2014: Let’s Do This Thing


2013 was not a good year for me. In fact, without trying to sound too drama mama, it was the worst year of my life so far. Lots of unexplained health issues that actually started to work themselves out in late summer, when BAM, I was diagnosed with (what should have been) an acute illness in August, but is still partying in my body 4 months later. I am not ready to write about the illness in detail, and not because I’m trying to be all super secretive or garner talk, but really because the disease/treatment is a bit controversial, and frankly, the whole thing scares me. The last thing I need is advice from people I don’t know that could freak me out. (Because, if you know anything about me, I am very anxious about my health, and it’s very easy for me to jump to the worst case scenario, so I’m trying to power through this with positivity. Google searches are not my friend.)

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how I’m going to make 2014 a great year, which on my worst days, seems really daunting, but I refuse to continue entertaining doomsday thoughts all the livelong day. Here’s how I’m going to do it.

1. Work with a team of awesome health practitioners. This is still a work in progress, but I have found some wonderful people who are working hard to make me better. I’ve been researching my ass off, which is helpful to a point, but I can’t make every health decision on my own. I need to trust in my team to lead me down the right path. (Trusting people is hard, yo. Which leads me to #2…)

2. Self discovery. I truly believe that everything thrown my way this past year is changing me for the better. I am (sloooowly) learning to let go of fear and anxieties, and to accept that I can’t control everything.

Wait. Let me say that again.


Deep breath.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you search and search, the answers just aren’t there, and that’s okay. This kind of reflection has proven to be the hardest in my 39 years on this earth, and I plan to share some of the techniques I’ve learned and wonderful books I’ve read in upcoming posts.

3. Embark on a full year of yoga and meditation. I have chosen yoga to help assist with #2, as well as my physical health. Detoxification and strengthening my body are huge components in achieving a complete recovery, and I’m hoping a mixture of heated, Iyengar, and restorative yoga will be the ticket. (I checked out a LOT of yoga studios this year, and I finally found one that I really really love called Ekam Yoga. If you are a fellow Orange County resident, they have a great 2014 special going right now!) As for meditation, I still love Headspace.

4. Cleaner eating. I started eating a minimal sugar, gluten-free diet in November, which has been easier than I thought, but ultimately would like to move to a Paleo diet. Right now, beans and whole grains (brown rice and quinoa) are the most difficult thing for me to give up, but I know it would help get me back in the ring. Also, as sad as it is, alcohol is a no-no for the time being. *brushing away a tear*

I am approaching this new way of eating with moderation as my guide. I’m doing this to better my health, not to be all “look at me and my amazing will power.” If I feel the need to eat some brown rice once in awhile or have a glass of red wine on a special occasion, then so be it. My goal is to be healthier and good to my body, not a martyr.

5. Most importantly, stop the negative hamster wheel of doom in my head.


I am a resourceful, strong, and determined woman. Why do I continually bet against myself? This must change in 2014.

How can I achieve this? Trust my intuition. Respect my body. Practice gratitude. Get out of the house. Breathe in the ocean air and dig my toes into the sand.  Spend time with friends. Paint. Play guitar. Shut the laptop. Play on the floor with my kids. Date nights with my husband. Adore my family something fierce. Stop continually searching for answers. Oh, and laughter. Lots of laughter.

This is going to be a huge part of my year, and although I don’t want to smother you, I plan on posting my progress here occasionally. However, if you want to follow a little more closely, I’ve started an Instagram account documenting the day-to-day of this new lifestyle called @TheWholeWay. I hope you’ll join me and share your personal journeys along the way too – also, I’d love to learn more about the best Paleo and gluten-free blogs, as well as inspiring/aspiring yogis out there! Let’s make 2014 the best. Happy New Year!

  1. Traci

    January 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Happy New Year! Here’s to 2014 being better than 2013 in oh so many ways.

  2. Jessica Tucker

    January 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I get annoyed when I surf Pinterest or see posts on fb by well meaning people suggesting that you have ultimate control over your brain, and you can at will, change your mood or thoughts. As a therapist, I often extoll the virtues of just letting thoughts be thoughts and feelings be feelings, accepting them for what they are, and then letting them go using radical acceptance and mindfulness skills. It’s nice to say but it doesn’t always scare away all of the monsters in the dark. For myself, I’m just trying to hang in and live through my worries (which is f’n exhausting). I wish you love and much Gatorade. Sounds like you at least have a plan.

  3. Jessica Tucker

    January 1, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    If I could offer one suggestion, there is a fantastic book called “mans search for meaning”. The author, victor frankel was a survivor of the nazi camps. His life work has been to help make sense of tragedy. It’s a short read, but really speaks to suffering. I love this book both for myself and my former clients.

