End of our 2nd Paleo Challenge

I truly wished I could have blogged more and shared more recipes via my blog feed this challenge. Time was a huge constraint for me. I am typically a 7 hour a night sleeper – but this challenge required 8 hours. Also, we did the challenge as a family – 25 days for the kids and 30 days for the adults. This meant even more prep time which took away from blogging time.  So to anyone that may have been looking for inspiration during the challenge I am sorry.

Life is finding it’s way back to normal now.  So as I reflect on the 30 days we completed our 2nd Paleo Challenge at our Crossfit gym in Lake Mary, FL  – I’ll try to detail as much as I can for anyone to find things that worked for us that might work for them.

For the random reader that found my blog by accident – Here’s a quick note about Paleo – Hunter/gather diet based on our caveman counter part. If they couldn’t grow it, had to cook – then chances are we shouldn’t eat it. There are far more qualified folks out in the world that can explain this better than me – but I’ll get to that at the end.

Keep in mind not everyone subscribes to “strict Paleo” so some of the participants in our challenge may have used the following: Clarified Butter or Ghee; Raw Honey, Organic Maple Syrup, Artificial Sugars such as Stevia, Organic cheeses. The adults did NOT use these items at all. The kids were allowed minimal honey for baked muffins after the first 2 weeks on Paleo.

This paleo challenge I did Dry (no alcohol) and dessert free… not even the “allowed” dark chocolate. Talk about strict huh?

I finally ‘dialed the diet in’ even more after “re-reading” the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and attending the Nutritional Seminar by Jeremy Mullins from Crossfit HQ.  We used Grassfed/Free Range meats as often as possible and as our budget would allow.

Things I would like to mention – it is lifestyle change; not just short term to get to a weight loss goal. It requires dedication, hard work and planning. However if you have the right mindset anything is possible. I believe this fully with regards to anything that I set out to accomplish.

How I prepared:

Friday/Saturday I began making a meal plan for the next week. It included breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I would take into consideration any meals I may need to eat out and try to determine in advance where those meals will be and what paleo options they have. I also determined based on our calendar what days I need to have a crock pot or cook ahead meal prepared/planned. We are a family of 6! Both grownups work full time out of the home; therefore, planning had to happen or we would’ve fallen right off the edge of “we don’t have time – and pick up something not so good for us”.

 Saturday mornings after Crossfit; We went to the farmers market to purchase meat, eggs, fruit and veggies for the week. Anything I was unable to purchase on Saturday I make a list for Sunday to complete on Sunday morning. I typically then spend about 4 hours on Sunday afternoon/evening cooking and prepping for the week.

We have a dehydrator to make our own jerky. I cook ahead as much as possible… examples: (keep in mind we’re a family of 6!)

