I wanted to take a moment and go a bit more into why I choose to do Whole30 almost every year. If you read my “About” page, you know I have health reasons that brought me to the program initially. But what keeps bringing me back to doing a full 30 days each year is the ability to reset, reframe and rebalance myself. I know how I should eat to feel my best, but let’s be real we don’t always do what’s best even when we know what’s best. And that’s ok. There’s a balance and finding that balance is what will shift your mindset to have a healthier relationship with food.
So let’s take it back to the very first one, which was in February 2016. I planned for months getting us to the point where I felt we were ready. I would cook Whole30 during the week finding the best recipes and figuring out how to navigate something that seemed so daunting. Too scared to start perhaps? Finding out that surgery was going to be my only option for my digestive issues, made me realize it was time to just jump in.
We finally, carefully and conveniently selected the 30 days where we felt we would be the most successful. We started the day after the Super Bowl and finished just in time for March Madness. Let me tell you, it was hard, really hard, but we can all do hard things. For me I’m a serious rule follower so the fact that things just weren’t allowed made it a little bit easier because I had to follow the rules, no matter what. But that first time through I went through all of the things you read about in the Whole30 program: fighting my sugar dragon; dreaming about eating off plan and having to start over; being super duper angry. All the things they say, will happen and happen when they say they will. Here’s a timeline of those lovely feelings: https://whole30.com/revised-timeline/.
For me, I saw results for my digestive issues in the first week, no joke! That certainly helped push me forward fighting through those tough weeks, counting down the days. We didn’t do a super strict reintroduction, but I had an idea of what my trigger foods were and certainly didn’t reintroduce those. Dairy and gluten have always been my nemesis so they have stayed mostly out of my diet. That’s where we can shift to talking about the annual reset and refocus. While I know those things don’t serve my body well, there’s something about cheese that I find hard to completely resist. So I end up convincing myself I can take handfuls of lactaid and devour charcuterie boards and expect to feel fine. I know that’s not true, but as I slip further and further past those 30 days these are the habits that creep in. It’s ok, I know the consequences but that annual reset helps reground me.
Each year I’ve learned something new. I’m becoming more and more intune with my body, what impacts me and what doesn’t. Even if I don’t want to admit that my favorite food, white rice, doesn’t serve me well, it’s the truth. Sidebar, I know that’s a weird favorite food but I just love it so! So knowing more about what works for me and what doesn’t allows me to make decisions about what’s worth it and just what isn’t. One I’ve stuck to this whole time is gluten, that I have avoided to the best of my ability, but the cheese and the rice I cave on. The important thing is that I know what I’m getting myself into.
That is all part of Food Freedom. The Whole30 is not meant to be a completely sustainable program throughout the year; although there are plenty of people out there that are capable of that and god bless them! The Whole30, for me, is an opportunity to reset, reframe and refocus on what serves me and my body best. Progress over perfection, each year learning a little bit more.
Now, I sorta kinda look forward to it. I know how great I feel on Whole30, the mental clarity, sleeping better, the focus and feeling less weighed down. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard every time and I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing it, but it is so worth it. Each time I’ve completed one I look to recruit a crowd to take a long with us. February 2021 will be the biggest group yet! Of course anything is easier when you have people you’re accountable to; but I’m constantly looking to bring people along because I’ve seen real results for friends and family that have succumbed to my annual recruitment. If you’re ready to jump on this bandwagon leave a comment below, and we’ll pull you in to our group and take you along for the ride. 30 days here we go!!
Of course I am not an expert, merely a student, so please check out all the amazing resources at the Whole30 site. I’ll gladly help you in any way I can but there is such a wealth of information out there I would be remiss not to mention it! https://whole30.com/