I want to personally congratulate everyone who participated in the 14-Day Healthy You Challenge! Based on the feedback, participants lost 6-12 pounds during the two weeks and many are saying they feel better than ever!
One of the main questions I’m receiving now is how to progress once the initial two weeks on the program is complete. I hope this post will help you with continued success once you’ve completed the 14-Day Healthy You! program. For those that didn’t participate in the challenge, this post should still give you some insight on how to move forward after following any successful weight loss program.
Although the Healthy You Challenge focused on eliminating certain foods and progressing to a 100% clean diet, I understand that this may not always be realistic. Also, I realize that people don’t want to be on a “diet” forever. This is precisely why I developed the program in such a way that allows people to incorporate their favorite foods after the initial 14 days. To avoid feeling deprived, just be sure to indulge in moderation and follow a few simple tips:
Consume Previously Eliminated Food Moderately
I’m sure there are people who eat a perfectly clean diet all of the time. I am not one of them. The good news? You don’t have to adhere to a 100% clean diet 365 days a year. You can still lead a healthy lifestyle, maintain an ideal weight and even lose pounds if you sometimes indulge in your favorite foods. But be mindful and continue consuming previously eliminated food moderately. Additionally, incorporate meals from the Healthy You Challenge alongside your own recipes.
Pay Attention, Listen to Your Body, and Adjust Accordingly
Pay attention to how your body reacts to the reintroduction of some of the eliminated foods. For example, you may find that you feel fine after adding wheat back into your diet, but that dairy upsets your stomach. Or perhaps you notice you feel better without wheat in your diet. By slowly clearing your system of sugar, wheat, dairy, processed foods and other questionable items, you will better understand the likelihood of specific foods negatively affecting your body. Although I love bread, pizza and pastries, I’ve learned that my body doesn’t deal well with an overabundance of wheat (moderation is fine, but too much causes stomach discomfort). I found that as long as I only eat wheat at one meal a day (rather than all three), I feel fine.
Put Thought into Culinary Choices
Really think about what you are choosing to eat and if there are healthier substitutions for those items. When adding wheat back into your diet, choose whole grains. Choose whole wheat bread instead of white. Choose brown rice over white. For meat, choose organic whenever possible and select lean cuts. If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, choose wine over a higher-calorie mixed drink.
For Additional Weight Loss, Stay on the Clean Phase
You may discover that you feel so good after completing the Clean Phase of the Healthy You! program that you want to continue this way of eating, allowing you to healthfully drop additional weight. If you still have 20 or more pounds to lose, I suggest staying on the Clean Phase for at least one more week.
Remember: After week two, you choose how to move forward. Some people start to feel so good and drop weight so quickly by the end of week two, they want to continue to eat clean. Others, no matter the positive progress, can’t fathom another day without one of the eliminated foods (I understand how they feel!). Again, this is the beauty of the Healthy You Challenge; the two weeks provide a jump start on your weight loss while simultaneously giving you the tools to change your eating habits for life. Just two weeks of healthier eating often prove enough to forever change the way you look at what you put into your body.
It’s often difficult for people to know how to proceed after finishing the Healthy You! program or any other weight loss program. Many are fearful of returning to old eating patterns. The best way to avoid this is to continue to incorporate some of the meals and or snacks that you enjoyed during the program. Should you find yourself slipping back into old, unhealthy eating habits after completing the 14-day Healthy You Challenge simply recommence the 14-day plan. Another week on the Elimination Phase plus another on the Clean Phase will get you back on track.
Use what you learned to help you make smart choices going forward. Personally, I consume wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol in moderation and only on occasion. I try to drastically reduce or completely eliminate my intake of red meat, artificial sweeteners and highly processed foods. Based on my personal experience, the cleaner your diet, the more weight you’ll continue to lose and the healthier you’ll feel.
No matter what you decide, I am here to help and will continue to offer healthy eating tips, recipes, videos and encouragement along the way. Don’t stress about the foods you eat – just be mindful. And remember, we will be doing another Healthy You Challenge in the future. I hope you will join me!