Do Something Different This Year


Today is the first day of 2016; and nearly every person will come up with a “resolution” – of which a supposed 8% will keep. Instead of thinking of this as the day of the year where you identify your failures and resolve to “fix” them, I propose an alternative. I propose doing something different.

Paleo isnt Weight Watchers on PaleoParents

For those who are just finding their way to Paleo through a challenge that kicks off at the start of January, WELCOME. This community is amazing and we’re here to help you, encourage you, and guide you to finding your best self. Beginning a journey with an elimination diet can be beneficial for a lot of people, but keep in mind that others find success with more of an eased in transition (which we address below). Either way, keep an open mind and prepare to fall in love with the flavors of nature at the end of a mental battle and tantrum about the loss of your favorite processed food.

For those of you who have already found Paleo and considering a new years’ challenge, I have some news. Paleo isn’t a diet. It’s not a short-term roller-coaster you hop on and off of. It’s a lifestyle that focuses on nutritional and lifestyle factors that reduces inflammation and aims to improve your health.

You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

This New Year’s maybe make a resolution to love yourself enough to respect your body to make the choices that make you feel your best, and forgive yourself imperfection – instead of treating Paleo like a diet. It’s NOT Weight Watchers or a juice fast.

Paleo isn’t Weight Watchers

While perhaps this analogy is spawned by my visceral reaction to the Oprah commercials, the point is true regardless. When asked what I wanted for New Year’s my answer was, “I just don’t want to see a bajillion people treating it like a yo-yo diet come the first week of January.”

Paleo is not Weight Watchers on PaleoParents

Here’s the thing. I’ve grown up with disordered eating. As a child I was so obese I went to “fat camp” two summers in a row. The year between those summers I became bulemic and didn’t get treatment and help until years later. Even then I stopped purging, but still emotionally binged. Part of the healing process these last few years has been about being honest with myself, with how food choices make me feel, and how my brain reacts to what I do to my body – and visa versa. What I’ve learned is that disordered eating affects many more people than are aware or willing to admit it.

So, my proposal to you – how about doing something different this year? How about a commitment to love yourself. To respect yourself. To forgive yourself. To only have inner monologue of things you would say to someone else’s face. Treat yourself the way you want to treat others.  I’m resolved to be kind to myself, to respect myself enough to make the healthiest choices possible, and forgive myself when my plans change or I make a different choice. Because without forgiveness, that guilt and shames drives me to emotionally destructive behaviors – and since stress is the worst thing for your health, that’s just not productive.

Here’s what our family has “resolved” to do in 2016:

  • Matt aims to have a date night once a week, in or out of the house. We’ll need to put away work and focus on time together; every week. Well, his goal was 50 times this year, which allows us some minimal margin of error ♥
  • Stacy plans to focus on sharing knowledge specific to her professional career, likely starting a blog, seeking out speaking opportunities, and obtaining certifications – since it’s a skill she has from doing that with paleo!
  • Cole wants to go 3-for-3 in a wrestling tournament.
  • Finian wants to “put his love into food and bring it to the elderly people at retirement homes.” [which he came up with entirely on his own and I nearly exploded with love and pride when he shared it]
  • Wesley plans to learn to read and make money. He’s not sure how to go about that last goal, yet.

NYE 2016 on PaleoParents

You’ll notice our goals aren’t aesthetic or monetary (except our 5 year old). We’ve all set tangible, goal-oriented, realistic goals. They’re goals that fulfill us, make us feel good about ourselves, and in a number of cases even help other people. In turn, that positivity reflects itself on our lives, we feel better about who we are, which helps us to make the best choice for our happiness and health.

What can you do?

For those of you who are at a place in your journey where losing weight is necessity for your health, I want you to remember two things:

  1. You can still love yourself as you are, even if you want to improve.
  2. Focusing on making the best choices for your health will result in improved health, likely weight loss; whereas, focusing on weight loss will not necessarily improve your health.

If you want to know how to embark upon a paleo lifestyle whereby the healthiest choices are a part of your life without ruling your life, a reminder that we did write a book on exactly that. While Real Life Paleo is known for it’s award-winning recipes; it’s also the first paleo book to NOT advocate jumping into a timed paleo challenge.

