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WholeFoodAussie posted a topic in Success StoriesAfter battling with gut problems for many years, increasing food allergies and sensitivities along with ever increasing weight, I stumbled across the W30 website while doing some research on the Paleo way of eating. As I sat there suffering terrible heartburn and acid reflux, I was struck with the 'tough love' section on the website and how much it resonated with me; that this program is not hard in the scheme of things. After previously making excuses as to why I couldn't possibly give up alcohol, or how hard it would be to be compliant 100% of the time, I went to bed feeling energised by the tough love and commenced the very next morning. I have been gluten free for many years and mainly dairy free (except for the odd bit of butter and cheese), knowing that both bothered me, in varying degrees depending on how much I consumed. I had also almost completely cut out sugar, having noticed the terrible blood sugar crashes I would get after eating it. So my food intake wasn't too dissimilar from the program, but I wasn't 100% strict all of the time. I started to notice changes around Day 3. The heart burn and acid reflux had gone completely. I realised how constant it had been as it was so noticeably absent. My stomach has been so sensitive for such a long time, that I had also got used to severe bloating, cramping and wind after eating. I could eat what I considered a safe meal and still suffer, without rhyme or reason I felt. Around Day 3 this also vanished. Heading into my 2nd week, I started to notice the significant changes to my energy levels. I hadn't really believed the website or Whole30 Daily emails about the abounding energy levels, but lo and behold, it happened to me. It even got to the point where I had so much energy I was bouncing around late into the evening and had to work hard at getting myself into bed at a reasonable hour. Yet even after those late nights, I would awake feeling refreshed and bursting with more energy. Midway through the 2nd week, I also noticed my skin was looking better. It wasn't looking bad before, but now it had a glow to it. I also noticed that patches of skin which have traditionally been very dry and required lots of moisturiser, now needed none. My clothes started to feel less tight and by the end of the W30 people were commenting that I looked great. Another noticeable difference around this time was the stability in my hormones. I didn't feel like a crazy lady at that time of the month! Hoorah! There were moments when I found it challenging. After a hard day, I really wanted a nice glass of wine and it took a lot of willpower to avoid it. I commenced my W30 towards the end of November, so I went into a very social time which was challenging. I had several Christmas parties to attend, a hens night, an all day catered work event; and managed to stay compliant. I drank A LOT of sparkling water with lime or lemon to pretend I was having an alcoholic drink. I realised that if people thought I was drinking vodka and lime they didn't hassle me to drink. Eating out was sometimes challenging as I didn't have a lot of choice on the grain and dairy filled menus, but I was surprised at how accommodating some restaurants were. Instead of saying I was on a diet, I decided to tell a white lie and say I was highly allergic to the banned foods, so they took me seriously. It did give me the opportunity to have conversations with people I wouldn't normally have and (hopefully) open their eyes to a new way of eating. I also learned that I can achieve something as important as reclaiming my health. I doubted that I would be able to complete 30 days when I commenced, even telling myself that a few little cheats would be ok here and there. But I surprised myself and didn't slip up once. As each day passed, I felt such satisfaction that I had completed another day. I signed up for the Whole30 Daily emails, and I proudly clicked 'I did it' after reading each one. I also started Instagramming my meals, connecting with complete strangers who gave me such encouragement. I read many posts on the Forum, although didn't actively participate and I read It Starts With Food and found it so easy to understand and digest the information. I also sought out blogs, websites, Pinterest boards, Instagram pages and the W30/W9 Facebook page for recipe ideas, inspiration and motivation. So now to my results. I lost 4kgs on the scales but more importantly lost 2kg body fat and gained 0.5kg muscle. When I compared my before and after photos I was quite surprised by how noticeable the difference was around my middle. I remained strict for another 4 days, finally breaking for a long awaited Christmas party. An all day affair, the old me would have drunk throughout the day, snacked on all of the processed food available and not made sensible food choices. Instead, I slowly sipped on a couple of drinks (a wine and a few vodkas), drank a lot of water, and didn't go near the processed food. Even still, I had a terrible headache the following day, my blood sugar was all over the place and my stomach was very upset and angry. I couldn't believe how much of a negative impact just a slight splurge had on me. The following weekend I ate at a friend's house, and accidentally ate dairy. They had put cheese into a green salad, and I ate some without realising it was in there. For nearly 2 weeks I have suffered from terrible pains in my joints, particularly my ankles and knees, and my stomach has been very unsettled. Muscle pain has returned in my back with a vengeance and my chiro noted that my spine had stiffened up. All this from a tiny bit of cheese! I now know I need to avoid dairy completely. I ate my first bit of sugar on Christmas Day. The majority of the food was compliant with the program, but I made a Paleo pecan pie, using dates, honey and coconut cream instead of sugar and dairy. Even this was too much for my system and has left me with headaches, blood sugar crashes, stomach pain, bloating and an upset stomach. I'm actually glad I've had the opportunity to experience these side effects, as it has made me feel more determined than ever to return to the program. I am going to commence my 2nd Whole30 officially on 1st January (although will be 99% compliant until then) and look forward to continuing it into the new year. If you are reading these posts like I did when I was considering commencing the program, and are looking for inspiration or words of wisdom, all I can say is give it a go. It's only 30 days which is nothing in the scheme of your life, and you have nothing to lose. And if you're anything like me, you will find yourself feeling so much better that you wished you did it years ago.