Happy Halloween! We still have classes at CrossFit 70 today and, of course, Payt had to wear her costume. She is Sofia the First. Check her out getting her lift on, haha.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about food a lot lately. Mainly, my relationship with food. I feel like a lot of time people are so quick to label themselves something “Vegetarian/Paleo/Gluten Free” or whatever. Once you have that label, especially on social media or in blogging, you are scrutinized if you don’t meet other people’s expecations of what that label should look like. For awhile I was pretty strict Paleo. In the beginning of my CrossFit journey it worked well. I was so new to everything I was dropping fat fast and increasing my strength just as fast. After a few months I hit a wall with both fat loss and strength gain. When I was eating strict Paleo I let myself have far too many “Paleo” treats, which took a toll on my fat loss. While those brownies, cookies, and muffins were Paleo they were also made with coconut and almond flour which is very calorie dense. While many Paleo supporters will tell you that calories don’t matter, when you’re talking weight loss they do. I was so immersed in the crossfit/paleo online world that I felt like that is what I had to do to be a good CrossFitter… and to be a good CrossFit blogger.
That is where I started to get confused. I didn’t know what worked for me. I wanted what worked for everyone else to work for me. It was like I wanted to sit at the cool kids lunch table. But the truth was it wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t losing fat and I wasn’t having huge strength gains. Sure, I’d set new PRs here and there… but those were more technique gains than pure strength gains. I figured if I wasn’t going to gain strength I was going to drop weight. That’s when I decided to do the Whole30. While I did see some major visible changes, I hate to admit that the Whole30 left me feeling even more confused about my relationship with food. Instead of being fuel or nutrition, foods became either “good” or “bad”. I had a huge issue with balance and struggled with an unhealthy level of guilt. I was confused.
Then I hired an amazing nutrition coach (Check out Precision Fitness STL!) He helped me see food as fuel. I began following a Carb Cycling/Macro approach. I eat 5-6 meals a day with a certain amount of calories coming from Protein/Fat/Carbs. I’ve tried several different Macro breakdowns and have seen some pretty awesome progress both in the way my body looks and in my workouts. I’ve been able to cut fat and gain strength at the same time. It is going slow for me, but slow progress is still progress. In the first few months I felt “guilty” for doing anything off plan, but now I’ve come to be ok with balance. I usually have one night a week we go out and get something off plan. I enjoy it and get back on plan the next day. I feel like I’ve been able to find what works for me. I don’t struggle with guilt like I used to, I’m seeing changes in my body, and my workouts feel good. The great thing about working with a nutrition coach is that if something feels off I can let him know and we can change it up.
So, am I telling you that what works for me is going to work for you? Nope. I’m saying quit trying to be like everyone else and find out what works for you. You also have to know what your goals are. If you are trying to gain strength you’re going to have to eat to gain strength. If you are trying to lose weight you have to eat to lose weight. If you want to do both you’re going to have to be hella patient and I would recommend seeking professional help, lol. The takeway from this is figure out what you want, what works for you to get you there, and do it.
What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you?