30 Day Challenge: Day 30 – The “end”?

Posted on June 2, 2011

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We made it through the 30 Day Challenge! “Made it”…hm. It’s not like we survived a climb up Everest or something. I don’t know if “made it” is the right word. Because, when you think about it, it isn’t really that hard to change your eating habits. Dealing with a traumatic event in your life – that is hard. Recovering from a tornado/flood/earthquake – that’s hard. “Hard” is relative to each person, yes, but on the grand scale – “hard” to change something about yourself is not so hard as compared to other situations in this world that people are dealing with right this very minute. It may be challenging, absolutely, but too hard?…no, it’s not too hard for anyone. Really. Anyone can do it! You just need to get educated, get motivated, and get committed to changing your health to optimal!

So instead I’ll say, we DID IT! I dealt with some cravings early on, but that was really the only hardest part. Cooking meals? Easy. Not always tasty…but that’s part of learning how to cook awesome meals! Packing snacks? Easy. Fueling for workouts? Easy…with a little study, it can be easy for any athlete, in any sport, at any level.

It takes work to change something as integral to life as eating. Media puts messages in your face that make you think the wrong foods are right, peer pressure at the office/home/work makes for uncomfortable situations when you go ‘against the grain’ & choose health over an expanding-waistline-office donut. And we train ourselves to crave foods & drinks that are not in tune with what our body needs to survive & thrive.

We didn’t go out to eat that often. The food out just didn’t taste as good as what we could do at home. As evidenced by this recipe & this one. We ate leftovers alot. But they tasted awesome, so why wouldn’t you want to eat them again!? Cooking large meals allowed us to not have to cook every.single.meal.every.single.day. We ate meat & vegetables for breakfast & didn’t miss our gluten-free toast. We snacked on berries & found that from-frozen berries, when warmed up, were extra sweet & released some berry juice that was good to slurp up along with the berries. I trained for & successfully ran a 10 mile race, without grains & dairy, which meant figuring out what types of veggies & fruits worked best for me pre-workout to still have a successful training session.

And what about the health changes from the 30 Day Challenge? We already were gluten free & mostly organic in our eating choices – which got us to a healthy-enough place. But we did consume dairy or grains every day & ate more sugar than we needed (hello dark chocolate squares!). Which meant that we were not as optimally healthy as we could be. Many would say, well, you’re healthy ‘enough’, what difference will a little more restriction make?

1. If you’re not as healthy as you can be, doing everything you can to care for the body you’ve been given, do you really want to think that someday your actions could cause a disease?

2. Restriction is following a diet that is just that, a diet. It’s something you start & end. While the 30 Day Challenge could be viewed as a start/end sort of thing…there really should not be an ‘end’ to it…once you see the changes in yourself after finishing the 30th day, you likely will not go back to your old ways. Those that do go back, simply have some things to work out for themselves about what they really want from their body.

We want to be as optimally healthy as we can be so after researching, learning & understanding the scientific reality of how foods affect us on a molecular level, and seeing the heavy proliferation of disease in societies that took on the agrarian lifestyle, we knew we’d be all the better for taking on the 30 Day Challenge.

Things that changed from Day 1 to Day 30:

*lost 2lbs on the scale; I’m not going for a weight loss, those that have weight to lose will do so when they change their eating habits from poor to quality ones

*gained 1 lb of muscle; feeding my muscles between 20-30 MORE grams of protein daily ensured I was feeding my muscles the fuel they need (protein!) to grow…increased muscle quantity means a higher metabolism, leaner physique, more energy. I used to struggle to get 100 grams in per day, now that’s easy & I’m typically getting 120-130 grams.

*** improved my hypoglycemia issues; I tested positive as hypoglycemic from my ASI Test, which meant I consumed food, spiked my blood sugar, then it plummeted causing me to be irritable, hungry all the time, and holding on to extra fat. In addition, being insulin resistant (hypoglycemic) is a possible precursor to a whole host of health breakdowns…not good for my goal of living to 100+. This took some time, and is not all-the-way-there yet…I still get “hangry” (hunger+angry) if my blood sugar drops too far, and it drops a bit too fast once its headed that direction, but I now can go 3 hours and not feel a sense of hunger gnawing at me.

