Simple steps to better your life with clean eating

There’s nothing like planning a wedding and turning 30 in the same year to really get motivated for a lifestyle change-up.  A healthy eater and active most of my life, I never felt the need to change my diet until post-college.  My senior year, at 5’4″ I had reached 145 pounds and no longer fit into my freshman skinny jeans.  Despite the increase from a size 6 to a size 10, I was in denial about needing to be proactive to lose some pounds.  My major breaking point: the end of an almost 3-year relationship with my college boyfriend.  To cope with the breakup, I got busy.  I was working a fulltime job, added a part-time retail job to my schedule, and enrolled at a local university to complete several post-graduate classes during the nights I wasn’t working.  In between jobs and classes I would visit the college gym (membership was free!).  I literally gave myself no time to eat and within months I had shed 25 pounds and was back down to a size 6 in no time.

8 years later, my schedule was not as hectic and weight loss did not come nearly as quickly.  I continued my workouts, however my eating habits went downhill especially since becoming so comfortable in my relationship with my fiancé, Mike.  I knew that I was capable of trimming down, however I wanted to do so with a realistic, healthy approach that would keep the weight off long-term.  After much research (I loved Jillian Michael’s Master your Metabolism) , I’ve come up with my simple steps:

  • Eat only real foods.  This means anything grown straight from the ground or from an animal.
  • Read the label.  When buying anything that’s not whole produce, study the label – the less ingredients the better!
  • Don’t skip breakfast.  When you miss a meal, your body goes into starvation mode, actually storing fat and eating away at muscle.  (See Kristin Cavallari’s Balancing in Heels for insight and recipes).
  • Snacks are your friend.  I keep a rotation of fruits and nuts in my bag at all times.  A healthy snack on the drive home from work gives me the fuel I need for a workout session as soon as I get home.
  • No desserts.  Replace with a home-made smoothie consisting of beets, kiwi, spinach,  apricots, honey, cinamon, and ice cubes for a tasty evening treat.
  • Chug that water.  I carry a 24 0z tumbler with me wherever I go, consuming a full serving during my morning commute, refill at lunch, another on my evening commute, and a final during dinner (96 ounces done!).  To make it enticing, I’ll include a lemon slice or 1/4 cup of apple cidar vinegar with ice.
  • Choose organic when you can.  Fuel your body with natural foods that are void of harsh chemicals, preservatives and cancer-causing agents.  The extra expense you shell out now will save you from serious health issues later in life.

Here is my typical day:  Wake up at 5:30am and take the puppy for a brisk 30-40 walk around the neighborhood.  Post-walk, I’ll eat a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with almond milk, cinamon and berries.  While getting ready for work, I’ll prep a mixed salad and a piece of fruit for lunch.  I replenish any daily snacks and fill up my water tumbler.  When I get home from the office I cook a clean dinner consisting of a turkey burger, spicey mustard, raw veggies, hummus, and a slice of sprouted bread.  The puppy and I then go for our evening walk, and I’ll end my night with a 30-40 minute work out dvd and a yummy smoothie.  Bedtime is typically 9:00pm (I can’t stay up any later!) to ensure I get my full 7 hours of beauty rest.

My lifestyle has changed drastically from three years ago when Mike and I first met and I feel better than ever.  Clean eating has made me happy and healthy, physically and mentally.  I have the confidence to strut my (very toned) stuff down that aisle and face my fabulous 30s, without the fear of reverting back to my old ways.  With some simple changes to my daily routine and eating habits, clean eating has become my way of life.

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