The Journey Continues

When I started facing my food addiction a year and a half ago I never could have imagined the amount of support I would get. Support from friends, family and strangers that are no longer strangers but members of the same Whole30 community that is now like family to me.

The same month that the Whole30 team decided to re-share my story on their Facebook page is the same month that I got to launch this site. Writing has always been a therapeutic outlet for me and it has been a way for me to sustain accountability and help those around me who have the same struggles and inner demons when it comes to their relationship with food.

In fact, I received so much support from you all that I outgrew the blog that I had maintained for several years and was fortunate enough to have this site built specifically to vocalize my new found passion for clean eating and food freedom.

You will find that under the “Blog” tab you have accessibility to all of my writings including, rants, recipes and all things Whole30. Under the “My Favorites” tab you will find my must have Whole30 items to hopefully make your journey a little easier from the start.

I am beyond thankful that because of my vulnerability and honesty to myself, I have a new found pride in clean eating and a support system that is unlike any other. I used so many Whole30 resources to my advantage during my first reset and I hope that you find my journey is helpful to you.

It’s an honor to have you on this road to recovery with me and I look forward to what is to come. <3

 

 

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guilt & gluten free (sometimes)

On the way back from Blue Ridge, Georgia this past weekend, I was puffy, bloated, and a little headachey, but for the first time, EVER, literally… ever, I was content and okay with it.

I felt a peace like I had never felt before… a guilt free, shame free and not gluten free peace.

So, I had spent Friday afternoon to Sunday morning with my BFF for her Bachelorette Weekend. I had stayed mostly Whole30 compliant the week leading up so that I could make sure my willpower cup overfloweth upon my arrival.

I hadn’t given myself permission to eat or drink whatever crossed my path. I simply gave myself permission to make that decision in the moment when the opportunities presented themselves.

and I did.

and it worked.

I had anxious expectations and much to my surprise, no anxiety was felt around food for the first time, well, ever.

I am a planner–to a fault. I’m one of “those” people with 4+ calendars and a color coordinated agenda that I start prepping months in advanced. I make lists, and add things I’ve already accomplished to the list only so that I can cross it off.

So thinking ahead is something that comes naturally to me, especially when it comes to my food freedom.

This past weekend was the first time my food freedom was tested in full capacity. I was sharing a cabin with 9 other women with many meals and drink options that were outside of my control. I came with LaCroix and some emergency food if needed but I had already decided that I was there to celebrate my best friend and if there was a food or drink that was worth it, in that moment, for this special occasion, then I would activate my FFF knowledge and eat it if I wanted to, or make the best decision I could, right then. Not 2 hours before something happened or didn’t happen… ya know?

I didn’t binge. I didn’t restrict.  I ate pizza (gluten-filled pizza) WITH cheese, and stopped when I felt satisfied. I ate it knowing that the gluten would potentially give me a zit or two, and that the dairy may make me feel bloated. I risked eating food with no brakes but stopped easily and walked away from the chips and dip when I felt like I’d eaten enough.

I didn’t eat to fit in, I didn’t NOT eat to fit in, I drank the beer I brought with me and sipped on wine at the vineyards. I wore something other than my infamous black shirt that makes me feel hidden (I didn’t even wear a scarf, which I find that I often hide behind.) I got in my bathing suit and sat in a hot tub with the girls and didn’t feel like everyone was mentally documenting my every flaw. Just like they weren’t keeping tabs on everything I was or was not feeding myself.

The longer I travel on my Whole30 journey the more my self-confidence improves as well as my self-awareness.

I was so thankful on that drive back for feeling completely guilt free about the gluten and the dairy I consumed because I made the conscious decision to eat it. BUT, I found myself looking forward to going back to a clean diet, free from the things I know wouldn’t make me feel my best… because, now that I know what feeling my best looks like (on the inside and out), I crave that far more than I do pizza.

And isn’t that what it is all about? Enjoying the moments we are meant to enjoy, with or without food, without anxiety and unrealistic expectations?

I am forever grateful for the low point I felt over a year ago that lead me to pick up It Starts With Food for the first time. Since then I’ve been immensely blessed and am beyond thankful that I now have time to appreciate the little things in life. Well, and the big things. I remember the day I wouldn’t have enjoyed a weekend away with the girls because my mind would have been focused on all the wrong things.

The self-awareness of decision making and the ability to listen to what my body is actually telling me is one of my biggest non-scale victories.

