I am curious to know which parts of Step 6 were easier or harder for you. Did you find yourself automatically plowing through your meal without "being present" like I do sometimes? What did you discover as you let hunger be your guide? When I am very intentional about it, I find that I have a habit of eating a lot, just to eat. Our bodies really can be amazing at managing our need for energy (food) if we pay attention.
Ok, how about managing what was on your plate? Did you fill at least half of your plate up with veggies, as well as prioritize some protein and quality fat? If you're still working on it, that's okay. You can continue to work on this "skill" in your whole food lifestyle and keep moving on to Step 7!
Step 7: Purge
Now is the time to see how attached you are to the "foods" in your pantry... 🙂 I debated on whether or not to put this step earlier on in this series but decided to have it where it is. I didn't want you to feel deprived or be too put off from the very beginning. The picture above is the "purge" we did about 4 years ago! We had been married for less than 2 years, living in a townhouse, and no babies yet. So it wasn't a ton of food, but it certainly felt substantial to us at the time.
For many of us, if the less optimal food is available, we'll eat it. Emotions are going to fire up at unpredictable moments, we are tired, or bored, and the most accessible and convenient foods will be devoured first. The main point of this step, is to make healthy food choices easier! This is not going to be a lengthy to read but will require some time on your own to complete it. Take a big breath... put on your big kid pants... because here it goes!
- Gather up a few empty garbage bags and/or boxes (and put on some enjoyable music!).
- Pick a small cupboard to go through first and start removing the foods that are not going to support your health and put them in a box or bag. I'm specifically thinking of the sugary and processed ones (Ramen Noodles, Mac & Cheese, Cookies, Chips, Crackers, Sugar, Frozen Pizza, Fish Sticks, Fruit Snacks, canola oil & sprays, etc.).
- Once completed, move on to another cupboard, your fridge, freezer, the pantry, food storage shelves, and wherever else you keep food and sort through it like step 2.
- Throw the food away (or if that thought makes you sick to your stomach, keep reading).
Me too. I actually really, really don't like it, so I can sympathize. The great news, is there are are many people and organizations you can donate the food to (some require the food to be unopened). These foods aren't ideal" for health but they can help someone out a lot, who is having a hard time finding something to eat. Check our your local Food Bank to see what items can be donated. You may also be able to think of/find a neighbor who would appreciate the items you are getting rid of. Ask around. You'll likely find somebody.
As your tastes change, you will not want the same sugary and processed foods anymore. They literally won't taste like food because your definition of it is already changing. I think that's awesome. This is a good sign to watch for and will reassure you that these new habits are more likely to stick around.
Eventually you may decide that you want to buy a package of Oreos or make a homemade treat because it feels like a "worth it" treat to you. Guess what? That's ok. Just make sure it REALLY is worth it to you. And I would suggest eating it in a situation where (a.) you aren't starving (have already eaten a meal) and (b.) you can share it with others so they aren't left hanging around your house. Try to enjoy the "splurge" and then be done with it. You'll get better at this over time; you really will. Be patient and kind to yourself. It's your process, your lifestyle, and in your time frame. Step 8 here we come!