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Be The Best You.

Hey everyone! Hope you all are enjoying your summer. I am sorry, yet again, that there has been an absence on the blog…and it is because I have been struggling to get my thoughts out on paper (or cyberspace)// Truthfully, I have been wanting to write about this for a while now– but wanted to make sure I got it right…I hope someone, somewhere, will resonate with this.

This summer has been full of changes. Change isn’t always easy. At the end of the semester, I watched three of my good friends walk across the stage and graduate college…something I probably should have done two years ago (lol) , but that’s beside the point. The fall will come and I will have my time. Anyway, I was super pumped for them, but also really emotional. I am naturally emotional, so it didn’t come as a big surprise to me when I started tearing up during their commencements– But, I think my emotion goes WAY beyond being proud of my friends.

All my life, I’ve had someone to depend on. Now, I am not saying this is a bad thing…but it does make life somewhat “easier” when there is someone around. Ever since I was in 7th/8th grade, I had someone around. All throughout high school, I had a “serious” boyfriend. In college, I met someone new right away and we dated for an extended period of time…Then I met someone else, and we also dated for an extended period of time…Meanwhile, I had the same tight knit group of friends… In fact, one of them even lived with me last summer…like actually in the same room. Someone was always always there… Do you see the trend? Don’t get me wrong, It’s AWESOME to have people there. Someone to go to target with late at night, someone to come lay with you while you cry, someone  to go to dinner with you on a whim or someone who will watch movies with you all day (and avoid responsibility).

But that all comes to an end. And once it ends, you are left with yourself. This sounds depressing, but at some point, the guy you thought you’d marry will dump you, the friends that were always there will graduate and move on with their lives, and you are just here, dealing with it all. Maybe it won’t happen quite like that, but in some form, one way or another, you will truly feel and be alone. 

If you’re there right now, I am here to tell you that it is OK.  You’ll make it. No, seriously, you really will. I have finally finally finally gotten to a place in my life where I can truly say I believe this. 100%. And as someone who has been through it, I can tell you it is even better than “OK.” Finding myself, loving myself, and supporting myself has been the greatest blessing. I take myself on long drives, I finish books I never got around to, I try a new workout class just for the hell of it, I spend hours cooking myself a good meal, because why the hell not?? When did life become all about “wishing you had someone to do (fill in the blank) with” ? Are you NOT enough as it is?? Newsflash, YOU are pretty awesome just the way you are and don’t ever forget it. You don’t need anyone to complete you, because you, yourself, are whole. You don’t need to pour all your love on someone who won’t love you back, because you deserve to be loved. You don’t need someone else to make you happy, because you can be your own happiness. You don’t need to chase after someone who sees you as a second option, because you should always be first. 

 This summer has been full of changes. I’ve done things for ME, not anyone else. And I have to say, it feels pretty great. I’ve rediscovered old hobbies, created new interests, and have worked toward a new chapter for myself…A new chapter where I put myself first, where I do things for me, where I let go of the past, and strive to be the best ME I can be.

Because I (and you) deserve it.

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xoxo

Kelsey

 

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Travel Eats & Other Things: Florida

Man oh man, where to even begin?! This had to be hands down the most hilariously chaotic trip I have ever taken, and I do mean that in the best way possible! But, a little background info first–> Once upon a time, Sarah and I decided we wanted to do one last trip together before she leaves me and goes back home to Egypt ( where she is now, and i miss her so much!! ) We both had expressed that we were really feeling a beach trip….but were at a loss of where to go! For some odd reason, we decided on Florida, which I have to admit is SUPER unlike me to agree to this considering i’m not Florida’s #1 fan (sorry not sorry) I guess i’ve always associated it with bad food and tourists ( which is kinda not far off ) However, after the week we spent there, It kinda grew on me ;)

The search to find a place to stay was near IMPOSSIBLE. I mean, we must have looked at 10 different cities trying to find a cheap place in a good area that would have what we needed..It became extremely frustrating until we came across the infamous boat (LOL) Although it was tiny and had the potential to be slightly sketchy (it kinda was), it fit the budget and was something different! So here Sarah and I are, thinking we are all spontaneous and shit staying on this boat. Keep in mind, we know next to nothing about boats but—let the adventure begin!

