At the beginning of the month, I declared that I needed to clean up my diet. I spent most of spring break finishing out as much of the junk food we had in the house. Those Thin Mints were soooooo good. And then on April 7, I said goodbye to my Coke Zero and chocolates (with an especially emotional parting from my Nutella), farewell to bread and snack crackers, and plunged headfirst into eating as clean as possible for the next week or two.
Clean eating, for me, means no soda, no artificial sweeteners, limited sugar, and limited processed foods. Lots of fruit and vegetables, nuts, lean meats and eggs, beans, and smaller amounts of rice and dairy. Along with water to drink, I’m also having one coffee or tea each day. It’s not exactly Paleo, but it seemed like a good idea to help me detox from the foods I’m most addicted to.
So how’s it going so far? I’ve made it a week and half now without any soda, sweets, or heavily processed foods. The most processed thing I’ve eaten so far was the tortilla strips on a McDonald’s salad.
My feelings over the past week and a half have swung back and forth. The first seven days went a little something like this:
Day 1: Hahaha, this is fun! We’re going to be healthy! We’ve got this covered!
Day 2: What the hell do I eat for breakfast? Or lunch for that matter?
Day 3: It’s 8pm, I really, really, really, really, really want something sweet to snack on. An apple, while sweet, does not sound exciting.
Day 4: I fought off the chocolate cravings yesterday! Go me! I’ll celebrate by…baking some eggs.
Day 5: If I have to eat another salad…wait, Chipotle is mostly real food, right?
Day 6: Uh-oh, we’re out of dried fruit and nut mix. Everybody panic! Costco run, stat!
Day 7: I’m barely sleeping at night, and yet I’m feeling OK during the day. That’s odd. Hey, pass the almonds, would ya?
There’s no way I can tell you that it’s been a breeze. If you don’t like to cook from scratch, it can be difficult to find enough food to eat on this plan. We’ve had dinners of grilled chicken and veggies, chicken tikka masala with rice, and grass-fed organic steak one lucky night. Hard boiled eggs (baked, actually – the Pinterest idea really works!) and nuts have been good protein for lunches. Fresh and dried fruit help curb my sweets cravings. Carrots with hummus is a great snack.
But I am getting a little tired of the same foods mixed up and rearranged over and over. And it’s not cheap, either. We buy a lot of our food from Costco, which does help in price, but our food bill has increased over the past week. Nuts are expensive. I’m looking forward to summer when we can count on farmer’s markets for local fruits and veggies.
Overall, I have to admit that I’m feeling pretty good. It’s easier to wake up in the morning, even when I stay up late working. I’m not feeling the wild energy swings throughout the day. (I do still feel the mid-afternoon slump, which is usually when I reach for the coffee or tea.)
At first I was worried that eating calorie-dense, higher-fat foods would result in gaining weight. Instead, I’m finding my hunger isn’t as strong as it used to be. I don’t even feel like eating large meals now – I prefer to graze throughout the day.
Best of all? I’m down two pounds, and more importantly, my belly looks slimmer.
I’m really proud of myself for sticking to this so far. Yes, it’s been only a week and a half, but that can feel like a long time when it comes to food. I’d like to keep to this strict level of eating clean for at least another week, then gradually expand my diet again, still trying to keep limits on the sugar and processed junk.
Next up is to get back to working out regularly. Yesterday I laced up my new running shoes and broke them in for a 30 minute run/walk (mostly walk, really). I wasn’t excited to work out, and I felt like my heart was going to break out of my chest and run away afterward, but I did it. My dayglo shoes probably played a part to get me moving:
I’m hoping this will all become habit so we can be a healthier family. Aaron is eating the same foods with me, and is far ahead of me in getting back into running. And our ultimate success of the week: Cordy and Mira will both eat grilled chicken and broccoli now.
Anyone else trying to make any healthy changes right now? Please share how it’s going for you, or what you’re planning to do!