There are certain things in life we can’t live without: food, water, shelter, love…and pizza (ok, maybe not).
Food and body image have been topics of many of my blogs recently…once upon a time I even claimed I was going to do paleo for 30 days (only to fail after day 4)…but started for all the wrong reasons. I’ve discussed my unhealthy relationship with the scale, food, among other issues that many women (and men) my age face in a world of high expectations.
Yo-yo dieting, calorie restriction, over-eating, under-eating, stress-eating, f*ck-this-stupid-f*ckboy-eating. My relationship with food has never been “top notch,” if you will.
Today almost marks an entire month alcohol-free and (almost) f*ckboy free! V exciting. I’ve also made it 9 days without any cheese, bread, sugar, leftover french fries, gum (whaaaaa!!), and coconut creamer in my coffee (imysm).
There’s processed shit in literally everything…but I guess working around it isn’t so bad. Before embarking on my very first Whole 30, I told myself I didn’t belong in the kitchen. Like, gender stereotypes aside, it wasn’t too long ago when I was exploding oatmeal in the microwave…
9 days in and I’m feeling…um, great? I don’t know. I haven’t been asked to be on Top Chef yet nor look like Kayla Itsines (yet?). I guess I haven’t noticed a significant change since changing my diet specifically. However, when I cut out alcohol…well, that was like a “why the f#@& haven’t I tried this before?!”
I wasn’t eating pizza every day (as much as I wanted to). I wasn’t binging on chips and fried chicken tenders whenever I felt like it. If that were the case, maybe I’d feel significantly different 9 days in. My diet was always relatively low-carb but looking back, I was indulging on more processed foods than I thought. The handful of fries at work. Two (or three, or four ) pieces of chocolate before bed. A slice of pizza on a random Tuesday.
It adds up.
However, none of these felt like indulgences. It got to a point where I was just eating it because I was either A) hungry B) bored or the worst… C) stressed.
It was usually B or C.
It got to a point where I didn’t feel like I was controlling the food I ate (regardless if it was healthy or not). It was controlling me. Consuming my thoughts, my perceptions, my anxiety. How many calories are in 2 cups of sweet potato? Is brown rice bad for you? How do cheat days affect weight loss? Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight? How many tablespoons of olive oil should you have per day?
Past Google searches of Beth^ (like chill….)
We literally need food. And calories. And carbs. And fat. And pizza (ok, again, maybe not). I know all of this. I know I should be eating 2000 calories a day to keep up with my active lifestyle and not deprive myself. I know I should enjoy food and take it for what it is, regardless of how many grams of fat it consists of. If I can answer a text from a fuckboy who is far worse than any slice of pizza I eat, why can’t I just enjoy a freaking slice of pizza?
The rational (often ignored) thought process of Beth^
The ~booze-free lyfe~ has significantly lessened my anxiety, improved my sleeping habits, and #MadeSaturdaysGreatAgain amongst many other benefits. It gave me the courage to take on the Whole 30, something I could have never imagined myself taking seriously for longer than 3 days (for real).
I didn’t decide to start the Whole 30 to lose a bunch of weight, the same way I didn’t cut alcohol for those reasons. I mean, it’s a nice perk, but I just got to a point where I had to stop making all of these goddamn excuses for being unhappy with the way I looked and thought about myself and just do something about it.
I won’t go over every single rule of the Whole30, because there’s Google for that. But 9 days in and here’s what I’ve learned.
- The scale was the best fuckboy I could’ve ever ended things with. Prior to the Whole30, I was weighing myself compulsively at least every other day. Like clockwork. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. It just came as habit. 9 days in – no drunk texts, regrettable sleepovers, or contact whatsoever!!!! Weee!!
- MyFitnessPal can be effective, but not if you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Calorie counting is a “no-no” during the Whole 30, as they believe if you are putting clean, wholesome food into your body, there is no need to obsess over the calories, macros, micros, grams of fat, vitamin C percentage, etc. You mean 4 vodka sodas don’t hold the same nutritional value as 6oz of chicken?! But they are the same amount of calories!! Food is more than calories. It’s fuel. Treat it as such.
- Speaking of, 2000 calories is not that much. That number absolutely petrified me for so long. I was at my smallest when I was restricting myself to 1500 a day (while vigorously working out each morning and being on my feet at work all night). I lost weight, but gained it right back because my metabolism was outta whack. Eat!!!!
