Sign in to follow this  
Contessa

Contessa's Food Freedom

Recommended Posts

Food freedom thoughts, 6/30/20:

Here's a hot tip: the best thing to do on the morning after finishing a Whole 30 is to prepare a big batch of Whole 30 foods. Here's you, italian meatballs, spaghetti squash, and roasted butternut squash.

After 30 days of Whole 30 eating, I'm doing a by-the-book fast track reintroduction. Today was legumes (normal W30 breakfast; veggie and lentil soup for lunch; a smear of peanut butter on an apple). After this, I'll go back to classic Whole 30 for a couple of days.

Incredibly, even lentil soup tastes pretty good right now. :) 

I feel very grateful to have finished this Whole 30 and to be feeling so good.

I plan to write here about once a week for the next couple of months with food thoughts and re-introduction notes.

Tonight, it is a joy to think about eating in a way that is flexible, pleasurable, and life-affirming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food freedom thoughts, 7/5/20:

I'm almost a week into my food freedom and am already learning some good stuff.

The first discovery is that, uh, reintroduction is tricky! No catastrophic eating has occurred (none of the former face-planting into a bucket of peanut M&Ms) — but my beautiful, orderly plans for the week buckled under some real world pressure, and I have not kept to the re-intro as I'd wanted.

The challenge came from spending most of this week with my boyfriend. We did a bit of traveling this week (my farthest journey from home since all this covid stuff began). And it was difficult to maintain a re-intro while spending time together.

There was a pita sandwich (wheat!) with tuna and sprouts and swiss cheese (dairy!). There was a veggie quesadilla (wheat! dairy!) with beans (legumes! which I'd already successfully re-introduced). None of it caused me any distress, but it did scramble my nice tiered plans.

Along the way, I resisted a spontaneous Wendy's Frosty and an unplanned bubble tea. I'll enjoy those items later — I just didn't want my first "treats" to be random "eh, sure" drive-through moments on our road trip.

Another discovery is that I want to try a new Sunday tradition. Starting today, I'll be taking 20-30 minutes each week to answer the following series of questions, which address life in general as well as Food Stuff. I adapted these questions from a coach I used to worked with. I'm looking forward to pausing and paying attention as essential acts of preparation for the week ahead. I've got a fridge full of my favorite W30 foods for the week ahead, and I'm also planning two or three treats for this week. I'll be back in a few days to reflect on those experiences with treats.

Sunday questions:

  1. What have I accomplished this week?
  2. Is there anything I wanted to accomplish but did not?
  3. What a-ha's or awakenings have I had this week?
  4. What challenges am I experiencing?
  5. If I were coaching myself, what would I tell myself about those challenges?
  6. How do I feel about my eating over the past week?
  7. What foods will I enjoy in the coming week? (this is my chance to think about planning treats) 
  8. What are my top three priorities for this coming week?
  9. If I could get nothing else done this week but one thing, what one thing would I choose to do?  What one thing would make me happy and proud?
  10. How do I want to feel this week?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this - you are being so thoughtful about your approach, and the off-track meals have been learning experiences for you rather than complete derailments.  

The Sunday questions - I may steal this when I'm ready to reintroduce.  The journaling and thoughtful consideration of how foods and habits impact how I feel about myself and how I feel physically have been instrumental in my success so far.  I worry about the dark abyss post-W60 (for me).  

Congratulations on finding a strategy that is working toward a successful transition.  

On 6/30/2020 at 9:44 PM, Contessa said:

Tonight, it is a joy to think about eating in a way that is flexible, pleasurable, and life-affirming.

Even though you had some changes in your strategy over the last week, I get the feeling this is where you still are.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, MadyVanilla said:

Even though you had some changes in your strategy over the last week, I get the feeling this is where you still are.  

Yeah! Last week didn't match my plan, but I stayed in the saddle. That felt good. And yesterday I cooked up a huge amount of W30 proteins and veggies. Grateful to be staying close to home (metaphorically and physically) as this new week begins.

I dunno, perhaps after 1,382 episodes of eating way too much junk food, I'm ready for a different approach.

Yes, please borrow the Sunday questions if you want to! Heck, no need to wait until your W60 is done... you can start using them now. Usually most of my reflections around food have been past-focused (beating myself up, regretting whatever it was I ate too much of) but I want to spend energy imagining what it looks like when things are working well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food freedom thoughts, 7/13/20:

A good week of eating last week. Like last week, it didn't feel like a "perfect" Whole 30 week, but it felt... enjoyable and sustainable.

