By Lori Medford
I did a Whole30, and magic happened. After 10 days, I could suddenly reach the top shelf in my kitchen without standing on my tippy toes. After 20 days, I was answering every Jeopardy question correctly. And on the 30th day, strangers began handing me money in the streets. The Whole30 made me taller, wiser, and richer. It was amazing!
Okay, no, none of that happened, but I did lose a bunch of weight and learn a lot about how my body works.
Why did I do the Whole30?
- Some people I really admire (shout out to StrongMa’am’s Shayna Kaplan and Mariah Parker!) had completed the Whole30 with great results. I was so impressed by their discipline and how good they felt afterwards, that I wanted to give it a shot.
- I didn’t think I could do it. My daily habits included putting Splenda in my coffee, drinking my weight in Coke Zero, and shoving chocolate in my face every day at 2 p.m. I’m also no stranger to bourbon and pizza. For this to work, some of my habits would have to change, and for a person who finds comfort in food, that’s a scary thought.
- I want to stop taking blood pressure medicine. I had a good six months of being medicine free. I can’t think of anything that changed about my diet or lifestyle in those months that I can attribute to my blood pressure going back up, but it did. I had been working with Coach Jason on macros and nutrition and making slow progress over the last 10 months. Science (and Jason) tells me that if I lose weight, then my blood pressure will go down. I figured a Whole30 might help me reach that goal faster.
What did I learn?
- The things that I thought would be super hard were actually very easy. Cutting out alcohol and cheese were a breeze. No problem at all. The things I thought would be easy, were absolutely mind-blowingly difficult. Sugar and bread haunted my dreams. I would even ask people if I could SMELL their food. Life lesson: Sugar is addictive and I clearly have a problem.
- Abstaining is okay. There are people in this world that can have one glass of wine and stop. I am not one of those people. I am the type of person who can have no wine or a whole bottle of wine, there is no middle ground. Abstaining works for me. Some people are good at moderation. That’s just not me.
- What you put into your body matters. After months of counting macros, I learned that paying attention to the quality of food that I’m consuming makes a big difference in my progress. If you are interested in the science behind it, I’m sure Jason Struck would be delighted to tell you in a personal training session why I might be processing insulin and sugar like a diabetic. All I know is that I had been eating 1380 calories a few months before the Whole30 and I ate 1380 calories a day while doing the Whole30. (I know you aren’t supposed to count your calories on this program, but I’m a rebel. Don’t tell the Hartwigs.) The difference is during the Whole30, I lost a little over 10 pounds. If you are interested in exactly what I ate, you are welcome to follow me on MyFitnessPal via Facebook. My food diary is public and very boring.
Where do I go from here?
- I have decided to live a Whole30/Paleo lifestyle until I’m not taking medicine anymore. As difficult as it might be for now, it is worth it if I don’t have to pop a pill every day.
- I’m still a StrongMa’am. At a caloric deficit, I didn’t lose all of my gainz. While most of my lifts stayed about the same, I PR’d that crazy looking frame in the back at 375#, and I would be more than happy to recreate the dance moves that ensued afterwards. I will still compete this year, possibly in a new weight class, and that is pretty darn exciting.
I’m really glad I did it, and I’m so grateful that I had supportive people around me who had my back… and ate my food. If you are thinking of giving it a shot, just do it!
Don’t wait for the perfect Monday or the first of the month or some other magical day to roll around, just do it, and be kind to yourself.
You are capable.