Twenty nine days ago I began a program called Whole30. I have tried everything to lose weight - a personal trainer, a gym membership, Naked Fitness, and even over $800 in AdvoCare - and while I had some results with some of them, I was still not where I wanted to be. When my friend Jen challenged me to do a round of Whole30 I whined and complained and told her she was nuts. But she kept insisting - ragging on me about never being able to turn down a challenge. Finally I gave in - begrudgingly - and we both started our Whole30 Journey on July 7th.
Whole30 isn't just about losing weight, but about breaking your addictions and emotional issues with food. By eliminating certain food groups that could be having a negative impact on your health, you force your body into using the correct nutrients to perform the correct actions in your body - kind of like pushing a reset button. The basics of Whole30 is like a very strict Paleo - no sugar, no grain, no beans, and no dairy. Sounds impossible right?
To say that I was skeptical when I began this is the understatement of the year. I didn't even want to blog about it because I didn't have much hope. To me it was just another "diet" and something I would see mediocre results from just like everything else I had tried. OR - more likely - I would give in after a few days and go back to eating normal, deciding I was going to just love every extra pound. After all, I wasn't grossly overweight or even unhealthy - it was more vanity pushing me than anything. Either way I jumped in - keeping Jen on speed dial - ready to see what would happen. I wont bore you with every detail, but here is a quick snapshot of how the last 29.5 days have been for me:
Week One was a piece of cake. I was tired in the beginning but nothing I couldn't handle. A couple nights Mike took the girls out to eat and I stayed home and make something quick and easy. I ate a lot of salmon, roasted green beans and brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. I even mixed up my own Whole30 Mayo which was delicious. I used the mayo to make Chicken Salad and Egg Salad which I ate a lot of because it was quick and easy - but also compliant and filling. I also made some sausage egg bakes "muffins" (only ingredients are eggs and sugar free sausage) to make breakfast quick and easy as well.
Week Two was equally as easy - in fact on Day 9 I posted in the Whole30 Forum asking if I might be doing something wrong because it didn't suck the way everything I had read said it would. I began to notice I wasn't hungry between meals anymore - my snacking was almost non existent. I was also sleeping through the night - something I hadn't done in years. On Day 12 I headed up to Minneapolis to speak at the Daisy Blue Naturals Convention and packed food to go with me. Unfortunately the refrigerator they put in my room turned out to be a freezer and froze all of my compliant food as solid as if it had been dipped in liquid nitrogen.
I ate with the ladies at Convention - simply avoiding what I knew was on the no no list - and at the Awards Ceremony I went to the "Happy Hour" and had soda water with a twist of lime. On the flight back I had time in Atlanta, so I sat down at a restaurant and had grilled chicken and vegetables instead of my usual fast food. I am sure it wasn't 100% compliant, but I felt good that I was making the right choices, and realized I didn't have any more food guilt. That food guilt and self loathing had been replaced with the satisfaction of knowing I had stuck to my plan as best as I could - even with the Universe trying to derail me.
Week Three I hit a wall. Day 15 I thought I was getting sick. The "flu like " symptoms hit and I wasn't sure if it had to do with Whole30 because truthfully I always feel like that the day after I have spent four solid days at a Convention. By the middle of the week though I was feeling great and happy with myself that I didn't fall of the wagon and eat something to make me "feel better." I stuck to the plan - just avoiding the list of no no's and kept trudging along. I began getting more creative with food - using a lot of coconut oil to cook with... it's actually delicious y'all. And I don't like coconut. I went out of town again for a girls weekend and stuck with the plan - proud of myself again for sticking to it.
Week Four was when I realized my life was forever changed. I started to forget what day I was on - because it no longer mattered. Whole30 became WholeLife - why would I ever go back to eating food that made me feel so awful? This was by far the easiest, most sustainable thing I had ever done - and something that I could easily do for the rest of forever. I had gone on trips and stuck to the plan, gone to parties and stuck to the plan, been thrown off of my best laid plans by circumstances out of my control - and still stuck to the plan. I even celebrated my BIRTHDAY and stayed 100% committed to Whole30.
Today is Day 30 - and in the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that yes, I DID cheat - one time. Last Saturday - Day 27 - I went out with friends and had several cocktails. And by several I mean a lot. The next day I woke up feeling just fine - my metabolism clearly awakened and burning off the vodka at a rapid pace. Before Whole30 two glasses of wine would have given me a headache the next day. I did not feel hungover - but more importantly - I didn't feel guilty.
The thing is, I know I will stay mostly Whole30 compliant for the rest of my life - but that does not mean I am never going to drink again. It doesn't even mean I am never going to eat another piece of chocolate or enjoy cheese fondue. It DOES however mean that I no longer have an unhealthy relationship with food - and that I have quit beating myself up while I am putting food in my mouth that I KNOW is terrible for me. I now finally understand moderation, and I do not have to feel bad or guilty over an occasional treat. I do not reward or punish myself with food anymore, nor do I reach for a donut when I am pissed off or stressed out. I understand that I am fueling my body - not just enjoying a meal. It also means that I can still be the "MoscatoMom" and be a healthier, happier version of myself... and still have a glass of wine from time to time 😉
If You Are Considering Whole 30:
I can not wrap up this post without a bit of advice - in case you have maybe stumbled upon this article because you are researching Whole30 for yourself. The #1 thing I would tell anyone who is starting this journey is do not over complicate it. I did not search out Whole30 Compliant recipes and trying to mimic a bunch of stuff from Pinterest. I simply ate real food. Meal planning is just that - choose a meat, add two veggies... voila. I went to the grocery store every couple of days and yes, I ate some things several times. But so what - they were tasty and they were compliant! Who says there has to be a huge variety.
Secondly, do not sit around and think about how bad this sucks, and all of the things you can not have. Instead get excited and experiment with the things you can have. The few little "no no's" do not even come close to out weighing the abundant amount of food on the yes list. Feeling crummy - go for a walk or take a nap. Have the munchies - eat something compliant like cashew butter and apples. (BTW - from someone who could eat Jif peanut butter with a spoon right out of a jar - I can tell you that cashew butter is 100 times better. LOVED it) You can honestly choose to let this suck or look at the sucky part as your body changing for the good, never to be held down my excess weight and food addictions again. Guess which one I chose?
Also - I did weigh myself every few days. I know that it says not to - but I did. I wanted to SEE progress. And I did. In fact I am not even 100% sure that I would have stuck to it if I DIDN'T weigh often. Because I was so down in the dumps already having "tried everything" I wasn't real optimistic that this was going to work. However when I stepped on the scale and every time there was a change, it gave me the motivation to keep going.
My Final Statistics:
This is what you really want to know, right? I am beating myself up for not taking "before" pictures - remember I didn't hold out much hope that this was actually going to work. I didn't even take measurements - I know, I know. But I DID get on the scale, and I DO know what size I was in... WAS being the operative word. In the last 30 days I have lost a total of 15 pounds, and dropped an entire jean size. I sleep through the night, wake up refreshed even before my alarm goes off, and my skin is completely clear. I have also begun to really see a difference in pictures - which makes me really really happy.
Tomorrow I will kick off another Whole30 and this time I am happy to have a handful of friends doing it with me - inspired by the success that I and several others have already had. If you want to join us you are welcome to - our Facebook Group is available here. I will also be including more recipes and blog posts this go around - now that I know this works. This has truly been a life changing experience for me - and one I am happy to continue as well as share with everyone I know. My BOLD Goal for 2014 was to lose 30 pounds - and for the first time ever I truly believe I will achieve my goal.
You can read more about the entire Whole30 program at Whole30.com.