30 Day Healthy Eating Challenge Recap

hooray-2

Let me just say this up front: you guys, I loved this healthy eating challenge.

If you’re wondering what challenge I’m talking about, you can read all about it here.

After too many weeks of feeling blah and having my stomach throw up some serious red flags over what I was putting into it, I voluntarily gave up carbs, dairy, and refined sugar for 30 days. Why? Because I was curious if it might help my body push the reset button. And, more than anything, I wanted to see if it would finally give my digestive system a break from the bloating, cramping, and pain that I was living with every day.

So how did it go? Well. Really well.

Here’s what I learned:

My body operates better without dairy. I hate to type this, because I so enjoyed my daily morning yogurt and my big fat cheese plate at night, but it’s true. My body just feels better when I avoid dairy. By steering clear of milk, yogurt, and cheese, I haven’t had an upset stomach in 30 days. And one of the most surprising results I’ve noticed is that my body is far less bloated – truth be told, I’ve started to see abs poke through for the first time in forever. I feel better in my body than I have in ages, and I’m so excited to keep the good vibes going.

I love carbs. Carbs, carbs, carbs. Let me be the first to tell you that I cheated on this challenge a few times. To be fair, the most serious offense was a few late night bites of pasta after a long day of bachelorette party revelry. The rosé made me do it. But despite generally avoiding carbs for 30 days, I’m not convinced that a no-carb life is for me. In fact, in these first few days after the 30 day challenge, I’ve been on a bit of a rabid carb binge, eating every pretzel, cracker, and gallon of popcorn in sight. In the long run, I know my body feels better when I don’t turn to carbs as a first resort. So I’ll need to make a bigger effort to keep my fridge stocked with other alternatives when I get a snack attack.

The sweet + salty cravings CAN be tamed. My whole life, I’ve been trapped in a sweet + salty death spiral. I’d snack on popcorn, and then immediately need some chocolate. A few minutes later, I’d crave salty crackers, and then a sweet treat. During the 30 day healthy eating challenge, many of those sweet + salty foods I relied on as a crutch were eliminated. And you know what? So were my cravings. BINGO.

There are protein options beyond chicken and salmon. I think I ate chicken or salmon every night of this healthy eating challenge for two weeks straight. Boring. By week three, I had this uncontrollable craving for (wait for it) barbecue pulled pork. I haven’t eaten pork in more than 10 years, but I think my body was telling me something: dude, you need to branch out. As I move forward with this new way of eating, I don’t think I’ll be a full-fledged pork eater. But I do need to make a better effort to try new recipes, be more creative in my cooking, and find fun new ways to incorporate different protein sources into my diet. Any ideas?

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Like many of you, my life seems to be constantly on the go. So sticking with a healthy eating plan takes lots of planning and preparation. I’m not good at meal prepping or color-coding my tupperwears (yet), but I have gotten really good at throwing a bunch of snacks into my purse so that when I get hungry — whether in the middle of a meeting at work, or while out with friends, or stuck on a crowded subway — I have food at my fingertips that won’t make my stomach hurt.

Slip ups will happen – and that’s totally okay. Like I mentioned, I didn’t spend each and every one of those 30 days fully carb free. And you know what? I didn’t beat myself up over it, and I don’t regret anything. I’m human. I love carbs. I’m tying to learn what’s best for my body + live a full, fun life in the process. Sometimes that means indulging in chips and guac when you’re out with coworkers. Or diving into a slice of pizza late at night after a fun day of celebrating a friend. But overall, I’d like to steer the majority of my meals away from refined carbs and almost totally away from dairy.

The 30 day healthy eating challenge is just the beginning. Two days after I finished the challenge, I already missed it. Is that strange? I’ve discovered that my mind + body feel so much better when I eat with intention the foods that put me in my peak operating mode. So I plan to continue eating along the principles of the 30 day healthy eating challenge indefinitely – with some real-world moderation sprinkled in – and can’t wait to continue the momentum!

Meaghan is the creator and editor of The Fit Crasher. A transplant to NYC from Washington, DC, she’s here to give you the skinny on all of her latest sweaty adventures, must-try trends, and fitness discoveries. When not exploring the city in spandex, Meaghan enjoys cooking, bluegrass music, and finding that perfect Instagram filter.
Share:

6 Comments

  1. Celeste Champagne July 28, 2016 / 9:46 am

    Did you experience a weight change int he course of this 30-day challenge, Meaghan?

    • DC Fit Crasher July 28, 2016 / 3:52 pm

      Hi Celeste – I did not notice a significant weight change. I hovered right around where I was at the beginning of the challenge. But due to not being as bloated, I looked a bit more trim around the midsection – which wasn’t a bad side effect!

  2. Nicole July 28, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    thank you for sharing this.
    did you have issues eating out? or in situations where it wasn’t totally reasonable for you to pick up food that fit your guidelines?

    was your goal to make your stomach feel better or did you have another goal too?

    • DC Fit Crasher July 28, 2016 / 3:54 pm

      Hi Nicole – great question. I didn’t have too many issues eating out because there is always a salad or a chicken breast/fish on the menu. That said, there were a few times when I was in social situations where it would be rude to ask for a different meal, so I had to make my best attempts to stick within the guidelines (while breaking them a bit). My #1 goal was to make my stomach feel better! My #2 goal was to see if I could kick the cravings spiral I was trapped in. As much as I love my popcorn and pretzels, I’ll be the first to admit was getting out of hand.

  3. Signe July 28, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    I’ve recently tried to eliminate/limit milk, yogurt, and cheese. I still eat butter and eggs and such. One of my biggest challenges is my coffee. I usually have 2/3 coffee and 1/3 milk. Not sure if you are the same. If so, any suggestions? I have not enjoyed plain almond milk.

    • DC Fit Crasher July 28, 2016 / 3:57 pm

      Hi Signe – I feel you with the coffee! There’s nothing that really gives it the same feel as real milk. I typically use almond milk, even though it doesn’t give coffee the same creaminess that milk would. Have you tried butter in your coffee? I haven’t, but know that “bullet proof coffee” is something I’ve heard comes close!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *