Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weightlifting and Paleo

Today was weightlifting. Maybe I'll do the WOD tonight. I kind of want to do it, despite there being burpees involved...

In weightlifting we worked on pulls from the ground. I'm making some progress but I keep struggling with fine-tuning the timing of the movement. The good thing is that I am able to do it with much heavier weight - used 70# (Mark - 32kg) today. I also keep running of out of time to work on strength training - had to leave before we did squats. Too bad!

The nutrition challenge

The nutrition challenge is going well. It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be to cut down on coffee. I don't feel cranky or have a headache, just get very sleepy in the afternoon, feel a little dull. Both Mike and I have noticed that Paleo eating really keeps you from getting hungry. Makes you wonder how much of so-called hunger is really just your blood sugar dipping due to the carb/insulin cycle. Although the lack of hunger signals can be detrimental - yesterday Mike bonked on the workout because he didn't eat enough.

I think on this eating plan, you have to be careful to eat plenty and eat often. When you're used to eating calorie-dense foods (bread, pasta, corn, dairy, etc.), you probably have fairly small servings of calorie-sparse foods (like fruits and veggies). But when your only calorie-dense foods are meat and nuts, you need to eat large portions of the calorie-sparse foods. Also, if you're active, you need to make sure you're getting enough protein and fat throughout the day. The protein is hard because most of us doing this challenge probably had protein-deficient diets (given our activity level) before, and it feels like a lot of meat to eat! And the fat is hard because of we're all health conscious people who have tried hard to be good and avoid fat like the doctors and the media tell us to.

The thing that strikes me most about this eating plan is that it requires a huge mental shift. Paleo runs counter to just about everything I've ever been taught about nutrition. Sticking with a typical diet (say, Weight Watchers) requires discipline and attention to what you eat. Sticking to this diet (or even just starting it!) requires much more: changing how you think about food and what is good and what is bad for you, thinking more deeply about how your body uses food, and adjusting to a different way of getting energy. It is a leap of faith. Everyone who is participating in this experiment, in fact, anyone who is trying to shift the focus of their diet from grains and starches to meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, is bucking the conventional wisdom, and that is a brave thing. Just opening our minds to a new possibility is a hard thing to do. But that's why we are CrossFitters - we care about results, we care about what works, and we're willing to do the hard work to get there.

One last thing I want to say about the nutrition challenge is that Mike has kindly set up a great wiki for us to use. If you haven't used a wiki before, don't be scared, it's really easy. It's a like combination of a website, a bulletin board, and a discussion forum. To check it out go here:

FCF Food Wiki

If you can't access it, leave me a comment (with your email address) or send me an email and I'll make sure you get access. He has links to the food list and the food journals on there, plus some other links for references about the Paleo diet. In addition, he set up a page for us to share Paleo-friendly recipes, and there is a page for general discussion. On the announcement page, you can post relevant articles or links or info that you find that you think might be of interest to others. It's a google wiki, so it's pretty user friendly, but if you have any trouble, feel free to ask me for help.

To end, some crafty links


rosanne said...

Liked your post today, I can totally relate to Mike, not eating enough. It's almost like if it's not substantial, I guess I'd rather not eat.

Margaret said...

Amy I have insufficient privileges to get onto Mike's Wiki. Since I'm not 'officially' in the challenge I think I'd like to be reading Mike's site to keep me up to date and motivated.
It's not as much of a change for me as for many people as I started with Atkins many years ago, modified that and headed pretty easily into the zone. Going dairy free and caffeine free are much harder for me than the no starches/grains deal.