some hormone-disrupting chemicals. And finally, you will realise that what you were hiding under the mask was beautiful in its own right.
This may sound like the exact opposite of what I just said but loving your body does not mean you let yourself go, neglect your hygiene or wear unflattering clothes. Teenage girls seem to struggle with getting that balance right and I frequently feel the urge to mention to some girls that red lipstick and greasy unwashed hair is not an attractive combination. Being able to walk into a room full of strangers with your head held up high requires a high degree of self-respect. Sure, we all have bad days when you would rather slouch in the corner and become completely invisible, but these are the days when you gotta pull out the old “fake it till you make it”. Dreading the necessary socialising at a party? Put on your most comfortable piece of clothing (not your onesie), pull your shoulders back, lift your chin up, and walk in with a lion tamer’s confidence.
So be brave and give these strategies a go. Self-doubt can be paralysing and we all struggle with pressure put on us by the society’s impossible standards. Don’t just let yourself be swept away by the current of constant criticism telling you that you somehow you are not enough. Take an active stance and reduce your exposure to these toxic influences."
Whole9 Moderator/First Whole30 May 2010
You can't lose weight looking at the scale every day. It scares the fat when you check frequently and it holds on tighter.
I'm kind of joking and I am also completely serious.
And increasing your workouts from 3 hours to 5 hours per week means you have seriously disturbed your system. It is not going to release fat until it knows you will feed it enough to support the extra work. You did start eating more when you upped the number of workouts, didn't you? And you increased the amount of time you devote to active recovery? All this matters.
Here it is.....recently.
Some people use bulletproof coffee to avoid eating food, a way to stave off hunger with fat calories and caffeine. This approach is nearly opposite of what we want you to do during a Whole30. We want you to eat a substantial breakfastwithin one hour of waking in the morning. Eating a real food breakfast when you wake up does good things to your hormonal rhythms and sets you up for better digestion and better sleep. We don't ban bulletproof coffee during a Whole30, but if you are looking to maximize your Whole30 experience, I can assure you that bulletproof coffee will not help.
When you get the hang of eating real food in the generous amounts your body needs, your hormonal rhythms improve and you just don't need snacks to keep you going. You can certainly eat something whenever you feel hungry, but the thing to do is to think about eating more at meals if you find yourself needing to snack. Another trick is to eat 4 meals per day at first so that you don't go so long between meals. I ate 5 and occasionally 6 meals per day at first. It took me awhile, but now I am very comfortable eating just 3 times per day. I have experimented with eating just twice per day, but it messes with my sleep, so I eat 3 times daily now.
The Crazy Things People say... faves
"salad is not a food!" wha-what? I still wonder what they think salad is. One of my favorites was a vegetarian co-worker who was drinking a Diet coke and eating Fritos and a hostess cupcake told me that the grassfed steak on my salad would give me colon cancer. I looked at her lunch and then at mine and said "that is a risk I am willing to take."
Here's another response;" if I eat that, the voices come back."They'll walk away.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Having just one of these conditions doesn't mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.
If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.
If you'll eat breakfast within one hour of waking up....metabolic syndrome went away for me. Hormones will balance themselves.
I've had 3 eggs every morning with a portion of beef or pork, vegetables and avocado...almost every single day. Eggs are nature's perfection. They'll put a shine on your shoes and a glow on your hair.
Do you know what else messes with your hormones? Coffee, excessive coffee.
I've quit drinking a pot of coffee every day. I'm down to one cup. This has also helped me get rid of metabolic syndrome.
Thank you, Tom. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The half has not been told how much you've helped me and everyone, every day.
I read on a recent thread that someone keeps repeating as a mantra....Food won't fix it.
This phrase helps prevent them from eating. This phrase will assist you with anorexia, bulimia, diets and starvation.
Food will fix it. Right foods will put back in your right mind.
It takes 30 days for a food reset.
A brain reset may take longer.
If you're really using this reset as your low carb diet and pretending ....the truth will find you out. Your brain will have the same thought patterns about food and eating before you started the Whole 30.
At the end of 30 days...the big reveal - reveals all.
If you are pretending, you will use the Whole 30 as periodic dieting.
Do you think in terms of all or nothing....if you fall off the wagon with a holiday, birthday or reunion, do you throw it all away?
All or nothing is not perfection, it's the pathway to disorder.
The right foods at the right times will balance your hormones and fix your head. Fix your head and the body will follow.
Beautiful foods will fix everything.
My heroes have always been "normal" people.
Normal people enjoy their lives. The lived experience of having and loving your family, working, taking care of business and playing - vacations, too.
Normal people are so engrossed with living life to the fullest...they don't have food mantras going through their minds at all times. They don't self-talk..."food won't fix it", "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels", "once on the lips and forever on the hips". No, normal people don't think or act like that.
I admire the bravehearts who take before and after photos. I'm not brave like that, but "normal" people don't take before or afters. "Normal" people don't take selfies looking the same way....day after day and year after year. They keep on with their lived experiences and enjoy their food and families.
If you know anything about your ancestors, they weren't obsessed with food either. They had to hunt to survive but there wasn't a "Biggest Loser" in the B.C. through the 1900's. People were starving during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl Days, but even in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's - there wasn't a lot of food obsession going on.
