Saturday, January 18, 2014

Clean Eating Saves the Day!

I'm currently "incubating" on a project, so I thought I'd pop over here and give y'all an update on what's going on at the moment.

Last week I posted my 9-month stats and photos and got tons of hits and feedback.  Thank you all for your kind words - you have no idea how much it means to have the support of such awesome people in my life.  Even those who were initially wary of my decision seem to have come around now that they've seen what a positive force it's been for me.

One thing that had been bugging me was that I seemed to be stuck.  I understand that plateaus happen, but I knew something wasn't right.  I knew I was eating not optimally (and by "not optimally" I mean "like shit"). By sheer luck, my Facebook friend Kim started a seven-day "Clean Eating Challenge."  She invited me to join, and I said, "what the hell."

Clean eating means consuming nothing processed, no dairy, no flour, no sugar.  It also means drinking way more water than I could possibly ever consume in a day, so I got a pass on that one.  I figured if I survived the Great Juice Fast of 2012 and the pre-op liquid diet last year, I could handle a week of clean eating.  The key, I found, is in careful planning.

Every night I would plan my menu for the following day.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two or three snacks.  It took a bit of effort to remember to get up early enough to eat breakfast at home and/or pack my food for the day, and occasionally I would forget to take the fish out of the freezer and end up having to run to the store to get something fresh instead, but I did it.  I did manage to bump up my water intake, too - by replacing my regular low-cal Gatorade with just straight water in my bottle, and by toting my bottle with me wherever I went.

The result?  With just one more day in the challenge to go, I have broken my plateau and lost five pounds this week.  Now I understand it's not five pounds of fat.  More than likely it's just five pounds of water weight and impurities being flushed out of my system.  But that's okay, because that means I have a more accurate measure of my weight now.  Without all that sugar, flour, processed crap, et cetera clogging up my system,  my innards are clean.  And let me tell you - nothing tastes as good as that feels.  I feel lighter, healthier, and no - I'm not starving!

I've also bumped my workouts up to four times a week.  I've started spinning in an effort to fulfill my resolution of getting back on my bike this year, and it's been brutal but not unbearable.  After the first time I stopped feeling like I'd been hit by a Peterbilt the next day.  Working out four times a week also takes careful planning - with my schedule I really have to work to find a time slot to squeeze it into, but with a little foresight and the mindset that it's NOT OPTIONAL, it's getting done.  It also helps that I bumped my Gympact up to $20 per missed workout.  So there's that.

I had a Weight Watchers counselor once who had this to say about exercise:

You wouldn't go days on end without showering, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes.  Even if you were super busy.  Even if you were running late.  You would find a way to get those things into your routine, right?  Well, exercise is no different.  Incorporate it.  Make it part of your daily life.

And she, of course, was right on.  Of all the things I took away from my previous experiences with WW, that was probably the most valuable and the one that stuck with me. Even with working a gazillion jobs, even with all I have going on in my life, I have resolved to make exercise just another obligation in my schedule.  Work it in wherever I can.  I can't skip work.  I can't cut out hygiene. I can't blow off appointments.  I can't postpone commitments.  I can maybe not do the crossword one day.  I can maybe go to bed a little earlier and skip the trashy TLC shows on Netflix.  I can turn down social invitations from time to time.  But I can't blow off exercise.

I'm going to stop here because I have to get back to this job, but I just wanted to share with you my revelations and observations from this past week.  Clean eating is really where it's at, and even if I don't follow it 100% in the future, I feel armed with the knowledge that it's a powerful tool that I can ALWAYS pick up if I fall off track.  I owe Kim a world of thanks for giving me that kick in the ass that I needed to figure that out.

Coming up next: Who the f*** AM I?  

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