One should eat to live, not live to eat. ~Cicero, Rhetoricorum LV
I am asked questions all the time. Friends, family, emails from blog readers, and at the gym when I train. I was even stopped by an elderly woman in the locker room at a gym yesterday about arm workouts when we were in the steam room! People ask me what eating clean means, what I do to workout, how to eat clean, recipes, and most frequently how it will help them achieve weight loss goals. I try to downplay that because eating clean is about finding a lifestyle and I want the focus to be on long term change instead of short term weight loss goals BUT I think it's time to talk about body transformation. I don’t want this blog post to sound like an infomercial and I think it’s important to think of losing weight with Eating Clean as a byproduct of giving your body the nutrition and nourishment it needs and it deserves but Eating Clean is the healthiest and most dramatic way to transform your body’s appearance.
We live in an instant gratification society – let’s face it, that’s why most people find themselves heavy in the first place. Most heavy people don’t have a good reason – it’s what you put in your mouth. You are what you eat. It’s just that simple. When you Eat Clean you are not only directly initiating a process that will fire up your metabolism and melt off excess pounds but you are allowing your body to digest and consume foods that are so nutritious and wholesome so it will function at it’s best capacity. That allows the fat stores and even excess liquid to melt off and reveal the muscles underneath. For example, people frequently comment on my arms and their shape and strength. I do lift regularly, but I attribute most of their shape to the way that I eat and how I maintain that healthy lifestyle consistently.
I say this as a person who has been there. I am my own success story. Weight has always been something I have obsessed over. I wasn’t always making healthy life decisions. I didn’t always eat well and I smoked throughout most of high school. I quit when I was in college, and am proud of that, but eating enough and too much were always out of balance. My weight has fluctuated but after my last baby was born (she’s three and a half now) I found myself at my heaviest. I attributed most of it to baby weight but when my baby was one and those pounds were still there, I knew I couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore. I needed to find a way to live, be healthy, take care of my family, but ultimately be the best version of myself. I had always been an athlete growing up and as an adult had maintained a healthy weight on a regular basis but I wanted more for myself. This picture is of me at my heaviest around 168 pounds. I was miserable and tired, unhappy with my clothing size and never wanted to look in the mirror. I knew there was a better “me” inside, but I had to get to her. I ate all the time, when I was happy, sad, bored, it was an easy thing to give myself and I thought it made me happy but every time I put something in my mouth I knew I shouldn’t, I felt guilty and knew that my life didn’t have to be that way. I had control over what I put in my mouth and I needed to get it figured out once and for all.
I started off with a different mindset. I didn’t want to go on a diet and I didn’t give myself a timeline. Diets just don’t work long term and I like to eat. I also didn’t want to think I only had to change for a short period of time to get to an outcome I couldn’t maintain. You can’t limit your calories and starve your body long term. You’ll lose weight but for how long? It just won’t be something you can sustain. I wanted to be healthy. I believed that if I lived a healthier lifestyle that the weight would come off permanently as a natural byproduct of eating better and working out in a way that made sense for me and I could maintain doing long term. Eating clean became my long term solution. Ultimately, I lost over 40 pounds. It came off in a controlled way and I didn’t weigh myself often – I didn’t need to – my prediction was correct. Eating clean and exercise made the difference.
How did I do it? I began by eating gluten free – this helped me remove most processed foods from my diet. I began reading as much as I could about eating clean, vegetarians, vegans, gluten free eating and determined that eating clean was the best fit for me. With the help of some clean eating friends and great books and websites I was able to adopt the changes slowly and now they are second nature to me. So to answer the weight loss question – Eating Clean is the way to go and it helped me lose a lot of weight and that has been life changing in many ways in and of itself. But this story is so much bigger than that…
This journey has taught me many things. I want to get out of bed and feel good about what I’m doing and the choices I’m making. I realized that am worth the changes I needed to undertake- even the hard ones to get to my goals and the weight loss was a great thing for me but more than that I began to FEEL better. Stronger, more alert, stronger, the best version of myself and that’s been the greatest gift. I surround myself with people who are positive and supportive and that network is like my army and my support system. I have days where I am not on target but I am forgiving – it’s a lifestyle after all. Losing weight is just one part of the puzzle. So keep making healthy choices, stay focused on the process and the learning and the weight will follow. Make 2011 the year where you make the changes you want for yourself! Stay inspired!