A few years ago a friend was diagnosed with cancer.
Her entire village rallied around her & I was honored to help brainstorm her nutrition plan.
Less than specific foods we talked about how her tastes would be forced to shift (she was a self-proclaimed junk food junkie) & I shared with her how I weaned myself from sugars and slowly became an intuitive eater.
We villagers were THRILLED when we learned her prognosis was good.
We villagers CHEERED as our friend changed her approach to food & became an advocate of whole, clean nutrients.
We villagers did the KHAKI PANTS DANCE earlier this month when she received an amazing report from her doctor.
After our celebrations died down, my friend pulled me aside and confided she’d backslid in her eating habits after the initial urgency of diagnosis.
She shared she’d stuck to no fast food—but slowly & stealthily processed white had crept back onto her plate.
I feel terrible, she said. Tired, bloated, irritable. And I know it’s the processed white—but I cant seem to give it up.
Here’s where you need to know my dynamic with my friend.
If Im “somewhat irreverent” then she’s IRREVERENT. Bolded, underlined, italicized with a slathering of gallows-humor on top.
As a result, I knew immediately how to break this all down for her so it would STICK.
She loved her processed white. She knew in her heart the ‘white’ wasnt her friend. She needed to Kübler-Ross the white.
I Kübler-Ross’ed the processed white carbs.
- Denial. My friend was remarkably healthy in comparison to where she’d been. She felt worlds better than during treatment. What was a little white bread lethargy or processed cereal bloat now & again? Didnt my friend now “deserve” to eat what she wanted? Don’t those of us who’ve lost weight & maintained “deserve” to indulge in the white sometimes? There’s a chance it ISNT the processed white which makes feel this way, right? It COULD be something else, right?! Which brought my friend and me to…
- Anger. My friend was pissed (<—technical term.). She’d fought her disease. She’d been though enough. She watched others consume processed white with seemingly no ill response. She got mad how it impacted her body. She grew angry as she felt she’d given up enough. It seemed, to her, the processed was everywhere and everyone *else* was happily consuming away. She was ANGRY so she started…
- Bargaining. Against my advice my friend tried a few days ON (all clean whole foods) & a few days OFF (trashtastic process white free for all). Not to my surprise she felt WORSE than when her diet was completely processed. Her body rebelled against her attempted bargaining process roller coaster of foods and, as a result, she found herself slipping downward toward…
- Depression. This eerily paralleled my friend’s acceptance of her cancer prognosis (initially not so good) & my friend grew a little depressed. She’d already rallied and fought. HARD. She had feelings of: Eating this way is for the rest of my life? Im gonna hate this. No more delivery pizza? Never again donuts?! I may live longer but this is all going to feel a whole lot longer, too. (see bargaining. we headed back there again for a bit…) Until…
- Acceptance. Acceptance for me was a plodding process. My friend, however, had the AH HA!! sudden change I did not. Sparked by a dance with bargaining & acceptance where she realized: I GET IT. I’M DONE. She had the SUDDEN realization she wasnt really LIVING given how poorly she felt whilst riding the processed pony. (<—my words). Life—long or short—felt so much more like LIVING without all the side-effects processed white had for her.
Here’s where I normally say it took lots of trial and error OR after many fits & starts my friend succeeded but that wouldnt be true.
After my friend and I went through these five stages (together. Im a member of her village that way) she was DONE. She was OFF the processed pony and, I really believe, never to return.
She processed (pun intended) her love of the carbs, how the carbs sparked her to feel, how *she*might feel never eating them again, embraced her anger and moved on.
On to clean eating and energetic living.
- Would this Kübler-Ross approach work for *you* to shed the processed white?
- Do you also mourn the loss of things you know arent good for you?
My friend decided she needed to STOP processed carbs. You may or may not need to stop. She gave me permission to share her story as both a sense of accountability (you may not know her–but you now know her story) & in case anyone else was struggling with the same thing. PLEASE BE KIND in your comments.