Why I Love Whole30 and How I Fared This Year
Updated: Feb 3, 2020
February 3, 2020
Ever since my pregnancy with my oldest child (back in 1996), I have been on a health quest. Being pregnant made me more aware of the importance of taking care of myself in a way I had never thought of or questioned before. This is when I began seeking information on what foods were and were not good for my body. The first thing I did was remove soda from my diet and replace it with water.
Many years have passed since 1996. Many diet fads have been tested, old information has been replaced with the new, and I have become more aware and better educated in what it really means to be healthy. This has been learned by seeking better, more reliable sources and, of course, trial and error.
In late 2013, I stumbled across the Paleo Diet. For the first time, I got really excited about a “diet” and mostly because it made sense. I’m not one to take things at face value—I like to do my homework and experience it to know. What I found is that the Paleo diet really isn’t a diet at all. I always hesitate to use that term because it is a lifestyle. It’s designed to help you learn and choose a way of eating and living that relies on whole foods—not processed—and removing known problematics foods.
Now, if you’re familiar with the Paleo Diet, then you’re probably familiar with the Whole30. It’s like a steppingstone into following a Paleo lifestyle but one that is a bit more restrictive and acts as a detox for the body.
The first Whole30 I completed was in January 2014. Once I tried it, I was hooked. I felt better. I slept better. My skin was healthier, and the list goes on. But when my daily headaches vanished—that was a game-changer for me. I won’t go into the science and details here and I’m in no way suggesting that you try it. I am only here to share my experience with you, but you will find links to resources throughout this blog if you’re interested.
My realistic plan is 80/20. 80% of the time I follow it properly. I am now fully aware of what my body likes and does not like—it shows me. 20% of the time I allow myself to indulge for time with my friends, birthdays, holidays—whatever. This works for me. Unfortunately, I lost track of myself this past year. I didn’t place enough importance on my personal needs and health and I slowly and steadily slipped back into old eating habits. They closely mimicked a 60/40 plan—and it started to show.
But it’s a new year and a new decade which comes with new goals. Like every January since 2014, I complete a Whole30. At the creation of this post, I have completed my final day. 30 whole days of eating whole foods that nourish my body, fuel my energy and heal me in ways I can’t always see.
This has been the toughest of all of them. Not because I felt restricted—I know exactly what I can and can’t eat during this time and I know what I like. No, it’s the personal setbacks and struggles that have afflicted my mind and my heart and I know that has indirectly affected my outcome. I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to shed and I didn’t regain the excess energy that usually follows the completion of a Whole30. Not this time.
But I did gain something through this Whole30 experience.
I gained a little more discipline. I started and continued even when there were days I didn’t want to. I chose to buy, prepare and eat the right foods even when I was exhausted, tempted or felt there was no time for it. I chose to invest in myself—in a very small way. And I chose it every.single.day. The Whole30 challenges me to do my best in a way that rewards my mind, my body, and my health.
These are just a few of the reasons why I love the Whole30.
My January 2020 Whole30 is complete but my journey is not. This year, I am committed to reclaiming and optimizing my health through food, through movement, through rest, through laughter and through content and people that motivate and inspire me daily. As Melissa and Dallas Hartwig powerfully state in the title of their book, “It Starts With Food” and I couldn’t agree more.
If you find yourself like many others—settled back into old routines and habits, just remember—it’s never too late to start. Find your “why”. Ask yourself why you're setting certain goals and what you really want to change? The true answers will motivate you and give you purpose throughout your journey.
So tell me—what are your personal and/or professional goals and why? I’d love to hear from you.