My Whole30 Experience
The Whole30 changed my life. I know I’m not the first one to say that, and I know I won’t be the last, but for me, it is true. My relationship with food has always been a difficult one. I was a slightly overweight child compared to my very thin siblings and my mother did not know how to address it. I was put on a variety of different diets starting around age 8 and can remember counting weight watcher points well into my teens. I began to associate only negative attributes with food which led to a very disordered thinking surrounding food. On top of all this, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness at age 16 and have battled with a variety of symptoms including chronic pain, muscle fatigue and intestinal issues for almost half of my life. I was prescribed a number of medications but nothing worked. Finally in 2012, after moving to Austin, Texas (a very health friendly city) I started seriously experimenting with my diet and how it was affecting my chronic illness. I found a few diets that worked to alleviate some of my issues (juice fasts, gluten free, paleo, etc.), but at the end of the day, they were just that: diets. They didn’t address my actual relationship with or understanding of food, which for me meant they didn’t last. In the summer of 2014 my sister shared with me a book she was reading: “It Starts With Food” and told me she was considering doing this thing called a “whole 30”. I thought it was interesting but didn’t give it much of a second thought until another friend mentioned it a couple weeks later. I decided it was a sign and jumped on board thinking, “Why not? I’ve tried everything else and at the very least I’ll probably lose a few pounds.” In true Emily fashion, I dove right in and became absorbed in the information and psychology behind Whole30. During my very first Whole30, I learned so much about my habits and cravings and began to understand more of my emotional relationship with food. I became a much better cook, something I never considered myself much of. I am a long distance runner, and by day 15 my workouts were longer and faster and stronger than I had every experienced. The discipline being exercised in the kitchen was creating more structure and discipline in other areas of life as well, including sleep, productivity at work and in my relationships. It was unbelievable. But the most unbelievable part? I pooped every day. My norm growing up was pooping maybe twice a week and the all too frequent inserting of suppositories. TMI? I don’t really care. I was so excited I probably told everyone I came into contact with. When my Whole30 came to an end there was no way I was going to give up this new found lifestyle. I chose to adopt a fairly Whole 30 everyday diet with some exceptions when eating out or certain occasions, what I later learned to exercise as my own Food Freedom. I began learning to listen to my body for the first time in my life, and not just trying to force a set of rules or parameters into my day. Since that first Whole30 in 2014, I have done over 8 more resets. During those resets I achieved personal bests on two half marathons, a full marathon and two triathlons. I also have used resets to help deal in positive ways with heartbreak, preparing for finals in my MBA program, and in leading up to important events where I want to be as mentally sharp and engaged as possible. I still have my chronic illness, but through the whole 30 I have been given the tools to achieve the closest thing to comfort I have felt since I was 14. Talk about life changing.