This post is a continuation of my Whole30® success story. If you would like to read Part 1, go here.
A year ago, I wrote about how I led myself to a very unhealthy and unhappy place due to my poor eating habits and lack of physical activities. My relationship with food was dysfunctional. I snacked when I was bored, turned to food when I was stressed out, rewarded myself at the end of a tough day with food, and justified my poor food choices by telling myself I deserved a day of indulgence, with no holds barred. I would engage in emotional eating, which would lead to self-loathing, then to a short period of guilt dieting, and then back to emotional eating. Each perpetuating the other to no end. I was stuck in this awful cycle, until I discovered this life-changing program called Whole30.
What is Whole30?
I’ll be straightforward. I’m not going to talk about what the program is and what it is not; however, I’m going to share what the program means to me, based on my experience. To me, Whole30 is a commitment to eating nothing but nutrient-dense, real, whole food for a full 30 days. It is a program that transformed my relationship with food, which empowered me to take control of my health. I highly recommend reading the book, It Starts With Food, for all the science-y stuff, and checking out the Whole30 website to learn about the program in great depth.
By the time I committed to my first round of Whole30, I had already started making small changes to my lifestyle. So I had this notion that clean eating was going to be a walk in the park. Never have I been so wrong in my life! I didn’t realize how dysfunctional my relationship with food was until I had to make mindful decisions about what I ate and how I prepared my meals. In the beginning it felt crippling and stifling. I recall moments during my first round when I wanted to throw the towel. My self-talk involved the old, overweight me telling the vulnerable me that I didn’t need this, and that I’m an adult. I should be able to eat whatever the heck I want, when I want. But as I persisted, I discovered the purpose of the program. The pay off was remarkable. I’m glad I stuck with it.
I have to admit, at first I was mostly in it for the weight loss. But on my second round, I realized that it was more than that. Aside from the benefit of weight loss and improved body composition, I slept better. I also noticed this surge in my energy levels, which in turn made a huge impact on my efficiency and productivity at work and the gym. I literally felt awesome. All. Frickin’. Day.
On top of this, the health issues I was experiencing (facial acne, bloatedness, hives, and migraines) all disappeared. But the most important of all were the psychological benefits. Whole30 changed my life by changing my relationship with food. I began to look at food in a different light. If I was going to eat something, I wanted it to be nutrient-dense. I wanted my nourishment to come from real, whole food. I learned to eat mindfully. If I was hungry, I ate. If I felt satiated, I stopped eating. If I was tired, I rested. And if I was bored or stressed out, I learned to not turn to food. I developed a firm handle on my cravings. I was in control of my food choices.
I also learned to enjoy drinking coffee black. It’s been over two years since I’ve added sugar and poured creamer in my coffee.
Life After Whole30
Since my last post, I have attempted three more rounds, and successfully finished one of the three. I’ve done multiple Whole7’s and Whole10’s in between. Each one was a unique experience for me. Whole30 has become my go-to whenever I felt I was losing my footing, and needed a reset. And like what everyone in the community says, each round builds on the previous. With each round, I’m learning new and creative ways to prepare my meals, and I’m getting better at food label reading.
I’m still evolving, and I’m still learning. This health thing is a life-long journey. It’s growth mindset. The more you build on your strategies, the more you become successful at being the boss of your own health. That to me, by far, is the best outcome of the program.