On my wrist you’ll find a dainty silver bracelet inscribed with the quote, “She believed she could so she did”. It was my mantra during Whole30 and continues to be during my fitness journey. One of my dear friends, who went through her own Whole30 journey, gave the bracelet to me and it’s a good reminder that I CAN do hard things. Today marks Day THIRTY of my Whole30 journey. In the past I always had a million reasons why I couldn’t do it. But I’m too tired. But I’m way too busy. But I have a trip coming up. But, but, but. I’m done with making excuses. Whole30 has changed my life for the better. I still have more work to go, but for now I’m celebrating the small victories along the way.
What is Whole 30? I describe it as a reset button on your health. For 30 days you follow a strict set of rules outlined in the book It Starts With Food. Created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in April 2009, Whole 30 is a “nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system”.
What CAN you eat on Whole 30? Meat, seafood, veggies, a little fruit and good fats. No processed junk, no added sugar or sweeteners, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no carrageenan/MSG/sulfites and no recreating baked goods out of compliant ingredients. Anything you can’t pronounce on an ingredient label is a no go.
Why in the world would you do Whole 30? I think everyone has their own personal reasons. For me, I was struggling with losing weight after getting pregnant with Amelia and I was at my heaviest weight ever. She weaned from nursing around the holidays and almost overnight she left babyhood behind and entered toddlerhood. I finally felt like I could start making myself a priority again. Like I SHOULD make myself a priority again in order to be a better mom and role model for my kids.
Somewhere in those many months of sleep deprivation, we started becoming more lax about nutrition and frequented more drive-thru windows than I care to admit. Our entire family needed a big fat reset button! While I was trying to figure out what that button would look like, would I count calories/points/pounds/steps, my husband was trying to talk me into a paleo diet. I wasn’t interested in a diet that didn’t include cheese and bread. I mean, HOW COULD I POSSIBLY SURVIVE?!
Around that same time, I noticed more and more people on Instagram posting about their #Whole30 journey. It was like a hardcore paleo for crazy people! Curious, I wandered onto the Whole30 website and read a little bit more about it. I was intrigued by the success stories, but I could still think of a million excuses NOT to do it. It was just too hard with 2 kids, 2 blogs a husband that often works late, etc., etc. And then I read a quote from Melissa Hartwig that resonated with me.
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.”
Talk about tough love, but it was exactly what I needed to hear! With the hubby on board and in typical New Year’s resolution style, we started on January 1st.
How did you survive Whole 30? It wasn’t all peaches and coconut cream. It was helpful to have my husband by my side during this journey. I don’t think our marriage would have survived if he ate cookies and chips in front of me during those first few days. Whole 30 is also a lot of prep work, cooking and clean up and it’s just easier if everyone in the family is pitching in.
It’s a Whole 30 rule that you shouldn’t weigh yourself during this journey. You can weigh yourself before and after, but stay off the scale during. Having been a slave to my scale for many years, I scoffed at that rule, but I went along with it anyway. We took the batteries out of our scale and it was so liberating. I’m NOT defined by a number on my scale. It helped to not distract me from my goal. In the past I would get discouraged if the scale wouldn’t move as quickly as I’d like it to and throw in the towel. I also didn’t want the scale to diminish the non-scale victories that I was experiencing. Chuck those scales out the window people!
My health guru friend, Mel of Mbrace Life, offered me a little pep talk when I whined to her once about wanting to lose weight. She told me to surround myself by people/images/things that would help me reach my goal. During those first few days of Whole30, when I would have poured a pound of sugar down my throat to help with my sugar detox (I’m not joking), I did exactly what she said. I created a brand new Instagram account @seevanessagethealthy and filled my feed with HEALTHY images. It was so incredibly motivating!
I also recommend finding a Whole30 support group. If your friends don’t want to do it with you, there are tons of social media groups out there. I was part of a supportive Facebook group and found several groups on Instagram that were so helpful.
What now? We’re going to keep going! My husband and I plan on doing another Whole30. We weigh in and take post-measurements tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to see our results! Thinking of doing #Whole30? Join us and use #SeeVanessaGetHealthy on IG. If I can do it, anyone can do it!