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As I have tried to embrace a new way of eating with the 21 Day Fix, I have come to realize that I have a horrible addiction to processed foods.

Real Challenges in the Kitchen

When I saw this picture on Facebook last fall, it instantly resonated with me.  Since January 2013, I have been killing it in my workouts with small breaks here and there.  Even when I take some time off, I never really struggle with getting back on track. I might falter from time to time, but as the name of one of my FB support groups says, “I Never Regret a Workout.”  I always feel better and stronger and more productive when I’m dedicated to a workout routine.

Mcdonalds hits africa

HOWEVER, my diet has always been my Achilles heel.  I LOVE processed junk food; I consume it on a daily basis without feeling guilt.  BUT when I’m completely honest with myself, I know that those foods are not providing me with balanced nutrition and are SUPER HIGH in sodium.  Because I am a daily weigher, I could track that my weight would always be significantly higher the morning after a high sodium day than it was after days that I had eaten fewer processed foods and had cooked for myself at home.

Start where you are

In all honesty, I have come a long way since I started this endeavor (I’m not really big on the word “journey,” but I’ll use it from time to time).  Anyway, two years ago, you would have never caught me eating any vegetables other than white potatoes, green beans, and corn (I know, I know!  Some people don’t consider corn a vegetable, but I do because I buy it in the canned vegetables isle at the grocery store.).  French fries were a common staple in my diet.

In April 2012, I went to my cousin’s wedding, and my aunt made edamame and asparagus.  Because I was 28 (almost 29) and did not want to seem rude, I decided to try a few of each just to be polite.  I figured I could choke them down and never have to eat them again.  To my total shock, I really liked both!

I had also slowly been starting to like raw tomatoes and cucumber because both were in my friend’s awesome pasta salad (which has since become MY awesome pasta salad – don’t tell my friend 😉 ).

When I started to realize that I could eat MORE food by eating fresh vegetables, I began to incorporate fresh zucchini and yellow squash that my friends were very generous to share with me out of their gardens.  I experimented with recipes I found on Pinterest, Facebook, and other healthy cooking blogs.  I began to eat healthier as a general trend, but that doesn’t mean that I ever considered giving up my fast food splurges or Cheetos, Doritos, or candy bars… YUM, is anyone else getting hungry?

smallest step, tip toe

Now that I’ve started 21 Day Fix, I am trying to cut all of that stuff out of my diet for 16 days (I explain why I’m not doing 21 days in my post “Better By Change”).  My goal is to slowly wean myself off of canned vegetables because I know that they are chalk full of unhealthy preservatives, and I want to eventually start making things like quinoa and couscous without using the prepackaged boxes with the seasoning packets.  I’m not there yet, BUT I’m taking baby steps.  I’m doing my best.

I’m only on Day 3 as of this morning, but I haven’t thought about junk food as many times this morning as I did the first day.  I’ve made healthy food lists and am planning on going grocery shopping to stock up on more healthy, fresh options.  I’ve accepted that this is going to be a process, but I will overcome my processed food addiction!