#ChallengeAccepted

Confession: I’ve hit a plateau.

I never had a set weight goal. My goal was just to feel good. So after 50 weeks of living well (there have been some weak moments, of course) I’ve hit my first wall. It’s not that I have a sincere lack of energy. I’m just worried that I’m not feeling as good as I could.

I was approached by a friend to check out the Advocare products, particularly the 24 Day Challenge. At first I was skeptical. What ingredients are used? Are the products tested by non-paid endorsers? Are they natural? Can I maintain a Paleo-friendly lifestyle? Will the supplements I’m already taking interfere with the Challenge products? There were so many questions. And I’m sure there will be more at the end of each day.

ImageThe truth is that I don’t want to disregard the holistic approach I’ve been taking to obtain and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m not looking for a “quick fix” that will help me drop a few pounds. I just want to cleanse my body…and after the amazing food my family made throughout the holidays, my body is begging for a cleanse.

My plan is to blog about my experience. I haven’t yet decided if I will post each day or every few days. (I’m not trying to bore you if nothing interesting is happening.) This is an experiment for me, and I’m going to be as candid as possible.

Have you used the products? What was your experience like?

Paleo and Red Wine

So that’s an oxymoron of a title. 

I started “Perfect Paleo” three weeks ago today. A personal trainer at my gym advised me to try this nutrition plan when I explained my daily workout routine. He also suggested this plan to me because I was beginning to experience some strange side effects when I ate foods with high sugar/fat contents. (I just had an annual check up yesterday, so let’s hope I get definitive results soon.)

Since starting Paleo, I feel more energetic throughout the day, I feel physically lighter, and I have gained a true sense of what I ingest each day. Paleo has been a relatively easy transition for me because I love veggies and lean meats and enriched carbs have never made me feel satisfied. I am learning to eat to fuel my body rather than indulge each day because I “deserve it” for one reason or another.

Therein lies a serious problem. We use food as an incentive for good behavior; we use food as a means to gather and celebrate. We have become dependent upon rich food for each meal because we know it’s easily accessible. It’s less expensive (and easier) to grab fast food than it is to buy fresh produce, prep that produce, pack that produce and bring it to work/class.

So…why the title? 

I still have my cravings, those mainly being red wine and dark chocolate. See? Even my cravings have done a complete 180. I used to crave Cinnabon and frappacinos with extra heavy whipped cream. It’s all about teaching your MIND that your BODY needs something more substantial that will provide it with nutrients. With Paleo, I am learning to tailer it to my needs, and that is an ongoing challenge. We’re human so we crave things we love. I love red wine, so I’ll drink it every once in awhile and not feel bad about it.

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I like to choose one night a week (usually Sunday or Monday) to prep my lunch meals for the week. I separate everything in containers and keep them fresh by opening the lids overnight if necessary. 

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This is what I packed for a 4 day weekend trip. I knew that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to the grocery store, so planning ahead was a necessity. Making your health a priority is key to your overall motivation.

I’ve recently been asked by a few people about tips and recipes, which gives me such a sense of pride. I would eventually love to post recipes, tricks, etc. I like to say that I’m definitely no professional. I will be the first to admit that nutrition and dietetics can be an insanely complicated field. I know what works for me, and if I’m able to help inspire or motivate someone to positively change their lifestyle, I’ll be elated.

Here are a few tips that come to mind in the meantime:

  1. Drink water…all of the time. Buy some cute tumblers and bring them everywhere
  2. Get rid of the butter; use a couple tablespoons of olive oil instead
  3. Throw your salt away and invest in some Mrs. Dash
  4. If one of the first ingredients listed is “enriched ________” just say no
  5. Eat twice as many veggies as you eat fruit; fruit just acts as sugar if eaten in large quantities (fructose)
  6. Change up your meals and try new things
  7. Exercise…seriously. Challenge yourself each week, each month, each year, whatever it takes to sweat some more
  8. Make time for your health
  9. Incorporate a buddy (or several) and make healthy eating/living fun
  10. Motivate yourself mentally each day; focus on the positives and tell the negatives to back off

Changing my habits hasn’t been easy, and I’ve faced several challenges. Knowing that I’m doing something good for my body each day keeps me going though.