Things aren’t always easy, but I assure you,

it is always, ALWAYS worth it when you realize that you are worth so much more than the negative emotions that are weighing you down and that you are capable of feeling so much better than you do right now.

It’s okay to be on the fence about changing the way you eat,  just don’t stay there. There are so many resources out there to help prepare you for your Whole30.  Feel free to use me as one of them.  Because if there is one thing that is true about The Whole30 it’s that you are not in this alone.

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Cabbage Hash

One of my all time favorite dishes that I make about once a week. It’s perfect for a large get together, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration or if you just want plenty of leftovers. And, while channeling my inner Melissa Hartwig, at breakfast, I’ll #putaneggonit.

Cabbage Hash

Serves 4-6 (or lots of leftovers)

Prep time 10-15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Use Whole30 compliant ingredients

 Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 10 chicken apple sausages sliced
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles

*Due not drain, I use no salt added*

Optional Ingredients

1 large, or 2 medium/small sweet potatoes diced

1 large, or 2 medium/small white/red potatoes diced

Directions

  • Heat the ghee in large pain on medium/high heat
  • Brown onion and sausage together
  • Remove from pan at desired caramelization
  • Add more cooking fat if needed and add chopped cabbage to pan and sauté for 10 minutes until it just starts to wilt
    • Depending on quantity that you are making you may need to add cabbage in rounds instead of crowding the pan with uncooked cabbage all at once)
  • Add Rotel or canned tomatoes to pan with cabbage and bring to a simmer
  • Return onion and sausage mixture to pan until liquid is absorbed (10-15 mins)
  • Serve hot, with ranch or diced avocado or store for leftovers

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beYOUtiful.

Lady Gaga Super Bowl performanceNot even 24 hours after writing yesterday’s blog on scale anxiety, I was browsing through Facebook and saw a comment about Lady Gaga’s halftime show and how she should be ashamed… yes, ashamed… of her “belly flab.”

What?

The amount of anger that flooded my (imperfect) body is unreal.

In yesterday’s blog I spoke, briefly, on my negative experience with weighing myself and the consequences that came from obsessing over the number on the scale instead of promoting my non-scale victories and overall quality of health. I did not even touch the negative impact that social media and the public had on my body image.

I understand that it was not the media that shoved unhealthy food down my throat and I have been, and will always be, responsible for my own actions but if I had seen this article, or read these comments 4 years ago when I was so co-dependent on the scale and counting calories…can you imagine how I would have self-destructed?

So to the guy out there who said “Is this a bad time to say Gaga could lose 5-7 pounds” or to the lady who said “Looks like somebody missed a fitting before hitting the stage” or to the one who suggested she do some sit ups?

I would venture to say that your comments are born from insecurity in and of your own bodies, and if that is the case I hope that you find the health, happiness and confidence that you lack, but, while doing so, could you keep your body shaming comments to yourself?

I’m sure some of you are mothers, fathers, aunts or uncles and I am confident that your son or daughter, niece, nephew, or someone that you know struggles greatly when they look in the mirror. And take it from me, it is hard enough for them to fight the voice inside of their head so they don’t need any added stress or negative input from you.

I am thankful that I have found the Lady Gaga’s,  Danika Brysha’s and the Melissa Hartwig’s of the world that regardless of their size, or my size, or their grandfathers size, or their neighbors size, they promote individuality, and health in a judge free zone. Healthy lifestyles are not one size fits all and everyone has a different plan for success that takes some figuring out. And for some of us, it’s not easy. I am thankful that by my own choice I have changed who I look up to, who and what I view as beautiful. And more importantly, what I consider to be healthy.

Eating disorders can destroy a persons identity without any help from society and its unwanted expectations. So, when comments like this surface the internet about a woman who worked her tail off, to accomplish a dream infuriates me.

So, to Lady Gaga, it goes without saying but you rocked that stage, you worked hard for weeks in preparation for the Super Bowl and it showed. I admire your willingness to be yourself. You looked beautiful and your stamina was incredible. Thank you for setting an example to young men and women all over the globe that you can be beautiful, healthy and fit without being sick, frail and zero percent body fat.

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To weigh or not to weigh?

I have always had test anxiety. If it hadn’t been for homework and research papers I would have definitely flunked out of school. Thankfully, I was disciplined and could master weeknight homework and lengthy research papers, even with topics I had little to no interest in. But it did not matter how I studied or how much time I put into studying… when it came to tests, mid-terms and final exams, all knowledge gained in that particular semester went out the door and I was left with [unwelcomed] sweaty palms, a racing heart and a fear of failure.

