CrossFit and Nutrition
How many of us have been caught up in the game of thinking I can eat just one more piece all while rationalizing that you will work extra hard tomorrow to burn it off. Then you find yourself doing the same thing the next day but a little different, maybe a small bowl of ice cream after dinner. How about those that follow the paleo diet and take full advantage of those cheat meals or cheat days way too often. I have slid into all of those categories in different times of my life. My friend Tim Anderson, a master athlete who has been to the CrossFit World games at least twice, made the podium once that I am aware of stated on his social media site, " you cannot out exercise poor nutrition. Unfortunalty he is correct! What he was referring to was he was exercising like crazy but eating what ever the heck he wanted only to find himself with an extra twenty pounds on. It is also pretty self explanatory that if you are eating trashy, your workout will suffer, not too mention your long term health!
Why do I bring this up? Recently I have moved to the deep south and it has really caused me to take a good hard look at myself again! When I was competing, I wanted so badly to be the best I could be! I I knew nutrition played a significant role in being the best I could be. That made it much easier to stay on task with healthy eating while achieving my own CrossFit games goals. There where times when I was competing or preparing to compete that I needed to gain weight in order to become stronger and there were also times when I had to drop bodyfat to become leaner so I could be faster or better in gymnastics. It has now been three years since I have competed and I was feeling like my eating habits were not up to par. Part of that slippage is because I do not have a exercise goal to accomplish currently at a competitive level. I am still trying to find my way after retiring from professional competition both mentally and physically. But, without those goals, it had become easy to eat even the healthiest version of ice cream too many times per week or attending too many southern BBQ's here in the south. I just felt some change coming on and was inspired when I started working out at our new box here in the south. After getting tucked into a new box and feeling comfortable with the folk around me, I started wanting more of something. I knew my fitness program was spot on and if I added any more volume, I would be opening myself up to the possibility of over training and injuring myself or to my training peeps that are currently following my secret training class. At the same time knowing my performance was very much up to par, I felt like something needed to change. I had the ah ha moment and realized nutrition could improve. I knew this would be a good choice for me, but maybe also a few stragglers from my secret training class would be inspired to clean up their diets too especially if they saw me change before their eyes.
My husband and I follow a paleo diet for the most part but don't subscribe to so much meat and the meat we do eat has got to be clean. We also eat a few more complex carbs than prescribed by Paleo due to the higher volume of work we have during our training sessions. It suddenly dawned on me that I could eliminate my cheat days or cheat meals and or the removal of sugar period! Usually when I had a cheat meal or a cheat day, something sweet was on the chart for sure. So I mentioned it to one of my training partners that I was going to take a hard look at my current diet and would she be interested in a challenge or eating healthier? She told me nope. I like my beer and pizza! Well that's all I needed to hear, because I smelt blood and that was now my new goal, to show her what happens when you set a goal to find better nutrition. I sat on it a few weeks and it finally came to me that sugar would be the eliminator for at least 60 days or more in processed form including all ingredient labels. I brought this up to the same training partner one more time as I discussed my goal with her. She passed again but told me she would eliminate her drinking throughout the week and only drink beer and eat desserts on the weekends. I thought this is a improvement and a great start. Even though she would not join me, I had still achieved helping her to make some changes within herself and better yet, those changes for her were her idea! Bingo. Now for me it also worked out very well as I just became heck bent on showing her what 60 days of no cheat meals or days and no sugar could accomplish.
As of today , I am 36 days sugar free. I did not have any withdrawals that I am aware of. I am not surprised about that because I am pretty careful about not adding it into my diet for the most part. What I did notice is my face slimmed down very quick. Rather than it being so round and puffy, it became a longer less fuller look. The other thing I noticed is my shoes became sloppy as my feet apparently had some swelling. I am surprised at this because I have a very low inflammation marker. Here is proof that even the smallest changes in your diet can improve even a low inflammation marker! Yeah! Less inflammation means less chance of disease to enter in!!! As I entered well into the third week, I am getting cuts and looking much leaner and feeling way better about myself. Some people are noticing and talking to me about it. I choose not to weigh myself during this journey because I am not overweight and I don't need to loose bodyweight. What I could benefit from is more lean muscle and obviously less water retention(sugar). So I think I nailed it. The other interesting thing is one of my training partners is looking really good. Her changes have brought her into a new phase in her training as well as weight loss. So even though we took different paths in our food choices, we both are making gains in the right direction of our health. One guy we train with has admitted to me his goal is to get off his BP medication through diet and nutrition. So for myself and to lead the way to others here in the south I am going to win the 60 days and not add back in those cheat days or meals that were regular once a week ordeals as well as laying off the sugar for the most part.
So how did I do this? I prepared my mindset and made my mind up! Yes I am very strong willed, I admit, but most everyone has the freedom to make a choice and adhere to it. I am not going to say it has been easy. I have had to watch others indulge and read food labels closely. Giving up some of the simplest condiments. As time went by, it has become easier. Every time I turn around, there is some celebration going on that seems to require some sort of a sugary dessert. One of my favorite desserts is cake. Being raised in a large family, someone was alwayss having a birthday and my Mom made darn sure we had wonderfully celebrated birthday with a special cake. I loved it and love it today! My daughter was raised the same way. Not sure if she loves corner piece cakes the way I do, but I know she loves birthdays! So I sat my sixty day challenge around a upcoming wedding I will attend and that will be the night I have some sugar. Not too much though and I not going to cave into those cheat meals or cheat days ever again.I am going to consider having a treat once in awhile. I know I will be better off for it. So remember not to knock someone for their nutrition choices even if they seem silly to you. It may appear to you, once they finish their challenge they will revert back to their old behavior. Or it maybe the latter, they realize that its more than a 60 day challenge this time, its a life time change!
I hope I have inspired you for the better in health. I hope life treats you well and most of all, I hope you can love with all your heart and all your soul, regardless of the outcome. Hope you hear from me next week as I post another recipe. Thinking we need something crunchy!
Love and Peace,