Today marks the monumental close to Crossfit Quantum’s Spring Leaning 2010!  I would like to give a huge congrats to all the challengers who stayed strong until the bitter end.  It was not an easy 7 weeks – with weddings, birthdays, bachelor parties, trips to LA and Ireland – but you all stayed on track and I’m so proud.  You should be really happy with yourselves.  The winners will be announced on Friday once we’ve had time to review the pic’s and measurements.  I’ve already seen some big losses, so it’s going to be a close competition.  2 people are going home lean in the waist and heavy in the wallet.  The suspense is killing me!!

Now that the challenge is over, it’s time to put a plan in place to keep up the momentum.   You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, so don’t throw it all away by going back to your bad habits.  Here are some tips to keep you going:

  1. Be diligent with your meal planning and grocery shopping – don’t get lazy and decide you’re going to forgo food prep for the week.  As soon as you decide you’ll “just grab takeout for breakfast and lunch this week” instead of making it, you’re putting yourself at risk for getting back into old habits.  It only takes an hour to prep a bunch of good food to keep you going throughout the week. 
  2. Don’t forget the 80/20 rule – Aim for 100% perfection and net out at about 80%. This should allow you to maintain a social life and not go insane.  Be aware of what 20% really means….it’s really only about 2-3 meals per week.  Keep it clean as much as possible!
  3. Cheat smart – I’ve said this before and it needs to continue.  Don’t go on a bender and inhale a huge cake and pint of ice cream.  You can undo your hard work so much faster than it takes to reach your goal.  Save your cheats for something cheat-worthy, like a piece of homemade cake from my mother-in-law.  Not a soft serve from McDonalds.  Better yet, try to reach for a ‘paleo-friendly’ dessert like my strawberry-rhubarb crumble instead of the sugar, gluten and processed crap.  
  4. Be creative – It’s easy to fall into a trap of eating the same 5 meals every week and this can lead to cheating and cravings because you get bored.  Seek out new meats, veggies and recipes to keep things interesting.  It only takes 5 minutes to whip together a marinade that will make your chicken kebabs so much more delicious and interesting.  
  5. Spread the love – people are surely going to notice that you’ve shed some lbs (semi-primal husband is getting complimented like crazy! I’m going to have to carry a taser to keep the ladies away from him.)….tell them how you did it! Celebrate and share your successes in order to keep you motivated to stay on track.  Be proud of your accomplishments!  Spread the love by bringing a paleo-friendly dish to a dinner party to show your friends that it doesn’t have to be boring or weird to be delicious.  I brought a cabbage slaw and this sweet potato pie to a dinner party I was invited to last week…it was a big hit and no one realized it was Paleo-friendly.
  6. Set some more goals – set a new set of performance or body goals that you want to focus on until September.  Keep going throughout the summer and give yourself a new challenge to work on.  I’ve got to do this myself.  Don’t forget to write it down!
  7. Reflect – This process has probably made you realize some interesting things about yourself.  Take note of those things and remember them.   If you started performing better at the gym, slept better or had less cravings, fit into your booty-shorts etc etc, then remember that.  It was likely a result of your nutrition.  Save it as a reminder to help you continue with your clean eating.

Personally, I’ve learned a few things about myself through this process.  Going 30 days with no cheats, no wine or dairy is not easy.  But, I made it through with 100% paleo perfect for 30 days and I didn’t need to stay under house-arrest.  I’m also happy to report that  I didn’t kill anyone or ruin my marriage!  I was shocked that it wasn’t the desserts that I missed, rather it was the wine that I really missed.  Having a nice steak dinner on a Saturday night just isn’t the same without the wine pairing.  My crippling cravings for dessert have subsided and I’m able to be around cake without wanting to rip out my eyeballs.  The results really surprised me because I thought my diet was already pretty squeaky clean – I hit PR’s across all my lifts (except Press) during the challenge.  I got my 5 dead hang pull-ups and 1 hand-stand push-up.  The scale might not be going down for me, but all my other numbers are going up and I couldn’t be happier.  Of course, this is also a testament to the amazing programming and coaching at Crossfit Quantum – awesometown it is.

Big congrats to all the Spring Leaners and cheers to a fantastic summer!!

YAYAYAYAY!!!!!  YAY! Congrats to all our Crossfit Quantum Spring Leaners for making it through the 30 day induction period!!  We’ve already seen some huge gains (or losses!) from some of our participants….Big gains in PRs, LOTS of deadhang pull-ups, and lost inches and pounds!  Congrats to our 1/2 marathon runners who took on their first Paleo-powered run this past weekend!  AND a big shout-out goes to Crossfit Quantum member and fellow paleo-enthusiast Elanna who made it through to the Crossfit Games in California!  We’ve still got 3 weeks left until the challenge ends and that means there is time for even more wins. I’m so happy for everyone so far!

