The road to clean eating is paved in blog posts. Okay, that's probably not the case for everyone, but it worked for me.
In December 2011, six weeks after I had my fourth baby, I wrote a post called "My Juvenile Eating Habits," which chronicled the childlike attitude towards food I'd battled for a long time. In other words, I used to eat a lot of junk and stomp my feet over the idea that I'd have to change my habits if I wanted to look and feel good.
A blogging friend of mine, Hallie Sawyer, wrote such a generous and helpful comment about her drastically improved eating and exercise routine that I encouraged her to write about the experience on her blog.
I'm so glad she listened! In her piece, "Twelve Weeks to a Happier, Healthier, and Leaner Me," Hallie described getting herself in shape before a trip to Hawaii. My goals were perhaps larger in scope (improve lifelong, abysmal eating habits), but my timeframe was pressure-free (as long as it takes). I figured if Hallie could see results in 12 weeks, then I could hope to see results before the end of time. Reasonable, right?
I didn't follow Hallie's plan exactly. For example, she only eats carbs in the morning if she can help it, while I eat them all day because I'm not that disciplined. But I printed the list of foods she eats regularly, and referenced it when I made grocery lists.
Implementing Hallie's Tips
In general, repetition was easier for me at first than attempting too much variety, which is a key to healthy eating that Hallie (and Dr. Oz) swear by as well. For example, I'd buy a ton of broccoli, roast it, and we'd eat it as a side dish for dinner for three days. Or I'd eat the same thing for breakfast for three weeks. My husband can attest to the period in March when I went dairy-free on behalf of the baby and forced him to eat our large supply of Greek yogurt every day until it ran out.
Hallie also suggested keeping track of what I was eating. I'm not going to say I enjoyed that part, but it forced me to stay honest. I'm hardly perfect and I go way over my "budget" some days, but at least I'm not flying blind like I'd always done in the past. (Hallie uses loseit.com. I tried loseit.com and like it, but I prefer myfitnesspal.com.)
Staying Motivated and Celebrating Results
Since reading Hallie's original post on the subject a year ago, I've seen the last stubborn 10 pounds of my baby weight disappear, along with a little extra. What's more, following Hallie's advice helped me develop those long-overdue grown-up eating habits I coveted. As far as I'm concerned, eating like an adult doesn't mean perfection. It means if I pigged out at brunch, I don't get to devour a DQ Blizzard after dinner. Yes, sometimes being a grown-up stinks. But knowing I feel better and that everything in my closet fits is a decent trade.
The main way I've "celebrated" better habits is investing in challenging studio classes like Pure Barre, a luxury I wouldn't have considered in the past since I knew I wasn't doing my part.
The Connection Between Blogging and Weight Loss
I find this blogging thing kind of incredible. It's not like I've never met someone with good eating and exercise habits before. Over the years I've also read countless diet-related articles in magazines, every health-related book Oprah ever endorsed, and seen encouraging examples of habit transformations in various seasons of The Biggest Loser. Yet something about Hallie's post motivated me to genuine action for the first time. I didn't just say to myself that I wanted to make changes. I said so on my blog; Hallie heard me, and she graciously cheered me along and continues to do so even now.
A version of this post originally appearing as a guest post on Hallie Sawyer's blog.
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