Happy Monday Athletes! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We’re continuing to share the Whole30 reflective essays written by our top three finishers. Today second place winner, Pegah, shares her Whole30 experience.

Your Crazy Diet is My Happy Lifestyle

By Pegah H.

Over the course of the past 30 days, I can not tell you how many people would refer to my Whole30
Challenge as a “crazy diet.” And then they inevitably would give me that “but you’re skinny, you don’t
need to lose weight…why are you on a diet?!” look. I have a few things to say to that. First of all, there
is nothing crazy about eating wholesome, natural, REAL food. Second, just because I put thought into
what I eat does not mean that I’m on a “diet.” This challenge is about getting to know your body and
making up-front decisions about what you think is right for you, when it comes to food. Lastly, just
because I choose to eat healthy does not mean that I am trying to lose weight (that said, I am happy to
report that in the past 30 days, I have easily and enjoyably lost the couple extra pounds/inches that I
have been struggling with for the past 5-10 years.)

Throughout my lifetime I have gone from not caring for food or eating in general (I uber-skinny growing
up…they could NOT get me to eat…in fact, anyone who knew me when I was a child still loves to
tell “how we tried to trick you into eating when you were little” stories about me) to being a self-
proclaimed foodie. Fortunately for me, eating canned/boxed/pre-prepped meals was never a staple
part of my lifestyle (except for a brief stint in college…hello “freshman fifteen!”). So going into the
Whole30 Challenge, I was already on-board with the philosophy of eating real foods. I already believed
that everything you put into your body affects your physical, mental, and even psychological health in a
very real way. What was new to me was learning the physiology behind hunger and eating and some of
the science behind what makes many of the foods that are a part of our regular diets, in fact, unhealthy.

Even after hearing about why grains, dairy, etc were NOT healthy choices, I still thought this challenge
would be incredibly…well…challenging. I thought “what am I going to eat for the next 30 days?!”
Enter: an amazingly supportive group of co-Whole30ers. I can not express enough how un-challenging
this challenge turned out to be! Not only that, but it was fun! I really got to enjoy cooking meals and
baking treats from scratch with new and interesting recipes. I’ve finally learned to be more creative in
the kitchen and have been proud of the outcomes. I’ve gotten excited about inviting people over and
cooking for them again…or for that matter, cooking for myself! And of course, as I mentioned before,
the physical benefits were almost immediately apparent, which was in itself rewarding and encouraging.
Honestly (and I’m being very candid here), this is the best I have felt about my body…probably ever
in my life…and I’ve never been one to have a poor body-image in the first place. But, I think the
most surprising benefit of this experience has been my increased focus and productivity. Yes, I have
more energy…that was expected. But more importantly, I have more drive to put that energy toward
completing purposeful tasks. So this is also the most on-top of things I have felt in a very long time. I’m
more focused and productive at work, and I think it shows in the improved quality and timeliness of my
work. I also have a lot more get-up-and-go in me to keep my home clean and errands taken care of on
top of the additional shopping and cooking that I’ve been doing. I finally feel like I know where all my
time is going, and I have something to show for it.

So, I think, the point of the last 600+ words was to say “thank you.” Thank you for getting me on the
right track. Thank you for showing me the path to a better life (sounds like I’m joining a cult…but that
wouldn’t be the first time someone referred to something Crossfit related as cultish). And thank you for
supporting me with the knowledge, resources, and encouragement to accomplish that better life.

A huge congratulations to you Pegah!! We are so proud of your challenge experience! We are thrilled that you learned the lesson that focusing on nutrition has nothing to do with a quick weight loss fix, but rather is a way to lead a healthy lifestyle that enables you to accomplish all of your other life goals with energy and enthusiasm.

Well Done!