On August 31 a friend told me about a clean eating challenge she was starting on September 1. I’d been thinking about doing a cleanse anyways so I signed up because this challenge included the support of other women via a private Facebook group, plus there was a chance for the biggest loser to win the pot of $20 entry fees which I thought would help motivate me. We are to eat as clean as possible which means cutting out anything processed, including alcohol. I actually signed up for this on a long weekend thinking the start date was two days away. When I actually realized that I was supposed to cut out booze in a middle of a long weekend I made a concession that I would start the no alcohol thing after the long weekend but still eat clean. All went well and my first meal was delicious!
Since I signed up so quickly, it didn’t occur to me that I had lots of dinner plans coming up in the next week. Again, more concessions were made and I allowed myself one drink at each dinner as long as I still ate as clean as I could at a restaurant. I felt pretty good about this in the past week because I still wanted to enjoy life even though I was doing this challenge. In the past when I’ve done cleanses they’ve been very strict so it was nice to have a little leeway this time. It was interesting though when halfway through the week the challenge organizer made a survey asking what our goal was – to lose weight, to get more energy, to get a better understanding of clean eating? I couldn’t pick an answer because even though I was thinking of doing a cleanse, I really couldn’t define my end goal. I originally thought it might be nice to lose weight, if I lose 5 pounds I’ll be at my high school weight, which is pretty awesome for turning 30 in just over a month! But having a sole goal of weight loss has never worked for me.
Even when I was close to 200 pounds, my goal was to be healthy. I educated myself about nutrition, how calories worked and tried to be more active. Even though I was very overweight, I didn’t have a goal about how much weight I wanted to lose, I just wanted to create a healthy lifestyle for myself. It worked because within a year of starting I dropped about 40 pounds and have kept it off ever since. Then last September I did a naturopath prescribed anti-inflammatory diet to heal my digestive system. I cut out all refined and processed foods including dairy, alcohol and only ate chicken breast, turkey and some fish. I ate a tonne of veggies and a little bit of fruit and some nuts and grains. In the beginning I couldn’t even have carrots or blueberries because they had too much sugar but slowly worked them back into my diet. My goal then was to become healthy and heal my digestive system, but in the course of eating like that for over 6 weeks, I lost another 20 pounds without even trying. Well, I should say, I lost 20 pounds even though that wasn’t my goal, eating like that was a challenge and took a lot of preparation.
Thinking about these past two weight loss experiences made me realize that just focusing on losing pounds isn’t going to work for me. As soon as I go on a diet, I feel like I’m restricting myself and in turn, want to eat all the things! I’m much better at making lifestyle changes by adding more of the good things into my diet and increasing my activity levels. That reflection has led me to determine that my goal is to cut out garbage food again because it has crept back into my diet over the summer and significantly reduce the amount of alcohol I drink. I hope to gain energy and an increased sense of well being which will help get me through my busy time at work and if I happen to lose some weight in the process, that is great. I want to wake up on my 30th birthday knowing that this is the best I have ever felt in my life!
I’ll check in next week to report on my progress to see if any weight loss actually happens. Today I’m sitting at 135.5 pounds which is up .5 pounds from last week. I do already feel better though and that is really what I’m after.