We begin the 13 hour drive (which ends up being more like 16 due to my small bladder, gas guzzling vehicle, and last but not least, Atlanta) We show up to this boat at like 11:30 pm….actually we show up at this “marina” that kinda looks more like a deserted parking lot that you’d get murdered at, but that’s beside the point. We search everywhere for this freaking boat (like i kid you not, 45 minutes) until we lay our eyes on it and just die a little inside. It is exactly as pictured but we never could have imagined how small it really was until we saw it in person… Regardless, we got on it and explored ( well, I explored, Sarah took about an hour to finally figure out how to get herself on the boat ) and what did we find, you might ask? ANTS! In our tiny bedroom space, there were ants on the pillows and in the sheets. And let’s get something straight here, I am not by any means a high maintenance person…BUT I really couldn’t muster the courage to be one with the ants and enjoy their company. At this point, we are just hysterical and slap happy, I had just drove 16 hours and then this happened… obviously, I needed a drink. Little did we know, we were literally in a ghost town with zero sign of civilization, granted it was a monday night at midnight, BUT STILL! We come across the only place that seems to be somewhat redeeming, The Daiquiri Shak (lolz) and yes, you can best believe I had my good share of ($2) daiquiris ( which we found out later was only a monday thing ;) We made friends with our waitress who wrote down a whole list of places to go for us and decided hey this might not be so bad after all ??

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Daiquiri Shak: 14995 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Needless to say, we were not sleeping in the ant bed…so where did we sleep you may ask? outside on the little benches on the boat. We are very lucky that the rain held off all night and morning so were able to get a few hours of sleep! It wasn’t ideal, but we definitely made the most of it and woke up to the most beautiful sunrise!!

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The Boat: Exact Location Unknown, Madeira Beach, FL

Naturally, Sarah and I were like boat illiterate when it came to operating the toilet, shower, or even attempting to find an outlet. That morning we drove to Starbucks and made it our home. We charged our phones, changed, brushed our teeth, and indulged in much needed caffeine after a restless few hours of uncomfortable “sleep”. I decided to call my mom because this was just a story worth sharing and thought she’d get a kick out of it. Instead, she wasn’t too thrilled about it after we mentioned the creepy crawlers and the fact that a GIANT storm was coming through… she and my dad insisted that we get a hotel (PS thanks dad for the hookup with the hilton points <3 ) That day we had a great time relaxing on the beach, under an overcast sky, without sunscreen.  ( PSA: don’t make my mistake, you STILL get VERY VERY VERY burnt under a cloudy sky, don’t underestimate the sun!!! ) That evening, we checked into our hotel which was PERFECT… would 10/10 recommend! Talk about upgrade!?? It had a deck patio thing with an ocean view! And for the record, I will never ever take a nice warm bed for granted every again! IMG_4262.JPG

Double Tree Beach Resort By Hilton: 17120 Gulf Blvd, North Redington Beach, FL 33708

The next day, we decided to try out one of the places that our waitress had recommended, Sweet Sage Cafe! And let me just say, and this is a BOLD statement coming from a breakfast connoisseur like myself, it was probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my 24 year of living…..Cutest little cafe with all the charm of a small town, super simple meals but cooked absolutely perfectly AND coming from someone who cooks for a living–someone definitely knows what they are doing in the kitchen!! (gluten free toast is always a plus too :)

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Sweet Sage Cafe: 16725 Gulf Blvd, North Redington Beach, FL 33708

The day of the bad weather we decided to go to one of the bigger cities near by, St Petersburg, and explore a little!  While we were there, we went to a museum, walked around, found a cider bar where we had vegan sushi which is literally just carrots and onions in seaweed, and got oysters for dinner (duh) AND it was Sarah’s first time!!  I am such an oyster fanatic. Later on, we made our way back to the Daiquiri Shak where we met a new friend who charmed us with his terrible pool skills and even worse air hockey  abilities ;)

