Maybe a little random to recap on day 9, but I figured it was about time to write something.
Like I mentioned in Recap – Week 35 I decided to start my first Whole 30 challenge a couple of days early. Feeling like crap after eating supper is a pretty good motivator. Yes, ‘crap’ is a technical term.
Wouldn’t you know it, things have been going pretty good so far. I haven’t had too many major cravings yet, but I have thought a couple of times “who cares, you can start it again later” or “just don’t tell anyone and you will be fine”. Alas, the Rice Crispy square will stay on the shelf until, well, forever.
With no pre-planning of my own, I ended up fasting thru lunch on Monday. We visited my mother-in-law who is a strict vegetarian, so I knew that there wouldn’t be much in the house for me to chomp on while we were there. She made me a cup of tea, Milk Oolong to be specific, and I hung around talking dogs and house renovations. We got home at around 3 in the afternoon, and I wasn’t really hungry, so I waited until supper.
For most people, I think lunches can be difficult, especially if you eat at the office. I have the same issue, so each Sunday afternoon I grill two proteins and portion them out for the week; 10 dishes in total. I keep four in the fridge for Monday and Tuesday and freeze the rest for the remainder of the week. I also and boil a dozen eggs and cook some sweet potato for workout recovery. It can be some work and planning on Sunday, but man does it ever make things simple the rest of the week.
This week on the menu:
Breakfast – Pork Roast (slow cooked on the grill), steamed Broccoli, and a handful of Olives.
Lunch – Sexy Time Steak (from Four Hour Chef), Salad, and a whole Avacado.
Workout Recovery – Boiled Eggs (2) and a Banana.
I snacked pretty decent as well. I usually just grab something in the house, typically a piece of fruit, nuts, or some left overs.
A huge positive with the Whole 30 thing; I don’t feel panic stricken when my meal is a little late, or in the case on Monday, completely missing. Little each day I am finding more control over my appetite and really not missing much in the way of sweets. I have been probably over indulging on the dried apricots over the last couple of days, but after swim club as any swimmer can attest to, the hunger won’t go away. I’m working on it.
One negative, and I am not sure if this is related, but I woke up last night with a nasty stomach ache. Not a stomach ache from hunger, but a sharp pain from my belly button up toward my chest. I got out of bed, took a little walk around the house to see if I was cramping; nothing. So I ended up falling back asleep about 20 minutes later and when I woke up, the pain was gone. I am glad it was, but I will keep close attention to how I feel over the next couple of days. Hopefully just a freak occurrence.
Question: How do you tackle lunches during the week?
Fix it. Fix it now. I am not talking about bikes either.
In the spirit of my 21 day No Complaint Challenge, which kinda fell off the radar as getting past 7 days wasn’t happening for any of us, I need to vent without complaining. I have come across a couple of situations via various blogs, twitter, and my life that hit at the heart of the problem. Complaining about a situation that is fully caused by your own decisions.
To frame what I am talking about:
One blogger details her experience with an Acne drug and the challenges with that come along with chronic acne. I am sympathetic as I am sure a lot of people are; I was once in High School and dealt with the pesky little things as well. Her comment though of ‘I’m not sure if it was CrossFit that changed my complexion, but I’m almost certain it had to do with it because of the changes in estrogen and other hormones’ I have a hard time with. Why continue CrossFit if you feel that it is causing it, then resort to a pharmaceutical solution?
One of the people I follow on twitter is a avid CrossFit athlete and has made many comments about ‘having to accept the fact that my muscles are part of my body’. We all know that lifting big, and consequently eating big, will increase muscle mass in a hurry. If increasing muscle mass is making you have a hard time accepting your new body image, why continue to brag about PR’s?
I am as much to blame as others, here are my examples:
During my Whole 30 challenge I was following the rules and not eating a snack mid-morning, wondering why I was so hungry. As the challenge, and the elite say, that you don’t need a snack I held off bringing more food. I continued for a couple of days thinking it was all in my mind, but alas, it was not; I was really hungry. Why continue to complain about being hungry instead of just bringing more food?