I remember the first time I went to take the SAT. Yes, the first time, and let’s be real for a second… between the ACT and SAT I took them a total of S I X times.

My first experience was a lost cause. I had a full blown panic attack right smack dab in the middle of the exam and left without even completing the test. #epicfailure.

The second time was a little better but my scores were not good… not good at all.

Cue all the negative self-talk.

“Courtney, you are stupid and so inadequate.”

“Courtney, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

 “You will never be successful.”

“You’re not smart enough for college.”

Finally, I went to Sylvan Learning Center where they taught me how to study and methods of mindfulness to practice while taking the exam to help avoid panic attacks.

Since then, my test anxiety has been nothing compared to what it was before. Not to say I don’t get a little nervous, because I do… but that’s natural. I was accepted into an excellent university, and graduated with a nice GPA. I got a job that I love and passed not 1 but 2 certification examinations. Because I dealt with the problem at its core and realized that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness I was able to learn that even when I fail in one area, I tend to excel in another.

I am willing to bet that you can relate to this in some way… even if it isn’t with test anxiety.

When it comes to The Whole30 a lot of people have scale anxietyand I know I am definitely one of them. As most of you know, I’ve had a pretty unhealthy ride with food and exercise addiction. At one point I was exercising 2-3 times a day and was being extremely restrictive with my food. Counting calories and weighing every single time I worked out. Sometimes that I meant that I was weighing 2-3 times in 24 hour period. During this time I had entered a weight loss contest at the gym and was determined to win. That’s when the true scale addiction began.

When we think of unhealthy behaviors we usually think of things that impact our health directly. Maybe, drinking too much alcohol or eating too much junk food. I justified my relationship with the scale as been not-so-harmful- because, really, what harm could it do? I didn’t view it as something I needed to correct because it wasn’t negatively impacting my life like maybe Taco Bell and a jumbo size Reece’s cup was.

But weighing myself that many times a day fueled my food restriction. Typically when I counted calories I would have 2 smoothies/shakes per day and only consumed on legitimate meal, which was dinner. When I became so obsessed with the scale and saw it fluctuate, the only thing left to cut out was dinner. So my evening meal turned into a blended glass of kale, peanut butter, some berries, protein powder and a lot of hopelessness and obsessive, compulsive thoughts.

I’d basically forgotten what it was like to chew.  

But hey, at least I looked good… right?

Wrong.

I was definitely slimming down but with no muscle, feeling tired, literally all the time. No endorphins or benefit from the gym because I was exhausting my muscles giving them no time to rest and no proper nutrients for repair.

Finally, I let the trainer blind weigh me to keep up with the contest requirements but I didn’t want to see the number because it was interfering with my life. That number was ALL I could think about.

Then guess what happened?

I didn’t win the contest. And I gave up.

Because the number on the scale was not what it “should” have been, that negative self-talk I encountered after my SAT experience came flooding back.

I told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I hadn’t been successful, I was never going to be thin enough and I was ashamed.

So I started eating my feelings, effective immediately and I gained nearly every pound I had lost, right back. I had lost all control. Again.

I weighed myself before my first Whole30 last January (2016) and again at the end. I had lost some weight but for the first time, ever, that number gave me no feeling at all.  

The Whole30 became the Sylvan Learning Center to my health habits and relationship with food needs.

Since then, I’ve been weighed on doctor’s office visits and that’s it.  I hopped on the scale for the first time on January 1st of this year, just as the January Whole30 (2017) was about to kick off and the batteries were dead. That was my glorious sign to step off the scale with control and not replace the battery.And I haven’t.

My non-scale victories serve the same purpose to me now as my homework and research papers did when I was in school. It’s the NSV’s that keep my head above water and my self-confidence cup overflowing.

I can have my dream job with a history of poor test scores because I am smart. That test score is no reflection of my  true intelligence.

I can have a truly beautiful life with improved health, habits and relationship with food without knowing how much I weigh. The number on the scale does not define me… and for the first time in my life… I don’t want it to.  I won’t allow it to.

I can’t say with certainty that I will never weigh myself again. However, I am pretty confident that when I do, that number will no longer give me anxiety and steal away my self-worth like it has so many times before. I can also say with confidence that that number will no longer determine what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat. I love being able to prepare, eat and enjoy my delicious, nutrient dense meals.

