2013 Recap: Zumba, Crossfit, Transition to Paleo, and the Whole Life Challenge

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January 5, 2014 by Lauren Grider

I’ve had a year of ups and downs, big changes.

Major Improvements:
I made a job change that gave me more personal time, and I’ve used it to add Crossfit to my routine and to spend more time with my family.
I have come so far since I started with regard to my fitness. Zumba continues to bring me profound joy, and I love teaching. This year I was able to travel to the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, FL, which is pretty much like dance team camp for adults. I had a great time. I learned so many new styles of dance from around the world! It was pretty much Lauren Heaven, except for the food situation, because there was not a convenient grocery store and I did not rent a car. Next time, I will do things differently and get access to a vehicle. It would be totally worth the extra couple hundred bucks to have actual fresh food.
Crossfit is also fantastic! Zumba definitely has helped me improve my cardio conditioning, balance and flexibility a great deal, but I needed to get more weight lifting. I wanted free weights with functional movements, but I was too timid to do this without instruction in person. One of my friends had started Crossfit and loved it, and though expensive, it was less costly than personal training. Weight lifting was the reason I started Crossfit, but I found so much more. When I started Crossfit, I could not do a single air squat. I did pole squats initially. I had very poor ankle flexibility and hip strength. I was afraid to jump onto the 12 inch box, worried I would fall. I couldn’t even use the foam roller on my back without howling in pain. Now I can back squat 200 lb. Just this week, I successfully jumped onto a 22 inch box. I own a foam roller for home use. It has only been 6 months. I want to be able to do strict pullups and pushups. I want to be able to climb a rope. I want to get a 24″ box jump.

Also Some Setbacks:
I have struggled with my eating plan, and am on the verge of transitioning from Weight Watchers over to a whole food/ low carbohydrate/ paleo diet.
I have come a long way since I started, but I can’t rest on my laurels right now. I need to keep pushing.
Weight Watchers brought me a long way and has made me more aware of the volume of food I consume. However, I have hit an unbreakable plateau that I have spent the past year and a half trying to break through. I have come to the conclusion that, for me, it is not possible on the Weight Watchers plan. That doesn’t mean I don’t like WW or don’t think it gets others to their goals. It has certainly been life-changing for me since Feb 2011 when I started. However, I have progressed to the point that I require a lower carbohydrate approach, both for fat loss and to help maintain my level of exercise. I can eat within my Points Plus allotment and drop weight on the scale, but this is only sustainable for me for about 2 months before I hit a breaking point because I stay hungry all day long. Eating a lower carb diet with meats, fruits and veggies for me results in fat loss and better-fitting clothes, but I constantly eat over my Points Plus allotment when doing this. I tried for a while to do both Weight Watchers and a whole foods approach, but that was not possible due to the high Points Plus values assigned to meats and healthy fats like avocado. I also began to have a fundamental disagreement with their Points Plus allotment for low fat, high sugar foods and those with artificial sweeteners. When I first started Weight Watchers, I had a bazillion PP to use everyday because of how heavy I was. At that time, I cleaned up my diet significantly and essentially was following a low carb approach- avoiding rice, white potatoes and sugars except those found in whole fruits. And I was successful and felt great. But as I lost weight, they kept taking PP away from me, and I slowly found myself hungry- and then tempted to replace the whole foods with processed ones that had fewer PP value. The more information I read about any artificial foods, the more I become convinced that they are very, very bad. Over the past year, I have given up artificial sweeteners, except for occasional stevia. I drink water and unsweetened tea now, that’s it. But it’s not enough. I need to get back to the diet that I enjoyed when I first started WW, which was lean meats, roasted veggies, big salads and whole fruit. I cannot eat enough to sustain 3 high impact Zumba classes and 2 Crossfit workouts every week while eating within my PP allotment, I tough it out for a while, and then I reach my breaking point and go crazy with food. This is not a recipe for healthy eating for me. In fact, I am starting to recognize some binge eating tendencies returning, which is a huge warning sign. So, there really is no other choice but to do away with all of the things that I “abuse” for a while.
So, in transitioning to a lower carbohydrate diet again, I am faced with needing to make improvements in several key areas: Consumption of alcohol (sweet drinks), my cheese addiction, and my desire to throw caution to the wind during stressful events.
To help me get started, I am participating in the Whole Life Challenge, which starts in 1 week, on Saturday, January 11. I will be spending this week getting ready for the challenge. For more information, visit the Whole Life Challenge Website.

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One thought on “2013 Recap: Zumba, Crossfit, Transition to Paleo, and the Whole Life Challenge

  1. danilatham says:

    Lauren! Great post, and I agree with everything you said! I probably say out loud once a week “I am SO happy to have transitioned away from WW and started eating to perform”. It is the biggest sigh of relief to eat fuel, FILL UP, and continue to see weight loss and strength gain. I have also just started a blog and plan to use a good portion of it as an homage to my paleo/clean/crossfit lifestyle. You can follow me too, as I plan to do many meal reviews.
    Recently, I have been cooking up a storm from an amazing book called “Well Fed”.
    http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/wellfed/

    I wish I had had it when I participate in Whole 30 the first time (as all of the recipes are Whole Life approved) and I have been so inspired by the book that I have transitioned BACK to a Whole Lifestyle (with slight modifications in order to make it a lifestyle and not a short term challenge).

    I am very proud of you- Please reach out to me any time for chats about anything you feel you struggle with, as well as bragging points! 200lb back squat is serious business!! Also, I still haven’t attempted a 20in box jump, so I am major jeaous of your accomplishment!!

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