I wasn’t always a healthy eater. I was probably one of the biggest sugar addicts around. Goodness only knows what was happening inside my body during that time. Unfortunately, I thought my food choices were relatively healthy – and then I decided to compete in bodybuilding shows. That challenge came with completely overhauling my diet. May I say that it was quite the challenge in more ways than one!
Maybe you share a similar history of making less nutritionally viable food choices. I bet that you made a great decision at one stage in your life by choosing to eat healthily. Perhaps it was triggered by a health issue, or maybe it was a personal choice. When I first started my dieting journey, I did it for quite vain reasons, plus I wanted to prove that I could transform my body with nutrition and exercise. I was willing to put in the hard work of making up several meals a day and the endless shopping trips. Now, it’s not always a rosy path when you first start making these nutritional changes. Most of us tend to go through an “Irritable” period. This isn’t very pleasant, and fortunately, it doesn’t last too long. When we develop food obsessions or cravings, it can be challenging to go without these particular foods. I was pretty obsessed with sugar – to the point where it took me over six months to break the habit.Food cravings can be very challenging to overcome initially, and we may go through a withdrawal period. Not only do we go through an irritating phase from making those food tweaks, but then we have to cope with eliminating those crazy cravings. Yep, that’s quite possibly the most challenging thing you can say no to thus far.
One week later
Your energy level will generally be determined by the food choices you make and how much activity you’re doing. When I made my changes, I noticed a lack of energy at first (about five days) and then an elevation. I was the kind of person who used sugar and coffee to boost my energy levels. Once the sugar was gone, it took some time for my body to tap into its resources. It took lots of willpower not to reach for those lollies I had in my work draw! The sugar cravings weren’t too bad during this time (which I found surprising), and I wasn’t craving vast amounts of carbs either. I thought I would miss my bread and pasta a lot more – but I didn’t.
Two to three weeks later
This was when I started feeling my clothes a lot loser, but it was also the time my sugar addiction started to peak. I didn’t experience many food cravings, but the sugar was tough to resist! My biggest mistake was using sugar-free candy in place of it. This just made me feel sick and bloated. When will I ever learn? Research suggests that you usually start to reap the results of your food choices around the 2–3 week mark. That’s if we do stick to our eating plan and don’t divert back to those old habits. We can sometimes fall back -especially when we’re having a terrible day. This is quite normal, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just get back to your eating plan again the next day. One way to offset those massive cravings is to allow yourself one meal per week to eat anything you want. This is what we bodybuilders call a “cheat meal.” It’s usually in the form of some chocolate or carb overload It feels deliriously lush eating it at the time, but after about an hour, we’re feeling a tad sick and bloated! Then we’d go back again the next week and go at it again.
Six months later
This was a peak time for me because I finally got over my horrible sugar addiction. Did that take a long time or what? Most people do need a longer window to rid their body of an addiction. It’s a matter of riding the tides and just taking it as it comes. You may notice a glow in your skin and a significant amount of fat loss, more than likely. If you have been implementing some cardio and weight training, you should start seeing definition and admiring those lovely muscles forming. Hello selfies! Congratulate yourself at this time because those results took a lot of work – mainly mind power. I don’t believe we give ourselves enough credit for all the hard work and effort we put into starting and following through on great habits. Changing your eating plan isn’t easy, and you did it! Well done!
One year later
During this time you would have lost your ideal weight. For others, it can turn into a very stagnant period. Tweaking your diet and eating plan is probably the best way to make that initial shift. You will probably get quite enthusiastic about exercise and eating well. It will be so natural to you that you won’t even have to think about it. I also noticed during this time that I was saying no to any types of junk foods at parties or work gatherings. I was always obsessed with our Friday afternoon drink and snack sessions in the lunchroom. It was a friendly social gathering of fellow workmates, popping open a beer and lots of cheese crisps. Wow, how did those junk food choices that were once so appealing become repulsive? Well, all I can say is that once you give your body the good stuff, it just keeps wanting more of that, and none of the rubbish! Healthy eating is now something that I think of as a lifetime goal. There is no better way to live than nourishing our bodies with good, high-quality food sources. It makes us feel and look so much better. That’s just one part of the health food equation -as I haven’t even mentioned what it does for our gut health, mindset and the health of our organs. Plus, eliminating any of that common dietary disease is always a great goal to achieve. All of this is now your reality because you took the steps necessary to stick with a healthy eating plan. What at first became a challenge ended up being the best thing you ever did for yourself.
Because your health is your wealth.