-by Coach Cassi
To say my nutrition has changed since starting CrossFit would be a gross understatement. My nutrition is constantly changing and my body composition is constantly shifting with it! There have been highs and lows, different goals, different plans and different results along the entire ride. I've learned to focus on foods that truly fuel my body, boost my immune system and support my overall energy through the Paleo Diet. And I've learned to eat the right amounts of proteins, carbs and fats to keep those energy levels sustained long-term through tracking macros.
When I started CrossFit I didn't have an understanding of what "healthy options" could really look like or what "clean eating" really meant. I couldn't wrap my head around a fruit or veggie being a carb or how any of this could possibly affect my life. As it turned out, my first ever Paleo Challenge taught me the importance of food quality (yes, green veggies ARE important!) in so many ways. By eliminating dairy, grains and sugar I instantly had less headaches, stomach aches, clearer skin AND dropped 8 pounds in about a month. I was hooked! For a while, I cycled through following a strict Paleo Diet (oftentimes The Whole 30) and would feel awesome for about 30 days at a time. But after a few months of 30 days "on" a few days "off," the "off" days were starting to drop me straight into the land of ice cream, cookies and pretty much anything else I could have that wouldn't be "allowed" in the upcoming 30 days - and in complete excess. Those "off" days left me feeling awful! Not even just physically, but mentally, too! Standing in front of the ice-cream and having a serious debate about whether or not it would be okay to have a scoop of ice-cream for the night generally resulted in:
-eating THE WHOLE TUB of ice cream instead of one scoop, and finally,
-a big belly ache.
Something had to change. Clearly the whole Paleo thing was working but my self control was seriously lacking to sustain this while continuing to feel positive about my choices! That's when the idea of keeping track of my intake came into play.
The idea of being able to weigh and measure the foods that I wanted to have and fit into my day sounded perfect! Suddenly I wasn't going to feel like a bad person for having ice-cream!? Sign me up! It took some time, but with a bit of practice, I was able to actually fit that ice-cream into my day! As an added bonus, my workouts were improving after feeling a bit stuck in the mud. Again, I was in! Macros have allowed me to think about my focus (whether it be body composition, performance goals or both) and fine -tune the amount of food I need to reach those goals. They've also given me the ability to choose foods without feeling guilty, because if I've done my job well, I've fit that choice into my day! It's not always easy, and it's not always perfect. It is a process that I am constantly learning from and adapting to in becoming the best version of myself.
While there certainly have been some blips along the way (maybe I've erred on the side of too much ice-cream, even with my macros!) this entire journey has shown me that we are each capable of making the changes we want to make with a focused attitude and mindset - we are in complete control of our goals and our plans to reach them every step of the way.