Monday, March 7, 2011

The Experiment is Coming to an End

It's been four weeks... 28 days since I began this experiment into health thanks to Whole Foods Market and their Health Starts Here program.  This was a 28 day challenge and when we began this adventure I wasn't sure if I really wanted to participate.  I mean, what if I started, all confident and touting the virtues of HSH only to crash and burn in a puddle of chocolate ice cream or unbaked cookie dough three days into the program?  Plus, I've never really been a veggie person - I enjoy a good salad now & then, but massive amounts of veggies in place of meat?... well, let's just say it was not my idea of dining nirvana.  And to think that I was putting it all out here for virtually untold numbers of people to read - failure would be humiliating.

But I started out nonetheless - with little expectation other than to give it a try and see how it worked out.  I had nothing to lose - I was many, many pounds overweight, tired to the point of exhaustion most of the time and had absolutely no motivation to do much of anything at all.  What could it hurt??

As I told you after my first week, the sugar cravings were massive, but I withstood them and came out the other side.  Sure, I still "want" that cocoa I used to have every morning or the Girl Scout Cookies that I happen to have seven cases of in my living room for my daughter to distribute - but they don't seem to be working that magic trance over me.  I'm not walking, arms outstretched while they call my name so in my opinion, I've beat the sugar addiction.

Veggies were another obstacle I had to face head-on.  I don't remember eating too many veggies as a kid - maybe the occasional candied carrot (which made me hate carrots) or creamed pea or corn but as a whole there was definitely not a rainbow on my plate when I was growing up (this could just be due to the fact that I refused to eat the veggies too - I simply don't remember).  So with a refrigerator stocked two produce-drawers full to the brim of more veggies than I'd ever eaten in a month, I began the new foray into semi-vegetarian eating.  The rules were that I had to include a huge portion of green veggies every day in addition to a very large salad daily.  At first I was so sick of salad that I though I would die if I had to eat another because I was eating them twice a day (not the best idea I've ever had).  But then I discovered that soup was a marvelous (and tasty) way to get loads of veggies (and the daily serving of beans I was supposed to eat).  It even made the evil dark-green leafy veggies which I detest pretty much palatable so I didn't feel guilty about not working those into my meal plans.  I've had such great luck with the soup that I now make a big crockpot full (six quart size) at the beginning of the week and it lasts about 8-10 days (depending upon how many times per day I use the soup as a meal).  I've discovered that it's also good if you drain most of the liquid off and put it atop a serving of quinoa for a healthy, high-protein meal.

The rules seemed steadfast and complicated at first, but actually they are pretty simple:  Try not to eat anything white (bread, rice, flour, etc), eliminate sugar of any kind including artificial sweeteners, try not to consume processed foods but if you do - don't eat anything that 1) has sugar in the first five ingredients or 2) has anything in the first five ingredients that a third grader can't pronounce.  Include a large (double size) serving of green veggies every day, Eat a giant salad (made with lettuce other than iceberg) daily, Eat a serving of beans daily.  Try to think of meat as a condiment or side dish instead of a main dish and try to include it infrequently, instead relying on other sources of protein (nuts, quinoa, veggies, etc).  It's really pretty simple when you start doing it on a daily basis.

So how did my 28 days go in terms of weight loss??  Well, I am more than pleased to say that I have lost 20 pounds to date - not too shabby.  As for the exhaustion?  It did take a while for my body to get rid of all the "gunk" that was corsing through it so it was well into the third week that I found my energy - in fact, the last few days of that week I had so much energy that I cleaned my house from top to bottom and caught up on backlogged laundry and took the puppy for a walk and homeschooled my oldest daughter.  Now I know that most people could do that without any problem, but for me just the school would have been enough to send me for a two hour nap.  I'm feeling better than I've felt in a long, long time! 

Was the experiment a success??  An overwhelming one.  Will I continue to eat this way??  Without a doubt.  Do I recommend this program to others??  Yes, YEs, YES!!

I have even been so motivated that I've added a very interesting hypnosis program into the mix - but that's another post :-)

There's still time to sign and take your own 28 day challenge.  For info on how to get started, see our Health Starts Here Post.

- Liz

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

-  Looking for the original post with the details about how you can join the Health Starts Here program for FREE? Visit our Post "Health Starts Here"

-  Follow my journey on the Health Starts Here Program & catch up on previous posts.

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