I just finished my fourth 21 day superhero challenge. No sugar, no grains, no alcohol (read: no fun). Basically, paleo-ish because you can still have beans and butter. So if you see me in the next 48 hours, don’t forget to tell me how good I look.
I love doing these challenges because they feel a little bit like hitting the reset button on my life. I get organized and focused when I do them. I also get less social because who wants to go to happy hour when they can’t get a drink? Less happy hour = more work time. My body also just gets really tired after a few months of free-for-all eating, and I love getting back to the basics.
I want to be clear that the challenge isn’t a diet. It’s about knowledge that hopefully translates to healthier living always, not just for the 21 days. I’m a full supporter of the challenge, but it doesn’t mean I don’t hate it a little. Here is what I know about dieting slash eating healthy:
1. Having to cook and eat “clean” foods really stretches you creatively. I actually feel like a better cook after doing these challenges. Also? I really just add bacon to everything and feel FANCY.
2. Eating massive amounts of vegetables at every meal makes my nails grow at an alarming rate. I’m just over here setting a Guinness Record. It’s true what they say though … the more you eat veggies, the more you crave them.
3. No matter how much healthy eating I do, I still just want a sandwich. Always.
4. Healthy eating makes me literally the most annoying restaurant patron in the world. What kind of oil do you cook that plain chicken breast in? Is there sugar in that marinade? Can you substitute steamed veggies for those mashed potatoes? Is your meat grass-fed? UGH. I hate myself.
5. Dieting means I can’t have #cookiesforbreakfast. Which is the only breakfast I really like.
6. People who eat paleo like to act as if there are acceptable substitutes for sugary, carb-y deliciousness. These people are wrong: frozen banana mush ≠ ice cream. Also, pasta > spaghetti squash.
7. The most significant thing that I didn’t know, but learned about dieting is this: they don’t work. I can do 21 day challenges all I want, but unless I implement some of those practices into a daily routine and lifestyle, I will never accomplish what I want. In the last 21 days, I’ve felt better, slept better, been more productive, had better workouts, and lost weight. I now have a choice to continue feeling that way or to eat soft pretzels. We’ll see. I really like soft pretzels.