FREE 28-Day Clean Keto Guide here

How I Used a Growth Mindset to Achieve Food Freedom

February 11, 2018 | Author: Ashley McCrary

“If I am good all week, I totally deserve a margarita, a basket of chips, salsa, a chocolate chip cookie, maybe some ice cream and definitely a diet coke on Friday night.”

“Food Freedom” is a phrase I have been running towards my entire life. It’s one of those things I have desperately yearned for but always struggled to accomplish. Literally, my whole life I have fought a battle of being completely addicted to food, not “eat all things” always type of addicted, but more of a diet/binge, healthy/unhealthy cycle. My emotions were always based around food and it was the focus of my thinking 24/7. “Monday I am going to start this diet, Tomorrow I am not going to eat carbs, Next week I am going to be in a size 2, Friday I may eat chips and salsa if I am a good girl all week, I am going to lose 30 pounds by the end of the month.” This was the voice inside my head 95% of the time and not only was it unhealthy, but it became completely exhausting. It was like having the devil on one shoulder and an angle on the other. I went through phases where I was an “angle” in eating healthy, then I went through other phases where the devil got the best of me and I would binge and eat “ALL THINGS.” There was no consistency in my health and this lead to depression, low self-esteem, and continual weight gain.

 I never thought that annoying little voice in my head would ever go away until 4 years ago when I started the Whole30 Program. Before this time, food consumed every thought and stole a lot of my joy and happiness. Not to mention, absolutely drove my husband insane with how much time I consumed thinking about food and not on other important issues in life. I don’t think I ever enjoyed food without feeling guilty or ashamed. Food to me was either a reward or punishment, it was bondage. My first Whole30 was a life-changing experience, there was a total healing in my body, not just physically, but also mentally. That little crappy voice in my head got a little softer after the first round, it was still there, but not as loud.

From the beginning of my journey, I decided to take the word “diet” out of my phrasing. When I discussed my new lifestyle with others, I would say “I am changing my lifestyle and habits, not dieting.” My new outlook became identifying my daily growth in overall health and not just the number on the scale. I reflected daily on how I felt, my attitude towards myself, body and mind, along with my energy as a mother, wife and teacher.

“The past is your lesson. The present is your gift. The future is your motivation. Stop fighting the old and start building the new.”

Every day I grew and became aware of my body and more in tune with what foods were triggers and how these things affected my overall well-being as a human. I no longer used food as a reward nor a punishment, I now used food to nourish my body and I finally felt a positive connection. By changing my thought process on how to get healthy. I was now able to look at all of the positive things that were happening in my entire life and not just the number on the scale. I became addicted to the feeling of “good.” This was so different because I had always looked at the negatives and questioned one thing constantly, “Why am I not losing weight?” During the transition to Whole30, I never asked this question because it was no longer the main focus in my life. My new mission was to become a new person in all areas of life. Becoming a new person starts with accepting and reflecting on why you need and want to change in the first place.

As an elementary teacher of almost 10 years, I have always been very reflective in taking notes and analyzing what did and didn’t work in a lesson or a strategy. By reflecting, it allowed me to acknowledge and accept my strengths and weaknesses as an educator. Through this constant reflection, I was able to build upon my strengths and identify how to improve my weak areas. This allowed me to grow and become a more effective teacher. Seeing the effect that this kind of thinking had on my teaching allowed me to transfer this type growth mindset to other parts of my life. It especially became a great learning tool while completing 15 rounds of Whole30 and practicing Food Freedom.

Growth is something that is constant and that we should be striving for on a daily basis and not have a specific timeline planned out as to when our growth will stop. The number on the scale shouldn’t be the main motivator to get healthy and change, it should only be a small part. We should reflect constantly in all areas of life whether it is becoming a better mother, wife, friend, and, teacher…the list goes on. Daily reflection and questioning is the only way to really achieve growth. When you think you have it all figured out is when you will start slipping back in your old habits. The devil that used to sit on your left shoulder will come out to play with a big ole bag of Lays potato chips and laugh in your face. Don’t get cocky and love the seasons of life you are in and grow and learn from every moment.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”

Those 3 numbers staring back at me on the scale does not measure my self worth nor does it put me in any category to compare myself with others. Through constant change, I have found power in loving myself for who I am and who I am constantly becoming. I am better than I was yesterday and plan to be better tomorrow than I am today. It’s something I look forward to and get excited about. When I was dieting I felt like I was always falling 2 steps back and never moving forward. The Whole30 Program taught me that freedom comes in many different phases and it’s continual. You don’t just wake up and have freedom from food one day, it is a constant growth that allows you to identify and answer hard questions logically as to what foods you want to eat and why.

