ABOUT JUDITH FORMAN
In 2018, Judith Forman heard her name called as a winner of a Whole30 coaching scholarship and her life changed. Having done multiple Whole30 rounds since 2015 and administrating a large Facebook group related to Whole30, she took her hobby to new levels with the help of becoming a Whole30 Certified Coach. In this blog, Coach Judith is fearlessly sharing with us the lessons she's learned as a Whole30 newbie, seasoned veteran, and Certified Coach. You're not going to want to miss what she says about the impact Whole30 had on her, mentally and physically, and how she went from eating frozen meals to becoming an appliance whiz in the kitchen.
"There is no failure on Whole30, there is only opportunity to continue to improve yourself and become your best self."
HEY JUDITH! WE KNOW THAT WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN UNIQUE JOURNEY THAT LED US TO WHOLE30 SO PLEASE, TELL US YOURS.
In 2015, I was a new-ish single mom, who flipped through a borrowed copy of “The Whole30 Book” to try to take my life to the next level. I was a new homeowner with a new job at a nonprofit and a 2-year-old – but I wanted more. I started my first round of Whole30 in October 2015 and at the same time, began posting pictures of my rather unexciting meals in a small Facebook support group. There were about 40 of us in that group, mostly moms from North of Boston. I was a regular poster and at the end of 2015, I was asked if I wanted to take over the group. I said yes. I had no idea that that YES would change my life. Fast forward to today: The group has more than 43,000 members from around the globe, and 7 admins running it 24-7.
Over the years, many people I helped in the group with Whole30, told me I should be an official leader or coach – but such a thing didn’t exist. I shrugged them off, I was just happy to help people as a hobby. In March 2018 I applied for a Whole30 coaching scholarship from The New Primal. In April, when Jason Burke announced my name on the Instagram Live as the first winner of this batch of scholarship winners, it was one of the best days of my life. I literally jumped up and down screaming! Winning was a dream come true.
A little more about me: I have done 8 rounds of Whole30, and my longest round was 75 days!! LIFE CHANGING! I was a terrible cook when I started this journey and in my past life, I used to eat frozen meals all the time! I have run 10 marathons, including 6 Boston Marathons, hence my fabulous ability to follow a plan and routine! I am a single mom with a full-time job and a long commute, and I squeeze in meal prep whenever I can.
Running up the "Rocky" stairs in Philadelphia
You sound like a busy lady! How has your approach to Whole30 changed over time and what does that look like now?
Over time, my approach to Whole30 has evolved- I now keep it simple, meal prep as much as I can, and have become a master at cobbling together random meals from the ingredients I have on hand. When I first started, I got caught up in fancy recipes with lots of steps but I know now that it’s OK to sauté some compliant chicken sausage, roast up some vegetables, cut up an avocado and call it a day! I still aim to make a handful of real “recipes” on the weekends- dishes that take slightly more time- to get me through the start of the week. I will say that I now never really measure anything, I actually have some innate cooking abilities! I also have become much better at multitasking in the kitchen. It’s not uncommon for me to have my oven, stove, Air Fryer, and immersion blender all going at the same time. Each week, I make a handwritten shopping list and I do my best to use up everything I buy.
When we are new at something or make a life change there's bound to be instances when we totally fail, but ultimately learn lessons from that failure. Tell us about your biggest lesson(s) from Whole30.
I spent a good chunk of my life dieting and dealing with the emotional and physical consequences that come along with restricting and bingeing. I thought food was “good” or “bad” and like so many others, I lived with an “all-or-nothing” mentality. Since, I have finally found peace with food. I know now that I am in control of food versus the other way around. I know which foods fuel me to be my best self. I also know that it is my choice to have something that may not serve me in the best way, and if I do make that choice, it’s OK. I am constantly pulling from the tools I learned in Food Freedom Forever to evaluate whether something is worth it or not.
It’s a journey and I am still in it, but at 42 years old, I am truly in the best shape of my life in so many ways. Whole30 really works if you trust the process.
Ok, so we know failures can be super hard to navigate. Share with us some failures that you experienced on your Whole30 journey.
