I consider myself diet conscious. I try to eat right. I’m working on exercising more. I have a keen interest in nutrition and the holistic benefits of natural food. I’ve considered going vegetarian, but confess readily that I’m an omnivore so it’s unlikely to happen. I devour nutrition books and information the way other people shovel down French fries (figuratively speaking). I know what’s good for me, I know what’s bad for me, and I strive for moderation and balance.
Even then, I know that it’s not quite enough. And, because I am easily distracted, I know I’ll never step my game up and meet my own standards of food unless I challenge myself to do better. So today, I’m thinking, it’s time to start planning. It’s going to take planning before I can implement my 30 day food challenge. It’s going to take preparation and the steely resolve of the truly determined.
Unfortunately, I cannot achieve everything I would like to. Veggies and fruit completely grown at home (or at the very least through a crop share), Amish Chicken raised locally on a sustainable farm that produces equal quality in their cage free eggs. A diet completely lacking in refined sugars and flours that doesn’t sacrifice taste. A handsome, half naked, tousle-haired Australian chef to do all of the cooking for me – because I do NOT have this thing people call “free time” often enough. Clean counters, cabinets and refrigerator shelves that house only the easiest, most nutritious snacks and meals. The list goes on and on… truly.
I gave up sugary drinks as a child because soda makes me sick to my stomach, literally.
I love broccoli, spinach, kale, lima beans, green beans, black beans, white beans, cucumber, bell peppers, and tomatoes. I strongly dislike carrots but I eat them because I know they’re good for me. I’m not a fan of corn and avoid it whenever possible.
I cut back my coffee intake, even though I drink it black, to help my sleep schedule.
I drink, on average, a gallon of water a day.
I eat a ton of fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, eggs, and chicken.
I exercise a minimum of 4 times a week for 45-90 minutes each time.
I get approximately 8.5 hours of sleep each night.
I have reached the point where I consistently consume the 1250 calorie minimum I set for myself (this was a big one for me.).
The New Plan
Remove added sugar and sweeteners from my diet as much as possible. This means checking labels and deciphering the ingredients.
Adhere to portion sizes strictly.
Reduce intake of highly processed food.
Add two fish meals a week.
Institute a “meatless” day of the week.
Reevaluate my cabinets, counters, and fridge contents. Donate or pitch any items that don’t meet my new goals. Stock shelves with handy snacks.
Increase and diversify my vegetable intake; shop at local farmers markets when possible.
Maintain workout schedule.
Maintain water intake.
The Hurdles to Overcome
All of this sounds easy, until you consider my life and the people in it. We can start with my 2 year old son, who is on what the doctor calls “the white diet”. Common for children his age, he eats only chicken nuggets (fried with smooth batter texture), chips, crackers, and pretzels. We have tried everything with him. My parents even stopped arguing with me when they saw how he would sit there and refuse to eat, even after having fasted all night while sleeping, for three hours. He’ll honestly cry for three hours and refuse to eat ANYTHING that doesn’t fit on his personal approved list. I kid you not. He doesn’t eat cookies, candy, ice cream, Jell-O, or even cake, because he has “texture” issues with them. That’s one difficult factor.
The next factor is my parents who, bless their hearts, feed me dinner about 3-4 nights a week because I work and am in school 9 months out of the year. Typical dinners include a lot of white pasta, heavy sauces, and double portion sizes. Add in my sister, who is a huge believer in eating healthy but also a faithful Herbalife user who, (no offense because I love her to death) seems to think that I shouldn’t eat two of my daily meals, I should drink them instead.
My best friend and hetero life-mate is also my partner in crime. We have the ability to support each other in our goals, but also tend to rationalize and justify each other’s slip ups. This is a double edged sword, but I wouldn’t give up time with her for the world.
Then there is my son’s father. He’s a healthy guy who’s lost a lot of weight, toned himself up, and is running a new business as a personal trainer. He’s a great inspiration and adheres (mostly) to the chicken, rice and veggies rule of weight loss. He’s also my biggest deterrent in this, because I cannot stand the idea of eating the exact same thing 3 – 6 times a day, or worse, the same meal for breakfast, the same lunch, the same dinner, etc… every day. If my meals are that boring and repetitive, I’ll never make it.
An additional complication is that I spend so much time shuffling from my place to my son’s father’s place, travelling with an overnight back twice a week. Whatever I eat has to travel well.
Now, I know that people overcome obstacles worse than these all the time but we are all different and, knowing myself as well as I do, I know my own limits.
Here is where the planning comes in. I purposely set a start date for this challenge of July 1st, over a month away, to give me time to get over the stress of training for Warrior Dash as well as give myself some downtime following a rough spring semester. It gives me time to purchase items I need and organize my life and living space better. It allows me to investigate and collect recipes. And all of this allows me to formulate a plan of attack for the food prep I’m going to have to do every Sunday. Because that is pretty much the only day I have each week to prepare my meals for the week.
I’m going to need to pack a full day’s meals every night before bed. Breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, etc. On days when I won’t be home I have to pack or plan dinners for me and my son’s father.
I have to figure out how to accommodate my son’s picky eating (which our doctor says he’ll grow out of eventually) without tempting myself.
And, more importantly, I have to get the people I love on board with it. They don’t have to join me, but I don’t need them unintentionally sabotaging me either.
I’ll keep you all posted with updates as progress is made. And, if anyone has any recipes or ideas to share, I’d love to see them!
Keep Calm and Tread On.