There is a reason that getting rid of the scale during your Whole30 is a RULE and not a recommendation. Terminating your relationship with your scale does not mean you have lost all control. It’s hands down one of the most liberating victories you will experience.

 
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reset, refocus, rebuild, repeat.

reset, refocus, rebuild, repeat.

I’ve taken a hiatus on writing which should have been my first indicator that I was on, as Melissa Hartwig calls “The struggle bus down food freedom road.” Writing is therapy for me, an outlet for expression and accountability that often times I let slide when I am not making the best choices.

It all started during Thanksgiving. I had done a mini reset, you know, a Whole7 or a Whole9 just before the visit to my hometown for the holiday, in hopes it would help me stay in control. But lifetime of poor behaviors and emotions came flooding back as I stared at the counter full of food. Turkey, ham, dressing, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, my all-time favorite dinner rolls, casseroles galore and not to mention the most delicious looking desserts I ever did see.  I did okay though, I got a small portion of just about everything but somehow just ONE spoonful of EVERYTHING was the justification I needed to fill my plate higher and higher. But (at that point) at least I said no to a dinner roll.

I made it through the meal and managed to keep a few bites left on the plate so my neighbors at the table wouldn’t think I was a total pig (as if my family members were truly concerned about how much I was consuming), but I was worried about it so I assumed everyone else was, too.

I let those thoughts camp out in my mind and suck the Thanksgiving spirit right out of me so on my way to bed that night, I snuck into the kitchen when no one else was around, and took three dinner rolls and took them to bed with me— and ate every, not worth it, bite.

So my gluten crash the next day totally interfered with the 5k I had been preparing for since my spinal fusion back in June. I pushed myself really hard to make it in under an hour (walking) which is what I wanted, and that’s what I did, but the guilt and shame from the bread binge the night before was really all I could focus on. Those thoughts occupied my mind when I should have been celebrating this accomplishment.

When I got home from Thanksgiving I was still so embarrassed and ashamed of my behavior that I continued to ride the struggle bus and I hit a major setback. Made excuses to not exercise as frequently and take the easy way out with meal prep and self-care (or lack thereof).

Finally, I reached out with desperate hands and a lot of tears to my support system and thankfully they helped me see that, at that point, the last 10 months had not been for nothing as I had suggested to them with my skewed way of thinking.

I re-read Food Freedom Forever and refocused. I was afraid that if I showed weakness that I would let those of you who look to my blog for inspiration down. That you would get discouraged and I didn’t want to be that person who screwed up. 

But guess what? We are all that person which is why Whole30 is designed the way that it is. You do a reset and build the tools you need to succeed and when you slip up during your food freedom you go back to where it all began and reset again. And maybe, again after that, and perhaps one more time.

I’ve spent more years than not consumed in unhealthy thoughts about food and exercise but I have found a plan that works for me. However, just because #Iamwhole30 as the hashtag proudly states, doesn’t mean that triggers aren’t going to surface from time to time… just like the overwhelming feeling at Thanksgiving. But, my friends, that’s all apart of the process. 

I did another quick reset (for the right reasons) between Thanksgiving and Christmas to make sure my tools and coping skills were sharp and on point.

Also, during the Christmas holiday I had an accountability buddy who helped me through it, who would have literally held my hand if I wanted them too. There was just as much food but I changed my perspective and I altered my actions. I went last instead of first around the buffet to alleviate the anxiety of someone being behind me watching me make my plate. I drank a full glass of water prior to the meal so I didn’t feel SO hungry going in.  I followed the Whole30 meal template (yes, even at Christmas dinner and yes, even with noncompliant foods), and I told myself, “Hey, you don’t have to eat until you’re going to explode. If you want leftovers tomorrow, you can have them.”

And you guys…. It worked.

Christmas was wonderful. I didn’t feel self-conscious or judged by anyone else, including myself, which lets be real, we are our own worst critics.

With that being said, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading this and believing in me despite my vulnerability and flaws. It’s because of the support system associated with The Whole30 (my family, friends, blog readers and W30 team) that I have been able to gain the confidence to write for you (and me) and share my struggles…and my victories.  I want you to learn from my mistakes because this is a community where we can learn and grow together.

I wish I had been brave enough to share my setback with you sooner because it’s not slipping up that’s the problem, it’s continuing to dwell on it with no changes. So, here I am recovering from my slip and doing all I can to continue to strengthen my relationship with food and make sure to acknowledge when I am starting to lose control.  

