Weekend in Review + 30 Day Challenge Recap
Happy Monday! I hope everyone got to enjoy the beautiful weather over the weekend! I know I did a lot of outdoor exercising over the weekend including a nice long run with my favorite running partner-
I also had a fun girl’s day with my niece. We went on a walk, got our nails done, and went shopping.
Friday night I watched the documentary, In Defense of Food, and I was glued to the screen the whole time. The main takeaway was this- “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This is so incredibly simple, but should truthfully be the foundation of everyone’s approach to nutrition and dieting. I highly recommend giving this one a watch.
That documentary is a great segue into my 30-day challenge recap. After my binge weekend in the mountains back at the beginning of March, I returned home feeling bloated, sluggish, and just all around gross. My gym had started a 30-day challenge the previous week that I wanted to be a part of, but knew that my vacation was going to derail any progress I may have made. Thus, I decided to postpone my challenge to the following week.
For the past 4 weeks, I cut out dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and grains to clean up my diet and get back on track to healthy eating. Do I feel like I need to eat like this for the rest of my life to be healthy? Absolutely not. I believe that anything is ok in moderation, ESPECIALLY chocolate. It just makes life better. However, I think we all need a reality check once in a while to really dial in what we are putting into our bodies. Have you ever read all your food labels before you put something in the cart? Almost EVERYTHING has added sugar. It’s insane. If you don’t believe me, check out your salad dressing, nut butter, and pasta sauce next time you go shopping. No wonder everyone is so addicted to it. It’s hidden everywhere!
The challenge rules were:
1. No sugar. This means added sugars in all forms, but not naturally occurring sugar such as fruit. Honey and pure maple syrup are allowed in small quantities. Artificial sweeteners are not permitted.
2. No grains. Pretty simple here. No rice, bread, pasta, corn, oats, etc.
3. No dairy, meaning no cheese :( or milk.
4. No beans or legumes.
So what did I eat?
All the fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, seeds, and eggs you can eat! I personally allowed myself small amounts of grass fed butter, honey, and maple syrup during the 30 days, as well as 2 servings of red wine per week, because everyone needs to live a little!
Did I cheat?
Yep. Haha, but not a ton. After about a week I went back to getting my favorite Starbucks drink which is an iced blonde Americano with 2 pumps of hazelnut and a splash of half and half. Look, I coach super early in the morning and I was losing my sanity. I did LIMIT it to 3 per week. From a typically daily Starbucks customer, this was a win in my book. I also began allowing myself a couple squares of dark chocolate per night after the first week, with the stipulation that it had to be 70% or darker. No one is perfect!
What did I learn or notice during the 30 days?
This wasn’t so much a learning experience as it was a reminder that I had become very reliant on artificial sweeteners and food-like substances (AKA processed junk). It was good to reset and eat more real, whole foods. I also cooked WAY more veggies and a much greater variety of them over the past few weeks. I am totally convinced that if you don’t like vegetables, you just haven’t ever had them cooked in the right way. Vegetables can be delicious!
I noticed that I felt less bloated and more energized throughout my day. Also, my skin also looks clearer and feels smoother now. I am interested to gradually add things back in to see how it affects this. Since I haven’t changed my skin routine at all, it seems likely that something I was eating was having an affect on my skin.
What will I change moving forward?
There are many parts of the challenge that I hope to continue with. For example, I want my diet to consist mostly of plants and meats. I plan to try to add back in gluten free bread, rice, and oatmeal again to see how my body reacts to them, but I will still probably keep these as an every now and then diet option.
I will probably stay mainly dairy-free, as I have a feeling that my body may have a pretty inflammatory response to cheese and milk. I may test this out sometime soon just to see what happens.
I am going to continue to limit artificial sweeteners, although I see them making their way into my diet here and there. I definitely want to monitor how they make me feel and eliminate those that give me any sort of gut issues.
So what now?
Because I was limited on the types of foods I could eat, I found myself eating a relatively high fat diet. Nothing against healthy fats, I love my veggies cooked in olive oil, whole eggs, fatty cuts of meat like ribeyes, and avocado oil-based salad dressings, but eating too many of them can become a problem. I am going to go back to tracking my macros, using the MyFitnessPal app, for a few weeks, just to make sure I am being a bit more consistent.
So that’s that! Nutrition challenge complete! If you are scratching your head about my plan to start tracking macros, I plan to do a post on that later this week, so stay tuned. I hope you all have a great start to the week!