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The Oyster Bar:  249 Central Ave St. Petersburg, FL 

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The Cider Press Cafe: 601 Central AveNorth St. Petersburg, FL

Our last day was the most beautiful day you could imagine! We spent the day laying out on the beach, swimming, walking around, AND can’t forget the frozen margaritas ( for me, of course)

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That night we spontaneously decided on a trip to Tampa, because like why not?? Because it was recommended to us, We decided on a place called Datz for dinner, which ended up being very tasty and neat. ( Don’t worry, I researched it on yelp before we decided on it// just foodie things ;) We had chicken and fish tacos and the most delicious truffle fries (still dreaming about them TBH) We found out later the restaurant had been featured on the travel channel for this bacon mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf thing, which of course neither Sarah and I could eat .. LAME. but here’s the link: http://www.travelchannel.com/videos/stuffed-meatloaf-at-datz-0189277

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Datz: 2616 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629

Annnnnnnnd, last but not least, DEFINITELY the best part about going to Tampa (lol), was the amazing SANGRITA, yes a sangria and margarita mix, can you believe it?! I can’t really put into words how great it was!

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Overall, it was definitely a one of a kind trip and I cannot wait to go back:)

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey

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Snack Attack: Element Rice Cakes

Long time no chat, blog!! Super excited to be back at it with a really exciting post. Recently, I was contacted by @elementsnacks to do a little promo about their products! Since I have already been a fan for quite some time now, I was like uhhh yes duh, send me all the rice cakes! (lol, but seriously though) As we may have gathered already from my posts, I am not one for “basic” or “bland” foods, which kinda gets me in trouble but also makes life much more exciting. I tend to lean towards rich complex flavors, which is quite alright with me ;)

I first discovered these rice/corn cakes when browsing a whole foods (classic me) I was actually on the hunt for a snack I could eat with my coffee, because like as much as I love coffee, I need something to eat while I drink it! I came across the dark chocolate covered rice cakes and was sold! I definitely tend to lean towards the salty/sweet combination.

Since then, Ive learned that they have several other amazing flavors! Such as: milk chocolate, strawberries and cream, vanilla orange, sweet mint, and of course dark chocolate ;) AND they also offer the dark chocolate and mint in corn cakes! Not to mention, they are certified gluten free, Non GMO, only 80 calories each, and all that good stuff haha

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Dark Chocolate Rice Cakes: 10/10 would recommend, I am 100% a dark chocolate girl…pair these with a cup of coffee or an after dinner snack and you are good to go!

 

Milk Chocolate Rice Cakes: 9.5/10 would recommend, these are almost as good as the dark chocolate ones just a touch too sweet! These would definitely be best as a dessert or with some PB on top :)

 

Strawberries and Cream Rice Cakes: 8/10 would recommend, if you’ve ever had a strawberries and cream frappuccino, then you know exactly what these taste like! A little on the sweeter side, but definitely a change of pace if you aren’t feeling chocolate.

 

Vanilla Orange Rice Cakes: 8/10 would recommend, I was honestly a little apprehensive to try these due to me not really liking orange flavoring, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! These are rich but also refreshing!

 

Sweet Mint Corn Cakes: 7/10 would recommend, Although still good, I have to say these were the weakest link for me, just too sweet! But add a little chocolate with the mint and you are golden!

 

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Go find them at Whole Foods, you won’t regret it!

Until next time,

xoxo

 

Kelsey

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Life Update: Culinary, Dietetics and Work, Oh my!

Hey y’all!

Life has been overwhelming lately.

As you may already know, I started culinary school last march (part time). I have completed basic skills 1, basic skills 2, baking 1&2, and now I’m currently in garde manger, which is french for “keeper of the food”. This class is more geared towards appetizers and small plates. I’m pretty pumped for it because I like to be creative with my food and style it so it looks pretty (lol) Overall, culinary school has been a good time– I’ve met plenty of interesting people with very bold personalities (lol x2) A select few of us have been together since the very beginning! So far I’ve for sure learned that cooking is my niche, you could say. Baking was great and all–and it was super cool to learn how to do things gluten free–so us people with allergies can actually live a little!! However, cooking is just way more me. I love savory, being creative, and most importantly, not measuring every single thing I put into a pot…(precision is the worst) more to come on that as the semester progresses!

