BlogWhole30 Whole30 and The Stages of Change

May 12, 2016by Courtney Elise5
So, my new favorite gym attire is this “Rehab is for quitters” t-shirt that my dad gave me. I can’t help but admire the play on words and of course it’s overall attraction. You know, it’s visual aid for some of the things you need to *quit* in rehab; gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, the list goes on and on. Buuut, it’s probably going to be hard to find a “Rehab is for quitters” shirt proudly displaying  a cupcake, pizza and fried chicken.

Now that I’m on the road to my own recovery/healthy living I {still} can’t help but to make connections between my personal journey and that of my patients. Obviously “quitting” cupcakes and quitting heroin are two totally different scenarios but even still maybe the overall process is the same. Meaning, identifying the stages of change .

When I think back to the events leading up to the start of my first Whole30, I can clearly see the changes that occurred in my mind which had an end result of… changing my relationship with food. 

As a certified alcohol and drug counselor I find that as a part of any recovery attempt (regardless of the drug of choice) it is crucial to identify these stages. For me, it goes a bit like this:

1. Pre-contemplation

  • Denial. Blaming others. My borderline obesity is totally because of the genetic component and no other factor, at all whatsoever. So what’s the point in even trying to lose weight?

2. Contemplation

  • I am definitely overweight and I should probably do something about it. Maybe I can google some healthy recipes and make that my New Year’s Resolution……….in 6 months. 

3. Preparation

  • Hits up Pinterest and reads about every diet that ever excited, known to man, ever. Which one is the best one for me?

4. Action

  • & the winner is….. The Whole 30!!! Slowly but surely new behaviors are implemented as poor life style choices slowly disappear thanks to new found coping skills and relapse triggers. 

5. Maintenance

  • The hardest part. Well, after admitting you have a problem, is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding situations you know you shouldn’t be in, implementing a relapse prevention plan. Added meaning, value and self worth back to into a life that is now worth living. 

This is what makes W30 so awesome. The Hartwigs and the W30 team encourage you to embrace the hesitations you have in the contemplation and preparation stages. Set yourself up for success by educating yourself on WHY you should eat certain foods and WHY you should avoid others. Thanks to all the “sciency” stuff in It Starts with Food  I entered my first round of W30 with a peace of mind and understanding of why in the world I was doing what I was doing.
As I have made it through each of the stages I am reminded of the beauty of the amount of control I have over what I put into my body which in turn significantly impacts my quality of life. Good or bad.
“You’re either working on recovery or you’re working on a relapse” as I tell my patients, OR  as Melissa Hartwig says “The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.”
This is where the difference comes in {in my personal and professional opinion} between my food addiction and that of my patients. My patient’s can’t seesaw with pain pills and live the kind of life that they want. However, they can learn new coping skills to deal with triggers that make them want to use instead of always resorting to self-medication when times get rough.
W30 has taught me how to do the same thing with my relationship with food.  live and eat realistically.

Treatment of any kind isn’t one size fits all. Through trial and error you can find what’s best for you and that’s exactly what W30 IS for me. A program that not only impacts the physical aspect but the emotional side, too. A change in my diet that can lead to shedding pounds and the shedding of negative self-talk? YES PLEASE.

Does that mean you should never, EVER, have a slice of birthday cake again? No, thankfully we can learn self discipline and eat A (one, single, slice) of cake without acting like a toddler on their first birthday.

I may not have to quit cupcakes forever. I may not have to quit pizza forever. In fact,
W30 doesn’t want you to! That’s where your personal  food freedom comes in (HURRY UP OCTOBER!)

Non-scale victories are awesome and it’s a huge self-esteem boost when you look in the mirror and you notice your shirt is loose, or that your wedding band fits better. But you don’t have to quit Thanksgiving dinner or summertime daiquiris forever. You can still have ALL of the W30 benefits and live a healthy lifestyle.

Set boundaries. Slay the sugar dragon. Stay in control.

Rehab may be for quitters…. but I am whole30, and you can be too.


Courtney EliseCourtney Elise

Courtney Elise


  • AvatarAvatar

    May 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Hi Courtney! I'm Hannah's neighbor and I had started following your blog when she posted about it when you first started whole30. I am starting on Tuesday so just reread your posts for encouragement. Thank you for putting your struggle out there because I definitely relate!! I'm done going back and forth and I am so ready to feel better again and mainly get a healthy relationship with food! Any extra tips to make this successful are welcomed! (I borrowed both books from Hannah and have been reading and making lists). Keep up your journey you are doing amazing! Valerie


  • AvatarAvatar
    Tara Casper

    May 29, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Hello to you both! My husband, 14 year old and I are starting on Tuesday. I've been pouring myself into both of the Hartwig's books! I've struggled with food most of my adult life! I'm 42 and feel physically worse than I've ever felt in my entire life. At least when I was younger the extra weight didn't seem to phase me as much. It seems my body is tolerating my abuse much less these days! I've never before eaten to be healthier… I've only eaten less of whatever I want in order to lose weight. This will be a journey like nothing I've ever done before. I love reading your blog Courtney! You're so positive and energetic! I'm hopeful to be the same after embarking on this challenge!!


  • AvatarAvatar
    lisa wynn

    July 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Courtney! Had to share with you that I am on day 4 of my 1st Whole30! I needed a boost today & found your story… your comment " Set boundaries. Slay the sugar dragon. Stay in control" resonated with me & I even used it on my Instagram feed! Thank you for the encouragement !


  • AvatarAvatar
    Courtney Elise. ♥

    September 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Hey ladies! I hope this comment finds you well! I am in the process of posting a new blog. I've been spending a lot of time snapchatting my way through some things and have neglected the blog which I will fix immediately! I am hoping that you've found some non-scale victories through your Whole30's! Please feel free to email me directly if you have any questions! I'd love to give tips on things that worked and did not work for me. Unfortunately this does not notify me when comments are posted! yikes! My email is!


  • AvatarAvatar
    Courtney Elise. ♥

    September 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you, Lisa! I hope you found your first Whole30 to be super special and awesome!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Visit us on social networks:

© 2018 Coffee, Carrots, & Curls. Powered by Nooga Design All rights reserved.