All right boys and girls it is time for our latest clean eating challenge. We have been threatening for a while and letting life get in the way of getting this thing started but the time has come. We will start our latest challenge on Tuesday September 7th and it will run for three months! The day that this challenge ends "will live in infamy" That's right we are running it from the day after Labor Day until Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7th.
We have developed a new way to look at eating that has been played with by a few of our clients, the past couple of months, and is what we have settled in on for the last two years. We feel that most of you know what foods you should be eating, it's the compliance part where you struggle. In this challenge you will follow an extremely strict nutritional plan but it also allows for some leeway in the form of open meals. We have found that complete elimination challenges are great for kick starting people on their way to lasting health and wellness, but ultimately they are unsustainable over the long term. We hope that this latest version of the challenge will be an approach that you will be able to stick with for the long term. If you are suffering from any autoimmune issues or want to figure out food allergies the complete elimination is the way to go.
We are asking challenge participants to also attempt our workouts that we post up on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's. The combination of cleaning up your nutrition and a structured exercise routine can produce radical change in a short amount of time.
Dawn and I have chosen a person each that we will be working with throughout the three months and we will monitor their progress as we go. We will have a separate post to introduce them.
The following is the detailed information about our newest nutritional approach give it a read and let us know if you are interested in jumping on board for the latest challenge. Challenge participants will be encouraged to post comments about their progress, including their weekly food chart results and compliance percentages, their struggles and anything else you feel like commenting about. We hope to build an online community, with support, recipe ideas, workouts, and movement coaching. If you want in, Leave a comment and I will e-mail you a cleaner version of the program with the shopping list, meal plans, and compliance chart. We will have more info on markers we are tracking for this challenge when we introduce our two online participants. Please feel free to send this on to anyone who you feel would like to join in. We will provide several blogs each week to keep you motivated and informed as we work through the process.
New Dawn Fitness Nutritional Transition Program
Changing your eating habits is the single most important factor to realizing lasting changes to your health and fitness. Unfortunately, for most people, it is also the single most difficult thing to do. After doing several eating challenges, we have found that going from whatever your current eating situation, to our way of eating is challenging for some and we have developed a process to ease the transition. This process will help you to cut out the foods that can have a negative effect on your health and training and change the behaviors that are holding you back while still allowing for the occasional “open” meal.
We have likened the process of changing your eating habits to that of Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group dynamics. We have found that many people who are trying to change their eating habits naturally transition through each of these stages. They are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. We will go into more detail of each process later. We have also found that the emotional connection to food is much harder to break than the taste aspect. We will provide you with a suggested shopping list and samples of daily meals via our blog. We will also provide you with a chart that you can use to track your daily progress and hold yourself accountable for your food choices.
Our disclaimer for this challenge and what makes it different from others that we have done, is that we are not trying to address any possible gut issues you may have with grains, dairy or legumes. In order to accurately find out if you have problems with any or all of these foods you will have to cut them out completely for 30 days and slowly reintroduce them back in one at a time to see how your body reacts. This challenge we are trying something different, however, if you have autoimmune issues, you should strongly consider cutting out all grains, diary, and legumes.
This challenge is all a numbers game. What we have found through trial and error is that clients and friends start to eat clean, but ultimately settle in at about a 75% adherence rate. Unfortunately, this rate is just enough to make you still crave the bad food and not quite enough for you to see the results you are looking for. You get stuck in that rut of putting forth effort and not getting anything in return. This leads to quick frustration and ultimately quitting. The magical number is 90%. Your compliance rate needs to be at 90% for you to see the results you want both from a health and aesthetic perspective. This is where our handy dandy progress chart comes into play. We are going to have you track each meal or snack you eat. If it is a vegetable, fruit, meat, nut, seed, or oil, you put a check in the box. If it is not you put an X. You are allowed 4 X’s each week. This will lead to a 90% adherence rate and a healthy, good looking naked body. There will be an adjustment period and you may be surprised by how many X’s you have that first week. No problem, readjust and work towards that goal of 90%.
The following are the stages you will go through during the challenge.
The Forming Stage
This is the easiest stage where you prepare to start your new way of eating. Most people have done this several times already in planning a new way of eating. It is important to set yourself up for success and this can be done with a few simple steps. The first thing you need to do is understand why you are doing this and why it is important to you. If it is not important you will not be successful. The reasons vary from avoiding death to looking good at the pool and anything in between. We do not care what your reasons are, just make sure you are clear on why you are involved and commit yourself to seeing this through. Total buy in is needed in order for you to be successful. Half efforts in anything in life lead to half results. Decide now that this is important to you and mentally commit yourself to the most important cause of all, your health. To help you come up with reasons why changing your eating habits is important consider the following:
- · An estimated 65.2 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, defined by having a body mass index of 25 or more (National Center for Health Statistics, 2003).
- · Surprisingly, recent studies suggest that the majority of Americans are malnourished. Even though we have an epidemic of obesity, Americans tend to be overweight and undernourished. Meaning we are eating too much of the wrong stuff.
