Sunday, May 27, 2012

Post-Challenge Health

It's been 12 days since the Crossfit Oahu Nutrition challenge ended.  I am feeling pretty darn good.  I think I wrote earlier that my new challenge is to allow for three treats a week, so I don't have to be so strict.  Funny thing is, I haven't really wanted anything.  It was nice to be able to have a taste of Nathan's cheese cake last weekend, but I didn't go overboard, wanting the whole thing.  On Thursday I had a square of super dark chocolate that I have been saving for myself for after the challenge.  I was concerned about being able to only have some, although, if I had eaten it all I wouldn't have beaten myself up about it.  But I didn't want more.  I am enjoying feeling healthy, and feeling thin and strong at the same time.  I am enjoying seeing the muscles that have always been in there.  But that's not why I haven't been snacking on junk.  I just don't want it.  We've got tons of stuff in our house.  Nathan has stores of chips and granola bars and pudding and cookies and juice and bread.  I just don't feel like it.  I stopped for a second there, while I was writing, to double check if this is still true.  I envisioned myself eating bread with butter.  Not interested.  I've got a roasted chicken that sounds way more appetizing.  I also hit up the Whole Foods dried fruit section the other day and got tons of good stuff.  I know that many websites say don't eat too much fruit.  I say, do what works for you.  It has lots of sugar in it, yes.  I usually eat fruit with nuts, and then I don't feel like eating for a while.  I eat a well rounded range of food.  
Today, I'm sewing workout gear.  I'm pretty excited about how easy it is.  Turns out once you have a pretty decent pattern for a tank top or shirt, you can whip out a whole bunch of stuff with the right material.  Jersey's great because you don't have to finish the edges, it won't fray.  The shirt I'm wearing in the picture is one of the tanks I just made.  It was the first version, so very unfinished edges.  But I don't care, I'm wearing it to sew.  The more recent ones are pretty great.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Social Food Offerings

This is a tricky one that I know we all struggle with.  You are doing amazing.  You've lost a few pounds, you've really stuck to eating healthy.  Then, maybe at work, or perhaps with friends there is a social gathering and food is involved.  There is no healthy option.  What do you do?

Today at both of my schools there was food offered.  In terms of local style Hawaiian offerings, it was all amazing looking and probably tasted fantastic.  However, most of it was grains or meat in a sugary sauce or breaded and deep fried.  I have nothing against other people eating these things.  They are pretty tasty.  I have decided that I don't want to eat these foods.  At one school, it was great.  After a few gatherings where I have explained to people what types of food I choose to eat, they get it.  They don't try to offer it to me anymore.  I feel respected that they don't think I'm weird or a jerk.  This is an amazing break through and has taken a lot of time.  At the other school where I haven't had the pleasure to be at as many food gatherings, I was offered a plate a bazillion times.  And I felt bad for not taking some.  Intellectually I know I shouldn't feel bad.  It was store bought food.  Everyone else who ate put in some money, and I didn't.  These people didn't cook the food.  And yet, I felt bad.  I felt a very strong urge to fill my plate with donuts and pasta and sugary stuff and to sit with it in front of me, just so people would feel like I was appreciative.  What is that about?  Why is it that I feel bad not eating the food that is there?  Why do we feel somehow slighted if we offer somebody food and they don't partake?  Why is it rude to refuse food, but not rude to try to guilt somebody into eating something we ALL KNOW is unhealthy for us.  Who among us does not know that sugar covered, deep fried pastries are not good for us?  Then why is it not rude to continue to try to talk somebody into eating it when they have politely declined it?  But it's sooo delicious!  How can you deny yourself!  I finally lied to everyone.  I already ate, and man, I am super full.  Yup, didn't realize there was going to be food here, so I ate a whole bunch of my own lunch that I packed myself.  Even then, knowing that I was super full and declined the food, there were still attempts to persuade me.  And I've been eating this way for so long that I actually didn't want the donut!  What if I was trying really hard and had just cut out sugar from my diet?  Holy sabotage, Bat Man!