I have started lifting weights again at the local YMCA; at lunch time. It is no secret that the busiest time for a gym in downtown Calgary is between 1130 and 1300. There are a couple of things that started to bother me, one of them being Crossfit athletes taking up half of the equipment for their WOD. I am talking about the Olympic lifting station, room to jump rope, and the 40 feet in between for all the other lifts.
So it would seem that I am flogging CrossFit athletes. Not intentional believe me.
I changed a couple of things that I hoped would eliminate my problems. I added in breakfast number 2 (or pre-lunch how every you want to slice it) with great success. I am no longer hungry before lunch and it has actually helped with my hunger later in the day. I have also rearranged my strength workouts to the morning, avoiding the rush and not having to dodge everyone and their dog.
Long story short, if it aient broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, fix it damn it.
Question: Have you fixed something that is broke?
I need to vent a little bit.
Here I am, 4 weeks out from finishing my Whole 30 challenge, and I am thinking back to October. Thinking back to how the challenge went, and how I can help anyone who is looking to embark on one for the first time.
Through the challenge, I had many questions about if a certain food, or combination of foods, were in violation of the principals of the challenge. Let’s call a spade a shovel here, the definition of the challenge is pretty vague.
Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds.
Some fruit? Plenty of good fat? What do they really mean by that?
So off I went in search of some advice relating to exactly what it did mean and I stumbled upon what I think is the negative side of the whole 30 community, the elitist. I have alluded to them before; the hard core, only 100% is good enough who’s opinions can be somewhat disheartening.
The frame what I mean, here was my situation: I wanted to know if eating a banana with almond butter was within the spirit of the challenge. On the surface there is no issue, but thought I would look it up anyways. Here is the opinion I found:
It doesn’t fit into the Whole 30, it appears to be close to SWYPO (sex with your pants on) and looks a lot like desert. I would avoid it unless you are using it in combination with a meal for fat.
So wait a second kemosabe. As long as I play it in my mind that it isn’t desert but rather part of my meal, it is fine?
This is where the challenge went from awesome to just plain good for me. It makes it tough as there is a mentality out there surrounding the challenge that the context in what you eat or how you eat it will determine your success.
Now to clarify, I live a Paleo lifestyle, having seen great results not only in my athletic performance, but in my life in general. I am not against the Whole 30 challenge. I think that for someone who is looking for a nutritional reset, it is a great starting place, just don’t let the opinion of some of the elite get between you and success.
So if you embark on the challenge, first of all, good for you; it will have an impact on your life one way or another. Secondly, don’t let the opinion of the elitist on the interweb affect your mindset. Take the challenge for yourself and work within the rules. If you have to step in the grey territory now and again, no big deal.
Question: What are your thoughts on the paleo elitist?
Nothing makes it harder to eat decent than takeout at the office.
I read a lot of posts about how cooking for a Whole 30 challenge, 21 Day Sugar Detox, or Paleo Challenge becomes cumbersome, leading most to quit. There are too many options within a 2 minute walk to that can derail you faster than you can say ‘muffin’.
In my experience, the key to sticking with any diet you choose is to have on hand, ready to go lunches and snacks at the office.
Well, never fear dear mortals.
This is something I struggled with for a long while. I could never figure out the logistics of cooking, storing, and not having it spoil in the fridge. After experimenting with a couple of ideas I gathered from many sources, I came up with a plan that allows me to do the bulk of my prep/cooking before Monday morning strolls around, leaving just assembly the night before.
Grill Protein Ahead of Time
My BBQ is full of two types of protein at some point during the weekend. Typically it is chicken thighs and steak, but I also use pork chops, roasts, and sausage. I typically under cook them a bit (I like a medium steak, so I cook it to medium rare) and once it comes out of microwave the next day, it is just perfect. Once they are done, I portion out Monday and Tuesday and stick them in the fridge; everything else hits the freezer. Each night, I take out a portion of protein, and it is thawed by breakfast the next day. Before you ask, the meat is just as good after being frozen.
Chop Veggies and Store in Fridge
On Sunday evening, I chop enough veggies to fill huge glass bowl, and store for adding into salads, stir-frys, or just to chomp on while working at my desk. The trick, fill the bowl with some water so that the veggies don’t dry out for Thursday and Friday.
