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,
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.
After the 30 days of elimination, you begin to introduce foods back into your diet and see how they affect your body. You take notes and make observations to see how you felt physically and mentally when you added back in a specific food group.
My first few rounds were amazing. Thirty days of hardcore focus and great results. I had never felt better. I lost weight, felt less bloated, and had a clear mind.
However, after that reintroduction phase, I would slowly go back to eating how I was before. I was met with fatigue, digestive issues, and just a "blah" feeling.
When I got to feeling bad enough, I would do another Whole30 and reset again.
Enter Food Freedom Forever.
In her newest book, Melissa Hartwig talks to her readers about how to have that feeling of being able to be successful at maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
It all boils down to being intentional about our food choices.
Keep that Whole30 "reset lifestyle" going for the majority of the time, unless you come to a food choice that you deem "worth it" for going off of the plan.
Make it a special occasion.
Think long and hard about your feelings in that moment.
And jump confidently into your decision...free of guilt or questioning.
French Toast Croissants & United States Maps
Marie Kondo inspired me to simplify our possessions.
To be intentional in the items that we allow to take residence in our home.
To ask ourselves if the belongings we own currently and any we purchase in the future really "spark joy" for us.
Dallas & Melissa Hartwig inspired me to be intentional in my food choices.
To think long and hard about whether the food items that we are putting into our bodies are really worth breaking our reset.
This morning, at the Pioneer Woman Mercantile at 7:15 a.m., we broke our Whole30 reset on day 24.
And it was so worth it.
So I got the Croissant French Toast and Ashley got Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes.
We were extremely happy with our breakfast decision.
No hard feelings.
No feeling like we had "ruined our diet" with a "cheat" or a "slip up".
Pure joy that we have the freedom to make a food decision responsibly every once in awhile.
ANYway, enough about our amazing breakfast choices.
Oh yeah...I bought myself four wonderful shirts on clearance today. I love them all...joy-sparkers all around! The one on the left has CAMERAS on it! Yes! Cameras!
And I also picked up a Benjamin Franklin finger puppet at the Mercantile for my third grade classroom. Who doesn't need a Ben Franklin finger puppet?
It was a great day.
It's late and I'm tired, but it was all worth it. So worth it.