I trust the process of Whole30, of my health habits and relationship with food. I trust that I can recover from food addiction and I believe that I can and will continue to succeed…. even with bumps, and sometimes meteor size pot holes in the road.

So, in the spirit of believing in yourself and making progress I am happy to announce that I am coming up on my one year *wholethirtiversary and am feeling super proud of that.

AND in other exciting news, I am fortunate enough to be taking over Whole30’s snapchat on FRIDAY 1.6.17!  Tune in and see a day in the life of Courtney on Whole30… which to those of you who follow me on snapchat already, is just like any other day. This is my excited face. 

<3

Courtney

*wholethirtiversary = one year anniversary of a persons first whole30 😉

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Pizza is not always the answer.

Pizza is not always the answer.

The struggle was real today. 

 
Well, it *would* have been before my whole30 journey.
 
I implement my food freedom usually on weekends, while staying  mostly whole30 compliant throughout the week because that’s what keeps me focused, balanced, and my best.
 
I didn’t have time to eat breakfast this morning as I hit the ground running at work to take care of things that were priority and that meant sacrifice my precious breakfast time. I’m talking, didn’t even have time for my emergency food. 
 
I stayed so busy I cruised right through the morning, straight through lunch… still never touching a cup of coffee. 
When things  settled down and I was finally sitting at my desk, I had one thing on my mind.
 
Pizza.
 
Now, I knew INSTANTLY that was emotions talking and not my stomach. I was tired, drained, hungry, flustered, relieved and proud the day was a success. All emotions I know (thanks to whole30) trigger me to dip out on my food freedom & choose the easy way out. (Eating food you think has all the answers to your internal and emotional turmoil but really just makes it a billion times worse). 
 
I knew this gem was waiting in my mailbox for me today and it was just the fuel I needed to eat my compliant chicken salad (that is the bomb) and think through the whole scenario before hightailing it to Papa John’s.
I am still exploring my food freedom, what it means to BE and STAY confident with my relationship with food. It’s discipline, and desire to want to live healthily but it’s about being realistic. Pizza was so not going to lessen the amount of stress I felt. It was actually going to make me feel bloated and guilty. 

Not. Worth. It. 
If you need me, I am going to be nose deep in this book learning new tips and tricks on how to rock my food freedom forever… because, what happened today… is real life stuff! We are all going to have bad days and I know healthy food choices keep my bad days to a minimum. 
 
& on a side note, CONGRATS September Whole30ers. You did it!
 
Court
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Journey to food freedom.

Journey to food freedom.

“I’ll do better tomorrow.”
This mentality or way of thinking is what got me into this mess in the first place.
This mess being, my unhealthy relationship with food.
Being a “foodie” for me is different than it is for most people. Food was my best friend and my worst enemy. There were times in my life where food was the last thing I thought about at night and the first thing I thought of in the morning. The kitchen was my safe haven and my biggest temptation.
Thankfully, conquering and successfully completing several Whole30’s has taught me more than I even thought possible, but it doesn’t mean I’m “cured.”
Just like my patients are not “cured” of their pain pill or heroin addiction, my relationship with food, like any other relationship, is something I am going to have to put effort into for the rest of my life.
I didn’t realize my thoughts had backtracked so much until I was talking to my sister in law this morning. Our conversation made me think back to my husband. I cooked dinner last night and left a plate for him in the microwave. He came home, took a shower, watched some TV, played on Facebook a little bit and finally ate dinner.
I don’t think I could have done that. Would I have been able to focus on anything knowing there was a plate of food with my name on it in the microwave?
That was a shocking realization for me and a definite wake- up call that I have become complacent. The thing is, I’ve seen the warning signs and have ignored them.
 
