R2P: "My take on reform to perform"
My Take on the Reform to Perform,
Over the past 6 weeks I have had a tonne of correspondence from all you reform to performers out there. A lot of your problems and complaints all stem from the same source….our old friend sugar. Headaches, fatigue, moods, anxiety….total freak outs waking up in a pile of mars bar wrappers and take away boxes…..trouble letting go of the two most important men in your life-Ben and Jerry? Sound familiar?
Look we’ve all been there. It has taken me two years to go Paleo…..I have done endless challenges…gone strict for 30 days and once it’s over gone straight back to my old habits …..There are those who succeed and get great results, be it weight loss, endless energy, strength gains etc but I find it so funny to hear people tell me things like ‘ye I find chocolate so ridiculously sweet now, can only handle one or two pieces….I just have to force myself to eat it’….why would you force yourself to eat it!? Isn’t it a good thing your body now doesn’t crave sugar?! But that’s what happens….they go back to their old ways….feel like crap after the first or second takeaway or chocolate bar but persevere. And then I get the other extreme of people who quit everything…..get insane cravings….cave in, have one piece of chocolate, a couple of chips, a couple of crisps and then just wig out…. I’ve broken the Paleo challenge already…I may as well eat 10 chocolate bars while I’m at it….Then they show up in the gym, full of guilt, ridiculously stressed out and hating life altogether.
What I am getting at is that this stuff takes time. There is always going to be bad and good days and it is extremely difficult not to break when starting to change your way of eating. You have to remember how long you have been eating the way you were….you have literally been feeding your body sugar in many shapes and forms for 10, 20, 30 years so you can’t expect it all to be smooth sailing when you suddenly remove this sugar energy source and try to start running of fruit, veg and meat alone….obviously there is going to be some sort of resistance…You have to just take the good with the bad and keep going. This is about changing your lifestyle in the long run and these changes take time.
So what now?! The 6 weeks have ended so what do I do now?…..well you can give yourself a pat on the back and a high five for sticking it out for the 30 days and go back to your old days and wait for the next challenge to try it all over again…..or you can actually take something from this….observe how you feel after you eat the non Paleo foods. Slowly introduce things…start with just dairy on a given day….try a bit of yogurt or milk etc and just see how you feel…then the next day try some grains….it takes up to 18 hours to react to a food so be mindful of this but likely reactions can be spots from dairy, bloating, cramps, fatigue…..then just ask yourself, if it makes you feel like this, is it really a good idea to force yourself to keep eating these foods? I need you to think about this from a health perspective now and not a taste perspective. Sure these reactions may fade, but your body is warning you and unfortunately just because the bloated feeling fades does not mean you are not still doing damage to your gut…..no you don’t have to continue 100% Paleo but you need to start making smarter choices.
Paleo has become heavily associated with weight loss and been thrown in the ‘diet’ zone….sure that is a great side effect but this is not a diet, it is about replenishing lost nutrients and feeding your body with the food it was designed to take in which results in optimal performance and with that comes optimal body composition. However, unfortunately the quality of the food we eat is no longer like that of our ancestors. In fact, it’s not even the same as that which our grandparents or even our parents ate growing up. Today, food is mass produced and sprayed with chemicals to help prolong the life span but these chemicals also deplete our food of vital minerals. And in this case we are forced to supplement. Why do you think we only stock 3 supplements in Crossfit Dublin; fish oil, magnesium/zinc complex and Vitamin D3? Every single cell in our body has receptors for omega 3 and vitamin D3- this statement alone highlights how these two minerals affect absolutely everything in the body. Magnesium is the mineral of insulin sensitivity and helps manage carb intake, stress and improve sleep patterns. It is very hard to get the adequate amount of the above from food alone but they are key to optimal health so I would think about making them part of your daily habits.
Next week I will be posting some success stories, I already have two and am looking for 10 more. So please share your results and get in touch. And remember if you did not go strict, then you have not failed. As I said to someone in the gym today, if you are eating 50% paleo, then you are already eating 50% better than the way you were. We easily forget what a dark place we came from in terms of fitness and diet so if you are managing 3-4 crossfit sessions a week and eating 50% paleo, I guarantee you are a far stronger, fitter and healthier person than you were before. Remember that the only way is up from here, there is no going back.