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Planning to Eat Healthier? 8 Things to Expect

To keep your motivational mojo going, we here at FBG thought it would be fun to share the inside scoop on a few of our favorite things — from workouts to races to healthy eats. So if you’ve been wanting to try out a new healthy thing but are a bit intimidated or afraid to try it, have no fear, the What to Expect series is here!

So you took on the FBG challenge to create some fabulous goals (and answered the “whys” that go along with them.) Good for you! Setting goals and taking that first step to a healthier life is awesome and amazing and all things wonderful in the Fit Bottomed Girls Guide to Being the Bomb Dot Com.

I was there around this time last year. I had tried an alkaline challenge to see if it would help my gut issues, and it ended up opening a world of healthy eating situations that I hadn’t encountered. Situations that I will now share with you to help the process go as smoothly (and effectively) as possible. Here are my great expectations (sans the scary Miss Havisham!) for what to expect when you decide to eat healthier.

8 Things to Expect Once You’ve Decided to Eat Healthier

green juice

Cheers for choosing to eat healthier! Credit: SweetOnVeg, Flickr

1. You’ll freak out about your lack of choices. So you’ve decided to give up [fill in the blank].  In my case I had to give up dairy (I’m lactose intolerant and was sick of feeling sick after a meal … the pain suddenly was no longer worth it), gluten and sugar. I gave up three rather large components of the typical American diet. Because of that, combined with the fact that I didn’t cook much, I was suddenly overwhelmingly scared that I could eat nothing. Not true! There are so many delicious meals I’ve experienced since giving up the three amigos of gut distress. The key is to remember that whole foods are your friends. And by “whole foods” I mean foods that have only one ingredient in them. Paleo recipes help, as do vegan recipes for my fruit and vegetable delights.

2. The haters may come out to complain. Be prepared for the haters! I don’t know what it is about food that makes people so angry, but you tell some people that you’re dairy-/gluten-/whatever-free you are and they might have a nasty reproach to your choice. They’ll tell you about the fads and the silliness, but don’t listen. Finding a healthy meal plan that works for your wonderful, completely personal tummy is just that; it’s YOUR personal plan and YOUR tummy. People may mean well, but for the most part it’s just them projecting. Most importantly, if one of these so-called friends tries to shove something you’ve given up in your face, scram quickly! That kind of behavior is toxic!

3. You may experience some not-so-delighful detoxing effects. Speaking of toxic, you’ll more likely than not experience a form of detox. Many who give up processed foods experience drug-like withdrawals once they’ve opted for a more healthy diet. If you’re going from fast food to home-cooked meals made with wholesome treats then you could very well experience skin breakouts, gas, bloating, body aches, brain fog, fatigue, low energy, headaches, irritability, extreme cravings (for sweet, salty or other unhealthy foods), constipation and diarrhea. I personally went through the skin breakout phase to beat all skin breakout phases. I turned into a pre-pubescent teenager! I was so freaked out and hadn’t a clue that it was my body’s way of removing the toxins I had been storing in my body. Let the processes happen. It sucks while you’re going through it, but it’s only temporary and then you’re left with a wonderful body, cleansed of all the bad things that were leaving you sick, fatigued and out of shape. P.S. Your skin gets better, too.

4. You’ll start to seek out foodies who follow your particular plan. You’ll never be alone. Everyone’s got something their stomach can’t handle very well, and they’ll create recipes that avoid the baddies they can’t have … and they’ll publish those recipes and share them with you. I’ve found a rather large community of folks who don’t do dairy like me. They’re called vegans, and I love them for introducing me to a life that’s fully capable of not having ice cream and creamy pasta sauces. You’ll find your clique of recipe makers and life will be swell.

5. Stick with it, and you might get addicted. I swear something happens to you once you start eating to feel better. You won’t want to feel bad after eating. I used to think it was completely normal to feel miserable after a meal. It meant I had eaten well and filled up appropriately. Not the case. Now after eating well I feel full like I should, but I don’t feel stuffed to the point of feeling sick. I feel energetic and happy post meal and THAT is a feeling you become addicted to having.

6. Your belly will change. People ask my husband all the time what’s the best way to lose the extra weight they’re carrying in their waste and belly. When he tells them to eat better; that no amount of crunches will attack those areas like a good diet will they get annoyed, but it’s true. I’ve worked out for years, with subtle changes. Three months into eating better and I dropped pounds I didn’t even think were possible and my belly went flat. FLAT folks!

