Completing my Whole 30 today and feeling great – very long recap of my experience, Part 1


eclaire

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Today is day 30 of what will be a Whole 60.  I’ve decided not to ride my own bike just yet as although my Whole 30 was a great success but I feel I have more work to do.

My story is not uncommon.  I grew up in a family that ate a healthy diet and I was slim and healthy through my early 30’s.  This is despite the fact that I had a strong sugar addiction and didn’t always make the best choices, especially in college.  Got to love a young metabolism!  Despite the fact that I was thin, I had a poor body image and was insecure about how I looked.  After having my daughter at 29, I never really lost the baby weight and over the years through a lack of exercise and eating the standard American diet, I slowly but surely packed on the pounds.  I tried to combat this by a variety of diets that were never successful and progressed me toward obesity and disordered thinking about food.

Fast forward to 30 days ago.  At the age of 51 and after decades of chronic, unhealthy dieting and going through menopause, I was a mess.  I was 70 lbs overweight, have metabolic syndrome, terrible menopausal symptoms, fatty liver disease, joint aches and pains, kidney stones and was completely out of control with my eating habits.  I was becoming increasingly depressed about my present and scared for my future.  I know that most of my medical issues are self-induced through poor dietary and exercise habits.  I didn’t control food, it controlled me.  It is scary to know that despite this list of complaints and a future that included all kinds of serious medical problems, I felt that I couldn’t change how I was living my life despite my desperate desire to do so.

At least, that was how I felt 30 days ago.  Today is another story.

To say that I was nervous about completing the Whole 30 is an understatement.  I knew what I was in for as I did one about 2 years ago.  Unfortunately, at that time I looked at it as a diet.  I didn’t really embrace the philosophy behind the program despite reading “It Starts with Food”.  I managed to complete 28 days (Who quits on day 28?!)  But I white-knuckled it the entire time and couldn’t keep off the scale.  I didn’t do the reintroduction and jumped head-long back into my poor eating habits.  Needless to say I regained weight I had lost and then some.  Same as every other “diet” I had tried in the past.

I knew that this time had to be different.  I had to make it a sustainable lifestyle change.  I read my old copy of “It Starts with Food” again, cover to cover.  I also purchased and read “The Whole 30”.  I followed both the Whole 30 and Whole 9 websites and forums frequently.  I embraced the Whole 9 philosophy and I believe in this way of living.  Everything I read in the books made so much sense to me.  But I’m addicted to sugar and I have a history of binge eating.  The bingeing has been pretty well under control for the past few months and I was afraid that I might awaken that dragon if I at all felt deprived or restricted.  Also, I’ve had an ongoing internal debate about moderation over abstinence because everything I’ve ever read and been told is that moderation is key to recovery and lifestyle change.  But the fact of the matter is, I’m not a statistic and what I have learned about myself is that with sugar at least, abstinence is key to my feeling good about what I am eating and staying in control of my life.  Sugar spins me out of control and when I’m out of control, I get into a very negative place emotionally and it is VERY HARD.  So I’m not going to listen to those who say that moderation is the only way to have a healthy relationship with food.  I’m going to do what works for me.  And for me that is abstaining from sugar for the foreseeable future.  I do believe that there will be a day when I can enjoy some sugar in moderation, but it will not be for a long time and I’m ok with that.  I’m feeling too good now to want to play around with it in any way.

So right up front, the absolute best thing about the last 4 weeks on the Whole 30 is that the internal negative dialog about how I suck and that I’m fat and out of control and how could I let myself get this far gone and that I’ll never be what I want to be has stopped.  It is such a relief to have that chatter out of my head.  I feel strong.  I feel accomplished.  I feel positive.  I have energy.  I am making new goals for myself (unrelated to food) and I am looking forward to achieving them.  For the first time in maybe 25 years, I feel that I have the knowledge, maturity and resources to deal with my issues around food and the resulting weight and health problems associated with them. 

To be continued in post Part 2...

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