The results are in, folks. My first paleo challenge is in the history books.
In retrospect, I was a little blind about what I was getting myself into. I could’ve tested the waters with a Whole30, but no, no I had to do an 8 week challenge. Learn how to reset the entire way I ate. Forgo drinking (almost). GIVE UP HUMMUS.
I won’t lie. It was hard. And I had several unexpectedly emotional moments when it seemed like NOTHING was paleo. I cheated here and there to stay sane, but once I was in, I had to see it all the way through.
Stoic in the face of pizza. Day drinking without the drinks. Work travel free of baked goods and soy lattes.
I stayed strong. And the people around me were supportive, especially my fellow athletes. We cheered and counted for each other during the Lurong WODs. We devised equipment hacks when the workout called for bizarre equipment quantities and weights. We even Paleo pot lucked together, sharing war stories and clean food.
But Erin, that’s all heartwarming and all, but did your 8 weeks of trial and tribulation actually DO ANYTHING?
What was I able to measure in 8 weeks time? Here are a few:
Strength: I set goals for myself at the beginning of the challenge and tested myself as things wound down. Whether it was the diet or just the time I’ve put in, I steadily crept up in weight and strength across several different lifts and movements.
- Graduated from green to blue band for pull ups
- Set a new 1 mile PR. Old: 9:15 New: 8:02
- PR’d in my clean, C&J, Snatch, Squat and Deadlift
WODs: The first 3 WODs were repeated so we could measure any progress after all that clean living. Without a doubt I had improved.
- WOD 1 & 8: 15:26s / 10:19s (Wall balls, deadlifts, and box jumps. The two were night and day. My biggest improvement)
- WOD 2 & 9 12:44s / 12:23s (100 burpees, 100 kettle bell swings. I got 21 more reps in the second time around.)
- WOD 3 & 10 4:57s / 3:46s (Hang cleans and shuttle sprints. First time I almost didn’t finish. Second time finishing was never in question.)
Body: Weight loss wasn’t my goal but I lost 4lbs nonetheless. Clean eating (and beer avoiding) took inches off my waist, arms, legs and hips, and defined my muscles a hint.
Overall wellbeing: I feel lighter, faster, stronger and just clearer somehow. Energy is through the roof.
But Will You Keep It Up?
Uh, no. This challenge was particularly strict and I think I’d go mad if I had to obsess over every last ingredient all the time. I did form some great habits that I plan on maintaining. Simpler foods. Planning ahead. Navigating restaurant menus. A better balanced intake of protein and vegetables than ever before.
It was all worth it. If only to make that celebratory, post-challenge beer and burger the most delicious thing I’ve EVER EATEN EVER.