My first Whole30 WHY was DESPERATION. My reason was only on the surface, literally. I had a relentless, painful rash between the fingers on both of my hands. When it finally clicked that it could be a result of my food choices, I started Day 1 the next day. (Which I don’t recommend as the best choice, but it worked for me!) Not only did my rash disappear by day 34, I also achieved many other unexpected, deeper non-scale victories.
My WHY is much different now. My wicked rash never returned because I never went back to the way I was mindlessly eating before Whole30. This will be my 7th January Whole30 in a row, and I think 13th round overall. (I may have lost count). While the goal of Whole30 is not to rack up multiple rounds, it can take several resets to reach your food freedom goals. It is not intended to be a yo-yo diet, because it is not a diet at all, and this distinction matters. To set yourself up for success, you want to begin with your mindset. Whole30 is an experiment to determine how different foods affect you. Once you discover this information, you are empowered with the knowledge to make mindful food choices. This is how Whole30 leads you to your very own Food Freedom Forever.
Though I am pretty solid in my food freedom, I have personal, specific reasons why I continue to complete the Whole30. I enjoy the bonding experience with my loved ones. My boyfriend has done my last couple rounds with me and he makes it extra fun. We have a blast together in the kitchen meal prepping and trying new recipes, and sending each other funny memes. It makes all the difference to have people to connect (and sometimes commiserate) with during the experience.
What I know now, that I never could’ve realized back in 2015, is that Whole30 is about so much more than food. My major WHY now centers around the emotional benefits and my overall well-being. These are my January 2021 WHYs:
- I feel calmer, my mood is more stable, I sleep better, I have more energy and I am more focused on all of my choices when I am doing a round.
- 10 months living in a pandemic. The stress is real. Also, I continue to have my groceries delivered and since I do not like having someone else pick out my produce, I have been buying less of it. I can no longer run to several different stores for specialty items or make that quick trip to grab an extra ingredient. So I am making some exceptions, like eating more gluten-free bread and pasta. A reset will give me a break from these processed foods, get me to plan better and eat more veggies.
- It is a tradition that keeps me close to Kenny. He completed his first Whole30 in January less than a month before his sudden death. We had an incredible experience starting 2016 doing our Whole30 together with our friends, and he was happier than ever. Each January Whole30 connects me to our special last moments together.
- It prepares me for February, which tends to be the hardest month of the year for me. February 2021, I think it is safe to say, may be extra rough. It will likely be the 12th month of continuing to shelter in place. And it will be, like always in Ohio, dark early, with many freezing cold and very gray days. Most of all, Whole30 is a tool to lift myself up to face the dreaded month when my husband and mom died. My Whole30 experience, combined with yoga, meditation, writing and self-care, allows me to feel my feelings and nurture my body, mind and soul to grieve AND live in the best ways I know how.
What is your WHY? If you are considering a January Whole30, start there!