Eating for performance
“This challenge has been like a long, unfinished epic novel for me. Think Game of Thrones or Harry Potter—before J.K. Rowling released book 7. I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but what’s life without a little drama. Backstory: I am a competitive Olympic Weightlifter who has been competing for 11 years, 13 National level meets, and always as a 58kg lifter. My weight struggles have fluctuated throughout the years as I’ve experimented with different ways of dieting down into my weight class as my natural weight (up until about 5 months ago) always hovered around 60kg. I’ve done my own “paleo challenges” in the past 2 years since discovering pale, but never this strict, always allowing myself the occasional Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza from CPK or Paleo treat that was made with honey. After a hip injury sidelined me from working out for about 2 months earlier this year, I stepped on the scale and was heavier than normal. So I tried cutting the sugar. I tried cutting the gluten. I tried doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox. But I could never stick to it longer than about 4-5 days. So I decided I’d do the challenge. Hoping that keeping track of my points would keep me honest, and on point throughout this. Plus, the challenge ends about 2 1/2 weeks before Nationals, so I’d just keep plugging along after and make weight no problem!
The smartest thing I did before beginning the challenge, was about a month out, I cut my sugary Starbucks drinks out. Prior, I was having about 2-5 White Mocha Lattes with Caramel Sauce (Grande or Venti). It was hard, but, I found bullet proof coffee, and was totally fine.
Cutting out the sugar (mostly not being able to have paleo treats with honey) was tough but I replaced them with dates, made a ton of sweet potatoes, and pushed through. Coffee started to become an issue as I wasn’t cutting the coffee with sugar or cream or milk, the acidity was too much for my stomach and I was getting pretty nauseous. For about two weeks, I cut it out completely, until we found a cold brew system which apparently cuts the acidity by 67%. It worked because I’m able to have that with water and a splash of coconut milk, with no ill effects.
Four weeks in. I looked and felt leaner, my lifting was going really well and my injury wasn’t bothering me at all as I was lifting more and heavier weights. Performance wise, I felt great. But as I stepped on the scale, I had gained weight. Usually when I do my own “paleo version” its less strict and I always loose weight. So here I was, 4 weeks into this challenge and had no weight loss, and was literally freaking out. So I looked at what I was eating, and found out pretty soon what this issue was. I was super over eating on sweet potatoes and dates. Like a crazy person. So I stopped. I started weighing my portions and ate only lean meat, veggies, and only had starchy veggies after a workout (ei sweet potatoes). And it worked. I lost about 4 kilos in two weeks.
A better way to Cut Weight
Now I’m going a little extreme for a VERY specific purpose. This is NOT how I will live my life post July 18th (Nationals). But it has been a very interesting journey. I know now that just cutting the gluten and fake sugar isn’t enough any more. I need to control my portions too. Just because it’s sweet potatoes and dates doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories. Or that they don’t have carbohydrates. Yes they are good for me, and yes in moderation I can defiantly eat them. but there’s no need to eat an entire tray of Paleo Date Nut Bars over the course of 5 days (adding fruit and coconut oil on top of course). It was really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that even though the food I was eating was good for me, too much is still TOO MUCH. Even being down 4 kilos, I’m still hitting big weights on the platform and I really do feel better than ever. I’m not as tired (except during my 4 hour long lifting sessions) and look leaner than ever. And now that I’ve cut everything out, I’d give ANYTHING for just one date (or maybe twelve)!”
Kick butt at Nationals Michelle!!