Stress + Whole30

STRESS.  Everyone experiences it, some know how to manage it, some think they know, and others (like me) often feel controlled by their stress.  Stress is tough to manage--even when you think you've figured it out, life throws you a curveball and it makes things challenging again.

I used to live by the excuse that I "couldn't eat healthy because I was too busy and too stressed out."  I really didn't make time for myself because I was using the excuse that I had too much going on to do so.  

It may have taken me years to get real with myself, but I finally did it.  When I began my first Whole30, I acknowledged for the first time that I needed to stop making excuses and put myself first for once.  It was (at the time), a small decision but it has quickly turned into a revolutionary decision for me.

I finally realized (after a lot of trial and error), that putting myself first--and by that, I mean eating Whole30 and not making excuses about it, made room for so much goodness in my life.  After those first thirty days, it really felt like things just fell into place.  I finally felt like I had gained back control over my own life and was in the driver's seat rather than the passenger seat.  

Stress is managed when you CHOOSE to take control of your life and the circumstances you find yourself in, not the other way around.  When I began setting the foundation of health in my life, it seemed that everything got easier.  But that doesn't mean by circumstances got easier--it means that it got easier to handle things.  I now take great joy and comfort in Whole30 because for me, it sets the platform for taking care of myself in a radical way.  I am working on my sense of self love and self care, but I know that in its most basic form, if I choose to put goodness on my plate, I can "check the box" of taking care of myself for that day.  This also *usually* spirals into making better choices for myself all day: drinking more water, being active, getting sleep, etc.

Using Whole30 to combat my stress has become habit at this point and it is one of the easiest tools I can arm myself with.  When you stop making excuses for yourself, it is amazing how much can change.

Reintroduction: what is it? why is it important?

The most frequently asked question I receive as a Whole30 coach is around the importance of Reintroduction in the Whole30 process.  I cannot stress enough how important reintroduction is.  You are literally missing out on all the benefits of Whole30 and food freedom if you choose to ignore this part of the Whole30 journey.

Think of reintroduction like your testing phase--removing (some) of the training wheels of Whole30 and slowly introducing foods systematically into your diet and lifestyle to understand how you react to those foods personally.  Nobody can tell you what this phase will bring--you may realize that certain foods absolutely do not work for you, while others may.  Of course, there are some commonly problematic foods that many people have an issue with, but until you test it for yourself, you will never know.

There are a few options when it comes to reintroduction--you can “fast track” it, or “slow roll” it.  I would highly recommend taking the slow roll route if you are not feeling totally confident and ready to jump into living your food freedom right away.  If you feel like you are coming off some serious food addiction, sugar addiction, unhealthy relationship with food and some not-so-good habits, the slow roll may serve you better.  It might also be important to extend your Whole30 for 10 days, 15 days, another 30, etc. if you feel like you’re not quite ready for reintroduction. However, it is important to note that you cannot live a Whole365--at some point, you are going to need to take off the training wheels.  It is probably better to do that in a systematic way rather than diving straight into a bag of chips and cookies on Day 31.  

The whole point of reintroduction is to help you understand how you will live your post Whole30 life.  If you “reintroduce” ten foods on Day 31 and have a negative reaction, you are not going to really understand what it was that caused that reaction: was it the dairy?  Gluten?  Sugar? Legumes? Combination of all?  

You get my point.  So in order to truly understand how your body reacts, you must reintroduce intentionally and take good notes.  Get yourself a handy dandy journal, keep a note in your phone, or even better--pick up a copy of Whole30 Day by Day which is literally a personalized journal and companion for your Whole30, written by Melissa Hartwig herself with notes of encouragement and hacks for your Whole30 journey.  Whatever you do, make sure you take notes! Don’t convince yourself that you will be able to remember every detail of your journey if you don’t keep good notes.

When I reintroduced foods, I reaffirmed what I (sort of) already knew about my body.  I had pretty much come to the conclusion prior to Whole30 that gluten and dairy didn’t do well with me.  During my reintroduction, I realized that gluten made me tired and made my skin itch (almost instantly), and dairy caused breakouts and my stomach to rumble.  It was pretty easy to decide that I would definitely be limiting the consumption of dairy and gluten in my life post Whole30.  However, what was new information for me was my reaction to legumes.  Legumes definitely made me feel lethargic and caused an unhappy gut to say the least.  This was new information for me that was gleaned during reintroduction.  If I had not taken the time to carefully reintroduce, there would have been no way that I would have known that.

