In 2011, we lost my dad to a hard fought battle with cancer. It was and remains the single most difficult thing I have ever had to go through, and still impacts my life today. It always will. I was a senior in college, going through the stress of graduating, finding a job, figuring out where to live and learning how to deal with the crippling grief I was feeling.
Long story short, I stopped taking care of myself. I just didn’t put a lot of thought or effort into my diet and it certainly showed. When Aaron (my now fiancé) and I moved in together we both weren’t feeling our best but didn’t really know where to start. We went to the gym a few days a week, ate healthy-ish during the week, but I was becoming more and more unhappy with how I was feeling and looking. We tried Weight Watchers, but that didn’t really work for me – I’d just cheat and not log things I was eating! In July of 2014 I went to NH with some friends for the holiday and that was the tipping point for me. I couldn’t find a single thing to wear that I was comfortable in, and when I saw pictures from the weekend all I could see was how unhappy I looked and felt. I had read about the Whole30 A LOT but was never brave enough to do it. I came home the next day, basically begged Aaron to do it with me (and he did, because he is the best) and the rest is history!
As of now, I’ve completed 6 full rounds, have done many mini-resets in between, read all the books and started sharing my meals online to connect with others. Lately, I’ve really been feeling more comfortable with my own Food Freedom. It did take me a while to get to a comfortable place, but here are some of my own personal Food Freedom strategies that help me every day:
- Recognizing that I am an abstainer vs a moderator and honoring that. Sometimes it’s easier just to say no
- Realizing that food is not moral, and you’re not being good or bad based on the food you eat. It’s just food. No 80/20 rule or “cheat” meals
- I always grocery shop and meal prep like I am doing a Whole30 even if I’m not. Most of the time, if I cook it myself at home, it’s a Whole30 compliant meal
- Take mini-resets whenever needed – sometimes it’s just 2 days and sometimes it’s 2 weeks. If I want pizza, I’m having pizza and not a “healthified” version of pizza. Same goes for ice cream, doughnuts etc.
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that progress is more important than perfection, and good change takes time. Learn to love the process and you will set yourself up for a successful healthy relationship with food that works for you in the long term!