I was inspired to write this post after reading this blog post, which is really just a rebuttal towards yet another article, which can be found here (an article from Yahoo! Health…), regarding health and wellness…there are a LOT of opinions flying around out there, it’s hard to figure out who’s “expert” advise to follow these days…(Although, if you are getting your health advise from Yahoo! Health…maybe don’t)
Anyhow…here’s my NON expert opinion, because I have an undergrad in photography, a master’s in business, and have not become a scientist overnight. (although wouldn’t that be badass)
I’m on day 13 of the Whole30 right now (What the heck is that? click the link). At over 1/3 of the way through the 30 days, I’m feel amazing, and I’m facing down some serious stress eating demons that are incredibly unhealthy. And yet, when I tell people about what I’m doing, most seem to jump to the same conclusion. “That’s real dumb to eliminate all that stuff just to lose weight,” or “It’s not healthy to eliminate all that stuff just to lose weight.” Well, if I was just trying to lose weight was my goal, I might not be as restrictive, but that’s not the ONLY reason there is to eliminate items from your diet. I have sensitivities to gluten and dairy (and possibly other foods that I would never know about if I didn’t eliminate them for a month, and then reintroduce), I have anxiety which is heightened by putting certain foods into my system, and I have serious stress eating habits where I go straight for wine, cheese, and carb dense foods whenever I’m stressed, angry, etc.
Not only is the Whole30 about living a healthier lifestyle, it’s about putting things into perspective. Putting into perspective when you’re really full, putting into perspective why you eat what you eat, putting into perspective your relationship with food, putting into perspective how certain foods affect your body, and whether or not it’s worth reintroducing those items back into your diet after the 30 days.
What do I mean when I say relationship with food? Picture this: I’m having a bad day at the office on a Friday; my staff is being lazy, a few difficult patients call and yell, and I sit on hold for an hour with Carefirst, only to have them hang up on me (True Life: I’m a Mental Health Clinic Manager right there). So what do I do when I leave work? Head for a bottle of wine and stuff my face with anything that involves carbs and cheese (think nachos, pizza, mac and cheese…even whole grain, or grain free version of these items, still bad news) Having these items reduces my stress temporarily, and I feel way better. Woo! So glad that day is over and now I feel better! Then comes Saturday morning. I don’t get a hangover anymore because I’m old and lame and probably fell asleep after two glasses of wine at 9pm, but having the alcohol heightens my anxiety, so I’m super anxious when I wake up. Also, having consumed gluten and cheese, I feel bloated and gross. The gym will not be fun this morning. After the gym, I still am not feeling like myself, and in order to feel better, I know eating something “yummy” (i.e. addictive/associative with feeling better) I go straight for more carbs/cheese. Getting a picture of the vicious relationship I have with food? The definition of a love/hate relationship.
Now I realize a lot of people just don’t have this relationship with food. I’ve talked to people who say they only eat because they get hungry, but they don’t really care about eating…WHAT?! I don’t get you, insane person, but I wish I had some of that in my system.
Now for food sensitivities. I know, I know, being gluten free is “all the rage,” right now, right? Actually it was only recently that doctors began to be able to diagnose gluten sensitivities, (straight outta my GI’s mouth, I’m not a fact maker upper), and so it’s reasonable that there are more folks out there who are attempting to avoid gluten these days. Even people (me) who don’t have Celiac Disease can have what is called Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (I call it, You Have a Shitty Tummy problem). Whereas in the past the medical society would say, hmmm you’ve got IBS, they can now narrow down what foods might be hurting your system, by having patients go through elimination diets (Like, for example, the Whole30).
It is for the reasons explained above that I’ve committed to the Whole30, and that I truly value the experience that it is giving me. So, if you encounter somebody who is attempting to conquer a Whole30, or something of the like, don’t criticize, or judge, or tell them what their doing is unhealthy. It’s not your place, and chances are you don’t really know what you’re talking about (if you do, then by all means, I like chatting about these topics!), and on top of all that, it’s not super supportive to approach somebody’s goals in that manner…makes actually completing the 30 days even harder when people aren’t supportive. Maybe try, “Sweet bro, let me know how it goes,” or “Right on, girlfriend, good luck!” Although you may feel more comfortable using less lame language in real life.