Why we don’t do Paleo challenges anymore.

Because my inbox is full of messages from people asking for help and telling me how difficult transitioning off of a challenge is. It’s plagued by people who find themselves in an endless cycle of strict paleo followed by marathon binges at the pizza buffet. Falling face first into a dessert platter isn’t going to help your health, but stressing about it for weeks, emotionally eating out of shame from the so-called failure, and then starting the cycle all over again isn’t beneficial either. Those foods are emotionally and physically addictive, people need different kinds of support to break that addiction.

The good news is, there are alternatives to the all or nothing approach:

First, read this post on disordered eating and paleo challenges.

Then, read this post on the importance of self respect and self love.

Lastly, check out Real Life Paleo. Your local library likely carries it – I’m genuinely not asking for your money. Of course, it’s also available as an e-book, it’s at Barnes & Noble, it’s on Amazon. The reason I suggest this book is because it does NOT advocate a one-size-fits-all solution to paleo. Rather, it outlines a phased approach for you to take at your own pace that highlights the foods to eliminate in order for you to feel your best. Even if you’ve been paleo for years, it covers the super-foods that promote healing when you’re ready to take that on.

Most importantly, find something that works for you.

Paleo is often portrayed by the nutritional experts negatively because it’s too difficult, unsustainable, and overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! Have patience for yourself. Come up with a REASONABLE, ACHIEVABLE plan. Then tackle it a day at a time, week by week, month by month. Set realistic goals.

You won’t go from eating McDonald’s today to organic grass-fed liver meatballs tomorrow. There’s no scoring system to Paleo. Be proud of every step you take and forgive yourself the imperfections along the way. Moving in the general direction of health is better than when you were on the same path in the opposite direction.

Yes, a Giveaway.

To help you achieve this goal (and spread the word we sincerely wish we could have everyone hear) we’re giving away a copy of the book we wrote to help achieve this goal on all media platforms (so feel free to also enter on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter). But please keep in mind – while we strongly believe, since we gave a year of our life to writing this book (Real Life Paleo), that it will help you achieve health – we do NOT think you NEED it to succeed. All you need is your own plan, and the self love and confidence to execute it. That’s all we had when we started, and we’re so glad we did! We didn’t get here overnight, but then again we didn’t derail our health in one day either.

RLP New Years Giveaway on PaleoParents

How to Enter

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF REAL LIFE PALEO BY COMMENTING ON THIS POST.  That’s it. Any comment you want, just let us know you’re interested in winning.
Please make sure you include a way for us to contact you, otherwise we’ll have to pick a new winner because we have not yet mastered time and space or mind reading. Giveaway closes one week from today.

I talk a lot about this topic, answering many readers’ questions in today’s episode of The Paleo View, episode 176 – if you’re looking for more on the topic. In the meantime, Happy New Year and good luck for 2016 ♥ While my mom traditionally told me that black eye peas were good luck, we’ve started a new tradition of green things and broth to ensure the year kicks off in the right direction!

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  • Kayla

    I would love to win a copy of Real Life Paleo! Your family’s new years resolutions are precious.

    Great post – happy 2016!

  • Anna Atkinson

    Beyond excited to start the paleo diet. I have been suffering from chronic migraines for over 8 years and I do not want to continue putting pills and drugs into my body. That’s when I decided to find an alternative way to help my body and paleo is my answer. I look forward to FEEL the change and let my body start healing itself. This is the answer I’ve been searching for and am ready to begin this lifestyle!!
    Anna Atkinson

  • Elizabeth Lamontagne

    Have been paleo for a few years but always looking for new resources to keep things fresh!

  • Nikole T

    Winning your book would be a great way to start off the year and improve on our family’s clean eating lifestyle.

  • Marcella Hammond

    I’ve been trying to eat mostly paleo for the past few years, but am looking for ways to to my family eating this way more consistently.

  • Janis Andrews Babcock

    Everything you say makes sense. I am going to start today. Thank you

  • Darci

    I am very interested to read and learn what you have written!

