It’s been nearly four weeks since the hubs and I started our eat clean challenge. If you remember, I created an “approved” and “unapproved” foods list for us to follow. The intention was to do a “sugar detox” of sorts to get sugary treats and junk food cravings out of our system, and focus on a high protein, high fat, low carb meal plan. The approved list was very close to Paleo, but had a few “extra” items.
So, here’s a little update for you. Days 1-3 were hard … but doable. When I set my mind to something, it’s fairly easy to stick with it the first few days. In fact, I was barely even craving sugary treats since I had made up my mind not to eat them.
Then day 4-6 happened.
Wow — super rough.
On day 4 I started craving carbs like crazy. I also hit a low-carb wall and began feeling a lot of muscle fatigue while I worked out. Carbs turn into glucose and are stored as glycogen in the muscles. And the worst part was — my mood turned sour. See — carbs increase happy hormone levels in the brain.
When I hit the low-carb wall, I started to think that maybe the eat clean challenge was a stupid idea. And then I did an ab check on Thursday evening. WOW — I was already starting to see some definition. In fact, my progress after just four days was pretty significant. Also, because I cut the processed junk food out of my food intake, I wasn’t feeling gassy or bloated in the least. Seeing and feeling some good progress on day 4 got me through day 5 and 6.
On days 5 and 6, man I was feeling the need for some treats. We made a sugar-free peanut butter cookie on Saturday evening — not very tasty. Then we made some sugar-free peanut butter cookie dough no-bake bites on Sunday with ingredients from my “approved foods” list. Holy goodness — super delish!
Since the first week, it has been far easier to eat clean! I haven’t really been craving sweets or whole grains much at all. Prior to our challenge, we had been eating pop corn and ice cream every single night. Now, I barely even think about it — success! I think my body is getting more used to my new eating routine, and I find that I’m not hungry in between meals either. I’m only drinking one cup of coffee per day, and making it a point to drink lots more water. I am finding that I am craving water versus coffee even in the morning.
One of the most significant improvements that I’ve seen is a little more subtle. Baby Cole caught a cold at church the weekend we started the challenge. He’s been dealing with a nasty cold ever since (poor guy). This entire winter, I was getting sick immediately after the kiddos got sick — there was literally no hope for me and it seemed like my immune system was totally shot. Now that I’ve completely taken out sugar and processed foods in my diet, I’ve been able to avoid catching Cole’s sickness. Coincidence? Not a chance. It’s because I’m not in taking immune-killing sugary treats on a regular basis.
I truly believe that the hubs and I are already looking and feeling better as a result of our eat-clean challenge.
Also, this Saturday I plan to build in a cheat-day, and we’ve built-in a few throughout the challenge (especially on vacation). I am a huge proponent of balance and moderation, so now that we’ve re-set our systems a bit and gotten rid of select cravings, we will add some items back into the “approved foods” list. Here’s the list for the next couple weeks with new items bolded:
- Green beans
- Green pepper
- Sweet potato
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
- All-natural peanut butter
- Fruit (one serving per day)
- Dessert item (one serving per week)
- Sugar and treats
- Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
- And anything NOT on the approved foods list
I have not lost any weight on the challenge. My goal was to redistribute weight a bit, and get some definition in my midsection. I don’t own a scale, but happened to weigh myself on vacation last week, and I am exactly the same weight as before I had Cole (5 or 6 healthy lbs heavier than before I got pregnant with Emma).
Overall, I feel GREAT, and plan to continue this lifestyle long after the challenge is over!