Planner Review Planners

week in review and thoughts on Food Freedom Forever

November 28, 2016


I had a relatively inactive week the week prior, but definitely made up for it over the past 8 days!  Whew.  
M – 5 mi, 9:15/mi average.  It was 59 degrees!  Ave HR 167.  Felt fantastic in the cool weather.
T – Barre3 weekly workout (bodyweight workout, 30 minutes, hard!)
W – Intervals, 4 mi total.  1 mile warmup (10:10).  6 x 400m at following paces: 7:428:017:487:508:077:39.  Slow 400m jogs between each (~11:30/mi).  I didn’t push super hard on this and next time I’d like to try to get closer to 7:30 pace on the intervals.  Ave HR 170, 70F
R – Thanksgiving!  SUPER slow + relaxed run with some walking.  11:05/mi average, HR average 152, 79F and sunny.
F – 6 mi total – 1 warmup mile (10:18), then 2 at race pace (8:428:54), then 1 recovery (10:56), then 2 more at race pace (9:228:48).  Ave HR 170, 75F.
S – Barre3 40 minute workout
S – 8 mile long run at relaxed pace (10:15/mi, 64F, ave HR 156)
Total = 25 miles / 2 barre3 workouts
Well, it was Thanksgiving week!  So we did lots of eating out or with family and I didn’t have much of a meal plan.  It worked out, though.  This week I have all recipes from Run Fast Eat Slow and I’ll try to take some pix and report back.
I did make key lime pie (fave recipe) which turned out really well (if I do say so myself 🙂 ).
Blog posts / podcasts during a quiet week
Song Exploder – “Johann Johannson – Arrival”.  Song Exploder takes a song and dissects it piece by piece along with the artist.  This episode had a song from the Arrival soundtrack, which I want to see now!
Lagliv‘s post makes me want to book a family trip to Mexico.  Immediately.
SO — I read Food Freedom Forever a couple of weeks ago.  This book is written by one of the Whole30 creators, and I was intrigued by the idea that someone had written a whole book about finding that ‘forever’ balance with food.  Especially because lately, I have not felt particularly ‘free’ in this regard.  I am working out more, but not seeing the results I would like to see with respect to a) running speed or b) positive body changes.  I definitely think I need to add more strength training with heavier weights (barre3 is great and I am sore after the workouts, but I just have a feeling I’d see more ‘results’ by lifting more).   But I also think some of it is just eating too much crap (sugar, chips, processed #($*&@) and (therefore) weighing a few more pounds than I would like.
I love running.  I love getting faster.  I realize that yes, age is a factor and leads to slowdown at some point.  But I’m 36.  Should there really be this much of a difference between 36 and . . . 35?  My pre-kid times (okay, those are from >5 yrs ago, but still) are so much faster than I am now.  Does it matter, really?  No.  Not at all in the grand scheme of things.  But as a personal goal would I prefer to run faster?  Yes.
SO.  In the dual pursuit of faster running times, less negativity about my eating habits, AND better-fitting jeans, I went searching around and found Food Freedom Forever.  The idea sounded really appealing: “letting go of guilt, bad habits, and anxiety around food.”  However, I found myself debating the entire book and muttering under my breath as I read it.  The author recommends a Whole30 (30 days of squeaky clean grain/dairy/sugar/alcohol-free eating) and then a transition to more ‘normal’ foods, but then to go back to the Whole30 whenever you feel out of control again.  I mean, obviously it was more nuanced than that to fill an entire book, but to me that just sounded . . .terrible.  Like an invitation to yo-yo.  Like the very opposite of Food Freedom.
The truth is that I really believe I can reset WITHOUT such drastic measures, and hopefully find my own more permanent balance over the long haul.  I think her approach may make sense if one is very overweight and in need of a total food/lifestyle makeover.  But that is not me.  I am a runner, generally like healthy food, and just need to PUT THE SUGAR ON HOLD and watch portions a little.  I think that with consistent effort in small ways, I can get the results I want AND enjoy my life.  Which includes wine.  And dark chocolate.  And OMG gluten sometimes.
SO, I am now on plan, but it’s my own plan.  Just eating mostly healthy foods, cutting excess when it seems reasonable to do so, and keeping sugar to a minimum on non-special occasions.  I have faced this question many times before, but in my heart I just feel I am more of a moderator when it comes to food (and most things).  Abstaining will make me sad, potentially crazy, and would backfire.
I have decided to give myself at least until the new year to really try to just . . . moderate!  If it fails, the Whole30 will always be available come January.  I think NOT having to eliminate all wine will be motivation enough for me . . . will report back.  If my running times get faster in a month, we’ll know it’s working.

