After a really long prep and figure competition season I decided to give my body a break and head into my off-season early. As a treat to ourselves, Chris and I decided to go up to Maine for a week of R&R. We found a fantastic last minute Airbnb in the middle of the woods. It had everything we needed, including a cozy back deck ready for grilling, reading, and s'moring (a MUST in our book).
The fun part about being in off-season is that I get to focus on building my strength and powerlifting. The emphasis is a lot less about how I look (like in Figure), and more about getting strong. So of course that means being less strict with my diet and eating more. Oh. Yeah.
The challenge can be finding the balance between going crazy and eating everything I want and eating to fuel my mind/body with the proper nutrition it needs. I don't want to veer too off track that I won't be able to reel myself back in. This has happened before and it's no bueno. I have to work my ass off to get back on track and it becomes an awful grind.
So this year, as a re-entry into my off-season I decided to do the Whole30 challenge as a reset. I've enlisted my fiancé, mom and co-workers to join me starting on Sept.7th. They each have their own reasons for participating (get healthy, lose weight, possible food allergies), but I'm doing it as a bridge into my off-season eating and also to test how my body acts/feels without certain things in it. Namely sweeteners. I've been having some digestive issues for the last few months, and I'm not 100% sure, but I think it has something to do with the amount of sweetener I consume daily. It's a lot.
So, what is the Whole30?
According to Melissa & Dallas Hartwig (the creators of the plan):
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?
This will change your life.
There is a re-entry period after the 30 days in which you slowly re-introduce certain foods back into your diet to see how your body reacts. To me, this part is critical. This is where you get real live data, signals and signs from your body on what it wants or really doesn't want. Yes, people do lose weight on the plan as well, but Melissa and Dallas are very clear that this isn't a weight loss plan. It is however, a great way to reset your system and realign yourself with whole foods that nurture and fuel the body. Ok, so enough about Whole30 for now. Let's get back to Maine and all the goodies Chris and I have been enjoying this week before the Whole30 begins.
Candy (mostly chocolate & fudge!)
And the BEST lobster EVER from Young's Lobster Pound in Belfast
We've done pretty dang good if do say so myself! My belly is full and I'm a bit fluffier all around, but no complaints here. Sprinkled in between all the food was hiking, shopping (mostly for books because I can't control myself), backyard workouts, reading, movie watching and biking. No alarm clocks and no have-tos. Just pure deliciousness.
Tonight is our last night in this woodsy paradise before we head back to the real world in the morning. So, we're off to enjoy and savor.
**Update – The Whole30 experiment went well and it especially helped me with my over dependence on sugar and sugar substitutes. However, as of about October 2016 I was no longer eating meat.