Wednesday, January 22, 2020

We Gave Up Eating Out + Dessert for 21 Days + Here's What Happened

Looking to slim your waste & bulk your wallet? Give up eating out and see what happens.

First, let's talk about why we even started this 3-week journey. To be honest, our friends were doing it so we jumped on board. They did the Daniel Fast, which we considered, however, in the end, we decided since I am pregnant and my husband is training for a triathlon we needed to do something that would ensure our nutrient needs were met. We thought about what would make an impact on our daily lives & quickly came to eating out & desserts. We gave up eating out & dessert from January 1st to 21st.

Our goal, beyond improving our health & increasing our bank account, was to rely on God throughout the journey. The point of fasting in the Christian world is to turn to prayer each time you want to reach for whatever it is you're fasting. This is a very simple definition of it, & I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who can do it more justice, but we are in no way experts on the subject. With this in mind, we also chose a few things to focus our prayers around during this time: wisdom for the future/our careers, direction for where we should be serving in church, our families, and the marriages around us. And you know what? God totally showed up! Josh & I both feel like we have a clearer picture of where God is leading us, which is by far the best part of this experience. However, we experienced a lot of practical things as well. Here they are...

1. We saved money on eating out
Saving money on eating out is the most obvious result of this 21 day fast. If we weren't eating out, then we weren't spending money on it. I will say that I had no idea how often we were really eating out- we're thinking probably 2-3 times a week. This was eye-opening! Especially since we consider ourselves to be on the more money-conscious side of things.

2. We spent more money on groceries
Because we were only eating at home, we spent more money on groceries. Call me naive, but this was surprising to me. I honestly thought our normal food budget would suffice because I didn't have a realistic idea of how much we were actually eating out. We blew our grocery budget for sure! However, I did learn a whole lot about the reality of our eating habits. I'm pretty interested in what people eat and how much they spend on it, so I'm probably going to do a post about how much money we spend on groceries and what exactly we buy and eat. At least that's the plan.

3. We tried new recipes
Pregnancy cravings are real! Our solution to this was to make our own versions of things we'd normally just go pick up. I was dreading this, to be honest. I like the convenience of not cooking and being instantly satisfied. Plus, living where we live, we have an endless amount of restaurants available to us. It is quite possible to order and pick up food in less time than it takes to cook. I'm happy to say, we did it anyway! We made french dip sandwiches, chicken pad thai, and pizza. All of the recipes turned out yummy! I'm still in search of a pad thai recipe I like a bit more though. The french dips were so easy that I don't know if it's even worth going out for them anymore. And my husband is wonderful at making pizza. The only thing there is that it is definitely more time consuming, but not for me. Ha!

4. We ate the same things over and over
The main reason we go out so much is to save time so I ended up making a ton of something for us to eat a lot of times in a row. For example, I made shredded chicken for tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc. We ate this a lot! It worked though. We got through it and the only one who minded the most was me. I don't love eating the same thing every day but the rest of the family doesn't seem to mind. This is also great information moving forward.

5. We had less noise about food
When eating out and dessert aren't options, food is less fun. I thought about what was already in our cupboards, fridge, and freezer, which wasn't that exciting. Maybe if I had more energy & time I would have tried out more new recipes or tried more complex meals. We did have to think ahead a few times. For instance, one of our kids had a cheer competition about an hour away. Usually, we would just eat out but we had to pack food for the road. Another time we had to think ahead was for my father in law's birthday. They ordered pizza so we ate before we went. We also took frozen mango for our own "dessert" during cake time. There was definitely less food noise but we also had to plan ahead.

6. We lost/maintained weight
Losing weight is not recommended during pregnancy but I will say that my weight gain was getting a little out of hand. I think I was around 25 pounds gained with 2 months left. During these three weeks, I had two doctor's appointments & my weight basically stayed the same. I promise I ate enough food but I wasn't having all the added calories that come from eating out & eating dessert. If I was hungry, I ate. On the other hand, my husband actually lost weight. He's currently training for a triathlon but was getting really discouraged by the lack of weight loss recently. This was a great way to kick him back into gear.

All-in-all, it was hard but it honestly could have been harder. I think something like the Daniel Fast would really get us out of our comfort zones & turning to God a lot more. We plan on starting next year with a 21 day fast, again. I'm not one to start the year with a list of resolutions because the time it takes me to really reflect & be intentional doesn't happen before January 1st. This fast was a wonderful way to take time to reflect & seek direction for where we're going this year. It helped me set my focus for the year & gain confidence in God's plan for us. I also have a lot of ideas about what our food & food budget should look like. More to come on that.

Have you ever fasted? What were your reasons for doing it & what happened?


  1. I would not be able to give up desserts ! but it sounds like a good thing to do

    1. So, I just ate my first dessert and it didn't seem worth it after not having them for a few weeks. Haha. It is hard though.

  2. I haven't! I end up wanting to eat everything in sight haha.

    1. I totally get that! I think that if I was doing it alone, it would have been a different story.

  3. I've always wanted to try something like this! To save money and to also learn new recipes. It could be so fun!!

    1. Parts of it was fun. The new recipes for sure!