Have you ever done something so difficult that you felt like giving up? I did. About two months ago, I embarked on this journey that changed my relationship with food. It was challenging. It was exciting. It was frustrating. The best part of it all was that it was rewarding. But how can something be all of those things at once, you might ask? It’s called Whole30®, and I am here to share my experience with you.
Life Before Whole30®
I first heard of the Whole30® program in Spring of 2014. I discovered this program during a friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner. One of the couples I sat with was doing their first round of the program, and was sharing their experience. Call it serendipitous. During that time, I was at my heaviest, a whopping 191 lbs. All that weight was tough on me. My energy level was at an all-time low. I felt inefficient and sluggish. I was also dealing with a systemic inflammation which started in 2012. My immune system was out of whack, and it manifested itself in acne, digestive issues, hives, and migraines. It was undermining my health.
Aside from the physical struggles that go with being overweight (in my case, obese), I also battled with the psycho-emotional stress. I hated the way I looked. It didn’t matter how pretty the dress was or how expensive the shoes were, I felt ugly. I felt sloppy, and lacked self-confidence. My poor self-image was at its peak. The crappier I felt about my well-being, the more I turned to food. Consequently, this increased my feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem. It was a vicious cycle. Sadly enough, the thing that gave me temporary happiness was the same thing that propelled my weight gain.
As I progressively got heavier, my health issues worsened. I knew I needed to do something about my health. I had all the excuses and not enough motivation to actually do anything with it. After that dinner rehearsal, I went home convinced that I had to start somewhere. So I looked up the Whole30® program online. It got me so intrigued that I ended up purchasing the audible book behind the program, It Starts With Food, before shutting down my computer.
So I listened to the book over and over. It wasn’t until January 2015 when I made a decision to take control of my health. I began paying attention to what I was eating, after all, it starts with food. I made a habit of journaling my daily food intake using myfitnesspal. The more I became aware of what I was putting in my body, the easier it was when it came to making better food choices. Before I knew it, I have eliminated a lot of “junk” and unknowingly switched over to somewhat of a Paleolithic diet. Along with the regular trips to the gym and a relatively healthier diet, I began noticing the positive physical changes happening to me.
Interestingly, despite the lifestyle changes I’ve made, it wasn’t enough. I still fell victim to my own weaknesses. On days I craved for something salty, I’d go for the bag of chips sitting on the counter. My resolve was not strong enough to keep me from reaching for the candy bar in the cabinet. Sugar was still my number one nemesis.
At this point I knew there was nothing else left to do but dive into the Whole30® program. I will talk more about my experience (two rounds of it) during and life after in my next post.
In the meantime, if you have not yet heard of the program, and are interested in learning more about it, please visit the Whole30® website. There’s no better place to learn about it than the website itself.