Third time’s the charm

Hey! Long time no write. Since I gave up writing Stitch Fix reviews I’ve sometimes forgotten this blog exists. I still get Fixes once every four weeks, and they continue to be stellar — but relieving myself of the burden of taking pictures and writing reviews has been very good overall for my recovery from my body image and compulsive eating issues. I sometimes miss the community of sharing my boxes with fellow Fixers, but I’ve come to trust my own judgment more.

But I’m not here to talk about clothes today, rather I thought I’d give a small update on the Whole30. We’re in the middle of our third one right now, and it was very welcome after a pretty indulgent holiday season and a three-week-long throat-and-sinus cold that pretty much sapped my entire 12-day vacation from the office.

This time around I’ve made an observation that I was probably too wrapped up in rehearsals and performances to make before: I fare much better with restriction than I do with portion control.

The Whole30 is restrictive eating, no doubt — that label is why I avoided it for so long. No sugar, no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no alcohol. No, no, no, no, no. But hey, it’s only 30 days so what’s the big deal. So much of my compulsive eating is wrapped up in feelings of deprivation that the Whole30, for years, felt like leaning into something that was going to trigger all sorts of behaviors that I thought would be too much for me. And possibly at some point, they would have been. But for whatever reason, when we are doing it, the restriction doesn’t trigger or bother me at all.

As opposed to the holiday season. We were not so foolish or cruel as to attempt a Whole30 during the holidays, but I did go into with a general commitment to not going overboard. I felt I’d learned enough in the last couple of years to be able to recognize feelings of fullness, to recognize when I’m not hungry but bored or frustrated, to be able to trust that I would know when I had had enough of whatever unsatisfying sugary thing was in abundance all around me. I also felt that I had moved forward enough to give myself a break for indulging, to let go of worrying about the effects of one more piece of cinnamon toast was going to have on my skinny jeans.

I felt those things, but I was wrong.

I still can’t have just one cookie, just one piece of bread, just one whatever. There’s no better self that steps and logically explains that indulging in fourteen cupfuls of really not-all-that-great-tasting caramel popcorn is not necessary on any level. There’s no inner Mary Berry that says, “Those cookies are cheap and will taste like cardboard. Why don’t you hold out for something better?” I’m just not there yet.

This remains an observation; it is not a diagnosis. For whatever reason, it is far easier for me to say, “I’m don’t eat that,” than to say, “I will only eat a little bit of that.”

The Whole30 has been a fantastic informative tool and this is a great example of it. We’re about two weeks in and I’m feeling about ten times better physically than I did during the holidays. Though, full disclosure, recent political events have left me feeling like my upper threshold of joy and enthusiasm has plummeted, and I’m keeping an eye on some recent — and mercifully brief — dark patches of full-on depression. I shudder to think how much worse they might have been if I was loading myself down with my go-to bread-and-sugar comfort foods.

Until the next lightning bolt. Be well.

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