Honestly, I thought I’d be writing a lot more about How to Eat, but this week has shown me how exhaustingly busy I make myself. Ideas for blog posts get pushed to the back-burner and I feel I’m constantly short on time while overwhelmed with material and things to do. But none of that really has much to do with the How to Eat Challenge, or how Week 2 went…
The most obvious data I collected came from my daily weights. Last week, Week 1 I dropped a bunch of weight. This week, I didn’t lose or gain anything. Since this is an experiment, this doesn’t mean anything to me on a personal goals level. Just things that make me go hmmm…
So, what has changed, if anything from last week to this week? Well, looking back on my own notes, I didn’t do a great job at consistently tracking data during Week 1. This week I did significantly better. I am weighing myself daily and tracking my sleep (as well as I can without an Oura ring). I write what time I go to bed and when I wake up, understanding that I don’t fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. My other data points are my macro-nutrient (protein, fat, and carbs), water, and caloric intakes for the day.
Things that are different from what I can tell are:
1.Fat intake has spiked.
I’m basically doing Keto, from the data I’m collecting. My average fat percentage was 45%-50% this week. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The fats I eat are considered healthy fats– nuts, olive oil, chia seeds, avocado. But at 45%, it’s probably too much, at least for myself. Especially since I’m not looking to do Keto.
2. I’ve lowered my criteria for lunch and breakfast meals.
After missing 2 meals within 3 days due to my constraints, I made the executive decision that 30 minutes for these two meals may be too much. At least for me, and Chris. So, I’ve lowered the time to 20 minutes, but I’m keeping the constraints of sitting during my meals and no media. And this is just for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is still 30 minutes (which we have no problems complying there).
I really don’t feel this is contributing to a plateau, but it is something to keep in mind. Am I eating faster now? Not being mindful?
3. My cardio is reduced (not by choice)
This isn’t completely How to Eat Challenge related, but it is related to our overall fitness, so the data is relevant. My rotator cuff was on the mend, everything was looking rosy and sunshiney, and then my shoulder started hurting again. But in a different way than before. Before, rowing was fine, push-ups were okay (I suck at them, but they didn’t hurt), and bicep activation work was good. What killed me were high pulls, pull-ups, and lateral raises.
Now I’m experiencing the exact opposite. Pull-ups are fine, but rowing kills me unless I stop focusing on form. Paired with my knees constantly giving me trouble, and I become limited in what I can do in my workout. I’m seeing a chiropractor and a physical therapist, but my cardio workout intensity has gone down.
The only reason I’m not sold on the cardio aspect being an issue is 1) I am still working out, just modifying, and 2) I’m logging my workouts as low intensity and it’s not making me go over on my calorie goal.
I’m actually considering what I’m experiencing is over-training. I’m not getting the endorphin release I’m used to experiencing during a workout. And even though my intensity is down, I’m ramping up how much I do. Daily.
So while it’s not How to Eat specific, this is still something to consider for the week ahead.
What has improved?
I will say I’ve seen a couple interesting areas of improvement. Not physical improvements, but overall life improvements.
Sitting down to eat with my husband every night and not having any distractions is super nice. We are connecting on an even higher level. Sharing what has gone well during the day and what we’d like to work on. Although both of us are really itching to watch another Studio Ghibli movie (we really liked My Neighbor Totoro), we enjoy our dinners together even more.
This has also led to us spending a little more time getting Optimize coaching modules finished. Which is important to both of us. I hate feeling like I’m way behind schedule, even when I know they give us catch-up weeks. Having this time together is really helpful, and brings us closer together.
The other area I’ve seen improvement is in my sleep. I’m getting closer to 8 hours every night (and actually last night, I was in bed for 9.5 hours). My only problem I’m experiencing is I still struggle to get to sleep. I toss and turn for what feels like an hour before I drift to sleep. Mostly because my brain is blaring inside my head. This likely has nothing to do with eating habits, and more to do with meditation. The quality of sleep is very much linked to eating habits, though. And likely because I’m getting much better at not munching after dinner.
Goals for the week ahead
I have two main focuses for Week 3. First, as an experimenter, I’m honing in my fat intake this week. No chia seed pudding, no matter how delicious it is. I’ll be looking for leaner proteins such as tuna, tofu, and protein shakes. Nuts taste good, but they may not be my best option for right now.
Second, and again, this doesn’t seem super related to the How to Eat Challenge, but it is going to affect my eating behaviors– I’m going to practice a few recovery days with no cardio workout. Mobility, yoga (despite my loathing of the exercise), light walks are fine on these days. But only scheduling 4 cardio workouts. I’m going to let the weather help decide which days those will be, as I want to do at least one of them at Peace Arch Park for filming Fandom Fitness Friday.
Overall I’m feeling good
Despite the plateau in my weight, I’m feeling really good about this challenge. I’m getting in a groove with not eating after dinner, and waiting until 9 or 10 to eat breakfast. My water drinking habit is improving. I’m really pleased with how my body is looking, to be perfectly honest. I may not have lost weight this week, but my body is improving. Like, a lot.
I haven’t noticed any severe sugar or other food cravings. I did get a little peeved that Chris gave away our chocolate, but it was more of a joke. I mean, I didn’t want to eat them, so why not give them to someone else?
And while many of these strict behavioral guidelines were practices we regularly adhered to before the challenge, I like the reminder of why these habits matter. It’s a bit of a challenge to go plastic-free right now, but it’s a good reminder how this helps us eat better and help the planet. Why Meatless Monday has a positive impact on our health and on the environment. Which are aspects I’d like to discuss further, hopefully in a couple blog posts or video updates this week.
Loving how this challenge is bringing out a part of me I am proud to share with the world. Eat clean, live green, train positive. Today, tomorrow, and forever.