I realize that my posts about Whole30 are somewhat contradictory. I apologize for any confusion and hopefully this post will clear things up. I’ve got some explaining to do.
Here’s the thing. Whole30 outlines the way we as humans are designed to eat. We’re meant to eat a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, meat and fruit. Our food isn’t supposed to be messed with using chemicals and genetic engineering. Food isn’t meant to be processed. It’s not meant to come out of a factory.
So I agree with that aspect of Whole30, where you eliminate every source of processed junk from your diet. I agree with eating whole, natural foods. And I agree with everything else about Whole30. But now you’re probably thinking, ‘then why were you so miserable?’ I’ll get into that now.
For me, food is mental. It’s all mental. When a craving strikes, I can completely control it or completely submit to it, using only my mental powers. When it comes to dieting (which I don’t do to begin with, because of this reason), the way my body physically reacts to food is far less significant than the way my brain reacts. In other words, my body can physically handle not eating peanut butter. But my brain can’t. It’s too much stress. I have to think about it, reminding myself to not eat peanut butter. I know this sounds silly and maybe this is a poor example. Simply put, when I place restriction on myself, my brain reacts violently. However, on any given day, I don’t eat peanut butter all day along. Sometimes, weeks go by where I don’t have a single taste of peanut butter, or cheese, or whatever it may be. The difference is that, in one case (the one that works for me), I’m naturally not eating something and in the second case, I’m restricting myself.
The two most important things for me to know and understand about my personal relationship with food is restriction and how my I react mentally. Food is directly connected with stress. That doesn’t necessarily mean that food is what I turn to when I’m feeling stressed out. Yes, there are sometimes when I “stress eat”, but I keep track of it closely and it doesn’t happen often. Food is not my stress-relief. When I say that food is directly connected with stress I mean that I feel more stressed when I have to search every single label on something, for fear that it “isn’t compliant”. I don’t want to worry about that. I want to eat what I want, when I’m hungry. And most of the time, what I want is healthy and Whole30-ish to begin with. Restricting myself (specifically from cheese) makes me feel like a German Shepherd on a chain, being pulled back from something he wants to chase. The more the dog is held back, the more the dog wants whatever he’s barking at. I don’t want to feel restricted.
So this Whole30 has proven to me that, while I might not lose weight as quickly, I am definitely happier and nicer when I eat according to when my own tried-and-true guidelines. I know what works for my body. I know what doesn’t work for my body.
All in all, the basics of Whole30 works for me. The recipes, the guidelines, the reasons behind eliminating certain foods; I agree with all that. But when it comes to the restriction, I don’t do so well. For me, restriction is worse than eating an entire bag of Cheetos. Hopefully that makes sense.
And I’m curious; how does Whole30 make you feel? Have you ever done one? What’s the hardest challenge for you when it comes to food? Is there a particular way of eating that makes you feel your best? Feel free to comment!