It went faster and better than I expected. I am absolutely planning to do another one, because I learned a lot from this one and there are a lot more things I didn't really get to do that I want to do.
Operating within a specific set of dietary restrictions is a lot like beginning driving. At first you have to think about everything you are doing, plan your reactions, go through your checklists. Over time it becomes automatic. Even though most of this way of eating was adopted and assimilated into my life months ago, there was still a fair amount of diligence that had to be applied to making sure I was 'doing it right'. I'm not convinced it was perfect, but it was very good. And at this point most of the changes I've made have indeed become automatic, I no longer have to think through 'can have' and 'can't have'. But much of my attention this go-round has been focused on the food.
As for my goals, I do think that I have met most of the 'wish list' I made at the start of the project. I expanded my recipe repertoire. We ate more vegetables. I am sleeping better. I have made an effort to focus on positive things and avoid both the drama drain and general pessimistic timewasting. I've made some decisions about sources of drama and negativity in my life that I need to walk away from.
I exercised. Maybe not as much as I envisioned myself exercising, but the summer is not over. I have continued to read and educate myself about nutrition and how best to work this program that is working for me.
The biggest revelation for me came when I started re-reading 'It Starts With Food', the book that outlines the Whole 9/Whole 30 program. In it the authors discuss their 'Good Food Standards', which are as follows:
The food that we eat should:
- Promote a healthy psychological response
- Promote a healthy hormonal response
- Support a healthy gut
- Support immune function and minimize inflammation
Now I must admit, the first read through of the book, I was mostly looking for the 'rules'...what I could have, what I couldn't have, maybe a little of why, but only enough to convince me that I wasn't crazy for doing this. Once things got going I decided to start back at page one and carefully consider what they were suggesting. And the first standard finally hit home. So many things that I used to describe as 'impossible to resist' and 'things I can't leave alone until they are gone' fail that first standard. The difference, this time, is that I recognize the necessity of eliminating those things with prejudice. Not negotiating with them, not planning 'treats', but looking at certain things and being able to say 'this does not serve me in any useful way, not nutritionally, it messes with the way I'm wired and makes me want more and more and it is perfectly fine to set it aside permanently'.
I hear a lot of people say 'you can't deprive yourself' and 'you have to have X or you won't succeed, it is too hard' but I'm here to say after a forty year battle with 'moderation' as a person with a disordered relationship with sugar that it may be the only thing that works. You don't 'scale back' an abusive relationship. You end it. The good news is, it isn't as hard as you'd think. And in a way I don't completely understand yet, when I let false comforts go they seem to take a lot of things with them-- irrational fear, old resentment and bitterness, carefully kept catalogs of unforgiven wrongs. It is fun to look at pictures and see how things are changing, but at the end of the day this is about walking a better path with a quiet mind.