Thursday, May 12, 2016

I did it -- 30 consecutive days of eating clean!

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 11 was my 30th consecutive day of eating clean.

Some of you may recall the blog I mentioned when I started this. For a quick recap, I had just completed my first month of the weight loss efforts, and had lost a little more than 21 pounds and was doing a little bit of a happy dance. Actually, if you count the weigh-in just two days before I started my diet, my loss was closer to 23 pounds. That was about 23 pounds in 32 days.

I did that mostly through restricting calories a fair bit, eating mostly healthy foods, working out with weights consistently and doing cardio three or four days a week. On the eating front, I had maybe three off-days (and an off-night), when I didn't count calories or worry about what I was eating -- I just chowed down on whatever I wanted.

I decided to change things up just a little at the conclusion of those first 30 days. After a day off of eating whatever the heck I wanted, I dove into Month Two, this time determined to eat clean every single day, not even taking off or a bad snack. Never in my life had I eaten absolutely clean for more than two weeks at a time, so I felt like this was a pretty significant challenge, although once in the midst of it I found sticking to the plan surprisingly easy. Even though I had the occasional stray craving (hot wings, pizza, Big Macs), I was never really tempted to go off the 30-day plan.

I had also decided to actually increase my food intake on a daily basis, all in the form of more lean protein, more complex and healthy carbs, and more veggies, with very little in the way of processed food. That's the one area I fell down a bit -- not eating enough. Overall my daily average of calories was a little higher the second month, but there were a few days where I simply didn't eat more than 1,200 to 1,300 calories, and there were quite a few where I didn't go over 1,500 calories.

Still, i can't complain too much. In addition to really dropping the weight, I continued making improvements in my weight workouts, adding a fourth day each week to the weight training, and I experience strength gains in the weight room, as measured by being able to do more weight, for the same number of sets and reps, in most of my exercises.

I've also experienced increases in how hard and how long I can do on cardio workouts, so I'm guessing the calorie restrictions haven't hurt me too badly, while allowing.

The most amazing part of the second 30 days? Continued weight loss at a pretty good rate. As of yesterday, I was at 238.2 pounds, down exactly 18 pounds from the weigh-in at the end of Month 1. After dropping 23 pounds the first month, I really didn't expect to lost more than 12 or so pounds the second month.

I attribute that fast second-month loss to lots of working out and staying absolutely clean in my eating for the full 30 days.

Other changes I've noticed from 30 days of eating clean?
- My blood pressure has dropped. That first month it fell just a bit, but over the course of this second month it's dropped quite a bit. That could simply be the cumulative effect of all the weight loss, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with eliminating bad food, eating healthy, and cutting out most sodium from my diet.

- Headaches have disappeared. I've been plagued with the occasional migraine headache off and on over most of my life, since I was a teen-age. In recent years, those headaches had become much more frequent. I don't mean to suggest every day, or even every week, but they had become part of my life, sometimes lasting two or three days. Some were from lack of sleep and I suspect some were blood pressure related. Other than the one that came with my cold a couple of weeks ago, I don't know that I've had a single one this month, and I didn't have many last month.

- More energy, higher level of focus. I've written several times that I have many bad habits to change, and one of those is staying up far too late, getting far too little sleep. I'm making some progress in this regard, but i still don't get a healthy amount of sleep. However, I've found that I have more energy, more focus at work, and can more readily go on less sleep (not that I should). This might be a result of the overall increase in fitness or the cumulative effect of the weight loss, but I also have to believe it's from fueling up the body properly.

- Just a general better feeling all the time. I don't ever have that "too full" feeling, or never feel listless or bloated or any of the things that can sometimes follow a big meal, or bad food.

I'm sure there are others, but man -- these alone are reason enough to stick with clean eating on a consistent, long-term basis, even without the weight loss.

So, what's next? I don't know. I was going to write that I'm going to finish out the week strict and clean in my diet, but my wife showed up tonight, just about the time I walked in from the gym starving, with Pizza Hut pizzas. I, of course, had not planned anything for dinner and there was nothing within an hour of being ready, so I went ahead and broke the consecutive clean eating streak at 30 -1/2 days.

We celebrate my youngest child's birthday this weekend -- her 15th! -- so there will probably be some cake and ice cream involved. And my middle child has his 21st birthday ten days afterward, so there might be some more cake and ice cream and bad food on the menu. Outside of that, I don't know that there's any reason to change my eating from what it's been until Memorial Day. That'll be up to three off days between now and the end of the month. Other than that, I'm going to stick with the clean eating.

Why would I do anything else, with the results I've seen?

Anyway, that's my really looong post for today. Now, for my workout and eating today:

Stationary bike
36 minutes, 15 minutes at level 6, the rest at level 5
12 miles
425 calories burned

Today's eating

Eggs 1 whole, 2 whites
Lean ham -- 1 ounce

Boiled chicken breast -- 4 ounces
Mixed veggies -- 1/2 cup
Fat free Greek Yogurt

Fat free Greek Yogurt

First dinner
Boiled chick breast -- 4 ounces
Mixed veggies -- 1/2 cup

Power bar

Rest of the evening -- Pizza!

Totals WITHOUT the pizza
835 calories
16 grams fat
100 grams protein

Water -- 80 ounces
Diet soda -- 24 ounces

With the pizza? Who the heck knows. Anyway, tomorrow it's back on the wagon.

Thanks for stopping by!

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