The five stages of food grief

It’s Day 9 of the Whole30 I’m doing with a good friend of mine. And I’m tired. And hangry. But I’m starting to remember why I liked this program the first time I did it. It is clean cut, there is no room for mistakes or doubt. You have to eat real food: no sugar, no legumes, dairy, grains or alcohol. You are forced to meal prep and make your own food. And I enjoy that  – in a childless dreamworld with hours of domestic bliss at my leisure. Turns out kids aren’t patient when you’re trying to make them a delicious dinner they’ll never eat.

I normally blog about exercise, but diet is a huge component of our overall health – with a major  impact on weight and body composition. Unfortunately, food is something we can get a little emotional about. I hate it when people say, “Oh, I love food.” Oh, you do? You don’t hate food? You’re not just an android that “refuels” every six hours or so?

“Eating complete. Next task: meeting with fellow employees.”

But I digress. We all have a connection with food, and sometimes it can be an unhealthy addiction.

Turns out, I go through my own food grief process every few months or so when I know I need a health reset. And much like anything in life, my inner monologue follows a pretty consistent cycle of stages:

Ignorance and Denial

I mean, my diet is pretty healthy, but special events have to be marked with good food. Is it game day? Well what the hell are we doing? Bring out the nachos! But homemade, baby: chips (the good kind, not the store brand), layer of queso quesadilla cheese (the store brand, because who cares?), chili or chicken leftover from last night, and hand-diced tomatoes (see? vegetable!), guac, sour cream (full fat because, if you’re going to have it…) and jalapeños if ya got ’em. But we’re sharing, so it’s not like it’s a ton of food.

Oh wait, The Bachelor is on? The snark train can’t leave the station without a glass of wine and some girly shit like white cheddar popcorn – the “smart” kind that’s only 30 calories a serving.

Finished the work week without smiting anyone? Ain’t nobody cooking dinner. Easy button. Give me Chipotlé. Delicious and full of vegetables. Or Cane’s. No vegetables. But it was a bad week, so who cares?

Turns out, my life is very eventful.

Disgust

Okay, the girl at Canes recognizes me. I swear she does. Shut up, Brittanee, and your unnecessary name letters. Okay, this has to stop. I can feel my cheeks hitting the bottom of my glasses now. Yeah, face definitely fatter. When was the last time I ate an actual vegetable? Whew, yeah, Chipotlé, that’s right. Okay, good. I’ll make a real dinner tomorrow.

Does this sweet potato hash really need cheese? WHY am I adding cheese? Is this just who I am now?

We’re out of tortilla chips. It’s fine. IT’S FINE. I’ll have an apple. Why can’t I just eat fruit and be okay with that?

Bargaining

I know diets don’t ever work. They are restrictive. Plus, it’s about lifestyle change, right? So I’ll just track my food. I can still eat whatever I want because, you know, love yourself and live your life, but when I’m out of calories I’m out of calories.

Wait, how many calories can I eat and lose a pound a week? THAT’S IT?!

That’s fine. They make apps for this now. So I’ll have a banana… and some healthy almond butter. How much? Eh, I’m a good guesstimate. What’s a serving? I mean, yeah, that was probably a heaping tablespoon. One tablespoon of almond butter.

Snarky Exhaustion

Yeah, this is who I am now. You know what? Yes, I’m getting a muffin with my coffee because sugar is energy and I need energy. I’m a working mom with two kids and a husband and freelance gigs, so YES I’m going to press the “easy” button. And I’ll do it again tomorrow – when I’ll need THREE cups of coffee to get me to 9 a.m. It’s fine. This isn’t bloating. It’s my mom pooch because my body made babies and yes, it goes GREAT with my “tiger stripes” BECAUSE HEAR ME ROAR, I AM A MOTHER, CREATOR OF LIFE.

Acceptance

Deep breath.

Calm.

Adult time.

Alright, we need an actual plan.  Time to dust off the crock pot, the julienne tool and sharpen the knives. That’s fine, husband, you don’t have to eat all of this every day. Oh, those potatoes are delicious? DAMN RIGHT THEY ARE. You know what they’re cooked it? Ghee. GHEE. No, G-H-E–Nevermind. Yes, they’re delicious. I guess real food is pretty good. And I can make more than one meal’s worth at once – which is called prepping!. And I feel so much better in the morning when I don’t eat a ton of salty snacks several hours before. Who knew?

And yes, The Bachelor is still just as trashy without white cheddar bitchcorn.