Updated: Jul 27, 2020
While I have a naturally athletic built, I didn’t always eat the best. I actually didn’t really start to notice it until about 5 years ago. Growing up, my go-to meal was a juicey burger with a side of fries, anyone who knows me could guess what I’d order when eating out. In high school, I could get away with that since I was conditioning everyday playing sports, but as I got into my early twenties I noticed a change in my energy levels and shortness of breath, and never really knew what it was. I had a friend call me out once saying, I ate a lot of greasy foods all the time and to be honest I thought because I was on the slimmer side, eating clean had nothing to do with me. Fast forward to my mid-twenties when I started picking up running again, and my shortness of breath snuck up on me. I began thinking to myself, alright, something's gotta give.
I learned the hard way that not everything we eat is the right thing for our bodies.
After attempting Whole30 and failing multiple times, I learned a lot about food and my body. After being consistent with it, I began to see a difference in how I felt. I made the decision to cut and limit some of the things in my diet.
What is Whole30 and how it‘s worked for me.
Whole30 is a fad diet that highlights ”whole foods” while cutting out sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, and soy. Whole30 was successful for me because after doing it for 30 days (and by no means was it easy), it allowed me to be more cautious of what I ate. It forced me to reduce my intake on some of the things that I love to eat. It's encouraged me to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making sure that I am snacking throughout the day and drinking lots of water. It has also improved my skin, I used to suffer from really oily skin (hint the foods that I ate and a poor skincare routine).
”You are what you eat”
I LOVE cheese, bread, and sugar!
Yup, those 3 things in that exact order. They're like a toxic boyfriend, he looks fineeeee and yummy but he doesn’t always treat you right (hint the turn in your stomach), he’s pleasing in sight but a few hours later you’re crying because you feel like crap. It continues to go on but you never fail to run right back and fall into the same cycle. Pastor Mike Todd once said,
”Attraction can lead to contraction”
He was referring to dating, but I like to think that I have a relationship with these 3 things. However, I still treat myself to these things but I had to learn how to monitor it. I cut back on cheese and now only purchase vegan cheese (I know what you're thinking, but I've found the best kind that tastes just like real cheese AND it melts, you're welcome click here).
I also reduce my bread intake, I was raised on bread for breakfast with toast, English muffins, and bagels. I'm careful with my bread intake mainly because of the amount of sugar that is inside of bread. It’s a fine carb, but it’s typically loaded with sugar, which brings me to my next bffff, SUGAR!
I love brownies, and now that I’m in Chicago, Jeni’s ice cream with a waffle cone, my goodness! I now limit sugar because I found myself working out and not seeing any results, but after doing some research, it’s shown that sugar can have a negative impact on toning your muscles. After cutting it out for about 3-4 weeks, I finally saw the results I was looking for.
Another win to transitioning my diet was forcing me to pack lunch and reduce my spending when eating out. Meal prepping is crucial, and due to a lot of restaurants not having any dairy-free or gluten-free options on the menu, I find it tricky if you’re going out and spending $16-$20 on a meal and you can't enjoy it. A lot of my meals now are plant-based and I swap red meat with chicken or fish. In doing this, I feel so much better and have so much more energy. I’m able to enjoy my runs without feeling like I’m going to vomit and fall over.
TIPS ON CHANGING UP YOUR EATING HABITS:
Reduce dairy if your body doesn’t take it well. I didn't realize I had a dairy issue because I've been eating dairy products my whole life. Anything that gives you an upset stomach isn’t good and our bodies need to be able to digest what we consume. Simply reducing your dairy intake helps a lot. I’ve swapped a few things by drinking almond milk, dairy-free creamer, and eating vegan cheese.
Bread. When purchasing bread, look to see what’s in it. Substitute it for a gluten-free option or a bed of veggies or a side of potatoes. There’s a lot of gluten-free bread that tastes like paper (how I know what paper taste like.. I don’t know but you get the idea), but once you find the one for you, you won’t turn back. A great option here, found in the frozen section in chained grocery stores or at Whole Foods in the bread aisle.
Sugar, I love homemade fresh out of the oven brownies. I can eat a whole batch easily. Plus, they make brownies in a mug which have me speechless. I do treat myself to sweets because we all deserve it but I try to keep fresh fruit on hand all the time so when I have a craving I can eat an apple or make a smoothie.
“LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO EAT BAD FOOD”
I use Whole30 as a guide to maintaining a healthier lifestyle, so when I do have bowl of Jeni's ice cream it's so worth it. Find what's right for YOU, I hope some of these tips are helpful as I definetly needed this 5 years ago.