I want to start off by saying that leading the Taos Whole30 group has been an amazing experience! I have learned so much through helping my family complete this program. I’m proud of the group, and overwhelmed by all of the positive changes we have seen and experienced.
At our last meeting, I asked each person to say a few words about what they have learned, and to share their results. It was encouraging to hear everyone talk about how much their life has changed and how their health has improved in just one month.
As people were sharing, I noticed three common themes, Community/Accountablilty, Education, and Breaking Habits and Addictions. I want to take each theme and talk about the results and success we had within each one. I’ve included lots of quotes from members of the Taos Whole30 crew!
Community and Accountability: Power in Numbers
This aspect was a huge part of our group’s success! We had a group of just over 20 family members start at the same time together in Taos, and a few more joined us after we started. We had meetings twice weekly for education and support. We had a private Facebook group where people could ask questions, get encouragement, post meals, and share recipes. These two things kept us cohesive as a group during the week when things tend to get busy.
“It helped for me to know that everyone was doing the program together. I could call you, or one of the group members to ask questions if I needed to, or use the forum on the Whole30 website. I felt like we were all in it together, and I didn’t want anyone to quit. I wanted everyone to finish the 30 days!” –Molly
“I thought I would not like the food on this plan, and I did! I feel better and have more energy. It was helpful to get meal ideas on social media, where everyone was posting what they were eating.” –Sandra
“It was rough at first, but it helped that my mom and sister were doing it too. I had fun trying the recipes. I dropped one pant size and I feel really good.” –Antonia (18 years old, our youngest group member!)
Education: Re-Learning How to Cook, Shop and Eat
Many group members felt that before this, they wanted to make healthy changes in their diets, but they didn’t know where to start. The Whole30 program gave them a structure to follow and the resources they needed to make it happen. To help get the group started, I put together my own “Taos Whole30” packet with enough recipes, tips, and information to get them through the first week of the program without feeling overwhelmed. The packet also contained all ten free downloads from whole30.com.
I included favorite versions of recipes that were easy to make and would be somewhat familiar to most people/families. I added a shopping list and included photos of items (at local grocery stores) that might have been unfamiliar, or hard to locate in the store. We talked about how to read labels, to look beyond the Nutrition Facts, and look at the ingredients first to see what really is in our food. I gave them tips on how to be prepared with food for the entire week, and how to order if they ate in a restaurant. We also talked about new cooking methods, using healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, and ghee.
“The education I got from the Whole30 was the biggest help for me. I have learned how to eat healthy, and I feel better about myself, and better overall. I lost 27 lbs! It has been a great experience for me.” –Jamie
“I have learned that it is possible, I can eat better and be healthy. It is all about awareness, and knowing what is in our food. My sugar and blood pressure numbers are down. I am happy that my two daughters, ages 18 and 20 did the program too. They will have a great start, knowing how to make healthy choices at a young age.” –Nanette
“I learned many things I did not know before about nutrition and health through this program. I went to the doctor midway through, and he asked me what I am doing differently because I lost weight and my numbers have improved. I feel better physically and emotionally.” –Claudette
Breaking Habits and Addictions: Experiencing Freedom
In general, people didn’t realize the extent of the eating habits and addictions they had to certain foods before they eliminated them. Once they took things out of their diets that they were accustomed to eating and/or thought that they couldn’t live without, they were able to break long-time habits and addictions.
“I had a major junk food habit, and I have never liked vegetables. I didn’t really want to do the Whole30 when I first heard of it. I didn’t think I could do it, but my mom encouraged me to try it. Now I know how to shop for and prepare healthy food for my family. I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old, and I feel like because of the Whole30, I can give them a better start nutritionally. I am currently breastfeeding and have even seen an increase in my milk supply since I have been eating this way! I have lost 13 lbs, and my husband has lost 20 lbs. This is the one of the best things that has happened to us! I feel like I am a better mom because of it.” —Danielle
“I didn’t even realize I was addicted to sugar until I took it out. I had headaches the first few days, but after that I have continued to see and feel improvements. This program has opened my eyes to the fact that the food industry puts a lot of junk into our food. I have become more aware about living healthier. It is all about choices. Our entire family, all 7 of us did this together. We have loved the results. We won’t go back to the way we used to eat.” –Yvette and Manuel
“Through the Whole30 I feel great, have better energy, and I quit smoking! I am sleeping better and my anxiety has decreased. I work long days and around 3pm, I used to feel a drop in energy. I don’t experience that anymore since I changed how I am eating.” —Renee
150 Pounds Lighter…
You know how I said in my last post that weight loss is a happy “side-effect” of the Whole30…I wasn’t kidding! As a group we are over 150 pounds lighter! Instead of focusing on losing weight, we focused on improving our health, and the weight came off on its own. We didn’t look at it as a weight loss “quick-fix.” The best part, is that the weight loss is only the tip of the iceberg.
More importantly, the Taos Whole30 crew has made the connection between what they eat and how it impacts their overall health and how they feel everyday. This is just the start of a healthier lifestyle for them going forward! (Top photo was at the beginning of the Taos Whole30, Bottom photo was taken at the end! Both photos are plus or minus a few group members…)
More from Taos Whole30 group members….
“I feel great, more energetic, and just healthier overall. My clothes are fitting better, too! I’ve learned how to eat well, be a smarter shopper, and read all the ingredients on labels. I am planning on continuing to eat healthy and stay active.” —Charlene
“I am so excited that the whole family finished the program together. I have been doing this since January 2014, and I am happy to see my family make these healthy changes. I have lost 50 lbs, and easily have maintained my weight loss eating this way. I feel awesome!” —Mark
“This was my second round of Whole30 after doing one my first one at this time last year. I have been able to maintain my weight loss that I experienced last summer, on a mostly Paleo diet over the last year. I had gained a small amount of the weight back over the last year, but it easily came off once we were into the program a few weeks. Seeing the physical changes that occur as you get older, it is really uplifting to be able to look good, feel good, and be active. The Whole30 has helped me to achieve this. It has given me the feeling of turning back the clock!” —Andy
“I lost 12 lbs. I have lots of energy, I feel good, and my workouts have improved.” —Mike
“I learned that I really can do this, and make it a lifestyle change. It is do-able! It also made me take a closer look to recognize emotional attachments I had to certain foods, and to see that I don’t “need” them the way I thought I did.” —Molly
“All of the recipes made it easy to stay on track and add variety to what I was eating.” —Jackie
“I just want to say thank you for all the help and motivation through this Whole30, it’s really changed my eating habits for the long run, and in the process I lost 17 lbs!” –Nicole
Going Forward…Sharing the “Good Food Word”
In the short time that we have done this program in Taos, it has been awesome to watch word spread about the Whole30. Several people have asked us about it, and even started their own. People are drawn to the Whole30 once they hear that it is not a traditional diet or a quick-fix! They have tried the quick fixes, only to discover that they don’t work. It is much better to invest the time learning how to take care of your body and your health.
The Whole30 provides a way to learn about the food we eat and its connection to our lives. I hope the “Good Food Word” continues to spread through this community and change even more lives! If you are interested in doing your own Whole30, read “It Starts With Food,” spend some time on whole30.com, and then GO FOR IT!