Saturday, April 23, 2011

What a Different Life!

The 28 Day Challenge will be launching on Monday. In many ways it has already launched for many of you as you have gathered supplies, materials and information. It launched for me almost two years ago. Clean eating is a journey. The further you get into it, the more you get out of it. The more consistent you are in your food selection, the more you will not want to deviate. Know that you are not going to be perfect or that all cravings and temptations are just going to magically disappear.

If this is your first adventure into clean eating I would suggest you focus on adding one new recipe a week and removing one unclean item each week. I would focus on removing either sugar or sodium in the first week. You know which one is most important for you to focus on. It would be sugar for me and I had to quit sugar cold turkey because it was such a trigger food for me that would lead to binges. I also had to be very aggressive in my elimination of sodium containing foods for health reasons. Just those two changes made HUGE differences in my health and wellness. Because I wasn't eating sugar I felt more 'in control' of my food choices. It does take will power when you first start. I will not lie. You have to consciously say I will not eat sugar. If sugar is a big trigger for you, I would encourage you to eliminate all forms of sugar for one week (honey, agave, truvia, etc.) If you will do this for one week you will be amazed at how sweet fruits and berries taste on a cleansed palate. I would put into my diet more spinach, broccoli and asparagus, oats, farro, brown rice, chicken, eggs, fish. Those would be my top foods to include in your meals over the next 28 days.

I am on an off week right now. I am not 'on a plan' I am eating clean, but have allowed myself this week to indulge in a few things that I may not have in my menus on a regular basis. Yesterday my husband and I were reminiscing about what a difference there has been in my life, my health and my purpose over these past two years. More than two years ago my weight and blood pressure was soooooo high and my health was seriously so bad that the doctors thought that I had had a cardiovascular event. I was 42, almost 43 at that time. I was scared. I seriously thought I might die, maybe not that day, but in the near future. I had fears of dying at 267 pounds and my boys (21 and 23 at that time) having to carry a coffin with my obese body inside. My boys are only 5'5 and 5'7" and weigh approximately 120 pounds. They are young men with a whole life ahead of them. One is getting ready to graduate from college and get married. I did not want to be that kind of burden to my boys and I didn’t want to miss out of their lives. Then I thought, even if I don’t die now, my health choices are not making my life better, and all my best days are behind me. At some point I am going to be older, injured, or in some way debilitated and someone I love is going to have to help me in and out of the shower or up and down from the toilet. I love people way to much to want to burden them with the consequences of my choices. 267 pounds is a lot to pick up when it falls down.
But, I had a dilemma, I didn’t know how to properly feed my body. I had lived with bulimia for so long (25+ years) that all I knew was diet foods, deprivation and binging. I did not have a healthy relationship with food and did not know how to navigate the grocery store. Grocery shopping became torture. I would spend hours in the store, crying on each isle as I read label after label trying to figure out what I could eat. I felt doomed to a life of bland boring foods and mourned the idea of never eating tasty foods again. I would pray that SOMEONE, ANYONE would just tell me how to properly feed my body. I love to cook, I always have, but I was totally lost in how to make sense of all the mixed information I was receiving about how to lower my blood pressure, lose weight and improve my health. It was a struggle for a long time. Mostly it was a head game. I had to be careful to not let myself think of myself as being deprived in any way or this could trigger a binge. I had to tell myself that my body could not function on substandard fuels, it deserved the best. This was my self-talk to keep me from indulging in the pastries, candies and fried foods that surrounded me daily.
Flash to yesterday. My husband and I are out on the town shopping and going to lunch. I ask him where he would like to have lunch. He says “You pick, you are the one who has to be more selective in your food. I can eat anything”. This has been the case our whole marriage, he can eat anything and it does not gain weight, I can be VERY selective and work very hard and still struggle with my weight. But, I said “No, you pick, we always go where I want to go.” He said “Burgers and Fries would be nice, you okay with that?” I said “Sure, I could do burgers and fries . . . I haven’t had either in a loooooong time and it would not hurt me.” So, I headed the car towards 5 Guys burger joint. At the intersection he said “Let’s go to Houlihands”. I am so glad he did. I honestly I do not look at a burger and fries as a treat any more, I look at as something that I will eat if I must. I just feel so good when I am eating clean. I like the way my rings swing around my fingers like hula hoops and my body mores pain free without inflammation or bloating.
Sometimes in my passion about clean eating and the amazing difference it has made in my life, I can come off as militant and some feel intimidated by that. Know this, I did not start this journey with the benefit of someone walking it before me telling me how to find my way. I did not stumble into the Eat Clean movement until 9 months after I was that crying girl in the grocery store wishing someone would hold my hand and show me how to navigate the isles safely. Once I found Tosca and read her story, I knew I had a friend, an ally who knew some things that I did not know yet. So, I hitched my wagon to her train and have been along for the ride since then. All along the way I have learned new ways to clean up my diet and enjoy a better level of health. My approach may seem overwhelming to some. I am not perfect, but I do desire to learn more and challenge myself to pursue my best health. I also fight for that Carolyn of two years ago. I mentally go through the grocery store holding her hand and say “darling, you can do this and I’m here to help you every step of the way!

Enjoying one of my new dresses for spring! I feel like twirling around in this dress and signing "I feel pretty . . .Oh, so pretty!"

Live beautifully! Be YOU!


  1. You are breathtaking! You know what you are talking about!

  2. I love the dress and I love how you ended the blog with 'live beautifully, be you'. I really needed to read this today. I read it last night - and then re-read it again today.