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My First Whole30: The hardest most rewarding thing I've ever done


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Several months ago a friend told me she was going to do a "Whole30". She's very much into cross fit and eating paleo. We are virtual employees of the same company and over the past two years have become close. She's listened to me complain about how bad I feel for a long time without any judgement whasoever. I don't know what about this conversation was different. But, there was something that just "clicked" in my brain. And, I started actually considering doing this crazy challenge.


The truth is I really believe I was at my rock bottom. I was at my all time highest weight. I was sad and disgusted with myself. I was always tired. And, I'd had a couple of difficult conversations with my husband where he conveyed that he was worried about my health and that he missed the Margaret that he married. Frankly, I missed her too. My body hurt all of the time. I couldn't fall asleep at night. I couldn't wake up in the  morning. I had a headache every day. Sounds miserable right? It was.


In June, we went on a camping trip with friends. Those friends asked my husband multiple times if I was ok. I wasn't interested in any of the activities because I was too embarassed to admit that I was physically too tired and unfit to do them. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. I just wanted to be alone. I downloaded "It Starts with Food" that weekend and read the whole thing.


After that, I shared my plan with my husband. We were going to Chicago to celebrate my birthday July 23rd. I was planning to start Whole30 the Tuesday after we returned.


I made a list of all my ailments (real and perceived) that day. See the bottome of post for Then and Now. The thing that success stories don't always include is that moment when you know you're ready for change. People talk about that "Ah Ha" moment without really explaining what it is. For me it was the fact that I knew this was going to be hard. It's strict and requires a lot of planning. Any other "diet" I ever tried began with me planning out my "cheats" and "justifications" for this party or that. I knew exactly what my social calendar had laid out in front of me and I didn't care. I wasn't looking for an easy way out or around. That's how I "KNEW" it was my time. I won't lie, I did almost throw in the towel that first weekend as I sat crying in my swimming pool because I couldn't have pizza. (It helps to note that I was extremely hornomonal as well). It is true what they say, once you get past the first week, it gets easier. After about 10 days I ddn't miss anything anymore except a cocktail with my friends That is the thing I missed the most.


This is the hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done for myself. I went into it knowing that I would lose weight. But, also knowing that's not why I was doing it. I did it because I wanted to feel better. I read all of these stories about how great people felt and I wanted that for myself. Now that I have it, I'm not willing to give it up.


Does it mean I will never drink I Coke again or shun added sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains until the end of time? Probably not. But, it does mean that I will be selective and understand the consquences of those actions when I embark on the occasional indulgence because I feel 20 years younger in my own skin. And, that's worth it!


Whole30 Stats:


Pre Whole30 - Dry Skin

Post Whole30 - Clear Skin


Pre-Whole30 - Trouble Falling Asleep and waking up.

Post Whole30 - I sleep great and feel refreshed when I wake up


Pre-Whole30 - Left heel, hip, and back pain daily

Post Whole30 - I'm in zero pain.


Pre-Whole30 - Anxiety / Depression

Post Whole30 - Less Anxiety and an overall positive outlook


Pre-Whole30 - Always Tired. No Energy

Post Whole30 - I have energy I don't know what to do with.


Pre-Whole30 - Daily Headaches

Post Whole30 - Ocassional weather induced headaches


Pre Whole30 - Weight 273

Post Whole30 - Weight 257 and 8" lost


Pre Whole30 Cholesterol: 290 -  Extremely High

Post Whole30 Cholesterol: 191 - Normal Range


Pre Whole30 Triglycerides: 165 - Very High

Post Whole30 Triglycerides: 139 - Normal Range


Pre Whole30 HDL Cholestrol: 55 - Normal Range

Post Whole30 HDL Cholesterol: 38 - Low (Not alarming and likely due to dramatic decrease in overall Cholesterol)


Pre Whole30 LDL Cholesterol: 202 Extremely High

Post Whole30 LDL Cholesterol: 125 - Near Optimal


You'll notice that there is only one category that did not show improvement. But, beyond all of this data I can without a doubt say that I feel absolutely fantastic.


I'm moving on to the next phase which includes exercise. I finally had my "Ah Ha" Moment. Now it's time for you to have yours.



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Margaret, thank you so much for sharing your story. I could relate to so much that you wrote. I have struggled with overeating for years. I am now heavier than I have ever been and feel terrible most of the time. Even worse than the physical malaise is the self-loathing. I too have had difficult conversations with my husband who is more worried about my health than I apparently was.

I am now on Day 3 of my first whole30. I was reading through logs and success stories for inspiration but could only find people who were already running 20 miles a week and already fairly healthy eaters. I knew from the books that there were some of us out there with different challenges. I was so happy to find your story.

I am determined to join you on this forum in 28 days and share my success. Thank you again for your honesty and example. It was so inspiring and just what I needed to hear.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Whole30 Freed Me. I cannot believe the difference in my life. I wrote all about it here:




Here’s an excerpt:


I threw away my scales. I’m finally free.

IMG_5230.jpg?zoom=2&resize=225%2C300I am no longer a slave to these devices.

That is the priceless, immeasurable result of my Whole30.

For the first time in 34 years, my relationship with gravity and the device used to scientifically measure that relationship no longer determine my mood, dictate my happiness or demean my sense of self worth.

. . . . . . 


The chains binding me to those scales stretch over three decades. I’ve had self-esteem and body image issues since age 14. When I hit puberty, my previously thin body and raging metabolism turned against me. I gained weight and was subjected to sometimes-weekly weigh-ins in front of my family because my mother thought that would motivate me and help me adhere to a diet and stay trim for pageants, dating and cheerleading tryouts. It didn’t – . . .  

IF you want to read the rest, go here: http://www.michellemariecox.com/category/weight-and-whole30/


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