some of you are gasping right now, thinking, “But the Whole30 is NOT a diet!” Haha. Shows you what I knew when I signed on to do it. I haven’t thought about any change in eating food as anything OTHER than a diet in…probably my whole life.
I challenged Mr. Prepared to do the Whole30 food “commitment” (that’s what we called it- I think that’s what they called it in the book It Starts With Food from which the Whole30 premise is laid out) in early March. I figured we could do almost anything for 30 days, and we had a host of assorted issues that we were curious to see if they would cease if we changed our diet. I will get to those issues in another post at the end of Whole30, since we are only a little more than 2/3 done.
Mostly, I am surprised by the things I DID NOT expect to change or learn about myself on the Whole30. Learning new things about one’s self at this age can be wonderful blessing and a terrible realization. There are some things that I would not care to admit about myself, yet I know I need to fix them to truly heal my relationship with food and drinks (I mean, let’s be honest, I was a pretty champion drinker for most of my adult life.) Some of the blessed “horrors” below that I learned will be invaluable going forward.
- I learned that I definitely have a food addiction. I use food (and drinks) for things other than fuel and nourishment. I use food to comfort me, de-stress me, make me happy. Now I know that we all do that to a degree, and I used to do it a heck of a lot more often than now, but there were unhappy, stressful times these past few weeks when my first reaction was to reach for a food (or a glass of wine) to make me feel better. I think it’s important for me to continue to reinforce patterns where I use other means to medicate stress.
- I am a BLTer. BLT in Weight Watchers used to stand for “bites, licks, and tastes”. The first week of Whole30 I couldn’t believe how many times I had to put the knife spreading peanut butter or something like that away from my mouth (or even spit stuff out a few times!). I had been unconsciously eating a LOT of BLTs.
- I don’t know how to properly savor my food. The book emphasizes the importance of satiety and sitting down for a meal and savoring it to get your brain’s satiety signals to work. I realized that I hadn’t sat down for a breakfast or lunch in a LOOONG time. I made it my goal to sit and eat every meal. I tried to remove the screen time when I was alone, but that’s definitely still a work in progress. But now as I imagine having a piece of chocolate, I imagine sitting down, savoring the ONE piece of good chocolate I would eat instead of trying to shove as many Hershey kisses in my mouth as possible. While standing.
- Snacking is neither necessary nor helpful. I was in an “eat every 2 hours” habit, along with trying to fit in “pre-workout fuel” and “post-workout recovery fuel”, etc. I was eating ALL the time. The more mini-meals I had the more it just turned into grazing. The book emphasized the need for one to eat ENOUGH at each meal to sustain one to the next meal. I have really done away with any pre-workout fueling, and there is some evidence to show that there are some advantages to working out in a fasted state. Since I do most of my work currently first thing in the morning, this is easy to accomplish. After I am finished, I can eat one of my meals. That’s not to say I have given up snacking entirely, but I am working on it.
These are the most important takeaways from the Whole30 food commitment, although the discussions that Taylor and I have had have been rich and thought-provoking about food, drinking, fueling, and just about everything. We have also had some good discussions (and some um…disagreeements) with the kids about good food and what good food looks like.
Stay tuned for more lessons learned when we finish! I am running my first half-marathon of the season tomorrow, so that should be another opportunity to gather information.