Hellllooooo! So nice to meet you, or whatever we call it when reading about another person online. I’d love to get to know you more, but since you’re here I’ll tell you a little bit about me.
I love living in Saint Louis with my two kids, ages 8&4, and my sweet husband. We adore being outside, going to the pool, reading books about all kinds of things, and legos. My kids LOVE legos and other tiny toys. It’s taken me a decade (I’m 35!) to really figure out what a healthy lifestyle looks like for me. I’ve always loved to cook, but cooking non cheese and cream and gluten heavy food is an evolving interest for me. I’ve gotten into the habit of exercise and appreciate now what a huge difference regular sweat sessions make in my mood, sleep, energy, and appearance.
Let me take you back – wayyyyy back to circa 2004
This, my new friends, is me. I’m on a trip with future husband where we walked a LOT and I remember my feet hurting, being so tired, and struggling to keep up.
After getting married in 2005, I continued to put on weight. Finally, in September of 2007, something shifted and I *knew* it was time to make a radical change. So, on a Monday morning, I joined a calorie tracking website. I logged everything I ate, every minute of exercise I did, and every weigh in. Let me tell you something: I saw results immediately! I was so heavy – yet so committed – that it was pretty easy to lose 10-20 pounds a month over several months. It got harder as the months went on, and it took me nearly 1.5 years of DAILY CONSISTENT hard work, but I lost 100 pounds.
I had my daughter in 2010 and really struggled to lose weight after pregnancy and breastfeeding. But, I went to my tried and true method of calorie counting and logging, and got down to my lowest weight as an adult. I was feeling good, looking good, but knowing that I couldn’t maintain this lifestyle. I had no tools beyond logging every morsel of food and exercising in whatever way got me the most “bang for my calorie buck” that I was scared to stop. I still wanted to lose more weight and although it would have been healthy for me to do so, but I just couldn’t cut my calories any lower and feel satisfied. Going to bed hungry suddenly became a twisted victory. If the scale showed no loss on my weekly Saturday morning weigh ins I’d be sad and mad at myself.
In 2013 I had my son and really reaped the benefits of staying active during pregnancy. I recovered much faster and didn’t have as much weight to lose. I was slowly learning that what we do daily matters more than what we do once in a while. I was starting to feel gross about a lot of the food I was eating – just because it’s low calorie doesn’t mean it’s a good option!
In 2016, at the healthiest I’d ever been, I was diagnosed with hormone positive breast cancer. My kids were 2&6 – it was a horribly low time in my life. I went through 6 rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, 28 days of radiation, and major reconstructive surgery. I’ve also had several “minor” surgeries. It turns out that it takes a lot to put your body back together once it’s been taken apart! I have been in remission since January 2017 and am so incredibly thankful!
It was around this same time, in 2017, that I began to read the Whole30 line of books. It seems cliche, but going through a health crisis really made me consider what was important to me. I got such varied advice about what I should eat, what exercise to do, and how to live going forward in the most sustainable and healthy way I could. I just KNEW that I absolutely could not add calorie counting back into my daily life. There is a wealth of nutritional advice for cancer patients. I combed through a lot of it and arrived at this conclusion: I WANT TO EAT A WAY THAT MAKES ME FEEL MY BEST. That’s it.
We all have to define our version of best. For me, it means this: I have sustainable energy throughout the day, my mood is stable (this is BIG because I am on hormone therapy and am in medical menopause), my joints don’t hurt (another side effect of my medication), I am able to exercise in any capacity I choose, I sleep well, I’m not controlled by cravings, and I look and feel like the best version of myself.
Since I wasn’t yet cleared to exercise, I spent some time reading and preparing myself for my first Whole30. The concept of “Food Freedom Forever” was such a breath of fresh air. Discovering how the foods we eat impact us makes so much rational sense to me. I’d been searching for food freedom for 10 years!! I balked at the advice to throw away your scale and to remove the calorie counting apps from your phone – those were my safety nets!
I did my first round in 2017 and I lost ONE POUND. One measly pound. But remember: the Whole30 isn’t designed and marketed for the weight loss. Weight loss can and absolutely does happen, but it’s not the goal. This forced me to change my mindset about what a lifetime of health could look like for me. I had to consult the LONG LIST of non-scale victories from the books and I could check off SO MANY of them. I also had to give myself a littttttle credit because I’d just finished CANCER TREATMENT and 7 surgeries in 15 months.
I completed two more rounds and reintroductions over the next year and slowly lost some of the weight I’d put on during treatment – about 15 pounds. I now know that dairy and gluten (especially when combined!) make me break out. Sugar in the afternoon leads to more sugar in the night and I can’t stop eating chocolate chips in my pantry. I thrive on a big breakfast of eggs, greens, and some other vegetable. I like my coffee blended bulletproof style. And so much more!
I feel comfortable in my body, feel good about my food choices, and know that I can maintain this lifestyle forever. If this isn’t you, will you grab my hand? Will you let me come alongside you as you figure out what food freedom looks like for you? I would be honored to partner with you in that way!