This week, I participated in a clean eating challenge. The purpose of the challenge was for encouragement and accountability with eating “clean” foods. If you are new to the term “clean” when speaking of food, it just means non-processed. So no boxed stuff (unless it is just the pure form of a food), no preservatives or dyes or flavoring, no added sodium or sugars, etc.
I decided to participate for the accountability and because they provided a meal plan with snacks included. I desperately needed to get my snacking under control! The girls hosting it were representatives of a particular company that provides healthy drink mixes and whatnot, but I wasn’t purchasing any of those. I just wanted to keep track of snacks and join in the community of sharing about our food choices.
While the challenge was a mere 5 days, I learned 5 things about myself during this time. I also feel like I got myself back on track with better food choices for snacks, and I am happy with the energy I noticed just from cutting out a lot of sugar!
- I really do lack self-control. 🙂 Boy oh boy! For as much as I talk about healthy eating, I sure surprised myself at my lack of self-control with sweets!! My weak times are usually during naps (when I like to veg on the couch and watch a couple shows or crochet or just relax) and after the kids go to bed at night. It might be because I don’t have their little eyes watching my every move with food and asking for a bite, but I really struggle with snacking! Handful of M&M’s, piece of a chocolate bar, leftover mini candy bar from Halloween/Christmas, or any other chocolatey item I baked or have stashed in the pantry. The homemade items I am not so worried about…it is those dang random candies I have in pantry! I really did see just how bad it was when I had to physically stop myself from entering the pantry one night.
- I do not drink enough water. Part of the challenge was making sure you drink half your weight in water (in ounces). For me, that meant I needed to drink at least 57 ounces of water each day. Holy moly was I behind! On a good day, I usually drink about 24 ounces. And that’s a GOOD day. I just don’t default to water….or any drink really. I just don’t drink anything! I have my coffee in the morning and maybe some water with my meals, but in between I really don’t drink anything. I don’t like pop/soda, juices don’t appeal to me (unless I use my juicer, but that’s a lot of effort I don’t want to put forth in the afternoon), and milk seems to constipate me lately. But, I worked hard to drink my 57 ounces and MAN! I used the bathroom like a hundred times that first day. My bladder, poor thing is worn out from pregnancies….let’s just say I had some near misses! 😉
- I need to eat more fish. I probably will not start eating more, but I clearly need to. Canned tuna and sometimes shrimp are the only two fish I eat. I have had crab and lobster at restaurants but not at home. My husband and I are so scared to get sick from improperly cooking fish that we just avoid it; I realize it seems odd that I’d allow someone else to cook it (someone I don’t know and cannot physically see cooking it to know that they have done it properly). I have never eaten tilapia or salmon or whitefish or any of those not-so-fishy kinds of fish. I always think I can just buy the frozen tilapia fillets, but I never do. I have canned salmon in my pantry for salmon cakes, but I do not have a set date to get that open and eat it. I realize I need to incorporate fish into our diet more, for the Omega 3’s, but I usually just give the kids (and myself, if I remember) a fish oil supplement. But I have dreams of buying and cooking fish….some day.
- I feed my kids better than I feed myself. I am so quick to post about how healthy we eat, how the kids eat lots of veggies, how they eat healthy snacks, blah, blah, blah. But, I started to notice how poorly I ate. My lunches usually consist of leftovers. If there aren’t any, I will make a few slices of bacon or grab some cheese and some crackers or just a bunch of snack foods. And at 1:00, when the boys go down for naps, I just shovel the foods in. There is no real plan for my lunches. The kids? Oh, they eat so well! I plan out their lunches, taking extra care to pack it in their “lunch boxes” most days. I make sure they get a veggie and a fruit, drink lots of water, and I monitor their snacking. I also noticed that if I didn’t sit down with my husband to eat breakfast, I either didn’t eat (and just relied on my coffee to fill me up) or I grabbed a really crappy food choice at about 9:00AM and ate a ton of it! This week was very enlightening with regard to MY eating habits. I thought I just struggled with snacks, but I noticed a lot more!
- I find a lot of joy in eating well. Ok, that probably sounds stupid. But, it’s true. My default mood is crabby. Irritable, impatient, grouchy, the opposite of understanding. You get the idea. I just don’t default to a pleasant attitude, unfortunately. I realize this is a heart issue, and I am working on this in my quiet time and with the Lord. BUT, I did also notice that my food choices were largely tied to my mood as well. Beyond getting my heart right, I also needed to get my foods right. No, I am not saying that clean eating is a moral choice or a godly choice or anything like that. I know it is a personal choice, and I know for me, personally, it is the better choice. Drinking a ton of water, eating eggs at least once a day, choosing greek yogurt with berries over a Hershey’s bar, and NOT having four cups of coffee really does affect my mood. Ten years ago, it may not have been as big a deal, but I am getting older and my body is needing certain nutrients that I was depriving it of. Eating well gave me much more energy this week, and I feel like I was much more pleasant to be around (although, I should probably ask my family if that is true or not!). I also noticed my headaches from the past few months were non-existent this week; this definitely confirmed that I need to drink more water and eat better.
All in all, I loved participating in the challenge and am sad it is over. I like checking in each day on the Facebook page and posting my meal pic or sharing how much water I drank. I loved seeing the other girls’ posts, too. I got some great recipe ideas and just enjoyed the encouragement and support.
After seeing how great I feel when I eat well/clean/whatever you want to call it, I would love to keep the encouragement and support going. (I AM NOT SELLING ANYTHING OR RECOMMENDING ANY PRODUCTS. I am not affiliated with Melaleuca or Beachbody or Shakeology or any other company out there doing challenges. And I don’t want it to be about “products”, as obviously the best source for the nutrients we need is from food itself!) If you are interested in starting to eat well or eliminating/reducing a certain food item (sugar, for example), or if you eat clean already and would enjoy to participate in encouraging and supporting each other in continuing to do so, please let me know! I would love to get a group started, perhaps a Facebook page, to just post on about meals or recipes or whatever. If you have no idea HOW to get started eating clean, I would enjoy helping you in that way, too. We started our better eating journey in November 2011, and though we don’t religiously stick to it, I have a good idea how to make good food choices and have a ton of recipes I could share with you. (Obviously, I am not a doctor, so if you have a medical condition or are looking for a weight loss plan, I cannot advise on that. Please check with your doctor before starting any type of plan.)
So….who’s with me?? Would you want to join me? Please feel free to comment below or email me at milkandhoneybreads at yahoo dot com!
Have a fabulous weekend!!
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God…”