*This post contains possible triggers for those susceptible to disordered eating. Material below is meant to be helpful, but know yourself before reading!*
I’ve noticed that no matter how much I write about self love, overall wellness, or body positivity, the main traffic on my blog is people seeking Whole 30 help. If that’s you, welcome!
Anytime a new wave of Whole 30 starts, message boards start to flood with the “Slip Up” questions. Accidental soy sauce ingestion, a weak moment at a bakery, or a family dinner that turns into an all out fight club because your mother-in-law knowingly served you canola oil… everyone on their first Whole 30 is in panic mode, afraid of what could be lurking in their food. I used to be one of those panic-ridden people, and it makes me sad to see other people go through this.
Let me go ahead and say that I am totally, 100% PRO-Whole 30! Elimination diets are great for people looking to clear their system and make way for a healthier style of living, and Whole 30 is the best one out there. That’s why I chose to do it a year ago.
However, what is not talked about even kind of enough is the fact that such strict “dieting” (I know, Paleo is not a diet, but stick with me here) gives disordered eating the perfect chance to sneak into your life. If you have ever been glued to a calorie counter, religiously tracked your macros, or gone on an extreme diet, PLEASE be careful in doing a Whole 30.
I started my Whole 30 journey with great intentions of furthering my health and fully committing to Paleo. By day 21, I was crying every day, hated food, and had my family worried about my health. I had so much anxiety over what to eat, when to eat, and what other people thought of me that I developed lock jaw and had migraines multiple times a week! I quit on the night of day 21 with a vodka on the rocks (holy crap did I need that drink!), but unfortunately that was only the beginning of what would be a severe 6+ month battle with binge eating. My brain went into panic mode and couldn’t shut itself off. I already had tendencies towards disordered eating, and my thinking had been that doing this diet would make things better. I was so, so wrong.
Even now I struggle with BED, but I have learned to forgive myself every single time I binge, and with the help of my Naturopath I have been able to tame much of my anxiety toward food. I no longer look at myself as a Binge Eater, but it took a long time to get to this place.
If you are prone to mood disorders, orthorexia, binge eating, or any other eating disorder, or even if you tend to go a little over board with dieting, please, PLEASE think long and hard before undertaking a Whole 30. Think about your current relationship with food, whether it is healthy and sound. Think about your relationship with yourself, and whether it is loving and safe. The Whole 30 is such a great way of eating, but that kind of restriction for anyone who is not mentally healthy is dangerous. A kinder, gentler approach to eating healthy may work better for you instead. It truly breaks my heart every time I see someone crying in frustration about a miniscule slip up, because I’ve been there. It’s lonely and you feel like a complete failure.
So to all of you looking for help with a Whole 30 slip up, here is my advice to you- BREATHE! It’s ok! The Whole 30 is not a contest, and you are not competing with anyone (not even yourself). Congratulate yourself for all of the healthy choices you’ve been making, and make your next choice a healthy one too. The past is in the past, take solace in that. And remember, be grateful for failure! It’s how you grow and become better =)
Looking for further help or advice? No problem. Leave a comment or email me. I would love to help!