The first few days of this week were tough. It wasn’t so much staying committed to the plan, though admittedly, I fell off the water wagon and had to regroup on Wednesday with the water mantra, “Drink water like it’s your job.” The struggle was more emotional. I woke up on Monday angry, jittery, and weak. My anxiety had flared and my negative self-talk went into overdrive. I felt raw, exposed, and unequipped to deal with the real world. I doubted myself and began to feel like I was going to fail at this challenge.
Thank goodness for the support of both my sister, who has been through all of this before, and the Facebook group Core Values created for moments (days) like these. The power of community and support should never be underestimated. Seeing inspirational quotes, photos of what other people were eating, and admissions of slips and struggles made me feel so much less alone. My sister’s matter of fact attitude about the stages of sugar detox helped normalize the instability of my mood. (“I am 100% certain I warned you about this” is an exact quote from a conversation we had when I was feeling particularly snarly).
By Thursday, the jitters and unease had passed. I had worked more whole grains into my diet over the week, which helped boost my energy levels and strength back up to normal. And I was finally able to stop fixating on food! For the first 10ish days my mind was on a constant loop of what I could eat next, when I could eat it, and how much I could have. Nearing the end of week two, I finally accepted the structure of the challenge and with this acceptance, was able to release a lot of the resistance around what I was missing.
This week was also a week to ground the challenge in reality. Which is a really euphemistic way of saying, I had a cheat night and I totally don’t give a flying F about the “slip.” My husband was the most incredible partner throughout my 6 months of unemployment. He was gentle and kind and patient as I flitted between 100 new career paths, couldn’t get out of bed with crushing depression, and slowly but surely chipped away at our savings as my appointed 3-month recovery morphed into half of a year. He deserved a celebration, and to be fair, we had our reservations at Morimoto long before I signed up for the Challenge. I wasn’t going to dull his night by micromanaging what we could enjoy at his special dinner. We feasted. Kevin loved every bite of his celebratory dinner and I did too. This dinner doesn’t define me or my commitment. Just because I had a night of revelry, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump right back on the plan.
Oh – and my body made it clear that I would get right back to the new diet. I did not feel good - almost immediately after we finished dinner. I went to bed feeling bloated and uncomfortable and woke up dehydrated, starving, and craving clean food.
SO – what did I eat this week?
- Breakfast: Overnight oats with berries + protein and coffee smoothies
- Lunches: Spinach, diced bell peppers, diced avocado, pickled red onions, black beans, brown rice, and bay shrimp salad – tossed with fresh lime juice.
- I made 4 of these on Sunday in mason jars for the work week. Mine were layered as (bottom to top): pickled onions, black beans, shrimp, brown rice, bell peppers, avocado, spinach. That way your spinach stays fresh the entire week.
- Snack: Energy balls using this recipe --> No-Bake Oatmeal Protein Energy Balls
- Scallop, spinach, asparagus, and orange salad from my new favorite and highly recommended cookbook, Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health
- Egg Salad and Smoked Salmon over spinach and steamed asparagus – complete with homemade aioli because no processed foods, y’all. Side note: homemade aioli is REALLY easy to make and tastes way better than mayonnaise. Here’s the recipe I used: 2-Minute Foolproof Aioli.
- Chicken Taco Bowls (4 servings)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 4 ears corn
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can low sodium black beans, drained
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- Handful of roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 lime
Preheat oven to 375. Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly and chop.
Prep brown rice. I use the frozen bags from Trader Joe’s. 3 minutes is just the right amount of time to dedicate to cooking rice.
Boil corn and let cool before slicing kernels off of the cobs.
Heat EVOO in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Sauté garlic and onion for 2 minutes, just until fragrant. Throw in bell pepper and newly liberated corn kernels. Raise heat to medium, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes. Toss in black beans, cooked rice, and cooked chicken. Let cook for another 5 minutes.
Top individual servings with avocado, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice.
30 Day Challenge Checklist
- 1 pound gained this week (Note to self: ease up on the nut butters, girlfriend)
- Water goals met 5 of 7 days
- Protein goals met all 7 days
- Ab challenge met 3 of 7 days L (Note to self: put this on the calendar so you don’t forget!)
- Monday – TRX, Tuesday – rest, Wednesday – TRX, Thursday – TRX, Friday – Boot Camp, Saturday – TRX, Sunday 3 mile run