With the new year comes new goals. You saw tons of your friends on Social Media sharing that they are participating in X clean eating challenge, trying the X diet, eliminating X from their life as a resolution. You want to join in, but have some questions first… I was there, too! So today, I’m sharing with you some rockstar tips on how to deal during clean eating challenges.
What is a Clean Eating Challenge?
First off, CONGRATULATIONS on the first step to a healthier you! I know deciding to participate in clean eating challenges are daunting and pretty intimidating, but they are SO worth it!!
For the purpose of this post, I am going to refer to my experiences with The 21 Day Sugar Detox as well as the Original ‘remixed’ Clean Eating Challenge we did at Pure Barre Lake Norman (We mixed elements of the 30Clean, Whole30, and the 21 DSD to give challenge participants a unique and original approach). The general premise of a Clean Eating Challenge is to reboot your body, to remove poorly ‘sourced’ and over processed foods from your diet, and learn to love raw, whole foods and the effects on your body. Did you know that sugar more of a main culprit in a plethora of conditions- such as hormone imbalances, bloating, weight gain? (Read more here)
During the course of whichever Clean Eating Challenge you participate in, they typically set a time frame to follow the program. For good reason too! It takes 12 days for your body to reset/flush the bad stuff out, and then from there 21 days to make a habit, 90 to create a lifestyle.
WOAH there… 90 days? I’m just considering doing a challenge… I know, I know. lol. Keep reading…
Why Should I do a Clean Eating Challenge?
If you’ve never done a Clean Eating Challenge before, I HIGHLY recommend it! Dive in to the challenge with an open mind and be ready to learn. The things I learned from completing so many of these has truly opened my eyes to the poor quality food options that are made available to us, as well as the lack of truly clean meals when eating out. So if you’ve never done a challenge before, why not try?
- Learn new fun recipes
- Try new foods
- Reset your tastebuds
- Losing inches [and possibly weight]
- Better sleep
- Better cognitive function
- Better digestion
- Hormone balancing
And basically, you’ll feel like a majestic unicorn, and your healthiest self after! Read more about my run with The 21 Day Sugar Detox, here.
- Plan ahead
- Prep ahead
- Use all your resources
- Know your ‘why’
- Take before and after pictures and measurements
You’ve heard this before, I am sure; “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” It is 100% the case with Challenges of this nature. So the biggest thing that may come from participating in a
clean eating challenge may very well be planning! I know for me, I have to plan my week out to a ‘T’. I need to know where I’ll be, when, when I’m working out and what effort level of workouts I’ll be doing, if i’ll have access to food I have prepped/a microwave/clean eating options, how long I’ll be away from home, if I had a busy day on the books and whether I would want to cook when I got home, etc. It was also important to know when I would be in situations where others would be eating around me. Create your menu plan before you go to the grocery store! This will make sure you don’t venture down the middle aisles and that you stay on budget if you know exactly what you need for each meal for the week!
After you’ve planned out your week and you see what meals you are having when. Take some time to prep the meals you need to prep. Working ALL day on Wednesday? Want dinner ready when you get home? Make a crockpot meal. Finished early on Thursday? Prep your veggies ahead of time (cut them) and package what you would need for Thursday’s meal all together so it’s mindless when making your meal! Are you someone that requires a fast breakfast in order to eat breakfast? Make your breakfasts for the weak ahead of time, portion them out in grab and go containers, and make it happen! I PROMISE you, if you invest a few hours into preparing food on one day per week, you will thank yourself the rest of the week. We are ALL busy, and I know it sometimes boils down to ‘I just don’t have the time to…’ but maybe, instead of saying you don’t have the time, say it’s just not a priority… see how that feels? You know why you decided to do this challenge. Now show up for yourself. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Use all your resources
PINTEREST is a HUGE help with coming up with recipes for meal prep and menu planning for the week. Make yourself a Clean Eating board and pin recipe ideas — you can even now make sections within your pinterest boards, fun fact! Maybe use them as sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc! If you are following a mass produced challenge, be sure to purchase the guide book, join the Facebook support group, follow the entity on Pinterest, etc. There are SO many resources available to help you succeed. My motto: ‘Go all in or get all out, there is no halfway.’ The professional way to say don’t half-ass shit. 😉
Know your ‘Why’
This sounds unbelievably cheesy (…mmmmm cheese ?), but I want you to sit down and think about why you have decided to embark upon a clean eating challenge. There is ALWAYS a reason people decide to try them other than ‘all my friends are doing them’. Whip out a journal or your planner and actually write down your why. Revisit it when the challenge gets tough, because it will. But guess what, you are stronger than you realize, and your why will help you get through those tough challenging moments.
Take Before/After pictures & measurements
Nothing gets my Biology Brain more excited than when there’s data to support transformations and quantify results. And sometimes, we don’t visibly SEE the changes happening to our own bodies (since we see them every day.. ya know?), so not only can measurements and before/after pictures help quantify your results, they can also provide proof that something in fact DID happen with these positive changes! You don’t have to share them if you don’t want, maybe you save them in a special album somewhere just for you. Another bonus tip: DO NOT LET THE SCALE VALIDATE YOU! The numbers on the scale are just your relationship with the gravitational forces on this planet. They DO NOT define you. They also DO NOT fully support the changes happening during alteration of diets. So if you choose to weigh yourself, do so responsibly, and try to keep it as infrequent as possible.
I received some questions when putting together this guide, and I wanted to address them here.
Q: How do you navigate having to cook 2 dinners? 1 compliant one for you, and one for the rest of your family.
A: Now, full disclosure here, I do not have children and my husband pretty much eats whatever I put in front of him, but each time we do an eating challenge, I make sure he is up to do it with me as well. His participation helps me stay on track and we can be accountable with each other. I would recommend, as an answer for this question, that you have a family meeting, maybe have the family decide on the meals for the week. I am sure it is more challenging with children, but if you include them in the decisions and the meal making processes, all while educating them about why you’re making the changes, this can become an educational family bonding experience! You can even have them help you look at and read the nutrition labels! Maybe you wean them over from mashed potatoes to mashed cauliflower by mixing the two together then subtly adding less white potatoes! Things like that :). & If your family is not wanting to participate with you, you can’t force them of course, but stay strong!
Q: Recipes! I need fun recipes!
A: Yes! Yes you do! Fun, new recipes are the key to staying on target and not getting bored. & Pinterest is a fantastic resource! As well as my Dynamic Life Collective group. We will be sharing recipes, fitness tips, life hacks, product reviews, etc in the DLC. Interested? Join here.
Q: I don’t have time to meal prep!
A: Can I be 100% honest with you? NO ONE has time to meal prep. They MAKE time to meal prep. Chop your veggies, make your week’s worth of breakfasts. Organize your refrigerator. etc. Set yourself up for the week in a manner that aligns you for success. — You can do this!
Your decision to do a clean eating challenge is AMAZING & for a reason. Remember that reason, and know that YOU CAN do this!!! Another huge thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to prepare for your challenge up to 1 week before! Need help on what to do before the challenge? Download my 10 Tips to get you ready for Day 1, here! Stay tuned for additional Whole 30 Posts, recipe shares & more!
Thank you so much for reading! Be sure to subscribe to my blog via the banner at the top of the page! And keep your eyes peeled for more fun tips from me about how to live your most Dynamic Life!