I Lost 185 Pounds on the Whole30… and I Miss Him

Today’s post is a guest editorial from AJM, a Whole9 reader in New Jersey. She originally shared her story via email to Melissa, but graciously agreed to share her story with our readers. We think that many of us who come to this site to change their lives can relate, and we thank AJM for her generosity and honesty.

In AJM’s Own Words

AJM, who learned during her Whole30 that what we feed ourselves keeps feeding us.

The other day I started to try to write a sort of testimonial about Whole9 and the Whole30®. It turned into a sort of overly-analyzed, overly-nuanced account of, oh, everything. Focusing on one aspect of your life, especially with the emphasis on health and optimizing our own selves, brings more than just hormonal dysfunction to the surface.

I had a fairly healthy diet before jumping into the Whole30, but I knew my weak spots were indulging in creamy, sugary, bread-y treats when I was stressed.  Or bored.  Or tired.  Or bored.  I would know before the first bite that I’d feel awful by the third, let alone the thirtieth. During the Whole30 I started to see this behavior as maybe, almost doing something that was, on purpose, more uncomfortable than whatever emotion I was currently feeling.

The first weeks of the Whole30 were typically typical. It felt tough at times, then I figured out I wasn’t technically hungry and truly began to understand some of my food habits and compulsions. I had such a clear head during the Whole30—I felt calmer and more in control about everything.

I’ve been seeing a pretty terrific guy for a while. However, he takes terrible care of himself.  Super stressed, not enough sleep, devoted to clients but no downtime for himself, poor nutrition habits, and a pre-diagnosis of hypertension, all of which leads him to…  being super stressed, not getting enough sleep, etc.  And this has been going on for all the time we’d been together, and long before then, and it upsets him.  He’s not happy with his life.

But I think the strongest piece of the Whole9, and any swooping lifestyle reconfiguration, is an intense personal desire to commit to trying.

It’s one thing to acknowledge how uncomfortable you are in these areas.  But it is another sorta scary thing to commit to eliminating the discomfort.  Sometimes, maybe, the discomfort—the stress, the guilt, the neglect of self—is the biggest crutch of all. Do I think a Whole9 lifestyle would make a world of difference in my fella’s world?  Yes, totally.  Do I also think he would implode if he took away his crutches of bourbon and burgers and running on fumes?  Yeah, I do.

So this is not a testimonial about how I changed someone else’s life with Whole9 or the Whole30. But I am changing my own.

Because I learned this:  When you take such care with what you feed your body, you can’t help but take equal care with what you feed your heart, soul, and mind.

After that first week or so of the Whole30, taking care of myself became routine. I knew what to feed my body because I knew what would feel best. So I just did that. And, with all my ‘extra’ time that used to be filled with (over)thinking the nutritional vs. emotional (guilt) content of what I was going to eat, I found it so much easier to participate in life.  It wasn’t about saying ‘no’ to things, as in, ‘Sure I’ll meet you for a drink because I’m not drinking and therefore not scared about making poor choices.’  For me, the Whole30 introduced me to saying ‘yes’ because I was in control of the decision.  I went out more because I wanted to genuinely spend time with people; the environment no longer mattered.

I wasn’t just choosing things that nourished my digestive tract and hormones, but nourished my whole life.

So, as much and as deeply as I cared about my relationship and my guy, he wasn’t caring for himself.  And because of how much and how deeply I cared, his stress and his hurts were affecting me.  If he can’t take care of himself, how can he take care of me?  And if he doesn’t want to care for himself, how can I make him?

Eh.  Maybe this isn’t a very good testimonial.

I’m sad and I’m hurt and I miss him, of course.  For sure, the Whole30 itself wasn’t the reason for the break up. (Which is good, as I can’t really see that working as a marketing pitch for you guys.) I didn’t wave the book in his face, demand he renounce all legumes, and tell him if he wants me to stick around I need to start tracking his cortisol levels. It wasn’t an revelation, it was a resignation. Resigning myself to how our lives just didn’t connect with regard to my wanting—whether it’s through Whole9 or not—the very best way to support, enhance, and nourish our lives.

