Friday, January 31, 2014

My First Seven

If I can hold out until midnight - I've done it! Thirty-one days eating only 7 foods. Kind of.

Based on the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker, my 7 foods adventure has been a challenge. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit and it's day 31- but believe me - I'm still craving all the things I let go of for the month. Let me me back up a bit and give a little backstory. Seven was a book given to me last year. I loved it. Really loved it. Seven celebrates the ideas of simplicity, reduction, awareness, intentionality, creating space, and valuing relationships. The author tackled these topics with action steps which she described this way, "7 will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal: to create space for God's kingdom to break through." I love action. Thinking and critiquing are important life skills, but give me action any day! So as soon as I finished the book I did…nothing. A bit paralyzed at where to start on my own 7 adventure, instead I entered the fall, fell into the holidays, and found myself in a pit of yuckiness by the time it was New Years Eve. I had let two really important healthy habits go - work outs and eating right.

Since the Thanksgiving vacation to Oahu hadn't spurned any healthy habits, (One might think a week in paradise sporting little more than a bathing suit with our closest friends would have gotten me off my rear. One would be wrong.) I was holding on to a glimmer of hope that arrival of 2014 would be the real start of a change. Some action. So by the grace of God and the fact that none of my pants wanted to button anymore - I made a decision. Really this is the hardest part for me. Making a choice. Once made and accountability put in place…I can do the thing.

So let me explain "the thing." In the book Seven, Mrs. Hatmaker chose only 7 foods to eat for the month. She was strict and her 7 makes my 7 look like a joke. But action has to start somewhere and I'm not apologizing for what I chose to do on my own 7 adventure. We both came to some similar conclusions - focusing on only eating 7 things for a month makes you think about: what you consume (and what you don't), it has you thanking God and crying out to Him, you end the month hungry. Hungry for more of what God has in store…and possibly wanting a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Here's what I ate for the month:
Oatmeal (no toppings)
Shakeology - protein/vitamin-rich chocolate powder you mix with milk
Chicken (prepared/marinated anyway except breaded or deep-fried)
Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
Veggies (Yes, ANY veggie, so here you see my "7"gets a bit wonky.) I did not eat potatoes - although until this month I would have considered them a veggie.

I did not suffer. It was a healthy, delicious, taste sensational month. I seasoned my chicken, veggies, and rice as desired. It was flavorful and provided enough variety that I wasn't dreading the next meal. With just these simple foods I could usually find food to eat at any restaurant. I still drank coffee. Coffee is a drink not a food. However, I stuck to coffee, tea, milk, and water only. Juices were a no-no.  My diet was almost gluten-free - I'm so much less bloated! Sorry if that's TMI…but seriously, I feel BETTER. Maybe that GF hubbub is right after all. My added sugar intake is waaaay down. I ate a healthy breakfast almost every morning instead of relying on a latte to get me through the day. I ate salads, took carrots and cucumbers to work as snacks, and sautéed up veggies for almost every dinner. Seriously…this is mind-bending stuff.

I had two accountability partners, my friend who gave me Seven and the woman who recommended it to her. Both women work with me - so I saw them weekly and it helped to know that they were cheering me on. Initially I kept the 7 adventure a secret from my family. My choice was just that - MY choice and something I really wanted to be between me and God. Perhaps you have a gentler, less-judgemental family than mine. But for me, one of my goals was to see how long I could go without having to give them the whole scoop. The answer: 15 days. But I made it through a wedding reception with two cakes on day 1, and they didn't notice - so I win. I also win because I did not let the "law" become more important than relationship. On day 25 I took a friend out to dinner for her birthday. The restaurant did not serve chicken or rice. I had a moment of panic and then just confessed the situation to my friend. The veggies were deep fried. The food was delicious. I ate. We laughed, and I valued the experience more than my rules.

This adventure has jumpstarted my body, mind, and spirit. Food is such a central piece of American life. It's been said we live to eat instead of eating to live. I think that somewhere there is a balance. God created taste-buds! But this month has given me greater perspective on how I want to treat food. I've come to appreciate what it feels like to reduce gluten in my diet and eat more veggies. I want to eliminate eating strictly for comfort. God provides. It's an abundance beyond my needs. The 7 adventure has opened my eyes to the ways I usually take this abundance for granted. I end this month with gratitude and ready for the second 7.