I laugh when I think about it but during my first round of Whole30. I was so excited to take a night off from cooking and treat myself to compliant carnitas at Chipotle. I was still a novice label reader and I doused my meal with green Tabasco sauce. Before I took a bite, I happen to pick up the Tabasco bottle and read the ingredients and, lo and behold, it contained non-compliant corn starch! I quickly wiped it off my food and cursed myself for not being diligent. I also did not do a proper reintroduction for my first few rounds, and definitely treated Whole30 like a diet. I remember when I finished my first round in 2015 I dove into my then 2-year-old daughter’s box of Teddy Grahams. Not because I particularly wanted them but because I was now “allowed” to have them. I didn’t understand the process of reintroduction and the goal of Food Freedom.
It wasn’t until I did my longer rounds (60 days and 75 days) that I feel like I truly “got” Whole30 and kept my sugar dragon at bay. But I’m human and I’ve had some tough moments (especially around the holidays!) when my Food Freedom strategies have gone by the wayside in the face of sweets. Those times can be frustrating but I have learned not to consider them “failures.” The beauty of it is that I know exactly what to do - and how to eat - to get myself back to feeling great! I love that I no longer think about food as the enemy, it’s now what I know can give me strength and life.
That's such good advice. We all need some understanding when we go off track at times. You've definitely come a long way: from frozen meals to a Whole30 coaching scholarship winner! What changes have you seen personally and professionally since your first round of Whole30?
I am literally Judith 2.0 since starting Whole30. I have become a better all around human being in the past three years. I am a better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, and a better employee. I am calmer, more organized, and more focused. I’ve gone from a non-cook to someone who makes her own mayonnaise. I’ve run my fastest road races and lifted heavy weights. I’ve become confident and proud of myself and everything my body does for me. I no longer focus on a goal of being skinny, I focus on being healthy and present every day. I’ve become a leader in this community, first by taking over the Facebook group, and then by becoming a Whole30 coach. I am forever changed from Whole30 and a firm believer that it does truly start with food.
We agree that food has incredible power to be transformative. As a coach, what wisdom would you share with someone who has “failed” while on Whole30 or after?
I would remind them that this is not a quick sprint- this is a marathon! It’s a process that will have lots of ups and downs, and that the best thing about it is that every bite is an opportunity to make a change toward becoming more healthy. There is no failure on Whole30, there is only opportunity to continue to improve yourself and become your best self. My coaching style is very positive. I am everyone’s cheerleader! I remind clients that it takes a lot of prep and hard work to be successful (and that it’s super hard to wing it!) on Whole30 but if I can do it as a single working mom, they can do it!
I always try to bring out the fun aspects (such as trying new recipes and cooking with friends) and remind them that it’s all about what they will gain and not about what they will be giving up.
Keeping things fun and exciting can really help with sticking to a new habit. What lessons have you been able to share with your individual coaching clients or on your Facebook group of over 43,000 members?
One of the biggest lessons I have shared is about the importance of making Whole30 work for your lifestyle. Everyone has a different schedule and different commitments, and everyone needs to find a system that helps them some succeed. It’s not one size fits all. Some people meal prep every Sunday and others cook dinner every night. Some use an app to meal plan and some (like me) use a good old paper and pen. You just have to fun what works for you! I also emphasize the importance of planning, planning, and more planning! Before every round of Whole30, I offer my clients and Facebook group a week’s worth of prep tips to get their minds, their kitchens, and their overall life organized for Whole30. We review things like how to stock a pantry, how to organize kitchen appliances, when to find time to food shop, and how to map out some emergency meals. We also make sure everyone has their WHY well thought out, and a plan for dealing with any upcoming social situations. I break it all down with them in advance so they can begin the round of Whole30 calm, organized, and feeling ready for all that is to come.
At the Whole30 Coach summit with the New Primal team and the other scholarship winners.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with the Model Meals/Whole30 community?
Earlier this year, my friend Jenny who runs my big Facebook group with me and I started a blog! We are both working moms who are short on time but we decided to jump into the blogging world. Why not, right? Our blog, Everyday Whole (www.everydaywhole.com) is meant to “have your back” while on Whole30, to be your Whole30 BFF. We offer lots of easy recipes, tips, support, product ideas, and all-around guidance to help you find success on Whole30. We aren’t original recipe creators but we have lots of awesome people who are contribute to our blog. It’s definitely a passion project/labor of love- but we are so proud of our little Whole30 corner of the Internet!
Judith, thank you so much for all your amazing insight and information about your Whole30 Failures and Lessons. It's been amazing to hear how Whole30 changed your life and all the opportunities that came as a result. We are also really excited to sharing your tips for a successful Whole30 on our social media and in another blog post!
Keep up with Coach Judith on the web at www.everydaywhole.com and on Instagram @jujuswhole30.
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