Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth S.

New York, New York

Exactly the Food Freedom I was looking for.

On January 30 I completed my third Whole30. I’ll start by saying that having three under my belt now, I consider myself an intermediate player – I can recite which additives are okay and which are not, I have a variety of delicious ‘regulars’ that I can call on for dinner rotations, and I’m well versed in how the calendar affects me as I get through each daily milestone until the end.

However, in reflecting over my last few Whole30 rounds, I’d have to say that this one was the one where it clicked – where I GOT it – and here’s why.

My first Whole30, which was 2016, I didn’t actually have any faith in myself that I’d finish. I stuck it out through sheer grit, and when I got to the end, I was so shocked, so proud of myself for committing and actually keeping to something, that it changed me inside. However that round had me hyper-fixated on food. I fed my sugar dragon because I wasn’t coping with certain aspects of my life. I struggled, hardcore, and felt like I crawled my way to the end.

My second round was 2018. That round I decided to do ’30 days of movement’ along with my commitment to my body. I lost weight and got stronger. I was meticulous about journaling each day on the forum – my food, my exercise, my general mood. I meal prepped, spending hours preparing extravagant recipes and creating the ‘perfectly balanced’ meal three times a day. I truly threw myself into the round, bordering on obsessive, blabbing about it to anyone and everyone. After that round, I skipped reintroduction, exhausted once again, and steadily returned to old habits.

Here I am, at the end of Round 3. This round I haven’t written down what I’m eating each day. I’ve tried a few new recipes, but some days I’ve thrown together chicken sausage and veggies because it’s easier.  I flowed through the days, without the need for perfection, recognizing that I wasn’t a failure for having two hard boiled eggs and a meat stick for lunch any more than I would be a failure for having seconds of  a shepherds pie I particularly loved.

This round I haven’t lost any weight, but I’ve felt my cardio improve, my skin is clearer, and I’m surviving the greyest, loneliest month of the year. More importantly, I didn’t obsess, I didn’t strive, I just…lived each day. I didn’t have any particular cravings or ‘treats’. I truly listened to my body –  to what it was telling me, to what it needed, and I gave it that. I leaned into my feelings and emotions, to the ups and downs of the round and came out of it, not feeling like I’ve run a marathon, but that I just finished my first mile. Each round of Whole30 taught me something, but it was this one that taught me everything. So what’s next? Well, I have no desire to go out and binge, so  think I’ll just keep existing exactly as I am, until something truly worth it comes along.

And that is exactly the Food Freedom I was looking for.