BLOG: What is food freedom and how do I achieve it? -By Trisha LeCompte

CrossFit WOD 1/23/17

AMRAP 14 MINUTES:
50 Calorie Row
40 GHDSU or Feet Anchored
30 Overhead Walking Lunge Steps at 95/65#
40 Calorie Row
30 GHDSU or Feet Anchored
30 Overhead Walking Lunge Steps at 115/75#
30 Calorie Row
20 GHDSU or Feet Anchored
Max Overhead Walking Lunge Steps at 135/95#

Competition:
75-55/95-65/115-75

Performance:
65-45/75-55/95-65 (Front Rack Allowed if necessary)
Abmat SU OK

Fitness:
Pick Weight and go up each time (Front Rack Allowed if necessary)
Abmat SU OK


What is food freedom and how do I achieve it?
By Trisha LeCompte

Food freedom is personal and will mean different things to different people.  However, for most of us our food freedom will include the ability to eat the foods we like and enjoy them without feeling guilty.  It may also include the ability to say no to foods that used to have power over us.  

For any of you who have already done a Whole30 or might be in the middle of your first Whole30, I'm sure that you would agree that abiding by the rules doesn't feel like food freedom.  But that's okay, it not supposed to.  Whole30 is about compliance to a strict set of rules to help you get to the point where you can make choices about what foods you want to eat because they make you feel good.  Food freedom does not happen overnight and it probably won't happen after doing your first Whole30. This is a process that will most likely require you to do several Whole30 resets and make plenty of mistakes in between.  After all, we learn best from our mistakes and food is no exception.

In the book Food Freedom Forever, the author, Melissa Hartwig, outlines her 3-Step Food Freedom Plan and it looks like this:

  1. Reset your health, habits and relationship with food.
  2. Enjoy your food freedom
  3. Acknowledge when you're starting to slip.

     Repeat as needed.

The 1st step is the reset - which is essentially Whole30.  Or you may choose to only do it for 20 days or 14, your reset doesn't always have to be a full 30 days.  Or, maybe you only need to eliminate sugar during your reset because you've got all other problematic foods under control.  Again, your reset does not necessarily need to eliminate all of the foods in a full Whole30.    For some though, just following the Whole30 rules may be much easier than trying to set and follow your own less-strict rules.  You get to rely on your own best judgement here.  One really important tip for a successful reset is to not skip the reintroduction phase.  Even though this may be your 2nd or 3rd Whole30 reset, you should always follow the reintroduction rules so you can get a good understanding of which foods are problematic for you.

Now that you've completed your reset, let's talk about the 2nd step....food freedom.  Here are the guidelines as laid out in the Food Freedom Forever book.  

  • Make conscious, deliberate decisions to eat less-healthy foods
  • Eat only as much as you need to satisfy the experience
  • Savor thoughtfully, without guilt, shame, or remorse
  • Return to normal, healthy habits

The more you learn to incorporate these guidelines into your daily life, the easier it will be to figure out which of these foods derail your healthy habits most often and which of these foods have a place in your food freedom plan.  You might also determine that some foods may never be worth it because they make you feel too bad after you eat them.  When you do decide to indulge in a treat, learn to really savor it! Make an event out of it.  Bring out the fancy plates, brew a nice pot of tea to go with that piece of cake, you get the idea.  Just make sure that you pay attention to the joy you get from eating that treat and if it isn't meeting your expectations, put the fork down and move on.  Most importantly, return to your normal, healthy habits as quickly as possible.   Staying off course for too long makes it that much harder to get back on track.

Which brings us to the 3rd step which is to recognize when you're off course.  More often than not, we get off course just by forgetting to use the "worth it" rule.  This usually happens slowly which is why it can be so hard to recognize when we are off track and trust me this will most likely happen to you!  It happens to all of us.  A great tool to help you recognize what foods are slowly making there way back into your daily routine and which foods might be the "gateway drug" that puts you on the fast track to bad habits is to keep a food journal.  I'm not talking about keeping track of every calorie or weighing food but just write down what you are eating and look for patterns.  Are you eating something sweet after every meal, is there a certain food that you tend to binge eat?  The simple act of paying attention to what you are eating makes a big impact but it is a practice that you will need to keep putting in place if you want to reach that place of true food freedom.  

Food freedom is a journey not a destination and you will make many mistakes along the way. But, if you keep practicing these guidelines, you will keep moving in the right direction.  Stay vigilant, your health is worth it. 

Trisha LeCompte

Trisha LeCompte, who is a long time member of CrossFit Forest, is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  In addition to leading the Whole30 nutrition seminars, Trisha has also worked with many athletes to create a personalized macro nutrition program to help them improve performance in the gym and focus on increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.