"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance." - Unknown
It's April Fool's Day, but this newsletter is no joke. This is an inspiring story about the awesome lady pictured above, Kim. I have known Kim for years and this year she had a major breakthrough in some things that were holding her back from reaching her goals. One of the major things that we choose to ignore, because it's hard and sometimes not fun, is our diet. But there is truth in the saying, "We are what we eat". When you eat like crap, you feel like crap. And when you fuel your body well, it performs well. Even those small little things you don't pay attention to can add up to major set backs over time. So read on my friends, and be inspired to challenge yourself to a little healthy competition (see what I did there?!):
Look, sugar and cheese, it’s not me… it’s totally you
(the heroic tale of how I broke up with sugar and cheese for good)
I have known Amy for a few years now. She was one of my favorite trainers at my old gym, and as soon as that gym closed, I was more than happy to follow her straight over to Ironroot. I never even visited another gym or considered going anywhere else. For at least a year before coming to Ironroot, I could feel that I was getting stronger and building lots of muscle, but I was frustrated that I could never seem to lose any weight. My trainers, including Amy, kept suggesting that I “clean up my diet” and I kept rolling my eyes. Anyone thinking that they were going to come between cheese and I had another thing coming. Besides, I already had a pretty good diet- I avoided sugar, was working on cutting out artificial sweeteners, ate lots of fruits and veggies, and maintained a pescaterian diet…. How much cleaner could my diet really get?!?
So here I am at Ironroot, loving the classes, it’s the holiday season and I’m feeling sluggish and, quite frankly… fat. Amy mentions a nutrition challenge to start 2016 off on the right foot. Per usual, I ignored her suggestions at how wonderful it would make me feel. I read her adorable emails and then deleted them. And then, one day, I was really bored at work, and started to read more about the paleo diet and whether or not someone who doesn’t eat much meat could really hang in there. By the time I was done researching, I was convinced that it might be a good idea to give this whole nutrition reboot a try. Before I changed my mind, I emailed Amy telling her I was in. Amy has asked me to write up my experience because (spoiler alert!) I’ve lost over 20 pounds since January…. And the results were not what I expected at all.
Alright, so to recap for those of you who were also deleting the emails, month 1 was no drinking- which was too easy for me given that I don’t drink much anyway (hangovers over the age of 30, ugh, am I right?!?!?). Month 2 was no added sweeteners (and I stuck with no drinking too). The grand finale was month 3, which was paleo month. The whole thing was designed to ramp up to the epic finale of eating like a cave person. So, I lost a little bit of weight in month 1, but I assume that was due to my “new year’s resolution” mentality more than not drinking. Month 2 was when the real magic happened. I lost about 14 pounds in the month of February! I was shocked by this- here I was thinking that I was really good about not having sugar in my diet, when in fact, I was eating a lot more of it than I thought I was! The first week was no big deal, but by week 2 I was realizing that I sort of missed going into our HR person’s office to steal a snack sized kit kat. I was glaring at the people in my office that kept brining in doughnuts. I thought I was pretty good at reading labels at the grocery store, but I quickly learned that TONS of stuff I was buying had sugar hidden in it- like pasta sauce, my favorite “whole wheat bread”, and my coveted kind bars. By the end of February, I felt great, and was excited to see what paleo had to offer me.
The first week of paleo was terrible. I had a dull headache I could not get rid of, I was SO tired all the time (and extra sleep didn’t seem to help), it felt like my body was weighed down, and I was constantly hungry. Also, and I’m just keeping it real here, I had more than one dream about cheese. Yes, for real. I stuck with it though and after the first week I started to feel MUCH better. By the end of week 2 I had noticed 2 things: 1- I was still feeling hungry all the time, and 2- my weight loss had slowed down. I was still losing weight, but not nearly as quickly. As a way to make myself feel more satisfied, I started to snack more…like WAY more than normal. And while the snacks were paleo friendly, they were definitely not helping my weight loss goals. I realized that healthy grains (like quinoa, sprouted wheat bread) had been HELPING me to lose weight in February because I felt more satisfied when I ate them (even if it was just one serving/ day)…. And the reason I wasn’t losing weight anymore was because I wasn’t satisfied, I was hungry. I missed grains.
So… the whole point of my ranting is to share my experience with you guys. And here are some conclusions I came to….
- I’m really glad I did the nutrition challenge. Having people at the gym to complain about Amy (Kidding! Well, mostly…) and how much we missed wine/ sugar/ etc was a huge help. And once I had gone a few weeks of being diligent, I needed this support less and less.
- I am really good at following rules! I could not believe that I stuck with it after month 1, was thrilled after month 2, and DID end up having a few slip ups in month 3, but I was able to balance those out and stick with it through the end.
- The challenge made me SO much more mindful of how certain foods affect my body. I know now that I just can’t eat a lot of cheese… it needs to be a once in a while kind of food. On the other hand….
- I need grains in my diet. Just some, not tons. I think they help me to feel satiated which prevents me from snacking… which helps me to keep shedding the extra weight I am still carrying around.
As of the writing of this article, I am almost 21 pounds lighter than I was on January 1st. I have been so inspired by how these small changes can make such a big impact that I am going to go back to what I was doing in February…. Healthy grains okay, sugar and cheese, not so much. Ultimately, paleo is not for me BUT it did help me to become aware of how gross dairy was making me feel… and, as I mentioned above, I have become MUCH more mindful of what I am eating. Overall, I would say this nutrition challenge was a massive success for me, and the next time Amy suggests we do one, I know I’ll be in…. you should think about doing it too!
Here's to finding your groove and dancing like a fool.