In addition to all that culinary jazz, my main squeeze is my Dietetics degree in the making at University of Kentucky. It still amazes me so much that I am actually here in Kentucky and studying nutrition, of all things. If you knew me in high school, you’d be shocked too! For the most part, I have really enjoyed it. It has been one of the biggest challenges in my life though, I’ll tell ya that. It has not come without failure. I think it’s safe to say math and science are not my forte. BUT the thing is, they are important and most interesting to me…well, science is ;) math can just disappear and I’d be cool with that. It has been a long time coming accepting the fact that I need to actually learn math and not brush it under the rug because unfortunately, you’re going to use it and you gotta know the basics. When I first came here, I nearly failed basic math ( oh wait, I did ) that was a turning point for me. I was freaking 20 years old and couldn’t do basic algebra. The next time around I ended up getting an A in the class, just by sticking with it.  A year or two late—it was time for the dreaded organic chemistry….this was a class I was dreading from the moment I saw the required classes for the degree. I nearly almost didn’t do it because of this one stupid class. And here I went, making a dumb decision again to take it in the summer…..and as you can imagine, that didn’t work out either. I don’t think I realized just how hard this degree was going to be…and my usual method of being able to coast through classes and not give 100%, wasn’t going to cut it. I couldn’t get away with it. I don’t want y’all to think I’m like this lazy person who doesn’t care or try–It just all goes back to perfection issues and giving up before I can even see what I’m capable of ( OH, and some slight ADHD ;) ) But hey, here I am, ready to graduate in December and I’m beyond pumped for that day to come!

Last but not least, on top of my two schools, I picked up a new job. It was really really difficult leaving Petsmart. The people, the comfortability, the dogs—there were bad times believe me, but overall it was good and the cute huskies made it all worth it. As much as I felt at home at my other job, I know my new job is where I’m supposed to be. Being able to cook for others, add my own special touches, be around people who have the same passion for food is truly awesome!!

How do I manage it all, you may wanna know? As best as I can. One thing at a time. Yesterday, my roomie Sarah and I just decided to get in the car and drive, with not really any particular destination in mind and just see where we end up. It was a windows down/ blast some music kinda day–the sun was setting as we drove through miles and miles of horse farms. This is for sure one of my favorite things to do to get my mind off of things and bring myself back to reality and enjoy the little things in life. We stopped on the side of the road and pet some horses that came right up to us, sure enough after a while we had basically the whole stable greeting us! I tried to feed one of them a banana in my car ( but he politely rejected it lol) I don’t think horses actually like bananas but hey, gotta have that potassium for those joints! ;) It was just the most perfect afternoon reflecting on life and enjoying beautiful Kentucky!!

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Between all three of these responsibilities + trying to keep up with my blog & instagram + finding a place to live + having somewhat of a social life so I don’t go insane– it has been overwhelming for sure! But I am nearing the finish line, so gotta keeeeeep looking up!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend + my little ramble about my life (haha)

Until next time,

xoxo

Kelsey

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Dark Chocolate Almond Tart w/ Fresh Raspberries (PALEO)

How many of y’all prefer a savory meal over sweet?? That is 100% me. However, when I get that rare sweet craving, I definitely take full advantage of it. As most of you know, I am in culinary school and I just finished up my semester in baking. Baking has always been a huge struggle for me and I was honestly terrified to take that class. I’m the type that just throws things together, typically without recipe, and alters the taste as needed. Some may say creative, some may say chaos (lol) i like to think I’m creative! However, in baking, that kind of method does NOT fly…which I learned repeatedly over and over after messing up countless cakes, scones, and pies (sorry Chef) BUT it ended up being a ton of fun and I learned a whole lot. Back towards the beginning of class, we made these adorable tarts—-> (see below)