In the past couple of week I’ve found myself:
  • To be restless at night
  • Irritable during the day
  • Bloated
  • Sticky complexion
  • Zits that have appeared on my face
  • Even worse PMS Cramp
Now, most of these things I’ve listen were non-scale victories I had after my first Whole60! I was sleeping better and had energy and positive spirits during the day. I was NOT bloated, had a much better complexion and less painful cycles!
Which tells me one thing… the way I’ve been feeling is due to how I’ve been eating. Or, how I have NOT been eating.
It’s really easy to get off track and thankfully, even easier to get back on track when you start to re-implement whole 30 principles meaning, your habits and your RELATIONSHIP with the food, not just the food or how it is prepared.  
I was watching Melissa Hartwig’s live video on Whole30’s Facebook page where she talks about the Whole30 Concept of “Sex With Your Pants On” (20 ish minutes of inspirational, humorous tough love that’s worth your while- promise).
During this video she said something that resonated with me (also, no matter how many Whole30’s I complete I still find there are always things to learn and revisit or to improve on. Remember, I don’t consider myself “cured.”). So, she was discussing the re-creation of certain foods that might influence the out of control relationship that you have with this certain, delicious dessert or pancake, and all re-creating it does is allow you to abuse it even though it’s a little healthier. It’s not quite the same but still good… cue SWYPO.
That’s not the point. Just because cashews are whole30 compliant doesn’t mean you need to eat the entire bag. Just because you can make a Whole30 compliant brownie doesn’t mean you should…
I find myself (lately) eating to satisfy an emotional or mental craving not a physical one. That my friends is a major issue that can lead to health problems and obesity. Learning the difference between the two is crucial— at least for me. I am longing to be able to enjoy my food freedom and I do think I’m headed in that direction, I just may not be there yet.
So no more of this “I’ll do better tomorrow” nonsense…
I don’t know about you but I DO NOT want to spend another day with low self-esteem, feelings of restlessness or bloating OR have a sticky, zit crazed face.
I want to feel good about myself and even though sometimes I forget, and I make mistakes it always comes back to one basic thing. When I eat well… I feel well.  It can’t be a coincidence every single time.
“You are what you eat” may not be the best analogy but I definitely think I suffer the consequences of what I eat when I am not in control but.. when I am in control I reap the benefits of all the nutrient dense foods I consume.
If you’re doing the September Whole30, PERSEVERE! It is going to be so worth it.
Or, if you feel like food controls your life and consumes your thoughts more than it probably should… contact me for more information about Whole30.
If you’ve done a whole30 before and you feel like you’ve lost your way… It’s okay. Reassess where you are, be proactive and implement those skills you learned before. That’s the beauty of Whole30. It never left. That lifestyle is right there waiting for you to take control of the reigns again.
 
Let the journey to food freedom continue <3

 

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Peace, Love & Whole30.

Peace, Love & Whole30.

Today’s blog has been a work in progress in my mind since June 11th. The day that I found out that my favorite former ‘Voice’ contestant Christina Grimmie had been shot and killed after her concert in Orlando, FL. Just to find out that in that same week a terrorist attack would hit a night club in the same city.

Following many more shootings, deaths, violence and acts of hate on our country, in our country and others, including Nice, France.

Initially my thoughts were consumed with me. With my upcoming back surgery. With the pain and numbness that the degeneration in my disks created for me each day. Night after night watching the headlines scroll across the screen quickly transferred that pain and numbness to a different area. My heart was broken for these lives being taken; Black lives,  White lives, French lives, Law Enforcement lives, Gay lives, Turkish lives and the life of a youtube sensation and rising star with the voice of an angel.

Life is short. 

All of the breaking news segments definitely changed my perspective on my, then, upcoming surgery. I was excited, nervous, and felt guilty for how much it was going to cost. Life is short, look at all the hate in the world…is having this surgery even worth it?

Yes.

My husband looked at me in my tear filled eyes and said, “I want your quality of life to be better and this surgery is going to give that to you.”

So it was scheduled. June 23, 2016, and it went as smoothly as it possibly could have.

I have been out of commission for the past 26 days which has resulted in a lot of time to think and, well, over-think.

Due to all the hate pouring through all social media outlets and television it was hard to stay positive.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that this was an “old persons” surgery and that I was way too young to be having it.

Well, that’s true but it didn’t change the fact that I still had serious medical issues that could result in far more damage if action was not taken.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that I should eat whatever I wanted to because of the “delicious” liquid diet I’d be forced to comply with for several days post surgery.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that I should get used to the ceiling because walking was going to be difficult, painful and uncomfortable.

Notice anything? They’re all negative.

Did I only have people that care about me tell me negative stuff? NO. But, it’s all that I remember because unfortunately that’s how our minds are geared. So, I had to tell myself OVER and OVER again that I was worthy of this surgery. I had to turn the negative into the positive and FOCUS so heavily on the optimism and encouragement that I did have from so many people.

This is an “old persons” surgery and unfortunately I was dealt a crappy hand of joints in my genes, but that’s okay, and there’s nothing I can do to change it!

