Wholeheartedly Whole30: My Transformation Story
By: Laura Mo
I know the Whole30 people would want me to say that my journey started on Day1, October 21st 2015, but it’s not true… I’m getting emotional thinking and writing about this (aw shit, I’m tearing up…). In reality, my journey began the day I screamed out loud, “I CAN’T DO IT!” while my weak little arms were giving out during a backwards crab walking exercise at Bootcamp with Katie B. She proceeded to yell at me with a strong determination in her voice, “DO NOT SAY THAT! YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN!”
That is really where my journey begins. I had a “Snap Moment”, like many people have in their lives, when we realize that health needs to become a priority. Maybe it is triggered when you are pushed to your limits. Maybe it is just some negative experience or feeling that you decide to turn into a positive. In any case, I hope, (dear pre-Whole30 reader), that you have your Snap Moment. It will come in handy during the hard times. For me, I go back to that place and time, and I hear a firm and familiar voice that says, “Yes, you can.”
In April 2015, I was 139lbs (which is heavy for me because I am short), unhappy and ready for a Capital “C” Change. I made a commitment to get fit with FitKatieB (aka. my best friend). I joined a gym in April and followed her blog, inspired by what I saw and read there. Katie opened a door for me that would eventually lead to a great number of good choices, and for that I am so grateful. One step at a time really is an important transitioning theory into health. Ultimately, one good decision leads to a series of other good decisions, although, the same is true for bad decisions. In my earliest moments of fitness, Katie made me a specialized plan, and patiently took me through exercises as part of a body weight, or “Booty” bootcamp. I started actively working out with my plan in July 2015. She gave me specialized help, and the best encouragement I’ve ever had. She made modifications for my pushups and let me know it was “ok” to be at my own starting place. I took that starting place to a gym and began to work out on my own.
Special Note: For me, proximity was key for getting into a regular gym routine. Please heed this advice! Make sure your gym is close to your house or work. You want to go by it every day and think, “Why am I not there (working out)?” especially on those days you don’t go. Out of sight is really is out of mind, so make sure your gym is part of your immediate vision (literally) whenever possible.
The Extenuating Circumstances
I can’t neglect some important facts. This adventure into fitness started around the same time that my body decided to send me a twoweek, nonstop, “HowamInotdeadfromthis?” period. By June I experienced a 30-day period. I wrote a lengthy personal writing piece called, “The very serious impediment of my femaleness” (very graphic, maybe way too feminist?) after I experienced nonstop, all around, hell. The backstory is this: I’ve been struggling for two years with severe PMS/PMDD (Please look it up if you want to know more). I had all the symptoms under the sun and about 2.5 weeks of every month since I turned 30 years old! All sorts of BS! This stuff is real, yo, and I credit these problems as causing stress and strains in my personal (read: Family) and professional life. Anyway, if April was my starting point for fitness, June was my breaking point. My body had to change.
I started eliminating carbs. I really cut back on grains and saw a difference in my mental health and energy levels. I was working out every day. I was getting sucked into the gymrat lifestyle and feeling so much gratitude to have the time as a school teacher on vacay to dedicate to my health over the summer months. I also started to gain confidence and take a closer look at my partner of 5 years. His lifestyle choices specifically were not on par with my own. His values and mine conflicted. I felt I was moving forward in a positive direction and the stronger I got, the weaker my partner was becoming literally, shrinking before my eyes and, away from responsibilities, commitment and generally looking depleted, ill and unhealthy. I made the decision to break up with my partner of five years in early August. In hindsight, the list of reasons relate a lot more to my selfrespect and confidence than his eating/health habits. The breakup was a defining cornerstone in my journey towards the strong commitment that the Whole30 requires.
My Whole30 Journey
Starting Weight: 128 Lbs, 5 foot 2 inches
Day30: 121.5 Lb
I did a week of research and prep for my start date and away I went. I committed to the Whole30 program with a friend and I encourage others to find a friend as well. There are some dark days, believe me. Talking through your feelings with someone you trust; who shares a common goal, is a real gift.
