Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is the end.

Sort of.

But not really.

I’ve been having the thought/realization that I should put together a ‘wrap up’ blog about the Whole30... experience... thing. I mean, it’s been almost a couple of weeks, it’s about time, right? But have been struggling with it, mainly because I really don’t like the whole ‘this is what I eat’ thing... I mean, I loooove food - eating it, cooking it, baking it, talking about it... think that’s been established many times over. But this seems... different, mainly because it’s about more than the food.

It really goes back to that ‘lifestyle’ change that so many people talk about.

Besides, PrimalToad did a much better summary of his experience (which I didn’t realize was taking place at the same time as mine. Great MI minds think alike! :) and he came to a much similar conclusion as I did about the experience and going forward.

So the multiple choice question of the day: When you find yourself at the final days of a change your eating/elimination... thingy, how do you transition back to “normal” eating?

a) very, very carefully
b) by enjoying a meal at a Mexican place with your parents
c) question why you want to transition back to whatever “normal” was before
d) all of the above

For me, I picked D. I went in knowing it wouldn’t be a full 30 days, but I still got a lot out of it... the biggest conclusion I arrived at is that, left to my own devices, I could continue to eat this with no issues, and will continue to eat this way, with no complaints (except for butter... that’s the 1 thing that has to give. I can live without the honey in the coffee - actually helped me cut down on drinking coffee which I needed anyway, but gimme mah buttah! *ahem* But I digress. ;) When the choice isn’t up to me, it makes things more difficult.

Hence the whole 80/20 rule, which is what I did for the last week+... and it’s a really good contrast to how the last 4-ish weeks went, because even though I know that nutrition is at the very least 80% of the equation to great health, it’s amazing to me the difference I felt when I departed from my usual grazing path. And it’s even more amazing to me what I would consider my ‘big indulgences’ now - In comparison to what it used to be, my ‘off the wagon’ meal is what I would have considered ‘super healthy’ a few years ago! LOL!

So the question that’s probably whirring around peoples minds is what were my results?! I mean, yeah, it’s great, I learned this or that, but seriously, how much weight did I lose??? Inquiring minds want to know! I mean, people don’t do this sort of thing unless they’re going to lose weight, right?!

You’re right! People don’t usually choose to make some sort of big change in their way of eating unless a drop in the scale is part of the package... unless you’re me because this was about so much more than weight.

Sure, I would take a smaller number on the scale at the end of this time frame, but that wasn’t what I was going for... what I really wanted was to feel _good_! (cue James Brown :) And to tell ya the truth, I didn’t weigh myself at the end so I honestly don’t know how it impacted me in that way... but I do know the body composition changed... cuz I’m sittin here rockin my size 6 pants. (Rockstar pose!)

Ok, so weight /was/ a teeny part of it... Hellooo... human and occasionally have superficial motivations. Sue me. ;)

BUT the biggest things I noticed was after the low carb silliness was corrected, that I not only was able to get all 4 workouts in during the last 2 weeks of this experience (my consistency before this was seriously lacking), but my energy level, endurance and strength were starting show serious signs of improvement. Recovery was still taking it’s sweet time, but I wasn’t as OMG-filled-with-hot-lead sore as I’d been. It was replaced with “why do you hate me” messages from my muscles...Not to mention that it helped bring the PMS stuff down to a dull roar - I know, TMI, but factor all those things together? Oh so worth it! :)

I also learned a lot about me. It’s interesting, I had someone who was struggling with self confidence issues - so very much been there, done that, have the t-shirt and selling the movie rights to the highest bidder - ask me how I over came it... My first reaction “I over came it?! Thought I was still living in Insecurity-ville. Huh.” Be that as it may, I realized that I’m moving closer to the ‘burbs rather than the crowded downtown area, and I got there by just doing it. Confidence comes with just trying something that you don’t think you can do... and doing it. It started with something seemingly small like getting up 20 minutes earlier so I could go for a 10 minute walk... and is at a place where I can not want to hide when I’m wearing a bathing suit in public cuz heck, I can leg press a couple hundred pounds and back squat over 100.

Transferring that to food, I’ve gone from near panic if I went more than 2 hours without a food source to knowing I can not only go extended periods of time without grain/dairy/sugar/legumes/etc., I also am at the point (like today) where I almost forgot about breakfast. I can leave the house without a full compliment of just-in-case snacks without breaking into a cold sweat. That wasn’t a result of this particular ‘challenge’ but it did help me pay attention to my body and dial in my nutrition a little more to make things work even better.

What’s next?! Sticking with the “Paleo” path or ditching it entirely to move forward to the iron age?! Eh… a bit of both – Similar to PrimalToad, I don’t see the ‘end’ of this challenge as an end at all, but more of a point that I’ve realized the benefit of sticking pretty close to that plan, but allowing for life to happen. Not stressing when I can’t be 100%, and enjoying the benefits of the time that I am eating and moving as optimally for my body as possible.

I figure, if I’ve got another 60 years in me, I’ve gotta commit to taking care of things best I can now!

Will I start sporting a Barbara Bach style cheetah bikini & Pebbles hair-do? (I know – totally dating myself!) Maybe, but only at Halloween, and only for the hubby… and _only_ if I get my abs more defined. LOL!

How about you?! Ready for a change or at least mix things up? What’s one thing you can change today to improve your health in the long term?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joyeux Mardi Gras

Whoo hoo! It's Mardi Gras, or also (not so nicely) known as "Fat Tuesday"... It's the last day of indulgence, last day to whoop it up and party yer pants off before strictness/structure/self- or faith-imposed restrictions of the 40 days Lent.

It's that time whe you have one last fling with your favorite foods, your favorite beverages, stay out late being all wild and wooly with your friends (Ok, maybe not, I mean who puts a holiday like this on a school night?! Seriously! ;). We indulge today because tomorrow we 'diet'.

Hmmm... sounds like the whole December 31st/January 1st cycle all over again, doesn't it?

Why do we do that? We set our minds to start something that's beneficial for us mentally, physically, spiritually, yet riiight before embarking on that wonderful journey, we load up on cr@p that can potentially set back the starting mark several feet?

We bemoan that (insert super dramatic, hand flung to forhead voice here) "As God is my witness, I'll never be able to eat chip's/cookies/cake again!" ::flop:: So we seek out (usually in excess) that which we're removing from our path. Or if it's a money/budget thing, how do we prepare ourselves? By going on a spending spree...

Here's a wacky, wild, harebrained thought which is probably a foreign concept to some, but here goes: Why not do the opposite and UN-load the cr@p today, before getting started tomorrow. Feeling like spending? Go through the stuff you have and see if there's any excess you can get rid of. Feeling like diving into the 'soon-to-be-forbidden-food'? Clean out the pantry and/or do some menu planning and see how much you're hanging on to.

You get the idea- do something today to set up your tomorrow for success.

So whatcha think? Too out there or right on target?

Or is it just a day to say scr*w it and pass the paczki's? (and you get double bonus points in my book if you know what that is. ;)