To really do reintroduction well, you need to have a plan and stick to it.  Just like your actual Whole30.  To read more about how to plan and prepare, check out this awesome resource on the Whole30 site.

Reintroduction is a commonly overlooked piece in the Whole30 journey.  Do yourself a favor and don’t skip it.  

Want help through your Whole30?  Have questions?  Contact me to learn more.





What I've Learned Through My Whole30 Journey

A lot of people ask me about how much weight I've lost through the series of Whole30s that I have completed.  That is probably one of the most frequently asked questions--and I'll happily answer, about 30 lbs in the course of six months. And heck, I'm PROUD of that.  But part of me feels like I am not being authentic when I answer that question with a number...because it was SO much more than that.

Here's what I've learned through my series of Whole30s and the journey I've been on:

Change is hard. It requires persistence, resilience, mindset shifting and a little bit of magic honestly. I've spent months and months of my life crash dieting and coming up with every excuse in the book for why I couldn't make a lifestyle shift.  On social media, it might look like I woke up one day and suddenly I was able to do this with ease, but that is just not the case. This work has been tough but I'm so much stronger because of it.

Whole30 forced me to get real. I couldn't hide behind my excuses anymore.  When I read Melissa Hartwig's paragraph in the Whole30 book about how "beating cancer is hard...drinking your coffee black is not hard," I was blown away.  It was the first time in my life where things got put into perspective. My internal dialogue was like, "Kelly, quit the excuses. It's time to take care of yourself already." And that mindset shift has helped me tremendously.

Food is medicine.  SERIOUSLY.  I could not believe the amount of aches and pains that suddenly disappeared after just a couple rounds of Whole30.  I had been dealing with some chronic wrist pain for over a year and could not get any relief. I was convinced I had carpel tunnel at the age of 23 because of the amount of time I spent on the computer.  I had even given up my regular yoga practice because I was also convinced that yoga was hurting me (?!?!?). After my Whole30 and until this day, I have not had that wrist pain back.  I know now that food has so much to do with those aches, pains, and even chronic illness in your body.  It's amazing the energy that I have and the pain free life that is now mine all because of the food I choose to nourish myself with.  I often dealt with chronic migraines and a very "low" feeling at 3pm each day.  Both of those symptoms are now gone.  I don't think I've needed to take any ibuprofen or painkillers since I began and that is just FREEING.

We have a genuine desire to take care of ourselves.  Even if you think all you want is junk food, that is just a manifestation of the Standard American Diet that we have been living off of.  Taking care of yourself does feel good and is incredibly rewarding.  It might take some time and a mindset shift, but the genuine desire that you have is to take care of yourself.  Food is a huge part of that.

I can't say it enough or in enough ways, but my Whole30 journey has changed my life.  It's really not about the weight or the way I look, but the mental and emotional changes I have gone through as a part of this journey.  Join me.




My Whole30 Story

So many people ask me to tell my Whole30 here it goes!

I started my first Whole30 on January 1, 2017.  I read the book, got prepared and was determined to tackle this challenge.

I couldn't believe how I felt after those 30 days.  It was definitely a rough start.  The first two weeks I almost felt like I wasn't going to make it.  I had headaches all day, and my sugar dragon desperately wanted me to change my mind.  But I stuck to it.  I remembered Melissa Hartwig's thought that "this is not hard" and even though it did feel hard at the time, I made it.

Whole30 truly changed my life.  Since that day, I've completed four rounds, finally got control of my sugar dragon and generally just feel so much BETTER. I've become fascinated with the Whole30 community, paleo lifestyle and all things real food. When the coaching opportunity presented itself, it made so much sense to me.  I had already guided a few friends and family through the program and I wanted to help more people and make a platform for myself where I could reach more Whole30ers.  

I'm so excited to begin this journey and so excited to connect with you all! 

Yours in health,