The Whole (30) Truth: No Grain, No Gain?

body-weight-scaleOkay. It’s been several weeks since I ended my #Whole30 challenge. I made it through all 30 days not eating legumes, grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, or a number of additives.

Since then, it’s been a challenge. It started when I fell face-first into a pan of brownies after an initially successful week of slow reintroduction. Then I found myself inhaling all sorts of crap again.

I don’t want to. I don’t want to be a slave to food like that, to be eating so unhealthfully like that. Not only do I not want to gain back the twenty pounds I’d shed, but I can’t afford the damage to my body. At 43, I’m showing signs of wear and tear, and if I continue my “All Sugary Bready Things All The Time” diet, I’ll be diabetic with a fatty liver and who knows what else going on in no time.

And yet, the addiction is strong. It is SO strong, people. I can’t tell you how I weep at my own struggles with this. It’s a daily battle against a substance, sugar, that is eight times more addictive than cocaine and heroin. EIGHT TIMES.

sugarBut sugar is not my only nemesis. Oh, no. Apparently my brain also loves white flour (which, of course, turns fairly instantly into sugar in the bloodstream). Give me, please oh please oh please, my daily bread. Only make it a donut, or a Twix bar, or a Little Debbie Double Decker oatmeal creme pie. Anything that combines flour & sugar is so much better than flour or sugar items alone. I’d rather eat a Kit Kat than a Hershey bar, rather suck down croissants than bagels.

So I decided, very logically, to go sugar-free and grain-free for the month of October. These seem to be the big triggers, more than legumes, or even dairy. And eliminating these two, while daunting, felt LESS daunting than returning to the Whole30 whole-hog.

The ugly truth: how I feel when I'm in sugar withdrawal.
The ugly truth: how I feel when I’m in sugar withdrawal.

Only, uh, I made it two and a half days. Two and a half, until I was sitting in Costco yesterday, hungry, eating a friggin’ cold chicken Caesar salad while around me people chomped on pizza or hot dogs or smoothies or what-not. In hindsight, the pizza might have done me better, because I felt so deprived that it made me rebellious. Yes, it was my choice to put those chocolate chip cookies in my cart, my choice to eat about half of them over a 12 hour period. My CHOICE, but a choice also driven by the emotional and physical addiction in my head screaming, “Give us more, give us more, give us MORE MORE MORE.”

Note to self: do not go to Costco on day 3 of sugar/flour withdrawal. Stupid plan all around.

Second note to self: plan better to have more foods at home to eat, so that you don’t feel hungry and deprived before going shopping.

It’s the dance. It’s the dance I do, people, the dance with the monkey on my back, with the devil in my head whispering, “Just this one time. That’s all. You’ll stop after that. Just for today.”

You’d think after 43 years, I’d stop hitting the dance floor. Nope.

BUT . . . today is a new day. My motto has long been, Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

The Sugar Roller CoasterSo I’m getting up. I’m suiting up. I’m so weary of the battles, so very weary of the war.

But I’ve got to try again, for my health, for my family, for my own personal well-being. Because I felt better at the end of the Whole 30. I felt better than I KNEW – I was so busy hating it and thinking not so much had changed, that I didn’t realize how much HAD, until I added those substances back in. Unless the bloating, the digestive issues, the self-shaming, the sleep struggles, the guilt, the tired eyes, the foggy brain, and the friggin’ five pounds came back.

Yes, I felt much better at the end of the Whole 30, as much as I don’t want to admit it. And I don’t, because the devil I know – my own body and brain – desperately wants me to go face down in pizza and pumpkin cheesecake today. “You’re happier on sugar,” my gut tells me. Only I’m not. Not really. I’m addicted. I’m high. But I’m not happier.

No grains, no gain, I joked to myself on October 1st. Well, here’s to the fight, to making one day’s slip not become two or five or the whole darn month.

No grain, no gain – and hopefully not as much emotional pain.

Rant over.


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