Why, now? Frankenfoods, fast foods, society norms and 100's of other factors.
We still have normal people with us and I admire them. Their brains fire on all cylinders and they keep on navigating through this world with all of its imperfections. They sit down at the table when they can with the family, enjoy their meals and get back out into the fields. They work hard and love it. Some have cattle ranches or dairy farms. Others are busy growing our produce or on fishing boats. There are linemen who are dangling from our powerlines and construction workers.
Everywhere I look, I see my heroes. The lineman is not up there on the pole with his tools thinking about "food won't fix it". The steel worker is not balanced on a beam thinking "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels".
The cattle rancher is not thinking..."once on the lips and forever on the hips".
The dairy farmer is not in the barn taking a belly selfie. The carpenter is not doing a fast food drive-by or gorging in the parking lot on crispy creme donuts until he passes out.
Normal people have to work hard and for some reason, the neural-pathways in their brains aren't wired to binge, gorge, starve, and diet.
I'm admiring and studying "normal" people because that's what I want.
Body Acceptance Movement
Do selfies help you believe in yourself?
Selfies reveal the outer shell but is that the real you?
"It Starts With Food" but ends with me.
Willpower will only take you so far. Clinched fists and bare knuckling wears you out. Like a bare knuckled boxer, we beat ourselves up and compete with our selfies. We look backwards at what we were and pray that our before doesn't become our slippery slope.
What if it does? After weeks, months or years of sheer grit and willpower....it all comes undone. Do we beat ourselves up again with selfies? Bad girl and good girl. Round belly and flat belly.
Is that really the reward?
I think it adds to the heartache and I don't want to wear that badge.
I wish I had a before and after photo of my heart.
We need to love ourselves more and not compete with our before and after numbers on the scale. When you fall, it won't be so hard to get back up and shake the dust off your shoes.
Posted by Tom Denham on 27 May 2014 - 02:39 PM
Your first three points suggest that you do not trust the recommendations the book makes for healthy eating. I don't know what more we can say. They work. They are important. They apply to people just like you. You do not fall into a category where we would recommend anything different.
Many people eat too little when they begin a Whole30. I believe that is the diet effect. People think eating less is healthy, so they eat less when they are trying to eat healthy. That bit of conventional wisdom is false. Our bodies require a certain amount of nourishment and we can't be really healthy until we give our bodies what they need.
The great secret to weight loss is gaining the cooperation of our hormones. If we don't eat enough, our metabolism slows and losing weight is difficult. When we eat enough of the right foods and eat on a good schedule, our hormones begin to work in a good rhythm and those of us who need to lose weight start to lose weight because our hormones help us along and don't fight the process. Many people, start to lose weight steadily after they nourish their bodies adequately and gain the cooperation of their hormones.
I hate My Fitness Pal. It is not your friend. You make worse decisions about eating when you track your food in MFP while doing a Whole30. I'm not kidding. I've been here for years and no one does better because they use MFP. And it is not as if we expect you to know how much to eat without some help. We provide the meal template as your best guide to how much you should be eating.
Follow the meal planning template and you will do well. Now the meal template needs explaining sometimes. When we say fill your plate with veggies, we mean really fill your plate with veggies. Not a thin layer of raw salad that reduces down to almost nothing when chewed, but full of cooked veggies in a generous heap, cooked with plenty of fat to make the food taste good and stay with you for hours.
And never eat less than a palm-size portion of protein at a meal. And if you are hungry, eat up to two palm-size portions.
You do not have to eat pre- or post-workout meals for short workouts. However, if you find yourself needing to snack on days when you workout, take that as information that you probably should be having at least a post-workout meal.
You do not need to postpone changing your workout until after your Whole30. That would allow for a more precise experiment, but I don't think it will be necessary. Personally, I lost 15 pounds between 2008 and 2010 with exercise and tried the Whole30 because my weight loss had stalled. The Whole30 immediately got me losing weight again and it continued for 15 months in a row before I stopped losing every month.
It is often difficult for people to accept eating as much protein as we recommend, especially at breakfast and lunch. However, eating protein generously has a very positive effect on our health. Part of why we ask you to do a Whole30 perfectly according to the recommendations is so that you experience the benefits directly.
And if you eat plates full of veggies like the meal template specifies, you will be getting plenty of fiber.
Balanced hormones are your ticket to paradise.
My go-to site for supplement questions is http://examine.com/. I supplement with vitamin k2 because of its potential benefit of reducing unwanted calcification.
The Whole9 take on supplements can be found here:
Your meal composition sounds good, but I think you probably need to eat more. I eat more than you do. I weigh around 190 pounds and sit in front of a computer as much as 12 hours per day. I was glad to hear you say you were eating a palm to palm and a half at the end of your report because in the report, I thought you were eating a lot less. I think you could use more veggies. Adding the avocado and nuts bring your fat servings up to adequate. I wish you were eating more at meals so that you did not need snacks.
I eat tuna as often as 5 times per week as a post-workout protein AND i eat canned salmon 3-4 times per week as a meal. The selenium in fish protects from mercury and if you want to be extra cautious like me, you could eat two brazil nuts per day. Brazil nuts are too high in omega 6 fatty acids to eat handfuls of them, but two nuts work nice as a selenium supplement.
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