I’ve never really been one to care about what foods I eat. Have I counted calories? Cut carbs? Sure. But when it came to the quality of my food, my philosophy was basically: “If it tastes good, I’ll eat it.” I’ve been lucky enough to never encounter any food allergies or restrictions — that I knew of. I have, however, struggled with food in general. A lot. For most of my adult life, I can honestly say I feel like I have never had a healthy relationship with food. I either over eat or over restrict. I’ve been all over the place as far as my weight goes. I’ve been called anything from “fat” to “anorexic” to my face. And let me tell you, it all hurts.
After getting into the best shape of my life and maintaining it for quite a few years, I later found myself falling into a depression — sometimes not even wanting to get out of bed, let alone going out to exercise. There was no obvious reason for the depression, but there doesn’t have to be. Like many others do, I turned to food. I ate, I drank, I felt sorry for myself, I made excuses. On top of that, the migraines that had basically disappeared for about 10 years were coming back with a vengeance. So was insomnia. I was in my mid-30s. I felt like I was at the age where I should have my shit together, not be in this situation, so I was honestly embarrassed to talk about it. Long story short, I finally did talk about it. “They” say that’s the first step, right? It’s been a long journey, and I’m feeling much better today. One of the things that has made me feel much better is a major change in my food choices.
Now that anyone can publish things on the internet (even me!), it can be difficult to know what to believe when it comes to our health. Everything seems to contradict each other. I had heard about the Whole 30 program and really never considered it. 30 days of restricting dairy, sugar, ALCOHOL? No thanks. But after having one of the worst migraines of my life, as well as hearing success stories from good and trusted friends, I decided to try it. Maybe it would help me lose weight. It’s actually not designed as a weight loss plan, but many people do lose weight. My number one goal was to determine what was triggering my migraines, but also to just feel better overall. What is Whole 30? Read an excerpt from whole30.com:
What is Whole30? Read an excerpt from whole30.com:
“Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.”
Here is a very basic list of what to avoid:
- Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial.
- Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
- Do not eat grains.
- Do not eat legumes.
- Do not eat dairy.
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
- Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.
More details of the program here.
WAT? I finished?
So here I am. I finished the 30 days. And to be completely honest, I’m sad that it’s over. But the good news is I don’t have to end it. I can still incorporate the program into my life as much as I want. I am currently in the reintroduction portion. This is where I will systematically add off-plan foods back into my diet and see how they make me feel. Otherwise, I am still eating the Whole30 way as my “control”. Hopefully, I will determine the triggers so I can avoid them in the future.
In the meantime, I plan to keep my food choices as close to Whole30 as possible. As someone who has been on 120037489374 diets, I know how easy it is to have a cheat meal that turns into a day that turns into a weekend that turns into a week…you get the idea. Read below for my results!
Here are my 30-day results!
- 11.5 lbs lost
- 4.5 inches lost
Non-scale Victories (NSV)
- No migraines
- Need less coffee
- Sugar cravings gone
- Less snacking/emotional eating
- More energy
- Depression relieved (note: I am on anti-depressants as well – not giving all the credit to my food choices)
- Going to the gym 4-5 days per week
- Better sleep
In the end, do I think everyone needs to go out and try Whole30? No. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all “diet” or lifestyle change for every single person. Do what feels best for you. I’m also not going to lie and say I have astounding amounts of energy — I’m still an overweight 36-year-old woman with some pounds to lose and muscle to tone, but damn I feel better and I am also way more motivated to keep going so I can feel even better.