You might remember three or four years ago when I blogged about the our trip to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile as I was coming straight out of a Whole30 round.
My sister-in-law and I discovered the book It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Urban several years ago.
The basic premise of this book is that we really should be fueling our bodies with clean & natural foods -- lean meats, fruits, veggies, and nuts -- nothing processed.
In the past, every Whole30 round I have done has been beneficial to me.
I have had a huge reduction in joint pain.
I've lost weight.
My face has been clearer.
I've had more energy.
With all of these benefits, it's hard to believe why anyone would ever go off of the Whole30 plan.
However, lack-of-planning, stress-eating, and sheer convenience has often taken me off track.
In September 2020, I tested positive for COVID-19.
I spent 10 days in my bedroom in isolation, away from Mr. Farmhouse and the girls.
Thankfully, I really didn't get very ill. I had some congestion and a few days of feeling achy, and I tired out quickly.
Other than that, the main lingering symptom I had was digestive issues.
I would have random stomach pains, no matter what I ate.
When my taste finally returned, it was different (it's still different, to be quite honest -- almost five months later).
Sidenote: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups taste like dirt to me now. Actually, all peanut butter products. It. Is. So. Sad.
I had other digestive issues following COVID that caused me to lose 13 pounds there in the first month. I won't give details of that, but let's just say it wasn't good.
And then these issues continued.
Finally, over Christmas break, I decided something had to change.
My brother, sister-in-law, my two older girls, and myself decided to embark upon another Whole30.
With my word of the year this year being "discipline", I figured a Whole30 would a great way to start practicing putting that word into action.
We started on Sunday, January 3rd.
Day 1 was awful.
My digestive issues got worse, not better, as I detoxed from the processed food and sugar that I had eaten over Christmas break.
Day 2 was awful.
The digestive issues continued, plus I was absolutely exhausted.
On Day 3, I woke up a new person...NO DIGESTIVE ISSUES.
Zero, Zilch, Nada.
Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28...
I. Feel. Amazing.
The Whole30 is an elimination program where you slowly introduce things back into your diet after the 30 days is up.
You might start with some sort of processed flour item, to see how it affects you. Maybe something with some sort of certain sauce. Or maybe a dairy item.
The whole idea is that you carefully and intentionally begin to add one thing at a time back into your body and become really in-tuned with how it affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally.
I can't even imagine wanting to add anything back in.
I think COVID caused me to develop some sort of gluten or dairy sensitivity and I would rather not find out which one it is.
My Whole30 might just turn into a WholeForever.
Feeling hopeful here at the farmhouse tonight, friends,
"I'm not a runner."
"I'd rather sit on my couch."
"Ha! The gym? Me? Riiiight..."
This used to be how I talked about exercise.
I used to joke about the fact that if people saw me running, they might want to run too because I was likely being chased by something scary.
And then one day, with the encouragement of my sisters-in-law, I decided I might try it.
I used the app "Couch to 5K" and I got to where I was able to jog a whole mile. It wasn't a fast mile, but it was more than I had ever been able to jog without stopping in my entire life.
This was a huge accomplishment for me.
Shortly after I built up this endurance, we found out we were expecting our third daughter.
I was pretty sick for a little while and ended up giving up the running dream until after she was born.
I was shocked at how much I missed running in those last few months of pregnancy.
After I was fully-recovered from my caesarean section and able to leave her for a little while, I started jogging again.
Between 2015 and 2018, I would run for a little while, then fall off the wagon.
My running commitment wasn't really a commitment, but more like a hobby that I would pick up every so often.
Finally, in the summer of 2019, I really got serious about it and started doing a 5K each month.
During the "Run for the Tree Kangaroos" race at the Kansas City Zoo in September, I injured my hip and had to take a pretty significant break.
In March of 2020, just as COVID-19 was starting to make its rounds, I started taking daily walks to clear my mind after school. Being in school administration during a global pandemic is something that takes up a lot of headspace.
These walks were mentally and emotionally healthy, but also started to bring back the positive feelings that I had associated with running in the past.
I love looking at the homemade medal hanger almost as much as I enjoy sifting through all of the medals for the races I did in 2020.
I've set a goal for myself of 20 5Ks in 2021, along with four 10Ks.
Maybe I'll work up to that half-marathon I've been dreaming about for the last few years.
We'll see about the half-marathon, but either way -- today I can say with confidence, "I am a runner."
Taking life one jog at a time here at the farmhouse,
Let's be real.
I know what I need to do.
When I want to make healthy choices, I can.
I am completely capable of making the right call when various food choices are in front of me.
I've studied and implemented the Whole30 program.
I've eaten using a Keto lifestyle for weeks (sometimes months) at a time.
I did Weight Watchers for over a year and lost between 15-20 pounds.
And then, one day, I'll feel so good in my own skin that I'll make the choice to eat something that isn't a healthy choice.
Something like a donut from Koehn's Bakery...
A pumpkin pie blizzard from Dairy Queen...
Or a blueberry scone from Starbucks.
And you know what?
If I had consciously made a choice to have a scone and a caramel macchiato and get right back on track, that would be great!
And slowly, my weight creeps up and my pants feel a little tighter and that Stephens double-chin becomes a triple-chin.
And before I know it, I'm throwing a kid on my lap or in moving them in front of me every time we take a picture.
I'm wearing flowy layers because I don't feel comfortable in my more fitted clothing.
And I'm digging out my jeans that are a size bigger because I feel better in them.
But the thing is...it's never about how I look.
It's about how I feel.
When I'm making good food choices, my joints are less achy.
My face is clearer.
I'm less irritable.
I have more energy.
So that's why when I got the email announcing the "Biggest Loser" competition at school starting this Monday...I knew this was a great opportunity to start again.
Through the Farmhouse654 12-Week Challenge that several of us are going through this year, I'm working towards making my dream life a reality...with goals related to our home, relationships, finances, personal growth, and of course, health.