Good Morning! Happy Wednesday my friends. I hope you all are having a great week. Today, I wanted to share something with you that John and I are doing and why we (I) are doing it, which is a clean eating challenge. You heard that right. Now, honestly, I have tried this challenge before and have been extremely unsuccessful. I have never been able to complete it in entirety, but I feel like this go round will be a little bit different…or at least I am hoping so and let me explain why.
Okay, here are the specifics of the challenge: No gluten, dairy, alcohol, or added sugar and limited caffeine. The specific challenge calls for no caffeine, but honestly that isn’t something I want to cut out entirely. So instead, I am limiting myself to 12 ounces of quality coffee (so basically a tall Starbucks size). The plan is to complete this challenge for 28 days, which is where I have always failed. I think the farthest I have made is like 18. But not this time! Nope. I am doing it and John kindly opted to do it with me. Isn’t he a sweetheart?!?
We are currently on day 2 and so far, I haven’t really noticed my typical struggles in which I focus on what’s restricted or what I can’t have, but I have also been mostly at home, so I am sure it will get more difficult for me on my work days or when something super fun comes about.
The other key factor that I think is working in my favor, is that I prepared. Before the challenge started, I made a meal plan for the next week and half with additional ideas for moving forward. I wrote down snack ideas, breakfast ideas (although I am actually planning on intermittent fasting most mornings), and lunch ideas. This way, I knew what I needed to get and did a massive grocery haul yesterday. I put everything away, cut up veggies and fruits, and even prepped a few snacks in advance like a nut mixture and protein bars. I also plan on making an oatmeal bake, as well.
Now, let’s get to the important part which is my why. Something I am working on, is uncovering more on my overall health and wellness with a huge current focus being on the the foods we eat. I am fascinated by a new food mentality that we here in American refer to as intuitive eating. I am finding, however, that the fact that it is labeled provides it with this fad-concept that I am not interested in supporting (it just helps you, the reader, to understand it a little more). Essentially, you listen more closely to what your body is craving. For example, maybe you are craving animal protein, or maybe you are craving carbohydrates, or perhaps citrus. Then, I am taking it a step further and asking myself WHY. Why am I craving that specific food?
Essentially, I am breaking down some of my negative food thought processes around dieting, punished focused eating, restrictive eating, etc, and working to flip it to “just eating.”
I want to enjoy food. I want to eat food for pleasure and for my health. I hate looking at food in such a negative light and I am honestly over it. I still have a lot to learn in this area and am only skimming the surface, but since I incorporated just trying to be more aware of what my body was craving, I found a lot of holes in the way I was eating.
For example, I noticed that I binge eat when I watch TV. Mindless eating where I just consume and consume. I also noticed that a week and a half or so before my cycle, I crave carbohydrates and my appetite increases significantly. After doing some research, I found this is perfectly normal, but in the past I use to want to overeat or over consume, which then would make me mad at myself, which then would lead me to emotional eating, which would then lead me to eating more crap and the cycle would repeat.
Another example, was when John and I were on our drive to Napa. We stopped at a gas station and normally I would immediately grab whatever my favorite junk food snack was because we “were on a drive.” Instead, I asked myself, what am I craving right now? And weirdly, it wasn’t junk food.
The why has been monumental, which is a huge factor behind my motivation for this challenge, because while this new awareness has been super helpful for me, I still feel as if I am not as in-tune with my body as I could be. I think that by going through this little challenge, I will be able to get super clear on what my body needs or wants given I will have removed my cravings for processed foods and sugars that are inevitable when you eat a lot of those foods (it’s an addictive cycle). It will also force me to eat a little cleaner due to the various recipes I am making and funny enough, I swear, I have never seen my grocery cart so full of healthy food, fruits and vegetables like I did yesterday. Which is just SO SAD.
Lastly, in eliminating certain food groups like dairy and gluten, I will be able to see my specific tolerances for these foods once I reintroduce them back to my diet. While, 28 days is not always enough for these foods, to see huge transformations for some people, I think it will help shed some light regardless. Currently, I don’t believe I have any dairy or gluten intolerances, but I plan on reintroducing these foods one at a time to really get clear on this.
Like I said, I know I am just skimming the surface, but I am super excited to begin this new journey and for some reason feel like this is the motivation I needed to complete the challenge. Before, I use to just do it because I thought it was “good for me.” But this time, I actually have a clear goal in mind and truly am interested to see how this affects myself. Once again, it is always getting clear on your why!
If you have more questions on this or are curious to know more, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will definitely be sharing a post once I complete it, and perhaps a mid-check in.
It’s time to take control of my health and begin a new relationship with food. One where food is just food! Won’t that be such a relief?