  • Bake 4-5 packages of nitrate free bacon; I do this in the oven @450; each 8oz package takes about 10-11 minutes to cook. This takes about 45min-1hour to complete; but of course I do other things while the bacon is in the oven. Once all the bacon is placed on a napkin to absorb the extra grease; most of it goes into our weekly “bacon bag” for all to pull from for Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks etc….
  • Prepare (6-8) 4ounce burgers from grassfed meat purchased at the Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. The burgers I weigh on my digital scale to make sure they are 4 ounces then I season them lightly with garlic and pepper. I cook them on my George Forman Grill to try to get some of the fat out. Once all the burgers are complete and placed on a napkin to absorb the extra grease; 4 of them go into my lunch containers for the week. I find it easy to just have the same thing everyday. If I get bored then I’ll change it up. The remaining burgers go into the weekly “burger bag” in the fridge for whoever to pull from as needed for lunch, snacks, etc….
  • I try to prepare lunches on Sunday for me to include Mon-Thur; The kids I would do their lunches for the next 2-3 days. Scott would depend on what he wanted or if there were left overs or if I planned some lunches for him and would make those ahead too. Examples of lunches I’ll share below.
  • Next would be prepping for breakfast… I would cook my eggs for the week and place 1-2 pieces of bacon in each container. So when I got home from Crossfit (I attend the 6am class); I would stick it in the microwave for 15-20second and eat the breakfast with my protein shake (Post WOD meal). If the kids wanted eggs or something cooked for breakfast Mon/Tuesday; I try to encourage them to let me know so we can cook that ahead also.
  • Jerky! I cut up the meat I’m using for jerky… season it and begin placing it on my dehydrator racks to dehydrate over night. (Sometimes I’ll start it early in the morning if I’m going to dehydrate any fruit as it takes a little longer)
  • If I need to because we have no left over squash or veggies; sometimes I’ll cook ahead a spaghetti squash to go along with some lunch items.
  • Some weeks I’ll make 6-8 boiled eggs for snacks or to be used as part of lunches. I’ll peel those and place them in a bag in the fridge.
  • For me Wednesdays are easier in the evening as the kids do not have as much going on; so I will prepare for Thursday and Friday on this night.
  • APPLEGATE BRAND is awesome! They have nitrate free bacon, beef hotdogs, ham, turkey, pepperoni, salami. We purchase it in bulk at BJs Wholesale Club. If not at BJs then we can also get it at Publix but for a higher price. Scott and I did not use any of the more ‘processed’ meats such as pepperoni/salami until after the challenge.

Examples of lunches:

My lunch everyday is: 1-4oz grassfed beef patty, with ½ medium tomato, ¼ avocado and ¼ cup of red onion. Sometimes I’ll put this on a bed of mixed green lettuce (organic)

Kids lunches have consisted of:

  • Salami roll ups, with carrot sticks and apples
  • Pepperoni & ham roll ups with sliced cucumbers and grapes
  • Turkey rolled with bacon in the middle with butternut squash cubes or sweet potatoes with sliced peaches
  • Spaghetti squash topped with organic paleo friendly spaghetti sauce and mini meat balls (all cooked ahead on Sunday)
  • Boiled hotdogs sliced with broccoli or cauliflower and pears
  • Celery with almond butter topped with no sugar added raisins (raisins are paleo debated)
  • Boiled eggs with cucumber spears (they love cucumbers) with strawberries and almonds

Scott’s lunch typically will be left overs (if there is any) or just a mix of what we have in the refrigerator unless I plan a special lunch.

Every Friday … Scott and I each eat out for lunch (separately because we do not work near each other). This gives me a break from cooking!

EATING OUT

We know where we can eat and what we can eat. Moe’s, Chipotle & Logan’s aren’t too bad for ya. We know before we walk in the place. If you need detailed information on this just let me know. I will be more than happy to provide you with links and allowed foods at these and a few other restaurants.

The last thing I’ll leave you with is this:

Consistency, Hard Work, Dedication and WILL to Succeed.          

Something Scott has said to me on more than one occasion is you cannot ever exercise enough to beat out a poor diet. Using this as a spring board… what you put in is what you get out…

I workout at Crossfit 5-6 days a week; and I push myself for extra cardio when I can fit it in at the YMCA. As I am preparing for 2 half marathons in early 2012 – I current go to the YMCA at 5am prior to my 6am Crossfit class. I’ve been known to go on my lunches and even for 30 minutes after work on days I can squeeze it in.

I do not cheat on my Paleo diet at all if on a challenge. When not on a challenge; I only cheat 1 meal every other week; typically on a Saturday evening. I make sure I get out of my system whatever I’m missing and make it happen. This however is becoming more and more challenging the longer I stay on Paleo as my body has become VERY sensitive to items that are NOT paleo.

Without hard work, dedication and consistency… results will come SLOW. Keep in mind it probably took you years to put on weight if you are looking to lose… don’t expect to lose 100lbs in 60 days. That might happen on the Biggest Loser – but they also don’t have every day stress to worry about. Cortisol (stress hormone) is HUGE In weight loss. Be realistic please!

