Hi everyone! So you may remember my post 8 weeks ago when I talked about starting the Whole Life Challenge. It’s an 8 week lifestyle change where you commit to eating healthier, working out 10 minutes a day, drinking lots of water, taking daily supplements (Vitamin D for the win!), doing 10 minutes of daily stretching/yoga, and trying a new “challenge” each week. On day one I was nervous and had a headache from sugar withdrawal. On day 56, I was a lot different! I felt great, had tons of energy, and was eating completely different meals than before!
In the past 8 weeks I’ve had to make lots of changes to my lifestyle. I’m beyond excited about what I’ve accomplished – especially that I learned how to cook, and that my taste buds changed so much. Sugar tastes so sweet now and I feel really weird and nauseous when I eat it. Overall, I lost 8 pounds and 2 pant sizes – and my husband lost 17 pounds! I also built up more speed and stamina with running (before the injury happened). The best part is that I love how I feel when I don’t eat added sugar. In fact, we’ve decided that we’re going to continue eating this way from now on with the occasional pizza or burger thrown in there. And by occasional I mean once or twice a month if possible. I know I’ll be eating lots of fun things while I’m home at the end of December, but I’m going to try to tone it down a bit. You know, like only visiting Chipotle twice or something 🙂 I just feel better when I’m not eating tons of sugar, carbs, and cheese!
I know it can be intimidating to make a giant lifestyle change like this, especially during this time of year. I honestly felt like the most unlikely person to ever complete the WLC, but I did it! If you’re interested in trying the WLC or another clean eating plan, here are some of my tips for success:
1. Get someone to keep you accountable. Part of the WLC comes from participating in online “teams” with other people who are doing the challenge. I was also very lucky to have my husband join me, so we were both able to hold each other accountable and avoid non-compliant foods together.
2. Keep foods you want to stop eating out of the house. This was key to our success! If I knew something sweet or cheesy was in the house I wouldn’t have been able to resist it at all. We’re actually going to keep up with this now that the challenge is over so that we don’t have any reason to start eating things that make us feel sick.
3. Have a plan! We started planning out our meals for the whole week and did lots of food prepping. We also started making lots of food at once so that we’d have leftovers to last us for another meal or two. When I knew I was going out for a meal, I made sure to check out the menu beforehand so that I could make a healthy choice and not get swept up in ordering all the stuff I usually would.
4. Know that sometimes you’ll want to eat non-compliant foods, and that it’s okay. During half marathon training I ate Jelly Belly Sport Beans as fuel, and after the race I ate chocolate milk and tortilla chips. And when I was in Portland, I absolutely had to have a donut at Voodoo Donut! The key to this is knowing how your body reacts to the food and listening to that. The jelly beans and chocolate milk made me feel great, while the donut did not. It’s a process learning how to listen to your body, but it makes a huge difference in how you feel after a meal!
5. Stop thinking of foods as either “good” or “bad”. Donuts aren’t bad – they just make my body feel awful. Knowing the difference between eating things that fuel your body and eating things that make your body feel awful is pretty important. This might look different for everyone, and that’s okay! For now, eating bread and pizza doesn’t make me feel as bad as eating cheesy pasta and ice cream, so I know what I need to avoid – and I know that I need to eat less bread and pizza so that I’m fueling with whole foods instead.
6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s hard to try new stuff, but if the things you’re doing now aren’t working, why not give something else a shot? I would have never thought that spaghetti squash would replace pasta for me, or that black coffee could taste so good. And I’ve always thought that meditation was weird, but I discovered that it actually makes me feel so calm and stress-free when I make it part of a daily routine!
Remember that making big changes takes time, and that you won’t see results overnight. But if something makes you feel better and run stronger then it’s definitely worth it!
If you could change one eating habit, what would it be? What’s your favorite sugar-free food?