Practice and Perfect Kitchen Tasks
I used to hate chopping anything in the kitchen. Dull knives, slippery food, and warped cutting boards made each experience suck. Using the skills in the Four Hour Chef, I learnt how to chop efficiently and now I can fire through a large pile of carrots with ease. I also learnt how to saute properly, flip without using a spatula, and pretty much cook without too much effort. This is the single most important point for me. If I enjoy being in the kitchen, making a great meal is a pleasure, not a task.
Eat the Same Thing
They say variety is the spice of life, but in this case, variety will kill your progress almost before it starts. Meal planning is daunting; there is a reason why nutritionists, authors, and websites are readily available (for a charge of course). By using the points above, you can make a weeks worth of meals in about 30 minutes. Sure, you eat the same thing each day, so then make something you like.
A bag of frozen veggies in your freezer is worth it’s weight in gold; at least it is in my house. They make it so easy to portion out for breakfast, or make a quick meal when you are on the run. Most stores will carry organic varieties and the process of picking and transporting them makes them just as nutritious as the fresh kind.
So take the time to make your breakfast and lunches for the week. With a little bit of effort, you can save a lot of time during the week.
Question: Do you have any other tips?
Day 33? I thought 30 days was the end?
Technically it is. The Whole 30 Challenge is just that, a 30 day reset to your system.
This post was originally supposed to be about how the Whole 30 challenge was awesome something like ‘it changed the way I think about food and made me better for it.’ Yeah well, things change.
After the challenge was over, I couldn’t decide on how I was going to celebrate. I knew it would be with something that I was craving over the past 30 days, and not a ‘binge’. It actually took me 3 days to decide because I was scared that I would undo my progress. Goofy thoughts I know. More on that in a bit.
I settled on a chocolate chunk cookie, it was awesome.
Then on the way home from work, I decided to grab some ice cream as my throat was killing me, and ice cream make everything better. Three bowls later I am huddled in the fetal position on the couch shivering uncontrollably. I don’t know if it was the ice cream or just the next stage of my flu, but let me tell you, if it was the ice cream, I am never eating that stuff again.
So I am officially finished the challenge. To recap, here are the positives and negatives (yes there are negatives) from my challenge.
Workout food – I discovered that energy on the go doesn’t have to come in gel or chew-able form. A banana tucked into my bike jersey works great for anything over 1:30. Inside that, I go with just water.
Steady energy – I don’t find myself crashing at 1500 in my office anymore. I am pretty even after working out at lunch, or on a rest day. Of course, I consume less on a rest day (sometimes) but nonetheless, my energy stays consistent.
No more ‘snot rockets’ – Roadies, you know what I mean. This issue had plagued me for a while, I couldn’t climb without having to clear at least twice. My long ride on Day 3, no more. Awesome.
Weight – I didn’t weigh myself before or after, but I can see I have leaned out more than usual. I don’t feel much lighter, but I do feel stronger.
Workout energy – I did find a couple of times that I didn’t have the same get up and go as I would normally have. This was especially true during my long bike rides. A couple rides took me over 2:00 and a single banana was not enough to keep me going strong all the way home.
Mindset – True, this could be a positive as well, but I found that the Whole 30 challenge and it’s online participants make it sound like anything other than 3 meals a day is wrong. “Well just eat more” they say. Yeah, well what if you can physically eat more and you are still hungry a couple of hours later? Shout out to all you swimmers out there. There seems to be an ‘elitist’ view out there surrounding the Whole 30. I don’t think that was the intention, but it sure has evolved like that.
The biggest thing for me is my mind set; the Whole 30 challenge didn’t really change the way I look at food. I still crave everything that I eliminated, and I binged on the 3rd day after I was finished. If anything, the last 30 days have given me an excuse to obsess over food without appearing insane. Now that the challenge is over, what is my excuse?
To be fair, I can’t fault the challenge, I think that my mind set in more ingrained. I just don’t think that a Whole 45 or 60 is really feasible.
So there you have it. I guess the only question to ask is “where do I go from here?” Should I keep with the focus or relax a tad when company is coming over?
