If you are trying to lose weight or struggling with weight loss. This is how I have lost 20 pounds with a clean eating lifestyle. Eating clean has me lighter, fitter and feeling better.
Have you heard of clean eating? I admit that I have heard the term but never really knew what it meant. If you are unsure of what is clean eating, well, from my understanding, it’s eating real food, unprocessed and as natural as possible. Eating clean means avoiding processed food and sticking with vegetables, fruit and natural proteins.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Click here for my full disclosure policy. *I am not a doctor or nutritionist, please make sure to consult your physician before starting a new exercise or lifestyle change.
Why I Decided to Change My Habits
I should rewind and tell you my ‘why’. When I was still working, I worked late nights and got very little sleep. No rest, busy days, long nights and not so great eating habits can lead to an unhealthy self and weight gain. So after retiring from the NYPD, I had my standard bloodwork done. My numbers were not good at all. Especially, my cholesterol, which was way higher than it has ever been and higher than I would ever want it to be. That in conjunction with the fact that I knew I was overweight was an eye-opener for me. My nutritionist actually looked at my bloodwork and then said to me “what the hell are you doing?” I need to lose weight and I need to get healthy for myself, my kids, my family. (psst, you can read about my retiring from the NYPD here: NYPD). I also noticed myself in the mirror for the first time in a while and could see that I didn’t look the way I wanted to look. I also didn’t feel the way that I wanted to feel. But those things often do go hand in hand. This is my ‘before’ photo. I keep it as a motivator for me. This photo was taken in June when I attempted to start jump roping. I ordered myself a great set of jump ropes and started jumping in the backyard every day. This was great until I injured my knee. Jumping rope was a great workout and I lost 5 lbs. But once I hurt my knee my jump roping was over and my husband has taken possession of my amazing jump ropes. If you are looking for weighted jump ropes, you can find the ones we have HERE or any jump ropes HERE.
How I Lost Weight Eating Clean
Now that I explained my ‘why’ I can get into the how. I can assure you of a few things from the start:
- Losing weight isn’t easy
- Losing weight takes time
- There is no magic pill
- There are no gimmicks
But Im guessing that you already know these things. So from the jumping rope, I am down 5 lbs which isn’t much and I held steady at that weight from June until September when I retired. In October I joined a gym and started working out anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week. I dress for the gym before taking the kids to school so that once I drop them off I can head straight to the gym with no excuses. My typical day at the gym consists of starting on the elliptical machine, then weight training then the treadmill. Because I actually enjoy jogging. I started off spending about an hour at the gym, but lately, I find myself spending an hour and a half there. I made sure to take the jogging slow and steady to avoid any new knee injury. Once I started to exercise I lost another 5 lbs. (10 total) I also wear my Fitbit all the time to make sure that I am up and moving enough. You can get a fit bit here if you want one: Fitbit
Next, I started doing a little research on how to avoid knee injuries because I didn’t want to hinder my progress. I looked up bone broth and how it helps your joints. After reading review after review I decided to start using Collagen. Every day after the gym, and even days that I skipped the gym I would put a scoop of collagen peptides in my morning coffee. Later I put this in my smoothies. Low and behold (knock on wood) my knees have been great and I’ve been slowly increasing how long I jog and how fast. As an added bonus, collagen is great for your hair and nails! This is the Collagen that I use and I love that its dissolvable and has zero taste. (Collagen peptides ) It’s also gluten-free, paleo friendly and more.
I continued to go to the gym and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing any more weight. I felt better but needed something else. When I started going to the gym I also slowly started to replace my morning coffee with a shot of apple cider vinegar. I make sure to get the kind with ‘the mother’ and order it here: Apple Cider Vinegar Each morning starts the same with a shot of ACV followed by a glass of water with lemon.
Life Style Change
Now that I am down 10 pounds but not losing any more weight I was feeling frustrated. I ran across a video on Facebook, like so many that we see and I stopped to watch it. I really wasn’t quite sure about it, but my husband talked me into joining this 30-day challenge.
