So back in September 2017, Carl and I did a whole30 challenge. You can read my posts about that here. We learned so much from it and had really great results. At the time, I wanted to continue beyond the 30 days, but it never happened. I got pregnant as a result of that whole30, but miscarried soon after. Since then, I have: been pregnant three more times, miscarried twice, gave birth to our son, dealt with postpartum, hormones, anxiety, a pandemic, learning to parent, balancing work and motherhood and aforementioned pandemic, and finally have become a stay at home mom. And now, more than a year postpartum, I feel like my body and brain have healed enough and my life is stable enough to pursue this again. There are a few mistakes we made with whole30 previously, and I am determined to get it right this time.
If you don’t know what whole30 is, you can learn more about it here. I’m not going into all the details, but basically it’s a 30 day elimination diet that is meant to reset your body and mindset around food. The 30 days are followed by a reintroduction period, and then a lifetime of food freedom. The focus is on eating real food and listening to what your body needs.
Many people say that whole30 is too restrictive, and I feel like there’s probably some misunderstanding. Here’s the thing: it’s only 30 days. That doesn’t mean it’s unsustainable… It’s not meant to be sustainable. Whole30 is meant to be used as a tool. It’s meant to give you information about your personal needs and how your relationship with food needs to heal. And honestly, this is the part I missed last time. Then, my intentions were to skip the reintroduction and have a break for a day before going right back into another whole30. Even if I hadn’t experienced a pregnancy loss and the subsequent grief, my plans probably would have been derailed anyway.
My focus during that time (and really the whole time we were TTC) was to fix my PCOS enough to ovulate and get pregnant. Everything I did, every decision I made was based on that alone. Now we are in a very different stage of life and I’m ready to dig deep and heal my relationship with my body and food. Like I said before, whole30 is a tool, so I’m not expecting it to fix my entire life. But I am hoping that if I follow through with the reintroduction properly this time and focus more on the mental aspect, perhaps I will develop some sustainable habits and shift some mindsets that will get me closer to my goals.
Speaking of my goals, I will say that the main one is weight loss. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Obviously, body positivity and intuitive eating is becoming more widespread and I think that’s important. But for me, it’s just as important to physically feel comfortable in my body, and to be able to do and experience things that I currently cannot. Honestly, whole30 is a tool that I hope will eventually lead to peace in my relationship with food and with my body. It makes me nervous that it might not be “enough”, but that is exactly the mindset I need to heal from.
Now that I’ve rambled enough, let’s go over what I plan to do differently this time.
1. Complete the whole30.
Last time, I was waiting for Day 31 to come so I could be done. I focused so much on the rules and results (and whether or not I was pregnant), I didn’t really allow room to properly complete the whole30. I didn’t challenge habits or mindsets, and I completely skipped the reintroduction phase. This time, I intend to follow through with reintroduction and really do the mental work, too.
2. Use some resources.
I purchased the book “Whole30 Day by Day”, which is a daily guide/journal for the process. I think this will help me to really challenge the problems in my relationship with food and my body.
3. Lower expectations/no pressure.
I have a bad habit of setting unrealistic expectations for myself. As I prepare for doing my whole30, I keep thinking of other things I should add to it, like: wake up early, workout every day, do more than 30 days before reintro. I’m not going to even go there. I’m trying to remember that this isn’t about a number on the scale or on a tag. This is about healing and cultivating habits that I can carry with me throughout life. I have this looming sense of success this time, but I’m trying to not even expect totally being “fixed” after this. This is a journey, and I’m just about to take the first step. And that’s okay. In all of my life, especially this year since becoming a stay at home mom, my focus is steady progress–not immediate perfection.
4. Share every day.
Last time, I posted weekly updates on here, which was awesome! And I plan to still do that! But this time I really want to share daily (at least in my stories) to stay accountable to the process. Not only that, but I feel there are so many misconceptions about whole30 and I want to show what it’s really like. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but I think it’ll be worth it.
And that’s it! I’m excited to get started with this on March 1st. My family and I are doing this together, and I’m hoping some other friends or family will want to join in as well!