6 Things I Learned When I Focused On Self-Care

6 Things I Learned When I Focused On Self-Care

Last month I made self-care a priority when I completed the Advocare 24-Day challenge, it's a nutrition plan that requires you eat fruits, veggies, proteins, take vitamins and supplements. I'm really proud of myself because growing up I labeled myself as someone who couldn't finish things. That's no longer true. 

The experience has been life changing. For the first time since becoming a vegetarian, I actually paid attention to what I ate...every morsel, carb, gram, and ingredient. By the end of the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, I felt like a new person.  I also came to some profound realizations.

Improving my nutrition increased my energy! I no longer come home from work and sit on the couch for the rest of my day. I have the energy I need to cook, clean, prepare lunch, iron my clothes for the following day and so much more. I'm also sleeping better. I haven't felt this energized in a long time. This makes me excited to keep up my new nutrition habits. 

Food awareness is everything. Do you know where your food comes from? And I don't mean the supermarket you frequent but the back story of the processed product or that piece of meat?

On some level, I knew that my food was produced in a factory but I never thought about how this and eating fewer home cooked meals was affecting my body.

Sample of my home cooked meals

Sample of my home cooked meals

During the 24 days, my home cooked meals primarily consisted of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs, and salmon. No sugar, processed foods, bread or caffeine touched these lips. It wasn't easy giving up sugary treats and Starbucks. However, I gained so much more in return. I learned the importance of portion control...I don't need to eat huge plates of food everynight; just the ounces of nutrients my body requires. Eating left me satisfied not full or stuffed. I tried new dishes I never cooked before and the food tasted so amazing. I could truly taste all the flavors in my meals, fruits, and veggies.

I became a vegan! This is a change I wasn't expecting to make but I'm happy I made the decision to finally do it. Seven years ago, when I decided to stop eating meat I wanted to be a vegan but I was poorly equipped for that lifestyle change. Make no mistake it is a lifestyle change. By day 15 of the challenge, I made the decision to become a vegan because this time I knew I could commit to it. If I can eat healthy for 24 days effortlessly, I can recommit to eliminating animal products from my diet. 

My body is a wonderland. Cleansing my body made me feel lighter, beautiful even. And I finally got rid of the bloated feeling I was experiencing prior to starting the nutrition challenge. My size 6 pants fit with no spillage aka no muffin top. I no longer have to cover my midsection. This may seem superficial to some and that's okay, I'm happy with this achievement.

Oh, and I got rid of my double chin. Sweet!

No double chin in this bathroom selfie! LOL  

No double chin in this bathroom selfie! LOL  

I'm an organized person. Oh, yes I am. I outlined my meals for the week, created my grocery lists, made homemade snacks for me and my daughter. Prepation and organization were the keys to my success during the Advocare 24-Day Challenge. 

Breakfast, lunch and snack for my workday.  

Breakfast, lunch and snack for my workday.  

I love cooking! Another powerful realization. As I previously mentioned in my 15 Kickass Lessons post, I've never been the Susie Homemaker type and I despised cooking. However, this entire experience has made cooking and meal planning enjoyable.

I bought 4 vegan cookbooks packed with delicious recipes I couldn't wait to try. I didn't quite excute every recipe perfectly but I never gave up.

My vegan cookbook selection...thanks Barnes & Noble!

My vegan cookbook selection...thanks Barnes & Noble!

Cooking is fun now because I get to create  nutritious and delicious home cooked meals for me and my daughter. She sits at the counter and tells me about her day while I chop, sauté and stir. Every Sunday we make pancakes for breakfast and bake delicious vegan cookies for her to take to school. I love how cooking has brought us closer. Cooking is another amazing tool I can now pass on to her. 

By cleansing your body on a regular basis and eliminating as many toxins as possible from your environment, your body can begin to heal itself, prevent disease, and become stronger and more resilient than you ever dreamed possible
— Dr. Edward Group III
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