Regular readers know that Mr GG and I are in the middle of what we’re lovingly calling the Parkman Paleo Challenge – a month-long step-up of what we’ve been doing in a slightly half-hearted fashion, namely crossfit and paleo eating.
And it’s been interesting, to say the least. It has been nearly as challenging as starting at the beginning, and thinking about why that should be the case has revealed some home truths about what we’ve been doing. Namely:
1) slipping into bad habits. Now, I firmly believe dieting is for fools, and fat fools at that. The only way to not be fat for ever, is to eat differently for ever. And the way to do that is broadly follow the 80/20 rule, that is, to eat well 80% of the time. Being a bit more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth has led me to believe that I was doing a bit more of a 50/50 plan. It’s easy to take your foot off the pedal, so a piece of office birthday cake here, a bar of Dairy Milk there, a cheeky sausage sandwich…. before you know it the weight loss has stalled, you’ve got discouraged and then you give it all up as a bad job, because it’s ‘not working’.
The lesson: before you decide it isn’t worth perservering, think about whether you’re actually putting in your best effort.
2) failing to plan. If you are chosing to eat in a slightly different way, you will soon discover that the world isn’t really set up for you. Sandwich shops are heavy on the carbs, train buffet cars or airport departure lounges aren’t particularly paleo-friendly. So you need to think ahead otherwise you’ll find yourself at 5am, starving, shoving a cheese baguette in your face, or at 10pm, in Tesco Express, eating a pork pie.
The lesson: look ahead at your week, work out when you’ll be late home, when you’ll be out of the office travelling all day, when you might be confronted with cake, and make a contingency plan. Nuts are your friend here.
3) self-sabotage. Now I am the high priestess of self-sabotage. You can tell yourself that ‘one won’t hurt’ or ‘there was no choice’ as much as you like, but if you agree to meet your friends at Pizza Express, it’s pretty likely you’re going to be eating some baked dough. So, as much as you hate being a fussy eater, or picky, you need to put yourself first. I am very lucky in that all my friends are supportive of what I’m trying to do, because they know how unhappy being fat makes me and can see how much happier I am now. So they check what I can eat when I go to dinner with them, they are happy to eat somewhere different to ensure I’ve got menu options, they ask how the training is going and whoop when I lift 70kg. They decide not to have dessert so I don’t see them eating cheesecake.
The lesson: don’t set yourself up to fail by making excuses. If you meet someone for coffee in a cupcake shop, and eat a cupcake, it kind of is your fault and it could be helped. Look at your motives and be very honest with yourself as to whether you are simply making excuses. And, I’m going to be a bit harsh/radical here. If your friends aren’t supportive of you, maybe it’s time to get some new friends. Be around people who support you and inspire you, not undermine you.
4) it’s not just about ‘formal’ exercise. One hour in the gym, three times a week, does not make up for 8 hours sitting on your rumpe. You’ve got to be more active, more of the time. For me, walking has been the thing. Getting of the tube two stops early, walking part of the way to the station… I clock up at least 10,000 steps a day and yes, it means taking longer to get to places, but the activity is more important – it’s a question of priorities.
The lesson – decide what’s important and do that. Losing weight is important so I prioritise that over watching telly.
So, a lot has been learned in two weeks. And 5lb has been lost. 17kg in total now. So, all worth it, right?