Day Six ended up being a breaking point for our family, the kids in particular. We were invited to a close friend and neighbor’s house for a cookout; we knew about this party well in advance and we brought a Paleo dish to go along with the Paleo accommodations our friends were providing. For everyone else, there was an abundance of gluten-, legume-, and sugar-laden foodstuffs for party-goers to gorge upon. While my eyes did gaze longingly upon the bag of sour cream and onion potato chips for a moment or too, I was content with my wings, coconut chicken, mushrooms, and shiro plum for dessert. My husband enjoyed the meat and veggies too, along with a sliver of cheesecake (!) after I had left the party. The kids, well, the kids looked like we had run over a puppy with and Abrams tank when confronted with the choice of Paleo food versus everything else. Given the choice, they chose “real food.” And we let them. The boys had chips and hot dogs washed down with root beer. Sophie, feeling more conflicted, noshed on a few chips and left the party early, perhaps to avoid succumbing to more temptation. Tim and I ended up in an argument about the stupid cheesecake and about how I am a stickler for the rules of the program. Good times.
That argument led to two conclusions: one, we tried to change the kids’ diets too quickly and it backfired and two, I have fears about the direction this way of eating might be taking me. In regards to the kids, we decided that we would continue having them try and eat the same dinners as the adults. Breakfasts and lunches are going to be relaxed, with some grains and dairy (and added sugar), but healthier and perhaps more focused than in the past. I know people who are living long, healthy, full lives eating the foods that the Paleo lifestyle leaves out: it is a choice to live this way and it’s not one the kids are ready to make. I’d rather the kids, the boys especially (since they’re still undersized for their age), eat food than to not eat it in protest.
The second conclusion is far more challenging. I have dabbled at the edges of disordered eating my entire life. There are times when I’ll eat an entire box of crackers, cookies, or the like; there are times when I’ll find myself eating and eating and eating and just not giving a fuck. I’m usually depressed when I (lightly) binge. I used to hide and eat food when I was a kid because I have food texture issues and no amount of sitting and staring at a pork chop on my plate will allow me to willingly shove it past my lips. I still hide food to this day, although usually only when I’m stressed. I also have experience with the opposite side, where I’ll just not eat. Sometimes, it’s a result of my sensory issues: if I can’t find something I want to eat, I just don’t. Other times, it’s because I’m upset and it’s a way to reassert control over some aspect of my life. I don’t like feeling hungry, but I get used to it quickly. Back in May I went through several days without eating because it was a very turbulent period and it was the only way that anything felt real to me. A part of me was shocked that it was kinda easy to not eat; another part of me was happy that I managed to lose several pounds. Of course, once I started eating again (I was suffering physical issues at that point), I gained it all back and then some. So when I came across the Whole 30 program, I didn’t focus on how restrictive it was at first. I was hoping the challenge would help with some health issues and help me shed a few pounds. What I didn’t count on was how the restrictiveness of the plan would allow me to subconsciously limit the amount I was eating each day. On Day Six, I skipped breakfast, had a plum from the farmer’s market for lunch, and then ate a grand total of 9 wings, a 2inch by 1inch piece of chicken with bacon, a small mushroom, and another plum. It’s becoming easier to just not eat and that scares me.
On Day Seven (yesterday), the kids and I with some friends went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (great movie, I highly recommend it!). I did manage to eat breakfast, although I didn’t eat as much as I normally would have. I skipped lunch and we went to a 4pm showing. Yes, I cheated on the diet finally myself: I had banana chips (that have added sugar) that I smuggled into the theater and a small piece of my friend’s Hershey bar, which tasted awful. I felt so guilty about the transgression that I could not force myself to eat dinner (my husband made me a delightful salad). Tim wants to continue on and a part of me does too; I’m also not sure how to get a handle on the eating/not eating situation. I have yet to eat breakfast today but I’ll try to eat soon. I know we are supposed to start over if we transgress but this is our personal plan now and so we will continue forth in the meantime.