How many times have you heard – “You can’t outwork poor nutrition.” Or “Food is fuel for your body”?
I understood these phrases, but did not know how to put them into practice in a sustainable way. Alternately since high-school, through college, post babies, I would run, eat some salads at lunch and expectantly stand on the scale and think “maybe next week”. In seasons of greater frustration I joined Weight Watchers, or purchased diet books that called for radical shifts I found unsustainable.
In preparation for the CFT May Nutrition Challenge I scheduled an in body scan, and the results surprised me. The inbody scale at the gym measures muscle mass, body fat and water weight, helping make sense of what the number on the scale represents.
This is my 3rd May Nutrition challenge, and my fourth inBody scan in 2 years.
I was surprised because I had been unfocused on nutrition for two months and yet all the numbers had moved in the direction I wanted them to. I gained muscle, I consumed some body fat. Not very much (all by about a pound), but still considering my lack of attention I was expecting different results.
My first thought was that I was going to mess up all the things going right by being extra focused on the macros this month, and that I should back out of the challenge…
My second thought (and more encouraging), “Hey, some of your patterns have become habits!” A while back I learned that we begin making changes by:
- Choosing to apply self-discipline.
- Some of those disciplines become conscious patterns (which require regular at times exhausting thought).
- Over time those patterns, when practiced long enough become our habits (which we can unconsciously engage in).
All this means that at 42, I’m beginning to lay the foundation of healthy habits that don’t require me to think about them all the time to make them happen. It’s only taken 3 years! HA
These month long nutrition challenges continue to be worthwhile because I am creating an semi-annual pattern of self-discipline. For 2 months out of 12 I count and weigh what I’m eating and think about how my body responds. It’s an opportunity to put food in the right place in my life.
I notice what it feels like to be hydrated. (Pro-tip: drink all your water before 7pm or you’ll have to get out of bed too often)
I notice when I want to eat because I feel nervous, tired, frustrated or angry and I can’t because I don’t have the calories left in the day. It has challenged me to figure out new ways to appropriately process my feelings. I think my friendships, marriage and parenting are healthier as a result.
I notice how I like to use food for celebration and that I find a lot of things worth celebrating.
I become conscious again of what I expect to feed me, comfort me, or fill me up.
I notice when the lie that “thin is best” grabs too much power over my own happiness and I have opportunities to make peace with my body and the rhythms of my life.
Monthly nutrition challenges and coaching are helping me to understand the building blocks of nutrition and how eating a blend of protein, carbohydrates and fat lays a foundation for enjoying life.
I am thankful for the gym buddies who engage in this with me. Please keep sharing your thoughts, breakthroughs, struggles and recipes. We will all go further together than we would on our own!