Courtney K.

This week I’m excited to announce our second runner up in Whole30 the nutrition challenge, Courtney K!

Courtney joined The Foundry six months ago, looking to improve her fitness.  As a third year law school student, time was limited and she wanted to maximize her gym time.  Since then, she’s made impressive gains in strength, power, and endurance.

When the Whole30 nutrition challenge was announced, Courtney was one of the first to commit herself to the program.  At first it was difficult to say no to many foods, but in a short time she realized the power of focusing on what she WAS eating for health and well-being rather what she WASN’T eating.

Courtney’s reflective essay is posted below.  Please join us in congratulating her.


The Amazing Power of “I Don’t”

The first time I sat down next to my friends with a home cooked meal in hand, they knew something was wrong. I had never come to lunch with anything other than a pre-packaged microwaveable meal before. “What is that?” one asked, brow furrowed, pointing to my home-made (and quite tasty) eggplant and tomato casserole. Perfect. My first day on the Whole30 program and I was already on the defensive. I mentally prepared myself for questions, disbelief and suspicion, and explained the Whole30 to the table. They asked me the familiar round of questions: “Wait, isn’t that the caveman diet?” “You can’t eat sugar?” “You can’t eat grains?” “You can’t drink alcohol?” “You can’t have dairy?” “You can’t eat soy?” “And you can’t eat beans?” “And you can’t have anything processed?”

“Won’t you starve?”

The first few days of the program seemed to drag on and on and on. I can’t eat sugar, I told myself as I passed by donuts someone brought for the office. I can’t eat grains, I told myself as I walked by my old favorite sandwich shop. I can’t drink alcohol, I told myself when friends asked if I wanted to split a bottle of wine. I can’t eat dairy or soy, beans or anything processed. I can’t, I told myself over and over and over again.

But as the program progressed, I started to notice positive changes in my life and in my body. I felt wonderful, better than I had in years. I felt energized. And then true power of the Whole30 program struck me. It is not that I can’t eat sugar, grains, dairy, soy, beans and processed foods. It is that I don’t eat them. I choose not to. My health demands that I cut these foods from my diet completely. I don’t eat sugar. I don’t eat grains. I don’t eat dairy. I eat what makes me feel healthy.

This difference in outlook, “I don’t” over “I can’t,” may seem subtle, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “I can’t” was nothing but a restriction and an imposition. That frame of mind undermined my sense of power and personal agency. “I don’t” gave me a choice. It empowered me to make the positive changes I knew I needed and wanted to make in my own life. And that is the true power of the Whole30. It teaches us to say no to the foods that make us feel bad, and yes to the foods that make our bodies healthy.

My first few “I don’ts” turned into real results. I can honestly say I have never been this committed to a lifestyle change this long that has made me feel this healthy. Now, I don’t take my health for granted. I don’t put other commitments before my health and well-being. And, most importantly, I don’t give up.