One day, about a month ago, I woke up and crawled out of bed. I weighed myself….meh…and I looked in the mirror. I saw someone staring back at me that I didn’t recognize! I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a tired, bloated, pale, dehydrated woman with dull skin and faint dark circles under her eyes staring back at me. It was me, but it wasn’t really ME. I had never felt so unlike me than I did that morning. My inner self was tired and didn’t want to be out of my cozy bed and my outer self reflected all of what I was feeling inside. This wasn’t a new feeling, but one that was undeniable that day. I had become average. Who has a goal in life to just be average??
I got the kids off to school and crammed myself into my jeans with an oversized sweater and headed to Costco for my weekly grocery trip. There I picked up the usual groceries. Feeling the way I did I decided to pass by the muffins, cookies, croissants and bagels. I usually like to grab a few treats to have in the house. “The kids love them”, I’ve always told myself. The truth is that I loved them, too, and was so happy that I could reason with myself that I was “buying it for the kids and their friends”.
I continued my shopping and decided to peruse the book aisle. I saw a book there that I had seen another blogger reading in a post. She liked it so I decided to buy it and read it, too. (Yes, influenced by the influencer). Then I saw all of the cookbooks. One, in particular, caught my eye. It was the Whole 30 Cookbook. I remembered in that moment that my mom went on Whole 30 last year and had really good success on the diet. It was really great for her but, truthfully, it sounded like torture. Give up my coffee with 3 packs of Truvia and 4 TBSP of cream in it AND my wine at night?? You’re nuts!!
After feeling the way that I had woken up feeling that morning, I decided to buy the Whole 30 cookbook and Whole 30 Day-by-Day Daily Guide on a whim. I remember bits and pieces of what my mom had told me. Truth Bomb: I didn’t want to read the actual book. I understood enough about the process to know that during Whole 30, you are eliminating ANYTHING that may cause inflammation in your body for 30 days. There is enough information in the cookbook that I could quickly learn the purpose of what I was about to do and it offered a list of dos and don’ts and whys. Pretty much, don’t eat anything that you are currently eating because it is all bad for you!
I offered myself up to this experiment and thought, what did I have to lose. And, I was doing this tomorrow. I had Oreos in my pantry, and half-and-half in my fridge that could sabotage me but I would succeed because I was saying I would. My inner dialogue was “Damn….this is going to be hard!”. I went onto Instagram and declared that I was going to go on Whole 30 and put a poll out there to see who wanted to see the journey. 100% wanted to follow along. So, now it was spoken into reality. And, if for no other reason, I told everyone I was going to do it and didn’t want to be a liar. You know what? It was the best decision ever!
Over the past month so many people have reached out to me and given me advice when I wasn’t sure what was going to work. I had conversations and shared information and recipes with amazing people on Instagram who were also doing Whole 30. I was rallied around and was so thankful for the community! I can’t believe how many benefits came from changing to this way of eating. I had no idea just how awful I felt and for so long….until I started to feel so good. It was just my new normal and I attributed it to being in my 40s. I was so wrong!
I know about nutrition and have a daughter with a dietetics degree from Purdue. It isn’t like I am uneducated about how to eat. The weight gain and body changes happened so slowly that I really didn’t even notice that much. I cared. I just thought that, since I was no longer in the gym like I used to be and I was getting older, this was just how it was going to be. But, that is not true. I am older, yes, and I don’t get to the gym like I used to, but it doesn’t have to be like THIS.
I’ve been keeping track of how this had made me feel along the way. Here is my list of positive things that have happened to me.
Benefits of Whole 30: My Personal Experience
- Lost 5 pounds. I don’t care so much about the scale. It doesn’t send me into a tailspin if it doesn’t say what I want it to. I thought I would lose more, but it’s ok.
- Lost 6 inches off of my waist at the belly button! You guys…..6 INCHES! That’s so much! I couldn’t believe it! Whole 30 ended a week ago but I am still eating like that. It is a week later and I have lost another inch!
- Lost 2 inches off of my upper thigh. I measured 3 times. I was shocked!
- No More Bloating! I had no idea that I was so puffy. I look back at pictures from a month ago and I look like a chipmunk!
- No More Mindless Snacking! I used to walk into the pantry, mostly out of boredom, and just snack….on all of the wrong things. Now I stay out of the pantry because there is really nothing I can eat in there as so much is processed and contains stuff that I no longer want to eat. Goodbye, Oreos!
- Clear breathing. This is huge! It seems that I have lived my whole life with a stuffy nose. I was constantly sniffling. I think mostly out of habit. My sense of smell is heightened. This is a blessing and a curse. I constantly have teenage boys in my house and I have found out that they stink. Literally. But I can also smell delicious food so much better and taste it, too.