Now that the first 30 days are done, it’s time to check in on your progress. The big questions are: How are you feeling?  How are you looking?  Is your performance improving?  Hopefully you’re seeing positive improvements in all of these areas.  And if you’re not, don’t worry, because we’ve got 3 more weeks to keep workin on it!

The end of the first 30 days also means that we move onto Phase 2.   Phase 2 is where you can introduce some things back into your diet and allow for some ‘cheats’.  Phase 2 is the perfect time for you to figure out the best way to adapt clean eating into your life so that it sticks beyond the challenge.  

Depending on your goals or if you’re looking for more dramatic and fast changes, then sticking with the induction guidelines would be best.  You have to decide what you want to do based on your goals. 

Check out the Spring Leaning page for specifics on Phase 2.  After you’ve checked those out, here are some tips for success:

  1. Try 1 Day and Wait and See:  If you want to try adding some dairy back into your diet, add it in for one day and wait and see how you feel.  How is your tummy?  How’s your #2?  Not so good? You might find that you’re sensitive to dairy…I did this test and realized pretty quickly that I have a sensitivity if I have too much.  If you seem to be OK with some Dairy, it should be in limited amounts and quality is key.  Dairy induces an insulin response and not healthy for your gut – this is why we recommend that you keep it out, however I understand that coffee tastes better with a wee bit of cream/milk (especially Tim Hortons! That stuff is like cow pee when you drink it black….so gross). 
  2. Aim to be perfect 100% of the time and net out at 80%-90%.  Allowing for some ‘cheats’ is psychologically rewarding and a great way to have balance in your life.  Having some drinks or a treat once in a while is totally fine.  Put your best effort into making everyday perfect, but when you’ve got a bad craving or social outing don’t feel guilty about indulging…..just keep it to between 10-20% of the time.  So if you eat 3 meals per day, you have 21 opportunities to eat during the week.  Therefore, you could have about 2-3 cheats.  Unless your cheat is a big binge, then limit it to one time.  You get the idea….Use your discretion and always keep your goals in mind.  Check out my Recipe Index for some Paleo-ized desserts!
  3. Don’t fall totally off the wagon!  It’s so easy to kick off your Paleo shoes and celebrate the end of the first 30 days by binging on cupcakes, wine, pizza, beer, chocolate bars and chips (maybe it’s just me who does stuff like that? i can be a savage.).   Be smart about it….don’t turn a treat into a bender or a big binge.  You can undo your work so much faster than it takes to get there.  I know I can easily pack on 5 extra Lbs in a weekend, but it would take me a month to lose it.  Don’t forget what you’ve worked so hard for!  Don’t forget how you all felt on Day 1 after your pre-challenge binge…sugar asthma!?!?! And don’t forget how you felt when you got that PR, pull-up or didn’t need to wear a loose blouse to cover your muffin top!
  4. Start thinking beyond the challenge.  This is a permanent lifestyle change that will lead to long-lasting health and wellness – now is the time to start planning how you’re going to keep working this program into your life.  Think about what’s working for you and what is not.    If you’re not happy with certain aspects of eating clean (bored? not seeing results?), now is the time to ask for some guidance and support.  

And finally, some deep thoughts from Semi-Primal Husband who is participating in this challenge and has made huge improvements in his eating (I’m so proud!):

“I thought I would miss cream in my coffee the most, but I don’t think I’ll go back to having it.  I’m really enjoying my Americano black.”
“Those olives (stuffed with almonds! paleo bonus!) are really satisfying.  You need to eat stuff like this to satisfy your cravings.”
As we’re eating bacon-wrapped Elk tenderloin…“This is the kind of thing you should give someone starting this challenge to show them that eating this way can feel indulgent and that it doesn’t need to be boring”
“I still miss my beer.” 

Keep up the amazing work everyone!!

YEAAAA!!!  Get excited because this is going to be awesome!  I’m pleased to announce my latest partnership project with Crossfit Quantum – “Spring Leaning 2010”.  Drum roll please….  

If you’re in Toronto, I highly recommend that you come out to CFQ and check out their box and the challenge.  The kick-off seminars are Thurs Apr 29 @ 7pm and Sunday May 2nd @ 10am.  

I’ll be hijacking my site and dedicating a page to posts and recipes related to the challenge.  Even if you don’t live in Toronto, you can follow along on the dedicated page (work in progress – it will be up soon!) and do your own Spring Leaning challenge.  The first day of summer is only 7 weeks away…it’s time to get lean and mean!