Not to be overly dramatic, but I can’t believe I survived week 1 of the BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge. While I’m no stranger to healthy foods, I am not always the best about trying new food. So I went from eating what I know (which wasn’t always the healthiest choice), to trying a new recipe for every meal for the whole week. I think my system was a little shocked and overwhelmed.
So how do I feel after the first week? Pretty damn good. I don’t feel the slightest bit bloated, my pants are fitting a little bit better and I’m proud of myself for sticking to the plan. I’m not sure if it is all attributed to my new eating habits, as I’ve also been exercising every day. I do at least 20 minutes of cardio each day, followed by a weight training program. In addition to those workouts, I also incorporate spinning at least once a week and play volleyball at Whiskey Island in the evenings.
What I have learned is that weekends are beyond tough for healthy eating. It is significantly easier during the week because I am on a pretty rigid schedule. I wake up and eat breakfast, go to work, where I have lunch and a snack and then dinner and another snack after work. While I do have things going on in the evening, it usually works out. On the weekends it is a free for all. I’m barely home, making meal preparation next to impossible. Plus this Friday and Saturday were gorgeous out so all I wanted to do was sit on a patio and have a beer (which was so not an option). What it made me realize is that when my two week challenge is over, I will have to allow myself some leniency on the weekends. Now the challenge will be to not overindulge on those days.
I’ve never cooked as much as I have in the past week, which led me to another important realization. Planning your meals for the week is important. Having a set menu, allows for healthy planning and making it more likely to stick to your intentions when you already have the food ready to go. So many times I find myself coming home from work, famished and ready to eat. So what do I do, but make the easiest (and usually unhealthy) option that I have available. That has to stop. I need to be more aware of what I am consuming.
I will say that I did cheat just a little over the weekend. I had three glasses of red wine instead of two, and ate a few bites of a slice of pizza. I am pretty sure that is why they tell you no alcohol during the challenge – it impairs your judgement. I also ate a couple of pierogies after the Slavic Village Pierogi Dash Sunday morning, as I have a serious weakness for homemade pierogies. I felt it was justified though, as I had just finished a 5k race. BuzzFeed would probably not agree, but I had to give myself a little slack.
Now I’ve already gone grocery shopping for this week, and only spent about $100 dollars on this week’s groceries. I’m excited to start the second week of the challenge and finish out strong!
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from the first week of the challenge:
Salmon with Green Beans and Lentils: This meal was one of my favorites this week. I love green beans and salmon, plus the lentils were seasoned so well. Plus I got to use the salmon and green beans for my lunch the following day!
Shaved Asparagus Salad with arugula, shallots and fried eggs: Yummmm. I have been looking forward to this salad since the challenge started. So tasty!
Kale salad with tomato, black beans and feta: Now that I know how to prepare kale properly for salad so it isn’t overly crunchy, I am hooked! So refreshing and healthy.