Let me start off by saying that after one week of calorie counting and other healthy adjustments the scale showed a two pound improvement yesterday. Yay! Now, how do I keep it going in that direction? I really think the answer is quite simple: whole foods. For almost two months last year I decided to eat only whole, unprocessed foods. It was the greatest I had felt in my life and the results were so dramatic that everyone around me took notice.

Honestly, I’m not positive what got me started on the whole foods kick but I think part of it was an article that I read about The Biggest Loser contestant, Tara. The article talked about her struggles with keeping her weight in check after leaving the show. She started seeing a therapist where she discovered she had a food addiction. The very basic idea is that the chemicals, preservatives and fake sugars in processed foods are highly addictive and eating even small amounts of them can start a downward spiral into wanting more and more. This article really resonated with me. I have felt myself stuck in that vicious cycle many times before. So what can you do to avoid the cycle? Stop eating processed junk, simple enough.

I did a lot of research on what eating “whole foods” meant and came up with about a thousand variations on the same theme: eating foods in their simplest form. My more detailed interpretation includes to not eat anything you can’t pronounce because it likely was generated in a lab. When buying something I check for an ingredients list with five ingredients or less, with few exceptions. I try to stay away from added salts and sugars. Basically I try to eat as fresh as possible. Again, there are a lot of interpretations out there but these are the guidelines I have chosen to follow.

Shopping was a little time consuming at first because I had to check the label on everything and I was forced to try a lot of new foods I’d never even heard of before. I spent some time at fancier stores such as Earth Fare and Whole Foods but bought most things from good old Food Lion. After all, I was trying to be healthy, not go completely broke. The biggest surprise for me when shopping at Whole Foods was that they, like all other grocery stores, have a lot of processed foods on their shelves. A lot of their items did not coincide with the idea of “whole foods.” The take away here is that regardless of where you are shopping you still must read ingredient labels!

For the two months that I ate only whole foods I felt fantastic. I slept better at night and had more energy during the day. Headaches and migraines that had plagued me for years…totally gone. I had no cravings for junk food. My skin was clearer and prettier. I dropped down to the lowest body weight I had been in almost 10 years. And to be completely honest…I wasn’t counting calories. At. All.

If eating whole foods is such a miracle, why did I stop? Why are others not jumping on board? Well, I guess because it isn’t easy. When you are working and raising a family and taking care of your home it is very time-consuming. Most whole foods can’t be zapped in the microwave super fast and you pretty much can’t find it in a drive-thru line. If you want to make cookies, for example,  you have to make them from scratch. Most whole foods can be expensive. Eating out at restaurants or even at other peoples homes can be difficult. When I fell off the wagon it was holiday time. Lots of unhealthy, rich food abounding, little time for planning, stress to the max.

If you try you can always come up with more reasons why you shouldn’t do something. But, if you really want something, such as good health, you will do everything in your power to obtain it. I lost sight of my goal then but I am ready and willing to work hard and achieve my goal again. My goal for this next week is to eat only whole foods. I will plan, be prepared and hold myself accountable. Here’s to a healthier me and you!