Food & Fitness

Real Food

Tomorrow is the last day of the detox month for the Ultimate Nutrition Challenge, and then we begin the real food month! I’m very excited for it. But first, a recap on the detox.

January: Detox

The detox went really well the first couple weeks. Then after that my heart just wasn’t in it and I overate on weekends and let myself have non-detox foods. At one point I was down 7.5 lbs from the beginning of the month, only to gain back 3 lbs, for example. This month taught me that detoxes are better kept to a few days or a week at a time – for me, at least. A month was just a little bit too long for my liking. It’s hard to stay on track and motivated for a full month with something that’s more restrictive like a detox. But I also had a lot of fun with it when I wasn’t getting derailed: I loved my green smoothies and Mr. Science and I had fun trying out new recipes from her cookbook collection… although I expect he’s really looking forward to having more meat and dairy and such this coming month 🙂 Which brings me to February.

fruit with leafFebruary: Real Food

What exactly is “real food?” Well, it depends who you ask. For our purposes this month, we’re going to go with the general description available on the 100 Days of Real Food website: traditional, minimally-processed, whole foods. It gets a little tricky in some areas. Pasta is one that I’ve been thinking about: is it a real food? In the past I would have said no, because it’s been processed, but I think that there is a line between “real food” and “non-processed food,” the latter of which is much more stringent. So I’m going to say that the organic brown rice pasta we purchase with just one ingredient – brown rice – is allowed this month. I’ll also be having butter but not Earth Balance, homemade bread but not store-bought, honey but not cane sugar and so on. Real Food by Nina Planck is an excellent source of information on the subject of what constitutes real food.

I’m very excited about this next nutrition challenge. I think that the body will have a much more enjoyable time with it! Mr. Science and I are focusing on organic and local foods where we can find them; another key component to real foods.

Goals for this month

It’s going to be a busy month at the office since we have a major conference to prepare for at the end of the month, and in addition to that Mr. Science will be away on field work for a week, but I’d still like to make time for more exercise this month. I started going to the gym again last week and it felt wonderful! It’s nice to engage in strenuous exercise again.

My goals for this month include:

1) Go the gym at least twice each week. Ideally I’d like it to be closer to four times each week, but I go to the gym primarily for the classes, and I’m limited on which classes I can go to depending on the time of day that they’re at. Meetings or other commitments in the evening have the potential to occasionally get in the way of my scheduled gym times (and the morning classes start too late). So I’ll be aiming for four gym visits each week but I’ll be satisfied if I can only get there twice each week.

2) Lose 3 lbs and 2% body fat. As of yesterday morning, I was down 4.5 lbs from the beginning of January… so I didn’t quite make it to my goal of 6 lbs (or rather, I made it past that goal but then gained it back in an eating frenzy). But that taught me something: that I have to take weight loss slowly. I don’t think that 6 lbs a month is necessarily difficult to do, but if you restrict yourself too much, it’s going to cause problems. This month I’m allowed meat, dairy, more grains etc., so I think there’s much less of a chance that I’ll feel the need to overeat, since I won’t be depriving myself of a food group (instead I’ll be focusing more on portion sizes). If I can lose more than 3 lbs, awesome, but I don’t want to go crazy and lose 6 lbs the first two weeks and then gain back 5 lbs in the next two weeks. I’d much rather lose, maintain, and lose again than lose, gain, lose, gain.

Also, since I plan on visiting the gym more, I want to focus more on reducing body fat and building muscle this month rather than my overall weight. Because there isn’t much point in weight loss if you’re losing muscle! In January I went from 27.8% body fat to 26.3%, so I think that losing 2% body fat if I’m going to the gym regularly should be fairly reasonable.

That’s it! This month I just have the two goals. I realize that they may not sound very impressive, but it’s important to take things slow and succeed by taking baby steps, rather than jumping in too fast and feeling badly if we don’t make it to our goals. By taking it a little bit easier this month, I can build up so that in March I’ll be prepared to take on more!

Will you be participating in February’s one-month challenge of eating real food?

If you want to follow along and see what I’m eating each month, visit my Health Writer Eats food diary blog for a daily dose of the Ultimate Nutrition Challenge!


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