Halfway to Whole? What I’ve Learned in the First 15 Days of My Whole30

Readers who have been paying attention will know that when I snuggle into bed tonight, I will have — God willing — successfully completed Day 15 of my Whole30 challenge. If you have no idea what “Whole30″ means, take a look at this site, which spells out all of the details.

Since I haven’t personally prepared every morsel of food that has entered my body in the past two weeks, I cannot for a fact guarantee that I have been completely “compliant” with all aspects of the program. But I can vouch for the fact that I’ve made every food decision since January 1 consciously and with forethought and have not knowingly eaten anything off program. Is that important? For me, yes — I’m sadly not one of those who can “take a day off“, have a beer or an ice cream cone, and then start again tomorrow. Sadly, I am an “all or nothing” kind of person. I can’t even begin to name the list of things I’ve started and later given up because I wasn’t perfect in my execution of the plan.

Midway through, I thought I’d share a few observations for anyone who is interested. These are a few things I’ve learned about myself in this process:

1. I’m a lazy eater. I’ve gotten into the poor health situation that I’ve been in not because I’m addicted to twinkies, but because I’m too lazy to cook. Somehow, I missed the domestic gene that came with cooking skills and I’ve been lousy at even trying. Succeeding in making life changes means making an effort. Making an effort happens in my life when something is a priority. Every once in a while, my priorities need a “reset“. For me, occasions such as Advent, Lent or New Year’s mark a good time to examine where I’m off track in my life and to plan a corrective path.

2. I all too often let my busyness stand in the path of my good health. I know this is a problem in my life — in fact I wrote about it in the “Body” section of The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Making any life change is a challenge. Eating according to the Whole30 plan requires a commitment — you can’t just skip grocery shopping and hope that organic vegetables will magically appear in your kitchen. Things you don’t eat go bad and get wasted. Not having food on hand means you run the risk of making a bad choice simply out of desperation. If living healthfully in accordance for God’s plan in my life is a priority, then adding the attendant tasks that make this possible to my “to do” list must be a requirement.

3. I overlook hidden dangers. Take a look back at #1 above and you’ll like see the root of this problem. But who knew that so many things contained unknown ingredients and chemicals? Don’t get me wrong — I’m not telling you that I will never eat another processed food in my life. But trying to educate myself and my family about the foods with which we are nourishing ourselves has been an education for all of us. I’m blessed to live in an area that is packed full of great resources for healthy eating – I need to make it a greater priority to support our local farmers while feeding our family.

OK, my list could go on and on, but I’ll spare you any more today. Suffice it to say that — God willing — I think I’ll likely survive Day 15 intact. And guess what? I will likely enjoy the process! This is blessedly becoming less of a “grit your teeth and bear it” experience, and more of a joyful look at the potential my body holds for the next fifty years of my life.

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 4:12-13

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.

  • Genine Telepak

    Hi Lisa,
    So proud of you. Thanks for inspiring me. Just wanted to send a note of encouragement. You can do it!! Keep thanking your body daily for all the things it does for you. Have a great next 15 days. I’m considering the 30 day challenge.
    God bless you sista,
    Genine Telepak
    Gilbert, AZ

    • lisahendey

      Oh Genine, this comment is like a warm hug! Thanks for your encouragement. I’ll be praying for you!

  • sheri

    Yeah for God and Yeah for Lisa…you two are truly in this together!!! I’m waiting to see if you survive before I give it a try! :) Keep up the great work Lisa!

  • http://www.heidibratton.com Heidi

    Lisa – Good, for you in resetting and raising the bar with regard to your health, which of course helps the rest of us moms to consider doing the same!! Take care of that beautiful temple of the Holy Spirit, My Friend.

    < Heidi

  • http://www.thepracticingcatholic.com Lisa Schmidt

    Congratulations, Lisa! Here’s to continued spiritual stamina and willpower to accompany you along your journey!

  • Les Walters

    Congrats Lisa! Sounds like a good plan, thoughtfully implemented. I agree on the ‘challenge of change’ comments. Have you checked out “Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success”? http://www.amazon.com/Change-Anything-Science-Personal-Success/dp/0446573906/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358363270&sr=8-1&keywords=change+anything

    I find it it amazingly helpful. I’ve been studying it since early January and applying the principles to lose weight and modify unhelpful habits.

    Good luck with your plan!

    Regards, Les

  • Sadie McCurry

    Well done, Lisa! I am also working on the Whole30 challenge (although I fear I will have to start over after a day of indulgence) :-(
    But I will say that since I have been eating this way (for the most part) for the past 2 months, I am feeling so much better (more energy, better moods, etc.). I hope you find the same thing.
    Keep up the great work!

    • lisahendey

      Thanks Sadie – I’m feeling so good that I’ve been contemplating another 30 days. It’s interesting… I thought I would take a few days in between and “eat whatever I want”, but at the moment that doesn’t sound at all appealing… I have my ups and downs with feeling completely “psyched”, but for the most part I feel really terrific.

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