I’m a carb addict. Given the other things I could be addicted to, that doesn’t sound too horrific, does it? Carbs are legal, cheap, and easy to get; they’re not known for destroying lives or wrecking homes. What’s horrific, though, is I can’t stop eating something sweet/carby once I start. Even if I get so full I feel physically ill, I can’t stop eating whatever it is till it is gone. I can’t have just a little, just a taste—my hand keeps picking it up and putting it in my mouth as if remote controlled. This lack of control is deeply disturbing and only abstinence from trigger foods saves me from this self-destructive behavior.
I’ve gradually come to a place where I can actually consider giving up all addiction-triggering foods and substances (even 5 years ago, I’d have considered such a step impossible). When I can pull this off, I feel AMAZING: sane and level and clean, and absolutely in control. Food becomes fuel rather than entertainment or self-medication. So today I’m excited to start another round of Whole30, but I’ll be doing it 3 rounds in a row, making it a Whole90. This program is highly restrictive: no sugar in any form (including artificial sweeteners), no booze, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no processed foods (which are essentially ruled out by the other exclusions anyway), and no substances on which you are psychologically or physically dependent, such as coffee if you NEED it to start the day. The restrictions are oddly freeing: they free me from my addictive behavior.
Doing the Whole30 is a shit-ton of work: it’s almost a part-time job, given how few prepared foods meet these guidelines. Only by making most food at home can you really pull this off. I’ve attempted this twice before. The longest I’ve made it is 23 days. I knew I was going to go off the program starting Christmas Eve, but damn, I’ve felt crappy since that day. I’m relieved to be starting up the program again today. Boozing and bingeing was fun, but I want to be delivered from my own worst impulses.
I did go out with splash: got the green chili cheese fries at Alamo Drafthouse last night, washed down with 2 pints of Austin Amber, as well as a few chugs of the salted caramel milkshake. DAMN GOOD.
The Whole30 site provides plenty of research and testimonials about the benefits of taking this dietary approach (although they don’t recommend a Whole365—the 30-day period is designed to raise your consciousness about foods’ effects so you can make your own decisions afterward about what you want in your life and your body). For a quick rundown of the benefits of doing a Whole30, see 30 Reasons To Do A Whole30 (posted on December 30, which is numerically delightful) from the amazing resource that is The Clothes Makes The Girl blog (a wealth of paleo cooking/lifestyle info from Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed).