ABOUT ERIN MESSMER
About to celebrate her one year anniversary as a Model Meals employee, Erin was a customer before ever even thinking about joining the Model Meals team. As the winner of their 2018 September Whole30 with Model Meals giveaway, Erin was introduced to the Whole30 lifestyle by chance. Now well into her Food Freedom, she's sharing her Top 10 Takeaways from her first ever Whole30 exclusively on our blog. Not only did she get 90 meals for September, she also joined Model Meals founder and CEO, Danika Brysha's Whole30 Coaching group, which she says made all the difference. Read more to find out just how transformative her MM Whole30 was.
"Danika Brysha’s Whole Coaching group...really challenged me to take some risks, implement some radical self care, and watch my mindset and habits change. Instead of reaching for the food or snack, I was able to be mindful and ask if I was truly hungry, bored, or emotional."
Before September 2018, I didn’t even know what Paleo was, let alone Whole30. At the encouragement of a close friend, I entered a contest that was being hosted by Model Meals to win and do a September Whole30 with the help of their Whole30 Approved meal delivery service. I thought it was simply a 30 day program that would help me lose a few pounds, get some time away from the kitchen, and then I would go on with life. That was actually the farthest thing from what really happened. I can honestly say that my life has been forever changed by that Whole30 round. While I felt some amazing victories at the physical level, the biggest payoff by far was how I unknowingly embarked on a journey that began to transform my relationship with food even further than it already had.
To give you context, I had been in active eating disorder recovery for about seven years before my first Whole30. I had gone to an intense treatment program back in 2011 and had continually worked with a therapist and a nutritionist to be successful in my abstinence and eating disorder recovery. I had begun to heal my relationship with food through treatment and with the help of therapy, so I approached Whole30 cautiously and with the support I needed to make sure it was right for me. While I am not a doctor, nor do I have any credentials around nutrition, what I do have to share is my own experience with what Whole30 did for me and all these takeaways have nothing to do with the scale at all.1. I learned to read labels more thoroughly
- My first trip EVER to shop for Whole30 ingredients was a three hour journey into the deep recesses of Sprouts and Whole Foods Market, Googling every ingredient and constantly cross-referencing packaged items with the Whole website. Who knew so much sugar was in EVERYTHING! I had no idea.
- After the initial two weeks where we go through The Hangover and our clothes feel tighter, I started sleeping through the night and felt more alert and awake every morning. I had energy to walk my dogs, go to the store, run errands, apply for jobs, clean the house, hang out with friends, and add in more healthy movement inside and outside of the gym. I felt like the energizer bunny AND I started waking up before my alarm.
3. Through reintroduction, I learned what to eat to help me feel my best
- While I may not have huge food sensitivities like some Whole30’ers find out, I definitely learned what my body likes and what it doesn’t. For me, dairy makes me break out. This self-proclaimed cheese addict can say no to even brie and not feel like I’m restricting myself because I know what the consequences are. I also learned that by limiting my gluten, I reduce digestive strain and bloating. I still occasionally will have gluten during my Food Freedom, but that’s my choice and I know I have the allowance to make that call when I want.
- I’ve always had pretty good hair, but Whole30 took it to another level! I used to have brittle nails that broke easily, but they’ve continued to thrive even a year later and I’ve chosen to eat more paleo and Whole30 since last September. My hair is shiny and now almost to the middle of my back. Using a collagen supplement has also helped tremendously and I found that through Whole30, too.
- Not only did I learn to read labels more effectively, but I got educated about the quality and sourcing of things like meat and poultry. I really thought all meat was created equal, but the way I was educated at Model Meals through their social media really opened my eyes to the difference that ethically sourced and regeneratively raised animals can make for our planet and for us as humans.
- I have always been a snacker and Whole30 forced me to dig deeper about why I was snacking. In addition to meals for September Whole30, I also was able to be a part of Danika Brysha’s Whole Coaching group. That group really challenged me to take some risks, implement some radical self care, and watch my mindset and habits change. Instead of reaching for the food or snack, I was able to be mindful and ask if I was truly hungry, bored, or emotional.
- Omitting added, artificial, and refined sugars can do wonders for our blood sugar and hunger cues. Instead of riding the roller coaster up and down with sugar, I was able to feel satiated and then hungry at the same time each day without feeling that 3pm slump and needing a jolt of caffeine or sugary snack to get me through. I knew that if I was hungry, I could have a mini meal with protein, veggies, and healthy fats, and not to rely on sugar-laden snacks or bars to satisfy a craving.
- Danika Brysha’s Whole Coaching group, the Whole30 book It Starts With Food, and the Whole30 Day by Day book were all amazing resources that helped prepare me for and carrying me through my first Whole30. I don’t know if I could have been successful and sustained my Whole30 journey without the help and support of Danika and the other group participants. We were encouraged to connect with one another and to really share in a raw and real way our struggles and victories and Danika led by example. If you ever get the chance to be coached by Danika individually or in a group setting, I highly recommend it.
- By quieting my Sugar Dragon and tuning in to my body I was able to see if I was eating from boredom or real hunger. While I knew that pizza tasted incredible, I learned how to make the decision that was right for my body when it came to foods that I found didn’t make me feel my best. There are times when I’ve enjoyed a slice or two with friends and then there are times I’ve gotten a different option. The difference was that I knew it was my choice and that felt empowering to realize.
- I didn’t even know what the heck ghee was before September Whole30, and now I make it at home every month! I didn’t know there were so many uses for coconut flour that didn’t involve baking and now I love using it to crust my chicken or mixing it into meatballs. I was introduced to so many amazing brands, like Primal Kitchen, Nick’s Sticks, and Nut Pods. I have been able to incorporate these brands and new ingredients into my own cooking at home and the daily lives of my husband and myself. He even eats Model Meals daily now too and we love the ease and convenience of having some Whole30 Approved meals on hand.
Wow, Erin, thank you so much for sharing with us about how transformative your first Whole30 was! You are a great example of the powerful nature of this 30-day program and all the incredible insights we can learn from focusing on feeding ourselves real, whole foods. We are so grateful to have you as a part of our Model Meals team and all the skills and first-hand knowledge you bring to us.
For more inspiration and guidance, connect with Danika on Instagram and make sure to check out her exclusive coaching deals for this September Whole30, complete with a Model Meals meal package valued at over $900!
Plus, check out our amazing Whole30 Meal Packages available for a limited time. Join us on you tastiest and most successful Whole30 yet.
Can you relate to these takeaways? What was YOUR biggest Whole30 win? We'd love to know, so comment and tell us!