Standing outside her door, I recalled briefly what she looked like last time I saw her. Nothing specific came to mind except for her rosy cheeks and sunny smile. I had not seen my good friend Teresa since my wedding about a year and a half ago.
The door opened and she hit me like a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t immediately place what was different, and then I did what most of us do and assumed it must be, hmmm, she lost weight, but I was not going to say anything about it. I’m that person who feels awkward commenting about weight loss on people. Something about me saying “wow you look great, did you lose weight?” makes me feel like I’m giving out a backhanded compliment, although I’m giving it with good intentions.
Well I’m glad I tactfully held my tongue because in actuality it wasn’t the weight loss that caught my eye, it was the glow and youthfulness she embodied. Her skin reminded me of her 19 year old self and her smile spoke volumes to her newfound genuine satisfaction with her current food lifestyle.
I had visited Teresa and her husband John back in March during their experience with the Whole30 eating program. They had completed a full 30 day cycle and then some. As we caught up, they mentioned to me and FunnyGirl what the Whole30 concept was and how they saw results in not only their waistline, but more so on their relationship with food. John specifically noted he no longer used the words “I can’t”, instead he used words like “I choose to”. This seemingly minor shift in use of words gave light to a deep yearning with in me.
The food relationship struggle is real.
I have been struggling with food since my mid 20s or so, probably around the time my metabolism began to slow down and I could no longer blindly indulge in my Haagen Dazs pint Friday fixes. When I say “struggle” what I mean is this whole guilt and shame cycle so many of us have fallen prey to, especially women.
Classic examples of the Relationship with Food Struggle are, but not limited to:
Standing in the shower or sitting on the toilet and recounting what I had ate the day before // Weighing myself right after going to the bathroom // Enjoying a rich meal and then shamming myself by restricting the next meal all in the name and belief of balancing calories. // Allowing others’ calorie-counting mentality infiltrate my self-esteem and feeling bad about it // Discussing calories at the dinner table // And the list can go on…any of these sound familiar???
It is my belief that this type of incessant self-policing behavior can have a grave affect not only your physical body image perception, but more significantly on your mental relationship with food and nutrition. AND I FOR ONE HAVE BEEN WRITING THE BREAKUP LETTER TO THAT RELATIONSHIP FOR SOME TIME.
I have been yearning for a more natural way of maintaining my nutrition in a healthy equilibrium, and till now I had not been able to put exact words to it. I want to stop counting calories, shamming myself for enjoying the foods I like, equating my self-worth to a jean size or number on the scale, and above all limiting myself from life’s pleasure’s because I’m not “beach body ready” (Btw…that term should be erased from our vernacular!).
In essence, I want to view food as nutritive fulfillment without any strings attached.
Welcome Whole30! My expectations in trying out the program are rebuilding a healthy relationship with food, resetting my less than stellar processed-food eating habits, and lose some weight (pretending weight loss isn’t an expectation would be a big fat lie). But in all honesty, the first two aspirations are my focus, and then I believe all else will fall into its rightful place.
Today was Day 1 and It went well. I food prepped most of Sunday, so that my breakfast, lunch, and dinner for today were all ready and waiting for me. There was no calorie counting, no guilt in eating mayo or enjoying a whole-egg frittata. Thankfully FunnyGirl has joined me in my journey and we are supporting each other.
I will be using my blog as a journal to not only share updates with curious friends and family, but also to chart my progress and to have an artifact that is evidence to what I am capable of when I put my mind to it.
For anyone reading this, I’d love to hear about your Whole30 experiences and positive nutrition beliefs in the comments section below.