September Clean Eats Sweeps: Week 4

The clean eating challenge I took part in over the month of September has ended and I feel much better than I did on September 1. I lost three pounds overall and one inch!

I’m quite happy with those results since I wasn’t incredibly strict with myself and didn’t eat 100% clean. I had gluten free bread a couple of times, still topped my salad with goat cheese and nibbled on swiss cheese too. Cutting out alcohol made the biggest difference for me. I eat pretty well most of the time, but those empty calories in booze really add up.

I think abstaining from alcohol in the last two weeks and exercising in the last week of the challenge helped melt away those last couple of pounds.

Even though I’m a certified fitness instructor, I don’t really enjoy exercise in the traditional sense. Burpies and push ups and lunges are not my favourite thing to do but an opportunity came up to try out a free bootcamp class with the other ladies competing in the challenge. I decided to go for it, even though I was scared.

I have a decent fitness level from hooping, but bootcamp is always humbling for me. As soon as I got there, we asked the teacher if she would go easy on us. She basically replied no, as this was the last class of the series. Oh shit.

I somehow survived class though, pushing myself through countless lunges, squats, presses and sprints knowing that my body could do everything it was my mind I had to convince. I was slower than everyone else but still managed to get everything done. My legs nearly collapsed at the end of the class, but I did it!

I didn’t hurt the next day, but two days after I could barely walk or sit. I tried to keep moving so I didn’t get too tight but didn’t have a whole lotta luck.

I decided to go to a hot yoga class led by my favourite instructor on the third day after bootcamp because I felt like I could move with a little less pain again. I love this particular teacher’s classes because they are fun and challenging with the perfect amount of yogic philosophy.

We always do crazy advanced poses that I try to get through and in this class we happened to be working on opening our hips which was great since my quads and hamstrings were so tight from bootcamp still. I felt great after and when I weighed myself the next morning I was down to 132 pounds. I think hot yoga helped me burn some fat and let me sweat out some excess water weight.

The challenge is done but eating clean just seems like a habit now that I’ll continue. It took me all of my 20’s to get here, but I want to continue honouring my body and take care of it as best I can. My 30th birthday is now under two weeks away and I can safely say that when I wake up on October 18, I will feel pretty awesome!

September Clean Eats Sweeps: Week 3

Ok, so how did week 3 go? Well, pretty good since I lost two pounds. Down to 133 pounds now, yipee! As this challenge moves forward, I notice that I’m actually feeling a little more competitive and am more interested in the actual weight loss part of this than I was to begin with. I’ve found that tracking my food intake in the MyFitnessPal app has been really enlightening – when I was doing it. I have lost traction on that because I didn’t make time for it for a couple of days, then I never went back to doing it. I’m going to start again today and do it for the next 5 days to finish off the challenge. It is super helpful for education around how many calories are in the foods I’ve been eating. I always read labels so I have a good understanding of the nutritional value of packaged foods but had little understanding of how many calories are in 2 cups of mixed greens or a banana for example. I was very excited to find out that there are only 20 calories in the greens portion of my daily salad and about 105 calories in a medium banana. I always eat fairly healthy, but I often eat too much for weight loss. I must eat just enough for weight maintenance because I haven’t gained weight in years now and I can manage that without tracking my intake.

Nuts

1/4 Cup of Almonds & Cashews

The other thing the app is helpful with is giving me an idea of how much carbs, fat, protein, sodium and sugar I’ve consumed. Last year my naturopath encouraged me to snack on nuts and seeds instead of gluten free crackers as the protein would help keep me feeling fuller longer, and nuts aren’t packed with all the other garbage that crackers have in them. I love raw cashews & almonds now but because of this app, realized that I was consuming two servings instead of one. Because of the nuts and the avocado I often throw in my smoothie, my fat daily fat intake was skyrocketing. There can always be too much of a good thing I guess. I’ve limited my nut intake to 1/4 cup in total instead of a 1/2 cup and all seems to be good.

Another highlight from week 3 is that I went camping at a small music festival/equinox gathering and didn’t have a single alcoholic beverage! That is a first for me in my adult life! I really just felt the booze wasn’t worth the extra calories and I wanted to really challenge myself. Food was provided all weekend, and it was all mostly organic and very healthy so I didn’t even really have temptations to eat junk. I wish camping was always that easy for food!

Well, onto the homestretch now. I’m excited to see how I fare come September 30.

September Clean Eats Sweeps: Week 2

Week 2 was an interesting challenge for clean eating because I was planning on spending the weekend at the cabin. My habits are pretty healthy during the week when I’m on my regular schedule. The issue is that not being on my regular schedule requires a lot of pre planning.

I had a work meeting on Monday night where dinner was provided. As my gluten, lactose & onion free option I was given a sandwich with deli meat on a gluten free bun. Not very clean, but my only option given I hadn’t planned ahead. Sometimes food allergies are so much work, it’s annoying to have to think about pre planning meals beyond that. I knew a weekend at the cabin would be a challenge, not only in terms of food but also for alcohol consumption. A typical weekend at the cabin includes chips, hot dogs, cookies or chocolate and lots of wine. That certainly would not be acceptable this trip! I’m quite proud of myself for bringing ground chicken lettuce wraps, hummus & veggies, fruit and seaweed snacks for my meals. My big treat was cashew butter and banana’s. One of my favourite healthy snacks. Mostly though, I’m proud of not bringing any booze! I did have two of my husbands ciders and a mango margarita on Saturday, but that was it for the whole weekend. I allowed myself those drinks partly because I was getting a bit cranky from the lack of sugar I was consuming and partly because it was my last visit to the cabin this summer and the weather was beautiful. and I don’t need to completely punish myself. I spent some time hooping, playing badminton, throwing a football around and walking dogs so that must have done something to combat the extra calories too.

I think that the hardest part of clean eating is the planning. It’s so much easier to make pre-packaged food or grab fast food but I know I feel so much better when I eat clean. Even though I haven’t been 100% clean so far, I’m happy with where I am because September has been busy so far and I’m not in the position to devote all of my time preparing food. I’m doing what I can and still living my life too, and I’m OK with that. I’m  back at 135 pounds, so down a half pound since last week and that is also OK. These next two weeks, I am really going to challenge myself – no alcohol at all and if I do have a meeting where non-clean food will be served, I will make a better effort to bring my own food.