I’ve been on a clean eating journey for just over 2 months now. The idea behind clean eating, which Jessica outlined in 6 simple steps in this article, is to essentially eat as many whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible, and eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Some take it a step further by eliminating animal products, and even gluten, while others add plenty of green juices to their diet. The concept is a lifestyle shift rather than a strict diet, which is what drew me in and has kept me committed. Some read their favorite blogs to help inspire this lifestyle of clean eating, while others, like me, find a book they love and stick to it like glue.
I’ve been exclusively cooking recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, It’s All Good, for over 8 weeks, and while I get many questions from friends and readers asking me about this switch in eating, one of the questions I get asked most often is if I’ve lost any weight. They want to know if the extra costs at the grocery store, the dietary restrictions, and the learning adjustment have all been worth it. The first thing I tell them is that I’m not doing this for weight loss, but if it’s an added side benefit, then great. I then tell them that no, I haven’t really lost much weight.
But I stepped on the scale this morning, and it turns out that yes, I have in fact lost some weight. I thought I felt a bit lighter. When I started eating clean over 2 months ago, I weighed about 148. I wasn’t watching what I was eating, and I was doing low impact workouts at a local ballet barre place 2 to 3 times a week. I was doing zero cardio workouts, and while I was still cooking from scratch at home for most of our meals, those meals included loads of red meat, and high starch side dishes like enriched pasta, white potatoes, and white rice. Vegetables were zapped in the microwave in those steam bags they sell which are ridiculously convenient, I won’t lie.
Fast forward two months, and even though I still allow myself to “cheat” when eating out, and I still consume my daily cup of coffee, I have made some big changes at home, including:
-Eliminating red meat from our diets at home.
-Switching to organic, or at least free range poultry and exclusively wild-caught fish.
-Vegetables are sauteed, grilled, or roasted, never microwaved, and often account for our main side dish.
-Starchy sides have been swapped for wholesome carbs like brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.
-Elimination of most dairy products at home (the kids still drink organic 2% milk), including switching to almond milk and goat’s milk yogurt. I haven’t eaten cheese at home in months and believe it or not, I don’t miss it.
-Elimination of refined sugar from all cooking including baking.
So what has all this work yielded? Today I stepped on the scale and I’m down 7 pounds, which also happens to be my pre-pregnancy weight, before I got pregnant with our 3rd child almost 2 years ago! Our son turns 1 in just three weeks, and while this weight loss hasn’t been intentional, and definitely not quick, it has been fun, stress-free, and enjoyable. I still very much have been able to enjoy my life, my family, and especially my baby. I’ll take this type of weight loss over the Kim Kardashian way, any day.
Why eating clean at home doesn’t feel like work, even though it involves some big changes:
-Plenty of healthy alternatives are available to me that taste really good! With knowledge comes power, and now that I have a slew of great tasting recipes to choose from, I don’t need any of that other stuff.
-I don’t count calories or watch my portions. This alone makes eating more enjoyable.
-I allow myself flexibility when eating out.
-Because I was already cooking from scratch at home, the meals I prepare don’t feel like extra work, rather it’s just about swapping out ingredients.
-I honestly just feel better overall. My digestion, my energy, my overall outlook on my day is better since switching many aspects of my diet, and feelings of guilt about eating certain foods are gone. This serves as natural, positive reinforcement to enjoy what I’m doing, and keep at it.
So while I’ll continue on my path, and encourage friends who are interested to try clean eating, I’ll stand firm with the belief that it’s more than just about losing weight. It’s about leading a healthier lifestyle that is maintainable and achievable over the long term. If a few pounds are shed in the process, then that’s just a very cool bonus.
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