Author: Andrea Frey, MMS PA-C
Fifteen days ago I started The Whole 30. I thought about writing a post about it ahead of time to get fired up and motivated for the 30 days to come, but I didn’t. Why? Because I thought I would fail. And I didn’t want to have a reminder of my failure splashed all about. Wow, what a terrible attitude to have, isn’t it?! But maybe you can relate. This wouldn’t be the first time I got excited to try a new diet or to “get healthier.” Many times before I’ve made resolutions to “work out more” or “eat healthy” which last a week, if that. But the thing is, I always have a reason. (Reason, excuse… tomato, tomato) I don’t have enough time. I work long hours at the hospital. I’m pregnant. I’m nursing my baby and I NEED calories to make milk. I’m too tired. I can’t cook. It’s not a good time. And the list goes on.
But the thing is, there will never be a perfect time.
I have a baby for crying out loud. I’m always going to be busy. And probably tired. (Teething baby anyone?) Motherhood has been the most beautiful blessing and my focus has been 100% on nurturing this sweet babe. But this also means I’ve been putting myself on the back burner. Taking care of myself will always come second, but to be completely honest with you, before now it wasn’t even on my top 10 priority list. As I’m sure many moms can attest to, I’ve been investing myself in my roles as a mother, wife, and working parent while trying to maintain my hobbies and passions. When do you expect me to cook dinner?! I’m not exactly June Cleaver over here. Add in the fact that my all time favorite “activity” is going out to eat, and the thought of meal prepping is downright horrifying to me and you may be wondering why I would even attempt a lifestyle change like the Whole 30! Well, I was certainly wondering that myself.
In the past 18 months, I’ve grown a baby both inside and outside of my body, literally sustaining another life from myself. I’ve struggled with low milk supply and have overcome it, as evidenced by my adorable baby girl with THE BEST thigh rolls. Well between pregnancy and nursing, I’ve put on a ton of weight. And I’m not talking about a few vanity pounds here. I mean A. LOT. of weight. We’re talking “oh when is your baby due?” kind of weight. (Nine months ago, thanks for asking…) But it’s not just about the actual lbs. I’ve been more tired, lacking motivation for exercise or even daily activities, and to be honest, a little sad.
And while I happily accept the bodily changes that come along with having a baby and nursing, I realized that it had gotten a little beyond the physical changes from pregnancy and into some really unhealthy lifestyle habits. We’re talking ice cream sandwiches at work to get me through my afternoon slump kind of thing. And yes, while eating more calories was helping my milk supply, I wasn’t exactly providing my baby with high quality nutrition. Oh, and now she eats real food too- so I knew that sooner or later I’d have to start making some food at home because while I could survive on pizza and Taco Bell, that certainly isn’t going to cut it for feeding my baby.
So, while I’d love to say that I finally realized it was time to take care of myself for ME, because enough was enough and I needed to get healthy, that isn’t where my motivation started.
It started with my baby. But you know what? I think that’s ok. Because it has now trickled down into me wanting to be healthy for me too. And frankly, I think having motivation just beyond the typical “I know I need to be healthier” makes this all the more doable for me. I want to be healthier because I want to enjoy these years with my family, now and God willing far into the future. I don’t want to be plagued by diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, strokes, and all the things the typical patient I see in the hospital deals with on a daily basis.
I want to LIVE my life and enjoy the heck out of every moment, not spend it in hospitals with complications from diseases that stem from a lifetime of poor nutritional choices.”
So really that left me with one choice- keep doing what I’m doing (after all Taco Bell isn’t going anywhere), or make a change. And like I said before, I didn’t even think I could do it. But I decided that I wanted to try. What was different this time? Truthfully I can’t even tell you exactly. I had a few friends who were planning to start The Whole 30 who motivated me to take the plunge.
Now let’s be clear- there are many ways to accomplish a healthier lifestyle. I chose The Whole 30 because I wanted a reset.
I wanted to do something drastic to improve my health but also that would translate into an overall healthier lifestyle.”
Being a science-minded person, naturally I bought The Whole 30 book and started reading. I won’t even try to do justice to their research and conclusions, but basically it revolves around removing inflammatory foods for 30 days and then gradually adding things back in to see how your body tolerates them. Ultimately you’ll gain knowledge of your body and reset your relationship with food.
Halfway through my 30 days I can already say IT’S SO WORTH IT! Of course I took before and so-far pictures in which I can actually see a difference, but it’s so much more than that. I FEEL better. And it’s been so eye opening. Who knew sugar is added to almost EVERYTHING?! (I’m looking at you, bacon…) You know, I pride myself on being able to read product labels to make sure I do my best to avoid harmful chemicals in shampoos, lotions, make-up, baby products, and household cleaners, so you’d think I would have done this at least once in my life with food. Well, I haven’t. Until now. And let me tell you, it’s a little scary- but so empowering! These days there are so many additives in our food and it’s often times processed to the point it isn’t even recognizable. But now I’m learning to cook with real, healthy foods. Which is not only beneficial for me, but also for my whole family!
And while I am not a gourmet chef at this point by any means (Rome wasn’t built in a day), I feel like I’m gaining the tools I need to make this part of my normal daily routine. Sure, it takes planning and I can’t just come home and order a pizza and unwind with a glass of wine after a busy day. But my little one has been able to eat just about everything I’m making which is a HUGE bonus. I’m setting her up for a lifetime of good habits and hopefully a healthy relationship with food. And we are loving our family meal time 3 times a day instead of eating on the fly. If you can’t tell, this has been the reset I’ve needed for so many aspects of my life and I couldn’t be happier!
So if you’ve been casually kicking around eating better or you are thinking of diving in to a major lifestyle change- getting your nutrition back on track, losing those extra pounds, or learning how certain foods affect your body, I would highly recommend the Whole 30. But beyond that, I’m here to tell you to stop waiting for the “perfect time” because- spoiler alert- it’s never coming.
There will always be a million reasons why you can’t start, but you just have to take the plunge.”
Set your goal and get after it! You CAN do it. Yes, it will be hard. But it will also be worth it. It’s time to take care of yourself so you can keep taking care of everyone else!
Andrea is a wife and new mom to her sweet baby girl. She is a self-proclaimed crunchy, crafty, Catholic. She is a lover of Jesus, making pretty things, and all things non-toxic- bonus points for anything that sparkles! She is excited to share these passions with you. You can find out more at her blog Sparkle With Grace.
The Whole 30: