10 Day Clean Eating Challenge

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Yesterday, I completed the 10 Day Clean Eating Challenge.  I began the challenge last Sunday, September 8th.  The purpose of the challenge is to try and eat clean for 10 days, which means essentially nothing out of a box, nothing processed.  A quick summary of the challenge:

  1. Eating 5-6 small meals per day
  2. Include whole fruits and veggies in at least 3 meals
  3. Include good sources of protein in at least 3 meals
  4. Low-glycemic sources of whole grain and starches in at least 2-3 meals and preferably at breakfast and before/after exercise
  5.  Two cheat meals during the challenge

I went into this challenge hoping to lose a few pounds, have more energy, and stabilize my blood sugars among other things. Overall, I think the challenge was a success.  Mainly because I went 10 days without drinking any Diet Coke (I’m addicted so that was a pretty hard task).  Although, I didn’t stick to the 5-6 meals per day.  I noticed after the first few days that eating that many small meals per day (with carbs at each meal) resulted in my blood sugar staying consistently high (in the 170s-200s).  So I switched things up after that and my blood sugars have been great since.

A typical day for me over the last 10 days looked like this:
Meal 1-Breakfast-scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs with grapes or Greek yogurt and cantaloupe

Typical breakfast

Typical breakfast

Meal 2-Snack-string cheese (no carbs-initially ate fruit and/or veggies the first three days but that wasn’t good for my blood sugar)
Meal 3-Lunch-turkey, salad and apples, maybe dark chocolate if still hungry

Typical lunch

Typical lunch

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 11.03.51 AM

Typical lunch

Meal 4-Depending on the timing, I would eat carrots and hummus (did this the first three days but then started to skip depending on time)
Meal 5-Dinner-for dinners I made the following:
-Ground turkey with veggies
Basil Walnut chicken
-Chili (with ground turkey)
-Steak stir-fry (with lean sirloin steak)
Tandoori chicken kabobs
I also wouldn’t eat anything else with dinner except maybe cucumbers


Typical Dinner

Meal 6-Before bed-string cheese and dark chocolate

After 10 days of the challenge here are my thoughts:

  • I drank a LOT of water.  They say you should have at least 8 cups of water-I definitely did that (mainly because I had no Diet Coke)  I’m also usually dehydrated so this helped to catch up on some hydration, which was especially important with increased running.
  • Some of the benefits of the challenge were supposed to be good blood sugars, weight loss and more energy.  I did not have good blood sugars when I was following the challenge strictly.  It wasn’t until I tweaked the challenge to fit my needs that I was able to gain good blood glucose control.  I also didn’t lose any weight, although I didn’t gain weight either.  Also, I was VERY tired the entire challenge but I think that is because I was going without any caffeine.  I basically needed a nap every day around 2PM.
  • I didn’t have two “cheat meals” but I did cheat several times: Saturday with beer and bar food for football game; Friday night with wine and popcorn at movie theater; Sunday afternoon with vodka/cranberry at the pool (pool was closing for the season); a “few” Triscuits after the vodka/cranberry at the pool; Chipotle for dinner one night (hubby can be a bad influence although everything in my Chipotle bowl was pretty clean but it is still considered fast food which is a no no).

  • Finding out what was allowed for clean eating was tough-a lot of websites said different things-for example, some said cheese was fine, other said it wasn’t.
  • I ate string cheese and turkey even though I’m not sure if it is technically clean or not but I did cut back on my string cheese intake and I did substitute turkey with tuna a couple of days.

  • I measured out every single ounce of fruit I ate.  Normally fruit is the enemy because I am so bad at calculating carbs for fruit but I got out my scale and measured every single tiny grape, this helped immensely (I also consulted my 2009 Calorie King book that I haven’t used in ages!)

  • It wasn’t too hard to eat clean (string cheese and turkey aside).  I think I typically eat pretty clean anyways but this challenge had me eating more fruits and veggies, which was good.  I think the main difference was that I went to the grocery store specifically looking for fruits and veggies, where normally they aren’t at the top of my list.

  • I didn’t eat too many starches or whole grains as the challenge called for.  I could have improved on this but I guess it’s not bad I chose to eat fruits and veggies instead.

Sometimes, the challenge felt like I was doing Weight Watchers again.  I really disliked when I did Weight Watchers because I felt deprived of food and when I stopped doing WW I gained a lot of weight.  I’m going to continue to try and eat clean but not stress too much about “cheating”, so I won’t have the same consequences from the WW experience and also to continue trying to be healthy.  I also got into a great habit of measuring out my foods, specifically fruits but other foods as well.  I’m going to continue to be diligent about this because I think it helped my blood sugars.  Overall, I recommend this challenge to everyone.  I was happy to prove to myself that I could survive without Diet Coke. I also managed to get myself away from eating waffles every morning from breakfast and replaced it with fruits and protein.  And while I didn’t see any overt changes, I think I’m overall healthier because of the challenge.

Measured my grapes!

Measured my grapes!

7 thoughts on “10 Day Clean Eating Challenge

  1. So will you go back to Diet Coke? It’s been six weeks for me and for the first time ever, it’s been easy going without it. But what will I do next time I go to McDonald’s? Will one DC get me back to a daily 32 ounce drink from my local convenience store? I’ve been drinking a lot of sparkling water and that seem to satisfy my urge for fizz. But you can’t get that many places.

    I think that every time we try a new way of eating, we learn something that carries forward to better diabetes care. Even baby steps can make a difference or at least we hope. Look forward to hearing more about where you go from here.

    • I totally agree with that statement! I’ve definitely been taking baby steps to get healthier over the last year and I see it starting to pay off 🙂 I actually had a DC today and it didn’t taste that good to me! I might actually continue to go without. Only downside is going without caffeine makes me pretty sleepy but maybe if I get more sleep overnight I can curb the afternoon tiredness.

  2. Thanks for sharing – I found this very interesting. I think it was wise to tweak it a bit to work for you – because obviously if your blood sugars were consistently higher than you’d like that’s not a good thing.

    I did have one question – you mentioned being tired due to lack of caffeine, which I’m guessing used to come from Diet Coke. But I was wondering if coffee is allowed on a Clean Eating Diet? I wasn’t sure if coffee isn’t clean, or if you just don’t like coffee. 😉

    • Well that was one tricky part of the challenge-trying to figure out what was “allowed”. I found though that most sources said that basically only water or green tea was allowed. I’ve been trying to kick the Diet Coke habit for a while, which is why I decided to go ahead and give that up for the challenge but I also don’t like coffee. If I did like coffee, I probably wouldn’t have given it up because I don’t think it’s as bad for the body as Diet Coke.

      It was a fun challenge though. I’ve actually been still eating clean and now that I have tweaked the schedule to fit me better, my blood sugars have been really great! 🙂

  3. As I finally have gotten myself into an exercise routine, I have found that as much good as exercise is for you and BG, food is the real culprit when it comes to losing weight. Maybe that’s been known all along but I’ve never tried to lose weight before (never had to) so it’s new to me. And even though I struggle with keeping exercise consistent sometimes, the food is the harder part for me. Great job on the challenge and even better on keeping it up! Oh and Chipotle. No need to explain 😉

    • Yes so true. To be honest, I lost a lot of weight when I did Weight Watchers and I didn’t work out at all. But I gained it back and then some when I stopped doing WW (I thought it was too hard to maintain long term). So this time around, I’ve been exercising, which did help me lose some weight but eating better (while not starving myself on WW) has made the most difference.

      Good luck with your weight loss goals! If you never have had to before, don’t worry, I don’t think even people that have had to before know what they are doing, there’s always a learning curve.

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