About a year ago, I wrote a post on my food blog about my food rules. I spent nearly two years eating a pescetarian diet as a result of an exercise-in-self-disciplined-turned-lifestyle-change. While I’ve since returned to my carnivorous ways, I’ve never stopped working different foods into and out of my life in an effort to determine which foods fuel me and which slow me down.
Gluten and Dairy Experiments
This past season’s experiments have mostly focused on a vast reduction in gluten and dairy (more specifically, cow’s milk dairy). I haven’t gone totally gluten and dairy-free, but I have been looking for alternatives where possible. Using corn or spelt instead of flour tortillas, trying non-dairy coffee creamers instead of my go-to heavy whipping cream (favorite find so far is unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, though I just tried hazelnut milk and love it). I snack on fruit and nut butters, and I’m building meals around protein and vegetables.
I’ve found that minimizing the gluten and dairy that I eat has made me feel lighter, and not just because I lost 12 pounds between mid-April and early June. Everything in my body seems to be functioning better, my skin’s clearer, and I have more energy.
Shakeology and The Beachbody Challenge
In the middle of all of this self-decided diet experimentation, I was offered the chance to join in on a 10-Day Nutrition and Weight Loss Challenge with Lindsey Catarino, an Independent Beachbody Coach.
While I was skeptical at first (as I tend to be about anything with a start and end date since my mentality is that my diet and nutrition and health should reflect lifestyle choices), I dug in a little and realized that that’s exactly what this was — a jump-start for long-term lifestyle changes and habits. Not only would these 10 days come with meal plans (Yay! I don’t have to do the work!) and 10 days worth of Shakeology shakes, the real kicker was this: I was a part of a bigger group, and while we came into this with different personal goals, we were all there because we wanted to see results.
These like-minded “challengers” spent all 10 days cheering each other on, and and we were led by Lindsey, a professional coach who was our resource and motivator, enthusiastically keeping us on track for the 10-days of this challenge. The fact that there were always 14 other people cheering me on was super motivating. In fact, one of the challengers offered similar feedback:
If anyone would have asked me 10 days ago if this was possible I probably would have said, “No freakin way!” But today is a new day, and at the end of this 10 day challenge I lost 9.5lbs and 6.75 inches all over! I feel amazing, and I am looking forward to my new lifestyle! Another 18.5lbs to go! Thank you everybody for your support!
We had 15 “challengers” in the group I participated in, and the “biggest loser” in this group lost 13 pounds, and 3 inches off of her waist. This particular challenger enjoyed the program and her results so much that she became a coach and weeks later continues to lose weight. Two other girls in the group lost over 9 pounds and several inches. The average weight loss is always 5-8 pounds, and the winners are between 10-13.
So, how’d this go for me?
While I didn’t lose weight, my body fat percentage dropped nearly 3%, and I absolutely consider that a huge victory. I’d just added yoga back into my routine the week before to the tune of 2-4 times per week, and I was already feeling the impact of that on my muscles. The combination of making lifestyle diet changes and completely upping my yoga game totally worked for me. My skinny jeans are less skinny, and some of my fitted shirts aren’t quite as fitted.
I also have to admit that I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been for the meals I knew I had to eat on-the-go, and definitely made some exceptions that might have impacted the weight loss. I’m totally pleased with the percentage fat loss, the overall energy shift I felt, and the foundation for better habits that was laid in these 10 days.
There were some recipes in the meal plan that I modified or just plain skipped, if they didn’t mesh with other goals I had (reducing sugar, dairy, and gluten). I ran this by Lindsey before the plan and appreciate that she was willing to help me modify recipes to meet these goals.
Where am I now?
I’m still experimenting with foods, finding the best combination of everything that makes me feel great, gives me the most energy, and keeps me healthy. I’ll report back when I have more to say on that
Who is Lindsey and how can you get in on this?
Lindsey is an Independent Beachbody Coach, representing at-home workout solutions like p90x, Insanity, and TurboFire as well as a full line of healthy supplements including Shakeology. Shakeology is an all-natural, mineral and vitamin-rich shake and was a part of our challenge. As someone who had just started experimenting with adding protein powders to my shakes, this was a great way to get protein, chia, vitamins (and other goodness) with a little extra flavor and no extra crap.
Interested in trying this and blogging about your experience? Lindsey is offering 50% off her next round of challenges to challengers who are willing to blog about their experience. You can email her for more information, and while the next open challenge starts July 9, she’s got spots open during the first week of every month if you want to get started in the fall.
Disclosure: The shake mixes and 10 days of coaching and support were provided by Lindsey. All opinions are (of course) my own.