My Whole30 - How it's changed my life


WendyE

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It's Day 31.  Six months ago I saw a friend's post on Facebook chronicling her mid-month determination and enthusiasm for the plan.  It intrigued me, so I wandered onto whole30.com, read testimonies, and felt inspiration and a bit of hope. Then I considered facing eggs every morning and somehow summoning the energy at the end of the day to make some kind of meal that required a stove, a cutting board and an iPad-free dinner.  I promptly dismissed it.

 

Not completely though.  The idea waved at me in a friendly manner from the corner of my mind.  I discussed it with my health-conscious 13-year-old daughter.  I pondered what it would be like to have fresh food in my fridge.  I pictured being proud of myself.

 

But I couldn't escape the voice that said YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE of such a thing and YOU WILL SURELY FAIL. I couldn't face starting and not finishing, trying and giving up.  I struggled with body image and self esteem.  An injured knee had taken me from my love of running, and wildly discouraged about that, I hadn't exercised in almost a year.  I gained 15 pounds. Fake food was so easy.  Excuses for eating badly were easy to come by.  I was exhausted all the time, stressed at the smallest thing, and I continued to the let the tape run. YOU HATE TO COOK. YOU DESPISE FOOD SHOPPING. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE STRENGTH, TALENT OR DETERMINATION FOR THIS.

 

DON'T EVEN TRY.

 

Then around New Year's I visited a monastery and spent a few days away from the fray, journaling and meditating, and somehow my own voice gently found its way to the surface.  “Put your fear of failure aside for now,†it said quietly.  “You are stronger than you think you are.â€

 

Two days later, with It Starts With Food under my belt, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods purchases all over my counter, and off-plan food moved up to the highest shelf in my pantry, I declared Monday, January 5 - DAY ONE. Day One was amazing.  Day Two was encouraging. Day Three I woke up shaky, faint, nauseous and scared. I opened my Whole30 Daily email and read, “It's day three, and you might not be feeling quite so bright and shiny today.†(God bless Melissa and Dallas.) I ate breakfast, felt better, and kept going.

 

During my nasty internal voice period, I had forgotten that I am great at following rules.  And I suddenly had a bevy of thorough, insightful and evidence-based rules right in front of me.  Follow the food template. Read the labels. Keep a food log. Think about what 4:00 pm M&Ms desperation was really all about. Wake up realizing that I could live without the 7:00 pm glass of wine. Go to the forum, re-read It Starts With Food, and take it One Day at a Time.  And learn how exactly strong I was.

 

Over the past month I have become a cook.  I cannot over-emphasize this miracle.  Food preparation used to mean bowls of cereal, fiber bars, ordered Chinese and the occasional boiled pot of pasta.  My pizza place would answer my calls with, “Hello Wendy!  Still at 148 New York Ave?  Large plain pie, right?  And would you like to use your credit card on file?†But I had never experienced real food. I didn't know that peppers came in yellow, orange and red, and how beautiful they were chopped up next to purple onions, taupe mushrooms and green zucchini.  I did not expect to rearrange my spending to include pastured meat, organic eggs and a wealth of new kitchen tools. And my food, the food that I cook all by myself, is not only beautiful; it is simply a delight to eat. It still does not cease to amaze me that every single bite of every one of my 21 meals a week is delicious.  Breath-intaking, eye-closing, fork-suspending delicious.

 

I can honestly say, looking back, that somehow this has not been hard.  But it also has not been easy.  My face is still breaking out, my hair is not shiny, and I almost started to cry the night the waiter brought me a beautiful compliant steak salad with goat cheese mistakenly sprinkled all over the top.  (This last was not a reflection of my inability to send the dish back, but the culmination of feeling so “other†at a table of friends with wine, comfort food, and I-think-I-would-die-for-that-flour-less-chocolate-cake in front of them all evening.) I worry about my choices over the next weeks, months, and years. I feel safe with the re-introduction rules for the next ten days, but how will I navigate my own lifestyle beyond that?  Will I continue to choose well, examine my relationship with food, make myself proud?

