This week I’m participating in a clean eating challenge—the 10 Days of Real Food Pledge, to be exact. I stocked up on lots and lots of real food over the weekend and began on Monday. And so far, so good.
For the most part, I was able to focus on loading up on a lot of the same things I already eat, just, you know, more of the good stuff. The things I eat that aren’t allowed for the duration of this pledge are mostly the snacky items—chips, crackers, flavored Greek yogurts, candy—that I mainly eat because they’re convenient, so, really, sticking to the pledge is really a matter of planning ahead a little better so I can have something more wholesome at a moment’s notice.
What’s that mean? For me, it’s having fruits and veggies cut up and ready to go the moment I stick my hungry face in the fridge. It also includes more meal planning than I normally do—if I have an after-work workout, I need to have something quick and filling available or I’m likely to default to picking something up on the way home.
Probably the most challenging aspect of this is the fact that the TMJ I was dealing with at the beginning of the year never went away completely, and, in fact, has flared up quite a bit in recent weeks, so between that and not eating meat, a number of items allowed in this pledge (nuts, lean meats, etc.) are a no-go for me.
So, why’d I opt in? Partly because a couple of local friends were doing it, and I wanted to support them. But also, I like the idea of checking in on my eating habits now and again. It’s easy to say that I eat pretty clean, but when I have specific rules to follow, I pay much closer attention to the labels and make a far bigger effort. Cutting out all the processed food is a much bigger step than cutting out most. Know what I mean? Give it a try; you’ll see.
And we’ll see if I’m still thinking this isn’t such a big deal by the time my 10 days are up.
Have you ever taken a similar pledge or done any sort of healthy eating challenge? What motivated you to do it? Did you learn anything about your eating habits? And did it change the way you ate once it was over? —Kristen