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Old 02-13-2008, 11:56 AM   #1
Nicholas Daigle
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Getting off the crack

This is as much of a rant as it is a question. I have been doing Crossfit since November 06, first a few times a week as a supplement to my MMA training and then on a fairly consistent 3/1 split since last October. My fitness gains have been great, but I haven't lost a shred of weight since I started. I'm currently at 185 at about 25% body fat. I'd love to get down to 165 or 170. Every time I try, I fail.

I've been on a "Zoneish" diet since last February. I eat 4 meals a day, the first 3 are Zone, dinner isn't, but I usually try to eat fairly clean, if not necessarily in Zone proportions. Ideally I have one cheat meal each weekend.

What's been happening though is that I eat well during the week, then as soon as I have a cheat meal on the weekend my diet totally breaks down and I eat like a pig until Monday morning. Essentially I lose weight all week and then gain it all back on Saturday and Sunday.

Part of my problem is that I'm a real foodie. I love to eat and I love to cook. Not healthy stuff either, I come from cajun and southern roots. The things I like to cook and eat are things like gumbo, jamabalaya, fried pork cops, rice and pork gravy, you get the picture. By the end of the week, I crave these things and any other kind of fattening comfort food I can get my hands on.

I stand in awe and envy of those of you that can relegate food to a lesser tier of importance in your lives, to me it is an integral part of my personality and daily existence that I just can't seem to get a handle on. I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I'm stressed or anxious or whatever. I know all the rational arguments for how a clean diet will improve my mood, energy level, performance, and overall quality of life, but I can't seem to put the theory into practice.

Anybody else out there with a similar story? Did you manage to get off the crack? How?

I need a hug.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
Jack Gayton
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Re: Getting off the crack

Prior to CF, even for a few months into it, I was in the EXACT same boat as you. Even at similar BF % and weight.

I'd be a machine in terms of nutrition all week. Friday night, we'd go out to eat. I'd drink a few beers and forget it. A week of work down the drain. I too also like to cook. I love to grill and am always experimenting. Of course, that would usually mean I was also sipping a couple beers while I sat outside by the grill. Basically, my weekends were ruining me..

Anyway, only YOU can change your behaviour. Just posting this online is a step in the right direction in my opinion.

What worked for me, was paying close attention to how I felt immediately AFTER I had a cheat meal. I can remember so many times my wife and I would be driving home from a restaurant where I just gorged myself. I would feel awful. It would carry over into the next day and I'd feel it during the WOD.

I'll still have my moments, but most of the time, my cheats are a meal (not a day) and it is setup around a special event..

Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
Vikram Swamy
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Re: Getting off the crack

Hi Nick -

I am a beginner Crossfitter but perhaps I can offer my experience on this issue. In Jan 2007, I was nearly 200lbs and very weak. After about 6 months of zone, then Crossfit starting in late August, I am 168lbs and much stronger.

I had the EXACT same problem you did - I would eat very cleanly during the week, and then was unable to resist the urge to binge eat over the weekend.

I found my solution, although I'm sure many will not approve....

I eat very strictly for 6 out of 7 days of the week. Totally Zone, no cheat meals. Maybe a square or 2 of a chocolate bar for dessert. The 7th day is my "cheat day." Basically, I allow myself to eat whatever and whenever I want, for all 24 hours. I'll literally sometimes eat myself sick w/ice cream, potato chips, etc.

Afterward, I'm eager to get back on the diet. And I control my urges to cheat during the week by telling myself that I can eat whatever I want on Sunday. In the end, I eat less junk on one day than I would by cheating a little everyday. And my weight loss/strength gain results have been excellent on this. Furthermore, I always would beat myself up with guilt whenever I cheated, and this prevents it for me also. Some might argue that this caloric spike might prevent your body from "adapting" to the diet too much....but perhaps that is just BS.

The other thing is to make sure you eat enough carbs. At first, I was concerned with weight loss, and tried to minimize carbs as much as possible. I eventually got to a point where both weight loss and strength gain stalled, and I felt weak and tired all of the time. Now, I try to follow the Zone prescription for carbs but stick to veggies and fruits, and I am gaining muscle and trimming down again. But more importantly, I don't feel hungry and I have energy, and the urges to cheat are much much less frequent.

Hope this helps!

-Vik
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:20 PM   #4
Bob Guere
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Re: Getting off the crack

What worked for us, and it's still fresh in my mind being new to this, is we took two weeks before we cheated after starting the zone. By then, we didn't crave the crack at all, and our cheat meal became really that, just one cheat meal. Our first was take out pizza, and I felt like a bloated dead cow when I was done. That's the feeling I remember.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:22 PM   #5
Nick Hanson
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Re: Getting off the crack

Not that I am an expert because I have only been doing Crossfit for three months and zoning for a month, but I have lost 20 lbs during that time. I think the biggest thing is making a choice to eat better. I didn't just transition to the zone. My first month I started to eat a little better. My second month, I started to do the Abs diet. My third month I eliminated all refined carbs and started zoning.

Do I cheat? Yes, probably twice a week. But I make sure if I do cheat its something thats not too bad. Also, I think in your case, you really have to decide if you want to lose the weight and look better. We can make excuses all we want about how its too difficult, but in the end you are the only person holding you back.