  • Kathleen Moll Arnold

    It saddens me that Oprah, trying once again to ‘lose weight’, has partnered with WW. Lifestyle change, NOT diet! She needs to be healthy, not necessarily thinner even though that usually follows. If I win, I would really like the book, but I would also like Oprah to have a copy too.

  • Kelly Hill Kellum

    Interested! Thanks for the opportunity to grow in this new lifestyle!!

  • Wendy

    Stacy, you are a gem. I admire and appreciate your thoughtfulness, realism, caring, and common sense. I’ve been following you on the podcast for a year now, with the goal of improving my own health. It’s time now to help my kids choose healthier food too. Thanks for sharing your wit and wisdom. I look forward to reading Real Life Paleo to help me share the love with my family.

  • Deanna Rowe

    i’d love to win the book! i’m trying to change my way of eating to help my newly diagnosed IBS, which has been plaguing me for the better part of a year

  • Crista Covey

    I need to learn to love and forgive myself. I am wonderful just as I am and I need to accept that. In loving and accepting myself I need to nourish myself and treat myself better. I’m worth it.

  • Ashlee Gealy

    I am looking forward to transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle with my family, and really learning to love myself through the process. I would love to have more resources to help me start this journey of bettering my family.

  • Cheryl Fee

    Discovered Paleo View a few weeks back. You & Sarah are terrific to listen to. I’m drinking the proverbial (dye-free) KoolAid. Strong Women Radio is next. I dig your story too, as someone who has lost 123lbs and manages to keep it off for ten years I need you in my head. Thanks for what you are putting out there.

  • Sarah Rogers

    I’m looking forward to getting back on Paleo this year–my body misses it! I think your book would definitely help in that!

  • beth grushkin

    Hi ! I have all of your other books, so why not this one? We are not Paleo but I love your books for ideas on how to get more meat and protein into my boys mouths!!

  • Amy R Stanislawski

    I really want to help my family live healthier. I’d love to win a copy of your book! 1squishypickle at gmail.com

  • Karen

    I’d love this book. I’ve been mostly paleo but I drifted…..ha. Need to get back to it but first I have some sauerkraut cupcakes that have to be finished frosted and delivered (and at least one eaten) cuz I had my pork already (pork and sauerkraut for new years). I did make a paleo ish cake and added sauerkraut to it. The frosting isn’t TOO bad. Dark chocolate, full fat coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. But I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be wanting cleaner food and then by Monday I’ll be craving carbs again because I’ve been allowing some. Sigh. Wish there was a way to avoid withdrawals.

  • Sky Renfro

    I have been following you and your family for years. I have all the books you have written. Now, finally putting all you know into some sane “advice” with everyday reality as the focus, I just adore you all even more!! Abundance in 2016 to you all

  • Julie George

    Thank you for your honest approach. Food addiction is my worst enemy especially at the holidays. Seems like even though I know better, I always reach for the comfort foods. I try my best to make or get GF/DF, however still a big issue. When I fall off the GF/DF wagon all havoc sets in on the body.

    I love your family’s resolutions, good stuff!

    Drjuliegeorge at gmail

  • Sarah R Lavigne

    I love your blog and find lots of inspiration! Thanks and happy new year!

  • Kirsta Scranton

    I am starting the elimination diet to help figure out some food allergies and thyroid issues. This book would be a great help in getting me started down the paleo path.

  • Jennifer

    Love paleo! Need more tasty recipes!

  • Heidi Jo

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  • Sara

    Thank you for your inspirational words!

  • Joannabanana1989 .

    love your blog and hope to win this!!!

  • Lisa Delio- Esse

    Stacy, I have been following you for a coup,e of years and I’m always impressed!

  • rachel bunting

    you are inspiring! Would love to have this book!

  • sabrina

    The Paleo kids of Paleo Parents are blessed!!!! Would love a copy of this book! Happy 2016!!!

  • chrissy c

    This is an awesome giveaway! I would love to win this book!

  • Matt

    Sweet! We love giveaways 😉

  • Janet Lobdell

    love your blog & would love to win this book

  • McDee

    This book sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for, a “roadmap” to transitioning to
    paleo in manageable increments.

