Transition, Food Freedom + Radical Self Love

As many of you know, there is a lot of change happening for me this first month of 2019. Wow, that feels crazy to say…how is it 2019 already?! I start a brand new job in a brand new city on Monday. YAY! I am excited for a new adventure, ready to take it on, but (obviously) a bit nervous about what is to come as well. This is a big leap I’m taking—pushing myself out of my comfort zone to move somewhere 2.5 hours away where I know very few people (like VERY few) on my own. It is THRILLING and SCARY AS HELL. Truly.

I got a lot of questions on my Instagram leading up to January about whether I’d be doing a Whole30 or not. To be honest, I wasn’t going to for a while. I’ve been living my #foodfreedom for a good amount of time and have felt prettttttttty good about where I was at. It is important to me that I am authentically living food freedom, exploring foods that are not Whole30 with intention because I don’t ever want to get into the rut of using Whole30 as a “diet’ or weight loss tool when that is completely not the point. To be honest, I definitely indulged a bit over the holidays, but I was feeling pretty darn good on December 26. I was a bit bloated, had a few breakouts, but GENERALLY felt in control and no guilt around my food decisions. That was a big deal and I was proud of that! I was ready to just keep living food freedom which FOR ME, looks like Whole30 most of the time and some treats here and there which would probably fall into the SWYPO category. If you don’t know what that means, go here. My SWYPO foods include Siete chips (grain/dairy/soy/corn free) and their queso (to die for), Simple Mills (gluten/grain/dairy/soy free/non-GMO) ANYTHING. seriously so good, and probably a few too many bags of dried mango from Trader Joe’s. While I probably overindulge (a bit) on these things, they do fit nicely into my food freedom life, giving me the opportunity to enjoy some treats without guilt and generally make my body feel pretty darn good. But, I know a few too many of these treats will spike my blood sugar and will eventually make me feel out of control…SO, I decided to Whole30 this month.

As I thought more and more leading up to January 1, I realized that I absolutely feel my best, brightest and clearest on a Whole30 and with the absence of some of these SWYPO foods for a bit…my Whole30 this month has absolutely nothing to do with guilt about the holidays or weight loss. Nothing at all. I’m pretty darn happy with my body lately and the way I’ve been treating it and I don’t feel the need to “drop a few lbs” after the holiday season. That is not my intention with Whole30, and it shouldn’t be yours. Doing anything with the sole purpose of losing weight is a slippery slope. That is all I’ll say about that.

But, back to the point. I feel absolutely best and clearest on a Whole30 (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually). I know Whole30 as a way of eating helps my brain and body function at the optimal level. I know this because after MANY rounds, I always feel really freaking good after only a few days of it. I sleep better, am generally happier, feel super in control, and what might be most surprising…I actually feel free.

This is the opposite of what most people assume in the world of dieting around January 1. Going on a Whole30 or making any kind of food change sounds restrictive. I thought so too. What I’ve found after a number of rounds is that having a sense of stability in my diet and my body is incredibly FREEING. it takes the guesswork out of what I’m going to be eating, I don’t feel like I’m changed to my cravings for snacks, and honestly, I become less consumed with what I’m eating because the rules are pretty much decided for me. That really offers me physical and mental space to focus on the things that I have less assurance or control over…and in this season of change, there’s a heck of a lot that I don’t know yet. Particularly in this time of major transition in my life, I need the stability of my physical and mental self to carry me through. I know that the absolute best thing I can do for myself is this very thing.

I felt the need to share this because there is a lot of stigma and misinformation about the Whole30 as a program, and the misconception that it is about weight loss and restriction. I think a lot of that is all about how you go into it, what your intentions are, and how you are framing it for yourself. I’m not here to sell anything or promote anything—truly, you need to find what works for you, but I wanted to share my authentic experience.

Here’s to a 2019 of radical self love and putting you first. You deserve it.



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,