PS: planner series 2017 countdown starts tomorrow 😁



  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks for the review—you mentioned you were reading it, and the title was intriguing, so I’m sorry it didn’t even remotely deliver on the promise. I’m definitely an abstainer when it comes to food, as well. I know I’ve been indulging a lot more than needed this fall. Lots of cheese, and candy, and wine. I’m considering doing a very low carb challenge again in January, because I liked doing it last year, and I definitely set me on a healthier path that lasted through the winter/spring (but got totally derailed and continued off the rails) on vacation in the summer. I’m also simultaneously working on coming to some acceptance about needing new jeans. I’m still working out, and feel strong & fast—I just love food too much!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      It’s so funny, I think about abstaining and am just like BLAH at the mere thought of it! Somehow the threat of considering abstention has already led to me eating better over the past few days. Hopefully it will stick 🙂

      The truth is I have found a nice balance before, but I just need to get it back . . .

  • Reply Heather March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for…a long time, since I was in college (7-8 years?!). And it feels like since…pretty much since your TTC days, save that brief period post-Annabel (? I think) where you lost a bunch of weight, you’ve been fighting your body and wanting to lose the last few pounds and trying to overhaul your eating in some way. It gets hard (and tired!) to read after a while, especially since you’ve obviously never been anything but healthy and trim. At a certain point of mentioning that you want your "jeans to fit better"–it’s just like, buy a new freaking pair of jeans! I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this stuff.

    I don’t mean to be SO negative. I get wanting to be your best self and run faster and having more energy, and food is a big factor in that. But at what point does the mindfulness/acceptance/etc. come in to accepting yourself as you are?? Including liking sugar and all.

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Hi S, I agree with your perspective on Whole30/ FoodFreedomForever. My husband needed a drastic approach (moderation just does not work for him) and did Whole30 in the fall. I was not looking to lose weight but happy to clean up our diet, so was as supportive as possible but nursing a big and hungry 4 month old baby boy, and ended up eating worse when he wasn’t around – I just needed way more than Whole30 gave me! It’s a pretty restrictive way of eating. That being said, the clean up your foods, clean eating approach is one I agree with!

    He hasn’t yet lost enough weight so I think we will be Whole30ing again in January – as well as I can manage, at least.

    Good luck on the cleaner eating/less sugar path in the next few weeks. It’s really tough (at least for us) this time of year with so much family/celebration/holiday time coming up!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks Emily!

      Yes, going on and off of ‘plans’ seems to really bring out the worst in me, and I’d rather avoid it if I can. That said I do think the Whole30 can be a great reset for many people.

      The holidays don’t bother me too much. I LOVE food but am pretty picky so avoiding treats people bring in isn’t tyically the issue. It’s eating crap that I purchase/choose of my own accord! Which I have just as much control over in December as any time. Hoping that motivation to be faster and more comfortable in the new year will be enough 🙂

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Love your blog, we have kids the same age and are both md’s so I feel I relate to a lot of your posts. Thinking about my own experiences and trying to feel at ease with eating and my body, working out (running specifically) and controlled eating are sometimes at odds. Your workout schedule is pretty intense, especially on top of all the stressors you have in your every day life as mom and doctor. Burning those levels of calories is bound to make you ravenous and reaching for the carbs! (That’s why they say "working up an appetite"- working out makes you huuuungry). You are trying to train your body at the same time you are trying to cut back intake. I get that you have two goals- improved fitness and feeling in control of your eating, but I would give yourself a break. Once you are not training as much, your appetite will cut way down and limiting portions as well as avoiding less healthy food will be truly effortless. The catch for me is I looove the endorphins from exercise. I just try to add in more walking and yoga so that my body isn’t constantly stressed from overactivity. In a similar vein, you mentioned lifting heavier weight to get stronger, but I would suggest you add in more rest. Overtraining is a real thing. I bet your times would improve if you were more rested. I wish you luck and all the best!

