Some thoughts on Food Freedom Forever

Melissa Hartwig’s new book Food Freedom Forever dropped this month.  So you know I was all over that like . . . hmm.  Like my kids licking the glass at the Lego store.  Like my kids licking the glass at a bakery.  Like my kids licking the glass at . . . you get the idea.  (Similes FTW!)  I guess I’m saying I approached the book release with a childlike enthusiasm.

Should you buy the book?

Yes, definitely.

Well, maybe.  But probably for sure.

Let me explain.

First, I wanted to get the book because I’m trying to do a better job of supporting people whose work I admire.  I heart Melissa Hartwig a lot.  I follow her on IG and find her to be motivational and inspirational.

I will say that if you have read It Starts with Food about five times (what can I say, I love that book), parts of the book on the whole30 will feel a little repetitive.

Also, she spends a good chunk of the book on how to deal with friends and family.  This could be just explaining things to them, but also dealing with difficult and unsupportive people.   And these people sound AWFUL.  Like I appreciate my friends and family, but these example people are setting the bar pretty low.

A few things going on.  1)  I think I’ve generally had supportive friends and family.  (Thanks, guys!)  I think it would be really hard to do this if you had someone in your household who was not on board or actively making your life more difficult.  Even when James doesn’t feel like doing something himself, he is very supportive and knows why I’m doing it.

2)  I’ve been on my low carb journey (yeah, that makes me hurl/chuckle to type as well) for so long I’ve forgotten if things were weird at the start.  Now people generally know I eat a certain way, but it’s no big deal.  It doesn’t seem weird.  Just something I do.

3)  I don’t care.  Who cares if people think you’re weird?  Who is going to make you feel bad for not having a drink?  What are we 12?  Not that I was ever drinking at 12.  Let’s not be crazy here.  It’s hyperbole, people.

BUT even if you are one million percent Team Whole30 and even if you are blessed with friends and family who aren’t garbage people, I think there is good stuff in the book.

I was interested because what Hartwig outlines totally makes sense to how some of my process has gone.  And we are talking a multi-year ongoing road.  A road with a lot of ups and downs.  A road with some pit stops and switchbacks.  OK, metaphor enough.  Lemme ‘splain.

Hartwig outlines a 4 part strategy:

  • Reset
  • Reintroduce
  • Live life how you want, eating things that make sense to you and are worth it
  • Repeat when feel out of balance

I can’t say this has been my full experience, but I recognize the cycle.

My Food Freedom “Journey”

I did my first whole30 post-Henry in April of 2013.  I felt amazing.  This definitely changed how we cooked at home.  Not always whole30, but more often than not.  We still ate pretty much whatever we wanted outside the house.

Then pregnancy #2.  I probably ate better the second time around than the first, partially because I was trying to avoid the 50 lb weight gain again (NOPE) and partially because I needed to feed Henry and wanted him to eat vegetables.  But still plenty of shenanigans.

I tried a whole30 in June of 2014 the month after Mac was born, but I only made it to day 8 or 9.  The carb flu hit HARD.  I think it may have coincided with an actual illness.  Either way, it was just too much.

In November of 2014, I did a “whole 10” after we made it to Italy.  (Kind of fascinating to see my thoughts from that and what I’ve been successful at changing since then.)

In June of 2015, I did my 30 Day EVERYTHING challenge.  Feeling good.  Basically stopped cooking pasta at home at this point.  Most meals at home pretty paleo.  Still plenty of wiggle room out and about.

In January of 2016, I did my 95% whole30 and DietBet.  I tried to make it a whole30, but because we were on the road and staying with people, I figured it might not be completely compliant all the time.  I think it was pretty close.  This whole30 marked a turning point on booze.  I really tried to crackdown on my nighttime wine.  I do still drink–sometimes more than I’d like–but it has been different this year.

In summer of 2016, I dabbled some in ketosis, which I still need to tell you guys about.

Now . . .

My friend asked me the other day if I could eat something.  I replied,

I can eat whatever I want.

And that’s pretty much the way I feel.  I mostly eat whole30.  But sometimes I don’t.  I try to make good decisions about what is worth it to me, and sometimes I do.  I’m still not great about stopping eating something if it doesn’t live up.  And sometimes I just want to feel food in my mouth.  Sometimes things go off the rails.

But if you notice in the cycles above, they are getting closer together.  The whole thing gets easier.  It feels more natural.  I don’t fall as hard, and I don’t fall as often.  Now instead of thinking, “it’s vacation, I get wine!!!” I think about whether I actually want the wine.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Something I haven’t been good about is doing a full system cleanse and then reintroductions.  I have vague rememberings on things affecting me certain ways.  Can I pinpoint how one piece of toasts hits me versus four pieces of toast?  NOPE.

Some of that is me.  I am extremely not in tune with my body.  It would take me forever to realize if I had an allergy or even if something was giving me food poisoning.  I just don’t match things up like that.

But FFF gives me a plan to see if I can get there some day.  Maybe I will be able to figure out my specific triggers.  And maybe I’ll keep testing them because they may have a different impact down the road.

It was also a nice pep talk.  Signs that this path is normal.  That I am headed in the right direction.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve come so far and I try so hard, but I’m still nowhere.

FFF was a great pat on the back.  I felt acknowledged.  I felt like Hartwig was talking to me.  I felt like she was saying, “I see you, and I’ve been where you’ve been, and I think you are doing important work on yourself.  This is a good process.  Keep working it.”

And I will.  I’m planning on a whole30 starting October 24 as a post-vacation reset and to get more reintroduction feedback.  (Anyone want in?)  That’s just me.  Living my Food Freedom.

Did you read the book?  What did you think?

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5 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Food Freedom Forever

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