This is Part 2 of my three part series on my experience doing the Eat to Live Six Week Challenge. This challenge is outlined in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live. In this part, I will give an overview of my experience during the six weeks.
I was so excited to start eating healthy (and hopefully to start feeling like a human again) that I started the challenge a day earlier than I originally proposed to Damian. We started February 28th, 2017. I was enthusiastic. Damian was skeptical, but supportive and 100% along for the ride.
This is what I ate that first day:
Breakfast: Strawberries and bananas sprinkled with ground flax seed, a coffee with almond milk creamer and unsweetened almond milk
Lunch: a huge bowl of veggie soup (barley, butternut squash, black beans, kale, cauliflower, diced tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms)
Dinner: A HUGE salad (spinach, iceberg, black beans, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and cucumber)
Dessert: Pear and half an ounce of cashews
It was a simple way of eating, and just right for the first day of the challenge. There is a learning curve with this new way of eating. It takes time to find recipes that you love, but these basic staples will keep you satisfied until you find them.
That first day went well, and I felt great. I was starving before I ate my lunch and a little lightheaded, but that was the most discomfort and hunger I felt all day. I ended the day encouraged.
Week 1 and 2 were by no means easy, however. I fought cravings, and in between meals I would become very hungry right before it was time to eat again. I dreamed of cheeseburgers, but I told myself, I could have one in 6 weeks, and that I’d eaten enough cheeseburgers in my life that six weeks without one wouldn’t kill me.
By the end of week 2, I was noticing a difference in my energy levels. I still wasn’t ready to jump out of bed in the morning and do 100 jumping jacks, but I had more energy for longer in the day. Before starting the Eat to Life Challenge, I’d crash around 2, and I would be only minimally productive the rest of the day. Now I was still feeling energetic until about 8 o’clock. At this point, Damian wasn’t feeling any better, but he wasn’t feel worse either. So we kept going.
Week 3 was a turning point because Week 3 was by far the hardest week. I was craving pizza (ie cheese) hard core. It might have been PMS, or it could have been my body screaming out in one last hurrah for its drug of choice, who knows? But Week 3 kicked my butt. I was researching new recipes constantly, searching for something to satisfy this craving. I knew if I couldn’t find something, I was going to struggle through the next three weeks instead of power through them. That is when I came up with the Eat to Live friendly pizza. I thank the universe for this moment of inspiration because I needed it! I pushed through Week 3, and in the end, I was hopeful that I could give up cheese at least for the next 3 weeks and perhaps beyond.
What? You say in outrage! Give up cheese forever!?!? That’s crazy! Believe me, I know how crazy it sounds. At one point, I would have laughed at the idea of giving up cheese, but that was before the Six Week Challenge. More than anything Week 3 taught me that I am highly addicted to cheese (among other foods that are not good for me in the least), and when you are addicted to something it can be difficult/impossible to regulate yourself around it. Once I beat the cheese craving, I decided I didn’t want to risk it coming back with such force again.
Week 4 and 5 were much easier. I got into a rhythm with meal prep. I began making 3 days worth of salads at a time and trying to cook enough for leftovers, but this is hard to do because we all love the food so much, we were devouring it. I still fought cravings, but it was nothing like the pizza craving I had squashed, so I managed. I continued to feel better, more energetic, and to lose weight. I began to do light exercises because I had the energy to do it, and I wanted to feel stronger. Damian was shedding weight like crazy, and feeling good too!
Week 5 was a special week because I began to develop an aversion to meat. DUring the first few weeks, I was longing imagine the cheeseburgers I would eat when my six weeks were over, but suddenly the idea of eating animal flesh disgusted me. In addition, I had developed a general guideline for eating that worked for me.
Breakfast: .25 cup of oatmeal, a banana, ground flax seed, unsweetened almond milk
Lunch: a HUGE salad with beans and/or legumes
Dinner: cooked veggies which usually included mushrooms and a cruciferous vegetable
Dessert: roasted chickpeas and a fruit (sometimes I’d make these cookies or a smoothie instead)
I also developed a bunch of recipes that I loved.
My Everyday Oatmeal Breakfast
Easy Tahini Stir Fry Sauce
Eat to Live Friendly Pizza
Super Simple Lentils and Sweet Potato
Oatmeal Banana Cookies
By the end of Week 6, I’d achieved what I’d sought out to do. I was no longer depressed. I was no longer exhausted, and I’d lost a little weight to boot. I lost 12.8 pounds and Damian lost 15.3. The difference in my energy level was the most noticeable change. It was like being handed back pieces of my life. Hours of my life that had previously wasted away were given back to me.
During Week 6, Damian and I began talking about our plans for the future. How would we proceed once the challenge was over? That’s what the next post is about!
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 700 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.