Did you start the 4-week pre-summer clean-eating challenge with me today? I know some of you did, which is awesome! Follow along on facebook and instagram (@taylor_beee) for more regular updates :)
I won't be taking pictures of ALL of my meals during this challenge, but I thought I'd share the first day. Here's how it went for me:
Breakfast: whole-grain, high-fiber english muffin with almond butter & cinnamon; blueberries; coffee with all-natural french vanilla coconut creamer (YUM)
Snacks: Banana, strawberries, & almonds
Lunch: Spiced chicken, quinoa, & green beans
Dinner: Sautéed shrimp & peas, cinnamon sweet potato, & sautéed spinach. For the shrimp, just mix raw shrimp with your favorite seasoning/spices; saute in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until almost done; add peas and cook for another minute or so, or until hot.
And now, green tea for dessert :) All in all, plenty of tasty food eaten today and it was more than enough to keep me full. This isn't really different from my normal way of eating, except that there was no straying (i.e., no chocolate truffle after dinner ;) What's gonna be tough is excluding that english muffin, almond butter, quinoa, and sweet potato once the "17 day diet" part starts in 2 weeks. Agghhh!
Here are 4 tips and things to keep in mind if you're doing the 4-week challenge:
1. Plan ahead.
Prepping meals ahead of time is crucial -- it makes it so much more likely that you'll stay on track if you already have meals prepared that you can just grab before heading out the door. I made 3 of the lunches that I had today, so I'm all set for lunch tomorrow and Wednesday!
2. Drink A LOT of water.
This is nothing new for me or at all specific to this 4-week challenge, but it's a good time to reiterate how important drinking water is for your body. Anyone who's around me on a daily basis knows that I am never without my big blue water bottle -- constantly re-filling it throughout the day (so, yes, also constantly going in and out of the bathroom). I drink approximately 150 ounces of water a day (over a gallon!)... sometimes even closer to 200 ounces! I honestly think I've trained my body to expect that much water now, so I am in no way forcing it -- I love drinking water and crave it throughout the day. I like to credit lots of things to my water drinking...like the fact that I haven't gotten sick in 2 years! It is so important to having a healthy body.
If you're not already water-obsessed like me, try adding slices of lemon and lime and some fresh mint to a big pitcher of ice cold water, then drink it throughout the day.
I didn't include any exercise components to the 4-week challenge, but I hope you'll include some. See if you can increase the amount you've been doing by at least a little bit -- maybe add in 1 more trip to the gym each week, work out a little bit longer, or lift a little bit heavier. The benefits you see from the eating changes will only be enhanced by some extra fitness.
This may get a little harder during the second 2 weeks. While you should still be eating plenty of food during the 17 day diet phase, you probably won't be getting as much energy from food as you're used to. Listen to your body, and if you're not feeling up for exercising, either eat more to feel more energized, or cut back on working out a little bit.
4. Don't obsess.
Challenges like this are meant to be just that -- a challenge. But a diet is just a tiny little piece of your life. So while doing this challenge probably means you're thinking a little bit more about what you're consuming on a daily basis, be mindful of just how much you're thinking about food. If it ever feels overwhelming, or like you're focusing on food way too much -- step back. Listen to your body. Go for a walk. Spend time with friends. Remember what's really important :)