Saturday, 3 November 2012

Introducing Teena, on her own Whole30 path

While starting the journey of my first Whole30 in March of this year, I counted days and posted pictures of some meals on Facebook. A week in I got a message from my cousin, Teena. She asked what I was doing, and knowing she has struggled with weight and health much of her life, I encouraged her to look at the program as outlined on the Whole9 page. After reviewing the program she decided she had nothing to lose (and maybe everything to gain?), so why not give it a try. I was so excited and proud of her for deciding to take the plunge. What followed was the first step in her journey back to health and a positive relationship with food. I find her story and continuing adventure so inspiring and real, I asked her to share with you. So without further ado, here's Teena.

I am very overweight, and always have been. Three children and a sedentary lifestyle served to pack on the lbs, and while I hesitate to admit this, on that March day of this year when I first approached Nicole, I was back up to my highest weight of 273 lbs. Four years prior I had successfully lost 50 lbs the traditional way: counting every calorie and working out 3-4 times per week. As soon as I stopped, the weight slowly crept back on. Since then, I’d tried several times to start losing weight again. I went back to the website that had helped me initially –, and when that didn’t work, I joined Weight Watchers. It just seemed like an uphill battle and I blamed my own lack of motivation.
In January, the girls at work arranged a weight loss challenge. I decided to participate and wasn’t doing so well. When I started reading about the Whole 30 in March, I decided why not? I can do anything for 30 days…
My 1st Whole30 was a major turning point for me. I lost 17 lbs and now – 8 months later- I have lost 40 lbs. When the first Whole30 was done, I continued for the most part to eat that way. Hard to believe that a month before, I didn’t even know what a Paleo or Primal diet was! As the months passed though, I did start to allow some things – my big weakness has always been potatoes, and I decided in July that I would allow myself the occasional potato. That soon turned into every meal. Then one day I had the worst craving for potato chips. Fortunately for once, there weren’t any in the house, but if there had been I think I would have eaten the whole bag. This helped me realize that I needed to get back on track. I haven’t added grains in any shape or form, but I knew that I was heading the wrong direction. This summer I completed my second Whole30 and now I'm about to embark on my third.
The Whole 30 has definitely been a solid shift for me. For the most part, I feel like my weight loss is effortless. I still have plateaus and get frustrated by those, but I know by starting my Paleo lifestyle with a Whole30, I effectively rid myself of cravings. I didn’t really go through the withdrawal symptoms that some people do, but I didn’t get a burst of energy either though there have been other benefits.  I've always had heartburn and other digestive issues. I'm happy to say that both are gone.... Unless I indulge in wheat or dairy. The other improvement is joint pain. I was having problems with my knees and whether its my weight loss, my diet or a combination of both the knee pain is almost nonexistent. I haven’t started exercising yet, and I know that I need to, but in spite of that, I look as though I’ve lost more weight than I did 4 years ago. My clothing and the tape measure is showing that I’ve lost most of my weight around my stomach. More importantly, I feel that my relationship with food has changed completely. I will always love food but, as Dallas and Melissa have told us- no food is neutral, and what we put in our mouths can and does have a profound effect on our health.
For my third Whole30, I've decided that this round I need to go a little deeper. Though I am strictly Paleo about 85 to 90 percent of the time, I have never had that "wow I feel so much better' feeling as Leanne put it in her wrap-up post. After my 1st Whole30 it was easy to measure my success. The 2nd one didn't really have much of an impact at all. As I approach this one I know I have to take a closer look at my health and really get myself on the road to wellness... And if I lose a few more lbs in the process, all the better. However I really don't want this to be about weight.
This time around, in addition to diet I want to focus on sleep and physical movement for the next 30 days. I am not going to work out per se but I really need to add in daily physical activity. Even if its just 30 minutes around the neighborhood or on the treadmill (I'm a wuss about cold weather). I have a sedentary job and 37.5 hours of sitting per week means exercise needs to be seen as a necessity. I also want to pay more attention to my food choices. Because I’m still not feeling as good as I can be, I know that I must be either eating something I shouldn't be or not eating something and I need to figure it out. As Leanne said, even though I didn't feel amazingly better on the Whole30 I definitely feel worse when I am not eating well.
So here's to digging a little deeper, to realizing that good health is a combination of many factors- food being an important one of course. Nicole has asked me to post some guest blogs, and I look forward to posting over the next 30 days.


  1. Just wanted to say that it's going great! I did get a little exercise over the past few days, and I've been getting more sleep. And I do feel better for it. Plus, I'm more conscious about what my family is eating so I've been serving them 1 Whole 30 meal per day- although they usually have rice or potatoes with it. I feel really good about the quality of the food they're eating. I've also been working on improving their lunches.

  2. That's fantastic, Teena. And incrementally influencing your family's eating habits is a huge win - you are creating strong foundations. It's not easy.