I love Tosca Reno. She’s been an inspiration to me for years through reading Oxygen magazine and her books. (Not that you can tell from looking at me, but I do read a LOT about nutrition and exercise). In her 40’s, she decided to take control of her life, lost a bunch of weight, started pumping iron, and winning fitness competitions. She has overcome the long-term illnesses and eventual deaths of both her step-son and her husband. She shows incredible strength in so many aspects of her life, and is another great example of making step-families and blended families work. I want to be like her when I grow up.
I’ve been taking slow steps towards that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle” since last year. I gave up soda (again) and started exercising. And I lost a grand total of about four pounds. Which of course is better than no pounds, but seriously? I’ve known from years of experience that I can workout like a maniac, but not lose much weight. I think I overeat to compensate. Nothing kills a good workout like grabbing doughnuts afterwards.
Something clicked when we got back from New York though. After a week of garbage food, or no food at all, I was so ready for a change. I was feeling sick and rundown and my body was screaming for veggies. So I planned on having a Clean Week when I got back. I have them every so often after I’ve overindulged for too long. I think of them as hitting the reset button. Not a diet or anything, just giving up crap for awhile.
Clean Week for me is pretty simple- protein and veggies, no pasta or bread, no dairy, no legumes, lots of water. Carbs come mostly in the form of oatmeal, apples, and sweet potatoes. Three meals a day plus two snacks. Protein at every meal and snack. Lots and lots and lots of veggies. Pretty straightforward.
This is not something I can, or want to sustain for very long. I’ll never be Paleo, I love dairy way too much. And beans. So I’ll usually have a Clean Week, then go back to normal. Except that it’s been almost three weeks now, and Eating Clean is becoming kind of… normal.
Week one was as I described above. Week two, I added in beans and more fruit. That felt ok, so Week three I added dairy back in. Just a little, not every day. And I feel… mostly good. Still eating a boatload of veggies, with the help of salads in jars. Still chugging water like it’s going out of style. And amazingly… I started actually losing a little weight! Note that this was not my goal initially. I was just trying to help my poor body get some nutrients and hydration that it desperately needed.
Last week I had lost ten pounds from my all-time-highest-weight-ever in-the-history-of-the-world that I reached in January. By June 1, I’ll almost certainly have lost the fifteen pounds I gained since last summer. It’s kind of surreal.
This post has become way longer and more ramble-y than I intended, so I’ll hit some of the highlights and lowlights of the past couple weeks of Clean Eating.
Less heartburn. Okay this was amazingly unexpected and fabulous. I get heartburn a LOT, and have for years and years. I go through Prilosec and Tums like they’re candy. In the past three weeks, I’ve taken Prilosec twice! Usually in that amount of time, I’ve taken 8-10. And I eat tomatoes and other acid filled foods on a daily basis. I don’t get it, but I’m thrilled!
Feeling better. I’m telling you, the week after we got back from NY I felt like I’d been run over. Joint pain, stomach pain, blah blah blah. But it’s crazy how much better I feel just by eating better food.
More energy. I’m not ready to run a marathon or anything, but I see a noticeable difference in my energy level.
Putting the LoseIt app to good use. I started tracking my food regularly in February with this app. I’ve been using it on and off since 2009, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m not obsessive about calories or anything, but it’s another useful tool.
Not-so good stuff
Time- It takes a lot of time to eat Clean. Planning time, prepping time, time doing the damn dishes. I’m running the dishwasher twice a day almost every day. The rest doesn’t bother me a lot, I was menu planning anyway, but man all those dirty dishes!
My face has blown the hell up. I usually have pretty good skin (genetics, not anything special I’m doing) But right now my face looks… gross. I thought eating better was supposed to help your skin look better. I’m hoping this is just my body’s way of releasing toxins or something and that it’ll go back to normal soon.
It’s more expensive, but not much. This is one of those things that will vary a lot from family to family. Yes, it can get really expensive to buy enough protein for every single meal and snack. But when you consider the things you’re not buying, like sugary drinks, snacks, etc., then it becomes more do-able. I think people can run into difficulties if not everybody is on board with eating Clean. Like if your kids want all the garbage food, but you still need to buy ten pounds of chicken every week. That can get expensive.
Luckily for me, Jason has been super supportive in this whole thing. He’s not eating Clean, but he’s eating better. He eats what I eat, plus I’ll cook pasta or rice with dinner for him so he won’t be carb deprived. He’s just happy for home cooked food, so he’s not picky. I don’t think he’ll ever super love asparagus and broccoli as much as I do, but he tolerates it pretty well. The interesting thing will be when the Little Man comes this summer. I’ll probably relax things for the few weeks he’s here. We’ll see…
I’m going to come back later with pictures of what a typical day of food looks like.