Whole me.


Snappy Shark

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Welllll, I made it.

This has been an incredibly important journey of self-reflection, willpower and healing for me, in ways I both did and did not expect. I learned about Whole9 and the paleo lifestyle through my sister - a fitness guru and CrossFit buff - but not in the way that you'd expect: she, like me, was an energy bar-fueled, "healthy whole grains"-indoctrinated, mostly vegetarian, and she informed me that the diet was "crap." I was intrigued to learn more about it, though, and my research brought me to a seminar that Dallas and Melissa happened to be giving in my city exactly 31 days ago.

When I heard Dallas talking about insulin spikes, and how biochemically detrimental it is to continuously graze every two hours, I paid attention. That was me. I realized that I was the cranky jerk who had to have a purse full of apples to make it through a day away from the refrigerator. I didn't reach that place suddenly - I have had a pretty fraught relationship with food years since I lost about ~35 pounds on Weight Watchers a few years ago. I have been pretty darn calorie-obsessed since then, and have managed to more or less maintain my WW lifetime member weight since mid-2010.

However, it's been a really long time since I enjoyed food. For someone with a type-A personality, ascribing points and calories to nourishment makes every meal a competition to minimize intake. I was stressed out about what to eat all. the. time. I settled on low-fat everything: pretty much exclusively fruit with a few vegetables and processed "health food" (Luna bars, oatmeal, "light" aspartame-laden yogurt, soymilk in my stevia-sweetened coffee, etc.). I had a wakeup call a few months ago, when my mom took me out to dinner at a high-end restaurant and I practically inhaled a plate of seafood. "You know, you aren't eating enough. And you barely have any protein in your diet." She was right, but I didn't change anything then. (Amazingly, I ran two half-marathons eating like this, which is really a testament to how you can just continually fuel the gas tank on carbs when you eat grapes every ninety minutes.)

It took me moving to a new city, starting a new job and having some time alone to reflect to realize that I needed to change my relationship with food and stop worrying about what would happen if I ate something that wasn't a handful of grapes, a couple of whole-grain crackers, or a dollop of fat-free cottage cheese on baby spinach. This was exactly when I learned about the Whole30, the same week Dallas and Melissa came to Boston. I started my Whole30 the day after the seminar, and followed it faithfully and completely through today.

Over the last month, I've passed on wine, dessert and s'mores around a bonfire. I even spent 2 hours yesterday up to my elbows scooping Italian ice for kiddos at a volunteer event without so much as licking my fingers. I carried around my compliant food with me everywhere and spent pizza Fridays at my work eating avocadoes and spaghetti squash. That stuff was hard, but what was even harder was not beating myself up about eating a plate full of fat and protein alongside of my "safe" low-calorie standard veggies. Not counting calories was hard. Trying to get myself into a mindset that my body needed fat was HARD.

I haven't weighed myself yet, but I'd guess that I'm about where I started, maybe a bit heavier - but I'm okay with that. Ironically, I'd bet that I'm at my Weight Watchers "lifetime weight," which is a BMI of ~22. The difference this time is that I'm actually healthy, and eating enough to sustain energy levels to get me through the day. The last four days of my whole thirty consisted of three meals with NO SNACKING (aside from workout days), a far cry from my days as a whole-day produce-grazer. My energy levels are higher than I can ever remember them being. My mind is clear and calm and I am more efficient and articulate at work. My nearly-monthly outbreak of cankersores didn't arrive, and I'm hopeful that they're gone for good (they are an autoimmune condition, so I'm not surprised).The anxiety that I've struggled with so acutely for the past year or so has slowly evaporated and I find myself in a much more hopeful and optimistic place.

All things considered, the last month has really allowed me to tune into my body and spend some time truly taking care of myself. I still have some aspects of the Whole Foods diet I want to tinker with (for example, I was eating 6-7 pieces of fruit per day previously and avoided it almost completely during the Whole30...I'm not sure if I'm ready to introduce it back into my diet), but I'm not going back to counting calories anytime soon. This program truly is aptly-named, as "whole" is the perfect word to describe my experience of my current state of mind.

My gift to myself for making it through the program? Nope, no ice cream for this lady (not today, anyway) - I decided to treat myself to CrossFit instead! I I began the beginner's class today at my local box and even though I barely made it through my little baby WOD, I am so excited to piggy back good movements on top of good eating.

The people on this forum have been an invaluable resource and I looked forward to checking in every day. I hope to continue to read/post here for tips as I structure my life around all of the new things that I've learned about how wonderful it is to have a healthy relationship with nourishing food. Cheers to a new me!

(And a follow-up on my sister - she's since adopted a Whole Foods diet, and we're conspiring to get our mom on board, too!)

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Hey SnappyShark! I can't believe I just stumbled upon your post over here. Congratulations on finishing your Whole30- you are seriously an inspiration.

Thank you again for being the first person I've been able to relate to, and learn from, in a long time. It makes me so happy to hear that you have reached a healthy relationship with food again! Cheers!

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