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Day 22: Not feeling food "freedom"

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Now I will preface this by saying that PMS has started to kick in for me this month, so that is quite likely contributing to my frustration.

I am on Day 22 and have been completely compliant, though haven't always followed the "perfect" meal template (one week, we were completely snowed in and unable to get to the market for 4 days, so we were workin' hard to just stay compliant with what was left in our kitchen). Anyways, I suffer from fibromyalgia, and the biggest NSV's I've noticed so far have been massively improved sleep and a slight reduction in my chronic pain. This has been very valuable to me, and while I hoped for more at this point, I am still happy with the results I've had. 

However, I am at a point where some of the restrictions are making me more frustrated than encouraged. I plan on doing a slow reintroduction plan to target what might be contributing to my previous insomnia and pain, and when I work out which foods are bad, I do plan to limit /remove them from my diet. BUT, I like pancakes and I like cookies and I like having the occasional sweet thing without feeling like it's somehow a failure for giving in to cravings. I've been getting grumpy thinking about a post-Whole30 life that doesn't involve the enjoyment of these things without it being attached to guilt (by guilt I mean "Oh no, you wanted something sweet and so you had something sweet-- shame on you for not resisting!"). I understand the reasons for avoiding "compliant" versions of "bad" food like coconut flour pancakes, for example, while on the program, and I have followed those rules, but after Whole30, I'd really like to go back to having foods that I enjoy and simply use the things I've learned on Whole30 to create healthier alternatives of those things with ingredients that don't spike my fibro issues. Am I missing the point to be thinking about a life that involves any form of pancakes, even if they don't contain my trigger ingredients? Not feeling any freedom in my food.

- Grumpy PMS lady

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Aw, dang, sorry you're feeling so frustrated.

You're not missing the point but the point appears to be a bit obscured.

Basically the goal is to do the Whole30 and then reintroductions to see how food affects you physically, mentally and emotionally. If you don't do that, it makes the rest of what I'm going to say harder/impossible.

Once you have a good grasp on how food makes you feel, you get to decide what is and is not worth it for you on regular, occasional and rare occurrences. THEN, you make assessments in the moment of "Do I want this? Is it worth it?". Example, you get to the point where you know that the wheat in conventional pancakes doesn't bother you but butter and syrup are a dumpster fire for a couple days. You go out for breakfast to your favourite diner with some friends and you peruse the menu. "Hmmm....pancakes. Do I want them? Yep. Will they be worth it? Well....I have a big presentation at work tomorrow that I cannot mess up and I know that the butter/syrup combination fries my concentration for a couple days. Hmmm....OK, maybe an omelette this time." 


""Hmmm....pancakes. Do I want them? Yep. Will they be worth it? Yep, I have a day off tomorrow with no plans! Pancakes it is!"

Do you see? Once you know how food affects you, you weigh the desire for it with the consequences of it. Sometimes the food will be worth it and sometimes it won't. Sometimes whatever it is messes with your stomach and it's just not worth it. Sometimes the cupcake or cookie doesn't fit your current goals and although you do want it, it's not worth it right now. Remember, we're not preaching to never have treats or sweets again - just to be honest with yourself around whether you want it enough to go drive to xyz and get it or you want it because it's just sitting there. Be honest around what the effects will be and if you want to take them on. You'll get it wrong, we all do, but then you learn and move forward. That is food freedom.

PS - once you make the determination that you WANT the item and that the consequences are WORTH IT, there is no guilt....because you made an informed decision. The guilt comes, I believe, when we let food run us down. When we mow through a package of cookies while watching tv. That feels yucky because YOU didn't decide it. If you go through the "Do I want it, is it worth it" and you ask yourself after every cookie and the answer honestly keeps being yes and you eat 6 cookies, that's alright. Maybe the next day you'll look back and realize you made the wrong choice because of abc/xyz, but that's the learning experience again. No guilt, just knowledge. 

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Christina, have you read Food Freedom Forever (one of Melissa Hartwig’s books)? It explains basically what ladyshanny said, but in MUCH greater depth and with lots of examples. I highly recommend it.

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