So I signed up to start the 30-day challenge in the beginning of January. I can tell you that my first glance at the website made me unsure. It came across very ‘sale-sy’. But I took a chance and sent my $47. I figured hey, why not. Basically, for $47 I got a grocery list for the 3 Day Detox, a full meal plan with recipes, exercise videos, and daily meditations to stay positive.
- Recipes: I can tell you that the first few days are a detox. I did not like it. In fact, I cursed it and ranted how it wasn’t realistic or sustainable. But I’m glad I stuck through it. Here is one of my mini-rants about the detox and the smoothies. hehe
- After the initial detox period, the food actually got really tasty! I’ve tried foods that I most likely wouldn’t normally eat and I enjoy the occasional smoothies. The food is all real food. No replacement shakes or bars. The smoothies are real food (fruit, vegetables, etc – all fitting in with the clean eating lifestyle). The meal plan is flexible too. If there’s a meal that I just don’t want to eat I can swap it out with another. The main focus on the clean eating lifestyle is more about portion control and eating the right food. Here are a few of the foods that I have enjoyed since starting the 30-day challenge. The only reason that I have photos of these meals is because I send them to my mother. haha
Watching What I Eat
I have printed all of the clean eating recipes and created a binder in my kitchen that I grab daily to pick out what to eat each day. My type A personality shines through here because I have highlighted all the breakfast meals with pink, lunch in green, dinner in blue, snacks in yellow. hehe This way I can skim by color to find the meal that I want. I’m a sucker for organization. As I make each recipe, I then add little notes as to whether I like it or not, and if needed a little something more like lemon or salt for example. I should also add that the recipes are all rather easy to make and can also be made rather quickly and are real food.
There is also a free app that I use on my cell phone called Lose It! The app allows me to add the recipes and food that I eat each day. (My OCD is showing) I set up my profile with my current weight and my goal weight. I enter when I exercise and the app calculates how many calories I can have each day. So when I prepare a meal or snack from the 30-day challenge I log it into the app. You don’t have to be as anal retentive as me, but this works for me. Here is the app if you’d like to check it out: Lose It
- Work out Videos: Since I am already going to the gym, I haven’t done many of the exercise videos, but I do love having them for the days that I am unable to make it to the gym. The exercise videos give me a new workout and change things up from what I do on my own. They are easy enough to follow that my 5 year old likes to do them with me. The 30-day challenge workout videos cover warm-up, exercise and cool down/stretching. They also change each week, and along with the meal plan, there is a workout plan to help guide you. With these, you don’t even have to go to a gym if you don’t want to. The workouts are plenty to get your blood flowing.
- Meditations: in addition to the recipes, and workouts you are given daily mediations. Which are basically positive affirmations to help keep you positive and focused. I’m all about affirmations. (Insert big puffy heart here)
There is also a Facebook group for everyone who participates in the 30-day challenge where people from all over the world participate and support one another. It is a very active group full of questions, sharing experiences and even a few women who prepare some of the meals for you on live video, which is always fun and helpful.
There are some recipes that call for Greek yogurt, kefir or protein powders. You don’t have to use the protein powders but I like them. Once I got going I decided to add these additional products to my normal routine. Here are a few of the products that I use, most are added to smoothies: (I use all of these and would not suggest anything here that I don’t use myself)
- Protein Powder – I started with the Vanilla flavored and have since also ordered the chocolate. Many smoothie recipes call for Greek yogurt or kefir or protein powder. Since I’m not a fan of Greek yogurt I like to be able to have an easy alternative. And I really like the taste.
- Green Superfood Powder – I will be honest, and say that I do not love the taste of this BUT its great to use when I don’t feel like using spinach or kale or it I have run out of my leafy greens. Depending on the recipe that it is being used in sometimes its good and sometimes I will opt to only use the fresh leafy greens.
- Pro-Biotics – Simple for digestion support (only one a day)
- Dandelion Tea – I enjoy a relaxing cup of dandelion tea each night after the kids go to bed. As a matter of fact, my dandelion tea has replaced my wine consumption.
