I first learned what the term “clean eating” was on my 39th Birthday. At that time, I was a Mom of two toddlers, eating for convenience (think flavored Oatmeal packets, my kids’ goldfish and leftover Chicken Nuggets, crackers and cheese and to-go Salads topped with Ranch and all the fixings). If you told me it was fat-free I would eat it. After all, that’s what we were told by the media – fat makes you fat. Little did I know, that fat-free meant it was filled with chemicals and processed foods. I was never a label reader, sure I ate fruit and some veggies but processed foods and refined sugars made up 80% of my weekly food intake.
I was at the point where my clothes were so snug, and my belly had a tremendous amount of bloat and extra weight around it. I knew I had muscle tone underneath but it was covered by a good layer of bloat and pounds. I was doing cardio galore, so I had no idea what I was doing wrong. Well sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. I was a Fitness Instructor, shouldn’t I have this all figured out? The answer was no, and I wanted so badly to feel better but didn’t know HOW.
So I started a clean eating routine. I actually ordered a Pilates/Yoga/Barre type of workout to do at-home and that came with a clean eating meal plan, and some plant-based superfoods as a bonus! I figured if my running and gym workouts weren’t cutting it, why not try something new. I had a goal– to be FIT by 40 and I had one year. I knew it wasn’t going to be overnight, so I dug in. I announced to my family and friends that I was going to eat clean for the month of August, and they laughed.
Well it didn’t take me long, maybe a few weeks, to see and feel a difference. Inches fell off first, and then weight. My skin was better, my mood, and my energy. There was no 3pm crash, or cravings for pop and candy. I ditched the soda habit actually and traded it for sparkling water. I replaced the flavored oatmeal packets for whole oats topped with Greek Yogurt, berries and peanut butter. It was like dessert for breakfast. I started feeling SO good that August went by, and I kept going.
I am 7.5 years strong, and over the holidays I let some habits slip back into my routine. The treats in the cupboard were calling my name more often than normal. I was saying yes to the glass of wine more frequently. Instead of taking a few minutes to cut up the veggies, I was grabbing snacks from a bag. I began to see some old habits creep back in after YEARS of saying good-bye to them. Two years of stress and grief will do that to you. I was tired, stressed and taking the easy route because I didn’t feel up to going the extra step on habits that were already there.
So I am 12 days into re-committing to ME! Eating clean, doing low-impact workouts to give my body a break just like I did 7.5 years ago. I am hydrating like a fool. I haven’t had a sip of wine for 12 days. I feel more energetic, happy, and my muscles aren’t so tight. I have dropped inches and pounds, but more importantly feel ME again.
So this is a reminder that we only feel as good as we fuel our bodies! Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food. Many of our health woes can be cured with whole, real fresh foods! I know it sounds cliché but our health is our wealth. If we don’t have good health, our quality of life is taken away. Our gut has more impact on our health than we realize — so here’s some tips to get your health back on track if you are moody, bloated, lacking energy, finding it hard to sleep, have digestion issues, have skin issues, are dealing with anxiety or depression.
- Eat fiberous foods- berries, apples, oats, beans and legumes, sweet potatoes
- Read labels- don’t eat it if you don’t recognize what it is
- Make healthy food easy- wash and cut veggies, make some proteins and grains in advance so you can grab and go!
- Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day
- Move your body five days a week – low-impact is great to start.
- Make changes slowly, when you try to do it all at once it may be overwhelming (ditch the soda habit, then eat more veggies, then focus on protein, then water, then exercise.) Set yourself up for success and sometimes that’s easing into it!
- Keep going with your changes and don’t look back. If you slip, remind yourself how much better you feel when you eat clean! Yes you can still have your favorite things in moderation but whole, real fresh foods are what FUEL us for life. Processed foods and refined sugars slow us down and that’s when all the ailments creep in!
If you are looking for some help in your clean eating journey, I am starting a GUT HEALTh is WEALTH group on March 28th, just click this link to fill out my interest form and I’ll be in touch! https://forms.gle/3Yi2bVLA3b32MNhv8
In Good Health,