Recently, I found myself coming back from a week at the beach with my family, which was amazing and rejuvenating – but I wasn’t feeling my Whole30 best. I did a pretty decent job while away to make some reasonably smart food freedom choices, but the last two days, in the heat of summer and wanting to feel all the feels of a week on the beach, I found myself face first in the ice cream and chocolate chip pancakes my kids were eating.
Mind you, this was a significantly better result than I would have experienced in the past, but still, my body wasn’t feeling its best. I was bloated and getting cranky.
Every time I find myself in a similar situation – somewhat off the rails – I find myself asking this question… Should I do a complete Whole30 round, a mini-reset or continue with mindful Food Freedom? Typically, I choose a new round of Whole30 or a mini-reset which gets me back on track. This time, after mulling it over, I decided I needed to just practice Food Freedom without the rigid barriers of a Whole30 round. Food Freedom takes a lot of practice, and although I think it would have been easier to jump into a round, I wanted to give myself a mindfulness challenge.
So here I am, continuing Food Freedom! I DEFINITELY am making a lot of great choices but am still making choices that I look back and go over and think, “Hmm, I know exactly what I was thinking, and I knew exactly what I was doing, but I totally made the wrong choice.” I found myself journaling how I felt afterwards, trying to commit to memory, the gross, tired, and “craving” feelings I felt after indulging in something I knew wasn’t going to agree with me. My sugar addiction side was screaming that I “absolutely NEEDED to have that relatively disgusting donut that for some reason had to be consumed right then to make me feel better about a rough morning.”
I am hoping that journaling why and the feelings I experienced, both physically and mentally, would hopefully help in making a better choice next time.
For me, I find the mental work in Food Freedom is much more challenging than resetting or doing a complete Whole30. I have done six rounds of Whole30 and at least six resets over the past two years –I have the food thing down pretty well! The mental side of why I eat what I eat, whether it is a conscious choice or just by habit/ unconscious choice is where I still need a lot of work.
The Food Freedom side of Whole30 is not a passive automatic process for me. My food issues: eating for comfort, to relieve stress or out of habit, and sugar addiction still need a lot of active work. Choosing to continue with Food Freedom instead of resetting this time has really given me the opportunity to actively make progress towards distancing myself from old habits that die hard and working through the emotions of why I eat what I eat.
Here are some tips on how to choose what to do when you have gone off the Whole30 rails:
Look realistically at your food choices while NOT on a round. Are they ones that make you feel strong and healthy, so you can be the best version of yourself?
If the answer is a hard NO, consider doing a full round of Whole30 to get yourself back on track.
If your food choices are generally decent but you are having a difficult time maintaining what you want YOUR Food Freedom to look like, consider doing a mini-reset to get yourself back on track.
If you are generally good with your food choices but find yourself walking the mental struggle food choice plank (and have the time and commitment to work on the mental food issues through journaling, mindfulness, or self-evaluation with critical honesty), then try just continuing your Food Freedom and see how you do.
If all else fails, do a round of Whole30. It couldn’t hurt right?
Have you battled with this struggle of HOW to reign it in? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!