So today I had a good workout - first one I felt good about in a long time... of course - at a super poopy time (shoulder surgery in 2 weeks)... BUT - since we've had a delay recruiting enough people who wanted to change their life by altering their diet... I decided I'd do some pre-challenge prepwork.
I want to start by saying - I HIGHLY recommend it. I tend to get into these things and falter at first because I wasn't properly prepped for it. There are kinks to work out, things that you didn't think to consider, etc that can hinder your start. (and please, feel free to chime in if I leave anything out - which I'm sure I will). But I'll start with a story.
After this morning's workout, I came into work with a mild headache. It turned into a pounding, work-stopping, dysfunctionalizing (yes, I just made that up) headache. (OK, is debilitating a better word?) Anyway, I thought it might be a salt issue - because I'm prone to electrolyte imbalances post-workout. But salt tablets were entirely ineffective. I tried chugging massive amounts of water (ok, just a 1 liter bottle, but that's a lot in a short window). That didn't help either. I thought I had eaten a decent breakfast: 3 eggs, 1/3 of an avocado, and 5 slices of red bell pepper. I was at a loss as to why I had this horrible headache (other than stress, but we're leaving that out for now, only because this time, it's actually irrelevant-ish).
So as the headache got worse and lights were overwhelming, people talking just made me hurt (I put ear plugs in), my stomach turned all but inside-out... I got so desparate as to take 2 Excedrin Migraine tablets (and if you know me, you might know that I HATE taking pills unless there are no other options, and mid-headache is a terrible time to have to think of options)... and then it hit me - I needed sugar. I have been working towards cutting sugar out of my diet (going paleo) and this was a withdraw issue... but by that point - I had lost my mind and panicked... so I went for the closest source of sugar here in the office - hot cocoa. Within seconds - it eased considerably (almost gone entirely). That was it, sugar.
As you might imagine, I texted that infinitely wise coach of ours for ideas (this was right before I made the hot cocoa). I made the cocoa, took a few sips and within seconds, it eased up. I was amazed. Then I got a text back to eat fruit. Not juice, not dried fruit - just whole fruit. I happened to have an orange sitting by me at the time, so... well - I ate it. It was a great suggestion, and one that I didn't consider even though it was staring right at me the whole time I had the headache.
And that brings me to why I'm writing this...
For those of you (us) who are antsy to start this next paleo challenge - there's LOTS we can do to prepare for it (and might be more successful if we take this time to prep). I learned that when I bonk, I panic and run for the closest source of 'medication' available (excedrin and processed sugar). Not good.
I've spent the past week feeding my chickens all the non-deadly but non-paleo carbs that were in the house, clearing out pantries and cupboards, fridge and freezer to prepare for this challenge. It's a process, and one that can take time. But if you have junk in the house, it's inevitable, you'll eat it. I usually live by the 'out of sight, out of mind' method and hide junk food on myself all the time... my memory's so crappy it actually works! BUT - I also end up finding candy bars a year+ after I bought them and they've now turned from brown to white and are a bit... harder than they're supposed to be (trash). It's helped, but I (you) also have to plan how to manage my (your) workouts and diet to allow for fuelling and recovery... So here are some tips. (again, feel free to chime in. Unlike Rob, I don't know it all) hehehehe (50 burpee penalty for offending the coach?) These aren't new, more just reminders of what you probably already know... and an additional reminder to lay some groundwork for success in this challenge.
1) Get rid of the crap in your house. If you have family who isn't on the paleo-train - then have your spouse, roommate, child, etc hide it out of sight. Seriously, if you don't know it's there, you won't think to eat it in a pinch. No buying junk for the family when you're tasked with the grocery buying detail - if they want it (and support your efforts), tell them to buy it themselves separately, and hide it promptly.
2) Stock up on the fuits and some 'quick fixes' for sugar withdraw symptoms - they're guaranteed to happen. Cutting out sugar makes me grumpy, intolerant, headachy, stomach achy and generally miserable and ornery (more than usual, thank you). Give yourself the best chance to succeed - stock up and batten down the hatches.
3) Make LOTS of food when you cook - so you have healthy, protien-rich snacks throughout the day. Making dinner? Make a HUGE dinner and package leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, or 'emergency meals,' or even lazy moments.
* Buy your nuts of choice, your nut-butter (not peanut butter, peanuts aren't nuts, duh).
*I shouldn't be telling you this, but Market of Choice has Beelers Uncured Bacon Ends... FOR $6.99/POUND OF BACON!!!!! I challenge you to clean them out before I do. hahaha. (not really, leave some for me) But I will bake massive quantities of bacon (@400 degrees for 20 minutes, covered in foil, uncovered the last 5 minutes). Bacon is an AWESOME snack any time of day (or night), and a great source of both protein, fat, and salts... and tastes really good with veggies too, so no need for dips or hummus.
*Hardboil eggs - cook lots of them... they make a great (and filling) snack.
*Squash - they last a long time. Pick big ones, cook them up, and portion them out as sides for many meals.
4) Oh, and verbatim from his text: "On days you exercise, it is important to get carbs post-workout, just avoid simple sugars, eat whole food." (courtesy: Rob) My high protien/fat/veggie breakfast missed the carb bit by a mile... don't do that. It's not good. Further more (from him): "You need to have either some yams, or sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes, or some sort of starch or tuber, butternut squash (or acorn squash) - just some sort of carbohydrate source."
5) Surf the web for recipes and other paleo tips... consort with fellow Crossfitters/paleo eaters/people who are allergic to any foods that aren't paleo (seriously, I work with a girl who's allergic to almost all food - I didn't know it was possible, but she's got some killer knowledge of how to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free and even protein-free... but that's where I tune out). ;)
OK, my list is exhausted (told you, my knowledge isn't 'vast'... just excessively wordy and I use lots of parentheses). But I'm going to pretend that this novel of my morning will be helpful in reminding you that strict paleo can be tough... so the more you can prep, the better off you'll be. And keep these things in mind, like the fact that you WILL go into sugar withdraw and it will suck! Bad! So mentally prepare for it and do what you can to mitigate the effects and manage the symptoms without cracking (no hot cocoa for you!!!). Do as I say, not as I do. :P
Have a great one guys, and see you at the box!!
**Update: If you're going to eat just an orange (or apple, or any fruit) for carbs, be sure to follow it up with a more substantial source and amount of carbohydrate - or you will bonk again. Not that that just happened to me... sorta.**