My $25-a-week clean eating experiment a year later

j0400571 thumb My $25 a week clean eating experiment a year laterOver a year ago when I was a blogging neophyte, not quite 40, and determined to do something about my weight and health, I set out on a mission – an experiment really. It was my $25-a-week-good-food experiment, and I was determined to reshape the way I looked at food, health and weight loss. Here’s some of what I had to say about it back then…

For weeks now I’ve been seriously rethinking this obsession I have with food and my weight. Specifically it’s occurred to me that for almost all of the past decade, my obsession with controlling (unsuccessfully I might add) what I eat and don’t eat has centered primarily on weight loss. This focus on weight and not on health has caused me to become unhealthier. Yo-yo dieting, pre-packaged diet meals, low carb, low fat, sugarless…you get the idea. My quest to lose weight devolved into me eating man made substitutes for food and came at the expense of eating food the way it was intended to be eaten.

It’s time for a change, a real change – an “I’m about to turn forty so I’ve got to start taking this seriously” change. I’ve been heading in this direction for years now, but eating for health was far down on the list, somewhere behind carb and calorie counting and fat monitoring. And while I’ve never been a lover of junk food and have always preferred fresh fruits and vegetables over sugary desserts – when it comes to food, the choices I make every day are made unconsciously, out of habit, and with very little regard to health and where my food is coming from.

In a nutshell (pun intended), clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state or as close to it as possible. It means eliminating as much processed foods from your diet as possible, and it means being conscious of the source of your food and the impact its production has on the environment. Militaristic clean eaters might have an issue with my definition, but that’s the definition that sums it up for me.  The Gracious Pantry has a great resource page about clean eating that you can access here. The turning point for me came when I watched the documentary Food, Inc. I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone curious about the source of their food – you will not be the same after watching it.

A year after test-driving my clean eating experiment I can say that I’ve adopted clean eating as a way of life.  A way of life differs from a diet in that it’s not something you ever “get off of.” So, on the (now increasingly rare) occasions that I don’t eat clean I, 1) enjoy it a lot less and 2) don’t belittle myself or consider it a diet catastrophe.  It’s not just a healthier way to eat, it’s a healthier way to think. Really, it’s a return to to the way my parents and grandparents used to cook and eat, before advertising and big business began convincing people that they had it all wrong.

Although I haven’t stuck to the $25 budget, I have been more conscientious about how much I purchase and what I’m paying for things, and in the long run that’s helped my overall budget.

So, what’s left is the weight loss. The good news is, the number on the scale is lower. The bad news is, not by much. As a child and teen I struggled with compulsive and emotional eating, and as a 41 year old woman I still do.  Like any habit/compulsion/addiction, it’s been a hard one to shake. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor apparently 41 years. Thankfully, I am a work in progress, not regress, and as long as I’m able, I’ll approach each day with the determination to become a healthier version of the person I was the day before. Anyone care to join me?

Grace

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Claire-Hegarty-B/1188492697 Claire Hegarty B

    Great post Grace. I am on the same journey!  I can totally identify with the compulsive and emotional eating.  I hear you!  I have been there and sometimes I go back there.  However, in the past year, since I discovered yoga at aged 44, I have lost around 17lbs, tend to eat less junk because I realise how hard my body has to work to digest and eliminate it .I am eating more mindfully and less mindlessly!  The yogic breathing and meditation techniques keep me more emotionally balanced.  I also recommend a book called ‘journey of the slim soul.  I am not advertising it but I found it very helpful.  I agree with the  way you approach each day with determination to become a healthier version of yourself.  That’s what I try to do too.  However, now, if I fall, I don’t just give up and eat like a pig as I used to in times past.  I just go positively forward from the point I am at.  It’s working so far!

  • Anonymous

    Claire – good for you re discovering Yoga! And I so agree with you about the attitude change about not just throwing in the towel when I fall. I read something yesterday that reminded me that when you “mess up” on eating well/healthy, you don’t start new again the next day, but with the next meal. This is part of our life growth and I think we’ll be stronger, wiser women for having gone through it.

    Thanks for always being such an active member of the WAF community. You are appreciated!