Whole30 Update: To reset, or to not reset.

We didn’t reset.

On the Whole30 website they have a list (they like lists) of 5 responses to the “should I reset?” questions and four of them are, You should reset. The fifth is, basically, you’re an adult, do what you want.

So we were ready to reset, had discussed some ideas around what we’d need to do during those upcoming trouble weekends, and then I took another couple of days to think it over.

During that time it occurred to me that this situation was basically the reason I had put off doing the Whole30 for so long in the first place (I first heard about it two-and-a-half years ago when I was still entrenched in Weight Watchers). At the time it just felt like restricting, and in breaking out of eating disordered behavior anything that evoked even a whiff of restricting was a big red flag for me. It was only when I was able to come at it with less of an attitude around weight loss, and more of one about feeling good and treating myself well, that I could even consider a plan that cut five types of intake out of our diet. And even then, I knew that I had to be careful about becoming obsessed with the strict nature of the plan and basically starting to structure my life around eating again, rather than using eating to fuel the rest of my life.

So the reset or not rest question was starting to look like one that was triggering my obsessive-compulsiveness, and making me feel shameful around what I had done (out of ignorance or denial). That shame then triggering a depressed feeling, the same old despair that can’t stop humming the earworm about how I can never, ever, change. That I have an upper limit of happiness and it’s a barrier I can never break through.

I posted my dilemma in a support forum (an Eating Disorders sub-form of a recovery site where I also post about codependency), and got some thoughtful feedback. I won’t see my therapist until next week and part of me was determined to work through it without her guidance anyway. One of my favorite posters on that forum brought up her issues with black and white thinking and how much trouble she has getting comfortable with the grey areas. I noted that it feels like food is the last bastion of this kind of thinking for me. I’m able to forgive my trespasses and failures in so many other areas, but when it comes to food I hold myself to a very strict standard and tend to be unforgiving. So this is what I told her:

“What I want to do is not reset and forgive myself for it, and be grateful for all that the last 22 days have given me, which is invaluable — increased self-confidence, focus, and energy to do all the things that really make like meaningful (as opposed to you know, food and clothes). The fact is, we are going to keep eating this way as long as we can stand it, not because of any Program rules, but because it makes us feel good.”

We are not resetting. I am at peace with this. I deserve to live my life without subjecting myself to arbitrary structures by which to judge myself. I believe the Whole30 is a great program and I love eating this way, but I refuse to wield it as a weapon against myself.

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