Grains. Should you or shouldn’t you?

For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you might remember when I was a staunch paleo dieter.  No grains, no dairy and the like.  Its the popular thing to do, especially in the crossfit community.  Did I lose weight on that diet?  Yes.  Did I get lean?  Yes.  But did I get stronger and have more energy?  Was totally giving up bread and dairy sustainable for me?  I realized, after lots of consideration, that it wasn’t.  I love bread.  I want toast with my eggs and cheese.  Then came the realization…what kind of life is it to feel guilty about enjoying the things that I love?!  No kind of life I want to live, I’ll tell you that much.  So, how then, was I going to enjoy grains without gaining back the fat that I lost?  Here is what I have found to work for me.  I eat the bulk of my grains mostly in the morning, particularly right after my workouts.  A huge bowl of oatmeal or a nice big toasted tuna sandwich.  One thing I don’t do is eat grains all day long.  I usually am done with them by the early afternoon.  And just because I allow them doesn’t mean I blow it out of proportion either.  I still keep my carb intake under control.

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For instance, this sandwich is 2 slices of whole grain bread, 3 oz of tuna with 1 Tablespoon of mayo and curry.  I paired that with 1/2 cup of greek yogurt and 1/2 tablespoon of honey.  I can just hear the gasps of the paleo community now!  This satisfying meal was 372 calories, 39 G carbs, 36 G protein, 7 g of fat.  In my new diet world, that is right on par where I want to be.  I eat meals around that ratio about 5 times per day.  Given, the latter part of the day grains are not included.  And my last meal of the day usually doesn’t include more than 15 g of carbs. Eating this way has helped me burn fat and gain a lot more muscle.  It has given me more energy and most importantly, I don’t feel deprived of anything.  (keep in mind, we’re talking grains here and not sweets ;)  Those are reserved for my saturday evening meals.  However, I have found them less tempting since I brought grains back into my diet.  But, I am no dietitian. this diet works amazingly for me.  If grains don’t make you perform better, then don’t eat them.  But if you miss them and love them, stop beating yourself up over them!!  And when I’m talking about grains I mean whole grains here people.  Now go and eat and for goodness sake, stop starving yourselves!!!

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Count not what is lost, but what is left

front squatI remember in 3rd grade racing my PE class for a lap around the track.  The wind blowing in my face, pumping my scrawny little arms, long legged, knock knees flyin’ everywhere.  I finished 20 seconds ahead of everyone, even the fastest boy.  I don’t remember that teacher’s name, or what he/she looked like, but I do remember what was said.  I was told that I did a great job, that I was fast and most importantly, that I was an athlete. From that moment on there was something different in me.  I developed a desire to win.  A desire to be the best.  That desire has pushed me and helped me achieve so many things in my life.  But it’s also plagued me.  And until recently, I hadn’t realized that there is a price to pay for being competitive.

My price…I fear failure.  I fear it so badly to the point where it hinders my performance and makes me pass up on things that I would normally do and enjoy.  I get so into my head about things.  Physically I know I am able to do these things, but I think “what if I can’t?” or “what if I don’t beat that PR?”  The problem that I have when it comes to competing is that I feel my performance is a reflection of my self worth.

Some of you will tell me to man up or grow a pair, and I do most of the time.  I put on my big girl panties and get the job done, but that doesn’t take away the mind games.  Now comes the part of my post where I write about these great solutions and how I’ve overcome this.  Except, I don’t really have all the answers.  I mean, just because I write doesn’t mean I know everything.  I just have to post a bunch of crap and make sure it sounds good.  I have, however received some answers as I’ve been composing this little post (that as I’m reading, makes it sound like I’m a freakin’ wuss).

My realization…What if I don’t win?  What if I don’t get that PR?  So.Freaking.What?!  I need to turn this around.  Instead of fearing not being good enough, I need to revel in it.  Not being good enough means only that I can get better.  It means that I have something to strive for.  The best will always be beaten eventually because being the best at something can’t be sustained forever.

But what about when the best are beaten? Does this mean that they are all of a sudden “less” of an athlete? Michael Jordan won 626 games with the Chicago Bulls, but in that time he lost 358 times.  Do those losses mean that he isn’t the greatest athlete in the “history of the world” (as my husband puts it)?  No.  He is the greatest.  And there, my friends, lies my answer.   The greats will always lose, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are great.  I will lose but it doesn’t mean that I’m not good or strong.  Losing is natural but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.  So compete!  And when you lose (because you will) pick your butt up and train harder.