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My Whole Start to Success


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I wanted to share my experience about doing my first Whole 30. I am writing this story on Day 31 while I enjoy 2 eggs fried in ghee over a bed of fresh spinach, a half of a compliant chicken sausage, and half a large tomato .. because of I want to! (my mind is blown!) :o

My back story

I am a 35 year old, full-time working mom with a toddler. I started the W30 at 164.2 pounds but I am only 5'0â€, so it is a lot of weight for me. The BMI scale shows that I am obese, which is a mortifying realization (I realize that the BMI scale may be inaccurate, but still!). I gained this weight through a really SAD lifestyle impacted by hypoglycemia and high stress.

Two years ago I was tipping the scale at 182 pounds and then got pregnant. I ended up at 204 pounds at the end of the pregnancy. During my third trimester I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and at the end suffered from high blood pressure and started to go into kidney failure. Luckily I was able to monitor my blood sugars and controlled the gestational diabetes via diet only, my daughter was born healthy, and I was okay. However I remain at very high risk for type 2 diabetes, especially given my family history.

The gestational diabetes was really tough physically and emotionally. I went to a nutritionist and an endocrinologist during my pregnancy. Some of the advice that these “professionals†gave me is very SAD. “Eat Lean Cuisine†“Try 100 calorie snack packs†:wacko: I knew that the advice was ridiculous. After my pregnancy, I tried to eat better (ie: oatmeal, cottage cheese, lean meats, steamed veggies) but I was always really hungry and crabby – not a good combination. :angry: The longest I could seem to stick to a diet was 5-6 weeks at the most before I would lose my mind and binge on carbs. I was calorie deprived and clearly not getting enough healthy fats or starchy veggies. No wonder I was miserable!

How I found Whole 30

I had been searching for a new way to start eating better and was interested in Paleo. I bought Well Fed to see if I could embrace the lifestyle. I checked out the author's webpage and found all sorts of interesting links, including the link to Whole9Life. I read the testimonials about the Whole 30 and was intrigued. I lurked on the forum for a week or so and decided to dive in.

My Whole 30

It was a roller coaster but definitely worth it! The first couple of days were tough – I dealt with a lot of carb cravings. I read other people's food logs on the forum and realized I needed to increase my fat/protein. Once I embraced the idea of eating more and not really worrying about calories, I felt much better and my energy level increased. Some days, I was on top of the world and so empowered, then the next day I would struggle with intense cravings and was very emotional. These ups and downs continued throughout my W30. I realize that this is a huge lifestyle change and will take more than 30 days for my mind and body to heal.

I also dealt with some obstacles during my W30. My husband and toddler share a diet of pizza, chicken nuggets, cereal, and crackers. This food remained in the house during my W30. I struggled sometimes, but I never caved. I also went out to eat three times and attended a bridal shower and a baby shower.

It is really hard to find compliant food that you did not prepare, but I got through mostly unscathed. I have a feeling there were a few minor slip ups that I wasn't aware of, but I did the best I could in each situation. My W30 might not have been perfect, but I never intentially had something non-compliant. I never caved to the cake or desserts, never had the alcohol that was offered, etc. at these special events.

The Good

  • Overall my mood is much more even. My temper does not flare as easily. I feel genuinely happy more often than I used to.
  • My confidence is much higher because I feel more in control of my eating and not ashamed of my inability to get off the carb binge roller coaster.
  • I don't feel the need to snack that often (which is huge for me!)
  • I feel satisfied at meal time and have been doing great with 3 meals a day.
  • My blood sugars have been pretty consistent as I fine tune how many carbs to eat each meal.
  • I feel so empowered by treating myself well and focusing on nutrient dense foods.
  • I have a lot more energy and don't have that mid-afternoon crash.
  • I tried new foods and found that I really like kale, and roasted veggies are awesome!
  • I lost 7.5 pounds and inches everywhere. I lost 1.5 inches from my hips, 1 inch from each thigh, and I am down a pants size!

The Bad

  • My sleep has been disrupted. Pre W30, I slept well. During W30, I had some difficulty falling asleep/staying asleep. I am playing with ratios of carbs/fats/proteins, particularly at dinner, to see what helps. I also need to be better about eating within one hour of waking.
  • I had leg muscle spasms at night. I added a little more salt to my meals and a couple of bananas a week. The sodium/potassium has helped, and I haven't had any more issues.
  • I had really bothersome menstrual cramps for the entire second half of the W30 on a daily basis. This is very unusual for me. I seem to be going through a lot of hormonal changes while my body is healing. I am hopeful these symptoms will go away soon.

What I learned

  • W30 can be embraced as a lifestyle. I bought groceries and did my normal Sunday cook-up this past week, planning for the entire week. I forgot that I was coming up on Day 30 on Tuesday. This is just how I eat now. The realization is huge!
  • My eating habits influence my family. My husband and toddler did not participate in the W30, but they often ate what I was eating because it looked good to them. I got the chills when I understood how influential I can be to others.
  • “Treating†yourself should not involve food that is bad for you – there is no logical connection between feeding yourself something toxic and rewarding yourself. Plus, why do rewards have to be food based? I am still trying to wrap my brain around this one!
  • I don't need to weigh myself multiple times a day. That type of behavior is unhealthy. I am not ready to pitch my scale yet, but my goal is to weigh myself only once a month.

My next step

I am going to wrap up a W32, then offroad a little for an extended weekend, and then right back on for a second W30. I had originally envisioned a carb feast at the end of my W30, but now that seems downright silly and stupid. However I will enjoy being able to go out to eat and not worrying if there was a little noncompliant oil on the grill when I order a steak. Maybe I'll have a bun with a burger. :ph34r: I also really missed drinking Coke and am curious to see how it tastes to me now. I am hopeful that it tastes gross so I can stop mourning it! :rolleyes:

During my next W30, I will try to incorporate more organic veggies and grassfed meat. I ordered some new fats (tallow, duck fat, coconut butter) which should be arriving soon. I am also purchasing organic spices as I deplete my supply.

I really enjoy reading about other people's experiences on the forum and will continue to take little baby steps to create a healthier lifestyle! This is such a supportive space to share with each other - I am so grateful to have found Whole 30! :wub:

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Guest Andria

This is great! Good for you!

I am having the same energy roller coaster you describe and I am sure it is tied to sleep as mine has also worsened during my Whole 30.

I totally agree: why do we, generally speaking, consider bad foods as rewards? Yes. I am still trying to wrap my brain around that one, too....as I dream about a giant Crumbs cupcake at the end of my Whole30 :-/

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Thanks everyone for your supportive comments!

I found reading success stories really helpful while I was in the beginning of my first W30 and dealing with the "kill all things phase" ^_^ . It gets better! I am already on my second W30 and it is easier than my first. Cravings are minimal, sleep is better, and I feel so good about the food I am eating. Dumping the guilt about eating bad food is a huge weight off my shoulders.

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