- · Poor nutrition results in poor behavior, lower core strength, increased body fat, slower mental problem solving, less alertness, and slower muscle response time.
- · Each year, more than 500,000 Americans die of heart disease.
- · Several types of cancer, particularly colon cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer, may be affected by diet.
- · Depression, eating disorders, distorted body image are often associated with poor nutritional status.
- · There has been a significant increase in type 2 diabetes in recent years. This increase is so startling that it is being called an epidemic.
- · Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints, resulting in calcifications and breakdown of joint flexibility that can be directly related to diet.
The list goes on and on. Pick your reason and keep it fresh in your head for motivation as you make your way through this journey. It will not be easy, but there is nothing more worth the effort than your health.
The next thing you need to do is another mental step. You need to commit to the notion that every food and drink you put in your mouth falls into one of two categories. Good for you or not good for you. There is no gray area here, its black and white. The food you eat is either going to make you more healthy or less healthy. Our first question to new clients and individuals who come to us with issues is, “How’s your nutrition?” Almost every person responds with, “I eat pretty good.” Then we do a food log and find that their idea of pretty good and our idea of pretty good are very different. Pay close attention to what you are consuming and make sure it is on the suggested shopping list provided. This does not mean you have to give up foods you love for good. For example, we still do pizza night, but we do so with the full knowledge that we are making a decision to eat a food that is making us less healthy. The ritual and mental satisfaction that we get out of pizza night actually help us to maintain our strict eating during the week. We don’t stress over it or regret the decision. We make a decision in advance, enjoy it and move on. The same is true when we decide to take the kids out for ice cream. The point here is not to create some kind of guilt trip or reverse disordered thinking; it is simply to realize on a conscious level that food falls into two categories and which category you choose to eat is up to you. The other important aspect of this, as we said earlier, is understanding, the difference between realizing the health and physical benefits of this way of eating, and seeing no results and getting frustrated lies in your level of compliance. When we look at food logs of our clients who are not making progress, we find that they are usually running at about a 75% compliance rate. They are eating good most of the time and making a real effort to clean up their diets, but not enough of one and when they do not see the results they get frustrated and think “why bother?” The magic lies in hitting that 90% compliance rate. In this plan you are looking at 42 snacks and meals a week. If you can make 38 of them foods that are good for you, you will have success.
Step three involves some physical work. Go through your cupboards, fridge, and freezer and remove anything that falls into the “not good” for you category. As we head into the storming stage it is too much temptation to have it in the house. Here we are looking to get rid of all processed junk foods, anything that comes in a box or bag and can be kept for weeks on end needs to go. Get rid of all wheat products such as breads, cereals, pastas, chips or crackers. Next, go on a hunt for anything containing sugar. A quick check of the food labels of some of your more common foods will turn up sugar, especially condiments, dressings, and marinades. Sugar is often disguised with other names such a fructose, sucrose, or any other name ending in ose. It’s all sugar and all has to go. The final things you have to get rid of are all of high calorie, high sugar beverages. No sodas, no juices, no Gatorade or even flavored waters. If you want your water flavored drop some fruit in it. The final step is to go to the store and stock up on foods that are good for you. Load the house up so you have nothing but good choices. You are now ready for the storming stage.
The Storming Stage
Sticking with our group dynamics analogy, think about what happens when a group gets together to complete a task, after pleasantries are exchanged(forming stage)the group gets down to business and there is some back and forth. Agreeing and disagreeing, until either a solution is reached or the group cannot agree and does not make it out of the storming stage. This will happen with your body and the new healthy foods you are introducing to it. Your body will crave all that you cannot have. About 50% of the people who try to change their eating habits fail to make it out of the storming stage. Things get tough and instead of reaching some compromises and sticking it out, people spin out of control, go on a binge, gain back any lost weight and usually a few extra pounds. If you go into this stage understanding that things are going to be tough, you are better prepared to stick it out and make it to the norming stage.
Another aspect that makes the storming stage so tough is that here we are giving up the two most addicting foods in the American diet, sugar and processed grains. These two “food stuffs” have become the staples of the average Americans diet and over time, you have developed a psychological and a physiological addiction to them. Giving them up can be as difficult as giving up smoking or drinking and often, the withdrawal symptoms can be the same. Understanding that this can happen will go a long way to helping you get through it. Many people have attempted to change their way of eating and one week in they feel terrible, have no energy, headaches, are hungry all the time, and just plain miserable. They blame the new way of eating and immediately go back to the old comfort foods. Here is a hint, if eating real, whole, natural foods makes you feel ill, something is very wrong. You will go through a tough period during this stage and the length of that tough period is directly proportional to the quality of your current way of eating. Those who have been eating garbage for the last ten years will most likely suffer for a couple of weeks and up to a month before their body gets used to running on better fuel and flushes out all the junk. Throughout the course of a day, you should be eating 6 meals. Don’t skip meals. Make sure you are always prepared by packing a cooler and taking it with you wherever you go so you do not get stuck with only poor food choices. Stick with it and we promise the return on investment will be worth it. You will soon move on to the norming stage.
