Even the Duggars might disagree on food and health
This past weekend a lot of families got together to celebrate Passover, Easter, spring break, or just nice weather. My family was no exception. My aunt just started CrossFit, so as we were talking about working out, the topic of food came up. Some of my family know about this blog, so they started asking questions on how to start eating healthy. Most of them do not CrossFit and are not familiar with words like “Paleo” or ideas like “grains are unhealthy.” Trying to explain the basics made me remember that people are going to be on all levels of understanding when it comes to nutrition, but it was a good reminder.
As our gym is almost a week into our Zone/Paleo/Primal/Whole30 food challenge, some of you may be experiencing anything from fat loss to headaches. Remember that there is an adaptation period lasting anywhere from 1-4 weeks or even longer depending on how metabolically deranged you were going into the switch. Metabolically deranged? That refers to the whole high blood sugar/high insulin levels you will have if you consume a lot of grains and/or sugar. In other words, if your diet looks like “cereal, soda, coffee with sugar, ice cream, pasta, bread, etc.” then you are probably highly metabolically deranged. Blood sugar and insulin levels look like a roller coaster throughout the day.
For those just starting out, or who want to start changing their diet, just change one thing. One. Uno. 1. One single thing. This could be cutting out soda. This could be cutting out sugar from coffee. This could be cutting down half your coffee intake. Whatever it is, make it manageable. I would rather see you make small progressive steps than one huge progressive step and a fall back into old habits. Like we say at the box, “check your ego.” This goes for food too, don’t think you can do it all at once. If you are more advanced and have most of your nutrition dialed in, then yes, go for a strict lifestyle and see what tinkering you can play around with. Remember, at its core, this is a LIFESTYLE not a diet. One or two months over 30, 40, 50 years is nothing.
If you are focusing on grains and sugar, remember that both act like crack to your body. Yes, crack. Your body will literally go through withdrawal when you don’t give it what it wants. Nicole Carroll writes about “Getting Off the Crack” in a CrossFit Journal article. Headaches, irritability, crankiness, and just plain feeling like crud are all normal because your body is craving that sugar (or grains that turn into sugar). I imagine a good amount of you are experiencing this about now. Or if you got your family involved, then they are at the point of wringing your neck now. I promise that after a few weeks you will get used to it and not feel like robbing someone for their hoagie. Just remember to stick with it and replace those things with lots of vegetables and fruit and a decent amount of fat like nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, etc. This will give you the carbohydrates to keep up your workout routine and the fat you need to burn for energy instead of using sugar.
So if you are starting a lifestyle change, make small steps and stick with it. You will adapt and change and realize how much you don’t need those grains and sugar. If you are trying to get others to change (like family, friends, loved ones) it might take them awhile to get used to these crazy ideas. Give it time and try not to force it (which will just turn them off even more.) Instead, let your results speak for themselves and when they see you rocking wods or not needing a “bikini crash diet,” then maybe they’ll ask you again about what you do. It’s in that window of opportunity that you can talk more freely.
Is your family or friends curious about what you’re doing? How do you explain it to them? Same can go for co-workers.