If I have a social event to attend; I eat a smaller portion meal prior so if there are no options for me I’m not starving. If there are options; again I just do smaller portions to make it fit in my desired caloric/protein/fat/carb intake.

I only take a vitamin D supplement and a omega3 oil supplement. I use the EAS protein powder with 3 carbs and other than those items everything is WHOLE FRESH REAL FOOD. On occasion we’ll cook with frozen berries or frozen spinach; but that’s it. (If you do buy frozen – check the ingredients!!! Some have added sugar)

I use the myWOD app to help keep up with my workouts; etc… to track my progress. I made my own food journal that worked for the numbers I wanted to track and see. I learned what those numbers should be at the Nutrition Seminar with Jeremy Mullins. (if you are an android user – there is a fabulous new app called WOD tracker – download it and use it; got a problem? contact the developer – he’s awesome)

IF I could say anything to someone that is on a similar journey –  You have to find what works for you; your lifestyle and your family. I had given up all TV during the challenge with the exception of one television show (Biggest Loser) that I watch on a DVR over a 3 day span. I have given up video games and general computer time that I used to use to just sit on the couch/recliner/office chair to be able to get up earlier to work on fitness or in the evenings to prep dinner. I think it boils down to … what is a priority to you…

For my story: The women in my family have suffered from type2 diabetes for far too long. Others have had cancer and various other medical conditions.  I reflect on those women and know that I do not wish to suffer the same fate they have had to endure. Obviously we have been doing something wrong – life should not bet met with challenges to walk or breathe. Unable to do the things they want to do because their body simply won’t cooperate. I do not wish to betray those family members – so I will not list their specific issues or names … but I use them as my motivation to not make the same mistakes of putting other things first. I’ve learned that when I make my health a priority – everything else seems to fall in place. I do have time for my kids; I’m more productive at work and I feel better about myself!

Putting this in perspective – I have young children – 11 months, 4years, 10years and 13 years old; I do not want any of them to have see their mother go through such distress. I want them to be able to know I’m “OK” and can be there for them if needed!  When my youngest is 36; I will be 72… Many of the women in my family have not had quality life or even been around to see 72. I want to be there for my children and live a long healthy life with my husband. So health is a huge priority; too many women in my family have died too early because they did not take care of themselves. I must learn this so I do not pass the same to our children. Realizing why you are doing it is sometimes all the motivation and “gumption” you need.

So how did we do? Was it worth it? LOL We have a new iPad2 – so I think I figured this stuff out! Yes, I won the challenge.

Results:

Me – 17lbs lost; 5.4% body fat reduction – won 1st place (2pants sizes dropped)

Scott – 20lbs lost; 2.3% body fat reduction – won 3rd place

Our results were in 30 days.

The 25 day challenge with the kids:

13 yr old – 8lbs; 2 pants sizes

10 yr old 7lbs; leaned out – no pants size change

4 yr old – 2lbs; leaned out – no pants size change; milk belly reduced

Other info on the kids challenge can be found here.

So where do we go from here? How will we proceed on our journey? I’ve lost 65lbs since Jan 1. (85lbs since Rosalie was born last Nov) – I still have roughly 50lbs to go. We still have a paleo dinner every night. The kids are allowed 1 non paleo dinner once a week (meaning they may have tacos while we have taco salad). Mon-Fri as strict paleo as possible for the grown ups; kids are taking paleo lunches 2-3 times a week. Weekends – we’re sticking to paleo as much as possible – but will splurge every other weekend – for one meal as our tummies will tolerate. Keep in mind – every cheat may set you back 2-5lbs. That may make your week a wash. So those cheats should be used wisely!

I am very thankful that Scott found Crossfit and we were introduced to Paleo. This has really changed so much for us. Our kids are much more involved in their fitness and health choices and we feel so much better. Reversing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Insulin Resistance issues for me! – One more step on our way to live, love and celebrate 100 years 🙂

Side note: I’ll be posting recipes used and links used in a separate post – this one was already LONG enough! More on Paleo Diet HERE

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