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Advocado

What does "riding your own bike" mean to you?

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I'm on day 13 and so far so good.  My baseline was generally healthy and no dietary restrictions.  My goal in starting my first Whole30 was to try to conquer my Sugar Dragon and general snack dragon, and to plan better and make better choices in the moment (grabbing breakfast from the cafeteria at work, eating ice cream every night after dinner, etc.).  I do well with structured parameters and I'm not really struggling - I miss some delicious "bad" foods (and drinks!) but I'm not finding it that hard to stick to the diet.  (Not sure about tiger blood yet, though...)  I'm also looking forward to doing reintroductions post-Day 30 to see how different foods make me feel.
 
Which brings me to my question.  I am struggling to understand the concept of "riding your own bike."  I've read a lot of the materials and while the idea makes total sense, and I'm sure reintroduction will provide some clarity, it would be helpful to hear from others who feel good about life after a Whole30 and what their diet looks like.  Does it look like a strict Whole30 diet, with occasional "worth it" meals or treats?  Or did you reintroduce some of the "less healthy" foods and find they didn't have any negative effect on you - so now you are back to eating reasonable portions of, say, legumes and corn fairly often?  Did you go right back to whole milk in your coffee once you determined it didn't have any bad effects on how you feel? 
 
How often is something "worth it"?  When you go out to a nice restaurant, do you try to order more-or-less Whole30 compliant meals, maybe with the exception of having wine and a small dessert - or do you order whatever you want for the entire meal?  Do you ask every time you go out to eat what oil they use to saute the veggies or if there are breadcrumbs in the meatballs?
 
I guess I'm wondering if there is an official line on how to approach your day-to-day diet going forward.  I worry that if the criteria is just "is it worth it" I'll fall off the wagon really easily post-reintroduction. 
 
I also don't really understand if Whole30 as a program/institution frowns upon permanently reincorporating certain foods if you find they don't have a negative effect on you.  If something is categorized as "less healthy" then am I supposed to limit it permanently, even if I find there's no negative effect?

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7 minutes ago, Advocado said:
I guess I'm wondering if there is an official line on how to approach your day-to-day diet going forward.  I worry that if the criteria is just "is it worth it" I'll fall off the wagon really easily post-reintroduction. 
 
I also don't really understand if Whole30 as a program/institution frowns upon permanently reincorporating certain foods if you find they don't have a negative effect on you.  If something is categorized as "less healthy" then am I supposed to limit it permanently, even if I find there's no negative effect?

No, there is no official line on how you choose to go forward. Melissa Hartwig wrote an entire book (Food Freedom Forever) to discuss these exact questions. The basic premise is that you do reintroductions and see how the foods affect you personally on all levels. Skin, digestion, emotions, mental health etc. Then you decide if those foods are ever worth it or sometimes worth it or always worth it. You create your own "plan" going forward that includes whatever you have decided to reincorporate as part of your regular life (rice for some, sugar in dressing for some, legumes for some people). THEN, when you come up against something that you have decided isn't always in your plan (wine, chocolate, gluten, whatever), you ask yourself IN THAT MOMENT and sometimes bite to bite, "Do I want this and is it worth it". "Worth it" is more than just skin/gut etc, it's also how you'll feel emotionally, does the item fit within your current goals, do you actually WANT the item and not just because it's there.  I won't fool with you, the Food Freedom (riding your own bike) part is hard. HARD HARD HARD learning experience where you will incorrectly answer the "is it worth it" question regularly because we all have to relearn how to manage ourselves around food. But then you self-assess and hopefully make a better decision next time.

Get the book, it's well worth it.

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On 3/8/2018 at 2:44 PM, Advocado said:

I worry that if the criteria is just "is it worth it" I'll fall off the wagon really easily post-reintroduction. 

@Advocado I'm curious if after a while you have a different understanding of the 'is it worth it' mentality. My 'journey' with this wasn't quick, and I sometimes think people that feel like they've abruptly changed their entire life are in a honeymoon period and haven't landed back into their real lives yet. It is hard. It took me 3 years of gradual, gradual changes to feel like I truly operate, mostly unemotionally and without stress, with an 'is it worth it' mindset. I can tell you what it looks like now, though the first year was not much like this at all! It was eating like I did before the Whole 30 and feeling guilty.

Now, 3ish years after I started this thing, when we go out to a 'nice' place, I'll just choose things that I know are minimally troublesome, though they might certainly still have added sugar, soy, legumes, etc., and I have no problem simply asking for 'no dairy' (that's the worst for me, I don't even enjoy the expensive meal because my sinuses are stuffed up and my throat is itchy as soon as I eat it). I don't ask the server specifics, I just generally steer away from things that are likely going to make me feel like garbage later. But I might still have a glass of wine or two, and I might still feel like garbage the next day sometimes. It doesn't send me crashing wildly into failure land. It reminds me why I love feeling mostly good most of the time, and why I really want to eat cabbage and eggs and every day for breakfast.

I didn't get 'rid' of less healthy things permanently. Today I ate a melted chocolate out of my delivery van's cupholder, and I was so very, very low blood sugar that it was 110% worth it, and I was very, very excited to get home and eat shredded chicken with avocado, greens, and mustard, cold out of the fridge. I drink about 2% of the alcohol I used to, and don't miss it at all. I don't plan my less healthy foods, I just don't think about food as much as I used to. My general habits and choices have changed. My 'comfort foods' are the things I always have on hand that I can rely on to make me feel good, well fed.

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I've been "riding my own bike" for about 3 years now...here's what it means to me personally.

I try to keep all the food I make for myself whole30 approved. On any given week, that means breakfast, lunch and dinner M-F. Then if something unexpected comes up - an unplanned work lunch, or a dinner at my sister's I can do the best I can to stick to the foods I know work best for me, and just get right back to my routine easily. Basically, I try to eat W30 90% of the time. But I'm not actually keeping track of anything..

As far as knowing when foods are "worth it", you have to first know how they will affect you. I'll use this example - I know that dairy makes my face break out for a few days. On a random week in May, I might crave ice cream, think about what I have going on, and determine if having a few breakouts on my face will bother me. If not, I'll have the ice cream and deal with the consequences. Alternatively, if I am craving ice cream the week before my wedding, even though I REEEALLY want it, I will skip it because having a breakout before that very special day will cause me so much stress. I just know this about myself.

So I'm always evaluating the consequences, and if I want to deal with them. If I have something important coming up where I want to look and feel my best, I'll probably say those foods that make me feel bad are not worth it more. Does that make sense?

It takes a while to figure all that out, and it's okay to have your own "rules" in your food freedom and while riding your own bike. Personally, I am an abstainer, and I am a crappy moderator. Yes and No, black and white work really well for me, so having a few of my own rules in my food freedom actually makes me less stressed out and feel more in control!

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