I did it!
Today I hit 30 days being cheat free!
I wasn't sure I would make it but I did and I'm really proud of myself!
So... what did I learn from this?
1) Starting is hard (the first week was bad) and coming to the end is hard (this last week has been really bad) but there were almost two weeks in between where I was okay with the no cheating thing and felt like I could handle it well.
2) I can actually stick to something no matter how badly I don't want to! Yes, I've stuck to weight loss/dieting/lifestyle changes and I've stuck with exercise but this was different. Both dieting and exercise are a lifelong thing for me but this was something that would only go on for a certain amount of time that I HAD to stick with because I made a commitment to it. I couldn't decide that I was having a bad day so I would take the day off like I can with diet and exercise. I HAD to stick this out and I did.
3) I don't need a huge amount of junk food to make me happy or fulfilled or make me feel better. I don't need a box of Little Debbie's or an entire pie or a pint of ice cream. I don't even need one small serving. None of those things are an actual need. I may want them and like them but I don't have to have them.
4) I think I can finally be satisfied with a small serving of something. I haven't actually put it to the test yet since today is day 30 but I'm pretty sure I can control the portions.
5) I don't want to cut out dessert from my life. I want to be able to moderate my food, not cut out entire chunks of it, outside of food that's more junk that actual food. I want to be able to have a single serving dessert or an ice cream cone or one serving of something delicious that's not on my daily diet.
6) I like being able to look forward to something off-plan once a week. Yeah, I know, food isn't a reward and shouldn't be used that way, but I feel like I can get through a hard week better by knowing I have a treat coming up once a week. It'll be a small treat but it doesn't have to be more than that! Just a little something to look forward to to get through the days when all you see in front of you are veggies and protein.
7) I can face down boxes of donuts, bags of muffins, bars of chocolate, ice cream in the freezer... and not touch them or even obsess about them (most of the time). I know there's a few certain things that I can NOT have around me without me craving them and having to have them but those foods are becoming fewer and fewer!
8) Making myself accountable on my blog, Facebook and Instagram really helped me stick with this. Knowing there were people watching and rooting me on made a huge difference.
9) This one was unexpected but I didn't lose any more weight the month where I didn't cheat versus the month before where I did. What do I learn from this? Well, probably not to assume that that's how weight loss works and not to be disappointed with it (although, honestly, I kind of am) and to try to look at it from a health perspective rather than a weight loss one. I may not have lost any extra pounds but I know I ate better and healthier and that counts for something.
10) I don't want to jump into a cheat/feast day right away. I thought I'd want to drown myself in "forbidden" food when I came to the end but I'm actually okay waiting until next Saturday night/Sunday for our Pascha which is going to be a huge feast, both religiously and with food.
So, basically, I learned a lot. I'm proud of myself but I really don't want to do this again. I will if the food and feast days get out of control again but for now I think I'm good!