I’m not sure who all follows me on Snapchat (if not, you should — it’s filled with food, dog, and me generally calling myself a fatass). Last month, I talked about needing something to get myself into the spirit of eating well, something that would shock my system and maybe give me a jumpstart, which is something I’ve done countless times, with varying degrees of success.
not me. obvs.
My general problem with this is that people very often sign on to a “two-week challenge,” a ” 21-day fix,” only to get to the end of it and go straight back to where they were. Perhaps the issue is that these programs simply aren’t sustainable for those who come out of eating crap every day. Some scientists believe that sugar is addictive, and as a self-proclaimed sweet tooth, I’m a testament to years of their studies. Kicking sugar is like kicking any other addictive substance, and it will take a period of feeling crappy to start feeling normal (note: believe me when I say that I understand the difference between kicking sugar and kicking something like opiates). If it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, it takes sixty to form a habit with your own health. It isn’t simply, “I’ll load and run the dishwasher every night before bed,” or “I’ll read at least one chapter in my book per day.” When physiology has a seat at the table, this twenty-one day self-help advice isn’t as applicable and your body may scoff at you.
I say all of this because, while a challenge is a wonderful starting point if you’re serious about getting healthy, it only works if you’re also serious about staying healthy.
In this regard, my two-week Dr. Oz diet was fantastic (if you’re interested, here is the link to the plan). I never felt hungry in the entire two weeks, but I was eating great things. I was having a smoothie for breakfast, some sort of salad with a little oil and vinegar for lunch, and some sort of tofu + grilled veggies + brown rice combo at dinner, and my “dessert” was 2% plain Greek yogurt with a tiny bit of honey. The caveat here is that I don’t eat meat, and since I couldn’t have seitan (no wheat allowed but the rice) but needed six ounces of protein per day, I was stuck getting really creative with tofu. There was a lot of stir-frying going on.
Oh. And it was two weeks of no caffeine, no alcohol, no processed sugar, no wheat/starches (minus the 1/2 c. of rice per day), no dairy (except for the cup of Greek yogurt daily).
- I honestly had no issue without the caffeine. I don’t drink coffee every day anyway, and I very rarely have soda, so I didn’t get the cold sweats over the lack of caffeine.
- I thought I’d have a bigger issue with the alcohol, but I’ve really enjoyed this period of sobriety. I referenced it earlier this week, but I’ve gotta tell y’all, I really thought I’d sit and ache and yearn for my nightly glass of wine (which says more about my sipping habits that I was prepared to admit). I didn’t. I even went out a few times and played Sober Sally. I feel fantastic, and I think my skin looks better? I don’t know, may be the same phenomenon that makes you think you look skinnier after one twenty-minute workout.
- No sugar. Whew. Y’all, my cupcake love is for real. It might be the strongest love in my life (sorry, everyone). I think I dreamed about a cupcake once. But que sera sera, we moved forward.
- No wheat or starch. I’ll eat a loaf of Wonder Bread in one sitting, so you can probably imagine my struggle.
- Lots of vegetables. Like, lots of vegetables. And once you start eating lots of vegetables, you find out you like eating lots of vegetables.
- One serving of plain, 2% Greek yogurt per day. I hated Greek yogurt in a bad way, which made wolfing down plain Greek yogurt a chore of epic proportions. Wanna know what I figured out? After about a week, I really started enjoying it. Maybe I hated Greek yogurt because it wasn’t overly sweetened like what I was used to. Once I detoxed from my sugar habit, it tasted really, really good.
- Beans, beans, beans. I love beans. All the beans.
- Six ounces of protein a day. This was the rough part because it was only tofu. Have you ever tried to eat tofu fourteen days in a row? It’s the easiest way to a straitjacket. So I tearfully ordered a piece of fish from the Sam’s Club counter and apologized to it as I put it in the oven. Am I horrible? Maybe. But if I got a jury with anyone who had tried to eat tofu for two straight weeks, I’d be acquitted.
Ok. TL;DR. Here’s the thing, though. None of this should be surprising. Eating vegetables, not binge drinking, staying clear of sugar and white carbs … that will make me feel better?? Shocking!! So while I’m not as militant about sticking to all of these things as I was for two weeks, I’m still sticking to this general outline. I’ve gotten with Weight Watchers to track points (admittedly, my previous diet was about five points under my daily allotment), and I’m going to start using some Advocare products with my sister to ensure that I’m getting all the good stuff I need, but this is the outline that has made me feel the best I’ve felt in a while. Feeling this good (and losing five pounds!!) makes me want to keep going.
I still have my smoothie every morning, I still shovel in the vegetables, and I still limit dairy.
But I also had a snickerdoodle cheesecake bar and I think I drooled onto the floor.
Because life is all about balance.