  • Reply Young March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    From photos you have posted (mostly your Trunk collection ones), you appear very slim and fit. And I think you mentioned a 26 inch waist in one of your posts, again probably in one of the posts regarding a Trunk haul. I don’t understand how much better jeans fitting there can be, but I also wonder if being surrounded by South Florida bodies everywhere puts extra pressure on attaining that goal. You just already seem to look great AND be extraordinarily fit/active especially for a full-time wokring mom! And life with restrictions, without wine, dark chocolate, and the occasional other treat would, yes, suck!

  • Reply Irene March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    you always seem to have a pretty positive body image regardless of wanting to eat "better" or run faster so I don’t think it’s troubling that you feel that way. I guess I’d just be careful about how I talked about it in front of my kids and mindful of the fact that they are going to find this blog some time – likely sooner than you think! My mom was tall and thin growing up but still talked a lot about wanting to be thinner (and kids totally know that wanting your jeans to fit better means losing weight). And it sucked! Especially as a very short curvy teenager who realized early on that being that thin would never be in the cards for me! I certainly don’t mean to imply you do any of that (I strongly suspect you are much more mindful of how you talk when your kids are around) but I just figured I’d throw that out there.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks Irene. You know, after the comment above I did think exactly that – omg, am I going to traumatize Annabel (or both kids) with this blog? Maybe I’ll just DELETE IT ALL in one go when they get old enough to read it. Or maybe it will be very very boring to them . . . I guess I can hope for that!

      I never talk about weight or body concerns in front of the kids. Never never never. I might say I’m trying to make healthy choices on a given day, but honestly part of my reason for preferring the moderate approach is that I DON’T have to be that mom always saying no to ice cream or whatever treat. It means they will see me saying yes sometimes and no other times, which is in my opinion a very health example. I am very very very conscious of how I refer to food / etc around the kids as I think it is extremely important.

  • Reply runnerunderpressure March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Interesting reflection on Food Freedom Forever! I’m currently reading The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald (got an advanced copy, I think it’s coming out in December?) and am really enjoying it because it advocates EXACTLY what your conclusion is here; doing the best you can to eat lots of good foods and keeping treats to a minimum. He also has an app that accompanies the book that I’m just starting to try. I generally think I eat well but some days (call days, post-call days, okay, most days on service) are really eye opening in terms of my balance of quality-not quality. Happy to send on the copy when I’m done with it if you’d like!

  • Reply Susannah March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    This post really resounded with me, as did the comments. I’ve been fighting with 3-4 pounds leftover from pregnancy for 16 months and part of me still wants to lose it and the other part says um, hello, it’s 3-4 pounds and you’re healthy and just wear the bigger jeans and donate the too small ones already! Geez! No answers here, just relating. (and to make more excuses for myself, 3-4 pounds when you are 4’9" really does show up!).

  • Reply Ebee333 March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    I’m very much in the moderation camp after a long journey of my own. It helps to read different opinions! I think you would find some of the posts at interesting. There is some excess stuff there but the posts about moderation were very intriguing to me! She is a big advocate of moderation year round. She has an Instagram too but a few of the blog posts will give you the gist.

  • Reply Victoria B March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks for your review of Food Freedom Forever – I suspected it was too good to be true. I wonder if the author and Whole 30 creator might have some food issues herself. It does sound like a constant merry-go-round with eating what you’d like then going back on the Whole 30 to reverse the damage you’ve just done, which seems like the exact guilt-anxiety-elation triangle of unhealthy eating that plagues many.

    I’m not sure that just letting it go and accepting a larger more comfy pair of pants is the right answer either. At what point will you wake up and realize that you’re overweight? At 20 lbs overweight, 50 lbs? I think one thing that has helped me has been to give myself a day a week where I can eat whatever I like without feeling bad about it. You really have to be selective and plan (right up your alley) because things always come up, but for the most part this has worked for me.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.