  • Magda

    You guys are so inspiring. I have learned so much from you, Matt, your boys, your awesome podcast with Sarah… I was going to do a “liver cleanse” diet for a week but upon further examination decided it was not for me (only fruit with flaxseed for breakfast?? a vegan day with almost no protein?? – that’s a setup to fail). I am going to focus on making better choices instead and further cleaning up the diet of my 2 boys. Thank you for all you do. BTW you look awesome!

  • Stephanie KL

    This blog post is a common sense approach to changing the way you eat. I love your honesty. Real Life Paleo would be a welcomed addition to Beyond Bacon. confuseruser@gmail.com

  • Barbara

    Sounds like a book I need…! bmlogan905 at gmail dot com

  • Sandy Keehn Gorman

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I’ve been switching over to a paleo way of eating and have been thinking about the health of my children and family too. This book would be a great resource. Thanks. Sandykgorman@aol.com

  • Barrie

    I’m closer to 50 and not at all where I want to be. I want to be healthy and more toned in the next 1.5 years so I can enjoy my “over the hill” years! kymom13 at gmail dot com

  • Lynn

    I love your approach and emphasis on finding what works for you, rather than being shackled by rules.

  • Kristen

    I’ve joined weight watchers an uncountable number of times and I just joined again and immediately regretted it. Ugh! I want to feel well and love and appreciate my body. I’ve tried going paleo cold turkey and I just can’t do it. I always cheat. Thank you for your website!
    kjangle at hotmail.com

  • Lisa P

    I’d love to win this book!!

  • Carol Pomeroy

    I’ve got Eat Like a Dinosaur and would love to win this book. I enjoy your newsletter very much.

  • David Rathbone

    Paleo is definitely working for me. But my better half is still struggling making the full commitment. I’m sure winning a copy would help!

  • Tammi

    Hi Stacy, I enjoy looking at the recipe’s in your newsletter & I especially like that your whole family is eating Paleo. P.S.Your boys are adorable!

  • Maria M

    This would definitely be a kick-ass way to start off 2016!!

  • Amy Solis

    Would love to have a chance to win your book. I have been wanting to go paleo for a long while now. My problem is that I have the all or nothing attitude. I am glad that you gave a reminder that baby steps are better than nothing….and this isn’t something that fits into a 30 day challenge. Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂 ~Amy

  • Rachel Studley

    I’m obsessed with this book…I actually already own all of your books…but I would like to win this book for my friend and co-worker, Willie Mae. In the last two years she has lost two sisters and her mom to heart disease and diabetes. She just turned 60 and also suffers from these ailments. She has started working out and eating better and I think she could greatly benefit from your wisdom and these recipes. I’ve already sent her to your website for a few recipes…the one she reported back on was making her own sausage. So far, so good. Thank you!
    Rachel (rstudley@rpcn.org)

  • Sara B. Crowley

    I have been really excited about your latest book because I have a really hectic work schedule and i want to start a family in 2016 so… I need to veteran more realistic about success with my Paleo lifestyle. Happy New Year to you and yours!
    Sara C (bennett.sara@gmail.com)

  • Olivia

    I love this post. I’m taking this year to focus on being true to myself and who I am, instead of trying to be something I’m not. Thank you for all you guys do in the community!

  • Lisa M

    I’m very interested in winning!! What an excellent companion to be by your side for 2016 to help you towards healthier eating.

  • Sara

    Winning this giveaway would be a fabulous way to start the year!!!!

  • Janette Bennett

    I would love to win the book!

  • Carla

    I love this outlook, and it is one that we can apply in all parts of life: focus on the goals and not the rules! Thanks for the wise reminder, it’s one I needed to hear.

    Would also love the book. Thanks

  • Linda Franks

    I usually eat a Low carb diet, but Paleo, as I understand it, is similar in many ways. I would love to win a copy and compare the differences in eating style.

  • Londa Goraczkowski

    We’ve been eating Paleo for a few years now. Its amazing how food can effect your body! Would love to have some new recipes!

