Once again it’s taken me forever to write an update but I think I suddenly lost my ability to read and write. It might be the carb deficit. Or lack of coffee. There is a blogpost waiting on the computer, ready to be posted but decided to wait. It is about PE, movement, young people’s brains, the importance of learning how to move, jump, bounce, run, jog, crawl, roll around, walk on your toes, heals, walk on uneven ground (not the playground)… All that stuff you do every day teaching elementary school and spend a lot of time outside with the kids. We need to use our bodies to activities that store muscle memory and skills that we need as adults too so we can walk on our feet, squat, move our bodies and keep moving until we are old. I realized that I sounded like an old fart, super preppy and basically bought by the fitness industry so I’ll save it for another time. And it doesn’t work very well with the American school system either or the helicopter society. Parents with small children, kids are supposed to come home with lots of mud on their clothes every day. A playground with concrete and plastic toys is a bad sign.
Since I don’t have a “real goal” in the horizon I decided to sign up for a challenge. Everything with the word challenge is good, it means it’s some kind of competition, keeping track of numbers… This one is called The Whole Life Challenge and includes a whole bunch of different perspectives in our life’s. I am the worst sceptic ever. I don’t believe in anything if I don’t get forced to try it and I usually have to prove it myself, whatever it is. I am the eternal non diet person, I really don’t think diets work. I guess I am too hungry. It needs to be whole hearted changes over time, small steps, but here I am. The WLF is a diet for a lot of “followers” but I see it more like vacuum cleaner and eye opener to get my faults and weaknesses out in the open. The whole thing goes on for 8 long weeks and we are 3 weeks in. As long as I keep decent food in the house and stay away from Happy Hour it’s easy. It includes a minimal amount of exercise, mobility, hydration and sleep every day. You also need scribble some reflections and every week has an extra challenge like diary writing, contacting people important to you, turn of media for an hour/day. And then there is the food thing. It’s clean eating, no sugar and very little dairy and grains.
First of all it made me realize that I am not doing as bad as I thought, that’s always a boost for your confidence. We actually eat well, thanks to multiple allergies among the kids. My kryptonite is cheese and chocolate. Exercise, mobility, hydration and reflection (or the weekly challenge) feels easy, I didn’t have to change much. Sleep and food, that’s where I have to think a little. So far I’ve reached my sleep goal, 6 hours/night. After really analyzing why I don’t get enough rest, why I have trouble fall asleep and mostly why I wake up and stay awake it was an easy change. I cut back on coffee (once again, like race prepping). I still drink a couple of cups in the morning and sometimes a cup with lunch, but that’s it. Surprisingly I switched to green tea that in my opinion smells like something you find underneath the lawnmower. I drink a lot of Maroccan mint now, I know very lame. Cutting alcohol is for sure a game changer. Even if the amount was limited before it seemed to get my heart rate up and that’s why I wake up. Or that is my professional opinion. So I am at +6 hours, 43-44 beats, better sleep restoration and actually awake during the day. That’s always nice. Sadly it’s easy to see other patterns too. To many hard workout days without resting makes me sleep really bad. So this is really nothing new but it’s interesting to track the numbers.
Food, that’s another thing. I had to change my breakfast habits. At 6.30am I am a crispbread, cheese and coffee kind of person. A yogurt and an egg if I have a long day planned. I think my Swedishness sits too deep, we love our bread and open faced sandwiches. Since I had to cut most grains, dairy (except yoghurt), potatoes, sugar etc I had to rethink a bit. So it’s eggs and fruit for breakfast. Banana pancakes tastes pretty ok when you get used to the texture nd if you overload it with berries. Lunch and dinner didn’t really change much actually, just some tweaks. I miss my regular smoked salmon (contains a lot of sugar) that is my go to lunch with scrambled eggs. It’s a lot of sweet potatoes and cauliflower around here at the moment. And no brie or morbier for dessert. That’s probably the worst part of all this.
All three kids are eating most of the stuff I cook and I only have to add on a few things here and there to make them happy. I think the biggest thing is snacking. From now on snacks consists of nuts, seeds, eggs, yogurt, fruit and veggies. And I love snacking, nuts, fruit, peanut butter on apple slices… But no cinnamon buns. Mindful eating during the day is the thing. I’ve been eating on the run for a long time and then it’s easy to eat too much or too fast. I usually grab a banana on the way to the car. Eat some trailmix or pretzels while waiting for the kids. A cappuccino and another one, and some crackers… And a double espresso after dinner. And an apple, and some more nuts… So I pack on a lot of calories eating nuts and still do but I don’t care. I am hungry!
On the plus side it’s a bit more fun to cook again. I’ve tried new things and even the kids seem to think some of the stuff actually tastes good. It’s a little bit of a treasure hunt at the grocery store. A lot of things you eat every day that you think is pretty ok actually contains sugar and other extra stuff to make it look good. I felt pretty excited when I found wild frozen lingonberries without sugar the other day.
I wish I had spent some time to make my plates look a bit nice and professional but here you go. Some of last weeks food:
A salad of leftovers and meatballs with cauliflower mash.
Cauliflower hash brown w prosciutto and lingonberries and some oat and seed crackers.
Stew w veggies on spinach and thick spinach soup with eggs.
Chicken w herbs and wild rice and Greek yogurt mixed with frozen berries and pistachios aka fake ice cream.