Today was Day 1 of my first Whole30.

-no SUGAR (unless it’s in a fruit or vegetable)

-no grains

-no dairy

-no legumes

-no alcohol

*There are a few other things on the ‘no-no’ list, like MSG and sulfites, but suffice it to say it’s basically Paleo on steroids.  Super restrictive.  Probably the only way I’ll curb my sweet tooth.

*Note: As a dietitian, I’m always wary of any eating plan that removes entire food groups.  However, by eating a varied selection of fruits and vegetables, a person can get all the nutrients grains and dairy provide.  Additionally, grains and dairy are often over-consumed in high-calorie, nutrient-poor forms (think crackers and ice cream) by many people, which doesn’t lead to optimum body weight or health.  Therefore, removing those two food groups isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds.  Difficult, yes.  Impossible, no. Lastly, the Whole30 removes these food groups for specific reasons (explained in-depth in the book) and also REINTRODUCES them after 30 days so individuals can assess their impact for themselves. End note.*

I’m super excited, even though I know it’s going to be really difficult sometimes.  A few years ago, I skimmed through Melissa Hartwig’s book, It Starts With Food, and thought ‘hell no!’ and slammed the book shut.

However, a few weeks ago, after seeing it mentioned somewhere on social media, it was all I could think about.  It’s amazing how different seasons of life change our perspectives.

The truth is, I’ve known for awhile now that I’ve needed a change.  A reset.  A shock to my system.  It’s been four years since I’ve been happy with how I look (thanks, school, for negatively impacting my body through stress…NOT), and more recently, I’ve realized how badly I feel when I overeat/eat certain things.  While I eat a lot of healthy foods, I also have about zero willpower when it comes to sweets.

(The recent blog re-org and trip down memory lane while reading past posts reminded me how great I feel when I’m eating better, not to mention how great I looked a few years ago. Sigh.)

These last couple months have been a double-whammy for me in terms of my health and routine.  First, I’ve been experiencing pain in my lower back since January (recently diagnosed as a bulging disc by an MRI) and an inflamed nerve in my elbow, both of which sidelined me from my usual high-intensity workouts and weight-lifting sessions.  (The cause: all that heavy lifting and landscaping last summer.  Boo.) At the same time, I’ve been stressed and splurging on sugary treats even more since my gym time decreased.  Go figure.

All that to say, I’ve been slowly accepting that I need to take charge over my diet in order to feel better–physically and mentally.  On a sleepless night Easter weekend, I read up on the entire Whole30 plan by the light of my phone and committed right then and there that I would start soon.

The next morning I asked Andrew if he’d do the Whole30 with me (lucky for him, he loves meat, hates cheese and beans, doesn’t do a lot of dairy and doesn’t crave sweets) and he agreed.  I bought the books that night and pored over them all Easter weekend, hopefully not at the expense of spending quality time with family–sorry, grandma!

As I said before, I’m really excited, because I know in my heart it’s what I need to get back on track.  I really DO love being healthy and fit, so I need to stop letting sugar win and take back control of what I eat.  In essence, I need to practice what I preach!

For extra motivation, I’m re-reading the Made to Crave devotional, on which I relied heavily a few years ago on a weight-loss journey.

I won’t be blogging what I eat every day throughout this 30-day period (like I did with our Paleo Challenge last year), but I will post some photos on Instagram (username: hollyrlayer).  I will, however, be posting a book review of It Starts With Food (not to mention all the other ‘diet’ books I’ve read) and perhaps some topical posts based on the program, like how to get calcium without eating dairy.  (You can, and it’s easy!)

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