I am young, but I am able to have this surgery because of the strength that I’ve gained since beginning my Whole30 journey in January of this year. My core was strong, my body was well-nourished. I finally found a surgeon that was willing to do whatever it took to RESOLVE the issue and not just put a bandaid on it because I was finally STRONG enough to handle it and HEALTHY enough to handle it.

I had the energy and the drive to start physical therapy as soon as I was cleared to do so and work so hard that I am (hopefully) going back to work after just 4 weeks post op!

Thanks to W30 and the lessons I’ve learned throughout this journey my actions have resulted in SUCH a better quality of life ALL the way around.

In the midst of all the hate and negativity in the world (which I am in no way comparing a spinal fusion to hate crimes and terrorism) but it is up to me to find happiness in my day to day life.

Life IS short. So does that mean, throw in the towel to the hate in the world?

No.

Life IS short. So does that mean, eat whatever you want and throw in the towel to your diet; to your health?

NO.

Since life is short, lets put down the excuses and look at how much the world does have to offer if you simply work for it. But, you have to want it.

Let’s shift the perspective. The old me would have said, life is short so lets eat Reese’s Cups, pizza and fried chicken every day and binge watch all things good on Netflix, never exercising!

The new me said, clean food makes you happy. Exercising makes you happy. Netflix makes you happy and dark chocolate makes you happy. Find the balance, people.

For me, W30 goes far beyond the food that I eat. It taught me more about myself and has challenged the way that I look at things simply because of the non-scale victory of being happy, of feeling good and most of all, feeling that life is too short NOT to care about yourself and your health.

You may not can change anything you see on the news or know the recipe for world peace, but you do have control and the ability to change your own life.

I promise, it starts with food.

Working hard in therapy with my I am Whole30 shirt for inspiration!
Sweet husband by my side!
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Comparisons, judging & then some

Comparisons, judging & then some

Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out I get a hypothetical punch in the gut  (aka, reality check) that {thankfully} kicks me off the pity party train I’m prone to jumping on. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and that’s what I’m experiencing lately. 


I find myself getting frustrated that on the conclusion of my 3rd #whole30 I’m not seeing the physical results that I want…that I desire. But desire for who? Do I truly want to shed the pounds for me? OR is it to look like the beautifully bronzed goddesses of Instagram with their sculpted abs, gorgeous hair, teeny bikini with the good kind of junk in the trunk that everybody swoons over?

 The crappy thing about comparisons are that most of time they are totally useless. Through my fading self-esteem, I can sit back and mope over the bronzed goddess thinking, wishing, that somehow I would channel her inner beauty & wake up with less jiggle and more confidence with a skin tone that magically makes my face look just as flawless as the Valencia Instagram filter does but no matter how hard I try.. 

It’s still my same ole face. My same ole beautiful face. That thanks to the whole 30 is clear, with a glow and less puffy. THAT face that I’ve lost sight of because of my hormonal mind getting the best of me. Yes, I’m getting in my own way. 
Comparisons either make us feel “superior” if we are putting others down or just not good enough if we are constantly trying to be something we’re not. Either way nothing positive comes from this unrealistic train of thought.
 I think in the world we live in its pretty easy to default our thinking to the negative. We have to make a conscious effort to build ourselves up, so today, as I saw my self-confidence plummeting, I decided to take a walk. Get my endorphins pumping, feel the sun on my skin and just have me time. 
As soon as my feet hit the ground  and the music started playing I started remembering the days I wouldn’t have even set foot outside my front door with a tank top shorts on. 90 degrees or not. { give that #nsv a high five) & before I knew it, 30 minutes had past and I felt better. 

Remember ladies and gents. We are human. Unfortunately it’s in our nature to wonder all about the if and when’s and woulda, shoulda coulda’s of the world. 
But the ONLY thing you can change in this crazy thing called life is YOU.
Comparing myself to these models is leading me no where fast. So, my personal goal for the beginning of bathing suit season is…


No more comparing myself to all the things I’m “not” & instead, remembering and APPRECIATING all the things that I am. 
I am Courtney, I am a work in progress, I am married to my dream guy with a kick ass support system and my non-scale victory cup runneth over and well, #iamwhole30. 

So here’s to continuing to learn
who you are and where you want to be. I’m not there yet but I’m well on my way. For me, it starts with food. For you it may be different but keep your head held high beautiful. 
We will get there together. 
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