My (Un)Healthy Past
My relationship with food has always been in a bad place. It’s started since I was a little girl. I’ve always compared myself to others in forms of jealousy and food. For example, my brother was a kid who was always active and because he played so many sports he would eat a TON because he was burning so many calories. Where as I would watch 6 episodes of SpongeBob while lying on the couch afterschool and ask for a 300-calorie snack right before a full dinner. After dinner was finished, I would often ask for something else and perhaps dessert. Was I really that hungry? Nine times out of ten, no I wasn’t. But because my brother was asking for extra food after his sports practices and received it willingly, I would play along and claim that I was just really hungry that night. And the cycle would repeat itself every day for the next 20 years.
In middle school when I was finally allowed to stay home by myself, I would sneak food and eat anything in the house. Raw cookie dough, graham crackers, chocolate syrup straight from the bottle; basically anything that was available to me. Again was I hungry? No. Was I having a bad day? On occasion, maybe. Why was I doing it? I don’t know. In truth, the reasons could be endless- I was bored, or lonely, or jealous, or depressed. It’s something I’ve always struggled to find the answer to. But this horrible relationship with food and my health has just put me in a downward spiral since. When my parents started to find out that I would sneak extra food from the house, they still allowed me to stay home by myself as long as they would tape the doors shut (yes literally) to the fridge and pantry. And we’ve tried so many strategies since to help me out of this horrible track that I’m on.
When I moved to Florida, my parents biggest concern was that I wouldn’t change my lifestyle into a healthy one like I had promised if they allowed me to move. Truth be told, in the year that I’ve been here it hasn’t been a complete 360 change in my attitude and health. But, I am making strides to work myself to a complete, positive change in my health journey.
Start of Something New!
I was scrolling through social media one day when I came across a picture of a girl I went to high school with that I haven’t spoken to since graduation. She’d always been around my size give or take and I was completely blown away to see a picture of her looking happy, beautiful and healthy. She looked incredible and I wanted to know what worked for her to make this change in her life. I stalked the rest of her pictures to find out that she had completed several rounds of a program called Whole30. What was this program I asked myself? I had heard of it a little bit, but I opened myself up to research it and see what it was about. I read their site and was completely hooked. But then, my doubt started to poke me in the back- could I really do something like this? Was I up for this kind of challenge? Could I succeed?
Screw it, I thought to myself- I’m going for it!
The Whole30 program is a 30-Day Guide to “Total Health and Food Freedom”. It’s not a diet or weight-loss centered program. “It’s a monumental transformation in how you think about food, your body, your life and what you want out of the time you have left on Earth” writes authors Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Your unhealthy relationship with food, your digestive system, metabolism and immune system are all targeted to be the goals of the program. What interested me from the start was that it was only 30 days. I could do a month I told myself. 30 days to change my mindset on food and change how I want to feel. The program’s most quoted line is this:
Their program is built around the concept of tough love, something that in the past I’ve normally rebelled against. However what I think is different this time is that I’ve chosen this tough love approach myself; it wasn’t presented to me as the only option. In the past when my parents approached my health with a tough love attitude, I wouldn’t listen because in truth, who wants their parents to tell them how to do their life? This was something I chose for myself, so I’m going to cross that finish line.
The Whole30 Program Rules are quite extensive. Honestly, when I first read through them I was a bit overwhelmed and wondered what the heck I was going to eat. The rules are:
- DO NOT CONSUME ADDED SUGAR OF ANY KIND, REAL OR ARTIFICIAL
- DO NOT CONSUME ALCOHOL IN ANY FORM
- DO NOT EAT GRAINS
- DO NOT EAT LEGUMES
- DO NOT EAT DAIRY
- DO NOT CONSUME CARRAGEENAN, MSG OR ADDED SULFITES
- DO NOT RECREATE BAKED GOODS, “TREATS”, OR JUNK FOODS WITH APPROVED INGREDIENTS
- DO NOT STEP ON THE SCALE OR TAKE MEASUREMENTS
And perhaps the rule that really got me thinking was there are no cheat days or slips at all because if you do it’s you making that choice. And with that bad choice means that you start back at Day 1. I knew that once I was completely motivated to do this program, the last thing I wanted to happen to me was to have start the process over again. While I’ve always been quick to pursue goals, I give up quite easily. If I intentionally slipped on the program, I thought there is no way I’m getting back on the horse again.
I CAN DO THIS and I’m looking forward to this Whole30 Journey. Come follow along with me. Let me know if you’ve tried Whole30 in the past and what has or hasn’t worked for you.