To fully explain what the Whole 30 did for me, I’ve got to talk about my journey. Like a lot of people, I’ve always struggled with my weight. In 2010, I spent a semester in Chicago. While there I decided to become a Pescatarian (a person who maintains a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish, eggs, and dairy products.) I worked out 7 days a week, and counted my calories religiously. I lost 45 lbs by doing this. The only down side is that I became obsessed. I would count calories in gum, and beat myself up for going a couple of calories over my 1,500 limit for the day. I worked out constantly, even when I was ill. I never stopped, and it wasn’t healthy.
When I returned home me, and my now husband had just started dating. Life happened, and I slowly started gaining my weight back. After being together for 3 years, we found out that we were expecting. I walked 3 miles every day until the weight from carrying my son caused me to pull a muscle in my stomach, and the pain would no longer allow it. I remember sitting in my OBGYN’s office, crying, and telling her that I was worried about gaining weight. She looked at me, and said “Brandy, you’re having a baby, you’re going to gain weight. It’s inevitable. Just be mindful of what you eat.” I took that as an “okay I can give into every craving that I have.” I ended up gaining 70 lbs during my pregnancy.
After my son was born I instantly dropped 24 lbs. Then I had the Mirena (an IUD) put in, which was the worst decision I have ever made. I could write an entire blog about all the side effects I suffered from, and why no woman should ever get it. One of those side effects was not being able to lose weight. I would work out, and go days without eating, and still lose nothing. There were times that I would restrict myself to a miserable amount of calories, and still the scale wouldn’t move. I know that these aren’t healthy measures of losing weight, but I was desperate. After suffering the side effects of the Mirena for 8 months I had it removed, and instantly dropped 5 lbs.
I tried going back to being that Pescatarian that counted calories, and working out like before but I was exhausted. The little bit of energy that I did have was dedicated to caring for my son. I tried other things too, like just counting my calories (the correct way), a beach body program, plexus slim, diet pills, and spark. (To name a few.) I’m not saying these things won’t work for you, they just didn’t work for me. I know several people who have been successful with these programs and products, I however, did not have the same results.
It wasn’t until I saw pictures from my sons second birthday party that I realized how big I had gotten. That’s when I had an honest conversation with myself. I wasn’t happy with how I looked or how I felt. Then I thought about the possibility of my son having to grow up without me because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I thought about my husband having to be a single dad. It shattered my heart. I knew I’d have to do something about it, something unlike anything I had ever done before. So, I started doing some research. I kept coming across these words “Clean Eating,” “80/20,” and “Paleo.” But what the hell does that even mean. I think some health gurus forget that not all of us are well versed in health, and fitness terminology. So I did a little more digging and found a reference to The Whole 30 Challenge Book. I started looking a little deeper, and liked what I was finding. Then I went to Amazon to read the negative reviews because that’s how I decide if something is worth buying or not. The negative reviews were mostly about petty things like “It took too long to ship” “Too long to be a diet book” and “Too big of a commitment”. So I bought it. It is a pretty lengthy book, however that’s because it’s teaching you about how to certain foods can affect your body, how to cook, and that overall health and well-being out weighs the number on the scale. Also it is a big commitment, but isn’t anything worth doing a big commitment?
I did my first challenge in July, and the first 10 days were so difficult that I almost quit on several occasions. However, once I made it past the “carb flu”, I felt wonderful and I had a ton of energy. Then came the ultimate obstacle; taking my son to a birthday party. There was homemade ice cream. Ice cream is my absolute favorite when it comes to desserts, and it was homemade which made it that much harder to resist. I stood my ground and was able to say no to the ice cream; I never would have been able to do that before the Whole 30. I was so proud of myself. As the challenge went on, I noticed that my skin was clearing up, that I looked less bloated, my sugar cravings were almost entirely gone, and I had a new-found confidence. I finished the challenge in August. Day 31 rolled around, and I stepped on the scale to find that I was down 17 lbs! But in all honestly, the weight loss was just an added bonus. I did all of this without having to count calories, measure my food, or starve myself.
This program taught me that there is no such thing as bad food. There is only food that makes you more healthy, and food that makes you less healthy. For the first time in my life I’m not crippled with regret and guilt because I have a brownie, or a cookie. I have a healthy relationship with food, and that’s a great feeling.
I’m currently on my second round of The Whole 30 Challenge, day 15 to be exact. I wanted to do one before the holidays, and I have plans to do another in January. So, if you’re looking for something that really works, teaches you how to make better choices, kills your cravings, and gives you a new outlook on life. I recommend giving The Whole 30 Challenge a chance.