 

I do not know.

 

But here is what I do know. My life has changed in profound and completely unexpected ways. I have lost 11 pounds. I am undoubtedly capable of sautéing chicken instead of settling for fake food. My body feels great, my energy has increased, and my meals carry me effortlessly from one to the next. I'm in love with Well Fed (and a little bit with Melissa Joulwan). I believe that future unhealthy choices will not equal failure. And I have a voice now.  It says I AM STRONGER THAN I THOUGHT I WAS.

 

I am so grateful.  And if I can do it, truly, anyone can.

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Thank you for posting this.. I just started me 2nd whole 30, immediately after my first but for some reason, reading this brought me to tears.. So poetic.. So inspiring!! I don't know you yet I'm so proud of you and the gift you are giving to yourself and your family by the example you are setting! Please, please keep up the good work!!! :)

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Thank you for posting this.. I just started me 2nd whole 30, immediately after my first but for some reason, reading this brought me to tears.. So poetic.. So inspiring!! I don't know you yet I'm so proud of you and the gift you are giving to yourself and your family by the example you are setting! Please, please keep up the good work!!! :)

Marcee thanks for the lovely words. I just read your response to my daughter and it brought tears to her eyes. <3

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Hi Wendy, congratulations on your success. The biggest thing for me as well was that I hate and cannot cook. I am on Day 2 and was after some advice as to simple easy to make meals I could find. Can you point me in the right direction?

 

Many Thanks

 

You can make this as simple as you want. Here is the recommended meal template, so design all your meals to follow that template.

 

Easy things to get started:

- eggs for protein

- frozen vegetables heated up or steamed vegetables (e.g., cauliflower, broccoli, string beans)

- canned tuna, salmon or chicken for your protein, mixed with a mashed avocado for your fat

 

Start exploring the Recipe Sharing section of the forum for recipes to try. Popular websites with mostly Whole30 compliant recipes (check ingredients) are theclothesmakethegirl.com (author of Well Fed) and nomnompaleo.com. Start with things like chili or whatever looks least intimidating, and work your way up.

 

You'd be surprised how much you can expand your cooking skills in 30 days ... give it a try!

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Bwaaaahhh!  I'm cryin' over here.  Love this.  I felt this way too and it's been a year and a half and I'm healthier and happier and more focused than ever, and so glad to be eating well.  Yesterday I made not one but two recipes.  Like you, I can't overstate the significance of this.  :lol::wub: :wub: :wub:

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Bwaaaahhh!  I'm cryin' over here.  Love this.  I felt this way too and it's been a year and a half and I'm healthier and happier and more focused than ever, and so glad to be eating well.  Yesterday I made not one but two recipes.  Like you, I can't overstate the significance of this.  :lol::wub: :wub: :wub:

Oh this is good news Amy. It's 18 months later and Whole30 has not been become a vague memory of some weird thing you did a year and a half ago.

 

Speaking of SIGNIFICANT news flashes? I put kale in my eggs now.  KALE.  I don't even know if I'm spelling that right.  My crisper drawer doesn't even know what to say to me any more.  Who the heck eats kale??   :blink:

 

Superstars, that's who.   :rolleyes:

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Wow! Congratulations. I am on day 2 and I loved reading your post. I am se excited about the next 30 days. I try to live one day at a time. It can get overwhelming thinking about next week, next month and even next year. I need to remind myself that I will make good choices today and not think about tomorrow. I find this helps in many aspects of my life.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much for posting this! I'm on day 5 of my very first Whole30. You saying that you had forgotten that you are good at following rules really hit me this morning. I am good at that too! I always have been. But I never thought about that being a quality that applies to me conquering this experience! Thank you! That was the little bit of umph and encouragement I needed to get day 5 off to a fantastic start! Congrats on your accomplishment!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not only are you stronger than you know, but you are also an amazing writer.  I am on Day 3, and yesterday received some horrible news, (See my post in another forum), and today won't be easy.  But having read your post - I am DETERMINED to get through it.  Thank You.

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