Are you coming near the end of a Whole30 and feeling nervous about what comes next? Today we bring you some FAQs regarding food freedom, answered by Whole30 Coach Lindsey Dalton. Lindsey completed her first Whole30 in 2014 and saw non-scale victories such as increased energy, improved digestion, decreased bloating and an overall better relationship with food. Since then, she has been journeying toward her food freedom as she works to create a healthier lifestyle for herself and her two daughters. Connect with Lindsey on Instagram. Unfamiliar with the concept of food freedom? Find out more here.

Do your kids eat the same way you do in your food freedom?

The short answer is no. I personally limit certain foods in my food freedom, and my girls eat pretty much anything (within reason). They have not shown to have any reactions to foods, so we have not had to cut anything from their diets.  I do, however, try to follow a Whole30-inspired template to ensure they are getting protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats with each meal. Most of the time they finish what is on their plate and don’t need anything else, but other times they might get an organic cheese stick or a few crackers if they are still hungry.

How do you resist eating the foods you make your kids?

This has taken years of hard work and practice, and I still find myself mindlessly sneaking bites sometimes! Try this strategy—keep a food diary for one day. Get seriously specific…like every single bite that goes in your mouth! When you get to the end of the day and see how many little bites you took here and there, you will be amazed! I know when I started out I had to be very intentional about reminding myself to not take a bite as I was preparing their meals and snacks.

Also, completing a Whole30 and going through reintroduction can help you determine what foods are worth it to you. That makes it easier to be mindful. After 7 Whole30 resets, I know that a bite of macaroni and cheese off my kid’s plate is not worth it for me. For me, in the past one bite would lead to another, and another, and then all of the sudden I would be derailed for an entire day.

How do you handle the stress of being a mom without using food?

This has been a big one for me! I used to be the mom who would get frazzled, head to the pantry, and try to eat my stress away. Most of the time, I wasn’t even hungry, and I wasn’t enjoying the food that I was mindlessly eating. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my mindset. I realized that I used to get triggered by my kids’ behavior and think, “Why are my kids acting like this? I can’t take this anymore!”

Now, I try to catch myself and shift my mindset to a place of gratitude. I take some deep breaths and think about how grateful I am to be able to stay home with them a couple days a week. I reflect on how grateful I am to be their mommy. This always brings me back down and puts me in a better state of mind to deal with whatever set me off in the first place. It also helps me have more patience with my kids to figure out why they are acting out and how I can help them in those situations.

When your sugar dragon wakes up, how do you tame it?

First, I try to figure out what happened in the first place. Why am I having a craving? Emotional triggers from the present or past used to cause me to run to sugar for comfort. Once I figure out why I am having a craving, I try to deal with the deeper issue. Sometimes I will journal about it.  Writing out my feelings is so therapeutic. Other times I might go for a walk outside, play with my girls, get my nails done, or just take a nap/go to bed.

I tend to have sugar cravings after dinner because of long ingrained habits. Now I drink a flavored sparkling water over ice instead. Another effective strategy—ask yourself if eating something sugary is really worth it. I know from my experience that sometimes it’s hard for me to stop once I start. My sugar dragon can be pretty fierce! I hate how I feel after days like that, so a lot of times the answer to the question is no.

Will I have to live without sugar forever?

No! It may feel like that at first, but absolutely not. Sugar is especially tricky because it is ultra satisfying and tied to so many memories in your past (if you’re anything like me). You just need to keep asking yourself if it is worth it. Keep digging into the root of your sugar cravings in the first place. Keep identifying your triggers. It does take some time but you will get there!

Once you have a handle on your “worth it” situation, go for it. Do not deprive yourself of eating a piece of your favorite cake just because it has sugar in it and you’re scared. If you end up regretting NOT eating it you may find yourself craving sugar even more because you feel deprived. When we get in a scarcity mindset (ie, “I can never eat sugar ever again!”), we crave and binge. So, keep asking yourself if it is worth it, eat it if it is, and go right back to your food freedom.

Lindsey Dalton, PharmD is a registered pharmacist in Columbus, OH. She is passionate about helping people feel their best in every season of life. Lindsey has used Whole30 to free herself from sugar cravings and finally be at peace with food. As a mom to 2 little girls she wants to be the best example she can be for her family. She is especially passionate about showing moms that with proper planning it is possible to feed their entire family whole, nutritious foods.