Mentally, I'm struggling a bit with the concept of subbing in delicious but nutrient-poor foods for the slightly less-delicious, nutrient-dense foods of the Whole 30. That white flour burger bun enclosing my turkey burger? It isn't as nutritious as, say, the diced sweet potato or the lettuce leaves I may have enjoyed in its place before. How am I with that? Is the white flour burger bun so enjoyable that I have to have it? I tell you, it feels good to eat very nutrient-dense foods for 3 meals/day.

I did enjoy some "treats" over the past week, and they were delightful. It was a fun new experiment to think ahead about treats, and to allow a treat to be a treat. To not lose an entire day to an unbroken parade of treats. I really enjoyed the treat experiment. I enjoyed big fluffy coffees in the morning with real cream, but only twice over the course of a week. I did have a delicious chocolate chip cookie, but only one time after dinner. (It was good, but still not as delicious as chocolate chip cookies of my memory! Interesting.)

My main goal for last week was to stay checked in with myself throughout the week. Staying checked in with myself is an ongoing aspiration. I know on a physical and mental and emotional level how it feels to stay checked in with myself. The knowledge has been hard won. Over the years, I have accumulated deep experience in hitting the "eject" button from difficult situations, and eating self-destructively in an effort to escape the most frustrating aspects of my reality. I don't want to do that anymore.

Repeatedly hitting the eject button over many previous years has relieved the frustration of the moment — but only by swapping one type of frustration for another. The frustration with my coworker's ineptitude, for example, is replaced by irritation toward myself for eating too much. I have had this self-punishing experience more times in decades past than I can count.

This week, I absolutely felt that familiar wish to hit the eject button, but I didn't hit the button. I did pause to notice what I was thinking and feeling. I did stop and talk kindly to myself. I did write in my journal: "I refuse to punish myself for how stupid the world is." (Ha!) Cheers for coping strategies. Cheers for uncoupling the emotional response from the food behavior.

Years ago, a writer friend taped a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes to the wall of her writing room: "I love my creative life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression." "Cooperating with my own oppression" — who among us doesn't understand what that feels like?

Another quote from the fierce Carolyn Myss: "You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone, which can become a watered-down, occasional hope that you'll get to tomorrow. Intention without Action is useless." Yep. Praise the Lord and pass the ghee, that's the truth.

Goals for this week:

  • Eat 3 meals a day with no snacks
  • Continue to enjoy Whole 30 meals throughout the week
  • Stay checked in with myself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Contessa said:

Over the years, I have accumulated deep experience in hitting the "eject" button from difficult situations, and eating self-destructively in an effort to escape the most frustrating aspects of my reality.

Yes, I know exactly this experience that you speak of.  

 

2 hours ago, Contessa said:

This week, I absolutely felt that familiar wish to hit the eject button, but I didn't hit the button. I did pause to notice what I was thinking and feeling. I did stop and talk kindly to myself. I did write in my journal: "I refuse to punish myself for how stupid the world is." (Ha!) Cheers for coping strategies. Cheers for uncoupling the emotional response from the food behavior.

Hooray!  Here's to rejecting your old oppressive tendency and being actively intent in your choices, being in the moment and recognizing that you are in control! 

 

You are rewarding yourself with decadent coffees and chocolate-based treasures...not punishing yourself with sugar-laden, emotion-blunting, quick-fix bombs.  Perspective, vigilance, staying in-tune and checked in...We should be born with these things, not take decades to learn them! :lol:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew. It's Thursday and I am ready to reset! I don't know what the deal is, but I have slept poorly for the past couple of nights after enjoying some decadent homemade ice cream. Last night, I had legitimate acid reflux in the middle of the night! It was only the second time in my life that I've experienced that particular barrel of monkeys. (If you've never experienced acid reflux, don't rush out and experience it. It's really awful.) I don't feel like I had eaten a ton of ice cream, but whatever I ate was not loved by my body.

This morning, after a fitful night of sleep, before I had even changed out of my pajamas, the decadent homemade ice cream went right into the garbage. Yep, there it is, melting all over yesterday's coffee grounds and eggshells.

I have been feeling too good to sacrifice for that ice cream. That was decidedly #NotWorthIt. So thankful to have the framework of good W30 meals to fall back on. Onward, upward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep checking for your weekly update...while I am absolutely indebted to you for your valuable insight on my log, I love reading about your journey.  I hope all is going well, that struggles are being surmounted (or at least treated with gentle reflection), and that you are back to sleeping well.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food freedom thoughts, 8/2/20:

Life is good.