  • Dona Oxley

    I have been trying to teach myself how to eat Paleo for almost two years now,and while I know I feel better when I eat that way and my body heals I still fall into the traps that are out there and I still feel a little lost.I would love to win any resource that can help me transition completely and not feel like I need to go back or just one time with friends or family of the old eating is okay.Cause its not and my body tells me so.People like me that are new to this lifestyle are so Blessed to have people like you!Hope your 2016 is so very Blessed!Thank you !

  • Liz Coffey-Pratt

    This book is in my amazon cart and I would love to win it!

  • I love this and identify with it. I have been abou 75% successful with making paleo a lifestyle but that other 25% hurts me and my health. I am taking your challenge for 2016 to make it 100% my lifestyle because that’s when I feel my best.

  • pkumbrello

    We are trying to get started for the second time. Last new year, we (some grudgingly and with much complaining) did a whole 30. We did have a bit of trouble transitioning, as everyone dI’d not look at it as a lifestyle change for health, but something I forced on them to make it easier for myself. And believe me, we all need it. My daughter definitely finds she feels better off gluten/grains, but finds it so difficult because bread makes everything easier. My son seems to have been having digestive problems, possibly related to commercial dairy (specifically icecream) otherwise, we use raw milk and grass-fed butter. And sweet hubs just can’t say no to himself or impose limits…. and when there is ice cream in the house, who can say no? We do clearly need help making a habit of making better choices. Thanks for the great giveaway! Happy New Year!

  • Hana

    Would love this book to help me get started with the new year!

  • Laurel

    So many people have asked me about starting Paleo eating since we began in June 2015. Reading your book would give me lots of wisdom in helping friends & family, not to mention myself 🙂

  • Melyssa

    Such an excellent topic! I love your take on this and it is so encouraging to read. Kind of makes you take a deep breath and go Yes, Yes I can do this. Thank you!

  • Katherine Valenzuela Parsons

    I would love this book and use it! We love and use your other books but this one is missing from the collection 🙂

  • Nadia

    Great post! It’s important to love yourself no matter what. I’d love to read this book. Love your podcast. And I love how real you are. Thank you for your vulnerability. It’s much appreciated!

  • Nadia

    Great post! It’s important to love yourself no matter what. I’d love to read this book. Love your podcast. And I love how real you are. Thank you for your vulnerability. It refreshing!

  • Ashley Corthell

    Love this post and the inspiring message to love yourself enough to stay healthy!

  • Maggi

    Would love to read your book and then pass it on to my family!

  • Wendy Priester

    Thank you! This is just what I needed to hear today.

  • Christina Blomberg

    Thank you for sharing your selfs and what you have learned. I would love to have your book as a resource for my family. Happy New Year!

  • Jen

    Of course I would love to win!

  • Andrea Pincus

    I would love to win your book!

  • Ann

    Thank you for the positive perspective on weight loss. So many times we are to busy criticizing ourselves about how we have not been able to stick to a plan. I am going to try the Paleo lifestyle this year. I may not be perfect, but I will start small and see hownit goes. Happy 2016!!

  • Leanne

    Crossing my fingers….. We would love to win your book!!

  • Shannon Grande Contrastano

    would love to check this book out!

  • I love Paleo, but I do struggle with yo-yoing still. I’d love to try to make it work even when life has been at it’s most stressful! (4 family deaths in a year, plus first time homebuying and new jobs).

  • This was the perfect post to start off the new year! I’m such a yo-yo eater, and am tired of constantly regretting what I ate! I am going to reread this post often as a much needed reminder! Thanks for the giveaway! Here’s my email: romacks5@comcast.net, in case I’m chosen!

  • Leah Smith


  • Jessica

    Love this post and the post on disordered eating. I have been struggling with going Paleo and being afraid to fail. I really love a more gradual approach.

  • Betty

    I appreciate your generousity and healthy attitude. Thanks for helping start 2016 in a good way!

  • Amanda Daigle

    Nice post.

  • Laura K

    This sounds what I’ve been looking for. I want to go paleo but everything I’ve read seems so very restrictive.

  • Lisa Visone

    This is a great giveaway. Thank you for a chance to win. Happy New Year!

