So I haven't blogged in about two months and I feel bad about it. One reason is because I was super busy and the other reason is because I couldn't think of what to say. I didn't know what to blog about and I think I was scared of what people would say about what I was thinking. Well, fear's never stopped me before, so why start now?
As many of you know, I started the Labrada 12 Week Challenge back at the end of January and I was SUPER excited about it. I am still doing the challenge (the last day for me is April 28) and have actually lost eight pounds since starting it. I love what it's taught me about weight lifting and I love what I've learned about eating. I love the ladies that I've "met" through the group. I genuinely love the challenge.
What I don't love about the challenge is the eating portion.
In the challenge, they want you to eat clean (Google it, I'm not going into it), eat small meals throughout the day (which works for me), and hit a certain calorie/macro count (macros are proteins, fats, and carbs). For the first month, I did AMAZINGLY well. I lost seven pounds in one month, which is my greatest amount of weight lost in a month yet. I stuck to that plan like glue and felt pretty good that I was doing it. However, my fiance doesn't follow the same plan and neither does any other person in my life.
Almost every day, my favorite foods were being eaten in front of me and I couldn't participate. I completely freaked out when someone wanted to go out to eat because WHAT WOULD I EAT?! Would it fit my macros? Was it cheating? I hated it. I had to bring a cooler if I stayed somewhere overnight. I had to bring a cooler and make clean muffins for my own BIRTHDAY party.
One week into month two, I broke. There was a tasting that I had to go to for my wedding and I was anxious. They were sampling out EVERYTHING and I would be damned if I didn't try it all (I'm glad I did since I ended up changing the menu). I ate more in that one meal than I normally did almost all day, I believe. It was kind of awful and I felt like total crap, but if I am paying thousands of dollars for food, you bet I'm going to make sure that it's EXACTLY what I want! And guess what? IT WILL BE NOW.
I don't know if my old, repressed unhealthy ways were triggered by a chemical reaction due to what I ate (like giving alcohol to an alcoholic, though clearly not as bad) or if it was all mental after restricting myself so much. Either way, something broke inside me and I couldn't help myself; I just ate whatever the hell I felt like. I still followed the work out plan, but I was totally lost on eating once I got home from work. At work, I do great. My breakfast and all my meals throughout the day are packed and I eat them two hours apart and I drink lots of water. Once I get home, all bets are off. I won't say that I binged, but I definitely ate more than my calorie/macro counts allowed and I ate whatever the hell I wanted.
It's been just over three weeks since that dinner and I am finally slowing down. I only lost one pound during month two and that pound is a testament to how great the workout plan is. I've been reading about nutrition more and about different plans that people follow, as well as a bit about eating disorders. I don't think I have one, but following this strict plan was seriously damaging my relationship with food and making me fear it. It was never going to be sustainable for me, not even for twelve weeks. Maybe, just maybe, if I lose enough weight and decide I want to compete in a bikini contest, I will stick to a twelve week plan. But not right now. I am planning a wedding and working like crazy and have a million stressors in my life. I can't keep up with all of that AND a strict meal plan.
It doesn't help that the lady running the program (who I adore and am not saying ANYTHING bad about because she is AMAZING) keeps telling us that ANY cheats are bad and that we shouldn't have problems with this since it's "only" twelve weeks long. Here's the thing: she is a FITNESS MODEL who is married to a man that also works in the fitness industry (I think he does body building and personal training, but I haven't been enough of a creep to find out). She's been doing this FOREVER and has a great support system. She was an athlete growing up (totally read her book) and gained weight from partying in college. I was a bullied fat chick in an abusive home growing up and I didn't have time for sports (nor was I inclined to play them). Food got me through some bad things at home and kept me sane. My relationship with food and hers are VERY different. She was fat for a few years. I was fat for my WHOLE LIFE (well, I still am). My cravings and habits are naturally going to be stronger due to this and far harder to fight than hers. I'm not saying this to belittle her struggle; I think what she did is AMAZING and she inspires me. I have pictures of her on my inspiration board. But I can't compare myself to her because we are very different people. I can't be what she is right now. I can't do what she does because I'm not there yet.
So, with all that being said, I am done with the strict meal plan. I don't even think I can do the plan where you eat whatever you want so long as you hit your caloric/macro count (If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM). It just isn't for me right now in my life. Instead, I am just going to try to limit my calories while trying to make sure I eat more protein than I did before this challenge (the challenge wants you to get 40% of you calories from protein, which I've learned is harder than I thought and I clearly wasn't getting enough protein before). I will still eat MOSTLY clean. This is doable for me. This can extend beyond a twelve week challenge. Yes, this is JUST twelve weeks, but damn it, I can't mend my crappy relationship with food by viewing it as the enemy. I need to make my relationship with food healthier and get more comfortable with it before I can attempt a strict food challenge again (because I know that I probably will).
That all being said, I LOVE the twelve week challenge and I am going to do the next one for sure. I am FINALLY back to my pre-college weight and in the best shape of my life, partly because of this challenge (the awesome muscles are almost ALL from this challenge). I have learned more about myself, health, and nutrition than I thought I would. I learned that I have some pretty big weaknesses that I wasn't aware of and I have something concrete to work on now. I have grown from this challenge and have made some serious progress, which is what it's all about. I can go into month three and kick some serious butt doing things MY way and there is no shame in that.
<3 - CFC