Getting ready for a September Whole 30

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Have you ever heard of the Whole 30?  Have you ever done a Whole 30?  This post is going to be all about the Whole 30 program!  I LOVE the Whole 30 program and if you have done the program I hope you love it as well.  If you have not done the program before, maybe you will consider doing a Whole 30 after you read this post.

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The Whole 30 program was created by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig.  Melissa Hartwig is a Certified Sports Nutritionist.  Dallas Hartwig is a functional medicine practitioner, Certified Sports Nutritionist, and a licensed physical therapist.  Both are co-founders of the Whole 30 program and bestselling authors.  The Whole 30 is designed to be a 30 day program to give you a nutritional reset.

Benefits of the Whole 30

  • Helps you get control of your cravings (especially for sugar and carbs)  and changes your habits
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Heals your digestive tract
  • Improves your immune system
  • Increases your energy
  • Relieves aches and pains in your body
  • Improves your sleep
  • Allows your body to heal and reset
  • Teaches you how different foods affect your body, health, and how you feel
  • Improves your mental focus and mood
  • Creates a healthier body image for yourself
  • May help you lose weight
  • May help with skin issues, digestive issues, and allergies
  • Can change the emotional relationship you have with food
  • No counting or restricting calories involved
  • No weighing yourself for the 30 days (focuses instead on non-scale victories)

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Many people who have completed the Whole 30 program have reported benefits from several lifestyle related diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, asthma, endometriosis, migraines, joint pain, IBS, crohn’s, celiac, leaky gut, and many more.

A good quote from the Whole 30 website says that the program cuts out the “phychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut disrupting, inflammatory food groups for 30 days.”

Rules of the Whole 30:

  • Eat real, whole food:  meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats.  Foods with few or no ingredients.  Foods with ingredients you can pronounce
  • No added sugar or artificial sugars
  • No alcohol
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • Do not recreate baked goods or treats (no paleo cookies, cakes, etc.)
  • Do not weigh yourself for the 30 days

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I know that this program might seem harsh at first glance.  It is different from how most people eat on a regular basis.  And yes, in the beginning it is hard.  Many people experience some detox symptoms at first.  You have to be strong and resist your cravings.  But it does get easier with time and consistency.  Believe me!  I have always been a carb and sweets lover, so if I can do this program and say it gets easier, trust me!

My favorite quote of the Whole 30 (which happens to be the most popular quote from the program) is this:

“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.”  (Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig)

They give this little piece of tough love as motivation.  To put into perspective the idea of changing your eating habits.  They do follow this sentence a few paragraphs later with this sentence:

“We know this is hard.” 

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My Whole 30 Experience

I first learned about the Whole 30 program two years ago while I was researching natural remedies to help me find migraine relief.  I had been having migraine issues for several years and things were just getting worse.  I first started having migraines when my middle child was weaning from breastfeeding.  I had not had migraine issues prior to that, so I was quite concerned and saw my doctor about it.  I had an MRI done, which came back fine and I was diagnosed as having hormonal migraines caused by the fluctuations of my hormones throughout the month.  My baby weaning from breastfeeding triggered the hormonal migraines and over time they just kept getting worse and worse.

Every time I talked to my doctor about my migraines, he always recommended that I start prescription medication to help prevent and relieve them.  I avoided taking the prescription medication for as long as possible because, honestly, the idea of taking medication causes me anxiety.  So I put it off.  But, I reached a point where my migraines were consuming me.  I was having 15-20 migraines a month.  When I wasn’t actively suffering from a migraine, I was living in fear of when the next one was going to hit.  I knew that it was just a matter of time.  I felt like I thought about migraines all the time.  It was affecting me being a mom.  I was taking way too much Ibuprofen, which I know is horrible for my body.  It was just so frustrating.

So I finally gave in to taking the prescription medication.  I was prescribed a medication to take every day to help prevent migraines as well as a medication to take while I was actively suffering from a migraine to get rid of it quickly.  The doctor did warn me that the latter one sometimes made people feel strange.  The first time I had to take that medication while I was having a migraine I felt like I was having a heart attack.  My heart started racing and pounding.  I got very jittery and broke out into sweats.  I felt like my body was on fire from about my chest up.  I got very sick to my stomach.  Within about 30 minutes, my migraine was gone but I was left feeling like I was hit by a bus.  I did try the medication again the next time a migraine hit and I had the same reaction.  I decided after that experience I was not going to continue with the prescription medication and I started researching natural remedies.

