MyFitnessPal is not a friend of mine.
We were introduced on New Year’s Eve…me, wedged between couch cushions (bloated with the aftermath of celebratory, poor food choices)…him, quietly downloading his little App self into my unsuspecting world.
It was a good relationship for approximately nine days until we spiraled our way into an argument of wills. He brazenly projected his bright red -400 calories back to me after a day of failed restraint. I felt awful.
We broke up.
I finally had to admit it was a “It’s not you, it’s me” scenario. Calorie counting has never been a happy thing for me, although in the context of US eating habits, I’m a healthy eater (it’s an annoying portion size deal). Why would it magically jumpstart good eating decisions on the dawn of a new year (in my 40’s no less)?
At the risk of goin’ Oprah on you, I decided to write down what I knew for sure about what my body needs to be in a happy place…not to mention what my head needs as well, as it attached to said body.
So, big surprise, I found the needs to be simple. I raised my white flag in the face of a very un-simple method that was filled with enemy phone apps and cereal that tasted like the front yard.
1) Drinking 64 oz of water a day (no small feat when you’re in a classroom all day) strangely always helps with bloat
2) Not eating after 7:00 works for weight maintenance
3) Running not only works, but it clears my head in the doldrums of winter
4) If it doesn’t live in my pantry, I won’t think to eat it
5) Green smoothies are a wonderful way to get my veges, but also a vehicle for avoiding fattening teacher lounge snacks after the students leave
6) I cannot be trusted with chips and salsa anywhere in a one mile radius
7) My Italian-loving palette can be fooled by zucchini noodles
8) I feel like a wildebeest if my morning exercise routine is skipped
9) A raw food diet makes my skin glow and I get the “zing-ees” (incredible alertness at the usual slump hour of 4 pm)
10) Protein/Vege meals solve my stomach IBS issues and I feel uber-good.
I’m getting it now that simpler is better when it comes to maintaining a fitness plan as well.
I discovered at age 22 that running agreed with me and the very act of strapping on the Nikes provides momentum to get out there on the trail. I also found 20 minutes, some simple weights, a post-it note of cardio/ab/strength moves, and a swept garage is all I need to do the rest. The mound of work-out videos (a smirking Jillian Michaels at the top of it) loitering in my utility room just reminds me daily of what I’m not doing. Frankly, less has got to be more when it comes to making a commitment at 5:00 am, my work-out time of choice. If it’s not simple I will find every excuse (lint rolling a fleece jacket, anyone?) to avoid getting out there and gettin’ er done.
In my cyberspace stumbling, I have uncovered a wonderful place.
The Whole 30 has descended into my home and I have been reading like crazy. I’ve dabbled in Paleo over the years, but could never find the strength to completely clean sweep the pantry of snack foods disguised in green and brown packaging with ORGANIC sprawled across the front. THEY ARE STILL SALTY CHIPS (even though 4 out of 5 healthy eaters find them to be a good substitute for the usual chip/salsa fare). The premise of the Whole30 is to eat only raw foods (avoiding carbs) for 30 days. These are the guidelines. Judging by the forum comments about the degree of detox on specific days (i.e., Day 5: “I want to kill everything”), I’m a bit scared of how I will feel, but I’m going for it as of February 10th. Totally random start date, I realize, but for various reasons, that’s the day. I’m gearing up by eating mostly proteins/veges/fruits/nuts up until then—the hardest part (sadly) is giving up my sweet little glass of wine I enjoy while I’m cooking dinner every night. I feel some self-examination coming on the face of this challenge, and honestly, I could use it. It’s clear that separating the emotional part of eating from “food is fuel” is a hard road for so many of us, but I’m ready to explore the contentment and sanity this view can bring.
I’m also cracking open this book by the same folks to jumpstart this whole shebang. The science part always resonates with me.
I’m looking forward to the simplicity with this way of eating more than anything. I find that when food choices get complicated (especially when I’m standing in front my open fridge), I get flustered. I don’t want to spend so much time mapping out what goes into my mouth…it’s exhausting. Yes, there will be a fair amount of planning, shopping and pre-cooking items for this upcoming 30 day sojourn, yet I have found that Sunday afternoon works great for that. I like throwing things in my teacher lunchbox on Monday morning, knowing that I have all the snackage I need to get from 8-4. The C.Y.A. factor in my sugary treat laden workplace is KEY.
I’ll keep you posted as to how this little experiment goes. I’m hopeful that it will shut down some old habits and the murky film over my food attitude will be wiped away. I would like to see a simple diet add to the overall simplicity quest in my life in ways I never imagined.
How ’bout you? What do you think of a 30 day challenge of this magnitude?