The excuses were many- they would have to be to justify the extra weight I’ve carried for the last 20 years. And they were varied. Depending on the day, I could attribute it to two pregnancies, or the poor eating habits I was brought up with, or a much needed afternoon sugar rush.
My favorite excuse, and one that I used quite often… I Just Love Food.
Deprivation was not part of my repertoire. Any and every meal was an excuse to celebrate.
Chocolate chip peanut butter toast for breakfast? It’s Monday!
Duck fat fries with a salad for lunch? Yum!
Frozen yogurt for dinner? I’m meeting up with my friends, and it’s less calories than eating dinner and then having yogurt, so I may as well skip dinner!
I eluded to being taught poor eating habits growing up, when in reality what I lacked was moderation and balance. Knowing when to choose a treat and when to say no. Those were difficult lessons to grasp at age 10. I have a very vivid memory of being in sixth grade, playing soccer during recess and looking around the field and noticing I was the biggest girl out there. Head down, I walked alone back to the classroom before the game was over and vowed that I would never wear shorts again.
That memory hurts my heart, even today. I want to turn that little girl around, tell her that she has self-worth that extends far beyond the seam of her shorts, and that the power to change her relationship with food would alter the course of the next 20 years.
Saying that I loved food was easy. It explained why I constantly thought about what I’d just eaten, what meal was coming next, and what sounded good. Loving food was uncomplicated and provided little room for judgement. Loving food was excusable.
I held tightly to that excuse over 10 years of focused weight loss efforts. With some success, followed by relapse and re-gain, food continued to be a source of comfort and guilt.
Then, a revelation. I sucessfully completed a 30-day program focused on eating solely whole, organic food called the Whole30. It promised to change the way my body dealt with food, improve my sleep, my skin, and curb sugar cravings.
There were quite a few things I didn’t expect. A 14lb. weight loss for start. The better sleep and clearer skin actually happened. I planned every meal and liked brussels sprouts. And most importantly, I actively and thoughtfully and carefully Fell in Love with Real Food.
I fell in love with real food. With organic meat and sweet potatoes and almond meal and coconut milk. Finding ways to make food that I enjoy whole. Knowing that almost every meal during the last month was peeled and chopped and warmed from my own hands was powerful and engaging and life-altering.
It’s been four days since my Whole30 0fficially ended, and I’m still planning every meal and keeping my food whole. It feels good. I feel good. And I’m finding balance and moderation and falling in love with real food that is loving me back.
Want to learn more about Whole30 and see my before and after pictures? Head on over to my personal blog Get Carried Away.