This is my fourth Eat Healthy Challenge and I’m not ready for it to be over. How can today mark the 28th day, the end, when I feel like we’re just getting started? On the other hand, it’s hard to believe I’ve spent 112 days, more than 30% of my time out of this last year on this Challenge. Having spent this much time completely clean—without hydrogenated / processed foods, sugar, white flour, caffeine, dairy and alcohol—how do I feel you ask? Amazing! I feel healthier than ever. I feel grounded and stable, energetic and full of life, clear-minded and sharp, strong and sure … and thin. That’s right—I feel thin.
Another thing I’ve noticed is these Challenges get easier with experience. I spent the first three withdrawing from caffeine for the first two weeks. It seems I’m a slow leaner. I knew I was committed to putting myself through these Challenges every three months for 28 days, but would rush right back to my coffee routine the day after each Challenge ended. Big mistake! Sure enough, three months later, I was in another bout of coffee withdrawal torture. After the May Challenge, I decided to limit my intake to one dreamy soy latte per week. Of course, the one crept up to about three per week by the beginning of this current challenge, but I stuck to the “ultimate why bother”; a one-shot, decaf, soy latte and didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms. Instead, I experienced the positive side effects from the Eat Healthy Challenge immediately.
Also this time around, I didn’t encounter my usual cheese envy. Friends would eat their camembert and aged cheddar and I wasn’t at all disturbed. Everything in my system is flowing magically and I’m feeling trimmer than ever. I attribute this, in part, to the lack of cheese in my current routine. I’m going to try to limit the cheese from now on … however, we do have reservations at a restaurant that serves fresh-pulled, warm mozzarella this Thursday. I said limit, not eliminate.
As for my third regular indulgence—wine and beer—I’m beginning to see the absolute benefit in us taking time off from each other. Sometimes in taking long vacations from those we love, we begin to see their true colors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a heavy drinker and I’m certainly not a lush. But truth be told, I feel better—less bloated, clear-headed, not stuffed up, digestively more fit and all around lighter—when I’m not hanging out with Mr. and Mrs. Alcohol. This being said, please promise you won’t judge me if you see me flirting with them in the near future. What I’m learning is I actually like socializing without them. They’re going to be invited out less often from now on.
Congratulations to all you Healthy Junkies who participated (on all levels and for any length of time). Remember, if my schedule doesn’t suit you and you want to begin this Challenge at a different moment, great! Use the facebook page or blog if you need encouragement or just want to comment and feel connected.
The next Eat Healthy Challenge begins January 3rd, 2011.