Why I Got Started
After a season of unavoidable life challenges that left me both physically and mentally paralyzed, I found myself alive but not living. Shattered and worn, I watched hopelessly as others around me were taking steps to make healthy living a lifestyle. I never allowed myself to believe that the same was possible for me.
Then, one Sunday afternoon feasting endlessly on a spread suited for an Army, something deep me within cried out "STOP!" It was at this point I made a public declaration to those present that I would no longer simply exist but rather take action to live.
I was taking my life back by turning away from unhealthy behavior moving towards a life renewed.
How I Did It
Like most with grand New Year's Resolutions, I reestablished my gym membership at the beginning of 2009. I also took advantage of the complementary training session offered and as fate would have it, the trainer, a distributor for Beverly International, was preparing for his first bodybuilding show.
He conducted an excellent workout but what intrigued me the most was the information he shared about clean eating. He sent me home with a note and at the top it read the following "This is not a diet but a lifestyle change." I took a couple of months to get this principle embedded in me to ensure that it would have a lasting effect versus my normal 90-day trial, fail, quit approach.
Ultimately, with instructions in hand I gave my kitchen a major overhaul.
- Upon inspection, I pulled everything from my shelves/fridge/freezer and divided them into two groups: A for Clean and B for Not Clean. A = frozen chicken breast/salmon/fresh and frozen vegetables/oatmeal/canned tuna; B = white flour/granulated sugar/white bread/white rice/white potato/soda/sugary snacks i.e. (fruit snacks/ 100 calories packages/cereals) to name a few.
- All group B items were quickly removed from my house, either given to my neighbor or simply disposed of.
- I made a grocery list complete w/ complex starchy carbs (sweet potato/beans/rice cakes/brown rice) and fibrous veggies (broccoli/cabbage/cucumbers/green beans) and fats (natural peanut butter/almond butter/flax oil/olive oil/walnuts or almond.
- I stuck to what was on my list and fought off every urge to pick up a little treat. I also didn't allow myself time to peruse the store like a visitor for the first time.
- I designated Sunday afternoon for meal prep which required a bit of schedule adjustment.
- I prepared enough food to have lunch and dinner for 7-to-10 days (chicken breast is cooked in crock pot or oven and when weather permits I grill in the yard) and fresh veggies are cooked, separated, and bagged. This also guaranteed that my daughter had a sensible meal after school or soccer practice versus snacking until dinner was made.
- I established a few rules like if a product has more than a 2-week shelf life I don't buy it, and I carefully plan out meals so on shopping day I only buy what is needed.
- I adjusted my view of my kitchen from a place of refuge where I crept to at night to drown my sorrow by binge eating, to my sanctuary where I go to get refueled to continue on with living.
Suggestions for Others
Make a plan, set a goal. How do you know where you're headed without a plan or a goal to reach after? Know what you're working toward and what it's going to take to get you there.