It’s generally awesome when Friday arrives, especially if I have the weekend off work. Free time to spend with family and friends, training sessions without having to rush off to work watching the clock the whole time. Time to chill, time to relax, time to eat and drink! Hold on, time to eat and drink? And therein lies the rub. I like to eat. I like to eat when I’m sad, happy, stressed, tired, celebrating, relaxing. No matter how well I’ve stuck to my intended eating plans throughout the week it more often than not falls into disaster on the weekend. Food is my reward for making it through the tough week that was. And I’m not just talking any old food. I’m talking takeout, pastries from the local delicious bakery, Brie and crackers by the kilo, not to mention a few glasses of chilled white to boot! I love the weekend, but the weekend does not love me, and lets face it, I am responsible for having developed some pretty average habits for my health, having used the weekend as the supporting excuse to justify all types of behaviour. Lets face it, if you can’t have fish and chips for dinner on a Friday night, when can you? Worse still, once I’ve fallen off the horse on the weekend, I label myself as having failed (yet again) and keep on throwing down the poor nutritional food choices in the week that follows. 😦
So here is my dilemma, here I am on day 5 of my new approach to food and life. I finally made it back into the box this morning after 2 days off with some of the worst muscle soreness I have ever experienced (and I’ve run a marathon!) The session hit one of my goats (and yes there are many!)…overhead squats. To add to the delight the end part of the session was a delightful combination of 500m rows and 15 overhead squats, on repeat, without a rest. Normally I row like a beast, but those sugar withdrawals are in full force, I felt like a flat, deprived of energy, weakling on that rower. And as if overhead squats weren’t bad enough, combine them with some cardio and you might as well double the weight on the bar! It was pretty average. My training buddy and the other guys at the box were awesome though, encouraging me through the last round which I pretty much did after everyone else had finished! Mmmm… What did I take out of that experience I hear you ask? Maybe it’s all too hard. Maybe I need to get back on all that bread and other carb/sugar loaded foods, cos at least I can train when I eat those. I thought about it a bit harder. The purpose of the dietary change is to help my training performance and general energy levels. I was fully aware when making these changes that the first 2 weeks would be damn hard and I would likely feel like a pile of crap. So why not actually walk the talk and stick to it, be as tough as I imagine I can be, wait and see what I feel like in a couple weeks. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Watch this space, my six pack will be visible one day, it’s there now, I just need to give it some time to work towards it’s grand unveiling!
I previously have gauged my dietary successes, or more often failures, by that number on the scales. The mood of my day, could be determined simply by the numbers that popped up when I jumped on first thing in the morning. If I was heavier than I wanted I be, I was a failure, useless, lacking self control and ashamed of myself for it. This sort of blow to my sense of self worth would have me failing before the day had even begun. “I am a fat failure so why even bother!” I would be reaching for the nearest chocolate bar I could find to soothe my sorry self. If I had good numbers, well awesome, I was a legend of excellence or if I hadn’t eaten well the day before just damn lucky that karma had shone her happy goodness on me and not made me as fat as I deserved. God forbid I’d been training hard and eating well and still had a bad day on the scales, what was even the point. I might as well just eat crap, I was going to be fat no matter how hard I tried. As a result of the numbers on the scales I have been off and on the healthy eating bandwagon like a carousel and each time I failed I felt a little bit more hopeless and more like a failure.
A smart man once said that it was idiotic to do the same thing repeatedly, but expect a different result (or at least something along those lines!). So maybe it’s time for me to do it differently this time. Maybe those scales aren’t helping, but causing some of the problems. Those scales have been the end point of all my health goals since I started dieting when I was 12 years old! WHY?
So i am making a change. I haven’t weighed myself and made a starting weight. I’m not sure of a goal weight either, this is lifelong lifestyle change, not diet to meet a goal, then eat crap and put it all back on (and then some). I am eating well and exercising so I feel healthy, fit and energetic. I am not exercising and eating well to have a goal of a number on the scales. So here I go. I have allowed myself a once monthly weigh. I have packed those scales in the cupboard, (out of mind, out of sight) and when someone asks me how much weight I’ve lost I will tell them “who the hell knows? But I feel fabulous!” And you know something amazing has happened….I feel liberated!
