Hello friends! Happy Sunday. I hope you’ve all had a great (long) Thanksgiving weekend, and enjoyed the many good foods that come along with the traditional holiday. I know I am ready to get back into a healthy eating routine after this past week!
In October I posted about “foodfreedom30”, which was my formal attempt at practicing Food Freedom using my judgement and my knowledge about my relationship with food to drive my nutritional choices. I bought a food journal to document how my meals made me feel, what foods keep me energized, etc. in hopes to expand my understanding of my relationship with food.
I wish I could tell you that my foodfreedom30 went well, because, it really didn’t. It didn’t go as expected because I found out one major detail about myself – I do NOT like food journaling. In fact, I disliked it so much I stopped after the first week. This is quite surprising to me because I’m in love with documenting ideas, creating to-do lists, using pen and paper to write things down, etc., but when it came time to document my meals and snacks at the end of the day, it felt like homework.
I switched from food journaling to using MyFitnessPal on a semi-regular basis, which was much easier for me to pop into my phone or computer during the day and document my meals right after I prepared them. It actually helped me plan my meals since I was trying to be cognizant of decreasing my carbohydrate and sugar intake (these can be my “foods without brakes”). Once I had an understanding of the general macros of the regular foods I eat, I stopped tracking my meals on a regular basis. I will still look up some foods here and there to understand macros, but overall food tracking is not very sustainable for my lifestyle.
At the end of the day, I’m just realizing that I don’t want to feel like I’m putting in excess effort to track my meals. It’s not for me, and the minute my Food Freedom feels like homework rather than a journey of self awareness is the moment I need to take a step back to re-evaluate my approach to leading a happy and healthy life.
With that said, I indulged over the holiday (and even had gluten – trust me, I am definitely paying for it, but the special occasion was worth it). I ran a five mile Turkey Trot and got a free personal pumpkin pie, which I did not hesitate to eat during Thanksgiving weekend! Part of Food Freedom is recognizing when the holidays are over, and bouncing back to your normal routines.
A couple ways I like to bounce back from a fun week or weekend (holidays, vacations, parties, etc.) are:
- Drink lots of water! One can never go wrong with good ole H2O. I recently bought myself a 32oz water bottle and have been motivated to drink at least 2 per day to keep hydrated. If you’re feeling lethargic or your digestion is feeling off, try upping your water intake to help your body recover from foods and drinks you’ve consumed over the holidays.
- Make yourself a Turmeric drink (or buy one)! I have toyed around with making “Golden Milk” or “Turmeric Lattes”. They are definitely an acquired taste if you’re not used to drinking or eating a lot of Turmeric, but the drink has excellent anti-inflammatory qualities. If you’re lazy (like I am 90% of the time), try KeVita’s Turmeric Ginger Tonic probiotic drink. It’s fizzy, tasty, and all around a great way to help your body work through some of the junk you’ve eaten over the past few days.
- Sweat it out! Up your workouts over the next couple weeks. It will help you get back into your workout routine and will also allow your body to sweat. Sweating is a great way to open up the pores and let your body burn through what was consumed over the holiday. Drink a lot of water and head to the sauna as a bonus!
Food Freedom means something different to each individual person. I don’t think I’ve fully achieved Food Freedom but I am certainly proud of how far I’ve come in identifying trigger foods and foods that upset my stomach or give me migraines. I’m learning to be kind to myself and allow myself time to figure out what the best routines are for optimum health. I’m also trying not to obsess over the fact that I’m not exactly where I want to be. Sometimes, you just have to be happy with your small gains and be present in this moment. With that said, I have decided to commit to a Winter Whole30, and am happy to try another round now that I know that the best way for me to actually practice Food Freedom is to not to track or journal my meals, but rather finding recipes with whole ingredients that I know will give me overall energy and satisfaction. The only difference with my next Whole30 is, I’m going to tweak my rules and allow myself to cook Paleo – which would inspire a lifestyle change focus rather than a food reset focus. Again, my goal is to develop great habits for the long-term, so going a Paleo-inspired route for 30 days will give me that flexibility of using whole ingredients but learning how to also make “fun” foods as healthier alternatives. Hopefully by day 30 the good habits will set in and I’ll have some new favorite recipes to share!
As you’re probably noticing, I really don’t have it all figured out. I think the major takeaway from practicing Food Freedom is this: every day is a learning experience. You are not suddenly prepared for the rest of your life because you dedicated a month or two to journaling, food tracking, a Whole30 etc. Just like altering your diet, understanding your health is a lifestyle commitment. I love trying new ideas to optimize my health, and if something isn’t working for me physically, physiologically, or mentally, I’m going to stop and change my approaches. Do not feel pressure to stick to something that isn’t working for you, but DO push yourself to recognize what’s hard in a good way vs. hard in a bad way. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into lifestyle changes, food and fitness in particular. Always have a support system to help you through your journey – sometimes you’ll need a little extra push or cheer to get yourself to the next level of self-awareness.
Have a wonderful week all! Mondays after long weekends can be tough, but stick to your routines and you’ll be just fine!
the minute my Food Freedom feels like homework rather than a journey of self awareness is the moment I need to take a step back to re-evaluate my approach to leading a happy and healthy life.