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My Whole30 Experience


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I just remembered I never posted my story!! I wrote this up on Facebook, in one of the "unofficial" Whole30/ Paleo groups and shared my story with friends and family, but I wanted to share it with you all, as well! :)  My journey, of course, continues on! I have reintroduced two food groups so far since writing this last week...



April 16, 2014:

Yesterday I reached day 30 of my Whole30 journey! I do not say my “last†day because it is not technically over for me. This experience has resulted in so many positive changes and growth that I have no reason to go anywhere but forward! So, while I am in the reintroduction phase (hello, dairy!), I will still continue to follow the plan. Why?

  • *I have a circadian rhythm for the first time in my adult life! I sleep when my body says “sleep†and wake when my body says “wake,†and I don't usually confuse one sensation for the other anymore!
  • *My hormones are rebalanced and moods, stabilized. I find myself reacting to stress with far less severity…okay, maybe 90% of the time! My general state, though, is almost “suspiciously†happy. LOL
  • *I am back to being in tune with my body again, and that contributes to my happiness. For example, I don't have to try and guess what it means when I get a headache. Nine times out of ten, I've either not slept enough or am not drinking enough water. Unless I am introducing a new food, it is highly unlikely I have to worry about anything I've consumed. My cycles are dead-on, and I'm very in touch with my body. I haven't been “here†in three years.
  • *Smoother, softer skin in at least ten years. This is NOT a hyperbole. There are actual references in my personal medical history here!
  • *No more fighting the dark circles under my eyes…because they have fled! "Yay!!" for properly hydrated skin!!!!
  • *Harvesting a kind of energy throughout the day that has exchanged anxiety for confidence. Increased self-awareness, priorities realigned, control reasserted.
  • *Seasonal allergies? Is it really spring? I hadn't noticed! No, seriously. Mind: blown.
  • *The sugar dragon lies dormant. Though it cannot be slain and will forever be a part of me, Whole30 has taught me if I do not feed it, the dragon sleeps!!! This. Is. Huge. I didn't know exactly how huge until I had overcome my “kill all the things†phase (for me, days 4 and 5). I did not understand the power of addiction from consuming even “healthy†forms of sugar (e.g., honey in my tea) for years, until I had conquered it. And, much like the time I conquered my fear of swimming as an adult, once I'd gotten past the moment, I thought, “Well, that wasn't so bad. Why did it take me so long to get here?â€

So, here is where I do get a little melodramatic on you…
Getting through the Whole30 plan feels like taking the red pill in The Matrix and plunging head-first into the rabbit hole. No joke. The clarity is UNREAL! The first week, I almost wanted to cry at the grocery store, yearning for the items I was used to consuming on a weekly basis (cheese, yogurt, honey, peanut butter, rice, quinoa, and bread). But somewhere between the second and third week, I didn't see food on the shelves anymore. I saw labels and, in some cases, ingenious marketing. I was very conscious about reading labels before I even started Whole30, but so long as certain items were not genetically-modified and were free of certain chemicals, I still justified consuming them. I never considered if and how any one food would have a direct impact on MY body. When I was working in a veterinary clinic, we put dogs with suspected allergies on hypoallergenic diets all the time—essentially, elimination diets—when allergy testing was not an option. I was always pretty involved in the nutrition of my own animals, but I never stopped to consider how any one food group affected my digestion until I started taking nutrition courses. I discovered when I had my gallbladder removed in 2005, my ability to digest/absorb lipids properly was undoubtedly compromised: a minor detail I was never given any education or guidance about at the time! I started this year with a myriad of health issues—the details of which I will not bore anyone with here—but thanks to the combined efforts of my primary physician and a fantastic holistic chiropractic practitioner, my body feels more functional than it has in probably three years! It was Dr. Shiver who suggested Whole30 to me after I brought her my blood work results from my primary physician.

When I went on the Whole30 website, I admit I hesitated. The sugar dragon roared for a good, solid month, telling me I didn't have what it takes to get through something like this. I kept telling myself I had too much going on. I work full-time and go to school at night; I have a fiancé, we're planning a wedding, and we have a very smart puppy that requires a lot of exercise and stimulation. I couldn't possibly find the time! But I have a bit of a history of telling myself many things I cannot do. Then I woke up on a random Saturday morning and realized I had eaten half a box of Girl Scout Trefoils Cookies at work and blamed it on stress. HALF A BOX. 20 cookies! The sugar dragon was laughing his ass off! And I'd had it. A student of Nutrition & Dietetics who shops at local farmers' markets and advocates for grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and GMO-free fruits and vegetables, and I'd just eaten half a box of Girl Scout Cookies. So, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and if I was going to keep preaching and keep advocating a clean life, I needed to start living it! I went to the farmers' market within 30 minutes of my epiphany, and I began Whole30 48 hours later.

In my Anatomy classes, one common theme we are taught is the body's ability to regenerate over time. Different systems may take longer than others, but ultimately, our bodies really can be very generous and forgiving. I am amazed by how different I can feel in just 30 days, and I have not even made time to exercise yet. I wanted to own the plan first and finish up some projects. But once we move and I'm in my new routine, I just know good things are going to happen! I can continue to pursue my passion in an industry that needs A LOT of cleaning up, and while I can't conquer all the sugar dragons in the world, my own remains in hibernation. I am in a great place now and no longer feel he must be slain—I will, no doubt, throw him a chocolate-covered bone once in a blue moon—but we have an understanding now. We now know who's boss! 

Oh…and for the ones who still speak in numbers: 30 days. 15 pounds. 13.5 inches, total. 1 pant size. BOOM!!!!

For anyone who is struggling, especially in the first few days, just keep going. But don't see this as a weight-loss program. This is so much more than that. This is about resetting your system, from the inside, out! And I PROMISE you, if I can do it, so can you! So GET OFF THE SCALE!!!!  :)

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