March 27, 2014
Day 10: Last night, I had a dream that I mindlessly ate a bite of chocolate cake and then immediately broke down in tears because I had blown my Whole30 diet. I was so relieved to wake up and discover it was just a nightmare. Apparently, by day 10, even your subconscious is afraid of sugar. Honestly, I am loving Whole30. Today, I put on a shirt that I can only wear on "skinny days." I feel leaner overall and have noticed a big difference in my arms and chest. I'm never hungry. I feel calmer, happier, and more patient with my kids. I've always been a little afraid of food. Afraid that no matter what I ate it would somehow make me fat, destroy my heart, or give me cancer. I counted calories like crazy for five years, trying desperately to manage my weight and control my cravings. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I just felt like a failure. Whole30 is healing my relationship with food. For so long, I have been a slave to programs that I thought would keep me slim or cravings that I knew would not. With Whole30, I am learning to trust my body's signals. I eat what my body says it needs, when it asks. I have tracked calories a few days, just to learn what my body likes. It's amazing to me how consistently my body balances calorie count and percentages of proteins/carbs/fats. Day after day, my body asks for what it needs, even when I'm not focusing on numbers. I have never been a great cook. Experimenting with food seemed so scary. But the limits of Whole30 have made cooking less intimidating. I feel so free, so creative. I love all the color. I love the delicate, subtle flavors. I love exploring foods I have never tried/liked before. I love that Whole30 is helping me lose weight, but I am happier that it has dissolved my fears.
April 4, 2014Day 18: Today was my baby's first birthday. I spent the better part of yesterday and today carving and frosting a pirate ship cake for his celebration. For me, this is an important family tradition. The first birthday is all about that messy slice of cake, and I want the cake to be special. I wasn't going to skip the tradition just because I couldn't eat the final product. In the past, I would have eaten all the cake scraps and licked the frosting bowl clean, eating until I felt sick. But this time, I wasn't even tempted. In fact, I discovered something incredible: the creative process is what I crave, not the sugar high. Creating relieves stress and brings me joy. This is one reason I've found so much pleasure in playing with Whole30 ingredients. I don't need the sweets to fix my emotions; I need the creative outlet, the chance to play. I also love sharing my creations with my family. Watching my little boy shovel fistfuls of cake into his mouth and lick his tray clean made me feel giddy. Of course, I don't want him to live on these sugary sweets. But I'm happy the indulgence was prepared and gifted in love. I think a little indulgence, chosen carefully and mindfully, is good for the soul. Whole30 prepares us to be discerning and selective about our indulgences and to savor them without letting them drag us into an unhealthy cycle of sugar dependence. We learn to eat clean so we can CHOOSE when we want to indulge. This is power, not failure.
April 7, 2014Day 21: My commitment to health and fitness began five years ago. I completely overhauled my diet and exercise routine. I went from eating a poorly designed "vegetarian" diet full of pasta and white bread to a mostly paleo diet high in protein. I discovered weight lifting and realized I loved it more than running (which I'd been doing since high school). I worked hard and lost 18 lbs. and 10% body fat. I maintained that weight loss for four years. Then we adopted two babies in two months, and suddenly, I didn't have the physical energy or mental discipline to stick to my healthy habits. I tried over and over but failed again and again. I gained back 13 lbs., and I was furious with myself. I knew how to eat properly; I just kept putting it off, saying, "Tomorrow is the day!" Then I'd indulge in a "last" dessert and start in the morning. Within 3-7 days, I'd break under emotional or social pressure, eating an embarrassing serving of dessert and going back for seconds. As I watched @jennaskitchen complete her first Whole30, I knew this was the answer for me. I knew that once I committed to 30 days, I could do it. I just needed fixed, inflexible rules to get me back on track. Sticking to the rules takes time and planning, but on day 21, it feels like I've always lived this way. If you've been putting off getting started, don't! There will always be an event on the horizon. There will always be a reason to wait. Don't indulge in a "last" dessert. Don't wait! Start now! In 30 days, you will thank yourself.
April 16, 2014Day 30: When I started Whole30, I wanted two things: to lose inches around my waist and to kick my sugar cravings. I was so excited about what I might lose that I didn't give much thought to what I might gain. No before and after shots could capture my transformation. I feel like I've been reborn. Whole30 has given me self-control, patience, courage, steady energy, confidence, and above all, joy. In fact, for the first time since burying my daughter, I feel as if I can truly INDULGE in the beautiful, happy moments of my life. I have experienced many happy moments since losing my daughter, but it has been difficult for me to sink deep into any emotion--joy or sorrow. I have been holding back a piece of myself. Whole30 has helped me to feel mentally lighter and more at ease in my own skin. I feel more relaxed and more capable of handling stressful situations. I laugh more. I smile more easily. I feel present in my life. Do I still have emotional days? Absolutely! In fact, three days ago, I sat on the floor and cried over spilt milk--literally. But anxiety and frustration seem to pass more quickly, and soon I feel happy and in control again. I can't adequately explain how different I feel inside, but last night, a dear friend told me that she has seen a dramatic change in my aura over the last month. She told me that I radiate happiness as never before. Whole30 has transformed me in so many wonderful ways, which is why I do not intend to stop today. Tomorrow will be day 31 of Whole60.
May 20, 2014
Whole60 Recap: Last Friday, I completed my second consecutive round of Whole30. The two rounds couldn't have been more different, but each helped me become better acquainted with my physical body and my soul. Round 1 built me up, revealing beauty, passion, creativity, courage, and confidence I'd never experienced. After years of struggling with body dysmorphia, I no longer stepped on the scale to evaluate my self-worth or looked in the mirror with disgust. Instead, I felt beautiful, confident, and satisfied with my physical appearance. For the first time in my life, I felt capable and creative in the kitchen. I stopped fearing food and took responsibility for what I put in my body--no one else had power over me. I felt so amazing inside and out that a second round sounded easy. For the next two weeks, I was in a groove. Whole60 felt effortless. But the program isn't meant to be effortless. It is meant to change you--over and over again. Change requires pressure, and that's exactly what the last two weeks brought into my life. While round 1 made me feel invincible, round 2 tried to break my spirit. As I struggled to raise four kids, pack my house, train for a half marathon, and juggle life, I felt the temptation of old habits lurking nearby, trying to break me down by telling me food could relieve my stress. I felt guilty for snacking on carrots and strawberries, even though I thought round 1 had freed me of food-related shame. Under stress, I felt my confidence waiver and my creativity suffer. Yet, despite these mental setbacks, I held strong. Thanks to round 1, I knew I was more powerful than I felt, so even though I felt mentally and physically drained, I kept fighting. Round 1 showed me my strengths, and round 2 vetted my weaknesses. Struggling forced me to think deeply about what I wanted from "life after Whole30." Each round blessed me with knowledge and tools to help me develop a battle plan for the future. For me, Whole30 has been a journey to self-discovery more than a weight-loss plan. This is why I am such a huge advocate of the program: I believe knowing yourself is a crucial step toward developing a healthy, balanced lifestyle you can sustain over time. Whole30 is just one pathway. There are other equally good plans, and I encourage you to find what works for you.