That title won’t make any sense to those that know me, because yet again I am participating in a Nutrition Challenge. My weight has been a long-time challenge. Not all of my life, but most of my adult life has been spent on some sort of diet. Some years I won the battle and others I was defeated. The defeated years left me frustrated and miserable. I never gave up, and went on diet after diet, and tried all different exercise programs. They worked for a while, but I soon fell back into my old habits and that number on the scale would continue to climb.
When I found CrossFit I had already lost about 45 pounds. I was in fear of gaining it back so embraced this program that seemed to strengthen my attitude as much as my body. I lost another 20 pounds doing CrossFit and following my own eating plan (low calorie, low carb, lots of protein). The eating plan was not the best but it worked for me. Then I began some Nutrition Challenges. A Nutrition Challenge is basically a contest with specific rules and criteria. Based on any possibility of scenario (weight loss, points allocated for good eating, point reductions for bad eating, performance, etc.) you can win the contest. It’s a good way to introduce new eating plans to gym members. It’s also a great way to get motivated. First I followed the Zone Diet, and then began Paleo (clean eating, no processed foods, alcohol, sugar, wheat) challenges.
The problem with any diet or challenge is we forget why we are doing it. The idea is to learn about good nutrition. To get information that will help us make better choices. To make a lifestyle change. Not to follow something that we feel is so rigid and difficult that on day 1 of a 30-day challenge we are talking about what we are going to eat on day 31. Not to dread something so much we binge the weekend or even week before the challenge starts because we know how much we will miss all of those things we can’t have on the challenge. I’ve done this over and over again. I did it years ago when I dieted. It contributed to my problem. The challenge isn’t a punishment. Yet to read some of our posts it seems we think of it that way.
I appreciate the motivation, peer support, and learning opportunities that come about as a result of the challenges. However we need to direct the challenges more towards lifestyle changes. The lifestyle change may be different for everyone. Goals are different for each of us. An 80/20 rule, where we eat clean 80% of the time and indulge the other 20%, may work for some people. Others may be all or nothing. I know I feel better and am healthier when I am eating clean. I have to determine what it is that trips me up.
My goal is to get to a point where I can live this way 100% of the time with the occasional indulgence. My challenge is to get back on track quickly after that indulgence. I am hoping this latest challenge will help me to do that. I would like to choose not to participate in another one. Yes, they are great to introduce and educate new members, but we can’t treat them as quick fixes. We all know the quick fix doesn’t work. I want to NOT want to return to my old way of eating (weird sentence I know but I don't know how else to say it). I know I will still enjoy certain things, but I want to be in control of what I have and when I have it. Not the other way around. I won’t let my cravings control me.
I had difficulty finishing this blog because I don’t have an answer or an ending. Then I realized that we all write our own endings. Think about what you want yours to be.