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Whole30 and beyond w/ progress pics attached!


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Four months ago I joined a nearby martial arts gym to do a women's program. I signed up for 8 months--which was the first big step. I doubted my ability to commit to working out for that long, but I did it anyway because I was not sure that I had any other options available. I was miserable, overweight, overtired, extremely unhappy, and only 22 years old.


Day 1 at the gym went a little something like this: I showed up to a boxing class with my friend who had already joined the gym (this is real, live, MMA boxing---with men--scary). I hated it... and that is an understatement. I met with the coach afterwards, who was ruthless and definitely was not going to let me walk out of the door without signing a contract to join the gym. I told him I forgot my credit card at home (it was really in the car), and he had no choice but to let me leave that night and bombard me with text messages for the next 24 hours. During that time, I found out about the women's program which was more cardio and strength training based rather than beating-the-crap-out-of-people based. After a night of tears and pure self-loathing over the fact that I just could not and would not join a martial arts gym, I finally found my solution: I was joining the women's program.


This is where I got introduced to the Paleo diet. I took it upon myself to do some research, follow Paleo meal plans, and educate myself on the science behind it. I gave it 100%, both in the gym and in the kitchen... for a couple of weeks. I was feeling great, and could definitely see why Paleo works. Fast forward 2 months and I was falling off every weekend, indulging in pizza, drinks, paleo treats--you name it. It was counterproductive to my goals, and I knew I needed to make a change. I had the workout routine down and was extremely consistent with that for 2 months, but it was only taking me so far. I wasn't seeing the results that I wanted to see, and I was working way too hard in the gym to the point where all this effort started to seem like a waste of time. I needed to find a solution to what was going on in the kitchen.


Enter Whole30. I learned about Whole30 in conversation with a friend, but came across it once again on the internet when doing more research in an attempt to make some drastic changes. I decided on July 31st that I was going to start the August 1st Whole30 challenge. I made it 10 WHOLE DAYS! Then I fell off, and restarted. This time around my friend and I made a bet to each other: whoever cheats first (if we cheat) owes the other $20. Being that I'm in graduate school and living on a student budget, this seemed like a no-brainer: no way I'm losing this bet, and I could REALLY use an extra $20! I won the bet, and I have to say, I didn't make it a whole 30 days without cheating, but I have made progress and I am extending my Whole30 another week and plan to do more Whole30's in the VERY near future. It is really hard for me to admit that, but I feel like it is important for people to know that there are other people out there who struggle, who have weak moments, and sometimes they break. That unfortunately happened to me 4 days before I hit day 30 and I have been dealing with the guilt during these last couple of days.


Regardless, I have learned a whole lot on Whole30 (ha--no pun intended). Number one being that everything in life is mind over matter. Being a student and future mental health professional, this was the draw for me with Whole30. I have always had a bad psychological relationship with food. I was brought up on holidays and birthdays and family dinners based on rich, creamy, heavy, carb-dense, unhealthy-but-soooo-delicious meals. I had an emotional connection to these meals and I was determined to break free of that--and for the most part I have done that. During my whole30 I was able to survive a family vacation cheat-free, and also a celebration at work where there was nothing Whole30 approved (soda, cake, and chocolate-covered strawberries/bananas/rice krispies). I have sat in front of a spread of danishes and cinnamon buns at breakfast while I ate my egg scramble and fruit salad. But I did it, and I know I am more than capable of doing it again if I wanted to. It actually got to the point around day 15 that I needed to REMIND myself to eat. I had to motivate myself to eat. I can honestly say in 22 years that has never, ever, ever happened.


So, here I am, nearing "day31". My birthday is exactly a week from today: 23 years old, and I am in the best health of my life this far. But that doesn't mean that I'm stopping here. My coach at the gym (the one that made me cry) tells me every day that I look like a completely different person, and I can honestly say that those changes did not and would not have occurred without going through the process of Whole30. Before committing to Whole30 I only lost 5lbs. As of today, I am down a total of 15lbs. My start weight four months ago when I joined the gym was 180 lbs. Today I weigh 165 lbs. I have never broken past the 170 lb mark in my life. I haven't taken measurements, but I know that I have lost several inches. I went clothes shopping last week and for the first time since starting the whole30 and I bought a size 10 dress pants and a size Medium shirt. The last time I remember wearing a size 10 was my freshman year of high school 8 years ago. I feel amazing, I am happy, rested, and my energy is through the roof. Last weekend I ran my first 5k with two of my best friends and I felt like I was on top of the world! I can wear tight fitting clothes and not feel like I have muffin top or fat pouring out in all the wrong places. And the best part about it: I am doing this the healthy way. No fad diets, no pills, no protein powder or junk like that. Just. Whole. Foods.


So now what? One more week of 100% hard work at the gym and in the kitchen. Then I plan to cheat a little bit for my birthday. I am allowing myself some drinks and ONE piece of cake. I plan to stay on track with food. Once Sept 23rd rolls around, back to another round of Whole30 for this girl!


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I'm so glad you wrote about falling off the program and re-commiting... and crying at the gym... and then going back.  I think one of the best proverbs to live by is - Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight.  Or... even better...  Saints are Sinners who kept on going (not sure who said that one).


Anyway, everyone struggles with the program.  Melissa has written a couple funny posts about how she was whining about something whole30 ish and Dallas had to remind her it was THEIR Program.


See you in the October whole 30 forums!

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I think another thing that I have come to terms with over the last 30+ days is that this process is lifelong.  It's really not a "diet", and as cliche as it sounds, it has to be a lifestyle in order to see success.  Falling off is part of that, and I wanted to keep it real. Thanks for the comments :)

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