In the case of today, every muscle in my entire body (with the exception of my face) is hurting simultaneously. A reasonable amount of squats and pull-ups yesterday have resulted in a form of borderline muscle melt down. I haven’t been this sore since I ran a marathon. I am struggling to get up and down from a chair without paid nursing support. I got stuck halfway out of my sports bra and had to call my husband for help with extrication. I had to seek outside assistance to get the lids off 2 jars whilst cooking dinner. Crossing my legs during a meeting at work today became a highly painful manoeuvre that I regretted almost immediately, but provided much amusement to my work colleagues as I tried to rearrange myself in a position that didn’t have me audibly screaming. The funny thing is, although severely challenging in the cardio respect due to poor energy levels, I didn’t think I had thrashed myself to the level usually required to end up in this state! In addition, the sugar withdrawals have kicked in. Flat, ditzy and depleted of energy, I am feeling downright average.
As a result of these things in combination, this mornings WOD proved to be a disaster. I rarely feel regret with getting into the box on those days where it’s a major effort to get out of bed, but this may be the one day in exception. I couldn’t lift weights that normally feel easy, I had no self belief and my legs felt weak, sore and powerless. Oh and the whining, did I mention the whining. Hell, there was a magnificent show of whingeing, whining and general self deprecation that went along with it. By the time I left I wasn’t embarrassed by the workout performance, but by my sad need to continually make a point of drawing everyone’s attention to it!
Either way, nothing worth having comes easy. Time to hang on, wait it out and work on the positive mindset! I went to the box despite feeling like crap. I made it through the WOD, might not have felt great, but I made it. I ate well today. I am another day closer to feeling energetic, healthy and fabulous. I am another day closer to being off the damn sugar train.
One of the main reasons I have decided to change the way I eat is to improve my performance at training. I am addicted to crossfit. I really enjoy it, despite the pain and suffering I endure. It makes me feel strong, capable and pretty awesome at times. At other times it can make me feel like I have a VERY long way to go! This mornings WOD occurred after I had has 2 very late nights at work over the weekend, not enough water in and poor fuel choices. It started out well with some highly satisfying back squat action. It was all downhill from there. A seemingly benign looking combo of pull-ups, kettle bell swings and 400m runs. As a result of the poor sleep, dehydration, poor fuel, I hit the wall early and hell did I suffer through that workout. I know in the past that these things make a HUGE difference to the level of suffering (let’s face it with crossfit there is always a degree of suffering!) I will try and remember that feeling I had during this mornings workout the next time my bad carb cravings fear there ugly heads!
Today I am going to try a new recipe, Amanda Allen’s raw cake. Amanda Allen is this awesome chick, world class crossfit athlete and trainer at my box. She is a magnificent example of healthy eating and good lifestyle and what it can do for you. She’s 42 and giving the the girls in their 20s a run for their money. That’s a picture of her above, pretty awesome right! I get that I’ll never be that buff, but hell, I’d be damn chuffed to have that glow of health and energy level! Anyway, so here’s AA’s recipe for “raw cake”….looks like I can have my cake AND eat it too! 🙂
I don’t really have a crack habit, but I do have a horrific addiction to a sugar. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that despite regular training I am still 10-12kg overweight and I mood swing like a crack addict according to my sugar intake. This is no exaggeration, after a sugar binge I feel high as a kite for about 30 minutes and then comes the crash, capable of making the worst case of pmt look like a picnic! I have been inspired by some of the paleo eating chicks in my crossfit box. Not only do they look fit, they look healthy, in fact, they seem to glow with health. They have fabulous skin and hair and are seemingly full of a never ending supply of energy. Surely I deserve to feel and look like this too?!
So tomorrow is the day I say goodbye to my habit, in search of a more amazing me. My plan is to eat primarily paleo, with some adjustments (whole fat yoghurt, feta cheese (pref goats) and brown rice). For those of you unfamiliar with “Paleo” the principle is to avoid immunogenic foods such as grains, dairy, processed. High good fats (nuts, coconut, avocado, olive oil), lean meats, veges and fruits. Anyone looking for more info on this can read “It starts with food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, which explains it all.
Let the fun begin! I know from past experience the first few days are awful (not just for me but for anyone having the misfortune of having to interact with me amongst the irritability of sugar withdrawals), but it’ll be worth it in the long run!