Friday, January 15, 2016


Three Things I Learned While Doing Whole30

WAIT! Before you roll your eyes and close this window, let me say this: THIS POST HAS NOTHING (or very little) TO DO WITH FOOD.

We're about half way through January already and my resolutions and goals are still on my mind. Last October I set the massive goal of completing Whole30. It was insane/amazing. And it really set me up to go big with my resolutions this year!

If you're wondering what Whole30 is, go here to read all about it.  But I'll give you the basics. It's 30 days of eliminating foods that are commonly linked to poor health or negative symptoms (anything from moodiness to indigestion to fatigue.) So for 30 days we completely eliminated all dairy, grains, unhealthy oils, added or artificial sugars of any kind, preservatives, ect. We basically just ate fruits, vegetables and meat. Whole30, for me, represented massive goal/challenge that I never thought I could accomplish. So as you're reading this, feel free to replace it with something that is on your heart that you can relate to.

1. A strong marriage makes all the difference

Whole30 was a family goal that Zack and I set together. On one of our (rare) date nights we decided to set some goals for ourselves and for our family and Whole30 had been something we had sort of been wanting to do. But until then, we hadn't been ready to commit. We agreed that if we were going to do it, we needed to do it 100%, and we needed to do it together. I know without a doubt, I would never have reached my goal of 30 days without Zack by my side the entire time. On the days where I struggled, he picked me up and helped me stay on track. And I did the same for him. We each had our role to play in a common goal so we never had to feel alone. It was easier to make good choices because we didn't want to let each other down. Going through this experience with Zack reminded me what a huge blessing marriage can be. When we set goals together and work together we can achieve far more than what we could have done on our own. Our individual potential is increased simply by having each other's support and confidence. I know that I will always be more successful when I have Zack by my side. And honestly, I can't wait for the next goal we set together.

2. There will ALWAYS be another brownie

If you know me, you know I like to indulge. If there is a brownie in front of me, I'll eat it. Actually, if there is anything remotely sweet or delicious in front of me, I'll eat it. Before Whole30 I just simply couldn't resist. In culinary school I developed a serious passion for delicious food. Like if you were looking at my list of priorities, food would barely come in behind family. If I had to choose 3 things to take with me to an abandoned island, at least two of them would be food. Okay, you get the point. I've always felt really strongly that food is meant to be enjoyed. It's most important job is to be the fuel for our bodies, but it's also a deeply emotional and social part of our lives. I've always felt like if I have the opportunity to indulge, I'm absolutely going to do it. Whole30 complicates that... Like a lot. About 7 days into our 30, I attended a baby shower. The food choices included pumpkin cookies, caramel fondue, brownies, cake, candy, basically all of my favorite things. It was by far the hardest temptation I faced. I knew I wasn't going to give in, because I was committed (and also, mostly because Zack would kill me) so I grabbed a few apple slices and walked far far away from the dessert table.

The thing I kept repeating in my brain over and over is this. Are you ready for it? It's pretty deep... "There will be another brownie" Thankfully, there is no brownie shortage in the world. This was not my last opportunity to eat a brownie. It was just one in like, a million chances I'll have to eat a brownie in my life. Just because I want something doesn't mean I should have it. This was a time in my life where I was committed to not eating brownies so I didn't. And I found comfort in knowing that I won't be in this stage forever. I'm sure the next event I go to will have brownies or something equally as delicious/devilish. And maybe I'll indulge. Maybe I won't. I think this relates to so many different aspects of my life right now. There are a lot of things that I'd like to do, but I know that it's just not the time in my life. I would really love to live close to our families, but the truth is we're exactly where we're supposed to be. I'd love to be going on adventurous vacations all the time. But honestly, it's just not the time in our life. We could decide to do those things anyway, regardless of the consequences. But because I know that time will come eventually, I'm able to resist for the time being. Because you guys, there will ALWAYS be another brownie. 

3. I can do hard things.

Now if you read the Whole30 book, "It Starts with Food", you'll read this quote, "It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us this is hard. (Tough love?) Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black (or skipping all the brownies) Is. Not. hard" and I get it, there are much harder things in life than eating healthy food. But this was really hard for me. I love food. I love to eat the best food (and sometimes Oreos) at every possible opportunity. So, this commitment meant I'd be saying "No" a lot while my heart and tastebuds were screaming "YES!!!" The reason it took us over a year to finally actually bite the bullet and do this is because I genuinely believed I couldn't do it. "I'm not strong enough." "I need to bake." "I'm just not cut out for this." These were all the excuses I used to convince myself not to do it. But it was something I wanted to do, so I was going to do it anyway. It was only for 30 days and my mom has always taught me, "You can do anything! Especially when you know it is temporary."

