After revealing the efforts of many great participants, I’m thrilled to share the story of our Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Winner, Stephanie P! Stephanie was selected as the winner through a blind reading of the essays, without us knowing her identity or results.
One of the things that truly inspires me about Stephanie’s story is that she is a walking example of what’s possible when you let go of your pre-existing beliefs, trust the coaches & program, and commit yourself. Stephanie was introduced to The Foundry by Noah and Jacquelyn. On day 1, she admitted that she had almost no prior sport or fitness experience. Many people with that background come with a long list of excuses as to why they can’t do something. Instead, Stephanie was willing to try anything, work hard, learn and improve. She started training 4-5 times per week and hasn’t looked back. When the nutrition challenge was announced, she jumped on the opportunity to take her nutrition to the next level. Just as she had taken on exercise, Stephanie tried out new foods, learned to cook, and prepared meals in advance.
Although we did not take before measurements, we don’t need a tape measure to see Stephanie’s dramatic results. Says Steph: “I have more energy and I look forward to coming to the gym every day – it helps me get rid of my stress!”
Whole 30 Reflective Essay
I’ve never lived a healthy lifestyle. For as long as I can remember eating healthier and exercising were on my list of things to do someday. I was heavy as a kid and I started my first diet at 8 years old. By the time I was a teenager I was already cynical about the cycles of weight loss and gain that diets created and decided that I was never dieting again. Throughout college I ate whatever was fast or free and drank gallons of coffee to fight off constant exhaustion. I hated exercising because I wasn’t very good at it. I told myself that someday I would make my health a priority.
I had heard a lot about Crossfit and the paleo diet from Noah and Jacquelyn LaPorte, and I had seen how it drastically change their lives. But I had a lot of excuses: “I’m not competitive, I’ve never been in shape, I’d be lucky to make it through one workout”. They told me that the Foundry was a great place to learn and an encouraging community that would help me reach my goals. In mid January I came in for my intro class and was completely intimidated. Someone was doing a muscle up, there were bars, kettleballs, and a mobility class doing smashes; I felt totally out of my element. I weighed 190 lbs, I had never been a part of a gym before, and I hadn’t exercised consistently since my high school gym class. But, my intro and foundations classes were full of camaraderie which made it a lot easier to make big changes. I knew that big changes were coming, like my first Whole 30.
I was afraid to start Whole 30. I had friends who did their first Whole 30 two years ago and they never stopped eating paleo. They told me it changed the way they thought about food, the sort of foods that they wanted to eat, the way they felt, and once they started eating paleo they didn’t want to go back. It sounded drastic, but I decided to give it a try. In beginning it was rough; I realized that I didn’t know how to cook for myself and plan meals. The first night I made food so awful that I cried. So I redoubled my efforts. I googled recipes, made lists, and spent that weekend cooking lunches and dinners for the upcoming week. I made it through that first week with my body kicking and screaming for sugar.
A couple weeks in I felt much more confident and in control. I liked planning my meals because I could be creative and I felt like I was accomplishing something everyday. My goal became to make a meal that was good enough to take a picture and post the Whole 30 facebook group. The daily emails kept teaching me new things, not just about food but about sleeping, coping with stress, and changing habits. Soon, I realized that I didn’t need two cups of coffee at lunchtime to make it through the afternoon. My energy level was steady all day long and I was generally in a better mood because of it. I started viewing going to the Foundry as a way to cope with the stress of my job and looked forward to hearing how everyone else’s whole 30 was going.
I remember telling one of the coaches during a particularly hard workout that I wasn’t coming in the next day because I expected to be extremely sore. I woke up the next morning and was shocked to find that I hardly felt the previous day’s workout. No one told me that the whole 30 was going to keep me from getting sore! My attitude at the gym started to improve. I became more positive about learning new skills and decided that I wasn’t going to allow myself to hate anything… not even burpees. I started pushing myself harder and setting my goals higher. The other day, I proudly finished my first Rx WOD.
As I look back, I see how far I’ve come over the past 30 days. I’ve made major and permanent changes in my lifestyle. I feel healthier, more confident and more motivated to continue to improve my health. I know how to cook food that I actually want to eat and have gotten lots of new recipes from friends. I lost 20 pounds; none of my clothes fit anymore I had to buy jeans 2 sizes smaller. I have more energy and less stress. And just as a feared, the Whole 30 has changed the way I think about food, the foods I want to eat, and the way I feel. Now, I can’t go back to just eating what’s convenient.