Clean Eating Update: Results
So I started the clean eating idea with the push of a Lenten promise. We Catholics usually try to mark Lent with some sort of sacrifice, in order to remind ourselves what Jesus gave up for us. The idea of giving up cookies or cake or chips being equal to his seems ludicrous in the most basic comparison, but we still do it.
The night before Ash Wednesday, I went out to dinner with my race committee. I was feeling out of control and fat. I ordered seafood pasta, feasted mightily before that on antipasto, had several glasses of wine and finished the meal with a slice of carrot cake.
Beside me was my girlfriend who was doing the Isagenix cleanse. She had steamed salmon and spinach, no antipasta, no dessert, and no wine. I chided her the whole time that I thought Isagenix was a pyramid scheme built on people’s weakness and inability to control their food intake. That real food was a far better way to lose weight.
She looked at me politely and went on to lose ten pounds in short order with her powders and shakes.
I went home that night and decided I wanted to put my money where my mouth was as well. I decided to clean up my diet and therefore being able to have a leg to stand on when complaining about these cleanse programs.
Now with Lent nearly over, I’m ready to look at the changes I’ve made and the progress I’ve made so far. I gave up sugar (including artificial sweeteners), dairy, bread and cut back on alcohol.
Weight: down 6.8 pounds
BMI: went from 29.6 to 28.2
What’s different: I don’t crave sweets at all any more. I’m used to my coffee and tea without it, although I do get some cravings for sweet stuff from time to time. When it is bad enough I reach for an apple with PB2 or a banana. I don’t even mind my oatmeal without the dollop of agave or maple syrup any more.
Carbs are less of a temptation too. I only officially gave up bread, but I really have cut back on anything processed or unhealthy in that department; I don’t eat crackers or crostini or croutons either. As a result I’m eating more complex carbohydrates, like bulgur and brown rice and sweet potatoes. What’s nice is I really don’t feel deprived here. I’m still eating food that tastes very good. Just different foods.
I’m honestly not sure if I’ve seen any benefit from cutting out the dairy, to be honest. Maybe cheese being less of a temptation. But since I only had it in my coffee and in the form of yogurt on a routine basis, it’s not a huge change. I do drink coffee black when I’m out now, which is a small calorie savings. This is one I’m probably not going to stick with long term. I will still use almond milk and alternative yogurts but I’m not going to go crazy about it.
Cutting back the alcohol has been my least successful venture with the clean eating. Probably because it’s the one “treat” I have left. While everyone is eating their dessert I’ll sip a glass of wine. I have cut back somewhat, but not to the extent I’d hoped. It’s still a work in progress.
Overall I think this experiment has served me well, and I have some solid tools in place that have jump started my weight loss and gotten me back on track. I will continue with these four “rules” indefinitely, although I may allow myself a cheat here and there (the sugar one worries me though…I may not go there for a while yet….it feels like a slippery slope). But I think now that I have some hard and fast parameters within to guide my food choices, I’m doing better. It’s easier to make the right choice when I know dairy and bread are off limits: have a salad. It’s easier to turn down dessert when I just can say: sorry, I gave up sugar. It isn’t a big deal anymore, and that in and of itself IS a big deal.