There is so much we can’t influence or expect. Why wouldn’t we want to feel and do our best in the ways that we can?

For me, the purpose, the mission of Whole9 is to encourage others to make whole, strong, enhancing choices about the most basic life function:  food, our fuel.  Our hearts, minds, thoughts, and feelings follow along with those choices.  Conversely, though, the stronger, clearer, and cleaner my emotions and beliefs are, the more I want to keep making the best choices I can for the rest of my life.

What we feed ourselves, from lettuce to love, keeps feeding us, so we always have to choose the very, very best.

With kind regards,

Share Your Story

Have you made significant changes in your life as the result of your healthy eating commitment? Have you made changes to personal relationships because of a newfound desire to nourish not only your body, but your entire life? Share your story with us in comments.

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  1. says

    Sweet girl – I am RIGHT with you. Was dating a guy but it became a competition for him to eat worse as I ate better. It was a HARD change, but as my life became sturdier, I realized that I NEED someone who wants to better himself. Sleep, eating, whatever that looks like for him!

    BRAVE words. And great testimonial.

  2. Gin says

    Wow, that’s what comes to mind. Eloquently told and inspiring. Maybe drinking our coffee black isn’t hard, but changing your life can be.

  3. Jeanie says

    I would venture to say that this is true of any addictive substance which is less than nourishing. One partner’s push for true health throws into sharp relief the health of the other partner AND of the partnership itself.

    I’ve not succeeded in a Whole30 to date, but I had a similar story to as when I quit smoking years ago. My partner made it abundantly clear that he did not support my baby steps forward, let alone changing his own health. Fortunately I saw this as a lack of commitment to a healthy *us* before it was too late.

    We can only meet people where they are, and setting boundaries for ourselves? It hurts sometimes.
    Proud of you, stranger, for choosing health. May your ex-partner remember you when he decides to move forward of his own volition. :)

  4. Amanda says

    YES! If you aren’t there with me in a commitment to your health – and that doesn’t mean you have to commit to paleo or a Whole30, but you have got to want to take care of yourself and your body – then you can’t be there with me in a commitment PERIOD. Congrats on the strength AJM and good luck in the future as you explore the Whole9 life!

  5. Nancy M says

    Oh my. I haven’t embarked on my Whole 30 because I have the same guy, with a 25 year investment in the relationship. He is in a later stage of life, more burnout from the years of whiskey and SAD and adrenal fatigue. I don’t give up on him because of the underlying love and the significant, albeit glacially paced, moves he HAS made for his health… I used to be a lot less healthy, myself.

    Thank you for your honesty, congratulations for your clarity. And most of all, to thine own self be true.

  6. David says

    Incredibly strong and brave! Thanks a lot for sharing your inspiring story with the world.

  7. says

    Wow, I only lost 5 lbs. ;-)

    What a wonderful testimony! You pushed through to find what truly nurtures you best. I can so imagine really great things you will be attracting in the future. All the best!!

  8. says

    This is an amazing story AJM and thank you for sharing it with all of us. When I started living the Whole9 way, my dreams for the future started to change. I went with it and gave them up, but it’s taking time to find my new dreams; but I know that we’ll find our ways eventually :) Best of luck in your journeys!

  9. AJM says

    Well hey…! Hi! And wow…

    I am so overwhelmed (so overwhelmed that I just typed that as “I so overwhelmed”. Twice).

    Thank you ALL, so much, for such generous and genuine support and encouragement.

    I realized this morning that it was exactly one year ago yesterday that I started focusing on nutrition/working out/lifestyle, and looking for… something else…

    I thought the something else was a relationship. But, actually, it was having a new friend (a friend made during a kettlebell workshop just a few months ago) text me first thing this morning when she saw the testimonial online, and then being FLOORed in reading such lovely comments from people here and on FB, that made it click for me that the complementary piece to my lifestyle revamp is a community.

