Today is my last day of my second Whole30. I'm excited, thrilled, very proud, and a little scared at the same time. If you remember, I began my first Whole30 in December and kept right on going.
After having my last two children, my body took a dive. My hormones were never balanced, I couldn't lose weight (in fact, I gained some), I had very little energy and was tired all the time except when it was time to sleep and then I couldn't (Go figure! insomnia is no fun.), and my body ached constantly like I had the flu. I went to several doctors to figure out why I just did not feel like myself. Some would blame it on the fact I was a mother of six, others prescribed hormones supplements which did not work, and one doctor even put me on an anti-depressant that I took for way too long before realizing I was worse on it than off it.
In the Fall of 2013, I began seeing a chiropractor who was/is very into homeopathic methods. He suggested my aches and pains were from toxins (aka holding on to too much stress) in my body. I did a series of massage and infrared sauna treatments, along with regular adjustments. After just 3 months of doing this, the majority of my aches were gone. I never believed in chiropractic care, but I'm a believer now. In fact, if I don't go in for monthly adjustments, I can tell a difference.
Now that I was feeling better, I decided it was time to exercise and lose some of the extra 20 lbs I had put on. This past summer, I began running - every morning. By the end of the summer, I was running 5-6 miles daily. I was also counting calories. I would enter everything I ate into My Fitness app and eat roughly 1500 calories a day. I didn't lose a single pound. I was still tired. I would have to take a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon or else I couldn't function. My doctor blamed it on my age, and my hormones.
At church there is an older woman (in her 60's) that I noticed started looking thinner and healthier every Sunday. Last November, right around Thanksgiving, I asked her what she was doing. I figured if she could lose the weight at 60, I could lose it at 37. She told me she had been doing the Fast Metabolism Diet. The next day, I jumped aboard. I tried it for a week, and hated it. I didn't like being told what to eat and when I could eat it. If I was hungry, I wanted to eat, if I was full, I didn't want to have to force food down just because "it was time".
It was frustrating. Praying about what to do, before the week was even over, I came across, through an Instagram feed, the Whole30 program.
What is Whole30? It is a 30 day diet that consists of eating no sugar, no grains, no dairy, and lots of vegetables, protein, fruits, and healthy fats. You do not count calories and you can eat as much as you want, when you want, as long as it is in the guidelines of no sugar, grains, etc.
I began by reading the book It starts with Food (If you want to change your life, I totally recommend reading this book). My awesome mom even joined me. (THANKS MOM!) The first three weeks were hard! All the other times I've tried to "diet", I would cheat and have one treat a day, or supplement the sugar with bread - lots of toast and homemade bread fresh from the oven. I couldn't do that this time.
I had to rise above the rationalizations that I could eat crap and still be healthy. This program helped me to do just that.
The first three weeks, I came to really see the addiction to food I didn't even know I had. There were times, multiple times, when I felt like I was drowning or being suffocated because my body wanted a treat and I wouldn't give in.
--It's called Withdrawal--
I was determined to finish these 30 days strong. "It's only 30 days" I would repeat over and over. "Only _________ days left." On week three, I started noticing a difference. I had lost weight from week one (I knew because my pants were getting baggier and baggier), but by week three, I noticed I had more energy and my need to nap was getting less and less. I was also sleeping through the night and waking up on my own before my alarm clock.
The cluster of acne I could never get rid of between my eyes and on my chin was gone, and the dark circles (and I mean raccoon dark) were getting lighter and lighter each day.
At the end of those 30 days of clean, whole eating, I knew I had finally found something that worked for me. It's funny that just 30 days of healthy eating -nothing else- healed what I had spent years and years at various doctor offices, not to mention the money I forked out, trying to restore. This was my answer. This is my miracle.
After my first 30 days was up, I knew that I hadn't solidified my eating habits quite yet. There were years and years of bad eating and food addictions 30 days just couldn't break. I knew that if I didn't continue with another Whole30 I would more than likely go back to my old ways of eating and, in turn, my poor health. So I did another round. Today, I can honestly say, eating this way will be permanent. It is a lifestyle change, and one I'm glad I made.
As I learn more and get better at cooking Paleo, I will be sharing some of my meal ideas and new favorite recipes over on my recipe blog.