ABOUT KELLY WARNER
After being told she would never have kids and struggling to conceive, Whole30 Certified Coach Kelly Warner credits her first child, born in January 2014, with inspiring her to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Losing an impressive 80 pounds in the process, Kelly's Whole30 NSVs (non-scale victories) continued with each round. Either pregnant or breastfeeding for almost all of her Whole30 rounds, Coach Kelly has experienced firsthand how what we put in our bodies influences not only our health, but the health of our little ones as well. Now a busy mom of three, Kelly is talking openly with Model Meals about balancing new motherhood, navigating breastfeeding, and how Whole30 has become a vital part of her role as a wife and mom to three kids, two of which are under two years old! Make sure to soak in all her tips and her routine staples that continue to help make motherhood a little less crazy and a lot more manageable.
Hey Kelly! Thanks for being willing to carve out some time to share with us. First off, can you tell us a little about your background and what got you interested in Whole30? How did you eventually become a Whole30 Certified Coach?
My first Whole30, over 3 years ago, changed my life! After years of battling depression because of my infertility diagnosis, I finally felt the fog lift. I lost 80 pounds and acquired a whole new healthy lifestyle. I was informally coaching and helping others through their Whole30s, so when the opportunity to become a Certified Coach came up, I had to jump in!
Wow. We know that losing weight is a happy bonus to Whole30, but can you share with us some of your NSV’s (non-scale victories), like your “fog lifting?”
I remember the moment doctors told me I would never have kids, and I was certain it couldn’t get any worse from there. But, as my hopes and dreams to become a mom drifted away, I found myself falling into a deeper depression. Food was my comfort, my punishment, my reward, and everything in between. I lost a sense of who I was and felt really numb to everything. I took a leap of faith and quit my high stress job and became a stay-at-home wife. I got pregnant the next month, and while I ended up miscarrying, it was just the sign I needed to continue being hopeful. I was able to sustain a pregnancy and welcomed my son into the world in January, 2014. Even though I was not living the healthy lifestyle I am now, it was the catalyst that jump started my change. I found the Whole30 after my second child was born and experienced so many NSVs. Even with two kids under two, I had energy to get through the day, without relying on caffeine and sugar (as I had in the past). I was confident and more joyful. My skin was clearer and brighter, and I found myself getting lots of compliments from others. After years of not being able to wear my wedding ring, I was finally able to put it back on (and now, it’s so big I can’t wear it). I’ve learned how to cook and can save my family money by eating at home more often.
How did Whole30, if at all, affect your fertility?
Prior to my first Whole30, I had two miscarriages and two live births, so I can’t attribute the Whole30 to my fertility success. I can, however, say that my third pregnancy was completely different than my first two, and I am confident my diet was the reason. I had more energy, fewer cravings for all the sweets and junk food, less inflammation, and a really easy, natural birth. My third baby was my least fussy and least gassy and didn’t have eczema issues like my first two. I am sure cutting out grains and dairy contributed to these things in a positive way.
You’ve shared about being a new mom and Whole30. How did you bring your Whole30 experience with you on that journey?
My kids are much of the reason I continue to do the hard work of eating clean. Even before I found the Whole30 I was convicted about what I would feed my son when he started eating solids. If I was going to make him eat broccoli than I would have to set the example and eat it myself. I continue to lead by example, stock my pantry with the healthiest food I can afford, and communicate with my kids about food. It’s amazing what they can learn at such young ages. Whenever I do a Whole30 or a mini reset, the entire family does it with me. I am not about to cook separate meals for myself!
Ok, let’s talk breastfeeding. With your experience, both as a coach and mom, what can you share with us about how Whole30 can help breastfeeding mamas?
I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for almost all of my rounds of the Whole30. My breastfeeding journey with my third has been markedly easier than my first two kids. Sure, some of it can be chalked up to experience, but much of it is because of my healthier lifestyle. My first and second kids were both really gassy, had a “witching hour”, and had keratosis pilaris (“chicken skin” on their arms). All of this, I was told, was “normal”, but I have come to find out that common does not equate normal. Once I removed dairy and gluten from my kids’ diet, their tummy and skin issues went away. If we eat those foods as part of our food freedom, those symptoms flare up. My third baby has never had any of those issues and I believe my Whole30 diet during her pregnancy and once she was born is to blame. She latched right away, slept more peacefully, didn’t have massive blowouts, and hasn’t had any skin issues. On the rare occasion, I eat dairy or gluten, her little body reacts! She’s more fussy and has tummy pain from the amount she’s getting through my breastmilk. Motherhood is hard, but if changing your diet could make it a little easier on you, then go for it!
Bringing home a baby is one of the greatest and scariest feelings in the world! There’s an overabundance of information out there, and the best advice I can give is to follow your gut. Other people may think you are crazy for taking on a Whole30 and “depriving yourself” when you’re adjusting to motherhood, but I believe it can be a great gift to you. I would recommend waiting until your milk supply is well established (6-8 weeks), but to be brave and put your health first. I am confident you will feel more energized and confident in your ability as a mom when you eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet. And, if your experience is anything like mine, you will see the NSVs trickle down to your nursing baby as well. There’s lots of support out there, such as Whole Mama’s Club and Certified Whole30 Coaches, so find your tribe and change your life!
Share with us some resources or routines that have helped you sustain a healthy lifestyle even when life is chaotic.
I have three kids, four and under, which means my life is in a perpetual state of chaos. There are a few things I do every week to maintain our healthy lifestyle and not slip back into old habits.
- Have a plan - meal planning is essential for my success. If I don’t have dinner planned I will just go out and grab something, which will never be as healthy as a homemade meal. I use a basic weekly planner and I write down what I plan on cooking every night for dinner. Breakfast is always the same and lunch is always leftovers from dinner.
- Prep on the weekend - I make two frittatas every weekend that we eat every day for breakfast all week. I also prep hard boiled eggs, protein for lunch (such as chicken salad, grilled chicken, or burgers), and wash and chop veggies for the first half of the week. During the week I devote my free time (even the five minutes it takes for my kids to get their shoes on to leave the house) to prepping my meals. If I have down time, I use it!
- Do the hard work - cooking meals at home produces dishes, and you just need to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work. I have found that dishes are not so bad when I watch my favorite Netflix show or listen to a podcast while I work.
Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your Whole30 story with us. We know that while eating healthy can be a challenge in itself, balancing being a mom and taking care of your family adds a whole other level. We definitely will be using these tips when we want to ensure our Whole30 success.
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