I talk a lot about treating yourself and making sure that you aren’t being too hard on yourself, especially in terms of healthy lifestyles. I will gladly have an ice cream now and then or indulge in french fries when I want to. While I still plan on keeping an open mind about food, I also have been focusing on eating cleaner lately.
Last week, I joined a clean eating group on Facebook, and challenged myself to eat clean for 5 days straight. My friend, who led the group, supplied us with grocery lists and recipes, and encouraged us to eat healthy throughout the week.
One of my main motivations for joining this group was just to get new ideas about eating healthy. Sure, I love my greek yogurt in the morning, and I include vegetables at every meal, but having the same foods too often can be pretty boring and uninspiring, especially when you have it on a daily basis. All too often I get bored with the same old thing, and then I find myself reaching for unhealthy options instead.
I also, obviously, was excited to challenge myself to eat cleanly all week. A lot of times, we get fooled into thinking that unhealthy foods just taste better than healthier options, but that is completely untrue. Last week, I had meals such as turkey burgers and banana “pancakes,” and I thought they tasted just as good as their unhealthy counterparts. I’m not saying that I’m never going to have a cheeseburger or pancake again, but it’s awesome to have a healthy go-to as well when I’m craving that food.
Throughout the week, as I ate cleaner and went for more healthy foods, I started to feel less bloated. I even lost a little bit of water weight during those 5 days. The majority of the time I do have a pretty healthy diet, but it’s amazing how good you feel when you’re really focusing on your health.
While I try to include as many fruits and vegetables in my daily diet, I definitely amped up the amount of whole, fresh foods that I was eating last week. There are times when I rely on pre-made protein drinks and protein bars. While I think they’re great options when you’re in a rush, I can’t deny the fact that they aren’t the most natural products in the world. During my clean eating challenge, I went for apples with peanut butter and peppers with hummus, and it definitely felt good to be eating these natural foods.
So I know what you’re thinking. What happened after my 5-day challenge of clean eating? I went out of the week feeling totally inspired and excited to be more healthy. Then, I had a wedding weekend in Stowe, Vermont (which was absolutely beautiful,) and as it usually goes during vacations and family events, I didn’t eat the greatest throughout the weekend. The french fries, creamy foods, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream were too hard to resist.
I think that is a good reminder that life happens. I wasn’t going to go to Vermont without visiting the Ben and Jerry’s factory nearby and tasting the ice cream, and I’m totally okay with that. And while I did enjoy myself last weekend and indulged in foods that are not so healthy, I am still feeling inspired by my week of clean eating and I am excited to strive for more clean meals as I go forward with my health journey.
This Monday, I got back to my regular schedule and have been continuing my clean eating as much as possible. Throughout my weight loss journey, I have been eating foods that are lower in calorie and lower in fat, but these foods aren’t necessarily natural like whole fruits and vegetables are. Being able to take a break and eat more clean foods has been a great learning experience for me, and made me realize how much better I feel when I eat cleaner foods. I’m always going to treat myself to things here and there, but I am much more motivated to find cleaner and healthier recipes.
One of the biggest things that I am focusing on now is getting more natural foods in. I love having my Halo Top and other low-calorie ice creams for dessert, but I have also been switching things up and having fruit with dark chocolate chips for dessert instead. I’m also looking forward to trying out banana “ice cream” recipes soon! I tend to indulge the most on desserts, so I’m excited to find some more natural options that I can try out.
I hope that you enjoyed this post, and that it might give you some ideas on your own health journeys. Do you have any clean recipes that you’ve been loving lately? I am feeling very inspired and I would love to try out some new recipes!