Remember that Paleo is not a diet in the way we have been conditioned to think of the word “diet”. Paleo is a way of life that aligns us more with the way we are genetically programmed to be. When we remove foods from our diet that are known to cause inflammation, stomach discomfort, and other undesirable effects we see how much better we can feel and perform. An added bonus is that we usually end up looking better, too. When we learn to go to bed when our bodies ask us to and sleep in pitch black rooms, and try to limit the stress we feel from daily life, we will begin to value our health a little bit more.
I have been “eating paleo” for over two years now. Believe me, my choices and habits are not spotless. Each time a challenge comes along I use it as exactly that – A CHALLENGE! During the last challenge my goal was to eliminate chocolate. Another time I did a month of no alcohol at all. Both were difficult, but I made it happen, and saw awesome changes. I also learned that the world wouldn’t end if I didn’t have my chocolate or my wine. The feeling of accomplishment was great.
Some things I hear a lot around challenge time…
- I already eat Paleo, so why should I do the challenge?
With nutrition, like CrossFit, there is always room for improvement. Our clean eating habits are continually evolving. Take a minute to remember the basic tenets of paleo eating and ask yourself if there is anywhere you could make improvements. I would be willing to bet you could find something if you tried. Maybe it’s eliminating milk or sweetener from your coffee and learning to enjoy it black; cutting back on the paleo treats; perhaps making more informed choices when it comes to produce or protein? Do you really know where your beef comes from; are you sure that fish is wild caught? Hmmmm…I have you thinking, right?
- I’m new to this Paleo “thing”, so I’m not sure I can do it.
This is the best time for a challenge. Kyle and I are here to help you along the way. If you have questions you can call, email, or text us and we’ll get back to you. Or ask us at the gym. This is also an opportunity to talk with other Fort Monsters about their experiences; share recipes; fight cravings together; talk about “cheating”; whatever. Learning about clean eating and trying new things takes practice, like anything else. Why not try it while it’s on everyone else’s minds too? We won’t let you fall. Plus, you have a chance to win some great prizes. Newbies always have amazing results.
- I’m going on vacation, so I definitely can’t do it.
First of all, you should know that can’t is a four-letter word. I realize that vacation can be challenging and create a real barrier to clean eating. I get it, I’ve been on vacation. You’re not going on vacation for the whole month though, are you? If you are then that’s awesome, I hope you’re going to one of my dream locations (Fiji? Italy?). No, you say? Well then, a long weekend or a week away should not derail you for an entire month of eating. Kyle and I have set up a point system that allows you to earn a substantial amount of bonus points. You can even have one drink (red wine or tequila) each day with no negative consequence if you’d like! It’s all about choices here. It’s my experience that if I make better choices while on vacation I feel better in general and enjoy the vacation more. Especially if I’m going to be in a bathing suit the whole time. But that’s just me…
- My weekends are tied up with my kids’ activities and I am always on the run.
This one is similar to the vacation thing above. When I was in grad school I spent pretty much every weekend in the library. Oregon State has a very nice library and even a food/cafe area. I bought A LOT of espresso there, but not a lot of food. It would have been much easier to not lug a cooler bag of healthy food from my apartment to campus, but I would have felt like crap eating bagels and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the library cafe. Not to mention I would have spent a lot more money. I would cook in bulk so I would have leftovers for those times I had to bring my food with me. If I find myself in a situation where I haven’t planned and brought my owns meals/snacks, I make the best choices I can or I don’t eat at all. A little intermittent fasting never hurts.
This post is not meant to guilt-trip anyone into participating in the challenge, it’s totally up to you. But one month of your life is a very small amount of time in the grand scheme of it all. As your trainer I love nothing more than to see you succeed, particularly when it’s with something you didn’t think you could do. I literally get choked up when I see that look of pride and grit and hard work on your faces. You CAN do this. I’ll be here to cheer you on. I’ll be participating in the challenge also. I’m tightening up on my portions, focusing on getting a lot of protein, and not eating dark chocolate or paleo treats. The booze is a gray area at the moment, but chances are I’ll get strict about that too.
One month! I am pumped! Cheers to getting back to our caveman roots.
Here is a great example of things to pack on a road trip. ALL PALEO-FRIENDLY!
PS…Our friends over at CrossFit New England are also embarking on a spring Paleo Challenge. Read these great words of wisdom from one of their members. Good stuff.