I never thought I would want to share publicly my story about my personal struggles with managing my weight, but at this point in my life I feel the most at peace with myself than I ever have before and for the first time ever I feel capable of putting it all out there for the world to see in the hopes of helping others who may have similar struggles with losing weight. So lets start with a little bit about me and then a lot about how I finally learned to love myself and take better care of my health.

I won’t go back too far but rather talk about the last year and half of my life. I accepted a job in Chicago in September 2013. I didn’t think too much about the decision to leave Canada and further my career in the US. I had just turned 40 and recently ended a serious relationship so nothing was holding me back. It felt like a good time to make a change so I did. 

When I first arrived in the US I wanted to do everything well, I threw myself into my job working endless hours, going out all the time trying to meet new people and dining at all the latest restaurants in Chicago. Sounds totally fun right? But this lifestyle was not sustainable and it started to take a tool on my health and I began to gain weight. Along the way a couple of things happened to me that made me re-think my lifestyle. 

One Saturday in the early fall of 2013 I had a small panic attack in the lobby of a pretty fancy hotel, the short version of this story is that I started to feel extremely dizzy and nauseous and unfortunately didn’t make it to a bathroom and threw up all over the lobby. I was sure that it was related to something I ate but looking back now I believe it was a panic attack brought on by stress, fear and loneliness. After that occurred I decided I needed to get in shape so I threw myself into the one thing I knew how to do to lose weight and that was run! And boy did I run! I was logging a lot of miles running 1.5 to 2 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I would come home exhausted from these runs and spend most of my day eating and napping. By May 2014 I was down to 185 lbs and feeling pretty good about myself, I was still drinking and eating out quite a bit but was losing weight so I kept at it.

In of 2014 I met up with my girlfriends in Vegas for a weekend trip and I went down to the gym for a workout. After about 5 minutes running on the treadmill I felt a very sharp pain in my hip. I tried to ignore it for the rest of the weekend but it didn’t go away. After I returned to Chicago I gave myself a couple of weeks off running. After a few weeks off I popped on the scale and saw that my weight had crept back over 190 pounds. I was so frustrated and upset that all the work I had done for the last 6 months was falling apart and I had no way to fix it. So despite the pain in my hip I decided to get back out and start running again. About 10 minutes into the run the same snap occurred and I was almost unable to walk back to my apartment. This time I knew I was in trouble so I immediately booked an appointment to have my leg looked at. The doctor sat me down and asked what happened; I explained the entire story to him. He asked me why I was running so much and I confidently told him “too lose weight”. He then calmly told me that I had to stop running for a while to give my leg time to heal. Then he told me this “I don’t usually tell my patients what to do about weight loss but you might want to consider a paleo diet and switching your cardio workouts to focus more on building strength.” Really Paleo and crossfit….aren’t those people all crazy? 

So I left the appointment and didn’t change a thing. My weight continued to go up and up and I was starting to feel like I was losing control. In September 2014 I was attending a birthday party for my best friend and I had planned on wearing a very beautiful dress that I had purchased in Vegas about 15 pounds lighter. I could not get myself into the dress and that is when I knew something had to change. After returning from Toronto I was really down about my weight, I had managed to get myself back over 200lbs. The evening I returned I opened my drawer to get my sleep mask and I saw a bunch of printed pages with all the rules for a program called The Whole 30. A co-worker had given these to me a couple of month ago and I didn’t read at that time. Desperate now to fix my situation I decided to read the book called It starts with food. I stayed up all night and read it cover to cover and felt inspired. I had about 30 days until my annual trip to Paris and it seemed like a good time to just do it. That next day I started my 1st round of the Whole 30.

The programs main focus is on eliminating processed food, dairy, wheat, legumes, alcohol and sugar. You eat all the food you want that is approved on the program and you don’t get on the scale for 30 days. You take before and after pictures and you need to cook. Easy right? It wasn’t, but I was determined for the first time in a long time to put myself first and figure this out once and for all. I started saying no to going out to restaurants, I went to bed earlier, shopped for food in my spare time and experimented with recipes. I started to feel amazing, I had become a women on a mission. I was inspired by the stories of other people on instagram and on the internet who had achieved success with the program. I was committed to the program and nothing was going to stop me! In the first 30 days I lost 15 pounds and felt better than I had in years. I lost this weight without a single minute of running which to me was a miracle, why had no one told me about this before.

After 30 days I was off to Paris with my mother and despite the incredible food that is available in France like cheese, wine, bread, butter and chocolate I decided to pick a few treats to eat but stay on the program 90% of the time. I came back and knew that I needed to keep going, I set a goal for myself to lose 50lbs! Skip ahead through 10 months of clean eating, lots of eggs, kale, chicken and early morning workouts and I have now lost 45 pounds and feel like a new person. There have been are so many positive outcomes that have come out of my decision to put my health as my number one priority. It seems extremely bold and outrageous to say that you can change your life through the food you eat, but its true. I never would have believed it until I experienced it myself.

My story continues to unfold and I am so excited to have a new platform to share the rest of my journey. I know that I will achieve my goal to lose 50lbs because I have learned so much about food and healthy eating through the Whole 30 program. I now have the ability to make the right choices about what I eat and I feel empowered by the energy that eating the right food has brought to my life. I hope you enjoyed reading my story and I look forward to sharing my whole life with you!

Tracey.