My reasons for starting should be fairly apparent by now, but let me get into some of the less obvious reasons. If you’re thinking of starting the program, you really need to consider your reasons and take a “big picture” approach. Make sure your reasons aren’t just superficial drop ‘dem pounds reasons.
Here are Mine:
- Eliminating symptoms related to PMDD, abnormal period and chronic fatigue
- Improving BMI
- I love to cook and I’m an artist and I thought that the Whole30 would present the opportunity to learn more about less visited foods. I wanted to apply my creativity to food preparation. I’m genuinely interested in learning more about the world of spices, herbs and seasonings without the sugar and other prepackaged garbage. On my journey, I discovered a real love for such foods as beets, squash, brussel sprouts, coconut manna, avocado, seeds, dates and figs.
- I like the idea of using everything, so looking back, my Whole30 really was about using the whole everything. If I had a chicken, for example, the carcass would be used in a soup broth. If I made squash, the seeds would be seasoned and became a delicious snack for later. You feel that? It becomes kind of fun…
- Gaining selfconfidence, specifically related to dating and going out for social time… stonecold sober.
- Improved relationships with my true friends
- Reevaluating other facets of my life, or “what’s important (and) what’s disposable”
So, after 30 days, what can I tell you?
- I experienced “strangely happy” feelings. There was one point in the program where I actually ran joyfully through a field, met my friend in an embrace, and broke out into a giddy fit of laughter. The natural high of treating yourself well is unlike any other. These moments in the program will make you question how long you have been living otherwise. These moments alone are worth doing it
- It kind of feels like you are part of a special club like you’ve got this great secret and it’s a HAPPY, HEALTHY LIFE! Oh, and Joy!
- I had my first normal period in 2 years on Day 10 of my whole30
- Generally, I was calmer and more at peace on the daily and suffered from little to no anxiety
- My cravings were only intense when I got sick. I only got sick on Day 28 from I am guessing it was- the flu shot and I wanted to eat everything. Otherwise, I was in high health and good spirits with two very real exceptions:
- On Day7 and Day26 I cried uncontrollably. One, out of frustration and sadness and once, out of joy and in reflection on the subject of my life.
- Food mostly tasted awesome and I loved exploring my creativity through food preparation. Although, around week 2.5, I must admit, I started to feel like there were restraints chaining me to my kitchen and doing dishes. So many dishes!!!
- Selfcare and nonfood rewards are a thing. A very, very good thing. Why did I never think I deserved this time, these treats before?
- Listen to your body and sleep when you need to. Learn how to say “No” to social situations and do what serves you so you can serve others.
- Healthy dating means sober dating. And, guess what? It can be fun!
- Positive self-talk is a gamechanger (note from Katie-YES!!!)
- I didn’t slip once with the NO: dairy, grains, sugar, legumes rules. However, there were moments when I may have snacked a little too heartily on my date rolls (rolled in coconut flakes), and I did eat a bag of kettle cooked paleo compliant potato chips over the course of the month. Admittedly, these chips were “not in the spirit” of the whole30. But, I did it with intention and damn I enjoyed those potato chips with every ounce of my being. I did skip breakfasts on occasion in favour of a Larabar and a coffee. Besides drinking alcohol, that’s one of my “worst” habits from my past: granola bars and coffee for breakfast.
- Other than those notquitesoperfect admittances, I’m really proud of myself and what I accomplished.
My last lesson: If you try to make someone else’s rules fit (into) your life, you are not going to last in the long run. The rules of the Whole30 are fine for 30 days, but they are not sustainable forever. Who would want to live that way anyway? Seriously? No Way! But, what the program teaches you by day 31, is that you will make the necessary changes in your relationship with food. You will do what you need to. Every body is different. You will find a course of action that works for you. When you understand that you’re not really done on Day31, you’ll move forward with all kinds of hope for a healthy future. Here I am, postWhole 30, committing to life as a weekday warrior (Sunday-Friday). What does being a weekday warrior mean? The rules are being established and I’ll be defining them for myself.
Xo. You can do it! 😉