October 17, 2023

Find your Food Freedom “why,” Part 1

Dear Melissa—Melissa Urban wearing a light blue jean top and darker blue jeans, cooking on a wooden table top, and smiling at the camera.

You’ll often hear me and the Whole30 HQ team talk about finding your Whole30 “why,” and using that to help you stay on track with your Whole30 commitment. But how many of you have a Food Freedom ”why?” And if you don’t… why not?

I’ve said it before—for Food Freedom success, you need to work your Food Freedom plan as hard as you worked your Whole30. For that reason, your Food Freedom plan should also start with a “why!” In this two-part series, I’ll talk about the benefits of finding your Food Freedom “why,” two exercises to help you discover it, and how to apply it to help you find real Food Freedom success.

What’s a “why?”

A “why” is your own internal motivation for pursuing a specific behavior or course of action. A good why comes from inside, and happens when you create space to be self-aware and introspective. A good “why” is not going to come from external pressures. It’s not the thing you think you should be doing, it’s the thing that you want to do based on your own goals and what you believe will serve you.

Having a “why” is mission-critical with any habit change, including transitioning from the Whole30 into your new Food Freedom habits. A solid why will provide stability and direction once the rules of the program are over, especially when things get stressful. Think of it like your north star, guiding your behaviors and decisions as you create your Food Freedom plan.

Without a solid “why,” it’s easy to get overwhelmed or feel indecisive. Why are you going through all of this “is it worth it, do I want it?” You feel great post-Whole30, can’t you just “relax” and eat whatever you want? You’ve got peer pressure, life stress, and the latest fitness influencer pulling you in different directions.

So how can you stay successful in creating and working YOUR Food Freedom plan? It starts with a solid “why.”

How do you find it?

To start the process of finding your why, ask yourself two questions, then complete the associated exercises:

  • What would give you a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment in your Food Freedom? (Exercise 1)
  • What problem or challenge is emotionally motivating you to actively work your Food Freedom plan? (Exercise 2)

Exercise 1

Make a list of all the benefits that will come as a result of you ACTIVELY working your Food Freedom plan, using the techniques outlined in Food Freedom Forever. Really get into this—visualize the benefits, pulling from how you felt immediately following your Whole30, or imagined based on what you want your Food Freedom to bring you long-term. Be generous with what you believe can happen, and allow yourself to tap into your emotional side. The more closely connected you are to your why, the stronger it will ground you when you’re making FF decisions.

PRO TIP

If you’re struggling to be generous with what could happen in your Food Freedom, try using the “what if” trick. “What if… I can trust myself to make the best food decisions for me? What if… I can bring certain foods back into my life in a joyful way, but still feel this good? What if… I can retain this amount of energy and keep sleeping this well long after my Whole30 is over? What if… I can comfortably eat foods that used to feel like triggers just by actively working my FF plan?”

Then, pick the top 3-5 benefits that excite you the most, and take each of those a step deeper, asking yourself, “So what?” What do each of these benefits mean for your health, happiness, or quality of life?

Say you want your Food Freedom to maintain your high energy—so what? When you dig deeper, you realize that means more time with your kids, the motivation to work out, feeling productive during your day, and not feeling tired but wired come 10 PM.

If you believe your Food Freedom can bring you a healthier relationship with food and your body, say, “so what?” What would that mean in your life right now? Perhaps it’s less time spent thinking about food, feeling at peace around food, greater satisfaction with the foods you decide are worth it, and less negative self-talk.

Once you are down to this level, circle 1-3 that hit you the hardest, and will have the most impact in your life. This is your “why!” It’s okay to have more than one, but you don’t want a million. Choose just a few that are the most important to you in this moment, and will resonate the strongest emotionally when you need to return to them.

PRO TIP

Write your “why” statements down on post-it notes and stick them in strategic places around the house, like your bathroom mirror, nightstand, and refrigerator. Then, tell your support system. Share it loud and proud for both accountability and so others know how to support you in your Food Freedom journey.

I’ll give you a week to complete that exercise before we move onto part two. Next week,  I’ll share another exercise with you—one that serves as a “pull in case of emergency” in the event that your positive affirmations just aren’t doing the trick. See you next Thursday!

XO Melissa


--