Be the tortoise, not the hare.

We all know the nursery rhyme of the hare and the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Then why is it every year when the new year comes around that so many unrealistic expectations are set?! We are literally setting ourselves up for failure which results in a lot of shame and guilt when we don’t reach our resolutions that we set.

Now, I know you may be wondering.. what kind of resolutions do I think would actually be helpful to set? I know it may be boring, while also being difficult, but making small changes over time is the most helpful. I thought it might be helpful to divide and conquer, one category at a time.


So, let’s start with finances. Now, I know you may be thinking I thought this blog was about wellness, not finances. But I believe in a wellness that encompasses your entire life, not just what you are eating. My husband Matt and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course at Southridge Church in October. Even though it was really hard to leave the church I grew up in, I am really thankful that God has lead us to this church. We have gotten involved through their FPU course and now the children’s ministry.

Although my husband was a huge Ramsey fan before, after we got married and started the course, we took action together as a team. What a journey it has been. We can now say that we are debt free! We have a long way to go to where we want to be in our finances, but I am happy to share with you what has been helpful to us!

  1. Take the course. Yes it does cost money which does seem counter-intuitive, but it is totally worth it!

  2. Realize that our money and our stuff is not ours anyway. People say “I’ve worked so hard to earn this.” and I get that, but God gave you that job and He has provided for you! Our money should be used for His glory. As Dave often says “Live like no one else, so that late you can live and give like no one else.” I am really excited for when we are in a financial state to truly give like no one else and be generous with what God has given us.

  3. Clean out your closets! Matt has always been such a minimalist. I admire that about him because I am not. However, now that I have cleaned out my closet, it’s helpful for me because I open my closet doors and actually want to wear the clothes that I have instead of looking at the thousand things and saying I have nothing to wear.

    Get on facebook yardsale/have a yardsale (When it is warm and nice weather)! You will raise some cash and also trust me that you will feel better when your closet is more organized. I am on my way to being a minimalist, one step at a time.

  4. Make a budget for your groceries each week. We now make a monthly budget for all of our expenses. However, that can be overwhelming when you do not know what you are doing. Starting small on things like groceries is helpful! Having a plan with a list in hand when you go to the grocery store is helpful. Instead, you end up buying a lot of things you do not need because you have no idea what the heck you are making for dinner the next week. Sure, trying new foods are fun and there should be room in there for fun and flexibility with food!

    We were sitting in FPU class at church one night when Dave said this quote during the DVD we were watching and it really stuck out to me. I thought about how this could apply to so many aspects of our lives.

In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the turtle didn’t rely on natural gifts or talents. He won because he committed himself to making steady progress over time. The rabbit was faster, but the turtle was diligent—and his diligence paid off! Dave Ramsey


I have already received questions about cutting out sugar and starting the Whole30. Neither of which I would recommend. These are such drastic changes, and not healthy physically or mentally! If you do not know what the Whole30 is then bless your soul. I want to live in the world you live in. JK. As a dietitian, it is part of my job to know about all the nutrition research and stay up to date on all of the diets. Whole30 is very restrictive- it takes grains (yes, even whole grains), legumes, and sugar out of the picture. Why do I not recommend this? It’s super restrictive! When you take something completely out of your diet, your body has a heightened sense of reward when you eat that food again leading you to eat a lot of that food! This creates a binge-restrict cycle which is so harmful. This can often lead to disordered eating or a full-blown eating disorder.

Do I think that there are good things about the whole 30? Yes, I do. I do think it gets you in the kitchen and cooking meals at home which is a wonderful thing. I do think it makes you more aware of ingredients in food which is a good thing, but food should NEVER promote fear and anxiety and I am afraid Whole30 and other diets often do this. I have worked in eating disorders for two years now, and I can’t tell you the number of times where someone was “just trying to be healthy,” and they end up with a very scary eating disorder.

If you want more information on the whole30 and more information on why I would not recommend it, check out this podcast.

So what would I recommend in regards to nutrition changes?

  1. Find a copy of the book Intuitive Eating and read it. It just might change your life and the way you look at nutrition forever.

  2. Add more fruits/veggies to your diet (Example: I am going to eat 2 vegetables a day).

  3. Eat breakfast! After being a dietitian for two years, I have met with enough people to know that a lot of people are not making breakfast a priority. They are if anything grabbing a piece of fruit and cup of coffee and calling that breakfast. A balanced breakfast should have carbohydrates, protein, and fruit/vegetable. Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts to make ahead of time and this is one of my favorite recipes.

  4. Have a plan for meals ahead of time when you go to the grocery store. I know this goes hand in hand with what I talked about before, but it is so helpful in saving money and getting a balanced meal! I understand that life is crazy and sometimes that does not happen. I love this post from Kylie from Immaeatthat. She talks about what to do when you don’t have a plan at the grocery store. I have used this before and found it super helpful!


Setting unrealistic expectations goes to movement/exercise as well. A lot of people who never exercise suddenly expect themselves to be able to go to the gym seven days a week. Talk about a total 360!

  1. Find something you enjoy! It does not have to be in a gym setting. Listen to your body and find what movement feels good to you. There is so much out there to try and some that is even free. I love yoga with Adriene on youtube. I also like going on walks when it’s nice outside and listening to podcasts. Both of those are free!

  2. Being intentional with your movement goals. Instead of making your movement goals about pounds you are losing X pounds (which I would never recommend in the first place), make your movement goals about getting stronger, feeling less stressed, being more flexible! It’s amazing how your outlook will be different about movement and exercise.

  3. Try something new! Group classes are wonderful. You’re not alone and the instructor is there to help you. Grab a friend and make it an exercise date! If you’re looking for a place to start and you’re in the Charleston area, I highly recommend IFITT24’s bootcamp and women on weights classes. Also, I heard that there is a pretty cool pilates teacher there as well (shameless plug- I am talking about myself). I also like the workout spaces on Bridge road- PilatesWV and Folded Leaf,. Yoga Power is good too!

  4. Set realistic goals when it comes to building strength. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. You aren’t going to be deadlifting 100 lb over night. In fact, last year I had IT band/knee issues, and it was on that journey, I had to take a break from exercise and go to physical therapy three months. I was bummed because while they pushed me a lot in physical therapy (yes, they had me do sled pushes!), I felt like I had lost a lot of strength. Over the last year, I have built up the strength to be deadlifting 100 lb which was such an awesome feeling! Remember that proper recovery leads to progress (IE eating enough to nourish your body with ALL food groups, getting adequate sleep, and resting!). I ended up being very thankful for that break in exercise because it allowed me to find out what I actually enjoy doing and what felt good to my body post-injury.

  5. Often times, I see my clients running themselves in the ground trying to do ALL the things. The owner of IFITT24 has taught me so much about this. Putting the quality of movement over the quantity of movement. If you’re going to a workout class half asleep, that’s probably not a good thing. Less is more!

Be kind to yourself as you set your goals this year and remember you are HUMAN.

And if you are looking for more of a personalized approach to nutrition and wellness, I am taking new clients for 2019, both in person in Charleston and virtually! For more information on that, check out the services page on my website.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and I wish you the best year yet! Happy New Year!!!!


Whitney Carney