The Whole30 allows garlic. This is a picture of a garlic bulb on a green cutting board.

On Whole30 and Body Acceptance

First and foremost, repeat after me: I love my body exactly as it is. Repeat it out loud until you believe it.  You don’t need any “diet” or “lifestyle” change  (Whole30 or any other) for your body to be worthy. It is already worthy!

I just finished my Whole30 yesterday. I’m feeling better than I was before I started, but I still don’t feel awesome.

What, no glowing reviews? Yes and no. I think it’s a pretty easy plan to follow for 30 days and I like that it is purported to be for health and NOT weight loss (more on that later and extensively at the bottom of this post). This is my personal experience with the Whole30 and it does not quite echo the norm.

Before I continue

As this post isn’t travel related, here are some posts that may be better for you: Paris: one woman’s love affair with this spectacular city and How to Conquer the Fear of Traveling with Children. I hope you’ll stick with me, there is important information on eating disorders at the bottom of this post (starting at “Did you know”). After this, we will be back to our regularly scheduled family travel posts!

I tried the Whole30

It is likely that you have heard of Whole30. I’ve known of its existence for over a year, but I scoffed at yet another fad-style “diet.” I’m an advocate for “fat acceptance,” meaning that I want people to stop saying that having fat is unhealthy, when the research is really reporting that healthy habits are far more important than being skinny or fat (this is a link to a wonderful blogger who writes on this subject extensively, with links to the research). Also, fat people have a right to existence and don’t owe it to anyone to “try and be skinny” or healthy (yes, those are two different things). In addition, hospitalization for eating disorders in children under 12 rose 119% between 1999-2006. It’s wrong. And scary! Talk about negative, lifelong consequences (I am not a doctor or medical professional, your mileage may vary).

I’ve also wasted years of my life hating my body, whether it was skinny or fat. In fact, the first time I enjoyed my own body was while being pregnant with my first child. I had pretty bad morning sickness (that actually lasted most of the day) and it was my job to eat things that I would be able to keep down. And once the morning sickness cleared up (oh, it felt like forever at 20-22 weeks, a good month longer than average), I felt zero guilt for eating. It was so refreshing.

I wanted to always feel like that when eating. And I slowly started loving my body exactly as it is. I buy clothes for my body that fit it right now. Not for 20 lbs lighter or heavier than now. Just as I am.

I love my body exactly as it is.

And I am so much happier than I’ve ever been. I say that I look good. I believe that I look good. And I say those things in front of my children. I want them to have healthy relationships with their bodies and food.

How does the Whole30 fit into this?

The Whole30 eliminates the most common allergen foods for 30 days. No dairy, legumes, gluten, grains, or soy for a month. I have already eliminated gluten due to having celiac disease. I already limit soy because research is showing it isn’t as good for you as everyone seems to believe (again, I’m not a doctor. This information came from my doctor and again, your mileage may vary).

I believe that not eating gluten contributes to my first 10 days feeling really easy (which seems to be an uncommon experience) and fairly awesome.

But, I don’t always feel awesome. I have had the vague goal to eat more vegetables. That  wasn’t specific enough, so I started making (and eating) one large salad per week. It would last about 3 days. That helped a lot,  but it wasn’t quite enough. I was really looking for some way to eat better overall, but I wasn’t succeeding. I finally decided to try the Whole30, solely to see if it would improve my health  help create healthy habits.

We ended up having a lot of support, as two other friends were doing the plan during the same time. In addition, a third friend had done it within the previous year and was a fountain of knowledge.

My husband breezed on through and felt great the entire time. He really wants to eat this way a majority of the time.  I like it, too. There are some things we’ve made the Whole30 way that are definitely staying in our regular food rotation (using grated cauliflower in place of rice in certain recipes).

The Whole30 allows garlic. This is a picture of a garlic bulb on a green cutting board.

A picture of garlic.

My personal timeline

Day 1 came easy for me. I expected it to be difficult. In fact, I felt fine through day 10-12! Then, from then until day 25, I didn’t feel great. I finally realized that I wasn’t eating enough food! This has never been a problem for me. Ever. I did quite a bit of grazing before the Whole30, instead of eating intentional meals.  But there wasn’t much to graze on during this experiment.

Once I corrected that and made sure that I was eating 3 decent sized meals daily, I have felt pretty good. I also never got the “tiger blood” that was described on the website. Please note, it’s extremely important to eat enough food. On this or any lifestyle change you are choosing.

And since my husband took a break on day 2 and restarted, I am staying on this an additional two days for him.  It does not feel like a sacrifice. It feels normal.

thoughts

I recommend checking with your doctor before starting any major diet change. I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I can only get anecdotal evidence from this “experiment.” Yes, I feel better than I did before starting. Prior to trying Whole30, I was feeling nauseated often after eating. That isn’t a problem now. I got quite a bit of heartburn and I’d say that my heartburn is about 90% better.

I also feel that our meals are much healthier because they include far more vegetables than they did before starting. That being said, the only thing I’d like to completely eliminate from my diet is added sugar. Otherwise, I’m happy to continue to eat dairy (yogurt in particular has a lot of benefits to help keep your gut healthy) and legumes, two food groups that the Whole30 diet restricts completely.

Eliminating sugar is probably the thing that has the biggest effect on me. I’ve noticed that sugar makes me feel bad and once I start eating it, it is a struggle to stop.  I’m not saying that it’s easy to give up sugar. It isn’t. And I had sugar cravings as recently as day 30. It feels good to not give in or give up. Knowing that I only have X more days until I can have sugar really helps me get through those cravings.

finally

For me, Whole30 was worth doing. Though I don’t feel awesome, I do feel good. My expectations could’ve been a little too high. There has been significant improvement. Not feeling nauseated all the time is really great.

I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same results. It’s an interesting exercise and you have my support if you choose to try it! You also have my support if you think the whole thing is poppycock!

did you know?

Obsessive behavior regarding food may indicate that you have an eating disorder. Most are aware of bulimia and anorexia, but there is also a diagnosis called EDNOS and it has the highest mortality rate of eating disorders. According to the article I linked, the symptoms of EDNOS include secrecy – eating all meals in private, being obsessive about the foods being eaten, and very strict controls including counting calories and obsessive measuring. Please, please, if you have any of these symptoms, get help. You are worthy.

One thing we can all do, men and women alike, is to proclaim the love for our bodies. Daily. In front of our children. Talk back to the commercials that tell you that you need to “get your body in beach going shape.” No, my body is perfect as it is!

I have a body, therefore I have a beach ready body.

Health is a personal thing and never guaranteed. We are conditioned to believe that being fat equals being unhealthy. Unlovable. Is it any wonder young children pick that up and internalize it? Eating disorders and complicated relationships with food set people up with a lifetime of potential problems. This message is pounded into our brains by commercials about weight loss pills or devices, that being thin is attractive and the only way you’ll be acceptable and loved in society, and also  people having everyday conversations.

i love my body

Find activities that you love to do and ones that your children love. Stop fat shaming yourself. Stop commenting that a thin person needs to eat a cheeseburger. Make a pact that all that negative body talk STOPS with you. Our children deserve to love the body shape and size they have. We all deserve to love are bodies exactly as they are.

I repeat: we all deserve to love our bodies exactly as they are.

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