So… it’s Friday. For those who’ve been following their hardest since Sunday, you’re probably feeling the pinch. You’re probably recognizing the way your life has changed – how much more time you devote to food; how different your food tastes; how differently your body feels after you eat; how, ahem… regular you are now from eating cleaner foods.

How does it feel? (I’d cue D’Angelo here, but I’m gonna respect the fellas who visit the site. For now.)

I’ve got to tell you… the closer to “the source” I eat, the better off I am. The better I feel. The more energetic I feel. I feel like I’m living… as opposed to grabbing a 900 calorie slice of cheesecake and shrugging it off with, “You only live once.” I live through living… not eating.

My first venture off into living cleaner actually started around this time in 2009. Recognizing that limiting the things in my life that seemed to control me, as opposed to me controlling it… it helped me feel free. Like I could live without spending my day floating from vice to vice. I wasn’t making lunch and thinking about dinner. I wasn’t making dinner and scoping out the freezer for dessert.

I spent months – months – trying to scope out a plan that worked best for me. I spent time as a raw vegan which, while I felt wonderful and very well may go back to that lifestyle, I wanted to know if my body was responding poorly to meat altogether or if it was something in the way I was cooking that was causing my body to pack on the pounds. So, I slowly started adding back dairy and meat to my diet. That’s when I realized… I was always stalled when I indulged in foods of the “manufactured” nature.

Running the challenge during this week is not only valuable because the challenge prep ran during Earth Week, but because it signifies the 1 year anniversary of when I learned how to eat like I had some sense. That was also well over 100 pounds ago. I learned that if I couldn’t afford the time needed to cook scalloped potatoes from scratch, I probably shouldn’t have them. If I couldn’t afford the well-kept and healthy beef, I probably shouldn’t have any… which is fine, because the last time I had red meat was a few years ago in high school. Life is simplified. I value and appreciate that, now.

As we make it through day 6, I hope that day 7 is that much easier for you: that your sugar cravings are lessened, your creativity in creating delish dishes has expanded, and your portion sizes reflect what you’re actually wanting to eat… not just what’s in the box or what was in the pan.

So, baby, let’s cruise…  – sorry, can’t help the D’Angelo references – into day 7 and enjoy another day living, loving, and eating clean! Tell me – how does it feel? Struggling? Coasting? Slippin’ up? Let’s hear it!