Challenge Turned Lifestyle

Posted on November 19, 2012

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I’m a competitor at heart.  We don’t really need to be in an official competition and I’m probably competing against you. That might be one of the reasons I fell in love with the sport of CrossFit.  Healthy competition surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals. Needless to say, I was stoked to win first place in Urban WarFit’s 30 Day Paleo Challenge over the weekend!  A massive feat, I hadn’t entered the challenge with a strong desire to win, rather, I looked at it as an opportunity to try a new meal plan.  Regardless, as each week passed, I seemed to have continued to gain something from this whole thing that I didn’t expect.

Paleo diet consists of whole foods that are unprocessed such as meat, fruit, veggies, and nuts.  Initially, it can seem like an overwhelming thing to undertake.  A “lifestyle change”.  What does it really take though?  Planning?  Thinking ahead?  Shopping for fresh food?  Not drinking alcohol?  It seems silly to assume you can’t do these little things for a short period of time to see how your body reacts.

Challenging myself to stick to the meal plan for 30 days provided results that far exceeded my expectations.  Here’s what I learned are the benefits of a strict paleo diet:

  1. Weight loss:  7 pounds lost over 4 weeks.  Keep in mind, I’ve lost 55 pounds over the past 2.5 years.  That said, a 7 pound loss was huge for me.  Especially since I had, over the past 6 months hit a plateau and I thought I’d never get past it.
  2. Clear Minded:  I do believe in the power of food, however, I never knew really what it was capable of until I did this challenge.  Eating clean, whole foods that my body is able to digest provided me with a clear mind.  It has been easier for me to focus like the fog has lifted.  It’s really hard to explain, but this was one of my favorite benefits.  I believe everyone should try this diet specifically for this reason.
  3. Energy:  This was another huge benefit for me.  I’m typically an active person, for the most part.  I work out hard daily and have no problem being physical, however, around 3:00 PM, I’m over it.  I prefer to be on the couch with a movie until it’s time for bed.  Except this month, that all changed for me.  I am full of energy, like I’ve never had.  I bounce out of bed and find myself moving till well after 7:00 PM.  I loved loved loved this benefit to the Paleo diet.
  4. Binge Eating Awareness:  Is that the scientific name?  “Starving” for my “favorite” foods seemed like torture over the 30 days.  It also gave me a lot of time to question my cravings.  I tried to take the time to really understand why I wanted to eat crappy food so badly. After many conversations, one of my fellow WarFitters said it best “you’re chasing the feeling of being full”.  No kidding!!! (Thanks, Brad!)  I finally figured it out.  That full feeling is something you don’t really get when you’re on a calorie restricted diet.  Awareness is key.  Once you understand what you’re craving, you can easily fight through it, let that 15 minutes pass, and so does the craving.  Being aware of what makes you chose the wrong foods is key to success.

I’m sure there are many more benefits that I experienced over the 30 days.  The dedication I put towards this helped me to realize some of these things that are, in my opinion, the key to my continued success and happiness.

Results.  I placed first, but my gains far outweighed my losses.  Here are my results.

Weight Loss – 7lbs

Chest – 2 inches lost

Waist – 4 inches lost

Hips – 4 inches lost

Leg – 1 inch gain (squat squat squat – happy about this gain!)

Baseline WOD – 5:40 (from 6:30)

A huge thank you to everyone who supported me in and out of the box.  My coaches Rob, Ali, Sarina, with Urban WarFit, you guys are amazing.  Physically, mentally, spiritually, I’m in the best shape of my life.   This was a really important milestone in the journey I’ve been working towards over the past couple of years.  I finally overcame some serious hurdles, mostly in my mind that I didn’t really think I would ever overcome.  My life has changed.  I will continue to stick to strict Paleo because it works for me.  It makes me feel good inside and out and I like being focused and clear minded.

But above all, I love a good challenge.  And so, let’s eat up on Thanksgiving and get back at it again next Saturday for 30 Day Paleo Challenge number 2.  Even if you’re not at CrossFit, I challenge you to start this with me.   30 Days.  Try it; go into the holiday season feeling lean, focused, and accomplished. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Who’s coming with me?  Can I sweep the box?!?  😉

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