Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe
Lunch: Smoothie – 3 frozen bananas; 3 pieces of chocolate
Supper: 1 cucumber; 1 piece of salmon gravlax; 1 chocolate
So it has come down to this. The final day. The big finale. The last hurrah. Okay, first let me just apologize for the pun in the title. I didn’t even have a wrap today…
It’s been an adventure all right – from soaring highs, to fierce tummy-troll lows – but I’m proud to say I made it. I used the food processor more than I ever thought I would. I’ve been hungrier than I ever thought I could. And I’ve been happier than I maybe, possibly should. I dreamt of pasta and I salivated over eggs. I stood a little taller and I felt a lot better… I had one heck of a journey. So let me give you the run down:
Energy: It increased throughout, with some very dramatic gains at times. I also felt more excitement before games when it came to sports and greater strength during the games. There were also days when my energy was lower, but it would usually pick up again after I ate.
Confidence: This was a huge area of improvement for me. I felt a lot better about myself and as the days went on, I began to feel more and more like I could do anything. It also helped foster the feeling that I was someone who mattered… even though that really doesn’t seem like something that would be related to food!
Self-Image: This category goes hand-in-hand with confidence. This challenge sky-rocketed my self-image. I felt healthier, I was eating better, and I was proving I could do whatever I put my mind to. Again, I felt important. Even when the image in the mirror didn’t look noticeably different, the process of eating so healthy had the biggest impact on my mental well-being and I felt better about how I looked.
Weight: As is to be expected the needle on the scale dropped. Oh, who am I kidding? This is the 21st century. The digital number on the scale dropped 12.5 pounds in the 30 days with no extra exercise outside of my regular sports commitments.
Mood: Much more light and care-free. I was able to shrug off incidents easier rather than let them weigh on me, although it was not so for the entire process. As with everything, there was a certain amount of fluctuating, but the overall trend was towards greater happiness and general well-being. I would occasionally get little flashes of anger, though they would dissipate very quickly. And when I was hungry (you know the kind… hungry hungry) I could be a feisty little demon, but again, I would recover quickly once I put some food in my empty cavern of a stomach. Overall, my mood got better with each day as I learned how to eat, how to not let myself get out-of-control hungry, and as I succeeded each day.
Hunger: About 2/3 of the way through my body finally figured out what was happening to it and I didn’t have any more monstrous days. I still needed to eat regularly and meal-missing was a definite no-no, but otherwise it wasn’t really a problem by the end.
Cravings: These fluctuated fairly consistently, with the last couple of days being pretty intense. When I take on a challenge and set the parameters I generally don’t think about what else could be and, instead, focus on the task at hand – which allowed me to put most thoughts of cooked food out of my head so the cravings weren’t really too difficult to navigate in the thick of the challenge. The dangerous times were when I was hungry and the smells of delicious cooked food were wafting to my olfactory cells. With the last couple of days, however, I believe it was knowing that I was near the end so I could let myself start thinking about cooked food again… which very nearly did me in!
Despite the general positive vibe all of the above gives off, I don’t want to leave you with any illusions. This was a hard challenge. It took a lot of dedication to see it through to the end, despite all of the benefits I received along the way. I always had to be prepared – to run out of food was disastrous. I had to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. I had to be strong-willed and give up all of my favourite foods (though I now have a few new favourites.) I had to learn how to eat in a new way because, really, it’s still kind of an odd thing to eat 3 bananas in a sitting or an entire cucumber or half a cantaloupe.
Although I may have known that what you eat impacts every aspect of your well-being, I didn’t fully appreciate what that means. Having done this challenge, I can easily say your life will be better if you eat better. Significantly so.