Here is the deal y’all, you are the only one that can find your food freedom. There isn’t guide written that will tell you exactly what your freedom looks like, that is for you to find out. Set a purpose as to what you want your life to be and strive every day to be the best version of yourself. Be happy in the choices you make with food, use strategies and tips from all of the Whole30 resources and make your health a priority. Love yourself enough to want to grow and reflect each and every day. Of course, there will be hard days and many days of doubt, during this time make a list as to why you started this new journey in the first place. Stay positive and know there isn’t a timeline to reach your freedom, freedom is living in the moment and learning how to cope in difficult situations. Be happy and love the journey you are on. We are all so uniquely different and that is the beauty in in this program. Find peace in eating foods that help your body thrive and strive to always be a better version of who you were yesterday.



6 thoughts on "How I Used a Growth Mindset to Achieve Food Freedom"

  1. Wendy says:

    Thank you ..

  2. Pam Gordon says:

    Thank you for sharing! You hit all the notes on how most people feel! I’ve only done one round of While30 and it was great. I love what I have learned and continue to learn from you and the other bloggers. I love cooking in this way. My son who is sixteen struggles with his weight in exactly the same way as you have. I hope your story helps him early on in life. He was a gymanast and quit this last August. Food has always been his comfort when depressed. It’s hard to change but hopefully one step at a time. Keep blogging❤️

    1. healthypeach says:

      Thank you so much!

  3. Tammy says:

    I’m not sure why you don’t have tons of comments on this post. Where are they? This was a great read and very encouraging! I’m still working on food freedom. I eat whole30 generally but eat bad snacks. I get hungry and there is no other choice. I’m so over snacking on nuts! Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Ashley McCrary says:

      Thank you honey!

  4. Rena Leddy says:

    I needed this. I just finished Whole30 Jan 2019. It’s my second one. I never weighed myself that time. This time I did. I lost 4 lbs. I feel disappointed. But, I know that I feel so much better. I’ve written down my NSVs and I’m trying to remain positive but I just feel depressed and defeated. I have 50 lbs to lose I’m 52 years old and I’ve tried wvrything these past 4 years. But, I’m trying so hard to focus on all I’ve accomplished.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Me

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

About Me

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

Follow @healthylittlepeach for more balanced recipes! 

These easy Apple Pie Crescent Rolls are a party favorite! Flaky crescent rolls stuffed with cream cheese & apple pie filling, a yummy Air Fryer or Oven-baked treat. 

And remember, a balanced lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation👍🏼. It’s taken me a long time to realize that healthy is so much more than eating salads. It’s about living a sustainable lifestyle and including favorite foods such as this recipe. 

✨Grab the full recipe in my profile or at

#easyrecipes #partyfood #fallfood #fallrecipes #airfryer #airfryerrecipes #applepie #crescentrolls #quickdessert #quickrecipes #simplerecipes #4ingredients #apple #applerecipes
👇🏼My 2 favorite healthy swaps for oil when baking, applesauce and Greek yogurt. Both options will save you a ton of calories and fat and give you the same results as oil. 

These swaps are for baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes, sweet breads, and muffins. 

🍎APPLESAUCE SWAP: When substituting applesauce for oil in baked goods, the ratio is 1:1. 

Example: If the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil, use 1/4 cup of applesauce or 1/2 cup oil use 1/2 cup applesauce. It’s a equal swap. 

🍎For every 1/2 cup of oil replaced with applesauce, you will save over 900 calories and 110 grams of fat. It will also make your cakes and baked goods super moist. 

