If you asked me to give up all gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, alcohol AND sugar for 30 days straight a few months ago, I would have laughed in your face. I maybe would have whipped out some cheese and crackers and poured the wine or reached for the bread basket.
Really? Giving up all this is going to do all that for my body and my health? Girl you crazy.
Then I got sick. Like really, really sick. And I wasn’t getting better.
My doc prompted me to look back on all of my recent illnesses and chronic health struggles: migraine headaches, the worst PMS and cramps, digestive issues, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome– more on that later) hormonal and mood imbalances. Even since I was a little girl, was constantly plagued by stomach aches and fatigue.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired all. the. time.
I realized I had hit the point where I was used to feeling at least a little bit icky each day until I forget what it was like to feel truly healthy. I was caught in a new normal that is really not normal at all, or the way God intended for me to live. (I think we can all relate to this in some way, yea?)
While sipping wine in a pal’s kitchen in late April, I picked up her Whole30 book at random. The conviction was fast and piercing like an arrow through the heart: I had lifestyle changes I needed to make. The Whole30 Program was to be my fresh start.
Now on Day 33, I’m reflecting. Here’s what I noticed during my journey:
It’s Donut Day. Yes, I enjoyed one and savored every bite.
- I’ll be real–not drinking in social situations was a toughie. There were a few weekends I just really wanted to join in and crack a cold one in the park.
- If I didn’t take the time to grocery shop and meal plan, I was up a creek, man.
- The uncomfortable inflated-balloon bloating stage of my digestion working itself out. (This stage is normal, says the pros).
- The other eh hem, “digestive habits” sorting themselves out were not chill…
- Saying goodbye to sweets after dinner was hard. But necessary. But hard!
- No toast for my avocado… #basic
- Holding up a line while asking a million ingredient questions at one restaurant. The servers were so nice about it, but I was feeling the pressure from hungry bellies behind me.
- Fresh tortillas for burritos. CHIPS for my guac. Little Star Pizza…Enough said.
While reading the list above, you may be thinking–where is the fun in all of this? That’s not living. What the heck, dude? To you I say, hold up– keep reading.
I’ll be brutally honest. The Whole30 is. hard. There’s no question about this. But the most difficult part? Committing to Day 1. To starting. To deciding I was worth making these lifestyle changes for, to preparing myself to transform my relationship with food and heal my body.
Was it worth it? Read on friend, let this list be my answer:
- I lost belly fat and inches around my midsection (which has always been my struggle due to PCOS and insulin resistance–more on this later).
- The muscles I have been working so hard to strengthen are finally defined! I can flex and make a bicep and see soft lines of my abs I have never ever seen before.
- I have a LOT more energy in my day–no 3pm crash anymore.
- The hormonal acne popping up around my chin virtually disappeared after Day 10 and I’ve been told my skin “glows”.
- I feel much stronger in my workouts, like for REAL stronger.
- I fall asleep faster, wake up easier, earlier and more refreshed. (My alarm is set for 5:07-5:27am every day now, and I’m ready to go.) <– this is one of my most-noticeable changes!
- My taste buds are changing and my cravings, especially for sugar, have drastically diminished.
- I fell back in love with cooking, and ignited a passion for holistic nutrition.
- Most importantly, I began seeing food as nourishment and medicine, not an emotional crutch.
Wow. When I look at the above list and reflect, I am amazed.
Sure, I feel good and notice a change, but when I pause to actually write it all out, I see the true power food has on our bodies. On my body. I not only see change, I feel it deep down to my bones.
Unfortunately I’m saying a big ‘goodbye’ for-almost-ever to cheese
Right now, I feel more than good. I feel dang confident in my own skin, which radiates outward into the work I do and the spin classes I teach. I want to continue until I’ve developed the health habits well-suited for me and my body.
So is Whole30 worth it? Yes. Will I do it again? Yes. Will it change your life? That’s for you to decide. It did for me. There is so much more I want to dive into on this topic, so prepare yourself for the onslaught of posts to come (including how to prepare, more of my journey, kitchen hacks and more.)
In the meantime, remember every BODY is unique. There is no “one size cure-all” for whatever ails you. Also important to note– this is NOT a weight loss program or crash diet. Nope, no way, not even. (We don’t do those thangs ’round here…)
Taking on changes and challenges such as Whole30 is a decision not to take lightly. Think on it, pray on it, and speak to your healthcare professional about it (myself & other bloggers are NOT pros!). This is just my story–but it may ring true to yours in some way, as well. More to come…