Continuing my weekly installment in the Strong is the New Skinny Body Transformation Challenge. Click here to see all posts on this topic.
I’m happy to report that I’m going strong on day 9 of the Whole30 plan, although unsurprisingly for me, I made a couple changes to the plan to make it feel right for me.
The biggest thematic change I made to the Whole30 plan came after reading Dr. Kurt Harris’s blog on Paleo Nutrition, specifically a post called How to Lose Weight. If you click through I recommend reading his Get Started post first. I’m pretty sure my metabolism is if not “broken,” it is at least somewhat not right, and my satiety switch is definitely not working properly.
So I thought about it for a while, and despite my reluctance to consider an Atkins-like way of eating, I decided it probably made some sense for me to try a very low carb diet for these 30 days.
My real goal here is to find a way of eating that’s sustainable and delicious and maintains my body at a lean and natural equilibrium. I do think that’s possible for everyone, even someone like me who has always been varying degrees of plump. But if there’s some resetting that needs to be done to correct years of eating sugars and processed foods, then it’s high time I dig in and take the actions needed to correct the way I’ve treated my body in the past.
So as of Monday I switched to the Whole30 plan minus extra carbs. I wasn’t going to eat tons of carbs on the Whole30 plan anyway, but I was going to eat at least one piece of fruit a day, plus some of the starchier vegetables like winter squash and sweet potatoes, which all seemed fairly easy to just leave out.
One thing I’m really enjoying is a couple slices of citrus in my water every day. A couple slices of orange will flavor my water all day and then at the end of the day I eat them. I figure it’s about 5 grams of carbs, maybe 8 at the most, so it’s not derailing my plan.
To support eating low-carb and also just eating LESS, I also decided to add in a small amount of dairy, in the form of grass-fed heavy cream and butter. I’m not very concerned about anything damaging in either of those two foods, and the cream in my coffee helps me skip breakfast because I’m well-fed by the fat in it all morning. I’m not concerned about any deleterious effects of skipping breakfast, in fact I think it’s probably good for me.
I’m also in favor of eating what’s available if it’s good quality healthy food. For example, even if I eliminate white potatoes from my diet in general, I’ll always eat the ones I’ve grown in my own garden. So an additional dairy product that I’m eating just a little of is this stuff called Lebney that we get from our farmer’s market – it’s a concentrated yogurt product made from organic whole milk, olive oil, sea salt and live cultures, and we buy it from the woman who owns the cows the milk comes from. I’ve probably had 3 tablespoons all week so I find it an appropriate addition to my diet.
Another change is that I weighed myself yesterday. The rule to avoid stepping on a scale sounded like a good way to not focus too much on weight, but I was obsessing about whether the diet was working or not. So I hopped on the scale at the gym yesterday and I’m much relieved that it read 177. I know it would have backfired if I hadn’t lost any weight yet, but I felt pretty confident that I had, so I went ahead and did it. Perhaps it would have been better to stay off the scale, but I didn’t. So be it.
A warning for anyone considering going very low carb: In my experience in the past with making a radical shift in the way I eat, it’s always hardest the first couple of days and then gets easier. Not so with very low carb. The first couple days are easy because you have plenty of sugars stored in your body. It’s the third or fourth day when the sugar stores start running out, but your body in simple terms hasn’t yet learned burn fat for fuel. (It’s actually a more complicated process involving ketone bodies but I’ll let you read about it elsewhere rather than butcher the topic with my weak understanding of it.)
For me this meant that by Tuesday I felt like utter shit. My muscles were achy and tired, my quads burned when I went up stairs (not my experience of late), and I was grumpy and exhausted. Poor Jeremy made a few attempts, but quickly realized there would be no sex happening that night. I skipped CrossFit on Wednesday morning given how crappy I was feeling, but Wednesday must have been the turn-around day, because by mid-day I felt completely myself again, and went climbing with energy to spare on Wednesday night.
Overall it’s been a great week, and I’m eager to see what changes I can make in my body in the next few months. At the moment I’m thinking that I’ll take a couple cheat weekends around my birthday when this 30 day cycle ends, but then jump right back into very low carb eating until I reach an equilibrium weight that I’m happy with.
I have some more to say about body image, but this post is getting a little long, so I’ll save it for next week, or maybe do a midweek post about it.
In other news, I’m daydreaming about getting another tattoo, maybe as a marker of my accomplishment when I decide I’ve come to a place with my body that’s worth marking. It’s something to think about, anyway.
WEEKLY WORKOUT LOG
Monday, February 28
CrossFit – Deadlift 3×5 (each lift starts from a dead stop)
I worked up to 3 sets of 5 reps at 100 lbs. Probably could have done more weight, but this was my first deadlift attempt so I wanted to be careful with my back. (Glad I did because my low back felt pretty worked out the next day.)
sprint, push ups, and box jumps
Completed in 8:42
NOTES: Started each set with one full push-up and then moved to knee push-ups. Since we went outside, I only brought one 25 lb plate to put on the small box. I really want to move to the medium box soon, but it still scares me, especially when we’re doing a lot of reps.
Tuesday, March 1
Running – 5 minutes to warmup and find comfortable starting pace. Maintain 1% incline throughout.
4 rounds of the following, alternating between speed and incline increases:
– 1 minute walk
– 1 minute starting pace jog
– 1 minute faster/ steeper
– 1 minute faster/ steeper
– 1 minute faster/ steeper
Worked up to 4% incline at 6 mph on the incline rounds.
Worked up to 6.7 mph (at 1% incline) on the speed rounds.
Originally intended to do 6 rounds, but I felt like utter shit so reduced it to 4.
Wednesday, March 2
Climbing – Went in the evening, after my energy had started to come back. Only did 4 routes and ran out of time, had energy to spare. Did two 5.8s with just a couple rests/missed grabs.
Thursday, March 3
Semi-rest Day – Walked 3.5 miles during my lunch break. Did 40 lunges and 20 long jumps just for the hell of it. Really enjoyed getting some sun on my skin.
Friday, March 4
CrossFit – 4 rounds for time of:
– 1 rope climb (subbed 7 jumping towel pull-ups)
– 10 power cleans 95#/135# (did 73#)
– 10 ring push ups (did knee push-ups on floor, started each set with 1 or 2 full push-ups)
– 15 GHD situps (did abmat sit-ups)
– 15 wall balls (used 10# ball)
– 20 box jumps (used small box with two 35 lb. plates on it, close to medium box but a just little lower)
Completed in ~28:30
Saturday, March 5
Yoga – 1.5 hours of some kind of flow yoga.
Climbing – Did a couple 5.8s today with not too many rests on the harness. Attempted my first 5.9 with a ridiculous amount of rest required. If I was escaping a murderous bear, there’s a 50% chance I might have made it up the 5.8s (leaving the bear a 50% chance of a Janna dinner), but the 5.9 was 100% Janna dinner, I would never have made it without the rope. It’s cool to make my first attempt, though, it was a long route and I still made it to the top. 🙂
Sunday, March 6 – REST DAY
Another much needed and enjoyed rest day. Despite getting a wonderful massage yesterday, pretty much my whole body is still sore from the workouts the last couple of days. In particular those 40 power cleans at 73 lbs on Friday really worked out my low back. It feels like a good sore, but I want to be careful not to push too hard and risk injury.