The Norming Stage
The storming stage was tough, but hopefully you lost some weight and are still motivated to continue. Most of the initial weight you lose is water weight that is retained by the body because of the inflammatory nature of your prior way of eating. In the norming stage you will start to notice actual body changes. One of the biggest benefits of this renewed focus on your nutrition is the raised awareness of how your body looks, feels, and performs. If you pay close attention you will begin to notice subtle changes in little things like the way your clothes fit. You will notice your energy levels do not dip in the late afternoon; your mood is more consistent, your skin is clearer, and your sleep is better. In this stage you will also get used to planning meals based on a protein source, a carbohydrate, and a fat. You are becoming comfortable with the idea of your carbohydrates coming from nutrient dense vegetables, rather than breads and pasta. You are starting to settle into a pattern of meals that are good for you and it does not seem like work to do it. In the norming stage your body is getting used to running off of quality, nutrient dense foods and when you have that open meal such as ice cream, or pizza you really start to notice the effects. Bloated stomach, foggy headedness, tired, etc. are all signs that you have issues with these types of foods. It is also a sign that your body is reaching a healthy state, where you feel bad after eating bad foods. This is a good thing!
The Performing Stage
Unfortunately we have seen only a few people make it to the performing stage. Most fall off for one reason or another, but those who do, are in for a treat. This is where everything starts to click. You can go to any restaurant or even fast food place and figure out a clean meal. Your energy levels are constant and high and you have that healthy “glow”. Friends and relatives are wondering what you are doing and how they can do it, you can’t remember the last time you were sick. In this stage there may still be some tweaking you need to do in order to reach all of your goals. What happens to most is that once they reach a level of success and reset what is possible they want more. In the storming stage you were wondering how you were going to eat meatballs without spaghetti, the performing stage will find you wanting to cut that last bit of fat off of your thighs, increase your dead lift by 50lbs, or drop your 5k time by 3 minutes. Your goals shift from just sticking it out to working the system to fit your needs. It is a wonderful place to be on so many levels, not just for your health and fitness, but also for the psychological contentment of knowing that you are in control of that aspect of your life. We have found time and again that when you gain control of one aspect of your life, especially your health, all other aspects start to fall into place. Once you reach this stage we will work with you individually to tinker and find what works best for you.
We have said many times before our nutritional prescription is simple but not easy. We have spent the last two years watching person after person struggle with this until it finally clicks and when it does the results are tremendous. The outward signs such as less body fat, better skin clarity, and better posture are nice. But true beauty and the reason we do this is the idea that you are literally adding productive years to your life. We want everyone we know and people we don’t who will listen to not just be around for a long time but to be functional in their golden years. It starts now no matter what your age. Good luck and be sure to use our blog as a resource to help you along the way. www.newdawnhealthfitness.blogspot.com
Yours in Health,
Dawn & Paul
Suggested Grocery List for Storming Stage
Peanut butter –no sugar
Vinegar & oil dressing
Suggested Meal Plans
Meal Plan #1
Breakfast- 1 cup of blueberries, two hardboiled eggs, and some almonds
Snack# 1- 2 pieces of nitrate free deli turkey, a few carrots, and a palmful of cashews
Lunch- lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and grilled chicken with olive oil and vinegar dressing
Snack #2- tofu with strawberries
Dinner- grilled salmon with half a sweet potato and cooked Kale and collard greens with guacamole
Snack #3- Lara bar and a piece of nitrate free deli meat
Meal Plan #2
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with tomatoes, spinach, and ham
Snack #1: 2 pieces of deli ham
Lunch: shrimp and turkey sausage with mixed veggies sprinkled with olive oil and melted butter (pastuerized butter)
Snack #2: Lara bar with a piece of grilled chicken
Dinner: turkey chili made with ground turkey, chili powder, garlic, onions, peppers, and black beans with broccoli
Snack #3: 2 pieces of celery and 2 pieces of deli turkey
Meal plan #3
Breakfast: ¼ of melon and turkey or chicken sausage
Snack #1: Hard boiled egg with blueberries and almonds
Lunch: tuna fish with full fat mayonnaise on top of lettuce with a hardboiled egg, tomatoe, and sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar
Snack #2: grapes with sunbutter and a piece of flank steak
Dinner: pot roast( made with top round roast, new baby tomatoes, low sodium beef broth, onions, garlic, and carrots)
Snack #3: Deli Turkey with blueberries
Use the following chart to help you keep track of your meals each day and each week. Place a check in the box if you had a good meal that contained a Protein, a Carb, and a Fat. If you missed a meal and did not make up for the lack of food in the next meal or had an open meal place an X in the box. What we are looking to achieve is 90% compliance in order to achieve the results you are looking for. That means no more than 4 X’s allowed per week.
Week of _________ to _________