Over the last 6 months I have been making a conscious effort to eat well and think about what I am putting in my body. Basically, I’ve been trying to “get clean”.
It all started in January when I decided to do a 28 day detox program created by Arbonne. I love Arbonne products, and trusted the program. I had some work to do in regards to my eating habits and was excited to see what improvements I saw with my body and my health.
I love good food. And I could easily eat out every meal. I love to try new things and enjoy different foods. While this has been a great way to compile a list of ‘Best Food in Kansas City’, it has not been good for my body. I started to think about how often I had been getting sick, and how often I felt tired and sluggish. While lack of sleep could play a role, I didn’t think it was the main culprit.
My 28 day cleanse lasted about 21 days. And I cheated on the weekends. I mean, I have to live my life and if my friends invite me to happy hour I refuse to sit there and drink water and not eat. So making it through the week days “clean” seemed like a great goal for me. It also seemed like a great way for me to focus on what I was putting into my body and how it made me feel.
Yes, month one of the new “cleaner-eating-Ali” was a bit rough. I was cranky and just wanted my sweets and restaurant food. But each day seemed to get better than the one before. And I was noticing that while mentally I was a little bitchy, physically I felt awesome. And the stomach aches I often had subsided. I knew my mind would catch up to my body. And it did.
Before I make my food decisions now, I run through a list of questions in my head.
Do I really need to eat this? Usually, the answer is no. I used to snack ALL day. Now, I plan my snacks and bring them to work with me. Instead of eating pretzels, granola bars, or candy, I stick with a yogurt, nuts or a homemade energy bar or bite. And instead of drinking high calorie coffee drinks as an afternoon boost, I have tea or put some fruit in my water.
Can I make it healthier? When cooking a recipe, I always look at the ingredient list to see what I can sub. Sometimes the results are good, others are not so great. But at least I tried. I also apply this to every day when I make my lunch. I used to put things on my sandwiches without even thinking about it. Now I use only ingredients that are beneficial to me and providing some sort of healthy benefit.
How will I feel after? Is eating this ____ (insert donut, cookie, etc) going to make me feel good afterwards (mentally and physically)? Is it really worth it? Sometimes, the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. And sometimes it takes the greatest willpower on earth not to shove the bag of doritos my husband brings home into my mouth.
I do feel that the smarter-eating-Ali is a much healthier Ali. I am absolutely not a “clean eater” by the standards of some people, but I do believe I am much better than the average person. I have seen improvements in my body physically, and also mentally. I don’t know about weight loss, since I try not to use weight as a measurement, but my clothes still fit and I am feeling happier about my body. I have also been warding off illnesses and feeling more energized during the day.
Sure, I still have PLENTY of cheat meals. But I have far less of them than I did before. And to me, that is a victory (progress, not perfection). I am sure a lot of people would cringe with some of the junk I still put into my body. I’m not perfect.
I do not believe in depriving yourself, but I do believe in making smart decisions about what you’re putting in your body. If there is a day where my co workers bring cupcakes for a birthday, naturally I will eat one. Or two (ughhhhh). But then I go back to the clean eating ways and it all seems to even out.
How do you balance your eating? Do you have any tips for someone who wants to make “cleaner and smarter” eating a part of their life?