31 Days to Clean Eating…The Journey

31 Days of Clean Eating Collage

31 Days have come and gone…and oh how far we’ve come along… 

Well I never claimed to be a poet 🙂

I have done it.  31 Days to Clean Eating was a great success!

It was a long and difficult month.  I had a sick munchkin.  I was sick.  Hubs was sick.

That put me out of commission for a good 2 weeks.  However…I stuck to clean foods.

There was one week of being sick that I survived solely on Ezekiel toast and egg and cheese sandwiches.  By the boatload.

There was another week that I ate whole wheat toast smothered with ricotta and fresh berries.   Followed by 9 mandarines.

There was another week that I ate my Russian Chicken Soup with Meatballs for a whole week.

Russian Meatball Soup - Girl and the Kitchen

So what did I learn in these 31 days?

I learned that we are stronger than we think.  I learned that what the mind may tell you it wants your body may be thinking otherwise.  Many a days I had to talk myself into eating that egg white omelette, or that bowl of cottage cheese or talk myself out of my sinful Nutella brownies…

That my friends takes will power…

Nutella Brownies - Girl and the Kitchen

But we have it in us!  There is always going to be a little voice that says..”Eat it, go on…it won’t hurt you.”  And there are times that I give in to that little voice and enjoy myself.

The difference now is…I am not going to listen to that voice for a Big Mac or for a Whopper or an Oreo.

If I am giving in…it will be for a big plate of homemade Nutella brownies… or a gorgeously juicy gourmet burger from one of our favorite burger restaurants.

What I learned…is that it’s OK to live.  It’s OK to enjoy life!  And most importantly it’s OK to indulge in those wonderful foods that life has to offer us.  But for me it better be worth it.  And in the end it is 10X better to consume a natural cooked burger that is 1200 calories than a chemical laden, over processed cheeseburger from a fast food shop…no matter how inviting the smell of freshly fried fries may be.

And so now you may ask…where did these 31 days of clean eating get me?

Well for one, I feel better.  Physically, that’s a given.

But feeling stronger mentally…that’s a real gift.

I walk a little taller.  A little straighter. And you damn well better believe my jeans have gotten a bit looser.

31 Days of Clean Eating - Girl and the Kitchen

For instance…these jeans… I have not comfortably worn since before I got pregnant!!! That’s 2.5 years!

I can tell you THAT is the reason I have been so motivated.

There is something extremely rewarding about changing your own body like this.

There was no fad diet.  There were no pills.  There were no laxatives (yuck).  There was no crazy cabbage soup.  There was no hours of cardio,

Actually…to be honest…there was hardly any cardio this month at all.  I injured my Achilles heel weeks ago and have been unable to do much of any cardio…with the exception of my jump roping in between sets.

I lift weights.  Almost daily. I lift heavy.  I squat hard.  I make funny faces as I struggle with the weights.  I breath heavy.  I turn red.  I eat a lot!  Chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, fish, cottage cheese, yogurt, fruits, veggies.. My life does not suck.

31 Days of Clean Eating Collage

I think the best part really is that I feel fantastic.

And that I have stayed with something that I believed was impossible for so long.

You see… the truth of the matter is…I have struggled with food for a long time.

I’m a chef and I secretly had moments where I hated food.

The truth is… I never really thought that eating a whole darn lot and working out would get me the body I always wanted.

I was naturally thin my whole life…too thin sometimes… and never had to worry about dieting or working out.  I was a super healthy and active kid and danced my whole life.  So weight was not an issue.

When I hit 23 I became obsessed with looking a certain way.  And I was introduced to diet pills, fad diets and crazy workouts… It was incredibly toxic to me…both physically and mentally.

My goals had unrealistic time frames and I obsessed over each morsel that I put in my mouth and over each workout I did.  I remember there was a day I fainted during my shift at a restaurant…and I had to make-up some sort of excuse as to why I was fainting.  It was embarrassing.

I always reached my goal…and afterwards when I slowly went back to normal I gained everything back…because as my coach says..I was skinny fat.  I did not eat nearly enough if at all to build any new muscle.

Mentally I felt defeated.  I knew that I would never get to where I wanted to naturally and so I accepted that pills, restricted diets and intense cardio workouts were the only way I would meet my physical expectations of me.

It was poison to me.

I did this dirty cycle for years.  Never really deeply happy.

One day exactly 3 years ago…I ran into an acquaintance.  She was a gym rat.  And I had at that moment found out she was training for a competition and asked me if I wanted to join her on her workouts.

I said sure!  I have nothing to lose!

We worked out 4-5x a week… and I ate really well.  I told her of all my struggles and she kept telling me, “This time there are no shortcuts, we are doing this the right way.”  And I agreed.

Within a month there were huge differences in my body.  My curves became tighter… And I smiled a lot brighter.  I was so proud of what I was able to accomplish without cheating.  With working out and eating well.

I continued to stay on my path and my friend became a trainer…a damn good one!

A few months later…I was pregnant and overjoyed.  I loved being pregnant.

31 Days of Clean Eating Collage

But I gained weight very quickly.  Despite my awful morning sickness, I had gained 20 pounds my first month.  And I was heartbroken.

By the end of my first trimester I had gained 30 pounds.  My doctor told me to start working out and watch my diet.  And I was devastated.  I was so in love with being pregnant… And yet I started hating my body…

My husband was very supportive.  He always told me I was beautiful.  And not to compare myself to anyone else.  (There were about 9 of our friends who were all preggo at that time.) He’s a keeper 🙂

I did yoga to help my body retain its strength and flexibility.  Sadly, I sprained my ankle when I was 6 months pregnant and I had to stop all my workouts.

When I came into my last appointment before munchkin was born, I had gained 60 pounds.

A few days later I went home with munchkin. I was so overjoyed.  So emotional.  And in so much pain.  However, I did leave the hospital 20 pounds lighter 🙂

By the time the munchkin was 3 months I had shed another 10.

It was at this point that I called my wonderful trainer again.  We were both shocked to see how much my body back tracked.  My strength, endurance and spirit was crushed.  We worked out 3 times a week and the poor girl dealt with my insane hormones and tears on a weekly basis 🙂  I was still nursing so my hormones were going nuts!  And as soon as I started working out heavy, my milk supply would deplete.  So I stopped working out.

However, I did lose 15 more pounds.  My trainer was insanely proud of me…but I was not.  I wanted my pre-mommy body back.

I yo-yo’d for quite some time.  Working out, eating right…slowly losing weight.  But I was not happy.

Until that one fateful day 13 weeks ago…I saw a quote on Instagram… And I changed my life…for good…forever. (Psst…I talk all about that here )

And so… It has led me here…

To my 31 days of clean eating…

This was where I started 31 days ago…

31 Days of Clean Eating - Girl and the Kitchen

And this is where I am today…

31 Days of Clean Eating Collage

I am as shocked as everyone else.  I see the beginning of my abs… so glad they decided to make a guest appearance!

Hopefully they are staying for long!

It’s been a transformation of years in the making…but I’m not quitting.  I’m not stopping.  For me this is just the beginning.

I have a little munchkin that deserves a healthy strong mommy…

And so I shall be 🙂

Thanks for going on this journey with me!

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  1. There’s no better test that the fit of the jeans, congrats being able to wear your jeans. I eat clean whenever I can and always feel better for it. This is a great post and a good read, thank you for sharing

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