As I mentioned a few months ago, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to reset my eating behaviors. Whenever I’m deep in survival mode, my eating habits go to hell. I’m not proud of it, but I resort to poor eating habits (mostly sugar consumption and eating out too much) when I’m stressed. And then I feel guilty for eating poorly, which makes me more stressed, which makes me eat poorly. Not awesome.
Over the fall, I’ve been doing a lot of healthy eating reading. Recently, I stumbled along a set of “real food” blogs, through (once again) my beloved Mama Natural. (Check out my Blogs I Love page for examples.) Similar to Paleo but much less restrictive (in some ways), real food eating focuses on healthy fats, whole foods, healthy sweeteners, avoiding processed foods, and eating local foods. In other words, mostly how I ate before I got pregnant. I can get on board with that.
My challenge is I have no idea where to start. Since summer, I’ve tried dramatically changing my habits and I fail after a few diligent days. And then, while researching eating real food on a budget, I found 100 Days of Real Food. The author, Lisa, started her real food journey and blog by challenging herself and her family to eat real food for 100 days. She hosts on her blog several different challenges, including the original 100 days of real food, 100 days of real food on a budget, 10 days of real food, and 14 weeks (98 days) of real food mini-challenges. I’m drawn to the 14 mini-challenges, because I can rebuild my eating habits one at a time, scaffolding my new practices.
So starting on today, I’m going to try these challenges. Here are the details, with links: (Edited 12/29/2013)
- Week 1: Eat 2 fruits and/or vegetables at every meal. (11/25/2013)
- Week 2: Drink only real beverages: coffee, tea, milk, and water, sweetened only with honey or maple syrup. (12/2/2013)
- Week 3: Eat only locally raised meat, only 3-4 servings per week. I will likely change this to meatless meals for breakfast and lunch, because I cannot afford locally raised meats on our family budget. (12/9/2013)
- Week 4: No fast food or deep fried foods. (12/16/2013)
- Week Off – Holidays
- Week 4: No fast food or deep fried foods. (again, 12/30/2013)
- Week 5: Try two new whole foods. (1/6/2014)
- Week 6: No low-fat, lite, or nonfat food products. (1/13/2014)
- Week 7: Eat only 100% whole grain. (1/20/2014)
- Week 8: Stop eating when you feel full. (1/27/2014)
- Week 9: No refined sweeteners. (Basically only hon2ey and maple syrup.) (2/3/2014)
- Week 10: No refined oils. (2/10/2014)
- Week 11: Eat local foods. (1 locally grown or raised food at each meal.) (2/17/2014)
- Week 12: No sweeteners. (2/24/2014)
- Week 13: Nothing artificial. (3/3/2014)
- Week 14: No more than 5 ingredients in a packaged product. (3/10/2014)
I’ve already started to adopt some of these practices, like cutting out most refined oils. But some of these will be incredibly difficult – like the refined sweeteners and the no sweeteners at all. I’m hoping that some of these practices will make their way into my regular eating habits and some I’m willing to try for the week.
Each week starting on Monday, I’ll post a reminder about my new weekly challenge and a recap of how my week went. I’m hoping that helps me to stay on track and identify the areas where I’m successful and where I’m struggling.
As a note (mostly to myself), I want to engage in this process mindfully and gently. I don’t want to turn this project into all the ways I fail at healthy eating, but as a way to identify in tangible terms where I can improve my diet and where I need support. My goal is to find a healthier path overall, which will be easier if I treat myself kindly.