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Pieces of a Puzzle

Julie v. Frosting. And I'm not talking about cafeteria food fights.

I have a very unhealthy relationship with food. I eat when I'm happy, when I'm angry, when I'm excited, when I'm crabby and when I'm nervous. I've been on a diet in one way or another since I was a teenager. I developed a rather nasty eating disorder in college to "manage" my weight. I gained 95 pounds (yes, you did read that right) when I was pregnant with my first child and while I lost it after she was born (lost weight AND my mind, but that's another story), I have managed to tote around quite a few extra pounds after I had my sons.

A year and a half ago, something kind of clicked in my head about how unhappy I was with my size, my body and the constant fatigue, and I joined Weight Watchers and pretty quickly lost 20 pounds. However, I had NO intention of exercising and felt quite strongly that I never would care to do such a thing. The one nagging issue I'd had with WW - and don't get me wrong, I think it's a great program - is that they never addressed the ROOT of my issue. They believe that you can have a small slice of cake and wash it down with a diet coke, but for someone like me, why eat a slice of cake when the whole damn thing is sitting there? I'd feel guilty for eating a slice of it, so I'd figure, 

"Well, you blew your day so you might as well just eat the whole thing so you can't screw up tomorrow, too."

Moderation isn't a word that appears in my vocabulary.

So in October of last year (check a previous blog post for the how and why it happened) I'd started She's helped me get past my fear of working out, of exercise and athletics, and I'm pretty proud to say that she's turned me into an avid exercise enthusiast these days. I feel like I've tackled one HUGE element of a life-long battle with myself, but I cannot seem to get a grip on food. Why do I sabotage all my hard work at CrossFit 100 by plowing through a batch of cookies, or polishing off my kids' lunches each afternoon? I feel guilty and angry and sickened (literally and figuratively) and feel so mad at myself I'd eat something else, too. It's a vicious, nasty cycle.

Back in January Marcela organized a Fitness and Nutrition Challenge, and about 20 women at CrossFit 100 and I started doing the Whole30 challenge. Initially I - to be honest - had zero intention of doing the diet portion of the challenge; I just wanted to work out and would just eat in moderation. (Sure. That'll work.) But then the more I read about it, the more I wanted to try.

The Whole 30 is a 30-day cleanse based on the Paleo diet. During the 30 day challenge you eat no dairy, no legumes, no sugar OF ANY KIND, no processed foods, no grains, no soy. Apparently it will change the way your brain thinks about food. It changes you - literally. It changes the way you THINK about sugar and frees you from a sugar addiction. I started out terrified and nervous and really anxious. The first few days I thought about hamburger buns constantly. I know. Hamburger buns? Really? The caffeine withdrawal was HORRIBLE. (side note: I'd been told that a girl on the schoolbus was teasing my son, which normally wouldn't go over well with me, but REALLY didn't go over well when I was in my first 30 hours without diet coke in TWENTY-FIVE YEARS of starting every single day with a cold Diet Coke).

I lasted nine days. I'm serious. And I was SO mad at myself (See? more anger centering around food) when I screwed up because the reasons were so dumb and ridiculous and I couldn't even last 30 days at something? And you know what made me SUPER MAD at myself? During the time that I *was* on-track I felt AMAZING. I had tons of energy and focus and I felt so ... in control and powerful. I felt like I was FINALLY winning in my battle with food but screwed it up anyway. As I write this I am beating myself up for eating popcorn at the movies yesterday and for licking all the frosting off a cupcake (and I KNEW it was stupid to buy the damn cupcake in the first place - I KNEW I shouldn't buy it, but I did it anyhow. WHAT is wrong with me that I do stuff like that?).

I'm starting the Whole 30 again. This time I'm going whole-hog (no pun intended). No cheating, no quitting. Failure is not an option. And because I work better under pressure, I'm inviting you along for my ride. I want to know if the Whole 30 will change the way I think about sugar and sweets because I know that, without question, I am a sugar addict. I operate better when I'm held accountable, so here we go. I feel like pieces of the puzzle have fit together, but the food piece just hasn't fallen into place. I want to find it and fill the picture and make my puzzle complete. I want to be whole.

The next 30 days start now.

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Jean Bernstein May 19, 2012 at 03:09 AM
That's great Julie! When are you going to start? I'm intrigued!!
Julie Olson May 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Hi Jean! I started Monday. The diet coke cravings are still a little tough, but it's the thoughts of sugar that are REALLY making me nuts. Like, crazed-nuts. I'm sitting here with carrot sticks, though, not cupcakes. So that's a start ;)
Peggy Miller May 22, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Julie, I just found your blog after googling Whole30 & Wauwatosa. I was researching The Paleo Diet and came across Whole30 and wondered if there were any "support" groups in the Tosa area. I would love to find a buddy to work the program with. I've been on The Belly Fat Cure for almost two months and need a change. I'm new to Whole30 so I have a few questions. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks. Happy Day! Peggy
Julie Olson May 22, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Hi Peggy! Congratulations to you for making healthy changes and welcome to Whole30. I train with Marcela Perea at CrossFit 100; she introduced me to the Paleo diet this year. Not only does Marcela give you one heck of a workout, she also coaches you on nutrition and health. I HIGHLY recommend her great fitness classes, and she knows Whole30 inside and out. I'm more than happy to chat with you and stay focused together. I'm 9 days in (my new post will be up tomorrow) and feel GREAT! The first few days were hard, but you get the hang of it and it becomes easier. Also, I REALLY recommend Dr. Davis's book "Wheat Belly." I cut wheat from my diet a couple months ago and no longer have asthma. I'm not joshing. Please stay in touch; we're in this journey together, and we CAN do it!!!!!!! Best wishes!!! Julie O

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