As I have worked on my Sunday Summit questions (scroll up for the Sunday questions), one desire keeps expressing itself... each week, my great desire to stay checked in with myself throughout the week. I wish I had better language for what "staying checked in" feels like.... When I am checked in with myself, I am attuned to what is highest in me. I am paying attention to my needs (not just whims, but needs). I am focused on the bigger picture. I am enjoying food... but also enjoying other sources of delight.

When I am able to stay checked in with myself, things go better!

A couple of years ago I spent some time in a local 12-step group (Overeaters Anonymous, or OA). The year-or-so that I found in that group was one of the most balanced and sane years in my life. Going to meetings each week and working with a sponsor got me into a good place. I was eating good foods in a way that felt pleasurable, flexible, and life-giving. My tendency to overeat, or Eat All My Feelings, lifted to a huge degree.

I think this came from regularly being in a room with people, making eye contact with them, and losing some of my internally created shame around food issues. (Is it just me, or are food issues waaaaaay more common than any of us let on?! Yes. They are.)

The hitch for me with the 12-step group was all the God stuff. After about a year, that part got really hard for me. I've known for a long time that I have even more God issues than I do food issues (haha). Some of the most vocal and passionate members of the group took a very literal approach to the 12 steps and the Big Book. Group meetings started to feel to me a little like church services. (Right down to the reading of sacred "scripture" and the passing of the basket!) The particular group I was in had a very serious "once an addict, always an addict" mentality that was hard for me to accept. I gradually slipped away from the group.

I didn't trip head-first into a vat of peanut M&Ms when I left the group, but I did miss the structure of the meetings. I missed having time each week to self-assess out loud, and I missed the freedom that came from  being in a room with people who were all thoughtful, and cared about taking a skillful approach to their relationship to food.

Then COVID hit and the thought of assembling in room with any group of people felt like a bad idea.

Three weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I thought, "Hmmm, it might be nice to see if there are any online OA meetings I could anonymously show up to." I did a little poking around and found a Saturday morning "secular" OA group. When I dialed into the group, I found that I was sitting in on the very first gathering of this particular group. It drew attendees who had also dropped out of traditional 12-step groups. Attendees who had never tried any sort of 12-step group. One attendee was the child of a pastor, like me, and had spiritual baggage that had expressed itself over the years through food. Innnnnnnnteresting!

One of my core beliefs about humans is that we are "spiritual beings having a human experience." Food, for me, is not just about calories and nutrients. It is about trust, delight, safety, generosity, care.

I am once again finding freedom and joy in these group conversations, that reflect this reality in all its variety and depth.

Since that first meeting a few weeks ago, I've discovered quite a few unorthodox online gatherings of "freethinkers," atheists, agnostics, and spiritual-but-not-religious people who find value in talking about their relationships with food. (Google "secular OA" to find these.) It's been great (especially that Saturday morning meeting). I view these meetings as a nice way to support my goal of "staying checked in" with myself. I don't have a sponsor at this point, and I am highly ambivalent about working the 12 steps in the traditional way, but I love hearing the different ways that people talk about life via food.

And food-wise, I'm doing okay. My sleep has normalized again (thank goddess). And a big sheet of cooked diced butternut squash is cooling in the kitchen even at this moment. :)

My goals for this week:

  • Eat 3 meals a day only (I have been borderline careless about snacking for the past couple of weeks
  • Replace about 30% of the low-nutrient meals I'm having with Whole30 meals. There's nothing wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every now and then, but I don't want to start devoting regular meal slots to them.

I'm still leaning heavily on my Whole30 meal template and finding those meals so satisfying. I do want to preserve more of my appetite for really high nutrient foods because I feel better with them.

Wow, this turned into a long post, didn't it? Wishing a flavorful and joyful week to my Whole30 friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2020 at 11:59 AM, Contessa said:

(Is it just me, or are food issues waaaaaay more common than any of us let on?! Yes. They are.)

The shame, ah the shame!  I'm 50 pounds overweight, but I don't have food issues.  :blink:

I am so happy for you continuing to find opportunities to feed your core being, to support yourself in staying checked in.  It is a hard concept to put into words, but I definitely know it when I'm doing it well.  And when I'm not, when I'm petulantly ignoring myself.  It's like meditation, you wander away, but just come back and you'll get better each time you try.  Your serene, meandering walk down this path is evident.  Your "at peace"-fulness shines through your post. 

Your OA group sounds fantastic!  and just right for you at this moment.  Here's to a week of self-kindness and working toward goals. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this