3 Tips for Diets in Transition
For survivors of Whole30, Dryuary… or even just January
The more I share my changing lifestyle with people, the more I notice that everyone around me is doing some changing too. Some have made 2018 lifestyle resolutions, others are finishing up Whole30®, and a few are counting the days until the teetotaler life of Dryuary™ can be traded in for a cocktail.
What all of us have in common is that we’ve changed our routines, but some of our old ways will soon be knocking at the door. Will we let them in?
For most, a month-long program like Whole30 or Dryuary is enough to clean the slate, shed light on specific behaviors and reinvent their relationship with food and drink. And when the month has passed in successful compliance, the reward is feasts and libations, right? Not so much…
Even if your January was just focused on cleaner eating in general (and that “just” is not meant to diminish the effort), breaking the habit by going straight to your old ways can be hard on your body and your mind. More structured plans like Whole30, which outlines a trickle-in of specific food groups, recommend careful reintegration for a very good reason — so you can monitor your physical (and at times, emotional) reactions to certain foods. So when you practice moderation and reap the benefits, you don’t want to spoil it by skipping the transition.
Sometimes the end, or the transition, is where we learn the most about ourselves.
As you revisit your healthy-eating resolutions or wrap up the first dry month of 2018, value the transition and give yourself (and your body) some time to adjust.
#1: Make a plan
Plan for transition
You’ve been good to yourself: You were careful to view your month-long change up as a choice, rather than deprivation. You counted the benefits, listened to your body and celebrated your wins. But that good work isn’t quite over. It’s time to transition and you need a plan, just as much as you needed one for the past month.
Thankfully, you’re not alone! Lots of folks have braved the same programs and come out the other side ready to nurse a mango margarita. But they rallied and shared their tips for a smoother transition.
- The nonprofit crew at Moderation Management keep a running list of links and resources to help Dryuary participants keep their one-month pledge, as well as navigate the dry road if they choose to stick with it. Read up and let the mocktails flow!
- The Whole30 team have your back too. They offer official reintroduction prep to guide you through the transition process. They’ve removed all the guesswork by outlining specific marching orders for reacquainting yourself with grains, dairy and more. They even offer “fast track” and “slow roll” options to best suit your transition style — because evolving health is not a one-size-fits-all journey.
- I also used resources from each of these sites when I transitioned from Whole30, as well as when I was recovering from my mega-virus. In addition to advice from your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath, they may help you make a more mindful transition, whether you’re following a specific program or not.
Plan to leave food shame behind
This one is short and sweet: If you’re planning to reintroduce all types of food, then enjoy it — no shame. You’re not “cheating” or “being bad,” you’re just eating food. And while it can be difficult to unlearn the phrases and social cues attached to food shame, you’ll be doing yourself and others a favor by letting it go.
#2: Take it slow, and don’t forget to savor the moment
“Taking it slow” means easing yourself into your next lifestyle carefully, day-by-day or even week-by-week. A month is long enough to create some changes in your body and mind (that’s the point), and those changes may not take too kindly to a tidal wave of beer and pizza, as delicious as it sounds. No need to be anxious though: You went the distance for a whole month, and now you’re making a plan — time is on your side.
In this article, Mellissa Hartwig (the co-creator of Whole30) shares a few ways to reduce your food anxiety, and more than one involves the element of time: Taking time to breathe, think or savor in order to make the best food decisions. “Savor the Flavor” sounds like a good mantra for 2018…
#3: Be open to keeping some of your “new” habits
When I did Whole30 about a year ago, I learned a lot about myself and my body — but I also learned a lot about cooking. I made most of my meals at home so I could control the ingredients, and it made me a more creative cook. I discovered prep methods and popular ingredients that continue to influence the way I eat today.
If you discovered something positive during your month of moderation, consider making it a regular part of your lifestyle.
Slowly adopting new and beneficial habits helps to fight the diet mindset by integrating healthier choices naturally, over time. Diets can feel like a sprint, but lasting and evolving health is more of a marathon. So small changes over the span of weeks, months or even years can help you go the distance and meet your developing vision of health.
If any of these tips or resources were helpful to you, pass them on to a friend and share your experience. Your support and knowledge could be just what they need!
Image: Tim Gouw/Pixabay