30 Days To Be Better

By. Francisco Salgado

Have you noticed that when you go out of town or on vacation you return with a few bad habits? Well, I am a creature of habit. Whether good or bad, if I do it enough it becomes a part of my daily routine.

Charlye and I recently took a trip to Washington State that involved no meal prep and it was fantastic! We did not run wild off of our leash, but we definitely relaxed, which was very well deserved and needed.

We returned home on a Tuesday night and told ourselves that we would get back to our routine of meal prepping on Sunday to round off the end of our vacation week. Of course that meant five extra days of picking up dinner from various restaurants. Just as we planned, we fell right back into our meal prep routine, but sticking to it was not as easy as when we left. Remember how I said I picked up habits easily?

Speaking for myself, some days I would skip eating my already prepared meal just so I could pick up something fast and tasty (I am talking to you Chik-fil-a).  Some nights we would go to our favorite Mexican restaurant simply because we were both in the mood for it and neither of us would tell the other no, because hey, we both still wanted it. If we are both guilty, neither of us are wrong, right?

This sort of routine continued for longer than I would like to admit. Some weeks were better than others, but over the course of a month there were some very unhealthy habits beginning to develop and I could feel it in my body more than I could see it in my physique. Waking up to coach the five am class was a lot harder because I couldn’t fall asleep before midnight. Throughout the day I had a difficult time staying alert, my moods were all over the place, and I was having an even worse time trying to motivate myself to workout. The cycle was beginning and I knew I had to make a change before it was a habit.

To make matters worse, at the beginning of this month when I sat down to go through my budgeting I looked through my bank statements and wanted to kick myself for spending so much unnecessary money on eating out. Keep in mind, we were meal prepping AND spending money on food we did not need. A bank statement can be a running record for bad eating choices if you went through what we did last month.   

After some self-reflecting and criticism, Charlye and I got together and talked about challenging ourselves for 30 days. The main purpose of this challenge was to get ourselves back on track; getting back the structure! The one single rule was that we could only eat food purchased from the grocery store. This sounds pretty simple, but this includes no stops for coffee in the morning, no chips from the convenience store after a long night of bartending, no soda from vending machines, and no food from street vendors. Every single item would come from the grocery store. With my personality, a cold turkey fix was what I needed.  

Meal prep is not a strange concept to us, doing that was not difficult, but sticking to it has been. It has taken both of us holding each other accountable for what we are eating and where we are eating from: home. We are into our second week and so far we have stuck to our plan.

With this challenge were hoping to get into a better habit of saving money, eating healthier choices, and ultimately keep our routines in check. Our routines are aimed towards living a fuller, healthier life. The only rule may be that we can only eat pre-purchased “grocery store” food, but we are still accountable for what these foods are. This made sticking to our meal prep that much easier because there is no longer the alternative of Taco Bell or Skeero’s BBQ to tempt us.

Eating from home has forced us to be more aware of time management, since the excuse “oh I can just pick up something on the way” is no longer an option. Are we eating 100% clean? Absolutely not! We planned for “cheat meals.” There is a loaf of bread for sandwiches and an oven pizza in our freezer. We have a bag of oven baked chips and a few sweet snacks to turn to when we have a craving. We have planned to have days where we can relax, but relaxing does not have to equate to eating out and not being aware of what is going into our bodies. In fact, the first week we had to make a second trip to the grocery store because we miscalculated how much food we would need after our meal preps were gone. We were not used to feeding ourselves from home over the weekend! Not only is this a challenge to our diet, but to our bank accounts, priorities, and shopping skills. Week two has gone much better in regards to planning, even with my three year old being with us for the next two weeks.  

So now we would like to challenge you. Would you and your family/significant other be able to sustain one month of eating food only purchased from a grocery store? This is not a challenge strictly for clean eating, but a challenge to your routine. Let us know your progress! We will be back for an update in two more weeks! Our end date is on Charlye’s birthday, August 12th, which I think will be well deserved. The next goal will be jumping right back to eating from home the following Monday and I have a feeling we will survive.

Every habit, good and bad is created by you. What habits will you choose to create?