    • whoorl

      January 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you!

  4. Lori

    January 2, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Great post…I totally relate. I have huge health anxiety and Google is NOT my friend either!
    I hope you have a much better year, and I look forward to reading about your illness/diagnosis/improvement!

  5. Sarah

    January 2, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Ahh! You found a yoga studio you like…this makes me happy for you.

    Yes, I’m still one of those people that will tell nearly anyone, from coworkers to strangers, to do more yoga. I’m a yoga teacher without a studio or regular class, basically. But in keeping with my 2014 goals, I’m not going to apologize for the enthusiasm! (And I hope you join me in being one of those “Do More Yoga!” types!

  6. Meghan @ Life Refocused

    January 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Bravo to you for taking charge of your health, Sarah. As someone who has endured a health crisis, I can really relate to your post. I’m excited for you and this journey. Hope to “join” you along the way on my own path on the mat and off.

  7. Marci

    January 3, 2014 at 10:06 am

    My friend and coworker is a devout Paleo ;) She recommends Mark’s Daily Apple (great information on foods and resources on illness/recovery) and Against All Grain (also overcame chronic illness through clean eating).

  8. kiera

    January 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Sounds like you’re on a great path. Good job! Obviously I don’t know the specifics of what you’re dealing with but it sounds like you’re getting good advice and making good choices. Most of favorite paleo blog recommendations have already been made but I’ll add this link to The Clothes Make the Girl because it is a great blog and this post links to some other great paleo food bloggers with a list of great recipes right up front. http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2014/01/03/30-whole30-friendly-recipes/
    Best wishes!!

  9. Faith

    January 4, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Are you familiar with the book “It Starts With Food” or Whole30? Check it out. So informational.

  10. Jen Campisano

    January 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I think sometimes that yoga has saved my life, no joke. I struggle with the idea of how “moderation” fits into any diet that is something-free (gluten, dairy, or otherwise), but I am paleo-curious. If my oncologist told me it would cure cancer, I’d sign on in a heartbeat. For now, I just try to limit processed foods, keep my wine intake to 3 glasses or less a week, and eat lots of organic veggies. I’ll be following along to see how you do and what you decide. All the best to you in 2014!

  11. Sarah

    January 6, 2014 at 8:30 am

    A couple other have mentioned this, but read It Starts with Food. It’ll literally change your life and how you view nutrition and fueling your body. And as much as you’ll probably hate me saying this, you will not heal your body with a “paleo in moderation” approach. Please consider doing a Whole30 or Whole60 that is talked about in the book and once complete, slowly try to reintroduce things (like dairy, legumes, grains) to see how your body responds to each one. You may learn you have an intolerence you never knew about. Good luck on this journey :)

  12. Pamela

    January 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Wow Sarah, so many exhilarating things are happening in your life right now! I came to a similar place last year when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I wanted to see if I could impact my health with diet and ended up following the Autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet. If your condition is autoimmune related, you might find benefit from reading thepaleomom.com blog. She writes the most extensively about that diet. She also has a lot about “leaky gut” and the possible link to autoimmune diseases of all kinds. I was stunned to read the list of things that should be avoided: eggs, especially whites, alcohol, legumes, caffeine, grains, dairy, and nuts to name a few. I’ve had such problems with many of these foods in the past. It makes me wonder about you because I recall you not being able to tolerate caffeine either. Email me if you want to talk further. I’d love to hear more about yoga. I know nothing about it.

  13. Christy

    January 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Love what your plan is for your future. I have a few of the same goals. I just finished reading
    Browns book “the gifts of imperfection” and am rereading and love her breakdown. I felt the same way.
    I don’t know if it is the age “40” around the corner or that we are more aware of ourselves, but I see it a lot around this age. I wish you the best of luck on your physical and mental transformation.

  14. raeann

    January 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I swear I could have written most of your posts so far in 2014. I too have been on an exhausting journey to figure out why the hell my brain started wigging out. I had 2 miscarriages, and truly think they set me on a spiral of pain and suffering. and, like you, I’ve tried everything. my latest journey is thru nutrition response testing with my acupuncturist. i’m only 1 week into this attempt, but have done food elimination in the past, so i’m trying to be optimistic.

    thanks for all the recommendations for books – I know mindfulness is amazing, it is just so, so hard. I’ve been wanting to read the 4 agreements, so def going to put it on my list now.

    I saw someone else suggested Byron Katie – the book is called loving what is. I read the second one – I need your love, is that true, and am now reading loving what is. I have heard from more people than I can count that it changed their life.

    and, I love yoga – so basically, it’s like we are the same person!:)

    good luck with this – I know exactly how you feel – down to the torn up wrist from rubber band snaps.