It’s a Food Fight! My gym is participating in a wellness challenge, Food Fight. We started July 28th and will end on August 25th. As you know, my family has adopted the Paleo lifestyle of eating, but this Food Fight takes Paleo to another level. For these 30 days we are following the Whole30 challenge and eating plan, developed by the folks over at Whole 9. It’s all explained in It Starts With Food. It is full of comprehensive, yet accessible information about how food affects our body in good and bad ways. Really, it’s life-changing.
Even though our challenge is called Food Fight, losing weight is not the only goal. Besides my husband and myself, my teenaged son is participating in the challenge and he does not have an ounce of weight to lose. Fitness is the goal. We get 1 point for every percentage point of fat loss, but 3 points for every percentage point of muscle gained. There is a prize. Quite frankly, my son is only doing it for the prize, but hey – whatever gets him eating right and making exercise a priority. We’ve been going to the gym together and I’ve introduced him to kettlebells. He also rides his bike to work and walks the dog. Along with his age and low body fat, I think he has a distinct edge over most of the participants; he may very well win this challenge!
As part of the challenge we got weighed under water. Quite a humbling experience, but not as bad as I had feared. Here I am, getting “tanked”:
My numbers are on the high end of “good”, but for the challenge I am trying to make them even better – mostly by gaining muscle because I don’t think I will lose much weight. I have been lifting heavier kettlebells than I usually do. I want to win too!
As for eating Whole30? It’s not so bad. Since we were eating Paleo anyway, it’s not that big of a leap, although I did allow myself a bit of dairy on Paleo and I am not eating any dairy during the Whole30. Also there is NO sugar – “natural” (like honey) or otherwise during the Whole30. While I didn’t eat sugary foods before, I also didn’t restrict salad dressing and condiments like ketchup, which typically have sugar added. During the Whole30 I will not be using pre-made salad dressing or conventional condiments.
More importantly for me, I am paying more attention to the psychological and emotional effect that food has in my life, which is also part of the Whole30. For instance, although fruit and nuts are part of Paleo and Whole30, it’s not wise to snack constantly on these foods. Fruit is sugar after all and eating too much of it does not allow your body to get rid of sugar cravings. And nuts, while healthy, are easy to over-eat. They are not food. If you are hungry, eat food. If you just “want something”, ask yourself why (bored? tired? sad?) and try to find an alternative activity.
And finally, often we eat food out of habit. My husband has an apple every single night. Not a bad thing, but still, he eats one every. single. night. Not out of hunger, out of habit. Food should not be a habit. He is forbidden to eat apples during this Whole30. I’ve stopped buying dried mango. Again, there is nothing wrong with organic, unsweetened dried mango – except that I was having “just one piece” (which always turned into at least 4 pieces) every night.
I had a big challenge a few days ago: my birthday. I was faced with the challenge to eat or not eat cake on my birthday. Friends (not doing the challenge) said, “it won’t hurt you to have a bite or two,” but who wants to have just a bite or two of cake? And more importantly, I felt that the only reason I wanted cake is because a person must have cake on their birthday. I obsessed about it for a week before my birthday and by the time the day came, I was fine. Really. I made my birthday a day of wellness instead of a day of gluttony. I got my family up early and we went to an 8:00 a.m. kettlebell class, a nutrition talk based on Whole30 and then I went to the spa for a massage and facial. We did go out for dinner that night (after making sure that the menu items were Whole30 compliant) and besides a bit of tweaking during the beginning of the meal – no bread with the appetizer, no cheese on the salad – it was fine. I had steak. And it was delicious. It was a great day and I didn’t feel “deprived” at all.
I’ll be sharing some more of my Whole 30 adventure over the next couple of weeks. I hope I inspire you and please, encourage me!
P.S. You may also like reading these posts about Paleo and the Whole30 Challenge: