As I announced over the weekend, I’m doing the Whole30 at Home right along with you and the world-wide group starting TODAY. It’s my first full Whole30 in many years; the last one I completed was after my son stopped nursing. (So we’re talking more than five years ago.)
Why haven’t I done one in so long?
Maintaining my Food Freedom
I was working my Food Freedom plan—and quite successfully, I might add. Remember, the whole POINT of the Whole30 is to get you to Food Freedom; where you make your own food “rules” based on what you learned during your Whole30 experiences. After doing 7 or 8 full programs since 2009 and incorporating everything I’d learned, I felt confident in my FF plan. I was able to navigate it effortlessly on my own for many years, eating what I wanted when I wanted it, while looking and feeling exactly as good as I wanted to look and feel. No Whole30 required—I simply didn’t need a reset!
So what changed?
A few things. First, in December 2018, I sustained a concussion, which led to more than a year of post-concussion symptoms. Brain injuries are profoundly inflammatory, and as many concussions do, mine created some pretty serious immune and hormonal challenges. My energy tanked, my period cycle was a mess, and my thyroid was under-performing for the first time in my life.
All of that inflammation (stress) made me crave sugar like I never have before. My brain’s demand for quick energy felt uncontrollable at times, and though I wanted to stick to a more conscientious diet, I couldn’t have done a Whole30 if I tried. (Biologically, I knew I wasn’t going to win that fight.) So for more than a year, I did the best I could with my FF plan, let that be good enough, and spent my precious energy on rest, physical therapy, and healing.
Ironically, the month after I started to feel normal and healthy again, we were hit with the COVID19 pandemic. With only a few weeks of “normalcy” in between, I went straight from being too sick to get off the couch to feeling way better, but being stuck at home, once again stressed and anxious. This time, it was psychological stress, not physical stress, but guess what? The body doesn’t know the difference. Stress is stress, and the biological response to stress is to crave fast energy. Once again, I found my sugar cravings returning—not to the same degree as before, but knock-knock-knocking on my door pretty persistently.
Is Now The Time?
I had capacity for the entire month of March to gracefully navigate my Food Freedom plan. It required more willpower than usual, and it was especially hard when I had a bad day—when I was scared, lonely, or anxious. Still, I was doing it, and remained pretty successful. (No small feat during a pandemic!) But when we decided to launch a Whole30 at Home, I started to wonder… is now the time?
I could have kept on going with my Food Freedom plan, and I believe I would have been pretty darn successful. I have five-plus years of FF experience under my belt, and I’ve been through challenging times (like my divorce and business split) while successfully sticking to my plan. The odds were in my favor! But what if I leveled up even more with the structure, routine, and predictability of the Whole30?
I’m no longer stressed with my concussion or immune challenges, and I KNOW the Whole30 helps build capacity for stress in other areas of my life. I also know within just a few days of the protocol, my energy will skyrocket, my sleep will get deeper, and my mood will magically lighten. And while I’m doing really quite well over here considering the circumstances, I’ll take all the help I can get right now.
Once I had the idea in my brain, it was too tempting to ignore. That’s it, I announced to my team and Brandon last week… I’m doing the #Whole30atHome.
Let’s Do This Together
The bonus here is that I get to do it with YOU. I’ll share my meals, show you how I prep “emergency food” at home, share how I’m navigating cravings, and offer tips for dealing with a pantry still stocked with my son’s favorite granola bars and Brandon’s peanut butter cups. We can compare notes along the way, offer each other encouragement and motivation, and share the connection that comes when a huge group of people all over the world connect with one common mission.
I want that for myself, and for you, and for us. So I’m doing the #Whole30atHome, and if you were on the fence about joining, I hope this helps you make up your mind. (It’s not too late! You can start today with us, even if you’ve already eaten a non-Whole30 breakfast. JUMP IN WHERE YOU ARE, trust.)
Follow along with my journey at @melissau on Instagram, and make sure you’re subscribed to my XO, MU emails because I’ll be sharing longer updates and my learnings along the way via email.