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They were seriously so easy to make and I had a blast doing it and making them look all aesthetically pleasing (gotta do it for the gram, am i right?! ;)) So i had the idea to recreate and do my own thing—but this time: CHOCOLATE idk about y’all but I’m a chocolate girl through and through, get out of here with your key lime pie and lemon bars// if i’m going to have a dessert, it is going to be a rich and dark chocolatey goodness!! ALSO side note: If you haven’t tried almond milk, YOU NEED TO. I have been a skeptic about it for the longest time. not for really any particular reason ( I’m just weird about things lol) My go to coffee drink is just an iced black coffee (I know, I’m boring) I hate the taste of artificial sugar and really just overly sweet things in general…BUT one day at Starbs, I decided to just go for a little added almond milk to spice things up. It was truly a game changer, I don’t think I can order it without the almond milk now. The coffee combined with the almond taste is just a combo made in heaven!

So yes, that was the backstory on how the dark chocolate almond tarts were created!

On with the recipe… I apologize if these are not 100% accurate, as I said above, I’m not exactly a recipe kind of person ***

Dark Chocolate Almond Tarts 

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Filling: 

1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

**generous spoonful (or two) of almond butter

1-2 Tbs coconut oil (melted with the chocolate chips)

Crust: 

1 cup Pamela’s Products nut flour blend

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

**dash of some kind of natural sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup)

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Directions—>

  1. Make the crust—combine the cup of nut flour with the melted coconut oil and sweetener and mix together in  a bowl—- ( I used a muffin pan to make mini individual tarts— but you can certainly use a bigger dish or whatever you can find) Form them to the bottom of each. ***Do NOT forget to coat the individual tins with some kind of oil, so when you take them out they don’t stick to the pan***
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the chocolate chips, coconut oil (melted), almond milk and almond butter till it is a uniform mixture
  3. Pour the filing into each crusted muffin tin
  4. Add toppings (I used raspberries)
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour
  6. ENJOY! They are honestly so good!

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xoxo

Kelsey

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A Foodie’s Guide To Yelp

My name is Kelsey Bauer and I am a self diagnosed foodie. Actually i’m quite certain if there was actually a foodie committee, I would be on the top of the list. Maybe that sounds pretentious or snooty but foodie to me means someone who appreciates good food and takes it seriously. The great thing about food (besides everything) is that it doesn’t have to be overly elaborate, outrageously priced, or contain obscure ingredients to be delicious. You just gotta know what you’re doing. Which, PSA to many well known chains–> heating up things in the microwave isn’t cooking. (sorry, not sorry)

I’m sure, unless you live under a rock, you all know what Yelp is. I like to also self diagnose myself as a yelp connoisseur ( my family would back me up on this ) However, as a foodie, you have to be very careful with yelp. While yelp does help you find a lot of good places, it can also lead you to a lot of bad ones too. So, I’m here to tell you how to do it right!

 

1) Use the filters

So yelp has these handy dandy things at the top of the screen that help you narrow your search. Kinda like how you can do an advanced search on Facebook to properly stalk someone (y’all, i know I’m not the only one lolz)  Things like price point, pickup, delivery, hours, different types of food etc… can all be selected to help ya out!

 

2) Just because it’s #1 on the page–doesn’t mean it is ACTUALLY the #1 restaurant

This one took me a while to figure out. Imagine you go search for a restaurant on yelp in whatever city you’re in and you get a list starting with #1 to a couple hundred…Don’t automatically assume that the #1 that shows up is actually the best or even good for that matter. Yelp likes to base everything off of location…. (not always, but most of the time) so it is quite likely that the places that come up in your top 10 are the closest restaurants to you, not the best.

 

3) The pictures and menu are the most telling about the food–NOT the people

the people on yelp are definitely a mixed bag. you got people who enjoy the finer things in life and those who would say McDonalds is a 5 star establishment. Needless to say, when picking a restaurant to eat at–it’s best you don’t base your decision off of peoples individual reviews! However—you CAN tell a lot by the style of the restaurant, the menu, and the different pics of food! Look through those first and notice the attention to detail, food plating and local ingredients to more accurately determine what a restaurant is all about!