    This morning I thought about the people who are in my life now that weren’t a year ago, friendships and communities that have been cultivated through kettlebell work, gym work, nutrition work, and THAT has been the most significant and important incorporation of this ‘journey’.

    So thank YOU. This feedback means the world, since it’s what makes my world!

  10. says

    AJM. Way to go. I wish I had had the courage to have stepped away from past relationships for those types of disconnects; I would always just ignore those things until the other person wouldn’t (but that’s a whole different story). Finding those types of matches, and figuring out the global perspective through your Whole30 is totally badass, to steal a line from Melissa.

    My partner and I spend a lot of our time cooking together now, and she and I both invested in our total health in a big way through our first (and second and third) Whole30.

    Kudos, and keep up the awesome!

  11. says

    Hi AMJ! Your story is pretty similar to mine! I ended a 7yrs long marriage after I realized it was only bringing me down and my life wasn’t moving the right direction. The decision took me 2 years to make, so at the end all I was feeling was relief. No regrets, no sadness, no missing him. Since that day my life is only better and better, now I am the happiest person in the world, and Whole9Life and Whole30 has a huge credit on that! You go girl, I am so proud of you for being this strong and brave. I believe there is the right person for everyone. Until you find yours, stay busy by making yourself happy!

  12. Alice says

    I loved this. That is kind of why I am doing this (day 2!) because I feel like my food decisions are getting in the way of life. Despite being somewhat healthy, I worry about food alot and I am hoping that this will help right size my relationship with eating.

  13. hope says

    I love this. Thank you so much for the candor and honesty. While my partner DOES eat like I do (primal/paleo, 99% of the time), he DRINKS in excess, in frustrating amounts in my opinion. I’ve honestly been at a crossroads for some time about this, because while he very much cares about his health for the MOST part, I can’t get him to slow it down, back it off, or cut it out. I realize I’m not in control of him or his emotions, but it takes a huge toll on me and how I feel about him. It’s difficult for me to know that I care more about his WHOLE self, than he does. Sigh. Thanks for the thought provoking topic that most people don’t want to discuss. :)

  14. Patti says

    I had avoided this story, mainly because I was licking my own breakup wounds and I have not committed to a Whole anything, but something lead me to read this today, and maybe, just maybe I’ve been afraid that I would change too much to be the same person I always was. That is scary. Ayanla VanZant always says we are ‘addicted to our story’ and it’s true. i can always be the same unmotivated person because i know her. You inspired me to try to step out of that box

  15. AJM says

    Hey Patti. I just saw your post… I so know the feeling of coming across a post or article or whatever and not reading it right away, as it cuts too close to home! I, too, am trying to be gentle with myself (which requires a lot of Googling — I haven’t the first idea how to ‘do’ this…!) and, I guess, work towards meeting who I truly am as I begin to figure out what works, what doesn’t. And it is hard and it is painful. And I have to think it’s worth it. Really, really worth it.

    I have this sort of idea that we’re already living our best lives *somewhere*. You know, like, and that’s maybe where intuition comes in and we start clicking with what ‘works’ even if we don’t totally understand why. We’re moving towards bigger and better… Keep well.

  16. Alana says

    Wow, AJM, I so admire your strength! Typically in a testimonial, the details of going 30 days without ____ (fill in the blank with your favorite but admittedly unhealthy food / foods) musters up feelings of admiration in me for the willpower that person has to change their eating habits for that long. But your strength is beyond that, not just changing your eating but realizing that the relationship that you were seemingly comfortable and happy with was also unhealthy for you and doing something about it, is just plain amazing. I’m almost done with my 30 days of Whole30, so I’ve found that strength also to improve my eating habits. Finding the strength to improve my life in meaningful ways I’m hopeful will also come. Someday. Good for you!

  17. Phyllis Cholewa says

    Just heard about this program. Have no clue what it is about except that it just sounds like a diet program! Am I correct?