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In the Day 29 newsletter we are told to share our Whole30 story on the forum. During this process I have learned that saying "yes," to suggestions has helped me immensely. So here goes nothing!

This is what my life used to be like:
Before starting the Whole30 I was working hard on loving my body for what it was (this practice didn't stop during Whole30, it only grew). However, in my body I felt sluggish and bloated. I was eating terribly and had been for months. Many months in fact. I was back into the 200s, a place I hadn't been in about 7 years. Jessica had recently introduced the term "inflammation," to me and I knew I was suffering from it badly. My clothes weren't fitting, I had outgrown my two bras and was having to wear tank shirts under everything. Even though my self love had grown I didn't relate to the person I saw in the mirror. My insides felt gunked up. In January I remember telling my mother that what I wanted in my body was "purity."
This is how I found the Whole30:
While Megan, Katie, and Jessica had done a Whole30 before, I didn't really "find it," until Jess gave us all the Food Freedom Forever book for Christmas, and suggested book club. I was very skeptical of all of it, right up through the beginning.
During my Whole30 experience:
(Days 1-7)The first week was an absolutely nightmare. I didn't have any cooking or meal prep skills to draw on. I was lost and floating, all while detoxing and feeling completely awful. I was deeply drained physically and emotionally. 
(Days 8-14) During the second week it was as if the fever broke. My head started to feel a little clearer, I wasn't as drained, I wasn't feeling defeated. I was struggling, but I cooked a few things! I followed my first real recipe for something band new and made it unsupervised. I had just enough energy to begin to ask questions, and bought a few new kitchen supplies (including a crockpot)! However, the hours in the kitchen, the tedium of feeling clueless while cooking, and the sheer amount of dishes had my just about in tears. I couldn't figure out how it would ever be sustainable for 30 days. Days 10, 11, and 12 were just as difficult as they promised to be. All that said in my second week I absolutely had noticed positive outer and inner changes. My skin was clearer, my eyes were brighter, and I had not been bloated in what felt like ages.
(Days 15-21) The first day of week three is the first day that the Whole30 magic began to kick in for me. I had boundless energy, I had some new clothes, I was feeling different in my body, more attractive and more confident at work. What I didn't expect was that it wasn't going to be a guaranteed upward trajectory from there. In fact on Day 16 it appeared I had drained myself of too much of my magic! I figured with all my energy, I didn't have to take any of my personal medical conditions into account and it bit me hard in the butt.  Day 17 was when all the emotions hit me like a mac truck. This is when not using food to medicate and push down emotions came roaring to the forefront. By the last day of this week I had had a chance to process a lot of my emotions and turn my focus into embracing my NSV. When I sat down and gave a look at my life, there had already been a ton. I felt empowered, more educated on my process and on what I needed to do. I was reading and researching a lot, and I remained completely opening to sharing much of my process with my support system. I was still plagued my colon trouble which I had expected to be gone by the end of the first week (despite reading things on the Whole30 forum to the contrary). OH! And my birthday fell on Day 19 of my first Whole30. I DID NOT celebrate with food. I had not know that to be possible. 
(Days 22-28) I started taking a probiotic on the first day of week four. I had also started eating raw sauerkraut. It was suggested on the forum for aiding in my colon woes. By day 24 I was feeling sick as a dog. Aching body, chills (and very cold hands and feet), fever, depression, headache, and exhaustion. I combed the internet and found that these could be symptoms of a massive die-off due to the probiotic. By day 26 I was staring to make it into the clear. I was having minor gas and bloating, but no other symptoms of probiotic transition. Going through a second, even more intense detox during my Whole30 was an unbelievable challenge. I cried my way through it. By day 28 I was back to my old self.
(Days 29-31) My last two days were completely surreal. I could see how far Whole30 had taken me, and how much I had changed as a person. I could also clearly see the areas where I still needed improvement. I was different. On day 31 I cried. Not out of relief that it was over, not that at all. I cried because I felt that I had truly accomplished something incredible.
Now that I’ve finished my Whole30:
I have hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe I can live a healthy life where I am not miserable from doing so. Maybe there is joy to be found in the process; a joy I never expected. I feel freed from a type of bondage that my body was in. It was a bondage I sensed, but could never 100% put my finger on. It was a safe cage. It has been a life of disordered eating, much of which I mistook for self love. My definition of loving my body and myself has changed, grown, and expanded. 
My skin is as clear as it been in as long as I can remember, I am down 15lbs from an extremely unhealthy weight, I feel more confident at work, I am no longer the woman that has to carry a bottle of Pepto Bismal in her purse (for nausea and queasy stomach), I don't wake up with crud in my chest in the early morning, the skin itching I suffer from has been greatly reduced, and my energy is not constantly down. I even picked up some cooking skills! 
Most importantly, I have a greater belief that someday Food Freedom may be a reality for me. I still have fear, struggles, frustrations, and uncertainty. It's times when those things feel very large that I have to kindly remind myself that 30 days does not fix a lifetime of disordered eating, distorted body image, gut problems, and a disconnect from caring about my health. But hope: There is that. 
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Thanks for posting. Such a great read. Motivating for me, too. Thanks for sharing.


I especially loved these two lines:

1.  "It has been a life of disordered eating, much of which I mistook for self-love." I totally get that. I think I've misunderstood food to be comfort.

2. "I DID NOT celebrate with food. I had not know that to be possible. " Such a huge achievement. It would've been easy to self-justify (unhelpfully) that you could do what you want on your birthday. Nice job!

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