Well, I did it. I made it through the 30 days of what I expected to be pure torture-the whole way through Whole30. Surprisingly, it wasn’t torture at all but rather a life changing experience that has forever changed my relationship with food.
Being a mom
I am a mother of two little girls. My life is busy, my nights are sleepless, I have been breastfeeding for 4 years almost non-stop, and the 30 pounds that I haven’t been able to lose for the last 4+ years, were justified. But, enough was enough. My youngest turns 1 year old this month and it was time to make some changes. After researching and reading countless “dieting” books, I realized that for me, dieting was neither realistic nor sustainable.
I had tried Weight Watchers with zero success (I actually gained weight), I tried South Beach and lost a pound total (woo hoo), and the only thing that ever worked for me (Medical Weight Loss), ended up putting me in the hospital because my kidneys couldn’t handle the 600 max calories per day. Needless to say, I had tried almost everything out there and nothing worked for me. Then I found Whole30.
Whole30 isn’t a diet. It is truly a lifestyle change. The first 30 days are meant to serve as a body reset, to get your body used to something new and healthy, and make it forget about the older and unhealthy ways. In general, you are removing all grains, dairy, added sugars (including alcohol), and legumes from your diet. There are no cheats, no free days, and no exceptions. If you fall off the wagon on Day 28, then you start over at Day 1. It’s intense and it isn’t for everyone. But what I will tell you is that it works.
In my first 30 days of eating in the Whole30 way, I lost 10 pounds. That’s over 2 pounds per week! Maybe it doesn’t sound like a lot, but for someone who struggles majorly with weight-loss, 10 pounds was a miracle. My self-esteem improved, my clothes fit better, I felt more attractive and my head even felt clearer. I was amazed that just by removing a collection of foods from my diet, I could feel so much better!
Whole30 at 2 months
Here I am now on the second month of living the Whole30 way. I expected to just do the 30 day program, but instead I have decided to continue it indefinitely. My skin is clear, my bloat is gone, and the pounds are slowing slipping away. I am sleeping more soundly (when the kids allow for it, haha), and I have more energy and fewer mood swings. Grains and dairy do not have a prominent place in my life any longer. I don’t crave them, and I don’t need them.
Do I miss having the occasional cookie or dessert? Sometimes. Do I really need it or crave it? No. It’s nice now being able to see people eat things like pizza, cookies, and cake, and not feeling jealous or tempted. I actually look at pizza and I feel no need to take a bite of it. Pizza used to be my favorite food! I have said goodbye to pizza, and I’m ok with it.
Our problems with food
The problems we have with food are usually the social ties we have to it. If we go to a social gathering, we need to eat junk and drink alcohol to be a part of the party. I have been to quite a few parties and family gatherings in the last couple of months and I have been fully present WITHOUT the needed association with food. I eat the healthy options (usually the veggie tray, fruit bowl, or burgers and dogs without buns) and I politely turn down the unhealthy choices. Thankfully my family and friends have been very supportive of my lifestyle change and they are happy for me. There may come a day where I justify having a piece of wedding cake to celebrate a very special day, but right now, I probably wouldn’t even do that. If I start making exceptions, then more exceptions will follow. I am a very “all or nothing” kind of person. Moderation is hard for me in any area of my life. If that’s you as well, then I really believe you will be successful on Whole30. You can eat as much of the compliant foods as you want, and you just completely eliminate the others. There are no cheat days and you don’t get one piece of bread. You get zero. And for some of us, that is just plain easier.
A big part of Whole30 is staying compliant with ingredients, but also not making “treats” using compliant ingredients. If you could make pancakes, muffins, or breads with Whole30 compliant ingredients, you still cannot. Why? Because of our relationships with those foods. How many of us can eat 1 pancake? Not many. We usually eat 4-5 or more. We binge on them not because we’re hungry, but because they taste good and we’re likely trying to fill some kind of void in our life that is unrelated to food. Why do people drink alcohol in excess? Same reason. They are trying to escape their daily reality and venture outside of themselves for a brief time. They are consumed by alcohol and how it makes them feel when they drink it. Whole30 gets rid of all of that. You don’t drink alcohol, or eat pancakes, muffins, breads, or any other “binge foods,” no matter how creative you could get with compliant ingredients.
Why do people drink alcohol in excess? Same reason. They are trying to escape their daily reality and venture outside of themselves for a brief time. They are consumed by alcohol and how it makes them feel when they drink it. Whole30 gets rid of all of that. You don’t drink alcohol, or eat pancakes, muffins, breads, or any other “binge foods,” no matter how creative you could get with compliant ingredients.
Relationship with food
Whole30 has completely changed my relationship with food. I eat to live, instead of live to eat the foods that taste good. I will always be a “foodie,” loving food and finding meals out enjoyable. Now I will be cognizant of ingredients and enjoy a nice filet mignon with veggies, instead of with the endless bread basket and a huge starchy potato drenched in butter and sour cream. I can still eat things that taste good, I can still enjoy social gatherings, and I can still have a nice date night out with my husband. I just leave feeling satisfied, but not stuffed; clear headed instead of foggy, and slimmer instead of feeling bloated.
Whole30 has been absolutely worth those first 30 days that were challenging and sometimes frustrating. As I type on this computer and see my wedding ring slipping side to side because it is now too big, I am reminded of how far I’ve come. 14 pounds in 40 days. I have about 17 more to go, but it’s not a matter of “I hope I can do it.” It’s now, “I KNOW I can do it. Because I AM doing it.” That feels pretty freakin’ awesome.
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