Three Unexpected Things I Learned in September (Part 1 of 2)

This month I decided to eliminate what has become three of my major food groups: fast food, soda, and potato chips.  I was originally planning to do a Whole 30 this month.  I’ve done them before (or at least the first 22 days or so…) and they always left me frustrated and burnt out.  I decided instead to tackle what I felt was a bigger root issue than what I was eating: how I was eating.

The Problem I Found Myself Facing:

I have always been good about cooking a lot of food on Sunday to eat for dinner for the week.

Breakfast and lunch were my real challenges.  

At breakfast time, I would frequently be “too rushed” to get something at home and would just grab something on my way out of town.  

For lunch I would try to bring dinner leftovers to eat.  But at least two days a week I either forgot my lunch, didn’t have clean tupperware, or just couldn’t bring myself to eat one more bite of chili.  

We won’t even talk about the mess I made of the kitchen with my marathon cooking, and how it usually took me until Wednesday to gather up the energy to clean it up.  All of you who have Hashi’s or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you know where I’m coming from.  The struggle is real.

Bottom line: I felt rushed in the mornings and pushed into making unhealthy choices for lunch.  I wasn’t happy with my weight, and the only thing I could think to do was eliminate the things I reached to for convenience.

The Test:

This month (September 2016) I eliminated soda, fast food, and potato chips.  In case you are wondering, I defined “fast food” as anything I had the option of picking up through a drive-thru window, including drinks.  I expanded that to mean doing any kind of “eating out” including at sit down restaurants unless I was with somebody else.

I did awesome, to be honest!  No soda.  No potato chips.  I did make a few deliberate deviations from my definition of “fast food:”

  • I had a Pumpkin Spice Latte the week they were released at Starbucks as well as the two new fall drinks at my favorite local coffee shop.  Because this is an experiment, but not an inhumane one.  I made sure I ate breakfast at home those mornings before getting coffee.  I also grabbed a decaf latte on my way home on National Coffee Day because the same local coffee shop was handing out punch cards with 9/10 spots stamped.  Now I almost have a free drink!
  • I got a pizza from Little Caesar’s last week.  I tried to buy a box of four pizza crusts and sauce packets at Costco so I could make my own pizzas, but the crusts were moldy when I opened them.  Since I was very good about eating dinner at home even before my experiment started, I didn’t feel too guilty about grabbing a pizza to rescue my dinner plans that night.

My Techniques:

I ate extremely boring food the first two weeks.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, every day.  Breakfast was a homemade burrito (in a taco tortilla so it was like a mini burrito) made with egg, meat, and cheese.  I made coffee at home with soy milk and vanilla syrup.

Two weeks in, my digestive system caved.  I got. So. Sick.  I still don’t know if it was the peanuts, the soy, or the eggs, so I just cut all of them.  Breakfast since then has been a greek yogurt and a Fiber One bar.  Lunch has been chicken salad sandwiches.  

I still had days that I just couldn’t bear to eat a PB&J or I forgot lunch.  On those days, I went to Walmart at lunch and picked up a salad from the deli or a frozen Healthy Choice meal.  

I drank a lot of sparkling water in place of soda, and I find even the idea of drinking soda to be disgusting now.

What I learned:

The biggest takeaways from this month don’t have anything to do with soda or junk food.  I knew they were bad for me before.  I knew I would be healthier without them.  The real lessons that I learned have a lot bigger implications in terms of how I move forward with my practice of learning how to abide & thrive…

Stay tuned for Part 2  🙂

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