What the First Week of a Clean Eating Reboot is Really Like

Last week, I returned from vacation, relaxed and happy….until I went to put on a pair of jeans. The tight feeling in my waist instantly made me regret my lack of any semblance of willpower or care. It also made me realize that a clean eating reboot was in order.

I’d eaten with reckless abandon while on vacation. I’d had creme brulee. Red wine. White wine. Cocktails. Carbs galore. A charcuterie tray. Bourbon. Cheesy mashed potatoes. Clam chowder. The list goes on, and it doesn’t get any healthier.

In my head, I was on vacation. I deserved to not have to worry about portion control or calorie count. I was being active, so I was burning off calories, and I’d worry about the rest later.

And then that later was now.

I stepped on the scale and had an instantaneous urge to throw it out in the window. “This thing’s broken.” Instead, I shoved it back under the cabinet and huffed away, thinking about how I was tired of never reaching that elusive magic number of pounds that felt ‘okay.’

It was time to do something about it.

Enter a clean eating reboot. My daughter’s a health coach so she provided me with a dietary list of foods I could eat and those I should avoid. (Notice I didn’t call it a diet? It’s a dietary list, as in a list of things I will consume, but not a diet. Clean eating is a lifestyle.)

I’d initially planned on doing it only for one week, something to kickstart my metabolism back into high gear, but I was only talking about 14 days. If I could do it for seven, I could do it for 14, and I’d appreciate the results even more.

Here I am on day five now of my clean eating reboot. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t reconsider it a couple of times, but those thoughts were fleeting. I had one when I passed my son’s box of Rice Krispy Treats, and another when I saw a commercial for a show where a woman was holding a glass of wine.

Ah, wine, I miss you.

My daughter and her husband are also doing the reboot at the same time for accountability. I’ve texted her numerous times with questions about possible deviations. Bummer that quinoa’s not recommended but YAY for the fact I can enjoy some club soda with lemon as an alternative to water. Her knowledge has been invaluable, because otherwise I’ve been winging it, and clearly, that wasn’t working.

Speaking of water, I feel as though I’m internally drowning. I’ve never visited the restroom so many times since I had my kidney stone two years ago. I am developing a serious distaste for plain water, but it’s one I have to get over, and I will. I already feel better and I know much of that has to do with finally being properly hydrated. It took this reboot to kickstart me into making this much-needed change.

drinking water to stay hydrated on clean eating

The clean eating reboot is pretty easy. Mostly, the restrictions make it simple because the list is short. On the bad side, the list is short. Boredom can set in if you don’t learn to be creative. My problem is that I often forget to leave myself prep time so I am so hungry that I don’t have time to do what I’d been planning. I need to improve my prep skills.

clean eating reboot eggs on toast

Basically, breakfast is 2-3 eggs and wheat toast. Lunch is a protein (chicken, fish, shrimp, etc.) on greens with olive oil and lemon juice. Dinner is protein again with a vegetable and more greens.

I’m seriously feeling as though I should BE green right now. When I sit down with my plate, I find myself shoving huge forkfuls of the greens in my mouth in order to finish them as quickly as possible. I love salad, but I’m feeling pretty satiated from the protein.

green salad for clean eating reboot food

There are a lot of options as far as snacks: hummus, carrots, celery and peanut butter, almonds, a protein shake (which I typically have after a workout but it does make a nice treat), and several more.

Considering I’m only doing it for 14 days, the combinations of things I can eat are pretty sufficient. I went to the store today to get some more fish and as I stood there, a woman looked at me as I picked up a salmon, stared for a good five seconds, then looked down and literally cleaned out the salmon. Tuna steaks for dinner tomorrow it is! I do need to go pick up some shrimp though.

So how do I feel? Pretty darn good actually! After only five days of this, my skin feels better. I feel more limber. Most of all, I don’t feel bloated, and I’m bloated so often, it’s the biggest difference. I also feel less muffin top-y when I wear my jeans.

I know that removing sugar and processed foods from your diet can have some temporary side effects like sluggishness, headache, etc., but I honestly can’t say I’ve experienced them. I keep waiting for it to hit, so I worry about if it’ll be worse if it still happens, since it’s been so long, but I’ve got a busy weekend ahead so I hope for distraction. I’ll update later how it goes!

During this clean eating reboot, I’m still going to the gym. I’m working with friends on weights, really pushing myself to try new things. I’ve got a long way to go with increasing the total weight, but I know that will come in time. I’m really enjoying the idea of becoming stronger, though my super-sore thighs from leg day still make me feel like jello when I go down the stairs. Honestly though, I feel stronger or at least more energetic, so I can push myself to lift more.

Probably my biggest worry was what the rest of the household would do when I served carb-less dinners. So far, so good. The boys know they can eat what I cook or make their own, and the husband’s on a business trip all week long but he’s going along with it when he comes home for the remaining week. I’m not even going to try to cook regular meals and then not eat them. I figure after all these years of cooking with the family in mind, I can take these two weeks without worry.

There’s very little I miss so far. I’d like some wine, and I miss my little treat of organic fruit snacks, but it’s not really a big deal. I’ve been so busy, I don’t have time to really think about what I’m not eating. I have, however, thought about how good I’m feeling and how I know I’m doing the right thing for my body.

I don’t expect to drop all 16 pounds in two weeks, but I do hope to at least lose a few. More importantly, I’m hoping my metabolism stays higher, and I know how to maintain it at a higher rate. I used to not eat enough, or at least often enough, and that’s not a problem anymore. Once I drop a few, I know I’ll be more motivated to continue on a healthier path.

Let’s be real — after these two weeks, I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine now and then. The fruities? Not so sure. I’m liking the clean snacks and I know there are a lot more I can have once I get beyond the two-week mark. I’m learning the benefits of food as fuel AND enjoyment, not just something yummy to assuage hunger.

Finding an eating plan that works can be tough, and this may not be the one for you, but I’m not good at permanently not eating wheat or carbs or wine. I wanted a plan that doesn’t make me feel deprived and is sustainable in the long run. I also wanted something that was healthy for my particular needs and didn’t have me drinking out of a can one or two meals a day.

Whatever you do, seek medical advice as necessary and don’t expect overnight changes. (I am not a doctor so none of this is medical advice, other than that you should seek an actual medical professional!) Enjoy the improvements as they come, and know that you’re giving your body the best chance to feel better.

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