By Samantha McCain
My guess is that if you are right here, right now - reading this - then you are probably on the fence of deciding if the Clean Kitchen Challenge is for you.
You’re probably trying to justify the cost, the time and all of the other variables we use during self talk when we’re trying to make decisions.
Can I help?
Because whether you’re the person who feels like a job/career is taking over your life, the person who is in a new relationship, the person who is grieving over the loss of something or someone significant, the person who is experiencing a monumental life change or the person who feels like there. is. never. enough. time… this program is for you.
And if you think you have too many chips stacked against you to think about you right now, then this program is definitely for you.
Your life will always include SOMETHING - a new normal, with new people who need new things from you.
But, if you don’t take hold of what YOU need and create a system that allows for it, you’ll always feel like you are treading water.
And if you are anything like me, you are rolling your eyes and mumbling, “You have no idea what I’m up against.”
Wrong. I have all the ideas and I absolutely know where you are. Our situations may not be exactly the same, but..
I know what it’s like to walk into the gym feeling like a zombie, but still exhausting myself JUST to check that box because it’s more of an obligation than a commitment to myself.
I know what it’s like to cram down a hamburger and some french fries in a spare five minutes because I had a hunger headache and ANYTHING was better than nothing.
I know what it’s like to make sure that all obligations are met while missing every single appointment I make for myself, because a list that is marked complete creates an opportunity for more things to be added to it.
I know what it’s like to let the day run me without a system to help me manage what I can control.
I hear you. I see you. I know you. Because friend, I am you.
Consistency is greater than intensity.
My journey through Clean Kitchen has been S L O W. I did my first stint in 2016 with a lot of great results, but I signed up for an advanced version in 2018 because I thought I wanted to tackle a level 2 approach with macros, food timing and a mix of carb cycling.
Hindsight is 20/20. What I didn’t know then is that signing up for 2.0 was the equivalent of me waving a very large white flag for where I was standing and how my relationship with food and stress had evolved.
Right before summer last year, I felt broken and tired. Work was the hardest it had ever been. While I knew that filling my habits was the sweet spot, I didn’t know how to get back to that space. I would buy all of the groceries, but they would be wasted because I didn’t make a plan to use them in a way my schedule would allow.
I would bring prepped food to work, but meetings would overrun my schedule and I just wouldn’t eat.
The proverbial road was blocked and I let all the dang excuses drive my car. If you’re here, you know that a tired brain feeds all of the cravings.
I needed someone to help me break the continual cycle I found myself circling. Knowing and doing are two totally different things, and I needed someone to coach me through the days that were throwing me for a loop. Pride is a hard mountain to climb sometimes, but admitting we need help is the only way over.
Over the course of the last 14 months, my coach helped me say the hard words I needed to not only say, but own. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it was uncomfortable. I had to get to a space where I was comfortable with being truthful with my coach and myself.
I was so conditioned to saying “I feel great.” as a response to “How are you doing?” By the end of my time with him, I was owning how I felt and why.
“I feel fluffy.”
“I feel stressed.”
“I could use a drink/something sweet/a Big Box from Canes.”
There wasn't any shame in my Coach’s response, just a helpful approach to figuring out why I felt that way. Was it the food? Was it Mother Nature? Was it work?
In addition to the habits, we worked through my stubbornness, the fiasco my brain creates when I try to make things complicated and moving at the pace of a sloth to do something I wanted and needed.
And, it worked.
The monotonous food prep, tweaking the system so that it worked for me and owning my schedule instead of letting it run me - it all contributed to feeling like I'm in control again.
Sure, I lost the weight I wanted and pushed myself to new levels for performance in the gym. But, I also realized that I could do something for me for a change. And more importantly, that I had control over what my day looked like and the food I fuel my body with.
Busy is relative.
Busy is relative for everyone. Can I say that louder for the people in the back?
B U S Y I S R E L A T I V E.
When I got back on the Clean Kitchen wagon, I lived in a world where early mornings, late nights, things that go boom in the middle of the night and weekend events ran me ragged. But, I narrow mindedly thought my busy was an exclusive kind of busy that no one else could understand.
And when I thought I might be spiraling to a place where I was constantly sick and very tired, Clean Kitchen helped me help myself.
Daily, I’m able to tap into what I know to be true and use foundational habits that were drafted and adopted by me through the help of someone who could see the bigger picture when I couldn’t.
This program is not a solution or a quick fix, but a resolve for approach.
And when you get to that space or approach, you begin to experience life with a new perspective. And that - THAT - is where the magic of Clean Kitchen really, really lives.
Can I be obnoxiously loud for a second?
THE MAGIC OF THIS PROGRAM IS NOT FOUND IN THE WEIGHT LOST.
It’s a great byproduct, and you will move more and feel better than you ever have… but, the results really come from the program’s ability to draw a very clear path, encourage you to build habits that help you stay on that path and more importantly - help you realize that you are capable of way more than you might think.
There is SO much language in the general self-help space right now regarding mental toughness, preparing your heart for battle in the arena and living your life in a way that provides for boundaries and safe places.
And, I found none of the self-help language to be more helpful than the hard questions I was asked by my CK coach, the daily approach to encouragement I experienced with accountability inside the gym and the words consistently spoken over me.
It was never all about the food. It was about the systems I could take to make me feel better - holistically.
We cannot push, push and push on input/output if we don’t do a systems check on the actual vehicle - and in total honesty? This includes the heart and mind, in addition to the food.
I can’t say enough good things about what Clean Kitchen has done for the long game in regards to my health, but the mental toughness that was cultivated through foundational systems like habits, asking “Why?” and understanding that the journey is full of seasons — that’s priceless.
If you are on the fence - get off. Rip off whatever bandaid you have stuck on your feelings and do something for yourself. You won’t regret it. I promise.