Why Whole 30 Wasn’t For Me

I started 2018 strong. I was ALL ABOUT THAT WHOLE 30 LIFESTYLE. I bought all the books, I meal planned, I joined the Facebook communities, I followed FitSpo people on Instagram, and I had a great support system in my boyfriend. I was kicking ass for the first week laughed at the cravings and became a Julia Child in the kitchen.

Then Day 8 hit and it was a disaster. Today would have been Day 15. Instead on Day 8, I started having tons of eating disorder flashbacks and anxieties. Today I finally felt like myself again for the first time in weeks honestly.

In short: The pro is that Whole 30 taught a lot about shopping for food that doesn’t have added sugar and weird preservatives. Plus soy is in EVERYTHING. The con is that it was extremely unhealthy for me mentally as someone who had a raging eating disorder in college.

Verdict: Good for some people, not for me.

Let’s get in the nitty gritty details: During high school and college I had bulimia. I didn’t think it was so bad at the time, just the “average” eating disorder women of a certain age experience. I was never stick thin, I ran 5ks and was going to the gym every single goddamn day. However, I also couldn’t go an entire day without throwing up everything I ate.

This is a photo from the highlight of my eating disorder days- also the “peak” of my comic book faux fame.

I had just finished hosting the Midtown Comics book club with creators Scott Snyder, Trevor McCarthy, & Kyle Higgins for ‘Batman Gates of Gotham’. My dear friend and coworker Ron Gejon took this photo, as he did all of the photos of me during this time. I remember briefly glancing at the photo and turning in disgusting, pleading with him that I was just getting over the flu and that’s why I looked so horrible. I remember my head being foggy, I was sweating, couldn’t breathe out of my nose, my face was swollen, and I felt generally awful.

It wasn’t until one day in college that I remember standing on the side of the Raritan River on my lunch break in the middle of winter and saying to myself, “I’m going to kill myself if I keep this shit up.” I called the Rutgers University psychiatry center right then and explained my situation. I remember saying to the woman on the phone that I didn’t think I had a “real” eating disorder and her sounding appalled in return.

I joined an outpatient one on one program where I had to meet with a therapist twice a week for two months, going over my homework. I had to log down everything I ate, not the calories, but the food and how I was feeling before/during/after I had eaten. After that program, I’ve still struggled heavily with my body image, but I never went back to throwing up after I’ve eaten again.

I detail all of this because for the first time in over 6 years- being on Whole 30 made me want to sneak the foods that weren’t allowed and I tried to justify it by saying I would throw it all up afterwards. All of the thoughts that plauged me when I was younger suddenly came out of the wood work.

I was at Trader Joes doing my third trip to the grocery store that week (eating healthy is expensive) where I grabbed a bag of chips at the last moment and then wolfed down as many as I could in my car. I wanted to run home and throw up as soon as I could but I ended up just crawling in bed and feeling physically and mentally horrible.

I then went back and realized how this didn’t actually happen all at once, but had slowly built up over the last month as I had prepared for Whole 30.

First let me say – this program works WONDERFULLY for countless people. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. It’s very strict to protect people from “cheating” or “slipping”. But some of the rules were just outrageous for my lifestyle.

One of them being – if you weighed yourself at all in the 30 day period, you had to fucking start over from scratch. *scowl* That makes zero sense to me. I understand that the program wants you to break the dependency on weighing oneself, but this all or nothing mindset was very harmful to me.

The Facebook communities were a NIGHTMARE. One of the main words in Whole 30 is if a food is “compliant” or not. the message boards were full of people posting tea or tomato sauce asking if it was “compliant”. God forbid if the food wasn’t, and the poor poster had already eaten it- they had to START OVER AT DAY 1. Even if they were at day 28! If your tea had vanilla extract in it, BOOM KICKED OFF THE ISLAND, START OVER DO NOT COLLECT MONEY YOU FAILED.

*shudder* It was too much for me. For weeks before starting on January 2nd, I researched and prepped and made shopping lists and was so cautious over consuming just once teaspoon of something that wasn’t compliant. I was terrified of failing.

But screw that. Over self reflection the last week, I have let myself have Splenda in my coffee (black coffee is disgusting go fuck yourself). I decided to take a moderation approach. Just to be aware of what I was putting into my body while at the same time being nice to myself mentally.

“Oh, this poor snowflake, she couldn’t handle some tough love.” Whatever, I’m turning 28 this year 

and I’ll be damned if I let some middle age moms on Facebook dictate how much I beat myself up.

 

Also, that cheeseburger I had for dinner was delicious.

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