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I Stopped Eating “Clean” & Working Out For 7 Days: Here’s What Happened

A lot of times, we tend to forget how much our eating impacts us. Many of us also spend our days seated, in front of a computer, and forget how little exercise we’re getting in. It can be difficult to work a full-time job, make time to cook and plan meals, and go to the gym on a regular basis. Although some people swear by simply walking for 30 minutes a day, I personally like doing that and more rigorous exercise when I can. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to go to the gym about 5 times a week on average, and plan my meals to be healthier and more paleo-based than before.

However, for one week, my schedule got hectic. One bad day led to 7, where I stopped working out, and stopped eating as healthily. This is what happened:

1 – My skin got mildly worse.

Although I’ve been fortunate to have mostly clear skin lately, which I would directly attribute to cooking all of my food, my skin flared up a bit more this week. I normally wake up with glowy skin, and with very few blemishes. Needless to say, after a week of no exercise and of me eating processed foods, my skin didn’t look as good. Not pretty!

2 – I was always tired.

Part of the reason why I wouldn’t go to the gym after my work day was because I was tired. However, this put me into a never-ending cycle of perpetual fatigue, as working out in the evenings actually gives me more energy the next day. Eating poorly also made me feel less energetic. Good thing I broke that cycle!

3 – I felt bloated.

This one goes without saying, but I’ll say it: I didn’t feel as lean. And when you feel less lean, or less healthy, it’s easier to reach for a plate of fries on a more regular basis.

4 – I didn’t sleep as well.

I need to exercise on a regular basis to sleep well, especially with a mild sleeping problem. Sometimes, all I need to do is walk a lot. But usually, I like to sweat it out at least 5 times a week to sleep my best! So, when I stopped exercising as much, my sleep deteriorated. Refer to #2 – I was always tired!

5 – I was weaker.

I wasn’t just physically weaker, but also mentally weaker. Save for one surprisingly confident day, most days made me feel less accomplished and generally not as content. It was also a lot more difficult to deal with mundane things.


Though a week is barely anything for most people, and used to not mean much to me, I believe my body’s changed a lot over the last couple of months. Once I started to train more regularly again, and stopped eating poor foods on most days, my body decided to alter itself. I can still have the occasional treat, as life is all about balance. But in order to feel my best, look my best, and do my best, I have to do two things: exercise regularly and eat “clean” for the most part. For a more radiant – literally and figuratively – self, I’ll do it. Just don’t judge me if you see me eat a burger or some poutine!

What works for you?

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