At age 40, I walked past a shop’s window and caught a glimpse of my reflection in the glass. I didn’t recognize myself at all. The person I saw that day had bags under her eyes, fat on her belly and, most upsetting of all, a miserable look on her face.
I felt detached from my own body. This overweight, unhappy person was not who I imagined I would become. I had lost my sense of self. I used to have dreams, aspirations and goals for myself, but I let them slip away from me, along with my self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
This scenario is familiar to many North Americans. We live in a go, go, go world where time and money are often valued more than health and happiness. More than two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, and that number is growing. We are the first generation whose children have shorter life expectancies than their parents.
We need to change the way we eat. At my lowest point, I knew I needed to take back control of my own life. It wasn’t easy, but I lost my extra weight and found a new love in weight training. Through the instruction of my coach (who is now my husband), I started eating clean.
Eating clean is eating the way nature intended us to by choosing foods that are whole, fresh and naturally free from chemicals, preservatives, unhealthy fats and additives. It’s eating foods that our bodies evolved to thrive on: lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This combination can keep you slim, energetic and beautiful, on the outside and the inside.
When you eat clean, you eat six small meals each day, which keeps your blood sugar levels stable so you don’t experience sugar crashes or mood swings. It also keeps your hunger under control between meals, which makes it easier to lose weight.
You can start eating clean by taking an inventory of what’s in your kitchen and pantry. Processed foods, snacks and sweets, juices, soft drinks, beer and white foods such as white pasta, bread and rice have all got to go. These should be replaced by lean proteins such as chicken, beans, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, and whole-grain wraps and pitas.
Eating clean changed my life. Along with my new body came self-confidence and the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to. I entered a bodybuilding competition. I began to write articles for fitness magazines. I decided to write a book and share what I learned about nutrition. Readers responded, and I’ve been happily writing—and eating clean—ever since.
The Costco Connection, June 2010