Sorry for being totes M.I.A. on this blog for the past couple months. I’ve been a bit uninspired to write much lately, yada yada yada, but I have a new topic that I’ve been chomping at the bit to blog about for the last 21 days: CLEAN EATING!
For the last 9 months I’ve been really dedicated to hitting the gym 5 days a week, with a mix of running, stationary biking, and lifting weights, but I’ve been totally frustrated by my inability to lose these extra pounds that crept back on after breastfeeding.
In more recent months, I have been really stepping up my work out game by mixing it up, doing live Beachbody classes like Insanity and P90X, a super intense 60 minute cycling class, jogging, elliptical, weights, and toning – now working out 5-6 days per week! But I wanted to cry when I stepped on the scales recently. I just didn’t get it, how am I GAINING weight?
I knew it was going to be about diet for me, but I really didn’t want to do something like Weight Watchers again. I’m sick of counting points and paying a monthly fee. I like to eat, m’kay? But something had to change because I wasn’t feeling like myself with these extra pounds.
About a month ago my friend was telling me about how she was eating clean and losing like 5 pounds in a week and I was like; “YA RIGHT. What is a typical day of clean eating like?” She described things like toast with avocado spread, salads, zucchini noodles vs. real noodles for dinner, NO DRINKING – and I was like; NO THANKS, BYE.
But then a friend and Beachbody coach was hosting a free clean eating challenge group on Facebook and I thought; well, if we pose this as a challenge than I wanna see if I can do it! I went to the grocery store armed with zero knowledge of what clean eating really means, and I started on a Monday.
I’m going to give it to you straight, I was starving in those first few days. I didn’t know what I could eat and I was living off of spinach salads and very little meat and carbs in my diet. I went to my hour long cycling class and almost died.
But then I started researching what clean eating really meant. It’s about eating whole foods or minimally processed foods. The shorter the list of ingredients an item has on its packaging, the better. If it’s a laundry list of words you can’t pronounce, it’s processed up the wazzu and you should do a mic drop with that item right there in the grocery store.
The thing that kept me going through that first week was feeling like I was doing something really good for my body. It felt like I was cleaning myself out, getting all the toxins and potato chips out of my system and replacing it with whole veggies, fresh fruits, and lean meats. In addition to feeling good about what I was doing, a huge motivational factor came in when I jumped on the scale on day 7. I almost fainted I was so shocked at my weight loss! Guys, I’m not even fudging this in the slightest, I literally lost 10 pounds in a week!!!! I knew it was going to be a significant weight loss just based on how much better my clothes were fitting and how my gut was shrinking before my very eyes!!
I realized that I pretty much ate carbs all day long. I had cereal, sugar packed oatmeal, or a bagel for breakfast, chips and a sandwich for lunch, crackers for snacks, and pasta for dinner. CARBS CARBS CARBS! I eat carbs now, but it’s significantly less, so the weight loss makes sense. The sports bra pic above is hard to post because I’m putting myself out there, but I wanted you to see me shrinking!! P.S. I was NOT sticking my stomach out in the before pic, that’s just me resting and the after pic is another resting pic, but you can see the difference, right??!
Pinterest clean eating recipes became my best friend. And listen, before I started this lifestyle change I didn’t cook, my husband was the home chef. I’ve always felt insecure about this because I come from a long line of fabulous home chefs in my family and I’m the black sheep who doesn’t cook. This whole change has awakened an interest and excitement for cooking that I realize now has always been lying beneath the surface! And I’ve gotta say that you HAVE to be down with cooking a lot if you’re going to eat clean. I’m cooking and chopping, and dirtying up a thousand dishes for every meal. I run my dishwasher twice a day, so that does suck a little.
I think my husband enjoys that I’ve picked up the grocery shopping and cooking chore in our house, but he’s not 100% thrilled with clean eating dinners quite yet! He likes some things I make, and other things feel a little too healthy to him. I keep telling him that it’s about training your taste buds to like a healthier fare. Before, the idea of eating veggies was like BLAH CITY to me. Now I’m like; “oh look at all the pretty colors in my salad, YUM!”
Here’s the thing; if you’re going to do this you have to WANT to do it. It has to be more than just about losing weight. It has to be about feeling good about what you’re doing inside and out. When I go to the grocery store and my cart is filled with real food as opposed to a bunch of boxed and bagged processed foods I feel GOOD about myself. I don’t miss feeling bad about getting the 10pm salt craving and devouring half a bag of chips. If I’m hungry and I still have calories left in the day according to My Fitness Pal app, I’ll have an apple with organic peanut butter – no guilt there!
I’ve officially been eating clean for 21 days, and you know the saying – it takes 21 days to form a habit! Well, this is definitely a habit now and I have no plans of going back to eating crap. I’m still down 10 lbs. but I’ve opened up my menu a lot more than spinach salads! I’m allowing flexibility on the weekends so I can go out to eat and drink my wine! I don’t do whole day cheat days, I’ll eat clean for breakfast, lunch, and snacks and then enjoy a dinner out. I still don’t go crazy though, always being mindful about selecting healthier options on the menu. But hell, if I go to Mexican, I’m eating chips and guacamole!!
I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes so far that I’ve tried, all from Pinterest and a lot of them came from a food blog called The Gracious Pantry and My Fitness Pal. If you want to check out my Pinterest Clean Eating Recipe Board for ideas go here.
Please keep in mind that I am not a food blogger and a skilled food photographer, but I’ve been compiling food pics over the last few weeks to share on this blog post, so here goes. I hope it looks appetizing to you!
A typical day of food for me looks like this:
Breakfast: 1 Fried egg over a red bell pepper ring, or 1 scrambled egg with diced veggies; toasted Ezekiel bread with avocado spread (a drop of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help spread and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, salt/pepper), fresh fruit.
AM Snack: Banana
Lunch: Spinach salad with diced veggies, sunflower seeds, hand shredded cheese from a whole cheese block (not processed shredded in a bag!), a dressing mixture of Dijon mustard and vinaigrette dressing. Add a side of nonfat cottage cheese for protein.
Add shrimp to your lunch salad for a little extra calories and protein!
Snack: Plain nonfat Greek yogurt atop fresh fruit, honey for natural sweetener, and organic granola for crunch! So filling!
Dinner: Lots of things, see pictures!
Asparagus Pea Pasta Bowl
Caprese Chicken & Roasted Broccoli
Crispy Chicken Berry Salad with Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing (restaurant quality!)
Clean Eating Turkey Chili (+Greek Yogurt & lemon juice as sour cream substitute)
Black Bean Spinach Quesadilla
Quinoa Enchilada Casserole (Added chicken for protein)
Post-Dinner Snack: Protein and Super foods shake. Whey Protein powder and Dynamic Greens super foods powder (Amazon), Almond Milk (only 30 calories!), frozen banana, and ice – tastes like a banana chocolate shake, yum! OR, apples and organic peanut butter!
I hope this post has sparked an interest in clean eating for you! Try some recipes, see how much better you feel! Train your taste buds to crave real food! My next blog will be about my favorite apps that support my new lifestyle change. Planning is the key to success!