Well let me start off by saying that I am horrified it's taken me so long to write this post. From my staycation with the girls to a work crisis that I returned to I really haven't had time. :( Let me also just apologize now for how long this post is likely going to be.
I realize that I haven't even given you a good idea of why I started this Whole 30/Crossfit challenge in the first place. There are many reasons, but the main ones were increased overall fitness, weight loss, increased energy and dealing with low blood sugar issues, and dealing with some gut issues I have. So let me just take them one by one:
1. Increased overall fitness - Check!
How does one really measure overall fitness? I think that's hard to say and unfortunately I didn't do anything like test my maximum weight for various exercises when I started Crossfit. What I can tell you is that I have vastly improved my upper body and leg strength and I see that both in not only the number of reps I can do in Crossfit (things like air squats, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), but also in my flexibility when I do them. I also don't have the overwhelming soreness after each workout that I did for the first couple of weeks, despite the fact that I am doing a lot more in each workout. To give you some idea, here's the WOD I did in my second basics class:
It took me approximately 12 minutes to complete it. Today, in less than 15 minutes I completed this WOD:
20 KB Swings (35lb)
10 Bear Crawls (10m each)
This was the first time I used the 35 lb kettleball (I had previously been using the 26 lb ball) and it killed me (as did the bear crawls) so my time would have been significantly faster had I stuck with the lower weight.
Finally (and perhaps most importantly?) I also notice a large difference when doing things in my every day life, like carrying 40-50 lb boxes of dog meat up the several flights of stairs into my condo. The proof is in the pudding as they say.
2. Weight Loss
Well, even while adding weight from muscle gain, I lost 8 1/2 pounds in these 4 weeks so definitely CHECK!! I also went down a couple of belt buckle sizes and managed to easily fit into a pair of jeans that previously left a sizeable muffin top, even with Spanx (yep, just admitted on the WWW to wearing Spanx and having a giant muffin top, awesome).
3. Increased energy/address blood sugar issues
There's no doubt that eating paleo addresses my blood sugar issues and leaves me with a lot more energy. That's also true of primal eating, which is why I've been doing it off and on for years. In the past, my blood sugar issues have been so bad (if I get overhungry I start to feel ill and turn very cranky) that a close friend of mine gave it a name, "hangry" (hungry + angry, get it?), lol. When I'm eating "cleanly" I can go much longer stretches without eating without feeling sick at all.
I've also had a ton more energy this past month, although I have to attribute that in part to my increased water consumption and better sleep. Of course, these are both parts of a paleo lifestyle as well and everything ties together. Replace coffee with a lot of water, work out really hard, fall into a deep sleep all night, nourish your body with good nutrient-dense food, repeat. It's a recipe for success for sure!
4. Gut Issues
I'm going to spare you the details, but in short, I've had IBS issues for some time, and they seem to have become more problematic as I age. The bigger issue is that about 3-4 years ago I started having these strange periods of excruciating gut pain that would wake me up in the middle of the night and last into the following day. After lots of testing and multiple visits to my GI Dr, he eventually just threw his hands up and chalked it up to my IBS. For a while I thought the episodes were stress related, but when I started having them occasionally during stress free periods of my life, I realized that wasn't entirely true (although there is absolutely a connection). Certainly my IBS is another main reason that I've generally tried to eat primally in the past.
If I needed any further convincing, over the Christmas holiday and into my birthday mid-January, I went totally off the rails. I knew I would be doing the Whole 30 soon so I gave myself permission to not only not be primal, but to have whatever the heck I wanted, which included a lot of crap I wouldn't typically eat - things like chips and french onion dip, store bought desserts, etc. By the time I started my Whole 30 my stomach was a mess. I had several of the really painful overnight episodes, I was having all of my usual "daily" problems and a new symptom had arrived, heartburn.
It took a few weeks, but by the end of the Whole 30, I was feeling pretty good. I was still supplementing with fiber, but considering what I had done to myself and knowing it would take a while to heal, I felt good. Then this weekend I had a lot of things I hadn't had for a while and the result was the reappearance of every single issue aside from the major overnight episodes.
The overwhelming reccurrence is likely a function of a few things, including overindulging on quite a few things in a small timespan, but if I needed any convincing that eating paleo is right for me (I didn't), this weekend was certainly it.
And that my friends is that - I think I can say that I've safely achieved my goals. Yay me! :)
Okay, so if you've stuck it out this long, I did mention before & after pictures. I cannot believe I'm going to post these here, but what the heck. And I figure if I'm going to do it, go big or go home so I'm giving you some of the most ridiculous poses ever. Please feel free to make fun of them, my body, the looks on my face, or anything else you see fit. I absolutely deserve it for publishing these on the web! You can click on them to enlarge if you dare.
(BTW, this was about 9 days before I started my Whole 30, 9 days of continued crappy eating so I was actually even a bit flabbier when I started.)
Obviously I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm on the right track. On that note, for the indefinite future (at least the next month or two so I can get
my gut back in order), I plan to stay strict paleo (pretty much Whole 30
strict as much as possible) during the week and "regular" paleo on the
weekends although I will make exceptions for the occasional dinner club
or night out with friends. I am also totally sucked into Crossfit so
I'll be sticking to a combination of that, swimming, and cycling as I
So have I convinced any of you to give paleo eating or Crossfit a try?