About a month ago when I was preparing for Lee’s three-month waist-training coaching program, I learned the term “clean foods.” Lee said she “ate clean.”
Intuitively I knew what she meant, but the term did not fully register at first. Today on the Good Morning America news report I heard the term for the second time. I went online to learn more — so I admit here that I may be one of the last ones to “get with it” in terms of this apparently popular nutritional approach to health!
According to Eating Clean For Dummies Eating clean is simply the practice of avoiding processed and refined foods and basing your diet on whole foods.” It means (1) eating whole foods, (2) avoiding refined sugar, (3) avoiding processed foods, (4) eating five or six small meals a day, (5) cooking your own meals, and (6) combining proteins plus carbs, or carbs plus fats. Simple enough.
I don’t know about you, but “eating clean” also seems a bit intimidating to me. All six of the above steps might be too much to try to accomplish all at once. I’m one who has learned personal lessons about not making huge dietary or exercise changes at the same time. That approach is almost lethal for me and I suspect may be for many folks.
Through some miserable experiences with “all at once”, I now know to make one modest change at a time, let it sink in and become more or less of a new habit, then move on to some other area of my life or figure or daily practices that I want to change.
I’m pleased to think that I have already recently adopted one major “eating clean” change: giving up refined sugar!
I’ve blogged about my progress since doing just that on June 15 upon returning from a lovely, but food-indulgent, camping trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons parks. From 120.6 lbs on June 15 I’ve dropped down to today’s weight: 112.6, a full eight pounds.
I can’t say it was “without suffering” because it wasn’t. The first three weeks for me were hellish,with constant low-level headaches wrapping around the back of my head, and constant mild nausea sunup to sundown. It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t nice to live with during those weeks. But Lee found it easy to do! She told me she had heard that their might be a gene related to those who loved sugar, but she felt she didn’t have it due to the ease of her decision when she implemented it. The only sugar she now eats is an occasional one square of dark chocolate a time or two each week.
Mysteriously to me on the Monday of the fourth week, the suffering lifted. It dissipated a few days before that, came back a day, then totally disappeared. Slowly I’ve found that my overall energy level has increased and I’ve become so much more pleased with my weight, the look of my body as belly and thigh fat has been reducing, and most of all with the development of muscles in my legs and arms that I had lost over the past years of mainly computer-based business with no formal exercise program in place. Dropping refined sugar plus at the same time having a three-day per week exercise program in place, has led to my improved figure, weight, and overall health and energy level I’m sure. But now I think I need to do even better and use Lee’s example as inspiration to move forward.
Once I started learning more about clean eating from Lee, I found that her pictoral food record was fascinating. This blog includes images she has sent me of some of her meals during her first week of training, meals which tend to be quite similar day-to-day and meal-to- meal. She says she never gets bored.
Boredom can be addressed by adding herbs and spices, with some suggestions included in the Clean Foods for Dummies page referenced above. I’ve always loved Mrs. Dash herbs which contain no msg, salt, or sugar. And nothing tastes as good as fresh minced herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and basil.
Lee had initially suggested that, rather than send a boring written record, as I normally require and expect of my students for the first two weeks of training. The first thing I noted was how colorful her plates looked, and I’ve always loved color at an emotional level. It makes me happy. Looking at those plates could certainly inspire me!
While Lee’s good habits in nutrition were firmly established, she is facing some current challenges due to her planned trip to France to visit a cousin. We had prepared her best we could for the flight and vacation as well, but still the challenges are developing.
We won’t here discuss the corset-wearing challenges since our focus in on food, but needless to say the first “easy” week of seasoning her new training corset (pictured here) became a lot more challenging on the flight and in France! We’ll cover those in another blog.
For her air flight we urged her to bring healthy snacks with her to avoid rich and quick foods ubiquitous at airports, especially in Atlanta, the hub of the south and southern cooking through which Lee had to travel. She did just that:
“I made a homemade organic trail mix of raw almonds, a few cashews, dark chocolate covered walnuts, yogurt covered blueberries and dried blueberries. Yummy! Will send pic. Also have a feast of turkey burgers, baked sliced turkey, slightly steamed green beans, sliced peppers, protein powder and a shaker, and quest protein bars. We will not be at the mercy of airport/ airplane food!”In terms of her preparation for being in France, Lee said before she left: “I will allow myself a few reasonable indulgences in France, but they will be small portions, and I will eat slowly, chewing everything 30 times. I will keep up with the 5-6 small meals, my abdominal exercises, and lots of walking.”
While she anticipated being able to eat relatively clean because she was living in a home with her cousin and not having to take all her meals out, still she is in France–France: the home of superb cuisine, rich sauces, great breads, fantastic cheeses and more. It was not unexpected that on Monday Aug. 31 the start of her third training week, Lee reported:
“Food was bad this day. My cousin had a full-day agenda for us, and we were out all day……. eating and walking around. I did not over eat, however, it was difficult to find healthy food choices. Also, since being in Provence and on other peoples’ schedules…… I have been eating 3 larger meals per day and not the 5-6 smaller ones that I need to be eating. Also, not drinking enough water, as the ability to use a restroom and the need to use a restroom (at least 1X per hour) was not readily available/ possible. So I am not getting all of the water that I should be ingesting.”
Lee is doing well despite her apparent disappointment with herself, and the changes that were inevitably to be made during travel abroad. I surmise her disappointment in France is because of her personality and experience as a focused, disciplined professional in her demanding legal career.
But perfection is not the goal here. I’ve emphasized to her that 95% is the goal during corset training — and that all the walking she is doing substitutes readily for a gym-based program that she is used to. If she has to loosen up the corset from time to time to accommodate a few rib sorenesses that are developing, or indulge in a few French treats or eat fewer meals than recommended for training, there is no shame in that. In a few days Lee will return to her home in Florida and pick up her normal program and eating habits once more.
Going easy on herself allows her now to fully enjoy the wonderful treat of experiencing another country and culture and the warm embrace of her family there! ###