What eating clean for a month taught me about myself

Prior to this, I was having one or two cheat nights a week. Those of you who know me can verify that these cheat nights are no joke….

 

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I’ve been knowing to eat heaping portions of quesadillas….

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That’s two bags of mozzarella cheese and a bag of tortilla chips. Cheat nights involve consuming all contents. 

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I mean, when the Cubs are in the playoffs, tea just doesn’t seem appropriate…

I coach others with their health and fitness. I share with others how when you do a certain program and follow the nutrition plan, you’ll get results. Part of this coaching involves leading by example. And to be honest, I haven’t been doing a great with this. I’ve been doing programs combined with massive cheat nights. Not only was I not practicing what I was preaching, but I wasn’t able to see whether or not some of these programs actually worked for me.

When I started my latest program, I decided I was going to do better with nutrition. I hadn’t planned on going this long eating clean. Once  I made the decision to go to the theatre on pizza night and bring my shake, I was all in. I was going to finish this and finish strong.

Below are some pros and cons that happen when you decide to start eating clean:

 

The cons:

-You feel sad or left out anytime you pass restaurants or bars. (Even if you probably wouldn’t want to go there anyway that night.)

-You stare longingly at certain foods at the grocery store.

-You say no to a lot of free food and samples.

 

The pros:

-I’m saving a lot of money

-There’s a plethora of foods and meals I do enjoy that are very healthy

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Oatmeal and apples with cinnamon. Delish. 

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I have a pretty sweet healthy shake that I like to make nice and thick…

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I kind of like chicken….

-I have killer morning and evening routine that work great because I sleep better when I eat better

-I am digging my results so far

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This was after week four! (After picture is on the left….I’m still learning guys.)

The biggest takeaway has been what I mentioned earlier: I had no idea what to do for fun if food or drink wasn’t involved.

Cheat nights were how I enjoyed my downtime. Carbs, cheese, and alcohol were my go-to way of having a night off. (Even if the only other friend in my apartment was named Netflix. )

I’m a bit embarrassed by this. Yet I’m guessing I’m not alone in the category. I won’t lie – I still haven’t learned exactly what to do with my downtime. I’ve been working a lot on incorporating more fun and relaxation into my life. Eating clean has definitely limited my options.

 

So what next?

I’m still going! I have two and a half more weeks of my program. And then?

I’m cheating 🙂

This has been less of a “I should do this forever” thing and more of an “Okay, what can I learn from this?” experience.  I know I’ll have more cheat nights. I know I’ll indulge when I’m on vacation. But I also know (and this is really cool) that I’m more capable than I thought. Given that the longest I can remember going with clean eating was prior to this, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

But I haven’t mastered it. I’m still learning. Just know this: If I can do it, you can too. Learning that we’re capable of more than what we thought we could do is an awesome, awesome feeling.

And that’s how you start to become your most positive, healthy, and creative self.

Let’s go get ‘em.

 

Struggling to stick with healthier habits yourself? Looking for ways to incorporate new ones? Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com and let’s see if I can help or offer any free tips!

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How Being Healthy Caused Me Extra Stress

Many of you know that I’m a health and fitness accountability coach. I started a year ago and couldn’t be more grateful. I’m helping others, plus am constantly learning about workouts and nutrition.

Prior to this, I did the whole gym thing. For some, this is exactly what they need. For me, I was guessing (and mainly guessing wrong). I knew very little about weights or cardio. I didn’t know anything about nutrition. Forget about those abs I had wanted since forever.

Fast forward to today: I workout from home. I love my body. My nutrition plan is my favorite. And I recently got abs. So like, I’m pretty sexy now.

…I mean, I don’t look like Shaun T.

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The rest of the body though? Oh that’s so me. Particularly the facial hair…#notreally

While I’m thrilled with how far I’ve gotten, it hasn’t been an easy journey. Eating clean takes a lot of work and preparation. Getting in my workouts sometimes means waking up extra early. I also took on some harder goals: Avoiding food three hours before bed, plus saved cheat days to just once a week.

