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How Whole30 Changed One Woman’s Life

The diet that healed Peggy Jindra and made her 120 lbs slimmer can help you lose weight healthy way!

Whole30 is more than just a diet — it changed Peggy Jindra’s life. “My first impression of Whole30 was that it was really restrictive and would be really hard. I learned pretty quickly that wasn’t the case,” says Jindra, who would eventually trade her too-tight size 26’s for size 12’s. “It took away some things I was familiar with, but also opened a whole world of delicious food and good health I didn’t know about!”

Now, the plan that helped her heal and made her 120 pounds slimmer can do the same for you. Read on to find out how to lose 49 pounds a month in a healthy way!

The Inspiration

“Almost ready!” Jindra called, unwrapping a pain-relief patch. It had been years since the Minnesota grandmother had slipped on ice and suffered excruciating nerve damage in her leg. Recent surgery had helped—she was back at work, able to sleep through the night, and her spirits were up — yet it was still a struggle to manage the discomfort.

Bending to apply the patch, there was a sudden tug behind her, and then… burning agony. She cried out, feeling the muscles in her back spasm wildly. “This can’t be happening,” Jindra thought, her eyes filling with tears. “I can’t take one more thing.”

Her husband, Bruce, rushed in. “What is it? What can I do?” he asked breathlessly. She saw the panic on his face and flashed back to her worst days. She’d promised him the dark times were behind them. But were they?

After a muscle relaxant and some extra pain patches, the throbbing began to subside a bit. Later, driving home from their weekend getaway, Jindra stared out the window in thought. Everything always went wrong with her health. After the fall, she’d lost all control of her leg and had fallen again and again, worsening the damage. She’d spent what seemed like forever in bed, packed in ice, listening to life go on around her.

On top of that, she had dealt with life-threatening tumors, rosacea, migraines, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea. Doctors had long said that her weight was compounding her problems. Years ago, after a number of countless failed diets, she even underwent weight-loss surgery. But that failed, too. Now, at 310 pounds, she was heavier than she had been before the procedure.

Glancing at Bruce, she could see how worried he still was. “I can’t just give up,” she thought. But what was the alternative?

An answer came as she walked in her front door. Jindra spied a diet book a friend had given her, one she’d only skimmed through at the time. Now, she felt drawn to The Whole30 ($16.45, Amazon). Poring over its pages, she found promises to help her press the “reset” button on her health, with the power to improve everything from skin conditions and weight to breathing issues and chronic pain. “Ha!” she thought. “It sounds like it was written just for me.”

Jindra continued reading, intrigued by the idea that certain foods could cause or worsen inflammation inside of us and that inflammation is a root cause of countless health problems. The solution? Temporarily avoiding common inflammatory culprits (sugar, dairy, grains, and beans) and instead building meals around veggies (even potatoes!), fruit, protein, and healthy fats. “It’s a lot to give up, but there’s a lot you can have,” she thought. Plus, you eat until you’re full, with no stress about portion sizes.

After 30 days, Jindra could experiment with eliminated foods, adding options back in that didn’t cause issues. The book also included transformations from people who had started out in far worse shape than Jindra.

She vowed: “I’m going to do this.”

Finding Hope

The next morning, Jindra went “shopping” in her kitchen. She had the fixings for a Whole30- approved veggie stir-fry — chicken with apples and salmon patties. Each was delicious and filling.

But in the evening, she found herself craving carbs. Recalling a positive-affirmation trick she was taught to help manage pain, Jindra tried it. “I only desire healthy and nutritious foods,” she whispered to herself a few times. Eventually, her brain seemed to catch on. She beamed.

As days turned into weeks, she noticed her energy begin to perk up, and her pain begin to drop. The book insisted she not weigh herself for 30 days to keep the focus on healing. But on day 31, the scale revealed that she’d lost… 21 pounds!

Amazing Success

Football season kicked off, and die hard Vikings fan Peggy worried it might be a difficult time. But she soon found Whole30-friendly recipes that were perfect for game days, such as hot wings, bacon-wrapped meatballs, and loaded potato skins. It was a relief to know she could enjoy foods that made her feel good. And all three of her kids loved the food, too!

Months and holidays passed. She hesitated to change what was working, but did test a few eliminated foods, learning that she could include beans and corn without slowing her progress. She also found that an occasional slice of cake was fine!

Did Jindra ever have a setback? She got a new work-from-home gig and often found herself wanting to nibble. Whole30 recommends no snacks, since frequent eating can drive inflammation. “I’d tie a scarf on a cabinet knob as a reminder not to eat mindlessly,” she shares. “I also kept up with my affirmations. They’ve helped me bring many dreams to life.”

So much so, that when she saw her neurologist, he kept saying, “Wow, wow, wow.” Jindra’s leg has dramatically improved. Her asthma, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea — along with a whopping 120 pounds — are all gone.

When Jindra looks back, she says, “I see a woman so sad and broken, not sure if anything would ever work. I want to tell her, ‘Don’t worry! Life is about to get really good.’ For me, God planted the seed, in the form of a book that sat on my shelf until I was ready. Now, I hope my story is the seed for someone else.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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