(Lifestyle) Challenge Accepted

I cannot count on two hands the number of diets I have tried, and admittedly failed. Countless. Cumbersome. Boring. The adjective list goes on… But the one thing that remained totally true through them all? Wanting to find a place where I could treat my body like a machine, rather than a playground, and reap the rewards that come with that mind shift.

My wonderful coaches at the Box (CrossFit speak for “gym”… We like being unique ok…), gave me the opportunity to try something different. Yes, I will reluctantly admit that initially I considered it another diet that I would attempt, initially achieve success with, and then abandon. I went into it with high hopes, and all the best of intentions (as we do with every new eating plan we encounter and dedicate ourselves to 100%), but I was also realistic to the distinct possibility that this too would fail, like so many attempts at so many other eating plans before it.

Let me start by saying that this eating plan CANNOT be called a diet. It feels almost blasphemous to say that out loud. The Zone “diet” is not a diet at all. That word invokes all sorts of prohibitive and restrictive connotations which, in my opinion, have led to failure in the past. This eating plan loaded my plate with so. much. food. that I didn’t think my body was actually capable of eating that much. My word. Literally, I have never consumed so much EVER! I felt like a little grazing cow, constantly chewing (actually, Chino started using that exact comparison, and it did ring very true). Oh, I hear the comments already… “But it was rabbit food… Not food would eat”. No. It wasn’t. Yes, I ate so much spinach and broccoli I am pretty sure that my blood now resembles the Hulk’s, but there is so much choice, so much variety that honestly, spinach and broccoli only happened when I was truly lazy and did not take the time to prepare.

Having free reign of literally thousands of grams of food daily, gives you so much freedom to be creative, that boredom never becomes a factor. The CrossFit 360Vida Lifestyle Challenge (LSC, as we affectionately called both it, and our WhatsApp support group) did require a lot of planning. I did spend Sunday afternoon in the kitchen calculating and prepping. My fridge did look like Lego. And I did become a pro at working out blocks better than a calculator. But in the end, the proof is in my dark chocolate pudding (btw, two blocks of dark chocolate almost daily. Yeah. Winning!). My body has NEVER looked better. Never performed better. Never felt better.

No, I am not drinking the cool aid. I legitimately feel more energetic, rested and satisfied than I ever have! For the first time, I feel like a real athlete. Fuelling and refuelling, judging my meals on my needs, making sure my body is ready for what I am about to throw at it. And the results show it - less body fat, less centimetres, more tone, more endurance, more stamina.

The Zone has truly changed my outlook on food and for once, I can honestly say that I will not be abandoning this way of eating. The LSC is over, six weeks gone just like that, and though I am not vigorously weighing every portion the way I did, I have also learnt how to manage it. This morning, I guestimated both my oats and biltong servings (listen, hotel rooms are not made for food prep, and no oven means biltong is the next best option after eggs), and I kinda know how many chickpeas make up three blocks… And I had a glass (or three) of sangria… And I feel amazing. And like this is totally doable.

My coaches have no idea what a gift they’ve given me, but my body knows, my training knows, and I’ll show you… 

Written By: Chantelle Holthuis, full-time law student and dedicated CrossFit 360Vida member

For more awesome blogs from Chantelle, visit: Midrun Madness