Eating Clean For Lent 

 Oh my gosh the cravings. I’ve been pulling my hair out and climbing up the walls. Is it possible that all the reports I’ve read about food addictions are true?

Like most women of a certain age, I know how many calories are in a yogurt, the ‘points’ in a pack of crisps, and the dangers of swapping out real food for ‘lo cal’ alternatives. Basically if the manufacturers take something out, you can be pretty sure they put something else back in.

I’ve lost 13 stone, 10 of it in a single year, so I should be an expert on dieting. But like many, I’ve struggled to ‘maintain’. After 3 years being healthy and strong, last year I faltered and lost my way, with a stunning 4 stone weight gain between Summer and Christmas.

I lost 11lb in January…

It wasn’t a lack of exercise. I run and swim and workout regularly with weights. For me, the weight gain has been solely because of what I eat. I ate too much.

I started the New Year with a flying determination to reverse the trend before I end up back where I started. It’s going ok. I lost 11lb in January.

 So what has me climbing the walls? Well I started to ‘eat clean for Lent’. Not a single morsel of packaged, canned or processed food passed my lips for the first few days, and I felt I was going crazy. Every minute of every day, thoughts of white bread, creme eggs and crisps hovered never too far from my mind. Then suddenly the cravings stopped.  (I hadn’t eaten a creme egg in years.!)

At the weekend I broke and had pavlova for desert. The cravings started again.

After heading off to bed dreaming of pavlova and creme eggs, I got back quickly to my clean ways and tonight, the cravings have again gone. I’m thirsty for water but not for food, and I’m eating a fraction of what I was eating before.

Cravings from hell…

I’m not depriving myself nutritionally in any way, but I’m finding that good, clean, unprocessed, well planned and regular meals – remove the need for top ups and snacks. AFTER THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF ABSOLUTE HELL.

I haven’t been weighing myself every day (which I have done in the past) but I have a weigh-in on Thursday and I’m interested to know what that will reveal.

My mate Vera Baker is weighing me. Vera is a nutrition coach (Vera’s5) and a very wise and caring voice on the end of the phone. I like the idea of weighing in with a third party, somehow it appeals to my sense of accountability. It’s also great to have someone like Vera to talk to and occasionally rant at! We climb mountains together too, so we are great buddies and she knows how active I am. That helps, because people generally just think you’re lazy when you’re fat.

This isn’t Vera’s diet I am following, (although she will give you one if you want). This is just me, experimenting, to see how my body reacts to this ‘clean food’ idea. I’m looking forward to talking to her about it on Thursday.

This is purely an experiment and I’m dying to see how the scales react. But I’ve got to say that after a week, I’m feeling great; strong, energetic, focused and sleeping better. The way my mind has been reacting intrigues me though. The cravings have me thinking.

Since when did a chicken come with a cow attached?

It is so difficult to trust the food we buy.  There are so many additives and ingredients and chemicals added to what we eat. Even without the conspiracy theories; my eyes flick to heaven when I buy cooked chicken slices and notice milk products in the list of ingredients. Since when did a chicken come with a cow attached?

So my experiment is bringing me back to real basics. I peel my fruit and veg and I cook my own meats. I’m trusting nothing that comes cut, sliced, diced or packed.

I’ll let you know how I get on and I’d be fascinated to hear your experience too. Leave a comment here, or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Lent x

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