✨GREEK YOGURT SWAP: For everyone 1 cup of oil sub 3/4 cup Greek or plain yogurt. 

Example: If you are using 1/2 cup oil, use 1/4 cup Greek yogurt. For 1/2 cup of oil there is over 900 calories. For 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt there is only 38 calories. 

Greek yogurt adds more protein and cuts fat by 100%

#bakingrecipes #bakingtips #bakingtipsandtricks #cookinghacks #cookinghealthy #cookinghack #hacks #tipsandtricks #healthyfood #healthyfoodie #bakedgoods #baking #bakingtime
#ad Jump into fall with this delicious and easy Kielbasa and Cabbage Pierogy Skillet featuring @mrstspierogies. There is nothing like a cozy and comforting family meal to
help kick off cool weather season.
Ready to fall into the season with us? In honor of #NationalPierogyDay, Mrs. T’s Pierogies is releasing a limited edition flavor of Pumpkin Spice Pierogies! (um–YUM!) Head over to their Instagram, @mrstspierogies for a chance to win a box (while supplies last!) Don’t miss out– there’s only 70 boxes being released in honor of the brands 70th anniversary (not sold in stores!)
Pierogy and Sausage Cabbage Skillet
1 package Mrs. T’s Classic Cheddar Pierogies
1 package beef kielbasa or beef sausage of choice
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
1 onion - sliced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil or butter, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
Step 1: Add 1 tablespoon butter to a skillet and add in the garlic and allow to cook for 20
seconds. Next, add in the sausage and sauté until it’s browned on both sides. Remove
and set aside. In the same skillet (do not wipe it out), add in the shredded cabbage and
onions. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender. 
Step 2: Brown the pierogies in a no-stick pan with the butter. Brown on both sides for
about 6- 8 minutes per side. 
Step 3: Place the pierogies and cooked kielbasa in with the cabbage.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Follow @healthylittlepeach for more recipes. 

✨This versatile Air Fryer Salmon is prepped and cooked in just 15 minutes with the most delicious honey garlic sauce! Your air fryer will do all the work for you, just whip up your favorite easy sides, and enjoy!

✨I also get questions about why I add foil. I do that so it catches the juice. I love drizzling any extra on the cooked salmon. So good!

✨Grab the full recipe in my profile or at

#quickrecipes #quickrecipe #airfryer #airfryerrecipes #salmon #salmonrecipe #healthyrecipes #healthy #healthyfood #simplerecipes
Full recipe👇🏼Follow @healthylittlepeach for more yummy recipes. 

Anytime I go to the Hibachi grill, the Clear Onion Soup is my favorite part of the meal.

This brothy soup is great for sipping when you are sick or even served with a side salad or sandwich. It includes super simple ingredients and packs a ton of flavor. 

✨Japanese-Inspired Clear Onion Soup✨

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp ground ginger
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth (optional, but adds so much flavor) You can sub vegetable broth for both chicken and beef
Optional: sriracha and coconut aminos
Mushrooms and green onions for serving

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic with 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil. 
2. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and ginger. Saute together until tender. 
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add in the chicken and beef broth. 
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Strain the veggies from the broth. Don’t throw them away, you can pop them in the fridge and use them for another meal or recipe. 
6. Ladle the soup into a bowl and add a handful of green onions and thinly sliced mushrooms
7. For additional flavor you can also add a splash of soy sauce and sriracha to taste.

#souprecipe #souprecipes #healthyfood #healthyrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #fallrecipes #fallrecipe #easyrecipes #simplerecipes #foodblogger #foodphotography #foodphotographer #foodvideo #onionsoup
Follow @healthylittlepeach for more recipes!

Is it truly a party without Pigs In A Blanket? These little classic poppers will be a real crowd pleaser, even for the kids. The best part is the homemade cheese sauce for dipping. 

✨Grab the full recipe in my profile or at

#gameday #gamedayfood #appetizers #easyrecipes #kidapproved #kidapprovedfood #foodie #foodblogger #pigsinablanket #everythingbutthebagel #simplerecipes #foodphotography