Or diets. Or nature. Or just about anything difficult, uncomfortable or that lacks sugar. It’s true, I’ve never really placed high value on my health and instead have spent most of my adulthood indulging way too much. If it’s bad for you, I love it. Wine, coffee, chocolate, cake, pasta, sitting. Oh and butter. Paula Deen once said, “Butter is just a little stick of smiles and happiness.” She is racist as hell, but she also knows how to get down with some butter. Don’t get me wrong, I also love vegetables. Melt butter on them and I love them even more, but I’ve never actually disliked healthy foods. I just like them in addition to my unhealthy vices.
With all that said, once I had kids I started thinking about things a little differently. Tiny humans make you want to be around forever and living till you’re a thousand doesn’t generally happen if you put shit in your body your whole life. Problem is kids also make you want to drink heavily and hide in the bathroom while stuffing your face with Reese’s peanut butter cups dipped in butter. At least mine do. So how do you find the balance? Even more, I want to teach my kids how to eat healthy from the get go and I certainly don’t want them to follow in my “I don’t do fitness” footsteps. We might have already lost our son to waffles and granola bars, but maybe there is hope for our daughter. She will actually put a fruit in her mouth and chew it. Picky eaters are a bitch, man.
I clearly have a lot of work to do. I must have done something wrong if my son will only eat 3 things, and my attitudes about staying fit aren’t exactly the most motivating. But I think that’s one of the key things I’ve realized. I have to be honest with myself if I’m ever going to make any long-lasting changes. All the beautiful fit ladies I follow on Instagram doing jumping jacks with an apple in their hand make it look so easy. Just eat this, do these reps, and your pants will fit forever. Nope. My pants still don’t fit. You know why? Well clearly cause I don’t do jumping jacks, but mostly because working out and eating healthy are not easy for me and that needs to be said over and over again if I will ever be successful.
Despite my hate/hate relationship with healthy living, I somehow was convinced to join a 5 day clean eating challenge hosted by the awesome Kelly Ling. Kelly is a Beachbody coach and basically badass at fitness and health. She is also one of the beautiful ladies I follow on Instagram except she does way cooler things than jumping jacks while eating an apple. All jokes aside, you should definitely check out her pages. She shares plenty of tips, tricks and recipes that even a non-fitness addict could enjoy.
When Kelly sent me the guidelines for the challenge my heart skipped a few beats. Did I just read that correctly? ONE cup of coffee a day. NO CREAM OR SUGAR. In all caps. Oh hell no. My eyes kept skimming. No alcohol. I laughed out loud. Actually, I texted this to my husband:
I messaged Kelly and told her I had a house full of Fredericksburg and Napa wine and clearly could not participate. Someone had to drink all that loot. And by someone I meant me. But Kelly read through my bullshit and asked, “But come on, 5 days without alcohol?!” Well alright then, challenge accepted.
I went to the grocery store that weekend and learned two things. One, the small rectangular basket at the end of some shopping carts is clearly NOT where healthy eaters store their produce. That quickly overflowed into the large portion of the shopping cart where easily 90% of my cart was brimming with vegetables. Two, eating healthy is effing expensive. It’s easy to stick to a $100 a week grocery budget when the majority of your cart is full of frozen pizza and boxes of mac-n-cheese. Not so much when your entire cart looks like a farmers market. No wonder America is massively obese. Well thanks to a friend, this week I stuck closer to our budget by shopping at Trader Joe’s. Literally cut my bill in half. You should try it. And while you’re at it use this nifty website to help you decipher which produce should be organic or not (Thanks to another friend!)
Anywho, here are my thoughts on the challenge as a whole:
- Turns out I’m not an alcoholic and can in fact survive without wine for 5 days.
- I absolutely cannot survive without coffee and cream/sugar. That shit was torture.
- It worked. I lost 5 lbs. and my husband lost 10!
- It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Well the food part at least. Sure I was hungry, but every meal was tasty and fillingish. By ish I mean it was in fact filling and had the right amount of fuel my body needed, but since I normally indulge it was hard not to want seconds. Halfway through the challenge though it started to feel like my brain was catching up with my stomach and I got less and less starving.
- Drinking half your weight in water is important. Chugging copious amounts of H2O not only helped curb my appetite, but it was also the only thing that helped with my sugar and caffeine withdrawal headache. I mean it also gave me some pregnancy deja vu with my 8,000 bathroom trips each day, but ya know sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
- Having someone send me a daily menu that tells me exactly what to eat and how to make it is pretty badass. I think menu planning might be one of the main reasons I suck so much at this stuff. And Kelly’s menus are legit. She taste tests any recipes she shares and she obviously likes things that taste nom cause our week was straight delicious.
- Getting a daily workout in with a stage 5 clinger of a baby is damn near impossible. Kelly provided daily workouts that could be done at home, but I really suck at working out by myself. Part of any fitness success I have ever had is doing it with a friend (or an entire room of built-in barre3 friends) so I had hoped to get my workouts in through barre3 studio classes. My baby had other plans so I had to be creative (and extra tired) and either get up ass early to do a video before she woke up or forgo the 12 million other things on my to-do-list and workout during naptime. I also subbed a couple of days with a walk around the neighborhood, but even then my baby started crying if she couldn’t at least see part of me in her peripherals.
Overall this challenge made me realize that if I want to make any long-term changes to my health I’m going to have to do something that’s realistic and enjoyable. Sure it was fun sticking to a rigid plan for 5 days, but it’s not realistic for me to do that my whole life. So from here on out my husband and I have committed to eating clean meals and snacks Monday-Friday and unless there is some special occasion like a birthday or anything else worth celebrating we will save drinking alcohol for the weekend. In case you were wondering, watching the finale of the Bachelor counts as something worth celebrating. I’m also allowing myself 1-2 cups of my normal coffee with coffeemate creamer and will try to work out 4-5 times a week. I’m sure Rowan is evil laughing in her sleep right now. We will also use weekends to indulge in any “treats” like cookie butter or ice cream or both cause the truth is I can’t completely deprive myself of the things I love. If I did, it would only make me want to eat them more instead of less. I know it won’t be easy and I’m sure I’ll eff up once or twice, but the point is I’m ready to try to say “I do do fitness”. That sounds like I pooped on fitness. Ha.
Be sure to check the blog tomorrow to view a sample menu with my favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner from the challenge week! In the meantime, happy fitnessing people! 🙂