So we cleaned out our fridge and filled it with the best of the best. Mountains of vegetables, fresh fruit, and protein in all its forms. The first few days were tough. I was thinking how long it would be before I had a piece of candy, or got to bake cookies. At one point there was a voice in my head that said , "Just give up now. You can't do this. Better to give up sooner than later." I had to immediately shut that voice down and say YES I CAN! My inner dialogue became exceedingly important over the 30 days. As soon as a negative thought entered my mind I had to kick it out. Otherwise I'd just be laying on the floor crying over all the brownies I didn't eat. The more I told myself, "I can do this" the more I believed it. And guess what, I did it. I did something I never thought I could do.

Have you ever done that? Overcome one of your greatest weaknesses? Conquered a massive goal? It has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life. It has inspired me to set more goals; goals that seem out of my league. Because for the first time in my life, I truly believe I can do anything I set my mind to. I can do hard things. And you can too.

Like Miley always said, "There's always gonna be another mountain. I'm always gonna wanna make it move" Whole30 was one of my mountains. And now, with the experiences I had and knowledge I gained, I'll move onto another mountain. Maybe a bigger one, maybe not. (Maybe a mountain of brownies.) But the mountain never really mattered anyway because...

What mountains are you climbing this year? Leave us a comment and tell us your Resolutions and #Goals for 2016!


P.S. I ended up really loving Whole30, and we have stuck with most of the Whole30 principles. If you ever want to try it out, I've got plenty of advice and recipes! 


  1. Oh man. I am ALL ABOUT goals this year. I think it's because I'm at a somewhat settled stage of life right now with my kids old enough (and sleeping well enough) to leave me a little time/energy for personal development. I've been thinking about my goals all month and I've settled on a plan. I'm going to have just a couple year-long goals and then each month have a couple shorter-term goals, something I'll focus on for one month. Because like you said, I can do anything if it's just for 30 days, right? And if it sticks, I'll keep at it and add on something else the next month. One of my year-long goals is gratitude. I'll be writing in a gratitude journal every day and sending hand-written thank you cards every month and cultivating an attitude of gratitude in everything I do. It's been transformative so far. Can't wait to see what 2016 brings!

  2. Yes, brownies will always be there! We just finished our second Whole 30! On our first Whole 30 we actually went 90 days and we are planning on doing the same this time...we continue on as we also learn self feel great ton conquer and continue! Congrats to you!

  3. This is awesome! Today is my Day 1 and I'm terrified! All food sounds amazing today (because I can't have most of it) and I'm freaking out that I can't eat it for a whole month! Thank you for the inspiration! This makes me want to finish even more!

    P.S. I'll take any advice and recipes you want to give!

  4. I'm in the middle of my second Whole 30 and I did something yesterday that I never thought I could do. I baked cookies for my kids and I didn't eat any batter or cookies. AND I actually enjoyed the process! I focused on making each cookie little neater than I usually do and I concentrated on baking them just right. And in the end, I was so happy that I baked a beautiful batch of cookies and accomplished something I never thought I could do!

  5. I am just on day 17 and already seeing multiple benefits. I enjoyed your reflections and look forward to more advice and recipes. I defintely think there are a lot of things about whole30 that will now become a permanent part of my life.

  6. Day 31. 'Decided to go the extra ten days and then re-evaluate. I do NOT have energy and have not for most of the last 26 days! I don't feel a lot differently/better because I felt OK eating things that are not good for us! I also hoped to lose weight. I know that it isn't the purpose, but many people had experienced it. I DID lose 8.5 pounds. I should be satisfied, but I was rigid, so thought I would lose a little more! I am pretty down about all of this.

  7. ...go another 30. Don't give up. I started to see and feel noticeable difference midway through my second 30 day challenge (took a fun 4 day break in between then back on the horse). It takes time. I'm on my third whole 30 now, finishing Wednesday, then taking a fun break for 5 or so days and gonna try a Whole40 for the 40 days of Lent. Hang in!

  8. I started my 1st Whole30 today. Working on the psychological preparation and ready to enjoy the challenge! I made it through day 1 and ready to rock this!

  9. Thank you for stating that it IS, in fact hard. I get the point of the author's statement and yes there are things that are more difficult. But life is hard too and sometimes food is something that makes it better. I don't want to take a walk when I'm mad or frustrated or ____________; sometimes I just want something yummy to eat. The best part about this is the way you feel when you eat this way. And thankfully that pull is enough to keep me from going too far off the road! I've done three whole30's and have been eating mostly this way for about 16 months. It's great!