This Thing is GOLD
Over the last 3 years I’ve recommended Whole30 to more more friends and acute acquaintances than I can count than I could count. I believe so much in this program, I believe everyone should give it a try at least once. My feelings toward this program come from realizing how much a person can learn about how food affects his or her body. Many call it a diet, and it is, in a sense, but it’s so much more than that!
Love/Hate Relationship with Food
Weight loss from Whole30 is just scratching the surface of what this program can do for your health and your life. When I found Whole30, I was in a place where I was tired of counting my macros and tired of the “cheat meals”. You know, the meals that turned into days. It also made me crazy living when I realized I was living for the next “cheat”.
We use the word “cheat” to describe when we eat “off plan”. But the word cheat literally means: to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. For me, thinking about food as a cheat is NOT a good option. This is because I already have some dishonest behaviors when it comes to food.
Time to Retrain my Brain
Plus, my addictive personality definitely hasn’t done me any favors when it comes to fried foods or sweets. Why keep a bag of chips or carton of ice cream around when you can eat it all in one sitting? Thankfully I married a man who doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy when I explain my thoughts. But my whole attitude towards food makes me insane. Moreover, unlike alcohol, you can’t just abstain from food. For 7 years, I focused my efforts on trying to be “healthy”. I did this with cookie cutter nutrition and tracking my food with apps like Myfitnesspal. It worked okay, for a while. But when I was tired enough of it all, I’d binge. I hated every minute of it.
If you haven’t, it may be helpful to read my Whole30 introduction story from 2016. It was written when I was first riding the Whole30 pink cloud. I’m definitely off that pink cloud these days, and have my ups and downs with foods. The downs especially come with the stressors of life. But it’s kind of like an alcoholic who goes to AA for a while and then decides to go back to the bars. Food has become less fun, now knowing what I know. Which isn’t bad! It is actually very empowering. Especially in a culture surrounded by food.
A Changed Mindset
After that first round, I blogged about my Non Scale Victories. I shared about my experience with anyone who would listen. Many people were interested in trying it because they saw my physical transformation — I lost 16 lbs in 30 days and I was eating awesome foods and not counting a thing! Talk about freedom from food! That may sound weird because there were so many things I “couldn’t eat”, but thankfully the program encouraged me to focus on what I COULD eat. And I was loving all the fresh produce and delicious high quality meats. To this day, because of Whole30, I love to cook and I have a new appreciation for foods.
With all this knowledge about food, and how it impacts my gut, brain, joints, etc., I’m at least finally equipped to make educated decisions. It doesn’t mean I always make the best choices, I’m still human and “bad” food can taste so good. But I’m finding alternatives to the foods I’ve always loved. A resource that really took all of this knowledge to another level for me has been Melissa Hartwig’s book Food Freedom Forever. It’s not that anything in the book was super profound, but it was almost like talking to a counselor about how I can make this new knowledge work for me on a daily basis and when life stuff happens. I’m still figuring this out and adding to my “worth it” list regularly — and also removing things from it.
Progress is Key
This journey to Food Freedom will continue for me for a while, but I plan to share this experience with you all. I know I’m not alone in many of the feelings and behaviors I experience. I also know a big piece of overcoming is being vulnerable and honest. So here I am to say, if you struggle with food like I do, Whole30 might be a great place to start. You might lose some weight, your skin might clear up, your clothes will likely fit better and you’ll definitely have more energy. But the best part of it is that you’ll gain some new knowledge on your journey to Food Freedom!