30 Things I’ve Learned from My #Whole30

With my best friend in Scottsdale this past weekend

Today is January 30th, 2013.

For me, it marks the end of a commitment I made to myself on January 1st. But more importantly, it’s the end of one tiny leg of a journey that I’ve decided needs to last longer. Many of you have been following along and prayerfully supporting my Whole30 experiment this month. In reality, I still have 1/30th of the program yet to complete. And no, I haven’t yet weighed myself today. I thought I’d leave that for tomorrow, and spend today “finishing strong”.

But the reality is that I’m not finishing anything other than this first phase. I’ve decided that regardless of what my scale says tomorrow, I’m going to take one day off, and then repeat the program for the 28 days of February. On January 31st, I plan to eat a taco, drink at least one really good beer, have pancakes for breakfast, and maybe even go crazy with some frozen yogurt. Yes, there are definitely some things I miss not eating and drinking. But I’ve discovered that none of them taste as good as the way I feel today. On February 1, I’m going to wake up and start the next leg of my hike to health. I have a long way to go, but even without seeing a number on a scale I can tell you that I’m thrilled with how I’m feeling inside and out.

To make this Day 30 special, I thought it would be good to capture and share a few lessons I’ve learned this past month. Some are simple things I should have known a long time ago. Many are things I’ll need to revisit time and again until they are habitualized. I’m sharing this list here mostly because I know I’m going to need to read it again around February 21st.

So without any furthur ado:

30 Things I’ve Learned from My #Whole30:

  1. I can cook, when I try.
  2. There are tons of different names for sugar, so you have to be on the lookout for many of the more “scientific versions”.
  3. Most restaurant chefs will happily work with you to prepare a meal that meets certain specifications.
  4. When you do special order in a restaurant, your meal is typically the most tasty one on the table.
  5. So many things have sugar in them… things you’d never expect like bacon and pasta sauce
  6. I can successfully survive a social occasion without an alcoholic beverage in my hand.
  7. When you ask for Perrier with a lime twist at a social occasion, some people assume you’re a recovering alcoholic. It’s sometimes fun not to correct them…
  8. Not drinking when you’re out means never having to worry about who’s going to be the designated driver.
  9. Cooking at home is far more economical than even the most inexpensive dining out options.
  10. Our community offers many great options for purchasing fantastic locally grown food. This includes fruits and vegetables, but also meat and other staples.
  11. The vendors at the Farmer’s Market will happily help you choose the best produce. Don’t be embarrassed to ask what the heck you’re supposed to do with a big bunch of kale!
  12. You rarely drink too much water. Dehydration is not your friend.
  13. Having hot flashes? Try watching what you consume. You’ll be amazed by the results.
  14. Craving pasta? Try spaghetti squash. It’s awesome!
  15. Craving something snacky? Take a small handful of raw cashews and hazelnuts, lightly salt them, and heat them in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  16. Craving something sweet? Combine fresh strawberries and raspberries for a wonderful treat that looks lovely too.
  17. The guacamole you make yourself at home is always better than the kind you buy at the store.
  18. The scale is not your friend. You don’t need to visit it daily. Judge your progress on how you’re feeling inside and out.
  19. When you have one of those moments where you’re feeling sorry for yourself, it helps to go do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be anything big, and preferably your kindness should be a secret.
  20. A daily dose of scripture to start the day is an amazing health practice — so often what you read will be relevant to a challenge or struggle you’ll face during the day.
  21. Sick of drinking water? Try heating it up and throwing a lemon in it. It sounds weird, but it tastes great.
  22. Watching what you eat will heighten your senses. Take your time and use this increased sensitivity to savor the world around you.
  23. People naturally want you to succeed, and perhaps even more so if they sense that you are challenged beyond your comfort level.
  24. If you need help, ask for it. No one is perfect.
  25. I still don’t like fish. That’s a bummer, but it’s the truth.
  26. Have a support system, and especially someone who has “been there, done that”. Any success I’ve had this month is largely thanks to the amazing support of my brother, Mike. He maybe the youngest in our family, but he’s wise beyond his years!
  27. When I set my mind on something, I’m better off if I tell the people around me. Their help, support and prayers make me more accountable, and thus more likely to succeed.
  28. My life is a blessing, a gift from God who loves every hair on my head despite the size of my waist. I want to be healthy. I am worth every ounce of effort it takes.
  29. Being strong and healthy enables me to better carry out the plan God has for my life. Caring for myself spiritually and physically is good stewardship of the gifts with which God has so richly blessed me.
  30. Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. Philippians 4:11-13

Thank you for those of you who prayed me through this. If I can return the favor, please don’t hesistate to ask. And I promise not to subject the rest of you to any more nutritional blogging (at least until February!).

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

  • http://www.catholicws.com John Clem

    Thanks Lisa, keeping me motivated to keep up the healthy lifestyle–always struggle with including enough healthy eating, exercise, and prayer in my day. Great blog entry–God Bless your Ministry!

    Pax Et Bonum,
    John

    • Lisa M. Hendey

      Thanks so much John. Honestly friendships like yours are a huge support to me!

  • http://www.catholicvitamins.com Dee Fox

    30 very wise statements… thank you Lisa!

  • http://aspecialmotherisborn.blogspot.com/ Leticia Velasquez

    Love this plan, its so healthy and sensible. I’ll follow it along with you Lisa, and keep you in my prayers.

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  • http://www.catholicbookgroup.blogspot.com Nancy Piccione

    Lisa, I have been following along with your January journey. Congratulations on making it through! and thanks for being encouragement to the rest of us to live healthy and give challenges like these a go.

    • Lisa M. Hendey

      Nancy – thanks for your support and encouragement! I’m back in swing for another thirty days this month, with my husband on board this time!

  • http://darowany.pl/kolonie/ kolonie

    Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  • Jane

    I’m going to be starting the Whole30 next week. My question is: no grains, no alcohol for the entire 30 days with no cheating, even in the slightest. I can abstain from the Blood at Communion, but what about the Body? It still has the accidentals of bread. Should I just trust God on that one? What did you do?

    • Lisa M. Hendey

      Great question Jane – I received the Eucharist regularly, exempting the Body of Christ from my program. Like you, I actually regularly abstain from the Precious Blood, but I could never abstain from receiving the Eucharist. It did not cause a physical problem for me in any way. I’m trying to continue to stick to the “spirit” of the program in the months following, but this is an exception I have no problem making.

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