January 25, 2013

Whole30® Success Story: Stefanie M.


A few months ago, we got this note from Whole9 Nutrition Partner Stefanie M., owner of CrossFit DNA. Her email inspired us. We had to share her Whole30 story with our readers, and Stefanie graciously agreed. Read, be inspired too, and pass it on.

In Stefanie’s Own Words

My name is Stefanie, and my husband and I own CrossFit DNA in Dyer, IN. Our facility has been open for two years.  There is no doubt that CrossFit has changed my life, but only because I first discovered the Whole30® program, and the Paleo lifestyle.  To simply say that I am a different person and that it has changed my life is such a gross understatement.  It almost saddens me that I cannot adequately express my gratitude for your program and this discovery of my “new” self. To go from being the girl who ate Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, and Laffy Taffys for a mid-morning snack to being a bell pepper, avocado, and almond-lover is a miracle beyond my wildest dreams.  It sounds utterly ridiculous to be thankful for something so seemingly small.  But the foods that I used to avoid at all costs, I now crave.


I have struggled with depression for a good part of my childhood, and all of my adult life.  Attributing the “melancholy” to some incredibly difficult times in my life, I frequently turned to food as a cure-all.  I was always considered average weight for my height, but I could probably have been described as “skinny fat.”  Pastas and cakes and ice creams, oh my—sugary treats were my happiness.   Cupcakes were things I shared in blissful mother-daughter moments, and they would be the things I turned to most after my mother passed of pancreatic cancer in 2005.  Sounds so silly that a person would turn to such a thing for support, but I did. Though I was typically thin, I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without losing breath.  I had a constant “heaviness” in my chest and body.  There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t feel sluggish and slow.  I always had the nagging feeling like there was something better, a better me somewhere that I just couldn’t find under all the layers.  There were panic attacks and heart palpitations and horrendous mood swings.  Anxiety that gripped my every move. The relationship I developed with my body was the worst part.  Starving and binging and starving myself again.  Hating and feeling disgust over what I saw in the mirror.  It makes me cringe to remember feeling such negativity that I toward my own body.  I’m ashamed to have been so unkind to myself.  It was all just so debilitating and uncontrollable—or so I thought.


After another personal loss early this year, I unraveled again, but decided that this was now the time to take care of myself.  To cherish this adulthood and to put the effort toward becoming that better me I had dreamed of being.  So in May I said to my husband, “How do we own a gym  and promote a healthy lifestyle, and yet I haven’t done a 30 day challenge with our members?  I need to know what they’re going through.  Let’s do it together.” And so began my Whole30, and my journey to freedom.  To health.  To happiness in healthy eating and healthy living.  To cherishing the conscious decision making ability to change my life instead of being held hostage by my poor habits.  I cannot believe my thinking for so long that I am an innocent bystander of my own life.  And nourishing my body has taught me to nourish my mind with positive thoughts…which is a crap-ton harder said than done, but totally worth the effort. Strength in my mind transfers to strength in the gym.  I am a work in progress, of course.  And these past few months have not been without a glitch or two…or maybe four.  But they don’t scare me.  I know these glitches are just reinforcing my reasoning for continuing these new, healthy behaviors.  The tremendous shift I have felt in every aspect of my life because of my improved eating habits has given me a newfound power that I embrace every day.

Share the Good Food Word

And so this is what I want to share with our members.  This feeling of attainability toward health and happiness.  I won’t lie, it makes me slightly dizzy to think about sharing such a personal story.  But truly, I think this has to be part of my journey and part of my taking responsibility for my choices and life.  If even one person is provided with some solace in knowing they aren’t alone or is motivated to take this journey themselves, then that is just fabulous by me. I can’t say thank you enough – again –  for all of your support.  Sharing this incredibly personal journey has really helped me to see the importance of this new path, not only for myself but also for friends, family, and our CrossFit DNA members.  Being able to showcase our affiliate and even a few of our members means the world to me.  I am so incredibly grateful to be a part of their lives, and this is such a wonderful opportunity to show them how I feel.