 

4) Always get a second opinion && use your resources 

While yelp is great—there are plenty other food review sites just to cover all your bases! Ex: Zomato (Urbanspoon) , TripAdvisor, and Zagat…just to name a few! Double check that these places are pretty consistently rating the same restaurant accordingly. And last but not least, always use your resources. When you’re in town—ask around and learn from the locals!

 

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Hope this helps your future travels!

xoxo

Kelsey

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WHOLE 30: Reflections

Hey guys! It has now been a few weeks out from the whole 30 experience and I’ve had plenty of time to really reflect on the past month and all the new things I’ve learned, changes I’ve made, and goals I’ve set. With that being said, I want to put a disclaimer here because It might get a bit cheesy and if you’re not feeling that, I’m giving you a free pass to ditch out of my post now….but I hope you don’t because I’ve got a lot to say! :)

I want to start off by saying YOU are STRONGER than you think. For me personally, I’m the kind of person that doesn’t want to try things because I either feel like I’m not good enough, or I can’t do it, or I won’t reach the outcome I want. So because of this, I often don’t try my best or get discouraged when something doesn’t go to plan, or don’t even try at all. I used to hate that part of myself and it seemed no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix that about myself. Before we started whole 30, I had a billion doubts and because of this internal problem–I didn’t even want to try… because what If I couldn’t make it work perfectly for 30 days? What if I cheat and have cheese one day? or what If I don’t reach my end goal? In order for me to agree to begin this change in my life, I had to fully commit to this and recognize that while life may get in the way, you just have to keep on going. And you best believe, I had off days. I had chocolate, sugar, and peanut butter all in one day. I had a hard time not quitting it all completely  that day because I felt as though I had failed and I wouldn’t be able to come back from that. I was wrong. I got back at it and followed the rules successfully according to plan. I even developed the discipline to wake myself up every morning at the crack of dawn to get a workout in before I started my day..and now to this day, have been going/doing something active every single day since December 13th. It has been a long time coming, but I can honestly say it has now turned into a lifestyle change and not a chore. I guess what I am trying to say through this is that—you CAN do it. Your body and mind will surprise you. You have the discipline to change whatever bad circumstance you’re going through and turn your life around if you truly want to. Don’t make excuses and just do it. Once I stopped letting my mind control my body, talking myself out of things, and making really poor excuses as to why I couldn’t follow through for 30 days or why going to the gym would be a bad idea—it all changed for me. I became determined and had a newfound discipline that carried me through to a successful completion.

It will be HARD WORK. I am not trying to sugar coat this experience by saying that it was so easy and effortless after I changed my mindset and that’s the key to success blah blah blah because that is not true. Yes, it is extremely necessary and important but you have to also have the passion, direction, and clear purpose as to why you are doing this in order to keep going. If not, you’ll fall flat, decide to quit and find something better to do. For me, I came to a point in my life where I didn’t want to just “coast through” anymore. I wanted to enjoy the present moment, all the little things, and have clear direction in my life. Doing this whole 30, as insignificant and “crazy” as it may seem to others, did that for me and I would do it a million times over again (currently on my next 30 days right now ;)

The last but certainly not least important lesson I learned is this: CHANGE DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. As my dad put it, I didn’t gain all of the excess weight in thirty days so how can I expect it to all melt off me in just thirty days?? Change takes time. Which, if you’re trying to lose weight, can be hard to wrap your head around and can be really really really frustrating (believe me, I know). When I stepped on the scale after my thirty days, the number scared me.  It was hard to believe I wasn’t at my end goal. It was hard to accept that while I could see a physical change in my body, the number didn’t match my progress. Instead of giving up all together, don’t forget to celebrate all the LITTLE victories and even the tiniest bits of progress because soon enough there will be BIG progress.

I know that is a lot ^^^ but this experience has made me change my perspective and think completely different about things–which I do think is crucial to the success of this and any other lifestyle change. I also know that this is going to come off super dramatic, and for that I apologize (lol) but I hope you can take something from it and that it helps in some kind of way!! :)

Keep up the good work!!

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey