Ah… where to begin.
How about with the punchline. Six months ago (after a really clear “I can’t keep living like this” moment that followed weeks of research about Whole30), I embarked upon my first official round of #Whole30 eating.
I got clean. I lost 12.5 pounds. My body temp stopped spiking. The quality of my sleep vastly improved. I felt invincible. I wrote a very popular blog post about my results. The Whole30 people asked if they could feature my story at their Facebook page.
And then — right after hitting PUBLISH on that post — I went on what I call a vodka-and-cheese binge because reasons. I was uncorked for sure. I was happy to have done so well that I celebrated by poisoning myself. Ate mostly compliant but put 8 of the 12.5 pounds back on in six weeks thanks to pounding the booze and the queso. Felt like shit. Went back to having night sweats and low-quality sleep. Really had to ask myself, “Do you WANT to keep putting poison in your bod, Bon?”
No. The answer was — and is — no.
See, the amazing thing about Whole30 is that it teaches you what your body treats as medicine, what it finds neutral, and what it sees as poison. I already knew — within two days of reintroduction of dairy and booze (yes, I did a nontraditional reintroduction after reading Melissa’s guidelines here) — that these things were not friends to my bod. But they were soooooooo friends to my spirit! I loved so much about having these things in my life.
Finally, on October 16, 2016, I decided I love myself more.
Without starting another round, I “went back” to a Whole30 life. Meaning, I haven’t done a strict round like I did in August, but not quite four months ago, I took the lessons I learned from Whole30 and eliminated all sugar, dairy, gluten (already out of my life since 2004), soy, and alcohol.
And when I uploaded this blooper vid at Instagram three weeks ago, I got to hear about how clear the changes are at this point.
Yes. There are visible physical changes. My clothes don’t fit. I’m holding no inflammation. I can do things in pole class I’ve never done before. My skin is beautifully showing the strain of the extra stuff it held in for years, now that it has relaxed. My boobs are… not DD’s anymore. Not by a long shot. I need to shop to find out exactly what I wear anymore. Nothing fits. I’m not complaining.
So, to celebrate six months since my first day of Whole30 living, I’m sharing the following:
- I’m down 36.5 pounds.
I have made zero change to my exercise routine and I’m down 36.5 pounds.
I have made zero change to my exercise routine and I’m down 36.5 pounds at the age of 46.
When your metabolism is allegedly completely dead.
The fun part is, I haven’t weighed this little since I was an actor in her 20s. I was specifically competing in an industry in which keeping my weight lower than it has been in nearly 20 years was a priority. I was torturing myself to try and maintain that weight in the 1990s.
And here I am not only at that “actor weight,” but still headed south on the scale. Simply by fueling my body with foods that are delightfully yummy, not processed, and of course that are a big eff-you to the bullshit nutritional pyramid, I’m here.
Isn’t it hilarious that people are helping sell that old-school pyramid and are trying to be sure we don’t damage the grain or dairy industry by choosing such a horrific diet as one in which we remove processed foods from our lives?
(OMG, I’m sounding like one of those Whole30 zealots I used to roll my eyes at. Lest you think I am, let me get back to what has really changed for me in these six months.)
It’s been a challenging time (this isn’t shocking information to anyone on the planet right now). A lot of stress. Stuff in my personal life (hubs in emergency surgery, then two more surgeries after that; parked car hit-and-run, then in the shop for weeks after that; launching a new business with a team of amazing people — fun but not unstressful of course), stuff going on in the world, stuff that would almost always make me grab for comfort foods and a nice tall glass o’ anything mind-altering… and I’ve found the control I have over what goes into my bod to be the most comforting thing going.
Learning that I am capable of weathering really scary shit, bad news, business growth, unfairness/injustice whatever without turning to food or drink has been some of the most empowering stuff ever. I’ve GOT this. I’m always going to be okay.
That — while simple — is everything.
What really kept me going during my very binary first 30 days was: It’s *just* 30 days!!! (And after that first round, there’s soooooooo much more freedom.) If you’re thinking about doing Whole30, really give yourself those 30 days. Fully. Think about it… if you’re anywhere close to my age, you’ve lived… hmm… something like 17,000 days in your lifetime. To believe that you can’t eliminate high-craving but possibly bad-for-you stuff for THIRTY of them in a row? How disempowering! C’mon! THIRTY days. That’s nothing.
The convo when I would go, “Ooh… I could just have a bite of that…” would then go, “Didn’t you get enough of that these past few decades?” Yeah. Yeah, I did. This is better.
Most importantly, those first thirty days prove you can do it. Then you’re stronger when you’re outside a round… because you know what you’re capable of. Or at least that’s how it’s been for me — after that very important six-week “ick” period. I needed to have that backslide so I could learn how valuable this way of eating is to my well-being. No regrets.
And because I never experience a thing without turning it into something that could help others, I posted at our SMFAninjas #Whole30 Facebook group a meal-by-meal guide to my first round of Whole30, August 2016, often linking to recipes and explaining tips that made my experience better.
Of course, the graduation day blog post includes my tips on self-care and prep. Essential!
When in doubt, TRUST THE PLATE MAP! Even with snacks, load it up like this!
Y’all, that’s it, really. Yes, I can eat a lot more fun stuff now that I’m not in a round, because now I know what my body’s going to do with what I put into it. I’m making mindful choices and my body is responding in a full-on THRUST of love toward what I’m doing. It’s like it’s screaming, “Yessssssssss!” Every time I step on the scale and see the numbers continuing down, all the while never feeling deprived or hungry, I say, “HOW is this possible?!?” When my clothes fall off me and I’m told by those who see me that they cannot believe how young, how slim, and how happy I look, I think, “HOW can it be this easy?!?”
What happened is I went all-in. I trusted the process and I’ve been rewarded with that. No second-guessing, no calorie counting, no worrying about fat when that’s an important part of my plate map, no waiting for some other proverbial shoe to drop sending my weight back up. Nope. This is me now.
Outside of a round but probably 90% compliant (which is how I’ve been living my life since October), I allow myself to snack (but always with the plate map as a guide), I let myself have corn or peanuts or peas when the (amazing) recipe calls for them, I don’t lose my mind at a restaurant asking what oil something is cooked in, and I enjoy my smoothies and juices. I predict I’ll do another round at some point when I want a kickstart from any sluggishness that has come from SWYPO foods like too many compliant tortillas or raw/vegan wraps or RXbars, but for now those things cause no stress in my life.
It’s like I finally listened to my body and it’s rewarding me with so much goodness. My bod is saying THANK YOU. Thank you for supporting me with healing foods and for no longer poisoning me.
At this point I’ve gotten greedy for reaching weights I’ve not seen on the scale since high school. Yes, I believe it’s totally do-able at this point. I’m already at a weight the hubs has never seen on me (it’s like I’m a new woman for him, heh heh) and the fact that I just feel FREE of so much addiction and stress and discomfort is the real gift in all of this.
I can’t wait to report in again a few more months from now. Who knew that I had this much good stuff stretched out ahead of me when I started in on this journey last August!
Should Whole30 be something you’re considering, yes, go read my prep and self-care and results post. Join us in the Facebook group (and hit that doc in the files section for my round one play-by-play).
But most of all, stay inspired and trust the rules. They 100% work… when you commit 100%! And once those first 30 days are up and you learn through reintroduction what’s gonna come with you into your real life ongoing? Even if you do need a six-week “ick” run like I had to do to figure it out, you’re then moving forward from such an empowered place that it feels really phenomenal.
Life-changing, pinch-yourself, OMG-why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-lavish-such-love-on-myself phenomenal.
Not bad for a 30-day diet, huh?
Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!
Posted just now in the SMFA Ninjas Whole30 support group at Facebook: