This is an excerpt from Food Freedom Forever, with an intro from author and Whole30 Headmistress Melissa Hartwig Urban

So often, people think of the Whole30 as the end-all, be-all… you do the Whole30 and finish with a graduation certificate, bragging rights, and a wheelbarrow full of #NSVs (non-scale victories). Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong.

But the Whole30 isn’t the END of your journey as I envision it. It’s just the stepping stone to the REAL end-game… your Food Freedom. You know, the place where you feel in control of food, and food doesn’t control you. The place where you eat the culturally-significant, family-traditional, or just-plain-delicious foods while still looking and feeling exactly as good as you want to look and feel. The place you can sustain indefinitely, living by your OWN rules, happily navigating your own path and never needing to “diet” again.

That’s what the Whole30 is all about… the first step towards life-long Food Freedom, according to your definition. And your Food Freedom hinges on one critical question… Is it worth it?

February 2019 Food Freedom Forever Book Club

This post is part of our #MyFoodFreedom book club programing. Want to participate? Click this link for the reading schedule and special content schedule.

 

Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It.

Your Food Freedom starts with your own personal decisions about “worth it” foods and drinks. You’ll hear this phrase so often throughout Food Freedom Forever that it’s worth defining: “Worth it” is anything you know will likely have negative physical or psychological consequences, but is so special, enjoyable, or significant that you choose to eat it anyway.

The key to “worth it” is that you have to decide this for yourself—I can’t do it for you. (That’s also very good news, because someone else making decisions for you isn’t exactly “freedom.”) The bowl of ice cream that you know, thanks to reintroduction, will make your skin break out—is that worth it? Maybe it is, because you love ice cream that much. Good for you! Enjoy, and deal with the consequence.

Maybe it’s not, because maintaining clear skin is way more important than five minutes of creamy, cold happiness. That’s all good, too. The key is making the decisions and holding yourself accountable; declining when you decide something just isn’t worth it, even if it’s tempting.

You already have a good idea about “worth it” foods and beverages based on your reintroduction experience. If you reintroduced something and it went horribly wrong (digestive distress, energy disruptions, pain or inflammation, a return of symptoms), it’s probably safe to assume you’ll be leaving that food out of your general Food Freedom plan.

For me, this is goat cheese. That particular cheese makes me feel like that guy on the gurney in the first Alien movie—the one who has that creepy worm thing unceremoniously burst out of his body. For that reason, it’s never worth it, and I’ll go out of my way to ensure I’m not accidentally exposed to it in a salad or appetizer. Even if the Pope himself offered me goat cheese, I would politely say, “No, thank you, your Holiness,” but I wouldn’t tell him why, because holy TMI.

Worth It, Expanded

“Worth it” isn’t just about the physical consequences; it’s also about evaluating how a particular food affects your brain, your emotional attachment to other foods, your willpower, and your cravings. Some foods won’t impact your energy, sleep, or digestion, but they’ll leave you craving sugar or carbs like crazy; for example, many Whole30ers report that eating something salty automatically makes them want something sweet.

You may discover that other foods (or drinks—I’m looking at you, alcohol) are “gateway foods,” bringing to mind associations or past experiences that make you automatically reach for other less-healthy foods. Some foods may impact you in both ways; gluten (if you’re sensitive to it) can contribute to both digestive distress and mental health conditions like depression and seasonal affective disorder.

The emotional and psychological side effects of eating these potentially less-healthy foods are just as significant as the physical consequences, so make sure you take them into account during your “worth it” evaluations.

 


 

 

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FOOD FREEDOM FOREVER

Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food

End the yo-yo dieting cycle… forever. Welcome to the Food Freedom plan.

Millions of people have successfully completed the groundbreaking Whole30 program and radically transformed their energy, sleep, cravings, waistline, and health. Now, Food Freedom Forever offers real solutions for anyone stuck in the exhausting cycle of yo-yo dieting and the resulting stress, weight gain, uncontrollable cravings, and health complaints. In her newest book, best-selling author Melissa Hartwig defines true “food freedom” as being in control of the food you eat, instead of food controlling you.

Food Freedom Forever gives you everything you need for achieving dietary success, for today and for the rest of your healthy life. Melissa Hartwig’s information is spot on in terms of its scientific validity, and wonderfully approachable in terms of its implementation. — DAVID PERLMUTTER, MD, Author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain

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