- If you’re hungry, eat. If not, then don’t eat. But, Bethhhhh that’s so hard!!!! Those Spicy BBQ Fritos thooo!!!!!! It’s hard to overeat vegetables, protein, and good fatty foods. My meals are big. I load my lunch with veggies (cooked with dat Chili Lime seasoning from Trader Joe’s–amazing), sweet potato, and chicken. Afterwards, I’m full, but not the gross full. Like, you know, the ugh is it kosher to unbutton my jeans rn??
- Eliminating your triggers is key. Alcohol was my trigger for shitty decisions. I’m not saying I’m going to be sober Sally for the rest of my life, but I knew I needed to take a step back to get my other stuff in check.
- Sit down at the damn dinner table. I’m so busy tho! No time for that! Yes, you probably do have time. In her book, Hartwig discourages “mindless eating.” Like, when you’re sitting and watching The Bachelor and suddenly dinner you made and the pint of ice cream you just purchased is randomly gone. That kind of eating. Sit down at least once a day, cook yourself a nice meal and just enjoy it. Simultaneously Instagram scrolling is also frowned upon, but like…I love the ‘gram too much to give that up any time soon.
- Stop striving for perfection. That was my mantra well before I started Whole30, but was a bit too lenient when my cheat meals turned to cheat days, my one drink turned to five, etc. Know your goals, know what’s preventing you from achieving them, but also recognize that it’s a process. Food-wise, I’ve had a “perfect” Whole30. I can say with confidence I haven’t ate, sampled, or drank anything that wasn’t Whole30 compliant. But the book also discourages nighttime snacking/snacking in general. Sry, I like my snacks. Maybe the craving to snack will go away, but I’m not counting down the days.
- Know your body and know what it needs, not what it craves. This kind of ties it all together. My body wants that slice of pizza (can you tell I like pizza?). It wants to step on the scale. It wants that pint of Bud Light during a Pats game. Why do I want these things? Because I’ve actively taught myself to crave them. What’s the difference between a want and a need? Well, I know my body needs a snack pre and post workout to prevent a low blood sugar. It needs over 2000 calories when I run 8 miles. It needs fats, proteins, and carbs. It needs food. Food is not the enemy ppl!
Do I suddenly have this whole new outlook on life? Do I wake up every morning and say, “Damn, Beth, you look gewwwd.” No, I don’t. Like I said, changing habits is a process. It’s not a change to be expected overnight. You won’t drop two pant sizes in 7 days. You won’t suddenly loathe all things containing high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, soy lethicin, and cheese (which is like everything lolz), but you will begin to understand the effects it has on your body. Even if you don’t notice the physical changes right away, you’ll find peace in the fact that beyond the reflection in the mirror, some body part inside of you is saying “Omg, tysm. #Blessed 2 have u.”
It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having a killer workout every morning or having the power to say “no” to pizza for the rest of your life. It’s about having a killer workout and saying “no” to pizza for the right reasons (those reasons do not include obsessively creating a larger calorie deficit).
Find your unhealthy relationships and change them. It does take work. A lot of work. And it’s tedious. Self-care unfortunately does not come natural to most, myself included. At times, I feel ridiculous for partaking in a “30 Day BodyPeace Movement” on top of no alcohol and no pizza. It seems sort of overkill, right? I used to think that way too. I soon realized you can never invest enough in yourself and YOUR needs. Whatever those may be. If it means giving up things that were once seemingly so integrated in your life and choices, then so be it.
I’ve had multiple messages from so many beautiful women who are in search of some sort of insight into this way of thinking. I wish there was a simple, universal answer. But, there’s not.
If there is, I haven’t found it yet. Pinky swear to let you know if there is tho!!!!!
Take care of yourself. Your body, your mind, your people. I can’t emphasize enough that it’s a process, not a solution. It’s taken years for me to develop this way of thinking and I’m still working on it. Every single day. I stopped sitting back and waiting for other people to change and allowing setbacks and personal mistakes to define my next steps.
Be responsible for you. You can’t expect a healthy relationship with anyone or anything if you don’t have some sort of healthy relationship with yourself.
(Do I sound like Buddha or a fortune cookie? Maybe both?)
Pizza does not rule the world!!! U rule da world!!!