Thursday, July 05, 2012

the hard work of eating clean

this is my third time on this eat clean program merry-go-round. you can do the pre-cleanse and the post cleanse. you can do it with shakes and supplements.  you can do it with an online forum and you can call an 800 number and/or email councelors for support and information and a ton of encouragement. or you can simply not eat certain things for 3 weeks and see how it affects you physically.

here's how it works. for 21 days, i remove certain foods from my diet: salt, sugar, sweeteners, anything that's processed and loaded with bad fat but also things i may unknowingly be allergic to (because most people are) like white rice, corn, peanuts, soy, oats and whole wheat/wheat gluten, as well as most meat (beef, chicken, pork - eating wild game is encouraged) and seafood (i can have cold water fish like salmon and trout). oh, and no coffee or tea. or citrus, except for lemon. and no nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, etc). no dairy, either. yeah. no cheese. and no alcohol. or cigarettes. or recreational drugs.

what can i eat? pretty much everything else.

this time around, i've discovered that i love buffalo, rabbit and ostrich. eating those things is really not that deep for me. when i was a kid, we ate plenty of game. venison was a constant. so was squirrel.  i really love just about every green vegetable there is, especially bitter greens, wheatgrass and kale. i drink water instead of soda or other sugary drinks. i've made a shot of green vibrance a daily habit. yes, i'm losing weight. going to bed hungry still feels like mission impossible but it's doing wonderful things for my constitution, my energy level, my skin, all of it.  my acid reflux problems that plague me whenever i don't eat right are totally nonexistent when i don't eat at night. poof! gone. just like that.

it takes time to break bad habits and create good ones. what's bigger than this is my newfound ability to listen to my body -- give it what it needs and remove what isn't necessary. some days that's an easy thing to do. some days, it takes a herculean effort to not inhale a gigantic bag of potato chips with a side of sour cream and wash it down with a coke.  with the possible exception of thick cut country bacon, how i look and feel and how healthy i am far outweighs any momentary joy that eating delicious food ever gave me.

i have to admit -- the first time i did the eat clean program, it was a shock to my system. the second time was a struggle. i thought this time around would be a good chance to do it again to recalibrate myself physically as a birthday present to myself.  my remaining week on this program led me to a strange set of crossroads and a massive epiphany: if i want to stay lean and strong and healthy and vibrant, i am going to have to keep this up for the rest of my life.  the closer i adhere to the program, the better i look and feel. so which road would i choose: eating clean or eating with abandon?

of course, it doesn't have to be one extreme or another. but this requires a lot of moment-to-moment discipline from me and that feels daunting. and exhausting.  don't get it twisted.  irregardless of whatever you are born with -- after a certain age, you get the body and the good health that you are willing to work and sacrifice to attain. being fat and unhealthy is a choice. that's really all there is to it.

very meal is a decision, every bite of food is a struggle. i hit the gym every single day.  i am fighting for the body i want and the good health that comes with it.

joan crawford was right. life is discipline.

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