Question: Have you completed a Whole 30 Challenge? What are you thoughts about the whole thing?
So here we are, less than a week from the end.
I am happy to report that I am really starting to enjoy this. I am still missing certain things, specifically cream in my coffee. I really like adding coconut milk, and if I had the choice, I would never use coffee cream again. But when I show up a the Starbucks with my own coconut milk can, they look at me like I am crazy.
I am also missing a good way to get more food into my system. With my training load, I am hungry a lot. Now I can only add so many additional chicken thighs before my body doesn’t want to eat any more. I think on swim days, the days I am the most hungry, I am gonna try bringing an additional meal, and chowing on that mid morning.
Other than that, I am still feeling great. I commuted on my bike this morning to the office, a total of 17.5km one way. Now that distance is pretty easy for me, but the fact I could eat breakfast, bike in, and feel full until lunch was awesome. Not too mention that my stomach didn’t give me any issues. With a standard breakfast, say pancakes, I wouldn’t have been able to say the same thing.
I had to up the amount of food for breakfast and lunch due to the hunger last week. It seems to have done the trick so far, but we will see how tomorrow goes after swimming. I am always starving after laps.
On the menu this week
Breakfast – Burgers with green beans, sweet potato, and a handful of coconut flakes
Lunch – Chick Thighs with salad, roasted beets, avocado, and olives
Post Workout – Burger with sweet potato
My next recap will be Day 30 and the official end of the challenge. Thoughts are swirling in my head of what I want to eat once I am officially finished. Should it be a cookie, muffin, bowl of ice cream, chocolate covered almonds, rice crispy square, or pancakes? I feel this is a tough decision as I don’t want to waste the opportunity as I am sure I won’t have more than one before I revert back to my Whole 30 ways.
Maybe I will just see where the day takes me.
I am going to hit the scale on Saturday morning to see my progress. As I started this 3 days early, I didn’t weight myself before, so I will have to guess on my progress. I don’t feel much lighter, but I am convinced that I have traded in some body fat for muscle. I can visually tell. The numbers won’t lie.
Question: What would you first go for after your Whole 30 challenge is over?
Three weeks in, I guess time for another recap.
I have to say, this has been going pretty well.
I am noticing a difference in my physical appearance, not that this was the major goal; I really don’t have that much to lose. My shoulders are more defined, and I am starting to see my abs again. You would think that with all my training this would be a surprise. It just goes to show you that your diet has more to do with muscle definition than lifting weights.
I still struggle with making sure that I get enough food in a day. Last night, we had Taco’s for supper (salad with no sour cream or cheese for me). I had two helpings, each with half an avocado. Now I didn’t measure anything, but I reckon I consumed a half pound of beef, a ton of veggies, and a whole avocado. Based on what I have experienced, this is about right to keep me full. Wouldn’t you know it, by 2100 I was in the kitchen again, this time looking for a snack.
My sign? I got up off the couch to take my daughter to bed and I got light headed.
So after 21 days, I am still struggling with making the right portion size for supper. I think I have breakfast and lunch figured out, as I don’t usually have an issue at the office. I will keep upping the amount to get the balance right. Stay tuned for my results.
This week on the menu:
Breakfast – Homemade pork sausage with green beans and nuts.
Lunch – Chicken Thighs (Bone in/skin on) with salad and olives
Workout Recovery – Boiled eggs and sweet potato
As you can see from my weekly recaps, my training volume has been a little erratic over the challenge. After race season, I am taking a little more time than I anticipated to get back into the training grove, but I think I am there now. My energy has been great throughout the past 3 weeks, with no major issues in the way of low or no energy during a workout. I did take the advice and introduced a small amount of protein before my workout, especially for my early morning sessions.
The biggest plus? I haven’t had to stop in during a run and find a place, to be politically correct, squat in the bushes. If the rest of the challenge is a flop, this makes it all worth it.
So I am stoked for the last 9 days of the challenge, hopefully with not much changing after the end of the 30 days. Maybe I will celebrate with a cookie or muffin.
Only one, I promise.
Question: How do you know that you are not eating enough when training?