Hello friends! First let me say, it is REALLY hard to get back into the rhythm of writing one of these every week. Sorry, yet again, for the lateness. We’re working on it!
As some of you may know, if you happen to follow my social media or actually know me in person, I recently completed my first Whole30. I have gotten SO MANY questions and comments about it, ranging from “why the heck would you do that?” to “tell me exactly where to start”, that I decided to do a post about it.
Let me start by saying that I would strongly suggest reading It Starts with Food and The Whole 30 (no affiliation). I read both and they blew my mind! I couldn’t put them down. I finally realized how important what you eat is to your overall health, not just your waistline. All your questions can be answered by these two books, the whole30 website, and of course, Pinterest and Instagram. But for those of you who just want the quick and dirty breakdown, here it goes…
Whole30 is an elimination diet meant to help your body (digestive track, inflammation, neural pathways, etc) heal and reset. You eliminate a TON of different things for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them to determine if that certain food /ingredient is what’s making you sick, tired, anxious, fill in the blank. I decided to try it for a couple reasons. 1) I was sick to my stomach literally. every. time. I ate. I just felt terrible all the time. 2) I know a few people who have done it with amazing results so I knew it wasn’t completely ridiculous. 3) I wanted to jump start a new eating lifestyle. 4) I heard it helped with anxiety and depression, which as you know from a previous post, sometimes incapacitates me. 5) I’ve had a hip injury for years that causes me to be unable to lay on my right side, be in one position for too long, or exercise in certain ways like running or hiking. I wanted to see if Whole 30 would help alleviate that pain. 6) And let’s be real, I was hoping to shed a few pounds as well.
Sounds great right? Oh- except you can’t have: sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol, legumes, soy, or additives, especially MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan. You can’t even have gum folks! (You can find out what additives are okay and the specifics of each ingredient through the above resources.) You’re allowed meat, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, and certain fats like ghee, olive oil, animal fat, etc. I could write an entire post just describing the experience I had. But I’ll boil it down for you: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. Some days were totally amazing and I felt awesome. No tummy issue, sleeping better, more energy, happier. Some days, a commercial would come on for cookies and I’d be begging my husband to go buy me some then get angry at him when he said no, I would regret it, I made him promise not to let me have that stuff, etc. But overall, WORTH IT. Everything I hoped would happen, did.
1) By the beginning of the second week, I stopped having stomach issues.
I no longer felt sick after every meal. I was able to enjoy my food and not worry that something in it would have me curled up in a ball in agony.
2) I slept better than I had in ages.
I didn’t even realize I wasn’t sleeping well, until I was sleeping better.
3) My hip pain decreased.
For the first time in TWELVE YEARS, I slept on my right side. Through the whole night. I can sit or stand in a position for longer. I can walk further without it hurting. I’m about to start **trying** to jog again.
4) I had more energy.
It took about a week for me to stop feeling constantly tired (because my body was no longer getting energy from a constant stream of sugar and had to work to burn fat) but after that, I no longer needed a cup of coffee at 3 in the afternoon or felt like I might fall asleep sitting in rush hour traffic.
5) I was happier.
Honestly, in the entire 30 days, I didn’t find myself sinking into depression, I had no panic attacks, and I didn’t constantly stress about every. little. detail. (Except for the ingredients in everything I bought. What a pain.)
6) I discovered that I do not handle lactose well which wasn’t that big of a surprise- this was my suspicion before starting.
But also, I don’t handle soy or gluten well, although they don’t bother me as much as dairy. Moderation people. I know how to pay attention to what is in my food, I know how to cook delicious meals without grains or sugar or well…added crap.
7) And because I know you are all wondering… I lost almost 12 pounds.
And I’m still losing weight without following the strict plan. I didn’t work out at all during this process because I didn’t think adding in a new workout routine on top of eliminating a bunch of stuff would go over too well. That might be a little more than I can handle. I lost that weight purely by changing my diet.
So for all the people who asked me “What’s the point” or if you’re thinking to yourself, “this girl is nuts”, just know this: it works. I feel better, I’m healthier, and I’ve learned about 50 new recipes that are so delicious I will continue to make them. But more than anything, I have a confidence I have never experienced. It’s not because I’ve lost weight (I’m still technically overweight) or because I look better (I do have clearer skin though- score). It’s because I know that I have taken a step toward overall health and that I have the skills to make wise decisions about what I put into my body. Because as they say…it starts with food.