Or should I say Primal (I can eat cheese? Say no more!)
In support of the can-do resolution spirit that takes over so many folks this time of year, CrossFit Brigade is throwing down another nutrition challenge. The one we did back in October was such a success, we decided to wait until we had a whole new slew of
victims members until we would do it again, slightly modified.
This time around, it’s a little more flexible. It’s a Primal Challenge, meaning that while grains/added sugars (artificial or otherwise) are still all off limits, there have been easements on the warring front between us foodies and dairy, legumes, and alcohol. These are to be consumed in extreme moderation, and even if I limit my intake to the “recommended” weekly amount, these cheats will cause me to lose my “compliance” point for the day that I partake. I will be going full out and trying not to cheat at all, but we’ll see when it’s not day two and I’m staring down a hunk of brie and a glass of malbec 😛
I think this is also a great way to ease folks into the eating style with giving good, general guidelines for one’s limits, while also providing that extra bit of challenge for the rest who are going to go for the win. There’s cash money, people. And free swag! Who doesn’t love that!?!
In prep for this go around, Ian, a buddy, and I went to Costco to stock up and fill up our chest freezer. Ground beef for chili, steaks, pork sausage, chicken sausage, green beans, broccoli, canned tomatoes, spices, and fresh veggies. Whew, we filled a whole cart (and for those who don’t know, you can usually fit a 10-day old elephant in one of those things)! It came under budget, which was awesome, and we commenced to a big cookoff on Monday. Two big pots of chili and “egg cupcakes” (which are basically teeny weenie frittatas in cupcake tins) started us off. Yum!
Our friend who was with us made what I thought was an interesting comment when we were at the store. Upon seeing us head straight to the items we needed and tossing them effortlessly in the cart, he said, “You guys are so good about not cheating!”
That got me thinking a little, because for me, well, a “cheat” at this point needs to be something really special for it to be worth it. The slice of delicious-looking pizza? Eh, I’ll try to avoid it, as I’ll just have a tummy ache later. That piece of candy? I’ve learned that this is one way that my body tells me that I am not getting enough water. Ditto with something buttery and breaded; if I give in to the hunger part of the craving, and eat something wholesome and paleo, my craving generally goes away, since it really only meant I needed to refuel my tank. If, after alllllll that, I still want whatever it is I’m craving, I’ll often let myself indulge, but this doesn’t happen very often.
So for all of our seemingly effortless “not cheating,” accordingly to my friend, well, it’s really just because Ian and I have lived this “lifestyle” for so long that we’ve progressed in our primal living to the point where those foods aren’t really on our radar anymore. We don’t consider it a cheat; we consider it, well, something that we don’t eat. See the difference?
It would be like, I don’t know, someone from the Chattanooga area moving to Maine and feeling at first out of place and in hardship without central A/C. At first, it would be noticeable in the summers, and for sure a little uncomfortable. But after a while, it would be just the way it is, and that person wouldn’t think twice about just having a fan. In fact, when the A/C was introduced in small doses, they’d probably be cold. (Bad metaphor, I know, work with me here!)
The point is, my friend’s comment also made me remember how hard this style of living can be when you first start. That you’re gonna be bitchy because you “need” a piece of chocolate. That you’re going to feel sluggish because you can’t have that afternoon Diet Coke. That you think you’re not going to feel satisfied having that burger without a bun (or fries, for that matter). And the short answer is yes, it’s gonna kinda suck the first few weeks, when those cravings and yearnings, and wanting and longing and HUNGERSUGARBREADNOW! feelings are staring you right in the face.
But guess what? It gets easier. It really does. And the changes in the way you feel and perform in every day of your life will make it all the easier to stick with it. And you’ll slide here and there, and sometimes might go off the rails completely, but by that time you’ll have the tools and the knowhow to get back in the wagon and keep on trucking.
Plus, and I can’t stress this enough: BACON. Enough said 🙂