It was December 2015. One of my best friends had just gotten married, and I hated the photos. I didn’t recognize myself. Three years of postpartum depression and binge eating disorder had morphed me into a woman I no longer liked to be around.
I loved many parts of my life. I loved my husband, I loved my kids, I loved my church, and I loved my friends. I know they all loved me back. But I just didn’t like the woman I had become. I had become a woman who swallowed her feelings with popcorn, cookies and fast food. I required sugar-laden coffee to get myself awake each morning. I hung out on my phone all day browsing social media apps, wondering why everyone else looked so happy. I let the TV babysit my kids way too often. I didn’t cook dinner most nights, even though I really enjoy cooking. After the kids were in bed, I ate more junk food and watched TV. I spent my life on the couch, disconnected and gaining weight at the rate of 20 lbs per year.
The site of myself in a bridesmaid dress pushed me over the edge. I was finally ready to make a big change. Many of my friends had found some success through eating Paleo, but I had heard rumblings of something a little more structured than just eating Paleo. It was the Whole 30, and I was ready to go before I really even understood the program. I began on December 28, 2015, because I was too fed up with my life to wait until January 1. I am so glad I didn’t wait, because it set the tone for the next 30 days.
For the next 30 days, I committed to all the rules and recommendations of the Whole 30. I knew that if I gave myself even a little wiggle room, I wouldn’t fully benefit from the program (especially with my binging tendencies, I eliminated ALL snacking in my first round). I went through the typical detox, but I did enjoy (most) of the food. To my dismay, I realized I didn’t really like coffee. Back in early 2016, Nutpods wasn’t widely available, so I was drinking my coffee black (thankfully, in May 2016, they became a W30 approved partner!). For years, I had considered myself a coffee snob, but I was faced with the reality that I was drinking it for the sugar.
I stuck to all the rules, 100% of the time. I read every label, I stayed far away from the scale, I only ate at mealtimes. During the day, I began to take walks with my kids in our double stroller (they were 1 and 3 at the time). I read books to distract myself from eating, but sometimes I stood in the kitchen and cried, too. I was so angry with myself for getting to a place where the desire to eat for comfort was so strong, that I would actually be brought to tears. At night, I colored in adult coloring books to keep my hands busy, or I just went to bed early. I asked God repeatedly to take the desire for junk food away, but He never did. Sometimes God doesn’t take the burden away.
Around day 21, I finally got Tiger Blood. I woke up that morning feeling ready to GO. It was a Sunday, so we went to church that morning. I started getting compliments like, “Wow, your hair is super shiny today!” and “You look really happy today!” I even took a selfie and sent it to all my friends with text: “I finally got my Tiger Blood this morning! I feel AMAZING!” I wanted to stay on Whole 30 forever.
Day 31 came, and I stepped on the scale. I had released 17 pounds! I squealed so loudly that I scared the kids. I couldn’t believe that by eating real food and not tracking a single bite, I was able to lose 17 lbs in 30 days. I was sleeping better, my skin was clearing up, my hair was shinier, my moods were stabilized, I was more active, I was more productive during the day, and I was more confident. Plus, I had actually learned to enjoy the taste of black coffee.
After that first round, I was hooked. It’s not all roses, though. I still battle depression and anxiety, I still binge sometimes, and I still like the taste of sugar. Sometimes God doesn’t take the burden away. But I still sleep better, my skin is still clearer, my hair is still shinier, my moods are still more stable, I am more active, I am more productive, and I am more confident.
Last month, I was a bridesmaid for another friend, and I love the photos.