I Didn’t Do Whole30.


Eat less sugar. Carbs are evil. But eat whole grains! Eat veggies! Eat less. Eat more. Fats can be healthy, bring on the guac. Avoid fat at all costs. Please only eat organic coconut oil and flax seed.  Life is short though, and ice cream makes you happy.  Love your body. But you need a flat stomach. Above all, don’t stress about dieting…you are what you eat as the old saying goes!


Diet is a scary word.


All last summer I worked as an outdoor overnight camp counselor. I probably burned a ton of calories, but was constantly starving at the end of every day. And then I proceeded to take a two week trip-of-a-lifetime to Italy where I consumed pasta and pizza and gelato and bread every single night.  I’m not fat. I’m fairly tall, and growing up I got all the “you’re so skinny” “you’re all legs” comments.  After the summer though, I just wanted to lose five pounds.  Coming off of the Italian carb frenzy, I figured changing my food habits was probably the way to do it.

I get where the hate for the word diet comes from. Even just typing it makes me feel all squirmy and guilty and vaguely mom-ish. The trend these days is more towards “choices” and “lifestyle” food changes, which is where Whole30 comes in.

If you aren’t familiar, Whole30 is a program where you follow strict guidelines on eating only super nutritious food for 30 days, absolutely no cheating or you have to start over. No sugar/honey/syrup/stevia, dairy, tree nuts, grains or rice or wheat. Basically just tons of fruit, veggies, and meat. The program claims to reset your nutrition, and people rave about how you fill up so fast and stop craving dessert and carbs all the time (was this for real?!).

The problem is, I’m a teenager. I’m lucky enough to be a part of a family where we eat together almost every night, and my mom does most of the cooking. I couldn’t alter the entire family’s way of doing meals. Plus, having to be so high-maintenance when going to a friend’s house, eating out, or babysitting wasn’t worth it. And health food is expensive!  So last September I attempted to modify the plan and did my own pseudo-Whole30 less intense diet thing.


The plan.

Basically I made up a several rules for myself in an attempt to eat healthier. I’m not going to list them all because

a) I am not a nutritionist

b) Dieting is very subjective as you already know from reading the first paragraph of this blog post slash novel

and c) Spoiler alert, I don’t recommend what I did.

But just think of a list of foods you’d consider unhealthy, and I didn’t allow myself to eat any of them no exceptions, and you get the idea. My birthday was in a little over 3 weeks, and I knew I’d want to eat cake and ice cream then, so I decided to keep it until my birthday dinner and then see how it went. 25 days couldn’t be that difficult, right?

Enacting it.

The results really were a mixed bag.  The diet forced me to get creative and try a lot more healthy foods, especially to snack on. Eating healthier, even with little changes, takes time. The ten minutes it takes to make a smoothie or cut up a sweet potato add up. The extra steps became worth it though, because within a few weeks I was sort of craving the healthier food.  I’m not sure why, but anything to make salads and carrots with hummus appealing, right? And I learned to drink black coffee, which has always been a goal of mine!

Passing up certain foods was difficult, especially at social gatherings.  I survived by finding alternatives I enjoyed, like watermelon or a mug of tea. That makes me sound really lame. I guess I was lame for eating a ton of watermelon at that one party, but it was my prerogative and 25 days isn’t forever.



From a purely food-focused standpoint, I’d consider my foray into the dieting world a positive experience. I did eat healthier for those 25 days and during the months since.

So why am I not 100% on board?

The food plan reinforced the pattern of constantly thinking about nutrition facts and weight.  While trying out a Whole30ish diet, I was consistently thinking about what I was eating or what I would be eating. Mentally, it was not a healthy experience.

My birthday apple crisp and vanilla ice cream shouldn’t be thought of as “400ish extra calories and a lot of sugar”. It should be remembered as the dessert that my mom baked for me and I enjoyed with my friends on my birthday.  I should be appreciating lunch at a friends house rather than fixating on the grams of fat I’m eating in the pizza they’re serving. While awareness is a good thing, a fixation on numbers can’t be healthy.

As in everything, eating healthy is a tricky a balance. I’m still searching for the happy medium, but in the meantime I’m going to try to enjoy my strawberry salad as much as possible…and maybe a doughnut every now and again too.

I’m not even pretending to have all this figured out.  Dieting and fitness and body image are all rather awkward and controversial topics , but I’d like to open the conversation up for the week.

I have a few more posts in this vein for this series, and then I’m planning on going back to normal, sporadic creative lifestyle posts. So if this isn’t your thing, I get it.  

That being said, if you’re still reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts on any and all of it. How do you balance “healthy” – nutritionally but also mentally/body image-wise? 

Stay lovely,


B(M)I Week



Filed under B(M)I Week, food, diet, and body image, musings

19 responses to “I Didn’t Do Whole30.