7. You’ll slip sometimes. Diet changes are hard, yo! Please do not feel bad if you slip up and have whatever it is you’ve cut out. There’s no right or perfect way of eating. Remember, everything in moderation and do as your tummy dictates. We’re all so different, and if you don’t embrace that fact you’ll suffer on this quest to eat healthier. While giving up dairy was a no-brainer for me because I literally get flu-like sick when I have it, gluten and sugar aren’t things I avoid at all costs. I don’t punish or get angry with myself for having something sweet or gluten-y. As long as my body doesn’t reject whatever it is I’ve eaten, I move on with my day. I just try to keep to the 90/10 rule. I eat 90 percent healthy; making healthy choices is the rule and my indulgences are the exception. I ate donuts on my wedding day. I will sip a sugary-cocktail at a celebration without batting an eyelash. I’m human! You’re human! Don’t beat yourself up. You’re much too awesome to be mean to. 

8. Going back to the dark side will be harder. Yeah, once you eat “clean” long enough, trying to go back to naughty foods will hurt more than you expected! There’s a reason I don’t eat gluten and sugar a lot. Number one reason: I toot like a mother trucker now if I eat sweets or processed carbs (aka gluten). The gas, oh the gas! It actually hurts, so while I will sip a blended coffee occasionally, I can’t do it often and I definitely won’t if I expect to be around other people.

I’m a year and some change into my new eating philosophy and am happier and healthier for it. I do realize this is just my story, though. For those who have resolved to eat healthier I’d love to know if I missed any expectations for our new friends joining the club. And for those looking to join — let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about on this awesome ride you’re about to embark on. —Tish



Comments

  1. Janet Boldt says

    Ive gone gluten, dairy and egg free for the month of January to clear my acne but it hasnt gotten any better and instead of feeling refreshed and energetic, some days I feel downright miserable! I did a restricted diet for surgery for a month and my skin cleared so I thought one month would be enough. Apparently not.

    How long did it take for you to get past withdrawals, breakouts, etc. And start noticing positive changes?

  2. Ashley says

    Thank you so much for posting this! Another thing that I would add is to take it slowly and know that it’s different for everyone. My doctor recently recommended that I try the JJ Virgin diet which cuts out eggs, dairy, gluten, peanuts, soy, artificial/added sugar, and corn. I did it and had awful headaches from withdrawals for about 3 days. After a week I still hadn’t seen any improvement with my tummy troubles , acne, constant hunger, etc. After speaking to my nutritionist, we decided that I should just avoid the peanuts, soy, sugar, and corn when I can and only completely cut out the dairy, eggs, and gluten. Cutting out everything at once was too much of a shock for my body.

    I also had to stop eating all raw veggies because it was too much fiber for me to handle! I was eating a cup of spinach in my shake in the morning and some chopped peppers with hummus in the afternoon, plus chia seeds, almond butter, raspberries… fiber fiber fiber. It was just too much.

    Additionally, I started adding a tbs. of coconut oil to my shakes for some healthy fats to help digest all of the protein and fiber I was eating. After only about 3-5 days of stopping the veggies and adding the coconut oil, plus only cutting out the gluten, eggs, and dairy, I felt GREAT. My tummy troubles cleared up, I’m not constantly hungry any more, my painful, cystic acne is gone, my hair is softer, I have more energy and focus… the list goes on.

    I start adding eggs back into my diet this week (all to find out what my sensitivities are to). Then is gluten and dairy. I already know I have problems with dairy but whether I’m sensitive or not, I’m going to try to keep the gluten, corn, soy, sugars, and etc. out anyways. Once you take a breath and realize all of the great things you CAN eat, it’s really not hard!

    The hardest part is dealing with the haters! Everyone wants to know WHY I’m doing this, or HOW could I possibly give up something like Pizza, or they roll their eyes and call me a hippie, or they ask what I CAN eat.

    Tish, do you have any suggestions of how to deal with these people? Also, do you have any suggestions about how to eat out without burdening the waiter with a thousand questions about what you’re eating? I’m going to a wedding this weekend and am just planning on bringing snacks, but also don’t want to be rude because the bride is really excited about all of the food she’s picked out. Any advice on how to deal with these situations?

  3. Tish says

    @Janet you should totally read @Ashley’s awesome response. Have you been monitoring this with your doctor or a nutritionist by chance? My acne lasted three miserable months and at that point I got some Argon Oils and proactive to balance ish out.

  4. Jessica says

    Wow! I stumbled upon this from a friend’s pin and it hit home for me and my struggle to eat healthy! Thank you for making me feel like I’m not in this alone! The way people react to this is pretty hysterical tho whether it’s calling us tree hugging hippies or trying to sabotage us with tempting food. It kinda makes you see who your true friends and support systems are! Hang in there girls we got this!

  5. Alison says

    Thank you for sharing. I have gone on a whole foods diet since New Year’s and have experienced the haters, the bloating, and already an addiction! I will say it is definitely different for everyone. I feel great, but I have actually GAINED weight. I know this is because even though I eat the right food, I eat a lot of it. It’s worth mentioning that it is not only what you eat, but how much you eat. Especially for short girls like me!

  6. Vicki says

    I’m doing a 30 day ‘real food challenge’ workshop led by a registered dietician, am on Day 4 and so far so good.

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