I literally used to eat a meal and within 45min would be feeling that “damn, I think I’m hungry again” feeling. Eating regularly is a fine thing to do, but when you’ve just eaten a high quality meal that includes protein/fat/carbs, you shouldn’t be getting hungry 45mins later. It can take up to 2 mths for the genes that regulate fat-as-primary-fuel-source to up-regulate (get used more often), so I’m going to keep working to get myself there – for my own good & for the good of those around me when I’m hungry…Drew…my clients…clients-no you may not blame the double load of TRX Suspended Lunges on my hunger…blame them on your inactive glutes, then thank me for giving them to you 🙂

*no more runny nose; I was perpetually reaching for a tissue. It just seemed like my nose ran more than most people’s. Not congestion or stuffy-ness, just a perpetual need to reach for a tissue. Dairy, grains, legumes, refined sugars are out – and I have hardly grabbed a tissue since then. It’s not like the Sahara in my nose, but I’d say I have a more normal tissue-usage these days.

*no stomach issues…at all; no bloating/gas/icky feelings. I would get stomach aches about 1-2x/wk, not curled over dying aches that lasted all day, but by evening my stomach/gut were achy. I burped. More than I’d care to admit. My naturopath tried moving my stomach back into correct position (did you know your stomach can get pushed up under your ribs & cause indigestion & trouble with breaking down food? stress can be one cause of this.) After trying this a few times, he determined it had to be a food intolerance since my stomach was now sitting in the proper position but I was still burping. Take out the grains? No burping.

*more consistent energy; I don’t feel the slumps that my old Chipotle meal would give me at lunchtime. I used to get either a salad with chips & guac and would eat some of the chips at lunch and some later on that day or I’d get a bowl with a little rice, no beans & veggies/meat/guac. Both those meals made me TIRED mid-afternoon, now I eat a big meal of meat, fat, & veg…maybe some fruit if I’m training later that day, and I sail right into my evening work-duties without any tired issues! I also wake up energized, although that could also be from a happier work-life balance thanks to becoming a Co-Owner of a biz I love.

*good results in my training for middle-distance running events; grains were out, PR’s were in! Athletes I know get a little anxious at the thought of removing a main carb source (breads/pastas/rice/quinoa). And rightfully so if you don’t do it right. You simply must get carbs in through other sources & get your meal-timing right for the given workout you’re going to do. I’ve outlined how I did it in the 30 Day Challenge posts, so check them out for ideas for yourself.

*ate more vitamins & minerals & a greater variety of them; hard to pinpoint how this will affect me since you don’t get an immediate good/bad response from eating more healthy foods. Part of why Americans have gotten so obese (68% are now either overweight or obese…way too many) is that there seems to be no immediate consequence to choosing unhealthy foods or missing vitamins from your salad/mixed grilled veg side item. But the science is clear – increased inflammation, lack of key vitamins/minerals, excessive sugar consumption – they all are potential precursors to disease & death. Stop thinking like an invincible teenager & start acting like a responsible adult when it comes to your food….at least 80% of the time, leave the treats for the other 20% of life.

*reduced cravings for sugar; while that itself isn’t a “health benefit”, the net result of the cravings being reduced IS a health benefit! Less sugar in my body means less inflammation in my body, less sugar load means less excess calories for my body to store away on my hips, less sugar means more of other foods (esp. fats & proteins) which means more satiety from a meal and less of a need to polish it off with a bit of chocolate.

I’m sure if I forgot something, Drew will chime in. It’s like when you see yourself in the mirror everyday, you don’t really notice the changes in you, but then someone who hasn’t seen you in months notices right away that you’re different. He might remember more things that are different that I’m not seeing. Speaking of mirrors, I’m DEFINITELY leaner now. I can see my stomach muscles better, my waist is slimmer & my face is leaner & brighter. Check out the pics for yourself. I still have that fabulous running shorts tan though…sigh.

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