So it’s probably time to share that I started a four week health challenge on 1 February 2016. It felt more appropriate to begin something nightmarish in February when the fun of starting a new year has worn right off.
The health challenge involves a pretty hectic food regime, based on the high protein low carb approach to eating, and working out nine times a week. This week one update serves a few purposes: 1. a reminder that I’ve survived one week, and only have to survive three more; 2. a recap of what worked and what didn’t; and 3. if anyone is thinking of undertaking something similar, some tips on how not to drive yourself insane.
The biggest part of this challenge is the food. You eat often, and you eat a lot. My food day looks like this:
Morning: Nuts, 4-egg omelette with veggies (occasionally subbing in a smoothie), fish oil and protein shake.
Day: morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea consisting of meat and veg (with a little starch added for lunch); two coffees; one serve of magnesium (which I take as a powder mixed in water); as much water as I can reasonably drink.
Night: pre and post workout protein shake; dinner of meat and veg; chai tea (no milk).
I attend my workout group four to five mornings a week. To make up the extra workouts, I go to the gym with my boyfriend in the evening where we will lift together, and then play a little tennis or squash (I’m new to both, he’s being very patient). I’m also starting to train for my second Ironman 70.3 race, so I’m incorporating a swim, bike and run a week.
- Eating clean. I hated that phrase for the longest time, but there’s some credit to advocating for eating unprocessed foods. My skin has become clearer, I’m way more regular (ew, soz), and I feel much more energetic than normal when I rely heavily on Nutella and the $1 fundraiser chocolates at work.
- Feeling energised. Exercise brings me the kind of positive endorphins I need to get through a rough work week, and feel motivated to only eat the clean food. Once I feel slumpy, all I crave is more slumpy food.
- Meal prep. The organisation required to make lasting through this diet is hard, and it can be your sole down fall, if you let it. I’ve found it necessary to shop on Sunday, then dedicate two hours on Sunday afternoon (even if I don’t need the full two hours), to chopping, slicing, dicing and cooking all the veg I need for the week, plus the meat for Monday and Tuesday (I prefer to eat my meat as freshly cooked as possible, and my freezer is too tiny to fit in the frozen peas and berries, as well as frozen meat).
- 3pm. The dreaded workday hour when chocolate cravings hit you full force, and the fundraiser box on your secretary’s desk screams ‘eat me! it’s for charity!’. I get up, make a coffee or tea, refill my water, remind myself of my goals, and eat a carrot stick. But it’s hard, and it requires some serious will power.
- Week two will consist of upping the intensity of my training sessions, and incorporating more running and biking.
- Food will remain on point. I have one work lunch where I will need to eat off a menu, but I will skip my afternoon snack, and thankfully we can preorder, so I’m going to order off the light menu for small portion size.
- I have my first PT session to work towards my most stand-alone goal of the year: complete some pull-ups. I’m excited.
I’m looking forward to sharing my overall progress with you at the end of Fit February. It’s tough, but I’m finding it really empowering to be in charge of my food cravings and to avoid treating food as a reward.
Have you tried something like this before? Any tips, or anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments 🙂