Saturday, March 8, 2014

Phooto Shoot Challenge {week 1 recap}

No, I'm not training for a photo shoot, but Whitney Carlson is - and she has invited everyone to join her in her preparations!

When I first started eating clean, I stumbled across the He and She Eat Clean website. I tried a few recipes, read their success stories, fell in love with how real they are -  and have been following them ever since!

This website is run by two couples: Jim and Tiffany Staples with Scott and Whitney Carlson. If you're new to clean eating and the healthy lifestyle that goes with it, I highly recommend checking out their website!

But back to me.

I fell sick about two months ago with my annual sinus infection. I'm never sick. I might get the sniffles, or a scratchy throat, but it rarely lasts more than a couple days - and since going paleo, these little bouts of sickness are usually cleared up within 24 hours. (I attribute this to adequate sleep, lots of veggies and daily bone broth.) When I felt my sinus infection coming on, I upped my bone broth, feeling confident it wouldn't last as long as usual.

Boy was I ever wrong! Instead of the usual one week of suffering, I agonized for just over two weeks! I didn't understand! I was doing everything right!

Or was I? I analyzed my habits and found I had been going to bed later and later, which led to sleep deprivation. I was also getting up earlier and earlier to get in longer workouts, which led to over-exercising. I was becoming obsessed with what I ate, tracking my macros for every bite I took, which led to under-eating. I was doing myself more harm than good.

Once I got over my illness and got my appetite back, my BED tendencies kicked back in. I had refused to give my body adequate fuel and therefore carb cravings kicked in full-force. I started binging. I was still eating clean and strict paleo, but I was eating too much. I gained weight and I bloated up as if I was a balloon someone had just inflated. My body can't handle high-carb diets, but I had gone so low-carb that my brain rebelled against me, determined to get the fuel it needed.

I was unhappy with my body, and I knew a change had to happen. I needed something do-able though, not something restrictive and unhealthy. That's when I stumbled across the Photo Shoot Challenge. Like Whitney says, the focus is on "making healthy changes" and to "continue this after {the challenge} is over". I was in!

I decided to track my food using the TwoGrand smartphone application as no numbers are involved. You simply take a picture of what you eat and the exercise you do. No macros, no calories, nothing. This allows me to be accountable (I don't eat anything I wouldn't want to take a picture of) and also allows me to review my food choices for the day and for the week. I can see right away if I'm not getting enough leaf greens, or if I'm indulging in too many dried fruits...

And here's my recap for Week 1:

Eat healthy.
Exercise at least 4-6 days per week.
Drink a gallon of water per day.

My food choices for the week ended up being great: clean, paleo and sufficient. I indulged a bit at my villages annual bonfire night by drinking a Belgian Screwdriver and a glass of mulled wine (not paleo, not clean). I also had a Starbucks coffee yesterday (not paleo, not clean), but living in Belgium makes them hard to come by so I'm not worried about the occasional splurge. I made sure to drink lots of water the day of and after splurges to helps flush out bloat and toxins.

Speaking of water, drinking a gallon of it means filling up my water bottle 9.5 times, which may sound like a lot, but gets done pretty easily. I'm constantly drinking little sips throughout the day and I'm never without my water bottle. 

My exercise was good as well. I've been easing back into things slowly, as my body was extremely weakened after my sinus infection. I was consistent though, and am pleased by what I could do. I made sleep a priority as well, making sure I got at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep per night.

And, my perma bloat brought on by high carbs and binge sessions, has left! I'm down 2.2 kgs (4.85 lbs) in just one week! Clean eating, moderate exercise, sufficient sleep and hydration and finding the macros that suit your needs will all do wonders for body composition! My pants are fitting looser and my self confidence is building every day.

I can't wait to see what week 2 will bring!


  1. I follow you on Instagram and have to say you're my inspiration!!
    Thank you :-)

    Kristina O.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much! Good luck on your journey to better health! :)