If you are having trouble changing your diet, then I would suggest grabbing the book the Omnivore's Dilemma. That really opened my eyes, and me realize just how important it is to eat healthy. Just my 2cents.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:25 PM   #6
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Getting off the crack

I think there are a couple of notions to consider.

First, if you are aspiring to be amongst the elite Crossfit beasts, or an elite athlete at any endeavor, it's going to require a substantial degree of dietary discipline. Your creent M.O. of eating with restraint M-F and then quite literally "pigging out" on fried pork chops with gravy isn't going to cut it.

Second, if you look at the top tiers of elite athletic performance, they have seasons; they don't go at it hell-bent for leather 12 months a year. They do periodization of training, and I'm quite sure they are more lax in their diets off-season.

Third, eating to get a very lean body composition and elite athletic performance is beyond what I consider necessary for good health. I think it's entirely possible to "go at" Crossfit AND diet in a more moderate, sustainable way, and be quite healthy. In fact, unless pushing yourself to the max is very, very fun and rewarding for you, the stress of trying to acheive it may be more costly in terms of your health than not!

I also love to eat, love to cook, love to read about food, love to grow food, love to chop vegetables and cook from the hip from what's local, seasonal, good. I hear you about food being a part of who are you.

Here are some practical suggestions for you:

1. Don't waste your calories or your fine palate on any ersatz foods. If you have any doubt about what real food is read any of the following books: REAL FOOD by Nina Planck; THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA or IN DEFENSE OF FOOD by Michael Pollan. Here's an example:

Ingredient list for Helderberg 100% whole wheat bread: whole wheat flour, water, salt, yeast.

Ingredient list for Thomas' Light Multigrain English Muffins: unbleached enriched flour, water, modified food starch, yeast, wheat gluten, soy, sugarcane, polydextrose, farina, cornmeal, corn germ, natural flavor, calcium propionate, sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, salt, cracked wheat, rye, whey, monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, datem, malt extract, ground corn, soybean oil, dextrose, cellulose gum, brown rice, oats, mono-and-di-glycerides, xantham gum, ethoxylated mono-and-diglycerides, soybeans, triticale, barley, flaxseed, millet, sucralose, sodium stearoyl lactylate, citric acid, sodium citrate, natamycin (a fungicide.)

2. Don't be afraid of fats---traditional fats in reasonable quantities are good for you. That includes butter (ideally from grassed dairy cows), lard, and beef fat (from grassfed beef), coconut oil, even chicken fat from pastured (free range) chickens.

3. Strictly limit sugar in all its guises. Stick to fruits for sweetness. You want a decadent dessert? One beautiful ripe pear, sectioned, with a dollop of mascarpone cheese or some rich, triple-cream, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

4. Eat slowly. Slow down. Enjoy.

Susie
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
Joe Celso
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Re: Getting off the crack

Nick - I'm not gonna hug you, but I'm right there with you - that's for damn sure. I've been able to put it together in the past, but I can't seem to now. I've got a list of reasons/obstructions a mile long, but at the end of the day they're just excuses. How bad do you really want it?

I've got a good 25#'s (at about 20% BF) to lose. If I got myself on track today, it would take me till about mid May. If you want, I'll challenge you.
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:10 PM   #8
Jennifer Higgins
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Re: Getting off the crack

I really like what Susie said. I have tried them all and I currently am pretty happy with a Paleo and 3 day a week IF thing. However, there are times when I do not feel well nourished. I start to dream about food and am unsettled. My one criticism of the ZOne approach is that it doesn't focus on the actual nutrient content-just the macros. Use Fit Day and see if you are having substantial deficiencies in the fat soluble nutrients for example. My experience is that it is pretty hard work to eat a nutrient-dense diet (meaning achieving more than the RDA of vitamins and minerals). My body is much more content with a meal or two a week that is slowly prepared, rich tasting (real bone stock) fat-rich (see Susie's list above) meal. Good luck-I wish someone would make me gumbo and jambalaya! Mmmmmm.
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:34 PM   #9
Nicholas Daigle
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Re: Getting off the crack

Wow folks, thanks for all your great advice.

Jack and Nick - I know it's really just a matter of willpower, but it seems so damned impossible sometimes.

Susie - I would love to have elite level fitness, but my main motivation right now is that I have a Grand Teton climb planned in June and I really don't want to haul an extra 20 pounds up to the top of that mountain!

Joe - that sounds like it might actually make this process fun. How should we do it? The fastest to lose 20 lbs.?
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:02 PM   #10
Jake Dent
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Re: Getting off the crack

Hey all, first CF post...
Anyways, I'm a sugar junky. I eat pretty healthy (sort of a paleo diet, although not totally 100% strict) but sugar is my weak spot. I'll eat cookies/ice cream/chocolate until I get nauseous. In fact, I've always exercised not only because I'm military, but so I don't get too fat from sugar.

Anyways, it is/was almost an addiction (maybe not "almost"?) and the way I broke it was me and my wife both decided we were tired of it and we were ready to get healthy. We're there for each other, and support each other in "weak" moments. (yeah, I'm pathetic). Anyways, it's been pretty good, we cut 100% refined sugar. Once we feel comfortable and have more will power we'll probably allow a sugary dessert once a week.

Anyways, my point is that it may help to find a partner in will power, it helped me. Good luck.
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