I’ve taken a hiatus on writing which should have been my first indicator that I was on, as Melissa Hartwig calls “The struggle bus down food freedom road.” Writing is therapy for me, an outlet for expression and accountability that often times I let slide when I am not making the best choices.
It all started during Thanksgiving. I had done a mini reset, you know, a Whole7 or a Whole9 just before the visit to my hometown for the holiday, in hopes it would help me stay in control. But lifetime of poor behaviors and emotions came flooding back as I stared at the counter full of food. Turkey, ham, dressing, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, my all-time favorite dinner rolls, casseroles galore and not to mention the most delicious looking desserts I ever did see. I did okay though, I got a small portion of just about everything but somehow just ONE spoonful of EVERYTHING was the justification I needed to fill my plate higher and higher. But (at that point) at least I said no to a dinner roll.
I made it through the meal and managed to keep a few bites left on the plate so my neighbors at the table wouldn’t think I was a total pig (as if my family members were truly concerned about how much I was consuming), but I was worried about it so I assumed everyone else was, too.
I let those thoughts camp out in my mind and suck the Thanksgiving spirit right out of me so on my way to bed that night, I snuck into the kitchen when no one else was around, and took three dinner rolls and took them to bed with me— and ate every, not worth it, bite.
So my gluten crash the next day totally interfered with the 5k I had been preparing for since my spinal fusion back in June. I pushed myself really hard to make it in under an hour (walking) which is what I wanted, and that’s what I did, but the guilt and shame from the bread binge the night before was really all I could focus on. Those thoughts occupied my mind when I should have been celebrating this accomplishment.
When I got home from Thanksgiving I was still so embarrassed and ashamed of my behavior that I continued to ride the struggle bus and I hit a major setback. Made excuses to not exercise as frequently and take the easy way out with meal prep and self-care (or lack thereof).
Finally, I reached out with desperate hands and a lot of tears to my support system and thankfully they helped me see that, at that point, the last 10 months had not been for nothing as I had suggested to them with my skewed way of thinking.
I re-read Food Freedom Forever and refocused. I was afraid that if I showed weakness that I would let those of you who look to my blog for inspiration down. That you would get discouraged and I didn’t want to be that person who screwed up.
But guess what? We are all that person which is why Whole30 is designed the way that it is. You do a reset and build the tools you need to succeed and when you slip up during your food freedom you go back to where it all began and reset again. And maybe, again after that, and perhaps one more time.
I’ve spent more years than not consumed in unhealthy thoughts about food and exercise but I have found a plan that works for me. However, just because #Iamwhole30 as the hashtag proudly states, doesn’t mean that triggers aren’t going to surface from time to time… just like the overwhelming feeling at Thanksgiving. But, my friends, that’s all apart of the process.
I did another quick reset (for the right reasons) between Thanksgiving and Christmas to make sure my tools and coping skills were sharp and on point.
Also, during the Christmas holiday I had an accountability buddy who helped me through it, who would have literally held my hand if I wanted them too. There was just as much food but I changed my perspective and I altered my actions. I went last instead of first around the buffet to alleviate the anxiety of someone being behind me watching me make my plate. I drank a full glass of water prior to the meal so I didn’t feel SO hungry going in. I followed the Whole30 meal template (yes, even at Christmas dinner and yes, even with noncompliant foods), and I told myself, “Hey, you don’t have to eat until you’re going to explode. If you want leftovers tomorrow, you can have them.”
And you guys…. It worked.
Christmas was wonderful. I didn’t feel self-conscious or judged by anyone else, including myself, which lets be real, we are our own worst critics.
With that being said, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading this and believing in me despite my vulnerability and flaws. It’s because of the support system associated with The Whole30 (my family, friends, blog readers and W30 team) that I have been able to gain the confidence to write for you (and me) and share my struggles…and my victories. I want you to learn from my mistakes because this is a community where we can learn and grow together.
I wish I had been brave enough to share my setback with you sooner because it’s not slipping up that’s the problem, it’s continuing to dwell on it with no changes. So, here I am recovering from my slip and doing all I can to continue to strengthen my relationship with food and make sure to acknowledge when I am starting to lose control.
I trust the process of Whole30, of my health habits and relationship with food. I trust that I can recover from food addiction and I believe that I can and will continue to succeed…. even with bumps, and sometimes meteor size pot holes in the road.
So, in the spirit of believing in yourself and making progress I am happy to announce that I am coming up on my one year *wholethirtiversary and am feeling super proud of that.
AND in other exciting news, I am fortunate enough to be taking over Whole30’s snapchat on FRIDAY 1.6.17! Tune in and see a day in the life of Courtney on Whole30… which to those of you who follow me on snapchat already, is just like any other day. This is my excited face.
*wholethirtiversary = one year anniversary of a persons first whole30 😉