I've found that the best way to combat this is to be prepared.  To always have food of some kind that you have packed for yourself.  If you can, bring it to the place where all other food is being eaten.  People are very uncomfortable when your hands are empty.  Oh, you poor thing, you'll starve to death while we enjoy these donuts!  But, if you have your own lunch or some kind of food in your hand, you are somehow given reprieve.  This relieves some of the pressure.  But you have to also be ready to just say no, and allow other people to deal with it how they want.  It is not your responsibility to explain your food choices to others.  What you eat, is actually, your business.  You are allowed to just say, no thankyou, and offer no further explanation.  I am getting better at this in life in general, although, obviously today I was guilted into lying instead.  But you are not mandated to explain yourself to anyone.  I hope that next time you are in a similar situation, and you will be, you will be able to politely decline and stick to it with no other explanation.  Sometimes it's nice when they want to hear about how you got to be as hot and svelte as you are.  Sometimes you just want to not eat a goddamn donut.  And that is okay.
Not healthy.  Just so you know.  Have one if you want.  Tell others to fuck off if you don't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crossfit Oahu Nutrition Challenge

Left side: 2006, Top 3: April 2012- pre-challenge, Bottom 3: May 2012- post-challenge
So I realize I haven't blogged in a really long time.  Work got really stressful and I was just trying to enjoy all my other time.  Since I last blogged Anna left and that is really, really sad.  While she was here I did so much fun stuff.  I had more fun packed into a couple of months this year than I've had in years.  She convinced me to do a lot of stuff.  It reminded me that life is short and you only live once.  Just some of the stuff we did:  Hiked everywhere, searched for squatch, wore lots of knee socks, crossed lots of fit, did tons of pullups, started our own crossfittish supplemental workouts, ran with a slosh tube, lay on the beach, frolicked everywhere, parkoured, ran a Swamp Romp and a Warrior Dash, drank Guinness, dance, almost hiked the stairway to heaven, got my nose pierced and some of us got tattooed.  There was tons of laughs and late night talks.  I'm suprised we never fought.  And I know there's tons of stuff that I left off of this short list.  It was pretty amazing.  Around the time Anna was leaving I started the Crossfit Oahu Nutrition Challenge.  Normally I don't like to pay money for things, because I'm a cheap ass, but I knew this would be worth it.  I paid 75 bucks to be weighed in and have my body fat tested with a very cool ultrasoundish machine.  We got great advice and feedback from our challenge host, Courtney Johnson.  She also created an amazing spreadsheet that allows you to track points you get for eating at the level you chose, for sleeping enough and for working out.  I know I work with kids and star charts every day, but I'm still amazed at how motivated I was and still am by earning points.  It helped me make hard decisions several times.  I was like, I could eat that, but I'll lose 5 points!  It turns out I'm quite the points whore.  And it wasn't even a challenge where the person with the most points wins.  Each point is a chance to win the pot of money at the end. Either way, I was very motivated.
The other cool thing about the challenge is that it gave me a new way to look at food.  Instead of "that's not on the list of allowable foods" that you get with most diets, lifestyles, ways of eating, whatever.  Instead it was, here is your priority list.  On the bottom of the list is the junkiest, most bad for you foods and as the levels increased your eating got healthier and healthier.  I decided not to cut out sweet potatoes and squash, so I was at a level 7.  I could have tried to be more strict, but I wanted to spend the 45 days getting into eating habits that I could follow for life.  Every time I went shopping and considered a meal, I didn't "have" to eliminate anything.  I just chose how healthy I wanted to be at the time.
It was a very succesful challenge for me.  I wasn't eating all that great before the challenge, but my poor eating is still pretty healthy by the Standard American Diet's standards.  Throughout the challenge I lost 13 pounds, and 4 inches off of my waist.  Pretty awesome in 45 days.  Especially since eating paleo, I'm never super hungry.  I never get the high/low blood sugar spikes.  I don't feel like I have to limit how much I eat.  I love the food.  And it makes me feel really strong.  Just saying for all the people who think cutting out grains is hard, well, yeah, it's hard because eating grains is a habit.  It's what we're used to.  But if people didn't try to shove grains in my face all the time, I wouldn't miss them.  The hardest time I have is when well-meaning people make me feel like I don't appreciate them because I won't eat their damn cookies or bread.  I'm amazed how offended people are when I won't taste their food.  But that's another story.
So that's what I've been up to.  Living life, hard.