21 Days of Clean Eating

Experts say it takes 21 days to make something a habit. When Anna asked me if I wanted to take the 21 Day Challenge, I started to think about what habit I wanted to create for myself.

Two years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we were both shocked and surprised. Everyone who knows Evan knows that he is a very active guy. Spending three hours in the gym is a typical day for him, so the T1D diagnosis was definitely unexpected.

Initially, we changed our eating habits. We ate less sugar and carbs, more protein and vegetables. Throughout the past two years, we had times of really good control and times of not so good control. With this challenge, I really wanted to make this low-carb lifestyle a habit for myself, and understand what made me slip up with my eating. I figured making it a habit for myself would make things just a little easier on Evan.

Did I complete the challenge? Yes, mostly. I did pretty good, but Easter. Chocolate eggs and bunnies. Besides that slip up ,and eating a couple meals that were prepared for me as a guest, I did pretty well. I found that I thrived when I did a couple of things: when I planned my meals ahead of time and when I made the meal exciting. By planning ahead, I stayed on track. I had a grocery list that I didn’t stray from and I knew what was coming.

By keeping meals exciting, cooking became more fun and less of a burden. I found delicious new recipes online to try.

Evan and I even found a few good ones that are definite keepers. Evan’s favorite is a low-carb chocolate chip cookie recipe and mine is a low-carb and high-protein pancake, both made with almond flour. With all that said, what I  mostly learned about myself from this challenge came from the mistakes I made. It was the days where I just didn’t feel like eating healthy or didn’t feel cooking that I chose the easy and convenient donut for breakfast.

Evan’s college basketball coach, Chris Beard, used to say something that has stuck with us throughout the years. “Comfortable people get their ass beat.” This has been a mantra over the past five years in our family. Whenever I am facing a tough or uncomfortable situation, Evan will look at me and say those words and I know in that moment that it is worth pushing forward and facing whatever it is I am facing because no matter what happens, it has to be better than getting my ass beat.

To eat  healthy is nothing more than choosing to be slightly uncomfortable -- every day if you have to. It is choosing to feel a little uncomfortable and be okay with that, knowing that it will benefit you down the road.

I didn’t like waking up early so I could cook a low-carb breakfast (especially after 4 ½  hours of broken sleep due to a really cute 5-month-old baby boy). It would have been more “comfortable” to grab something pre-made, boxed and full of carbs.

Each day, even though my husband and I will ask each other things like, “What do you feel like for dinner?” and answer with statements like, “No, I don’t feel like that,” we eat based on what we know to be good for us, and not on what might feel good.I know that a high protein breakfast with eggs and spinach is a better start to my day than a high carb bagel. I know making that first healthy choice will help me make more healthy decisions later. I know choosing to do this on a  consistent basis will create a habit. It only takes 21 days to make a habit after all.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for moderation and a “treat yo self” day every once in a while. I believe it is okay and completely necessary to allow ourselves some comfort, and some grace. I think that in some circumstances, doing what we feel is a must.

It can be tough to find a healthy balance, but as long as I stay on guard for the deep hole that comfortability forces me into, I know I will make progress.

As the days of this challenge passed, I tried to create a habit of making a choice on what I knew to be true, and not on my fleeting feelings. I learned that when I was not afraid to wade in uncomfortable waters, was when I was most successful. Really, this idea applies to so many other aspects of life outside of this 21 day challenge. Any risk is uncomfortable at first, but they are always worth it. Even when it doesn’t work out the way imagined or desired, we learn from it. We are made better by failure, we are made better by choosing to be uncomfortable.


Author: Harmony Fletscher | @harmonyfletscher

Photo via Christina Whittaker | @whitportraits | http://www.whittakerportraits.com/