While researching natural remedies for migraine relief I stumbled upon the Whole 30 program.  I read all about the program and read many testimonials from others who had completed the program and said they experienced migraine relief.  I decided to give the program a try.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything!  One of the best decisions I ever made!

I completed my first Whole 30 in October 2014 and had so many great benefits from doing the program.

  • My migraines.  This was the whole reason I decided to do the Whole 30.  I went from having 15-20 migraines a month to…wait for it…5 the month I did my first Whole 30.  FIVE.  And that included the headaches I had the first few days which I am sure were detox symptoms.  (On average now I have about 3 migraines a month.  What an improvement!!!)
  • My energy level improved.
  • I started sleeping much better and felt so much more rested.
  • My belly bloat banished!
  • My IBS symptoms (which I have had forever) were almost non-existent.
  • My mood seemed more evened out and my anxiety level improved.
  • I felt in control of my eating and felt I had a really good relationship with food.
  • I learned that the number on the scale is just simply a number.  This was a big victory for me.  I used to worry way too much what the number on the scale said.  I would let that number dictate what kind of mood I would be in for the rest of the day.  I allowed that one number to have way too much power.  Now, I will weigh myself once in a great while but I don’t let that number define my health.  Instead I focus on how my clothes fit, what my energy level is like, how I feel physically (stomach issues, migraines), my quality of sleep, etc.
  • My cravings dramatically decreased and I gained control of my sugar dragon (read more about the Whole 30 program and you will learn all about the sugar dragon).

After I completed my first Whole 30, I decided to do another round in January 2015.  That round was even better than the first.  After I competed my second round I tried to follow the paleo diet.  I physically felt the best eating this way.  So if I felt so good after the Whole 30 and eating Paleo, why did I stray and fall off track?  My honest answer is that I am human.  I let a few slip ups unleash my sugar dragon.  Sigh.  I still eat a lot of real, whole foods and try to stay away from a lot of processed foods.  But I have noticed myself letting certain things slide and I feel negatively because of it.  My energy is not as high as it was.  I am not sleeping as well.  My IBS issues have returned.  I am getting a few more migraines each month.  So now is a great time to do another round of the Whole 30 and this time my focus is on staying on track better once the 30 days are over.  I have mentioned this before, but this is probably the main reason I started this blog…to keep myself accountable to living a healthy lifestyle.

So now that you have read a little about the Whole 30 program (I know I was quite long winded in this post), what are your thoughts?  Is it something you are interested in doing?  If so, join along with me.  We can be a support system.  I am starting my September Whole 30 on Tuesday September 6th.  If you can’t start that date but still want to do the Whole 30, pick a start date that works for you.  I will still be there as a support for you!  If you know a family member or a friend who might like to participate with you on a Whole 30 journey, invite them along.  It is usually easier to do something like this when you have a buddy.

My Advice to Help You Prepare for a Whole 30:

  • Read the Whole 30 blog.  There is so much information on this blog.  It really outlines the program nicely.  You can also subscribe to the Whole 30 Daily on their website and get daily emails that will help keep you motivated along the way.
  • Look on Pinterest for Whole 30 approved recipes.  You can look at my Pinterest board titled Whole30/Paleo.  I have pinned lots of yummy recipes there.
  • Clean out your fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Get rid of items that will tempt you.  If you have family members that will have non-Whole 30 foods, you may want to designate a spot in your pantry for those items so they will not be in eye sight and tempt you.
  • Start planning meals.  One of my biggest tips is to plan, plan, plan.
  • Mentally prepare that the first few days/week may be tough for you.  But it will get better, trust me.
  • Start planning some non-food rewards to help you stay motivated.

Books that I highly recommend you read before participating in the Whole 30 program:

  • It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole 30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig
  • The Whole 30 The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig

These books are written by the creators of the Whole 30 and give you all the information you need about the program.  They also go into the science of the program and give lots of delicious recipes.

I will be posting quite a bit about my September Whole 30.  I will be sharing with you my meal plans and letting you know what recipes I will be using and where you can find them.  I will be passing along any tips I have found helpful.  I will also be posting a lot about Whole 30 on my Faith, Health, and Love Facebook page.  I encourage you to check it out and “like” the page so you get updated on my posts.

I am so, so, so excited about doing a Whole 30 in September!!!!!  I hope you will join along with me!  Let me know if you will be participating in your own Whole 30 journey so we can cheer one another on!

Hope you are having a beautiful and healthy day!

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