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Welcome challengers and readers to another Grit Challenge themed post! If you’ve missed earlier posts or want to re-read some you can find them here:

Today sums up the entire challenge and will be the final post for the Grit 21 Day Challenge. The challenge officially ends on Saturday the 1st of December. But turn that frown upside down- just because the challenge has finished doesn’t mean you can’t have a challenge of your own; and DEFINITELY does not mean you can’t keep doing Grit Strength. So instead of letting those 3 weeks just be another 3 weeks where you jumped on the wagon only to fall off it the day after you finished, why not set yourself some new goals, try new classes (Body Step- best class ever), and continue attending those Grit Strength classes! Because challenge or not, the benefits of Grit are still there.

Before wrapping up my Grit Challenge Series I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the challenge, to the Captains, the club- Go Health, and to those of you who tuned in for each instalment and got involved through comments. Without the other challengers and the fantastic captains there’d be no challenge- (duh) but there also wouldn’t be the competitive, encouraging and exciting environment and atmosphere that was always there with us through every (painful) class. For many of us there also wouldn’t be the motivation to continue going and annihilate this challenge and our goals.

Now let’s get into it. Naturally, being a group fitness instructor, an active gym participant (I’ma say gym-athlete if there ever was one) and a passionate fitness person I loved this challenge. Whilst I wasn’t gung ho about the meal plan, I felt it wasn’t essential for the Challenge- which made it really easy for literally anyone to get involved. However, setting goals was great.

I’m a goal setter anyway, so this was right up my alley. For those of us who need that little bit of push and organisation- this was the perfect way to keep on task. Although we handed our goals in at the start, actually writing them down imprinted them into my mind so they were never far away when I needed something to help me get one more push up jack in, or stack some extra weight on the bar. Did I accomplish my goals? Well I think so. I know for sure I increased my squat weight- twice actually! Which was an awesome feeling. [Side note: A not so awesome feeling? Lifting the bar up and down between those squats and jumps- I can squat it fine but boy do I struggle to lift it!]. I definitely saw myself getting stronger and fitter also. I was able to work harder during the classes and my other classes benefited too- I can rock out tricep push ups like nobodies business [on the toes people!]. Now goal number 2- the vanity goal. I guess this one is subjective, and someone with my history might not be the best judge in this case, but I did take photos to compare. One at the start of the challenge and near the end. I debated with myself, asked my partner and thought long and hard about whether or not to upload the pictures. I didn’t want to insult, scare, show off, revolt (ha) etc any of you. What I did want to do is show you that it does and can work. Personally, I can see differences- but that might just be me since I tend to go over myself with a fine tooth comb at times.

(Before -> After)

Now these differences might not be JUST due to the incorporation of Grit and the challenge, but they definitely had an impact. My diet (in terms of what I eat- not a fad thing) didn’t change at all (complex carbs were still my good friends) and my exercise regime (albeit pretty high) still remained the same, with the addition of (soon to be- one more tonight!) 7 Grit Strength classes into my usual routine.

These weren’t the only improvements. We all know that real health starts (and lasts!) with our minds and our mental health. These classes gave me more confidence- yes I CAN do it, drive- relit my fitness crazy fire and self/body love. That last one is a really important one for me and truth be told most of us probably don’t see this as a priority, but it is. I began to incorporate rest days into my training (overtraining=bad idea), I listened and responded to my body and I nourished it. Some days (after that 9 hr extra fat burning woo!) my body was hungrier than normal. Other days my body was sore and needed some extra stretches and foam rolling. I complied. It’s not giving in but working with my body.

Before this turns into a novel (too late?) I’m going to wrap it up. But the discussion doesn’t have to end there- I’d LOVE to hear your challenge stories- struggles, triumphs, funny moments, so please leave a comment and lets continue this community feel! For those who are members at Go Health- see you round the gym (I teach Thursday night 5:40pm- Step!) and for my readers, I’ll chat to you in the morning.

What’s your Grit Challenge story? Please share!

If you’ve enjoyed this Grit Challenge Series and like what you see read please follow my blog by entering your email address into the right sidebar (where it says ‘Follow Blog Via Email’). Or connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook. Alternatively send me an email to bekatcrave [at] gmail [dot] com if you want to chat.

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Hey challengers and my usual lovely readers! If you’re currently experience sore muscles, constant sweatiness and your exhausted- I’m guessing your deep into the challenge. Have you set your goals yet? I hope you’re well on your way too smashing them!

Anyways, we all know that exercise and moving your body is important for good health, weight loss and being happy! But exercise is only half of it. There’s also this other issue called food. Often we have the best intentions when approaching a new exercise plan or regime, only to forget about our diet (diet as in our eating habits- not those stupid fad diets!). Or possibly you are totally clueless about the ‘right’ and ‘wrongs’, or ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. But before we get into any of that let me get one thing straight- there’s no such thing as good or bad foods, I absolutely hate labels and I’ll try my hardest to avoid using them. Instead of labelling the food just see the different food choices as things your body needs and things your body wants. Never deny yourself something, because that’s a recipe for disaster (trust me) and try to listen to how your body responds to the food you feed it. You’ll notice it runs better on all the right stuff anyways. Okay, rant ended. Let’s talk about the meal plan!

Now, if you’re following the meal plan at the moment there is going to be a huge variety of responses from each persons’ body depending on the individual. But I’ll bet that it’s loving all the protein, vegetables, healthy fats and water you’re giving it. To be perfectly honest when I first found out about the meal plan that came with the challenge I was immediately put off by the thought of it. Then I realised I can still do the challenge without the meal plan, considering I eat extremely healthy (whilst practising balance and moderation) anyways.

My reasons for not following the meal plan are simple. In my past I’ve had terrible relationships with food. First a deprivation and underuse, all the way to an abuse and coping mechanism. I’m finally in a great place with food and I didn’t want to burden that by placing restrictions and rules on myself. Some of you may be thinking to yourselves- well just substitute the food for what you want or switch it up. Without getting into it too much, I’m afraid it may not be that easy for me and I’m not willing to take that risk and fall back into bad habits. However, this does not mean that the meal plan is in my bin, no sir-ee. Whilst, I won’t be following the meal plan per-se I’m definitely open to trying out the recipes and the ‘recommendations’ it offers (everything actually looks so good and like realistic food!).

This meal plan is great in that it offers suggestions not just for your three main meals but for morning and afternoon snacks. This is a huge issue many ‘dieters’ (diets don’t work!) face. Often they under-eat and this is actually a huge hindrance to weight loss and weight maintenance in the future. The plan has laid out 5 separate meal suggestions, which will make sure you never go hungry (reduces cravings and binges) and so that you’ll have enough energy to continue those Grit Strength classes, as well as any other fitness classes you do (which is Body Step right?!).

If you want to get the best results (whatever they may be) possible from this challenge then it is probably best to follow the meal plan. However, that’s not to say that your own healthy eating won’t also ensure you get rockin’ results. My daily lifestyle and diet hasn’t been altered all that much, apart from throwing a few extra Grit classes in as often as I can. So if you’re wanting to eat healthy but not follow the meal plan to a T, here are my suggestions. You’ll also notice that many of them are evident in the eating plan also!

  • Drink lots of water! I am a h20 drinker only and find that liquid calories, so to speak, aren’t worth it. I’d rather an orange than orange juice! Plus if I want to have copious teaspoons of sugar, I won’t be drinking it in a soft drink- it’d be on something way more decadent and delicious.
  • Stock up on the vegetables & fruit! The meal plan says non-starchy vegetables, so it excludes potatoes and sweet potato etc which I think is ludicrous personally. However, that will help with weight loss…for the 3 weeks that is- what happen after? mmm. Plus I think having some natural sweetness from the fruit helps get hit those sweet cravings without all that other junk.
  • Have plenty of healthy fats- avocado, nut butters, unsalted nuts, olive oil etc. They may be calorie dense but they are necessary for normal body function. Plus getting some extra calories would be good, considering how many you burn off with everyday living, bodily functions and exercise!
  • Eat enough protein. I prefer lean proteins like chicken and turkey, but also enjoy tofu, eggs and tuna! I’m also not one to turn down some good red meat. These yummy foods will keep you fuller for longer and help build that lean muscle we are all after.
  • Eat wholegrains. This is where the plan and I disagree- I’ve found that since incorporating more wholegrains foods (wholegrain breads, brown rice, brown pasta etc) into my daily diet my cravings have dropped heaps! I also exercise way too much for my own good it would seem (haha!) so if you’re regularly slogging it at the gyms it’s really important to get in enough carbs!
  • Low fat dairy. They’ve made dairy products a food to avoid and here I am shaking my head. I’ve never been a huge dairy girl but I love me some 0% chobani, trim milk and occasionally low fat cheese.

And my NUMBER 1 TIP for any eating plan whatsoever- BALANCE & MODERATION. It is in bold and capital letters for a reason people!

Can you live the rest of your life without bread? Or without chocolate?! (Yes, it’s okay to have those kinds of food. Make sure when you do you enjoy it and don’t guilt trip yourself- or you’ll be in for an endless cycle). Well, why cut it out for 3 weeks only to start eating it again as soon as the challenge ends? I think in some aspects cutting out food groups could work if you were preparing for your wedding, a shoot or a big event. But that’s only temporary and would be a something you only do whilst you’re working up to the day. But really, if you want to live healthy for the rest of your life and stay at a healthy weight then making your diet and exercise choices a lifestyle is necessary! This is not a diet. This is a lifestyle change, so choose something that is sustainable. However, if you need extra motivation coming into this challenge maybe this meal plan is the perfect thing to get you into the zone for your healthy weight loss!

Everyone is different and I am by no way telling you the best thing to do for your body. You know what your body needs- just make sure you listen hard enough. I am also not a professional. But what I am is someone who has found peace, happiness and harmony with my healthy lifestyle (food + exercise), whilst enjoying all the good things life has to offer.

Are you following the meal plan? What is your favourite meal on the plan?

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