Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halfway-There Musings

October 15 marks the half-way point in the CFCC BCCC. Here's what I've done so far:

- Since Day 1 (October 1), I've eliminated all artificial sweeteners of any kind. For me, this included the packet of sweet & low I usually added to my morning (and afternoon) coffee, as well as the gallons (literally - this is not exaggeration) of diet soda I drank each week.

- Since Day 1 I've significantly reduced and nearly eliminated the amount of fruit I've eaten. I could have a moderate amount of fruit each week if I wanted (the example Erin gave at our first meeting was "buy three apples each week and when they're done, they're done") but I just haven't bought any.

- Related to the above - since Day 1, I haven't touched a single Larabar. Even the coconut cream pie one that's been in my desk drawer since September 28. Cruelly, the challenge started six days after I'd bought two cases of Larabars...coconut cream pie and gingersnap.

- Since Day 1, I've replaced my coconut milk creamer with grass-fed cream. I had originally brought in coconut milk creamer as a replacement for the regular, full-fat half & half I added to my coffee, because when I started eating paleo, I cut out all dairy products except for the occasional butter I've used in cooking.

- Finally, since Day 1, I haven't had a shred of gluten, a speck of added sugar, soy anything, or anything that remotely smacks of the foregoing [potential] allergens.

I've made a few further cuts since then:

- Starting with Week 2, around October 6, I limited my chocolate consumption from about half an ounce of dark chocolate (77% or 85%) about five times a week to weekends only - a total of twice over the course of Friday evening through Sunday evening. (I was SO looking forward to that chocolate last night after my steak.)

- Starting with Monday, October 10, I don't eat anything between "meals" except for my absolute favorite buffalo jerky - this just meant eliminating other options, like coconut water or almond butter.

- Also starting with the week of October 10, I'm being mindful of the idea that sometimes, it's OK to be a little hungry, and that when there's no good food available, it's better to fast for a few hours until something solid and real and quality is available.

With the exception of the artificial sweeteners, these cuts are not a drastic change from how I was eating before. The biggest difference is that I haven't taken a single "kip meal" (I really prefer that term to "cheat meal," which has such a negative connotation) since that blessed Last Supper at COOK on September 30 (and what a kip meal that was). This is probably why it's been so easy for me, relatively speaking, so far. Here are my midpoint observations:

- I drink more water than I did diet soda. Before, I basically drank no water whatsoever unless I was at the gym, during or after a workout. I just really like diet soda. It's fizzy and it's delicious, and water is not. I averaged anywhere from 60-100 ounces a day (two 20-ounce bottles at work, sometimes a third, and probably a liter or two over the course of my evening at home). I have a 26-ounce water bottle at work that I fill at least three times a day, if not four or five, and I'm continously draining a large glass at home. I don't track ounces but I'm estimating I'm closer to 130 a day, especially if you include my nightly cup of Sleepytime tea.

- I was (am?) not "addicted" to diet soda. I quit it cold turkey on October 1 and have only really craved it once or twice since then. Looking back, I feel kind of silly spending SO MUCH MONEY on diet soda every day at work. I have a feeling this is going to be an all-or-nothing thing for me, though - if, say, on November 4 we have a lunch meeting at work and I have a can of Coke Zero, I am NOT going to want to switch back to water when I get back to my office. We'll see.

- Overall, I have really had minimal cravings. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not substituting any "paleo" facsimiles of the foods I've cut out. Example: when I was "on Atkins" in college, I still craved things like bread and potatoes and chips and BBQ sauce from time to time. I tried to satisfy those cravings by eating low-carb bread, "zero calorie" BBQ sauce (oh, god, WHY) and "chips" made from parmesan cheese piles. My friends and I would share bags of sugar-free chocolate and sugar-free peanut butter cups. Since I was still eating "Atkins versions" of the foods I was supposed to be eliminating, I still wanted the foods I was supposed to be eliminating. And one should be sentenced to a life of calorie-free BBQ sauce. I cannot fathom how I convinced myself that was good.

- Everything I eat is delicious. I mean...SERIOUSLY. Sure, I've gotten a little bored with rotisserie chicken. But I don't eat anything that's "only OK."

- Notwithstanding the above, there are definitely moments - albeit few - where I would kill someone for chips and dip. Not gluten free chips and dip, either. Give me cheap, mass-produced, super-salty tostitos (the little bowl kind) with a vat of the chili cheese dip they make at Whole Foods, or that lobster spread they sell at Costco. It passes. Every time.

- My tastebuds have adjusted a bunch since I've eliminated so much sweet stuff - both artificial sweeteners and fructose. I had a container of grape tomatoes this week that I used in my breakfasts and dinners - holy crap, they tasted like candy. I mean, WOW sweet.

- I suck at peeling boiled eggs. Hard boiled eggs are not as disgusting as I imagined they would be, but they are not delicious at all and the yolk looks like a pencil eraser. Soft boiled eggs are much better.

- I can't speak for inches but I've lost some weight - about six pounds since the beginning of the challenge. Given that the changes I've made are relatively minor (no kip meals, no artificial sweeteners, eggs for breakfast instead of fruit), I think this speaks volumes about how much you can accomplish by really dialing in your nutrition and not being lazy about it.

Sadly, while I have made a bunch of progress on the body comp side, I haven't made as much progress on my goal of improving my pull ups. Shockingly, this is because I haven't practiced pull ups (though I did a bunch in this week's benchmark WODs).

Time to grab a quick breakfast. Intro to oly at 11 today and then hopefully a bunch of nothing for the rest of the day...wish me luck and happy weekend!


  1. Other than cravings, have you noticed a difference in how your body feels? Your exhaustion level? Headaches? Anything like that? I would really love to give up artificial sweeteners...ugh.