- Cravings Gone! When I went on Whole 30 I had a horrible artificial sweetener aftertaste in my mouth nonstop for about a week. I think my body was purging. It was gross. I don’t have that anymore. I have a great appreciation for the simplicity of food for what it is. A berry tastes so good to me and needs nothing extra. Simple food is just so good to me now. Clean eating is a way of life with no fillers…and it feels so good in my stomach!
- Clear skin! I have always had small breakouts (especially around that time of the month) and now I no longer have that. And my skin seems to have started to repair itself. My complexion has become evenly toned and I don’t need to wear much makeup. How exciting is that??? Also, I have a sunspot that was dark on my cheek and it is almost gone! I can’t believe it is fading so much. It has been there for years. Another thing that I just accepted as I got older.
- No Cramps. If any of you women suffer from cramps and aches around your cycle you know how awful it is! I can say that my cycle came and went without any symptoms. I was so surprised! I usually have some adverse effect on my body, but there was nothing. It was no big deal. WOW!!
- Better range of motion. I have a shoulder that is sore all of the time and has been for years. It feels like I hurt my rotator cuff. But, pain has minimized. It isn’t gone, but I am able to do movements easily that I haven’t been able to for a few years with my arm without pain.
- Clear focus. Do you ever have a conversation with someone but can’t really focus on what that person is saying and start to drift in your thoughts? I had that all the time, not on purpose. I have felt so foggy over the past few years that I was actually becoming worried about my brain. My thoughts are clear and my recall is better, too. I have clear focus when I am working on a project which is really important and I feel like my problem solving is better. I had an interview the other day and it went so well that I surprised myself. I was concise with my responses and wasn’t searching for the right words to say. It was so refreshing.
- No more headaches!! For anyone who suffers from headaches I feel you. I used to wake up with a headache at least 5 days a week. I am sure that whoever makes Excedrin had huge gains from my purchases. It just got to be the norm. I would wake up and take 2 Excedrin with my coffee just to be able to start the day. NOT ANYMORE! I am actually waiting to get a headache and can’t believe they aren’t hitting me. What a relief and I give thanks for it every day.
- Self-Control. When doing Whole 30 you will be challenged. And, depending on your habits, it will be hard. But I learned a lot about just how tenacious I really am. I have developed a new passion for ME. I have always had a passion for everyone else and their needs and now I have a renewed passion for myself.
- ENERGY! I feel so good. I have been so productive. It has been so gray and cold here this winter but I don’t have the blues. I am so motivated to finish projects that have just been waiting to be finished. You can see all of that on my Instagram stories where I capture it all! I am happy and feel good! And it feels so good to feel so good!!
- New appreciation for food. I made so many great meals that completely fall within the Whole 30 guidelines and they tasted so good. (Except for cabbage soup…that was awful.) There are a ton of recipes online and Pinterest, too, in addition to the cookbook. The cookbook was really great because it taught me so much about the process. Since purging my body of all toxins, etc. I am able to really appreciate good, clean food. And I love it!!! I no longer feel like I am missing out. I used to joke with a friend who is gluten and dairy free about how awful her food must taste. Sorry, Brooke! You were right! It is completely delicious and possible to eat this way.
Pretty amazing results, right?! Seeing all of these changes that have happened over 30 days makes me wonder what I will be like in 6 months. I feel so good eating this way that I will continue to live this way. I have had a life change. (Or a life regroup.) I feel like my old self. I am sure that I will have a treat now and then because, come on, I still love donuts. But I look at food so differently now. I wrote a post about choosing a word to live by for the year. You can read that here. My word this year is “INTENTIONAL”. This has inspired me be true to living by that word with what I am putting into my body. I want to be intentional with what I am bringing into my body and this has really helped me with that and I am so happy.
3 Ways to Help YOU Stick with It:
- Grab a partner. My daughter and I did this together. She just moved home from college and is getting back in shape. You guys, she lost 20 pounds! It helps to have someone to be miserable with…..don’t they always say “misery loves company?”. It is so great be able to talk to someone about what you’re feeling because you know they are feeling it, too. Having a partner helps to keep you motivated and on track.
- Tell everyone you know. Put it out on Instagram and Facebook, tell your whole family, tell your dog, tell everyone at work. This will help to keep you accountable. You will have a harder time throwing in the towel if you have already told everyone you are going on Whole 30.
- Don’t TRY, DO!!! Telling yourself that you are going to TRY to do Whole 30 gives you an out. It leaves room for giving up. If you say you’re going to DO Whole 30, you have spoken it into action. The chance of you succeeding is so much higher.
I hope this has helped you become excited about Whole 30 and answered any questions you have had if you have considered starting this. It was only hard in the beginning because it was like learning a new skill. There is a learning curve. I am happy to say that I didn’t cheat one time. If you cheat, you have to start all over from day 1 and that was so not happening! I was very proud of myself and really learned a lot about the self-control that I actually DO have!
Have a blessed week!!!