Friday, May 11, 2012

the original food diet: what I learned in 40 days

I just finished 40 days of the original food diet. 40 days of eating only real, plant-based food.

Three weeks ago, I was thinking this day would never come.  :)

I'm happy to say that today, 41 days after we started, I've never been more excited about a diet.

I've never followed any specific sort of "diet" before, so it was a completely new experience to have "rules" to follow. I mentally rebelled against the rules when I started. I missed my half and half and my salad dressings, and my granola bars. And the large {ridiculous} amount of caffeine I had acclimated my body to.

It's been 47 days since I had a Diet Dr. Pepper or any kind of soda. And coming from a serious ddp junkie, that's pretty much a miracle! I never thought I would give up drinks just like that.

I love the way I feel not drinking them. I love the way I feel not eating fake carbs like granola bars and cereal and cookies and chips. It sounds silly, but they drag you down and make you feel terrible. {coming out of 40 days without them, I can say that! ;)}

ah, dear cinnamon stromboli, you taste so good but I learned that you are not so kind to my body.

I've really learned a lot about myself in the past few weeks.

I always knew I had a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat, I love to cook, and I love the way food tastes. I enjoy food.

But I had to micromanage what I ate in a way. I added up calories in my head, and the higher calorie empty carbs I loved often left me starving for more. Carbs and caffeine cycled in a way that kept me at high energy to exercise, but left me low after I was done. And it was always a delicate balance of trying to eat just the right amount so I felt good.

This way of eating has changed the way I feel and how I eat in so many ways! I have a steady source of energy, and I don't feel like I need to eat something all the time to keep it up. I'm rarely really hungry at all these days.

But what I was surprised by the most?

It wasn't the physical aspect of the diet.

It was the heart aspect.

I was kind of shocked to learn at least three different things during this challenge. I just never expected this to be any more than a surface level experiment. I mean, it's just food, anyway!

Here's what I found over the last 40 days:

1. I was finding my joy in food.
I had no idea that I put so much stock into what I was eating. When my favorite foods were taken away, I was nearly depressed. I didn't want to eat anything for a while. I couldn't have my favorite croutons, or bread when we went out, or the sushi I loved so much, or a piece of carrot cake on our date, and it actually made me feel sad!

I put so much anticipation and let my food choices control the way I felt. I don't overeat, so this was such a revelation to me. I loved food in a way that made it sort of an idol. It controlled my emotions. I misplaced my affections by finding so much fulfillment and joy in what I ate.

It might sound silly, but this diet has actually been a fast from my love of food.

2. Legalism is a battle I didn't know I faced.
Even though I love being given grace, I'm apparently a super rule follower {I'm sort of type A!}. I found myself being very mentally upset in social settings when I needed to eat something that wasn't on my diet. I said from the beginning, people before food- that I would choose to eat what was served by my friends and family because I loved them more than my diet.

But my heart still wanted to follow the law. I hated breaking the rules that I {a human!} had made. My own rules. Forget the big picture: that I was changing our entire lifestyle for the better, and that was on the diet for at least 40 days, and that one serving of something wasn't going to hurt me in the least. I was worried about the jot and tittle.

I found comfort in following the rules. And it makes me think about my spiritual life in a whole new way. How many times would I rather just follow the "rules" than the big picture- seeking after the heart of Jesus? Ahhhh.

3. Self-discipline is a very good thing for my heart. 
The past 40 days have been huge for my family. We've changed the way we eat, and I started the 12 hour challenge, where I stay offline for 12 hours a day so that I can lose my addiction to the constant flow of information.

Both challenges were extremely hard for me in the beginning. I felt like I lost my best friend or something. It was so difficult to let go of the things that I love so much!

But the results have been amazing. Disciplining myself to eat only foods that were good for me made me realize how poorly I was feeding my body in the past. Doing the same with the internet made me realize how much I was neglecting the things I needed to tend to in lieu of being in the know.

Disciplining myself actually brought me more freedom in the end. I now can enjoy whatever I want, because it's all good for me. Not being on the internet {a sacrifice for me}, gave me the ability to walk away from it and be present with my family.

I'm so glad to have walked through this 40 days.

It's funny, but I can't go back now. Freedom tastes too good. I love the food I'm eating these days- good, filling food.

We're staying with this diet, hopefully as long as we are living- but with one caveat- that we are allowed to eat meat, or dairy, or eggs if we feel it's important to the situation.

We will allow ourselves to eat a piece of cake on our special date. That's how I think we can stick to it long-term. We've changed our bodies to like the good food, but we don't want to leave behind every good thing and be all legalistic about it. :)

I'll update you with a physical changes post soon! I'm waiting to find out the final 40 day measurement stats! :D

Q: If you joined me, how did you do? I'd love to hear!

And whether you did or not, do you ever find yourself seeking joy from what you eat too? I'd honestly never thought about it before, but I placed so much emotion in to what I was eating! It was such a perspective change for me!

No comments:

Post a Comment