I am a healthy eater, a marathon runner, a spinning instructor, I work out daily, a lover of all things health related. From the outside, it probably looks like I have it all together, but to be honest, I don’t. No one does.
I have been eating healthy and have always had an interest in health for as long as I can remember. I was the little girl who wanted to be a dermatologist like her mom, a strong dancer like the older girls ( I was a competitive dancer until age 17), a runner like the olympians, and a healthy cook like the creative people featured in magazines. I looked to others for inspiration, but lately I have been finding it within myself. Learning to love myself more and more each day is hard, but worth it.
I wanted to start Whole 30 for a couple of reasons. I wanted to really feel whole, show myself that I could do this challenging “diet,” find the root of my stomach pains and horrible allergies, and to feed my body the most nutritious foods because it deserves the absolute best. I want to treat my body like a temple. God only gives you one body to take care of for the rest of your life, so why not choose wisely and treat it the way it deserves.
My stomach pains and allergies had been getting worse and worse, so I thought eliminating common problem food groups may resolve the problem. I have been gluten free for almost three years due to health complications like stomach pain, migraines, vision problems, fatigue, etc. Because I have not eaten gluten for quite some time now, (and if I do, I am sick for at least a week), I suspected that my heavy dairy consumption was related to my stomach pain. I have never cut dairy out long enough to fully understand the effects it had on my body. One, because I love greek yogurt and Halotop ice cream, and two because I didn’t think that I could stick with it.
I started Whole 30 because I was ready to feel my best and understand what was going on with my body better. I wanted to reap the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and not feel bloated or sick way too often.
If you’re not familiar with Whole 30, the program removes all of the most common allergens from your diet for 30 days. It does not allow for mistakes, exceptions, or any excuses. After 30 days, foods are slowly reintroduced back into your diet. The goal is to better understand the effects the foods have on your body.
I have to be honest, I did not complete the program perfectly. I had a few slip-ups, which the program frowns upon. I made some conscious decisions regarding foods that weren’t allowed once I realized I had messed up. I know, I know, this is bad and not allowed, but I am being honest. Here’s one example of me being non compliant: peanuts are not allowed and I had a Lara bar containing peanuts and other assorted nuts. Was I going to throw out the bar after not realizing, already opening it, and taking a bite? Absolutely not. I paid for the wholesome bar and it’s not bad for me. I know this is technically not allowed, but hey I did it. This was just one example, these mistakes occurred other times throughout this journey, but I didn’t let it ruin my day or just throw in the towel.
As I stated before, my main concern was my dairy consumption, and I can truthfully say that I did not have a trace of dairy for these past thirty days. That is success to me, small, but still meaningful. Without dairy, my skin cleared up even more and my stomach pains decreased. I feel good about what I accomplished and that I better understand how to take care of my body.
Overall I had a good experience with Whole 30, but to be completely honest, I do not think that I will commit to this program again. I felt restricted. I know this way of living is not restrictive and is supposed to be “wholesome,” and that I may be “missing the point of the program,” but as someone who (I would consider) to be pretty healthy, this was probably not the best choice.
I often felt deprived and wanting more than the staples I had been eating day in and day out. This feeling my have started simply because I had spent many days thinking of everything I wasn’t “allowed” to eat. Needless to say, there is a reason this program is only 30 days long. It is challenging.
I went into the program knowing that there were certain foods that I would not be allowed to eat. This was not easy, but I felt good about refraining from those foods in an effort to learn more about what was going on with my body.
At first, I didn’t feel as if I was restricting myself from foods that I wanted, rather, I was replacing them with foods that would make me feel better. After about a week or two, it felt restrictive. I did not want to fall into the cycle of restricting and binging, or the all or nothing mindset. I have done it in the past and I know restriction is not healthy for me (or anyone really).
The feeling of restriction, 9 times out of 10, leads to an unhealthy mindset and habits when it comes to food. Listen to your body, it knows what you need. To me, this is a healthier decision than sticking 100% to Whole 30 or any restrictive diet. Yes, I may have let myself have a piece of dark chocolate here or there (which is a big no no), but at least I didn’t binge on a whole jar of almond butter, which is whole 30 approved.
My point here is, listen to your body. There is no one size fits all. Everyone is different. Every single body is different. Treat yours with love and respect. Enjoy every thing you put in your mouth, don’t feel pressured to eat or look a certain way. You are so beautifully and uniquely made.