Recommended Posts

It's almost one year since I did my first Whole 30, which I started in mid-January 2012. This post discusses the evolution of my health since taking the Whole 30 plunge and recognizing how dramatically food impacts my wellbeing.

Before starting the Whole 30, I had lots of symptoms and medical diagnoses: hypothyroid, generalized body aches and pains, fatigue throughout the day, unreplenishing sleep, insomnia, depression, anxiety, GERD (heartburn), eczema, chronic itchy sore throat and ears, inflammation. I basically just never felt "good, " and was pretty much always lethargic and moody. I took medication for my hypothyroid, depression and insomnia.

My early reactions to the Whole 30 were wacky: I was super energized by the lack of carbs-- so much so that I felt like I was "rushing" all the time-- almost "high" or manic-- but could barely focus enough to write an email, and could not fall asleep without a sleeping pill of some kind. This was kind of cool, but it was also draining, because I felt more "wired" than energetic. After awhile, my energy leveled out, and I was more consistently awake during the day, and able to fall asleep without medication at night.

Other weird side-effects of the early days were body temperature changes-- I would get really flushed sometimes after eating, and at night I would get the cold sweats. Also, before falling asleep at night I would sometimes have a racing, pounding heart. I have learned that these were typical reactions to my hormones regulating due to the dietary changes, and these symptoms were gone after about two weeks.

By the middle of the Whole 30, I was able to fall asleep well, and wake up feeling well-rested after a normal 8 hours of sleep. My daily fatigue and body aches were gone for the most part. Because my energy improved, I was able to quit my caffeine habit, and also stopped craving cigarettes. Also, because I started feeling better in general, I was able to notice when several Whole 30-approved foods made me feel bad- nightshade veggies, cooked egg whites, dutch process cocoa and red wine (ok, not approved, but I had a few glasses for a friend's b-day mid-Whole 30) were among the culprits.

By the end of the month, my body aches, insomnia, GERD, fatigue and inflammation were generally gone. My mood had improved overall, but I still had ups and downs. My chronic sore throat was gone, but the itchy ears still flared up on occasion, and though the eczema was not gone, it was reduced.

I attempted a premature withdrawal from my antidepressants after the Whole 30, and learned the hard way that long-term health problems are not fixed in a month. After struggling to stay antidepressant-free for a few months, I went back on the meds in May and have decided not to push any "cure" before it's ready to happen. What I noticed when I went off the meds was that my carb cravings went through the roof, and if I made any poor dietary choice, I would be paying the price for days afterward-- one cup of coffee or some soy sauce meant that I would slip into a cloud of depression, fatigue and brain fog for days, during which my body would be screaming for chocolate and muffins and lattes. It was brutal, and too difficult to handle while holding down a job. By going back on the meds, I have been able to consistently make better dietary choices, and thus heal my body better. If it's in the cards for me to go med-free again, I'll take that step when the time comes.

Now, 11 months after my initial foray into paleo life, I am still surprised by how my body is healing itself. Some of my food intolerances have gone away, due (I assume) to the healing of my gut, and I can now eat nightshades, dark chocolate and coffee without incident. I almost never get body aches and pains, and my heartburn is simply nonexistant. I also rarely get a severe reaction to a food (even the apple pie I ate at Thanksgiving) so it seems that my body has increased its resilience. And though there are mild signs that I have made a poor food choice, I'm not laid up for days.

Unexpected results have been increased regularity of my menstrual cycle, improved skin appearance and texture (I barely even need to use body lotion anymore! My skin is so hydrated and firm, it's amazing), and improved muscle tone without a change in exercise. I lost about 10 lbs on the Whole 30, but gained back 5lbs in lean muscle, and now have a more toned, muscular appearance, and am the happiest I've been with my physical appearance potentially ever.

Overall, the Whole 30 has given me an appreciation for the body's ability to heal itself, and a respect for the individuality of our nutritional needs. I now approach health from a "my body knows best" perspective, and realize that wellness is a lifelong process, not a quick fix. Thanks for reading my update, and best wishes to everyone on their personal journeys!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's so helpful to hear a long-term update. Hearing everyone's success stories after a month or so is still great, but I really appreciated you giving us a glimpse into what happens after the "shininess" of a finished Whole30 wears off. You have reminded me that this is a lifelong journey (I still struggle with "diet" mentality) - but that's not a bad thing or something I need to be afraid of. In fact, there is a peace that comes (or will come) from having freedom over food. I am still working through the first mile of my journey, so reading your story has given me a lot of encouragement - thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

As someone starting my first Whole30, your post is exactly what I needed to read. Your recovery story is amazing. I have a lot of food intolerances, so your story gives me hope. I often need sleep medication and would love tosee that part of my life improve. Thank you so much and congratulations!

Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.