  1. mom

    I’m commenting so I can follow what others are saying…guess it’s a good thing you weren’t home for the mac n’ cheese last night! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. keri

    such a thoughtful post. i have a love/hate r’ship with food. and as I’ve grown older, i really despise going to the grocery store. why? b/c of all those things you listed in the first paragraph!! i’ve wrestled with weight gain and loss over the years and haven’t really found the magic plan. and the older you get, the harder the weight loss is. i think you’re right though, letting go of the rigidity of not allowing yourself certain foods is smart. choosing some freedoms while trying to eat healthier is so wise. proud of you, my niece! i love hearing your thoughts. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julia Briley

    I love this article Lane, you did such an awesome job! I think that it is unhealthy for someone skinny or at a healthy size to be constantly worrying about the calorie count rather than enjoying the meal. However, for someone at an unhealthy weight, the diet would be a better choice. An unhealthy weight, meaning a weight that could hinder your day to day life or your health to the point that your doctor would have to warn you of it. That is just my oppinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you’re back to writing! Your honesty and humor are so refreshing, especially on topics like these. Love you and miss you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hannah

    I thoroughly enjoyed your discussion and thoughts on diet. I can completely relate. It is such a balance to eat in a healthy way without fixating on diet and can easily become an unhealthy numbers/body image obsession. I have found that making dramatic changes are difficult without a compelling reason. My most recent foray into the dieting world was when I was on the Trim Healthy Mama Diet (only some complex carbs, no sugar, don’t mix carbs and fats) to avoid gestational diabetes and a 10 lb baby. It was easy to keep the rules while I had to, but difficult to maintain once that season had passed because life doesn’t easily lend itself our health-food whims. All that being said, I do find myself incorporating small things from that diet into my lifestyle, and I anticipating following it more strictly if things start to unravel in an unhealthy way. I have a series of unwritten weight “limits” I observe to keep things in check. I have the “we’re all ok” area that has an upper limit that means I need to start making better choices. There is also a hard and fast line where I technically move into the “overweight” designation that I would prefer to avoid and will consider more serious intervention to avoid, like resuming exercise and more strict eating guidelines.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Terry Elder

    I’m a Gretchen Rubin fan and learned I do better with less choice to free up my brain power for decision making that matters. The blog Dinner A Love Story highlighted the routine of a piece of fruit for breakfast and a salad every day. Sandy used to say “Pity the poor women on the Titanic who declined dessert.” That always make me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Janet Carter

    Lane, what an inciteful post. I have gained and lost the same 20 pounds over and over again. Bottom line, don’t overindulge in anything, but eat in moderation and you’ll be fine. Depriving yourself of something only makes you crave it more. For me at my ripe “old age” I find that walking( it helps Hilly Pop, too) and exercising(at Curves) that I like alot keeps me motivated. I try to include protein in every meal as it helps to build muscle. Also, eating a little something every 2-3 hours keeps your metabolism moving. I must say that because I enjoy cooking I can control how healthy our meals are. Good for you for being so aware. You are perfect as you are my precious granddaughter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Katie Crittenden

    Hi, Lane! I loved reading about your experience and hearing your wise thoughts on this subject. I think you nailed it when you talked about your birthday dessert…about focusing on the moment…the love of your family…the memories being made… and not the calories. Taking food and exercise off of center stage has actually helped me to be healthier…and in better physical shape. I’d love to share more about my experience with you sometime, but in short, what I ate and how much I exercised used to control me. As I grew in my faith, I began to examine my heart and my motives regarding food and exercise. Was it to make wise and healthy choices for my body because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit? Or to live a disciplined life so that I didn’t serve another master other than our Lord? Ummmm……NO! It was so that I could look good in a bathing suit on spring break and perhaps get a boy to look my way…and so when I compared myself to my friends, I could come out feeling ok about myself.

    Now, I try and keep it in its proper place. In my opinion it belongs in the category of every other choice we are faced with as people who put their faith in God. What should I eat? Should I drink alcohol (not until you are 21 🙂 )? How much alcohol is ok to drink? What should I watch/read/listen to? Am I being selfish with my time and resources, or just being wise? Should I date? Should I date THAT guy? Should I let my father chaperone all of my dates?—yes, of course you should!! 😉 Studying the book of Romans was key for me in learning (still learning, of course) how to live a free AND disciplined life….and learning how to pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to make these decisions. I have found that so many things we face are not inherently right or wrong (some are, of course), it’s my heart or motivation that is either right or wrong. Studying Romans also helps me keep my focus on others, instead of myself…to examine how my actions impact others. Eating that Krispy Kreme donut in front of a teenage girl might be the most loving thing I could do. Eating the same donut in front of my diabetic friend who loves Krispy Kreme donuts might be the most unloving thing I could do.

    I have found, as you did, that eating quality, nutrient rich foods made me crave more healthy foods. I actually don’t like the taste of foods that I used to love…they taste artificial now. But, like you said, eating this way takes longer, costs more and requires more thinking ahead of time. I can share with you some of the “hacks” I’ve come up with, or learned from others when trying to feed our family in this manner, if you are interested.

    Thank you for writing this! It helped me to re-examine my heart on this subject as we approach bathing suit season 🙂 Keep the conversation going!


    • Mrs. Crittenden, thank you so much for all your advice! I’d love to talk more about this – also, bring on all of the healthy food “hacks” 🙂


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  11. Kate Wicker

    Lane, I’m not sure if you remember me or not, but I taught you creative writing ages ago along with the Farnsworth children. My oldest is now 12, and we are now a family of 7 after recently welcoming our fifth little one! At any rate, I remember thinking you reminded of me when I was your age because of your creativity and your love for writing. Now I see that you’re still at it – and writing so very well – and it makes me happy! Don’t stop. You’re talented have a knack for weaving words together. I fell in love with writing as soon as I could first form sentences, and I’ve never stopped. In fact, I just published my second book! Being a writer has been such a great career for me because it’s afforded me the opportunity to still be at home with my children. I occasionally still teach creative writing to kids because I’m passionate about inspiring little Hemingways.

    As far as the topic here, it’s near and dear to my heart. I’ll never be one to hop on any diet trend for myriad reasons, and I agree with you that a healthy body image is so much more important than following a rigid set of eating “rules” or obsessing over the number on the scale. Here’s an old post I wrote about the problems with dieting: http://katewicker.com/2011/11/why-youll-never-find-me-on-a-diet/

    Keep writing! God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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