Thursday, October 4, 2012

Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat (Clean Eating - Part 2/2)

Hey guys! If you caught yesterday's post, you know that I've turned blog over to my friend Nicole for a few days. She's the one who challenged me to eat clean for 30 days to see what happens. Today we hear the rest of her story, how she put clean eating/Paleo into action, and she included some status and a before/after snapshot at the bottom of the post, too. Enjoy!

Nicole writes: 

So now what? This is what my husband and I did to get started…We went through our pantry and threw away all processed food. We were able to take it in for a food drive so it wasn’t a complete waste. Believe me it was a lot of food, but we both knew it had to go if we wanted to keep ourselves honest. It was frustrating giving away all that food, but it was more frustrating that we had all of that processed food that we were not using. We started reading labels. What I didn’t know I looked up and was surprised to find how many hidden sugars there were in everything. I’ve gotten to the point where we rarely buy box or canned foods to make it easier. We only shop the perimeter of the grocery store (this is something you will read about in the clean eating books/websites). If you think about how your grocery is laid out it makes sense. Most groceries have produce, bakery, seafood/meat, dairy on the outside and the center of the stores are all the processed foods, so stay on the perimeter! The most important part of clean eating…Kick your sugar addiction!!! Again, read ingredient labels!  You may be surprised at what products contain added sugar! Even if it says sugar free or no sugar added READ THE LABEL! I promise you will be surprised!

Fast forward one month after starting to eat clean. I started getting involved in Crossfit a little over a year ago (though I am not currently active) and was hearing about the Paleo lifestyle. After talking to a few of my CF friends I started looking into it and reading The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. This is a very easy read for someone who would like to know more about it and the benefits from it. Paleo is similar to eating clean in that you do not eat sugar and processed foods. Paleo friendly foods include: fruits, veggies, lean meats, seafood, nuts & seeds, and healthy fats. Things you should avoid on Paleo that you may not on clean eating: dairy, grains, processed foods, sugars, starches, and alcohol. You can read about the Paleo life on Robb Wolf website where he gives information on health benefits as well. So why not legumes and grains? After you do your research you will find that they are typically gut irritants and cause too much bloating (beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat…right?). Go a while without them then try to have it, I get bloated and stomach aches from it.

Perhaps Paleo is too restricting for you, but if you at least move to a clean eating diet, you will not only lose weight, but feel better and that is most important! We have not been consuming those foods for almost 4 months now and when we “cheat” and have something sugary we feel it the next day with headaches and stomach aches (no joke, it’s like a hangover!) That is why if anything I recommend cutting sugars and processed foods out. I know you might say yea right that is not possible or I love my sweets. Well I did to, but I enjoy feeling better about myself and making healthier foods choices for my family. It’s all to do with whether or not you truly want to lose weight and live healthy or if you want to lose weight now and fight to keep it off. I have done the calorie counting and lost weight, but put it right back on once I stop counting. I find it much easier to eat healthy. Don’t think you are limited to what you can eat; this has actually opened the door to so many more foods for us. We cook more and eat so much better now. If you don’t like to cook, you better learn to like it because food prepping is very important!

So here are my stats for those of you who want to know. I am 5’6” and started at 182lbs with a 35 ¾“ waist. According to the professionals I should be between 118 - 155 lbs with a waist line around 30”. My main goal now is body fat percentage though, so now I need to start working out better. I started off in a size 12-14 (always different depending on brand, you know!); 4 months later I am down to 152lbs and into size 10, some 8's (to add my husband started at 206lbs and is at 178lbs, 5’9”). One thing I noticed about this time of losing weight was my stomach; it took me a lot of hard work and months to get my stomach “flat” again. My stomach changed a lot faster this time around. Sugars and processed foods go straight to our stomachs. Look around and where do you see most people’s problem areas? Yep, their stomach. Another area I noticed changing were my legs, I had a lot of cellulite on them and I have already seen a big change in that was well! Don't get me wrong I love sweets, dairy, and breads but for me it's not worth it anymore and Paleo is more fitting to me than Clean Eating. I was depressed about my weight/look and it emotionally took a toll on me. I am a major stress eater. I wasn't one to starve myself because of stress, bring on the junk food! Then I would chow down and get more depressed that I just ate all the food. So, it is an endless cycle. This is the only way I can stay healthy. Of course we "cheat" here and there, maybe a few times a month, but for me I need to or I might go overboard one day. Whatever works for you really! After a good month into no sugar, the cravings go away and you start to replace your sweet tooth cravings with naturally sweet foods like fruit!

See the Clean Eating page on this site for a list of sites related to clean eating, sugar addiction, and Paleo that I compiled. Do your research and read up on Clean Eating and Paleo. Whichever you chose, remember one of the most important things you can do is eliminate the sugar and processed foods in your diet (have I said that enough?). I asked a "Would you rather" question on FB the other day..."Would you rather go 30 days without sugar or 90 days without caffeine?" I am not saying there is a right or wrong here, but my friends living the healthy lifestyles of eating clean all gave up the sugar without a doubt. Some have made the comment "Sugar is more addicting than Heroin." Now I’ve never done heroin, but more or less sugar is just as addicting as a drug. Sit down and look at your eating habits and really ask yourself why you are not willing to give up sugar. I like the saying "If it was easy then everyone would do it." Be strong and know you can do it. Do it for yourself and your family. One of the best things you can do for your children is to teach them healthy eating habits. If we as parents are overweight our children are more likely to follow in that path. Be the change you need for yourself and your children will learn from your commitment!

Remember this is NOT a diet it is a lifestyle! It is not something you do for a few months to lose weight, it is something you have to be dedicated to and really want. Let me know if you want help with anything! I am still learning and have a great support of friends to help me out!

 *Warning* If you decide to eliminate sugar from your diet, you can have withdrawals from it. I had headaches and so did my husband. It can be a few days or weeks. So stay strong for a least a month or so!

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