What I’m Eating Lately: 21 Day Shred

If anyone has been following me on social media, you’ve probably noticed a drastic change in what I’ve been posting. Normally I’m all about trying that monstrous sandwich, sampling every cookie on the menu, savoring a sweet latte on a blustery afternoon, and enjoying a sugary margarita on a Friday night. Food brings me so much pleasure, and I’m proud of the relationship I have with it. That  being said, things have been getting a little bit out of control.

It all started with marathon training, during which I absolutely gained a bit of weight (they say you either lose weight or gain it when training). Now, I am in no way diminishing the accomplishment of running a marathon or insinuating that I was expecting to lose weight during training. It was my first marathon and I didn’t really know what I was doing in many senses of training. That included fuel. I clearly did something right because I ran the damn thing in way better time than I was planning, but once I crossed that finish line I didn’t know how to go back to my old eating habits. You know, the ones where cheese isn’t the center of the universe.

So there I was, entering November, and I just felt…well…pudgy. I had taken some time off from really working out and was still eating pretty good portions of my favorite comfort food, as if another 26.2 was on the horizon. The thing is, there isn’t. I knew that if I didn’t want to completely lose control of my eating habits come holiday season (get at me, Bailey’s and hot chocolate!) I needed to reset my taste buds and get used to cooking beautiful dishes again.

Luckily, my coworkers at Sweat Chicago had similar thoughts and put together a challenge for us called the “21 Day Shred.”  So, starting November 1st, my eating habits changed drastically.

  • No dairy
  • No gluten
  • No alcohol
  • No added sugars

Whoa nelly.

So here I am, 14 days into it and it feels like nothing much has changed, which is crazy because the cuts I made were drastic. That makes me smile because it goes to show how I really want to eat 80% of the time. Sure, I lovvvve indulgence. But I love vegetables, protein, and healthy fats too. And those things should be making up most of my diet.

So what have I been eating a lot of?

  • Eggs
  • Potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Hummus
  • Carrots and celery
  • Nuts
  • Snap Pea Snacks

I was expecting the “no dairy” part of this diet to be the hardest, but it’s the SUGAR.

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You guys. There’s sugar in EVERYTHING. Things that say 0g sugar still have sugar in them. Salsa, vegetable stock, every sauce you can imagine is filled to the brim with the sweet stuff. I’m not going to lie…I spent close to two hours in the grocery store last Sunday reeling over how much shit had sugar in it. It kept ruining all my recipe ideas and I was NOT happy about it.

Aside from the extra effort, I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.

What have I noticed since cutting out dairy, gluten, added sugars, and alcohol?

  • I LOVE to cook. I don’t just like it, I love it.
  • I don’t crave food at night as much
  • I have pretty good willpower
  • I don’t need to put cheese on everything
  • I’m actually more fun sober than I am after a few cocktails (this is arguable, but man I’ve been having fun going out and getting “hydrated” instead of “wasted”)

These are just a few things I’ve noticed since starting, and even though I’m definitely looking forward to a celebratory meal next Sunday (get at me, crab mac and cheese!), I’ll probably keep incorporating this diet during the week. It has really held me accountable to the “balance” that I claim to have but up until two weeks ago was completely losing control of.

Plus I’ve been killing it…and I mean killing it…in the kitchen.

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Eating out hasn’t been too tricky either. Sure it takes more effort and is a bit more expensive to eat this way when you’re not prepared, but there is GOOD FOOD out there.

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So there’s that! I know a lot of other people have been trying new ways of eating this month (I’ve seen a lot of first-time Whole30-ers!) so I’m interested to hear your takes on changing it up like this. What have your experiences been with cutting out certain food groups and then reintroducing them back into your diet?

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22 comments

  1. The 21 day shred eating plan sounds a lot like Whole 30! I’ll finish W30 on Tuesday, but I’m hoping to keep eating in a similar, just less restrictive style long-term (and also incorporating the healthy things back in that Whole 30 doesn’t allow, such as beans). I’m definitely looking forward to having more flexibility again when it comes to eating out and eating food that friends make!

  2. I don’t eat dairy, avoid gluten on and off, but SUGAR IS MY KRYPTONYTE. I find when I cut it I eat WAYYY too much fruit. I’m probably not balancing my other foods well enough aka my protein intake.

  3. The only time I’ve ever done anything like this was when I ate raw food for a month. THAT was a lot of work. I had stomach cramps for two days and then my body got used to it. I did it because my dad had been diagnosed with colon cancer and I wanted to make a drastic change in my nutritional habits. That was five years ago, and I’m back to eating like a college student again. 😦 This post of yours is very inspiring though!

    1. Wow I can’t even imagine going raw. I sometimes watch recipe videos from Fully Raw Christina on Youtube and it just seems impossible to keep up. I love hot food! Haha I love your eating habits though…especially because it fuels you to run like a jackrabbit.

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