WHEN CHALLENGES BECOME A HABIT

MY 365 DAY JOURNEY ON THE 360VIDA "LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE"

I can honestly say that it is no longer a challenge, but a lifestyle!

On 1 July 2015 I started the lifestyle challenge. I did it because it seemed like an appropriate thing to support as an active member of CrossFit 360Vida. In my opinion, I had my diet pretty under control… “I eat healthy...” but I had reached a plateau in my training and I wasn’t gaining or losing any weight. Will said to me; “you will learn so much about food”. I liked food, so let me learn more about it, I thought. I also want to be a competitive athlete after all, so I need information about good food.

On the night that we did the introduction I was overwhelmed with information about food, but one thing that came across clearly was the following:

·         SUGAR IS BAD!!!! (and hidden in EVERYTHING you think is healthy)

·         A balanced meal consists of PROTEIN + CARB + FAT

·         Nothing beats REAL FOOD

If you remember nothing else, just remember that!!!

At first it was a challenge to get the meal planning right, but I decided to do week for week. So I ate the same food for 7 days. It just takes a little bit of planning. DON’T BE LAZY. It takes time to prepare meals, but soon it becomes a routine. I used NO SUPPLEMENTS for 30 days. No protein shakes or ready-made meals. After 30 days on the challenge I had lost 4kgs, 8% body fat and 11cm in total.

Nothing motivates more than results, so I continued. It becomes easier, trust me. People start accepting that you bring your own food and eat spinach with all meals and don’t want their low-fat, fake sugar filled diet crap! Meal prep became part of my daily routine and I now have it down to 20 minutes. Preparing 5 meals FLAT! Again, don’t be lazy and do plan. If you have the correct groceries in the house, its super easy. My shopping list is the same every week and I use 100% fresh produce only. Over time you get use to the quantities and what works and doesn’t work for you. No food in the house / travelling / working late are NOT EXCUSES TO EAT CRAP! The perfect snack on the go – salami sticks, packet of peas and some nuts (protein, carbs and fat). If you want excuses, you will find them…

Do I have cheat meals? Yes! Of course! How often? For the first 3-6 months I didn’t want cheat meals – why undo all the hard work? I didn’t crave bad food. The first real cheating came at the end of November and December with end of year functions and holidays. But even then, MODERATION! My moderation over Christmas was eating 1kg of speckled eggs. But the other 80% of the time I ate what I would normally eat.

Sometimes you think you are smarter than the ‘Zone Block Diet’ and you try change things – guess what? You come back to the basics every time! Just stick to it. I slowly started introducing supplements again, but they should never replace real food! I’ll never forget Will saying “best would be to eat a steak right after training, but no one carries a steak in their pocket, so protein shake will have to do.” Be careful of supplements, they are filled with sugar!

It’s an amazing journey of getting to know your body. You are in control of all of it – what it likes, dislikes, and what it needs to perform.

BIGGEST LESSONS LEARNT:

  1. Sugar is bad for you!!!
  2. Read food labels

·         More than 2g/100g sugar – PUT IT BACK

  1. Fruit is not all “good sugar” – sugar is sugar, no matter what form it is in
  2. Eat real and fresh food. If it’s in a can / wrapper / lasts more than a week outside the fridge, it’s not fresh!
  3. Fats and carbs are good for you
  4. Keep a food diary – when you write down what you eat, you will be surprised
  5. You can’t be an athlete and a socialite – pick one – training or drinking
  6. Food is fuel and your body needs it
  7. When you feel like giving up, eat the pizza, get over it and start again!
  8. Get creative – it’s not that hard to make delicious food that is good for you

PS – I ate 2 blocks of 90% dark chocolate on 360 of the 365 days of this challenge ;)

Written By: Judy Steyn, Coach at CrossFit 360Vida

CrossFit 360Vida’s next Lifestyle Challenge will kick off on the 18th of July, and will run until end August. Contact Ray on raynique@cf360v.com to sign up!