After struggling with chronic inflammation and an injury that just wouldn’t heal,I found myself at a crossroads. Literally. I was standing in the street in front of a brewery chatting with my husband’s friend about weight loss, nutrition, and injury. I decided then and there I would do my first Whole30. I am a furiously loyal person when it comes to making up my mind about following through with goals I set for myself. If you’re familiar with the Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, I am a Questioner to the bone.I need to know WHY I’m doing what I’m doing and if I believe it in I will follow through whole-heartedly.
I decided to embark on a Whole30 journey to try to address the painful inflammation I had been experiencing, but I also wanted to lose weight I had gained after my wedding (could I be more cliche?).
In hindsight, I started that first Whole30 looking for a quick-fix, but discovered that food freedom was not 30 days away.
Years before my wedding and leading up to the big day, I had lost about 50 lbs by meticulously counting points, weighing my food, and eating various forms of Frankenfood (thanks for that term, Melissa Hartwig) I still didn’t feel my best and I had become obsessed with counting points and chasing a number on the scale. I was fed up. I had a moment of realization thinking I needed to weigh/measure/track every bite of food that goes in my mouth for the rest of my days if I wanted to avoid seeing the number on the scale rise and fall over and over again.
Fed up with the constant counting and tracking, I decided to try the Whole30 after chatting with this dear friend. I was intrigued by a program that literally stated in the rules DO NOT COUNT CALORIES. I also got to eat real food with fat in it (GASP!)
I had spent years avoiding things like nuts and avocados because of their fat content like so many other men and women trying to find their way in a word of contradictory information. The sugar industry is a real dick, eh?
So, in May of 2017 I armed myself with every piece of Whole30 literature I could get my hands on and a grocery haul the size of my SUV that would change my world forever. Since that time, I have completed two full rounds of Whole30 and several mini rounds. That first round however is the round that changed the way I see food and began to repair that relationship I had spent years unknowingly damaging.
Here are some of the things I learned in those 30 days…
- Eat fat, lose fat. It’s science
- Apparently all vegetables taste different. Some are even sweet!
- Sleep affects everything- hunger, mood, brain clarity, everything!
- You should never go hungry. If you’re hungry after a meal, you didn’t eat enough.
- Processed sugar is the devil- legit evil and scary stuff.
- People will either support you or judge you when you change your diet or your lifestyle. It doesn’t really matter which one if you’re in it for you.
- Eggs are not just for breakfast. Brussel sprouts are not just for dinner.
- You may not know you feel like shit until you don’t.
- Making things at home like salad dressing, mayo, and lattes is so satisfying (and affordable!)
- Food will either make you healthier or less healthy. There is no good or bad.
That first round of Whole30 changed so much about the way I view food and the way I view myself. I know now that different foods serve different purposes.
For example, the grilled salmon I had last night gave me a serving of healthy fat and protein while the cream cheese frosted fruit tart gave me all the feels that my friends remembered my birthday. Neither the salmon nor the tart are good or bad. They are just food. There will be foods like the tart that are worth the sugar and gluten and foods that are not worth the potential consequences. I may have felt like I digested a brick, but I did not feel guilty for eating the tart. And that my friends, is food freedom.