This became easy enough when I didn’t have anything going on. I quickly learned, however, this was increasingly difficult on days where I had to, like, be a real person and leave the apartment. I refused to accept this as a day of adjustments. Not getting in my “perfect Tony routine” meant failing – which led to lots of stress and frustration.

I started avoiding the outside world. I was socializing less and rarely submitted for work – the kind that was, you know, paying my bills.

Granted, I was in the best shape of my life. But I was also pretty miserable.

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I most certainly could have used more of this….

There’s a rumor going around that once we reach a certain point in our careers or lifestyle that we’ll all of a sudden be happy. Unfortunately, this rumor is false. (And if you know who started it, send them to me right away…) By putting our happiness on hold, we’re likely to feel unsatisfied as we start accomplishing our goals.

Should you ever find yourself in a situation similar to mine, here’s what I recommend:

1) Make happiness a priority. I wanted abs because I learned having a body I’m proud of makes me happy. Yet I finally had abs and was very much not happy. What could you be doing as you go about your goals to keep you happy?

2) Avoid perfection. Perfection is dumb. And it doesn’t exist. What areas could you allow yourself to be a little more laid back in? Want to know another cool trick? Failure actually helps us get better.

3) Learn to appreciate the journey. It’s not always about the final destination. Sometimes there is no destination – it’s literally a lifelong road!

Keeping all this in mind, enjoy the process. Seek failure. And then call me so we can eat chocolate together. (This has been sitting in my bag since Friday….)

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Go get ‘em, friends.

Find Your ‘Why’ That Makes You Cry

Ever notice how some of your goals are accomplished quicker than others? Whether we’re busy or just not putting in the time we know we should, some goals get left to the side. Sure, we can pick them back up anytime. But how do we pick them up and stay consistent?

Recently I watched a fantastic presentation that covered a bunch of topics. One of the presenters, Tarah Marie Carr, talked about finding your “why.” She talked about how hard she worked on her business in order to support her family. Because of this strong “why,” her husband was able to return home from serving overseas.

I love her story. Here’s mine:

(Spoiler alert: It’s about food. Not about being in love. Unless you count my passion for red wine and snacks.)  

I have a strong interest in nutrition. This turned up a few notches when I became a health and fitness accountability coach. I got a meal plan, portion sized containers, plus a formula explaining how many containers I could eat for each food group. (You may have heard me talk about this before.)

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Despite this incredible plan, I still struggled with cravings. I’d go half the week eating clean, then erase my results each time I got tired and stressed. If I couldn’t sleep, I went straight for the kitchen. If I was really stressed, alcohol was inevitable. My goal of getting a six pack was always short lived at best.

Fast forward to last month: I was reading a great book called “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. He discusses different options to be more quick and efficient with your goals. One chapter discusses nutrition. Tracy explains that in order to have the most energy to accomplish our goals, we need to be putting healthy foods into our bodies.

“Aha!”

I started to focus on what negative consequences might happen if I decided to go for the unhealthy options (which I desperately wanted). If I caved and kept going for cookies (seriously, love cookies) I’d feel guilty, upset, and tired. This kept me from being my best self. If I’m not my best self, I can’t get my work done. Translation: “Sorry goals. You’ll have to wait another day.”

Since I quit waiting tables, I’ve had to apply to odd jobs here and there to pay the bills. I don’t enjoy them. Each time I apply for a gig – even if it’s just for a day – I start to feel depressed.

And that’s my why.

I’m done working jobs I don’t like. I’m tired of spending my time learning about products or companies I don’t have a passion for. Each time I start to crave something I know I shouldn’t be eating, I think about these jobs. I think about how wonderful it’s going to be when all of my income comes solely from acting, writing, and fitness. Working on my goals involves lots of time and energy. I can’t tackle all of these if I’m not being healthy. Snacks can wait. My goals can’t.

Sound silly? That’s okay. It is. But it works. Guess who’s showing off his six pack on his trip home this week?

(Oh man, this totally means I’m gonna have a love story to share!)

What’s your “why?” Care to share it with us? (Do it. I promise it helps.)