My Whole30 Journey
By Judith Forman, Whole30 Certified Coach
My first memories of dieting as a child were tied to going to the doctor. Months before my annual physical, I would start to think about what I could do to drop a few pounds so the doctor (or the nurse or my mom) wouldn’t tell me I was fat. I was never super overweight as a child but I was always conscious of my stomach and the number on the scale.
When I got to college, I gained the “Freshman 15,” and took up running to try to lose them. Thank goodness I laced up my sneakers back then because that move led me to discover one of the greatest passions in life -- and I have the Boston Marathon medals to show for it!
Nevertheless, I continued to struggle with my weight.
After college, I discovered Weight Watchers and soon enough, I wore my size 2 jeans like a badge of honor. But old habits die hard and I found myself back in the cycle of bingeing and restricting. I felt like I couldn’t keep certain foods in my house (I’m looking at you, cereal!) because my eating was extremely all-or-nothing. While I still looked “skinny,” I was miserable on the inside.
Fast forward 15 years. I no longer live like that. I am happy and empowered around food. I am strong and in great physical shape. I am a fabulous home cook and I no longer think twice about keeping “dangerous” foods in my house.
How did I get here? In 2015, I discovered Whole30, “a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
This translates to eliminating the following food groups for 30 days: Added sugar (real or artificial), dairy, grains, alcohol, soy, legumes, certain additives (including carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites) and recreated baked goods or “treats” made with Whole30 compliant ingredients. You also toss the scale and focus solely on eating well.
What’s left? Plenty of REAL food, including protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fat. It may not sound like much but there are plenty of ways to enjoy creative and delicious meals – and thousands of Whole30 recipes to inspire you.
I admit that I first approached Whole30 as another “diet” with weight loss as the end goal. But, over time, it clicked. I realized that the elimination of certain foods – and the subsequent reintroduction of them – gave me invaluable data about how different foods make me feel.
From there, I’ve been able to determine which foods are “worth it” – and when. For example, I now know that a lot of sugar and gluten make me feel tired, headache-y, and gives me stomach pain. So, before I dive into a dessert, I think it through carefully, weighing how I know it will make my feel, what else I have going on that day, and if the dessert if something I really NEED.
Shortly after I took on Whole30 in 2015, I began posting pictures of my meals in a small Facebook support group of about 40 moms from north of Boston. I was a regular poster and at the end of 2015, I was asked if I wanted to take over the group.
I said yes. I had no idea that that YES would change my life. Today, that group has more than 45,000 global members, and 7 admins (including me!) running it around the clock. To complement the group, we started a Whole30 blog, Everyday Whole, to provide additional support, tips, recipes, and Whole30 inspiration!
Over the years, many people I helped in the group with Whole30 told me I should be an official leader or coach – but such a thing didn’t exist. I shrugged them off, I was just happy to help people as a hobby. But, then the Whole30 coaching program was announced in 2017, and in March 2018 I applied for a Whole30 coaching scholarship from The New Primal.
I was announced as one of the winners the following month and the path of my life truly changed forever. As a Whole30 Certified Coach, I run small closed coaching groups on Facebook where I offer clients daily posts, support, recipes, discounts, access to Whole30 partners, giveaways, Facebook LIVES, and more. It’s a fun and rewarding way for me to share Whole30 with others.
One of the best parts of becoming a Whole30 coach has been being introduced to several incredible Whole30 Approved brands, like Cooked. I am so proud to be the in-house Whole30 coach at Cooked, and to be aligned with a company that creates delicious, balanced Whole30 Approved meals with high-quality protein, vegetables, and healthy fat! When you eat real food, you stay happy, satisfied, and your body is fueled to do amazing things. I can’t wait to tell everyone I know about Cooked!
I recently told a friend that I feel like “Judith 2.0” since discovering Whole30 – the program and the community. I am 43 years old, and I am a better all-around human being. I am a better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, and a better employee. I am calmer, more organized, and more focused. I’ve gone from a non-cook to someone who makes her own mayonnaise. I’ve lifted heavy weights and run my fastest road races. I’ve become confident and proud of myself and everything my body does for me.
Most importantly, I no longer focus on a goal of being skinny, I focus on being healthy and present every day. I am forever changed from Whole30 and a firm believer that it does truly start with food.
Learn more about Judith here. For more Whole30 inspiration, follow her on Instagram @jujuswhole30. To connect with Judith, drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.