  • Jessica Olejniczak

    Love Finian’s goal

  • Barbara

    Always enjoy your encouragement! 🙂

  • Andrea

    Thank you for being a support and inspiration resource for a mom trying to figure out the best ways for our family to live consciously and healthily. We started our Paleo lifestyle in the fall, right before school started — the stress! The explanations to others! We are not strictly following a particular approach in the spectrum of Paleo, but we are trying to do what is good for the health of our family. At times that seems to be more uncharted territory compared to being able to say we are strictly Paleo or Primal or whatever other tidy label there is for what we have decided. So, getting your newsletter and looking at at your website is SO HELPFUL and SUPPORTIVE for some of us who are doing our best to navigate through an unhealthy food culture to make good choices that are healthful for our family. Thank you! THANK YOU! Love and health to you and yours, ac_barrett@msn.com

  • Monique Pyylampi

    This post brought me some new thoughts about my goals for this year. Thanks for that!

  • Denise Ekstrom

    I really needed that!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!! deniseekstrom@hotmail.com

  • Michaela Ahern

    I checked this out from the library and it’s amazing!

  • Jennifer McGlothlin

    Thank you for the pep talk! I’ve been trying to “go 100% Paleo” for years now without success. But I so appreciate your encouragement that my baby steps in right direction are still better than the alternative. 🙂

  • yerahi

    I really like your attitude, it’s so important to live and love, and not try to achieve some abstract goals that weren’t set with your specific circumstances in mind in the first place! Your book is also very helpful – I already have it, but it would make a great gift if I won another 🙂

  • PJaye

    I was paleo for two years and had amazing health. I started slowly backsliding and as result I feel blah. I would enjoy this book as a tool to help me get back to feeling great again!

  • Cynthia Thayer

    The concept of building a strong foundation for life changes based on self-approval instead of self-criticism is wonderful. Both of the side posts were very helpful. I am feeling very hopeful that this time my health goals are achievable! cynthia.thayer15@pcc.edu

  • Leslie Ann Johnson

    I would LOVE to win anything from you! 🙂 I have been so inspired by your journey, and my son Alex, who is 6 (and diagnosed ADHD with inpulsive tendencies) has been very interested in following Cole’s story. We are thankful for everything you have shared! Leslie – mysterybymoonlight@gmail.com

  • Julia

    Great post! I love your blog & books

  • Stacey Bradford

    Keep up the good work and the amazing recipes!

  • Jen

    Would love to see what recipes you have to share! I’ve rejoined a gym, and am shocked to say it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve really done any weightlifting at all! So, I’m hoping to get back into that, once I get my cardio stamina back up. jennifer.g.fox@gmail.com

  • Krista

    I love your blog and would love to win your book to get more ideas for healthy Paleo living! My dad died of a heart attack when he was only 37 (no prior heart problems) and we have a lot of diabetic people in my family. It’s really important for me to be my best possible self and I’ve felt so much more energetic since giving up grains. Thanks for all that you do. leroyandkrista@gmail.com

  • Naomi Brewin-Wiebe

    I would love this book! I have gotten stuck in a paleo rut lately, it would be nice to find some new inspiration.

  • JVD

    I’d love to win your book! I really appreciate that you are not pushing a “diet”…I’m ready (and drastically NEED) a lifestyle change. I was recently diagnosed with MS, and while I know that there is no cure, I know that, for me, my body felt best eating paleo. I’d love to learn how to go about it in the best way for my body.

  • Jennifer

    I know I am a little late to the discussion, but this is EXACTLY what I needed to read at this exact moment. I have been paaleo before…and felt great. Then I fell off….and gained weight so thought I would start the year with ketogenic plan. I understand this might work for some people….but for me it’s been awful..unrelenting fatique…elevated resting heart rate…palpilations..anxiety. People just keep telling me that I am ‘doing it wrong’. And I miss veggies and some fruits. But I hate to be labeled a ‘quitter” and have kept at it…still feeling horrible. Your post has brought me a light bulb moment….why in the world am I not eating the way that made me feel so good before?!? I read your blog religiously, but seldom post. I just want to say thank you for all you do….your refreshing honesty….and your desire to empower. You just rock!!!