Let's rewind. Prior to last August, I ate junk. All the time. In huge quantities. I was a sugar and carb addict! In June 2012, I read Scott Jurek's Eat and Run and ideas started floating around in my head. That, coupled with feeling like junk during races (and in general), and a job change, motivated me to get started.
In the last year, I have experienced what it takes to change your eating habits for life vs. "going on a diet." Here are just a few thoughts on the process...and it is, indeed, a process...
1. Do not cut things out. Replace. Fact - I still eat a lot of sugar. You could still call me a sugar addict. But 99% of the sugar I eat comes from fruit. It is natural sugar, not sugar in processed foods.
2. Do not deprive. I eat when I'm hungry. What I do not do anymore is mindlessly eat because I am bored, or because I had a bad day, or because I just ate something shitty that has triggered me to want more shitty food.
3. Making gradual changes is key, and take the time to be aware of how food makes you feel. I know I said in number one not to cut things out. I say that because I will not say "I will never eat another cookie again." But, cookies make me feel awful. Therefore, I will not eat them. Not because I am not allowing myself to, but because they make me feel icky. As the year went on, the foods I chose to eat, especially those for snacks, changed. There is a spectrum of food from not processed at all (apples, almonds, ect) to heavily processed (twinkies, sausage). I cut out all those foods at the heavily processed side initially because I knew they were addictive, but I never went back to them because of how they make me feel. In the middle of the year, I still ate some processed foods for snacks - triscuits and wheat thins mostly - but eventually those exited my diet as well when I realized fruits and veggies made me feel way better. The biggest gradual change - diet coke. I said good bye to diet coke (cold turkey) on April 1st after a visit to the chiropractor revealed that I may have the very beginning stages of osteoporosis.
4. Stick up for yourselves. My close friends were with me 100% through this process. Other friends who weren't as close to this process still try to "push food." I have come to the resolve that they just don't understand. Now, I tell them..."I'm not eating that because it's bad for me, I'm not eating that because it makes me feel like junk." Family is worse - they really don't understand. "One cookie won't kill you." Yep. You are right. But it will make me feel like shit...and why would I make myself feel like shit....
5. Know that it may take time, but your changes will be contagious. One of my
6. This is a personal opinion, but I feel obligated to share it. Eat FOOD. Slimfast meals, herbalife, protein bars are NOT food. They are food products. These might be ok food products for you to eat while you transition to a clean eating lifestyle, but they should not be your end goal. You WILL feel better (and sleep better, and have more energy, and run faster, and gain more muscle mass, and...ok, I'll stop now) by eating FOOD and not food products.
7. Eating an occasional ice cream, or chips, or anything else of the sort is NOT cheating. You cannot "cheat" on healthy eating habits, you can only cheat if you are on a diet. Balance is key. I try to follow the 80% rule. I eat healthy, nutritious food 80% of the time. And when I do eat something not clean, I make sure it is in a serving size only.
8. One last bit of advice. Network, network, network. Follow clean eating pages on facebook and search pinterest for recipes. There are tons of people out there who are/were in the same boat as you. You are not alone!
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