It’s June 27th which means there are 4 more full days of the 30 Day Smart & Kind Challenge left. I am currently glued together with avocado, nut butter, protein powder and sweet potatoes. Which, all things considered, is a pretty delightful combination of foods to be holding a person together.
A few roadblocks have prevented me from recapping the last two weeks of the Challenge. Primarily my bad attitude, secondarily not enough free time. At the end of week 2, I was feeling really great. I felt physically strong, my cravings were under control, my skin was clearing up, and when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror during workouts I would think, “This is working! Look at those muscles!”
Then a dark and stormy cloud shadowed my view. I started to feel very alone. The Facebook support group fell silent. I made a few meager attempts to generate conversations that fell flat. I was by myself in the group fitness classes at 5:30 a.m. which made me depressed. I started to believe that I was the only person still committed to the Challenge. And then I internalized that thought and turned into a huge brat. My loneliness bred resentment and I found myself unreasonably angry with everyone who was on this journey with me.
I knew I needed to reframe my thoughts and settle into my personal motivations for accepting this Challenge. But easier said than done, right? This was not about everyone else, this was about me. It took about a week of trying to convince myself this was true to actually accept it as the truth. My thoughts finally shifted from anger, frustration and resentment to gratitude for the growth I have made on this journey.
As the end of the Challenge draws near, I can honestly say I don’t have any cravings I want to indulge on my first day of freedom. (Hi there, July 1st – you’re so damn beautiful!) Ok, I do want a piece of chocolate. A piece – not a cake. I had been looking at July 1st as a finish line, as this release back into a world of possibilities. Until I realized that falling asleep at night, getting stronger in fitness classes, having clear skin, and being completely unburdened of extreme food-related urges is its own freedom…dare I say a better freedom.
So here’s the truth. I do feel alone. And I’m sure the people in my life are tired of hearing me talk about this Challenge. But it has been difficult to feel like people understand exactly how emotional, mental, and physical this has been. On the other hand, I also feel optimistic about making positive changes that will last. I will not be giving up the restricted foods forever. I mean, I work in the wine industry and there are times when my salary actually pays for me to drink wine in the name of entertaining partners, media, etc. The difference is, I feel powerful in my decision making. If I have a glass of wine, that’s my choice, not an intense urge stemming from a place of stress or unhappiness that I’m trying to sooth with alcohol or a cupcake.
Now that all those feelings have been addressed. Let’s do a brief recap of the recipes that have been keeping me sustained over the last two weeks.
- The current protein smoothie of choice is 8 ounces water, 1 cup spinach, ½ cup frozen pineapple, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Overnight oats – sometimes with shredded carrots and cinnamon, sometimes with unsweetened all natural applesauce and pumpkin pie spice
- Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad (double the edamame and add a bed of spinach)
- Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad (add a bed of romaine and black beans)
- California Roll Sushi Bowl
- Pork Tenderloin with Mango Skewers (eliminate brown sugar in the marinade)
- Salsa Verde Slow Cooker Chicken (1/2 a jar of Trader Joe’s preservative free Salsa Verde, 1 pound chicken breasts, diced jalapeno, Salt & Pepper – cook on high for 3 hours)
This list is short because I dined out a lot over the last two weeks and consumed a very high volume of sad house salads add chicken.
Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Protein Energy Balls
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons – ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Trickle in almond milk until just wet enough to form balls. Do not add too much liquid! Roll into balls and let set in the freezer before eating.