from Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 headmistress and author of Food Freedom Forever
Food freedom happened when I took the time to ask myself what I really wanted and made a conscious, deliberate decision in the moment. I wasn’t swayed by the false promises of sugar, salt, and fat; held hostage by the tradition of birthday cupcakes; or enslaved to a Sugar Dragon who started roaring the minute I told myself I could have a treat on my birthday. I just thought about it, happily made my choice, and got on with my life… Food freedom is realizing I can have anything I want, any time I want it . . . and in the moment, simply honoring whether or not I really want it. –Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food, page xvi
If I had to describe “food freedom” in one sentence, it’s this:
Food freedom is feeling in control of the food that you eat, instead of food controlling you.
Food freedom is about indulging when it’s worth it, passing when it isn’t, and never feeling guilt or shame for doing either. It’s about taking the morality out of food, and recognizing you are not a “good” or “bad” person based on what’s your plate. True food freedom means you never again feel powerless over food.
Food freedom also means that food is fun again. It means you feel free to play around with how much, how often, and in what quantity you can enjoy your favorite wine, a slice of birthday cake, or mom’s famous lasagna while still looking and feeling exactly as awesome as you want. You don’t obsess. You don’t get anxious. You aren’t stressed. You don’t restrict needlessly, or binge heedlessly. You make concscious, deliberate decisions around food, and sometimes you say yes, and sometimes you say no, and both are totally okay because you chose it.
You feel like you could do this for the rest of your life.
Food freedom doesn’t mean that you’re a perfect eater, however. It doesn’t mean you always make the “right” decision. It doesn’t mean you always stay on track, and never fall back into old habits. Food freedom means that when you fall off course, you don’t let it ruin your day (or your week), physically or emotionally. It means you always have a plan for returning to a place of healthy balance, gracefully. It means you recognize that life happens, but every “slip” is actually a learning experience, and your food freedom plan is that much more robust for these experiences.
Food freedom demands that you’re in this for the long haul. There is no hack for food freedom; no shortcut or quick fix. It’s you, working my 3-step program, day in and day out, every single day. There are no weeks off. There is no “Well, I’m on vacation, so I’m just not going to think about it.” You can’t disconnect from your body or your relationship with food when things get hard. Food freedom demands more attention than that.
It’s also not as exhausting as it sounds. As with everything, food freedom gets easier with practice. You will work through the process faster. You will need fewer tools and less guidance to make the right food decision for you. You will create habits to support your new, healthy lifestyle. You’ll gain confidence, which will spill over into every area of your life. There will be days, then weeks, then months where you’ll look back and realize you’ve not had to think about it at all; you’ve just been living it.
In that moment, you will realize you are now truly free.
You don’t have to be a slave to sugar or addicted to carbs to benefit from my 3-step food freedom approach. You just have to want graceful balance, sustainability, and the freedom to discover the perfect diet for you, even if that changes 100 times in 100 days because you decide it should. There is no one who would not benefit from this program. And I cannot wait to show it to you.
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