It wasn’t until late 2010 that I started to become interested in nutrition…and began really making that link between the quality of my food and my health. I had spent several years hitting the gym elliptical and treadmill – trying to take off that last 10 pounds and get toned, only to see my body stay exactly the same. I was frustrated and really just over it. Many people would say that I ate relatively healthy and had a fairly balanced diet. Sure, I loved my sweets, but who doesn’t? I thought I was doing more than enough treadmill runs to work off that ice cream. I ate lots of different vegetables (always something green on the plate was my motto) and had 3 meals a day – breakfast usually being a “healthy” whole grain cereal. I even went pescetarian (vegetarian + fish) for a while…never saw a change (except my increasing frustration).
This is when my little research journey began – first I read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson…then I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf (both recommended by my lovely sister and fellow CrossFitter, Layla). Both of these guys made everything make sense…they explained the reasons for my frustrations with weight loss, sinus issues, asthma, and eczema. The culprits being – grains, anything containing gluten, dairy, all processed foods and sugar. While I was really sad about the possibility of giving up cereal (one of my favorite foods) and sugar, I was excited that I was reading something that actually made sense – The Paleo Diet – yet it was so different from what I had been taught all my life with the infamous food pyramid and Standard American Diet (SAD) nonsense. At that point in time, I knew that I was not strong enough to conquer this new diet on my own. I needed my spouse, Nick, to either do this with me or support me like no other. So I read excerpts from both books to him, testimonials and other legitimate research (as he had lots of questions and was trying to crush this Paleo-theory to find a good excuse to NOT do this diet)…and when I found a great answer for each question and he conducted some of his own research – we decided to do this together and take on the Paleo diet for 30 days. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Nick had several health issues directly related to his gut during this time, so we were taking a risk doing this – that his issues could get worse, but we were also taking a risk NOT doing it – as he was in a downward spiral as it was.
We took this challenge seriously – emptying our cupboards and fridge of anything that wasn’t considered Paleo. We armed ourselves with Paleo recipes from cookbooks and websites…and we did it, 30 days of Paleo. By the end of 30 days, Nick’s gut issues were resolved, I had finally lost that lingering 10 pounds, and we both felt amazing and full of energy. We were so pleased with how we felt, we continued this way of eating with a few slight modifications. We often find that when we veer off the Paleo path (generally around the holidays), we both feel like complete crap.
Now, just shy of 2 years later, we eat Paleo/Primal about 80% of the time and still really believe that it was the way we were meant to eat.
About a month ago, I received an email from a fellow CrossFit affiliate about the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge 2012 – just as I was thinking I needed to revamp my diet. When life happens, it’s easy to slowly get off track and for me to begin getting careless with my diet, so I thought this was a great opportunity to step it up and get back to the basics.
Here are some of my personal goals in mind for this challenge:
1. I would like to see some abdominal muscles…I know they are there, but I would like to actually see them.
2. I would love to be able to do more pull-ups. I just recently got my first legit pull-up the other day, and I am really looking forward to chaining some together.
3. To get off the sweets, long-term. For as long as I can remember, I have been addicted to sugar, in every form…this kind of addiction over a long period of time can lead to diabetes, obesity, etc. – I’m not willing to sacrifice my quality of life for a piece of chocolate cake…I realize that it does make me happy for the 2 minutes I’m eating it, but I can replace that with something more beneficial – like CrossFit.
4. Spread the Paleo word. Since I have seen this diet work and I understand the science behind it, I believe in it 100%. There are no miracles involved in this thing; it takes hard work and dedication. When people notice that I’m not eating cupcakes at the company birthday party, I’ll tell them why. It’s an excellent conversation piece. For me, it isn’t as much about weight loss as it is about overall health – although it works both ways. When people see my body start to change and envy my energy level, they will listen.
5. To blog about it. I would like to keep you updated on my progress during this journey, if that’s OK. I want to post a weekly blog detailing what’s going on with me during this challenge…Is it awesome? Does it suck? What am I eating? Am I seeing changes? Photos? That sort of thing.
With all of that being said, my Lurong Living Paleo Challenge 2012 starts on Monday, September 17th and will last for 9 weeks. I will be competing for prizes – although that’s not really what matters here. The first two weeks, I will be taking my measurements and before photos, and completing 3 initial benchmark workouts. Weeks 3 – 7, I will be completing skill-based workouts each week, and then during the last two weeks, I will complete the same 3 benchmark workouts I completed in the beginning – to show how I have improved as a result of the diet. I will also be recording ALL of my meals and normally scheduled workouts. I get points based on my performance, diet and improvements – and that will determine whether or not I am the champion. 🙂
Champion shmampion…I already feel like one just for signing up. The fact that two of our faithful Thomasville CrossFit members have also signed up along with me makes it even sweeter.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, this is what the Paleo diet entails in terms of food…
Meat, nuts, seeds, veggies, some fruit, little starch, no legumes, no sugar, and no dairy.
Recommended Paleo serving is 30% Protein, 30% Fat, 40% Carbohydrate
A little more specifically, these foods include:
- Lean meats (beef, pork chicken, lamb, bison, turkey, venison, etc.)
- Eggs (enriched with Omega-3s)
- Fish & Shellfish
- Nuts (tree-nuts), no peanuts…because they are considered legumes.