Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Whole 30 Challenge. Lessons learned and why I cannot wait to start again!

It was a few years ago while living in Norway where I first found out about Whole30 from a friend. I looked into the program and the corresponding book, It Starts With Food, but I was not ready to give myself over to the challenge. I was a grain girl. Truly. I loved my grains in all forms. Oats, breads. rice, pasta. Many of my grain sources where organic and clean in terms of no added sugars etc. but nevertheless, they were grains. I also consumed a lot of dairy. I began to notice I was having problems with bloating, my inflammation in my knees was increasing and overall, I did not feel well. While in Norway I trained hard the first year but the next 18 months would prove to be some of the hardest days I would face. I began to suffer with anxiety and depression. I am a very positive, upbeat person and I was just not myself. I took time away from social media and posting my journey but as a result, it took my focus off of my goals and I gained quite a bit of weight. My weight gain hit me hard. Very hard. How could I have let myself go like this. I was battling injuries from my running and ontop of this I was suffering from a lot of emotional issues we did not fully understand at the time. After going to a Naturopath and having my blood tested, we began to understand why I feeling this way. I need to change my diet and I needed to do it now!

Fast forward to the present. After moving back home to Texas and spending time in the sun, getting outdoors more and eating better, I began to feel incredible. It was as if someone gave me my spark back! I could not believe it. There was still one thing missing. I was still very overweight compared to where I used to be. I would tell myself back in Norway that it was ok, I was happier at a higher weight but this was simply an excuse. I was not happy. I wanted to feel lean again and I knew I needed a change. On August 1st I decided to let go of the reasons why I gained the weight and focus on the future, on my training and what I needed to do to become my best. I started the Whole30 challenge not knowing how my body would respond but I was going to give this my all. I was strict, very strict with the plan and it paid off. I learned that food did not control me. I had control over my cravings and I could survive without my beloved grains and diary. I could eat out and make wise choices. I could do this!!! It was an incredible feeling. I began to shed weight and I remembered the feeling of feeling leaner, lighter and healthier all around. Once you feel this way how can you stop? It motivates you to keep going and now, I cannot go back.

So many of you asked me what is Whole 30. First of all, I would recommend this program to EVERYONE! It is incredible and so very simple. In short, it is getting back to eating WHOLE, real food. You eliminate sources of sugar and preservatives. You focus on eating good proteins from grass fed animals, organic veggies and fruits and you began to see just how easy eating clean can be when you JUST EAT REAL FOOD!!!! Your body will respond in amazing ways when you rid the junk from your diet. It is like your body is thanking you for taking the time to nourish yourself instead of filling your body with a bunch of fake food your body cannot handle.

Yes, you will not eat grains, beans, dairy or sugar. You will be out and see foods you cannot eat but it is ok. You can do this! I promise drinking coffee without sugar will not be in the end of the world and if you do everything you are supposed to do, the results WILL be worth all your hard work! EVERYONE who is thinking of starting a Whole30 program should get the book It Starts with Food and join the FB page for Whole 30 as well. There are also many FB Whole30 teams as well for added support. Surround yourself with others on the same mission, it will help more than you know!

Here are a few tips for first timers....

1. Do not focus on what you cannot eat. Instead look at the huge variety of foods you CAN eat!!
2. Cookbooks - look at Well fed, Well fed 2, Practical Paleo and Nom Nom Paleo just to name a few.
3. If you are struggling with Autoimmue disorders please look at the book called The Paleo Approach. It is amazing. I just began reading this and love it.
4. Learn to LOVE coconuts, avocados, walnuts and almonds.
5. Do not forget your water. It will help cravings between meals and keep you hydrated.
6. Take food with you to be prepared when out.
7. Tell everyone you know that you are doing this program to gain support. Be proud and when eating around others who are not eating Whole30 foods. Just think about how good it is going to feel knowing you finished the program and did not give into eating something off plan. FOCUS on the end results, not the cravings in the moment. Your stronger than your cravings I promise.
8. Eggs, eggs and more eggs! Enough said :)
9. Kale, kale and more kale! Seriously. Learn to love it! Sauté Kale with walnuts and coconut oil along with a grass fed steak, yea, you tell me you do not love this plan :)
10. Take it ONE meal at a time!!! Do not look at the 30 days before you but just the next meal. Stay on plan, meal by meal and the results will follow!

After my first round of Whole 30 I am down 13.8 lbs and I am ready to start round 2 on Tuesday. My goal is to be as close as I can to my goal weight by November 27th, Thanksgiving :) For the next challenge my goal is to lose 8 lbs and to complete 300 miles of cycling, running, walking and swimming. So for September it will be my Whole 30/300 challenge! It's going to ROCK!

Good luck to everyone starting your own challenge and thanks as always for the years of support each of you have given me. Through the highs and lows you guys have really encouraged me. I am forever grateful.


SusanSerene said...

Jen, I've been following you since you were in Siberia, for goodness sake! That's a long time, huh! You have continuously inspired me, delighted me, educated me and helped me to learn to care for myself no matter what and to live life to the fullest, seizing the day always. Because of you I've read The Greatest Salesman and enjoyed my own Jesus Calling along with you; when you share a day with us I'm always delighted because I've read it as well.
Congratulations on your success with Whole30!! I'm so proud of you, as always, and I plan on buying the ebook tonight. I have a movement disorder and grains are an inflammatory that I know I would do better without. I have called myself the Carb Queen because I love bread, pasta, rice, cake, cookies, CARBS!!! After seeing how well you've done in thirty days of no grains I know I want to give it a shot; the only thing I have to lose is weight, right? I should be able to do thirty days worth, for goodness sake.
Thank you, sweet lady, for sharing your journey with us all these years. From your many trips with your dream guy, the addition of your precious Michaela to your family, to the Dublin Marathon, I feel like a part of your online family, Jen. Here's to continued success, joy and Gods many blessings in our lives.
Love and hugs.❤️

Jen's Journey said...

Thank you SO much Susan! Your comment brought tears and smiles :) Grateful to know you and thank you for your many years of support!!

SusanSerene said...

I bought the book yesterday, Jen, even though the copyright date was still 2012; Barnes and Noble assured me that it's the right book! We'll see, I guess! I'm anxious to get started yet a wee bit nervous at giving up dairy, cheese, milk, butter. We'll see!
Good luck tomorrow with your 2nd round of Whole30!!
Blessings and hugs!❤️