- Cacao Bliss – this is great for when you crave that little bit of chocolate. Simply mix a scoop of cacao bliss with hot water and a little almond milk and it’s a delicious alternative to sugar-filled hot chocolate. But so much healthier! I even found myself the perfect mug for my chocolately treat 😉 You can get a similar Bliss mug HERE
Organizing the Refrigerator
Now that I’m adding all of these new foods to our household I realized that I need a way to organize the fridge. I ordered a few of these food storage containers to keep my abundance of vegetables separate and organized. You can find them HERE
As I write this (Feb 8) I can tell you that I am down a total of 21 pounds. 5 from jump rope, 5 from the gym and then an additional 11 since starting the new eating habits. Here is a before and now, I don’t want to say after because I am not done. I plan to continue and hope to shed a few more pounds:
It’s really noticeable in my face. Which is funny because no one really ever says “I need to lose weight in my face”
I also should add that I have stopped drinking coffee and wine! OH, the HORROR! I know. But surprisingly I don’t miss it. Not yet at least. It’s not even ‘required’ to eliminate these things it’s just something that happened. I have also inadvertently become almost gluten-free. Not that I had planned to eliminate gluten but many of the foods that I am eating just happen to be gluten-free. Another thing that I have noticed is that my allergies have improved drastically. I would like to think that these improvements are not a coincidence but are actually related to the changes that I have been making in my activity and eating habits.
*update- March 1 – I am down a total of 30 lbs
*update – April 1st – down a total of 35 lbs and feeling amazing!
*update – April 24th – down 40 lbs and only 5 more lbs to my goal pre pregnancy weight!
What’s In My Kitchen
See what I keep in my kitchen and use on a regular basis to keep up with clean eating and a healthy lifestyle. Find it all in my Kitchen Essentials List.
For the Future
I plan to continue on this journey. And I plan to share more healthy recipes with you here on the blog because everyone has to eat. You can find recipes here: Recipes. Feel free to ask me any questions. I have also decided to join the extended group after my 30-day challenge ends to continue with this clean eating journey.
How to Ease Your Family into Eating Whole Foods
Clean eating is all about real whole foods. There are many meals where I eat differently from my hubby and kids. I always offer to make them what I am eating, but sometimes they just want something else. I am slowly getting them on board though with clean eating and eating real food because whole foods are the healthiest form of food that we can consume. They help to protect us against diseases, provide our bodies with energy and give us necessary vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, many families do not eat whole foods on a regular basis. Here are a few tips to help ease your family into clean eating.
Explain the Benefits
Many families are hesitant to adopt new habits or eating norms because of a simple lack of understanding. One of the primary motivators for behavior change is an understanding of what benefits will result. In other words, your family may not be interested in eating whole foods because they don’t understand the benefits these foods can yield. It can help ease the transition by explaining to your family the myriad benefits that can be experienced from eating more whole foods. This may also encourage your family to learn more about the health benefits of clean eating.
Cook Tasty Meals
One of the most common stigmas surrounding clean eating is their lack of flavor or bad taste. Unfortunately, some people arrive at this conclusion without having tried these foods. When families are used to eating foods high in sugar or flavor additives, the idea of whole foods can be unappealing. A great way to help introduce these healthy foods into a normal diet is by incorporating them into tasty meals. After eating food that has been cooked into a delicious meal, families may be more open to trying these foods in the future. When my kids want pancakes for breakfast I prepare a healthy pancake recipe using mashed banana and almond flour and they love it.
Start with Flavor
Families are more likely to reject the idea of new foods if they are forced or introduced at one time. Instead, you can gradually introduce these healthier foods one or two at a time. This ensures that your family won’t get discouraged from trying these foods. Another important tip is to introduce the most flavorful, whole foods at first. For example, a tasty orange or apple can be one of the first whole foods you give to your family. Starting with a lot of flavors will encourage your family to try more whole foods.
The health benefits of clean eating are undeniable. However, it can be very difficult for some families to begin eating them on a regular basis. Some people are used to eating food that is so high in sugar and additives that it can hardly be called natural. Gradually introducing real foods into your family’s diet can be a great place to start.
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