My Seven-Week CrossFit Paleo Challenge {And Why I'm Participating}

Hey guys! Happy Friday! This is a long post and I don't have great pictures for it, so apologies in advance!

Paleo-Challenge

Also, before I jump into talking about my paleo challenge, I want to go back to earlier this year, when I was kicking ass on my diet (or rather, kicking ass at meal planning, meal prepping and tracking in MyFitnessPal; I don't consider that dieting.) It started with the May-ke it Happen challenge I hosted here on the blog. I went to Target and photographed myself in a bikini (no way I'll be sharing those photos - sorry!) and got motivated to stay on track before our cruise. The result was great, too. As you can see from the MyFitnessPal graph below, I lost a few pounds. Woo hoo!

Weight

Fast forward to after our cruise and I felt pretty unmotivated... I picked up a bad dessert-with-every-meal habit and even though I knew I needed to do something, I couldn't get it together.

Around this same time, we started CrossFit and that was changing everything! For one, doing such tough workouts made  me feel like I could (should be able to?) eat whatever I want (even though I know that's not necessarily a healthy attitude); and two, I started feeling a lot more confident about my body. This is a good thing, I know! I started going easier on myself in terms of diet and began telling myself I didn't need to lose weight - I just needed to get stronger.  I felt content and even went so far as to get rid of my scale (I'll blog more about that later).

2013-07-24 14.21.34

Feeling more content trying on clothes. 

My Default Diet 

Deep down, though, I knew I needed to clean up my diet. I have a few bad habits that tend to creep up when I'm not "watching it," like scarfing down a few oreo cookies after dinner, or making solo trips to Froyo, or random stops at McDonalds for an ice cream sundae - you get the picture!

2013-07-19 18.40.05

Feeling a little too content, maybe?

So, even though I was doing CrossFit and felt as though I looked fine, I began to realize that I had a nasty sugar habit. With this mind, I waited anxiously for my CrossFit instructors to talk about nutrition, or at least talk about Paleo. As you all know, I tried to go paleo for about a week in July, and had several slipups. I wanted to do it again, but with more determination this time. Having my box and fellow CrossFitters involved would be so helpful, I thought.

Then, finally, last week, they announced the Fall Paleo Challenge. YAY! My wish come true! :)

The Fall Paleo Challenge

The challenge is 7 weeks from September 4th through October 22nd. It's $20 to play and there's two winners, one with the most overall points and the other with the best story (as in, lost the most body fat, made a new personal record, etc).

This is how the challenge works:

Eat veggies, lean meats, some fruit, some nuts and seeds and quiality oils. Don't eat grains, legumes, sugar, or dairy. Period. You get 5 points each day and depending on behaviors, you either add or subtract from that number. Here are the rules:

  • -5 Flat-out cheat meal (nothing paleo about it)
  • -2 Accidental cheat
  • -2 Paleo bullshit (such as paleo bread, paleo pancakes, paleo cookies)
  • -1 cream in coffee (not sugar - no sugar allowed)
  • -2 for each glass of alcohol (though one glass of red wine is allowed per day)
  • -ALL points if you aren't eating fruits and vegetables. You should have three servings of each everyday.

On the flipside, you can add points to your daily allotment of five, if you do the following:

  • +3 If you go to CrossFit
  • +3 If you take a rest day, but perform 20+ minutes of stretching/rolling recovery work at home
  • +1 You get at least 7 hours of sleep each nigh
  • +1 Improve your gym karma by introducing yourself to someone new, passing on a compliment or offering a piece of advice.

Double workouts don't equal double the points. You can only add these in once per day. However, points can be lost multiple times per day! For example, two full cheats = -10.

2013-09-05 22.37.45This is what 7 weeks looks like! I put this up in my entryway to keep me focused.

You're encouraged to write down everything you eat. Originally, I thought about using MyFitnessPal to do this, but I also like the Notes app on my iPhone. My plan to keep track is to add the total number of points to the sticky note for that day at the end of the day - that way it will be really easy to total up in the end!

Why I'm Doing This

I think this challenge is going to make me think things through much more so than I usually do, especially when it comes to the food I eat! I'll have to stop, read the labels, find the hidden sugar (cause there's almost always hidden sugar!) and take more precaution in just shoveling food in my mouth!

What I don't want to do is get caught up in the point system, or being too strict with myself (restricting fruit or all meat if it's not grass-fed or free range). I'd rather keep in mind the idea is to be healthier and get away from processed foods, and to especially cut out all the sugary crap. The REALLY BAD sugary crap.

Because I love meal planning and meal prepping, I think I'll do fine. It's day three and I feel pretty good -- as you can see from Instagram, I haven't been starving! There are a few trips coming up that worry me a bit, but I really like the point system and the way you can balance things out with a workout or stretching!

A few things they've suggested:

  • Make SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).
  • Check-in each day with some kind of Paleo literature (book, blog, or other paleo reference) to reinforce the lifestyle you're trying to achieve.
  • Don't over think it. The example is Old Bay - you get too worried that it's not legit paleo, but you're putting in on veggies... Don't over-think it like this and get yourself frustrated. The point is to eat veggies. To be healthier. Not to overanalyze every detail of your diet (however, that doesn't mean going willy-nilly either. Still be mindful, but pick your battles.) With that said...
  • Do this for YOU. What are your diet downfalls? Too much sugar? Too many carby foods? Too much eating out? Be aware of your own shortcomings and work on breaking those bad habits, not being a paleo guru.

My goals:

-Get 7 hours of sleep Sunday night through Thursday night I'm a night owl and have to force myself to bed! I'm getting up earlier these days to commute to work with my husband so I need all the sleep I can get!

-Stick with it! I'm notorious for quitting weight loss challenges half-way through because I feel defeated! I WILL NOT GIVE UP!

-Get below 160 lbs. Even though I don't like to put a lot of emphasis on my weight (read above with my new-found contentment/lack of a scale), I do know what weight I feel my best at, and it's definitely not my current weight of 162. Though it doesn't really help to compare numbers, I was about 157 when we left for the cruise and 147 when we got married. More on this to come!

Have you ever done a paleo challenge?

What goals do you have for yourself this fall?