It started as a quirky, crazy sounding experiment popping up here and there on my Facebook newsfeed in 2012. “What the crap is Whole30?” I asked my friends. Answer: a very strict way of eating that could produce awesome results. Sub-answer: you have to give up Diet Coke.
So that made it a definite “no” for me.
But I was still intrigued. I was exercising and dieting like a crazy person, hungry all the time, or caving and then stuffing my face with junk food because I just couldn’t take it anymore. A giant soy latte for breakfast, Shakeology with soy milk for lunch, dinners packed with low-fat options and artificial sweeteners. I wasn’t obese by any means, but the pudgy baby weight from my second son just wouldn’t go away no matter how many hours I spent in the gym. It was extremely discouraging.
Plus, I’m really grouchy when I’m hungry, and that wasn’t fun for anyone.
And always there, in the back of my mind, was my sick relationship with food and dieting. Since my teenage years, I had carefully taught myself that the quantity of food on my plate was the gateway to all body image happiness. Feeling hungry was a GOOD thing, I thought, because it meant I was exercising portion control. It meant that my body was having to burn all that ugly fat … didn’t it? And dieting meant you would loose weight. Dieting was the be all, end all.
Still, it wasn’t working.
I like a challenge, and Whole30 certainly sounded like a big one. Plus, I clearly needed a change. Could I, for 30 days, give up all grains, legumes, dairy, soy, preservatives, flavor enhancers, most cooking oils, sugar, artificial sweetener and, most importantly, Diet Coke? Could I just eat real food? WAS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR A HUMAN TO DO?
And so in early 2013 we started the Whole30. Thirty days of just eating real food — veggies, proteins, healthy fats with every meal and fruit now and then. Quitting cold turkey the stuff that had been getting me through my days (soy and artificial sweeteners, for the most part), and trying to see if our health got any better as a result.
And it did — dramatically. But not just in pounds lost. That’s not the only reason Whole30 changed my life.