My Goal To Be Healthier: Week 1 Results

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.

Yum!

These? Are awesome.

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:

Asics tapped into my 80's memories

Blinded by the light!

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!

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Comments

  1. We’re doing the same thing right now – trying to get back on track after letting our diets slip a bit. I had lost a solid 12 pounds since Thanksgiving, and then spent two weeks eating Easter candy and it all went back on, so weight loss isn’t really happening right now…I’m sure I will get back down though. (I’d better! :P)

    I can’t wait to move back near Costco. Only 4! More! Weeks! LOL
    Sarah recently posted…thinking about ChicagoMy Profile

  2. Here’s my healthy thing of the month: I quit drinking. I mean, for good. It’s been 2 weeks and I could not be happier. I’m making a lot of fancy non-alcoholic things to drink – vanilla rooibos iced tea, pellegrino with frozen berries sprinkled in it…
    Suebob recently posted…Like a Mythical Bird From the AshesMy Profile

    • Ooooh, vanilla rooibos iced tea sounds delicious. Now I’m trying to figure out how to add vanilla to my iced tea. :)

      I’ve cut back on the drinking the past few weeks, too, but stress occasionally has me going for a glass of wine with dinner. That’s great that you’re feeling good from the change, too!

  3. I tend to snack on whatever is easy to grab, so keeping cut up fresh veggies and cooked meat in the fridge works for me. I’m sorry to tell you that those two Kirkland products pictured (which i agree taste awesome) contain quite a bit of sugar. The nut and seed bars have 10 grams. That’s roughly as much sugar as in a tablespoon of Nutella or in two Oreos.

    • Yeah, I’ve looked at the sugar content on them. They’re mostly used as a treat to keep me from reaching for anything with HFCS or processed cookies. One bar or a couple of cashew clusters are my defense against going completely off course. I’d rather have a small bite of the mostly natural product with some added sugar rather than give in to my cravings for the Oreos.

      I need to remember to cut up more veggies and keep them in the fridge. Do they last more than a few days for you?

  4. A friend of mine from grad school introduced me to a super-easy, vegetarian, gluten free dinner: rice + lentils + turmeric + cardamom + garam masala + onions + peas + carrots + whatever cut-up veggies you have = DELICIOUS one-pot meal. I’m also a big fan of home-made fajitas: cut up a few bell peppers (any color) + onions with chili powder, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and whatever other Tex-Mex spices you like, saute with lid till soft, serve with (do they make gluten-free?) tortillas, or in a bowl over rice, with salsa, shredded lettuce, and low-fat cheese.

  5. “An apple, while sweet, does not sound exciting.” I get seriously tired of apples, but they are so freakin’ convenient because they last so long even out on the kitchen table. So, I started chopping an apple and a banana into plain yogurt as a breakfast – sometimes I add quinoa. The fruit makes the yogurt sweet, and I get a lot of fruit without the boredom.
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  6. Condo Blues says:

    We eat a lot of fish and shrimp for dinner. Not breaded but sauted or grilled. It helps on the real food budget end with the added benefits of fish oil!

  7. Hey Christina, great work! Great to see you’re motivated and taking action!

    Here’s some tips you might want to consider:
    -Drink a lot of water and 1/2 a liter in the morning. Water first-thing boosts your metabolism up to 30% and keeps you full.
    -Cut out grains/anything fast-digesting right before you exercise… you’ll feel less flat… a protein meal will can give you a steady feeling as you go to work out!
    -Consider bodyweight exercises? I know short, intense exercises and rest is really good for my temperament and they can help you have an elevated metabolism for days after! Do push-ups, leg lifts, bridge holds, squats and dips for some ideas.

    Loving the blog!

  8. Good for you Christina. It’s never an easy thing to do. I really need to drop ten pounds and have been experimenting with various plans. I went vegetarian for a month and felt so much better and lost some weight. But as you say, initially it’s very hard to find things to eat and you think you will starve ! I found breakfast the worst thing because I normally love white bread products for breakfast, but I was trying to stay clear of them or stick to whole grain breads if I did eat them. But thankfully Google came to my rescue and I found lots of really tasty vegetarian recipes online.
    As for exercise, I have been looking into the “Couch to 5K” running program (Google it) and I want to get started with that soon. It specifically targeted for beginners and may be of some use to you too. There are also many free phone apps to guide you through as you are doing it.

  9. Have you tried intermittent fasting? It is a wonderful way to reset your mindset in portion control. Amazing way to lose weight too! It sounds a lot harder than it is. After dinner on day 1, skip breakfast and lunch on day 2, then eat dinner like normal on day 2. That’s all!

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