How to Eat Challenge- Week 1

In case you are not up to speed with what is happening this month over here in ZooFit HQ, we are conducting an experiment to discover how our behaviors around eating affect our health and well-being. I believe it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that can impact our fitness.

Don’t get me wrong, what you eat matters. Cutting out sugar, processed foods, refined grains, and foods fried in vegetable oil helps in profound ways. But I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s not the only thing that improves our wellness. Because walnuts and berries are healthy. But if I eat a whole bucket of walnuts and berries, that’s not very healthy. And yes, I could totally eat a whole bucket of walnuts and berries.

So, on Monday, I embarked on a journey for 30 days of adhering to strict behavioral guidelines with how I eat. I sit down for every meal, and turn off electronic devices while eating. After dinner, I fast until the following morning. If I want a snack, I drink 6 ounces of water before snacking. I am making all our meals at home– no take-out, no pre-prepared meals from the supermarket. And I adhere to the Eating Green Principles– Meatless Monday, no palm oil, and reducing plastic. (I would love to say absolutely no plastic, but right now with restrictions and regulations surrounding coronavirus safety practices, I have to relax my criteria a little.)

After just one week, I’ve seen some improvements.

  • I’ve actually lost three pounds…in one week. I’m not super concerned with rapid changes for now. If I lose another three pounds next week, I may need to tweak something. But it’s not too uncommon when you incorporate some drastic changes to occasionally see immediate results which taper off as you go.
  • Sleep is slightly improved. Before, I was waking up 1-2 hours before my alarm and couldn’t get back to sleep. Now I’m waking about a half an hour before my alarm and I feel mostly refreshed. My average sleep time is increasing to 7.5 – 7.75 hours a night.
  • My water intake has gone through the roof. I didn’t measure it precisely before, but I’d wager my intake average was 6-7 glasses of water a day (on a good day). Now, I am definitely hitting more than 8 glasses of water a day. I have not seen much benefit from the increased water (better complexion, more energy, etc), except I have to pee a lot. But it’s only been a week, if I keep at it, I’ll notice any other changes.
  • I’ve logged all my meals before I eat, and I log my exercise. Every day I’ve gone over my calories, but apparently that’s not an issue because, well I’m losing weight. But I think I’m probably under-estimating my exercise?
  • Being on the How to Eat Challenge is keeping me from tempting habits. I usually try not to eat after dinner anyways, but often I succumb to temptation. On more than one occasion, I’ve been tempted to eat after 8pm and the only thing that kept me from snacking is this challenge. Which reminds me to talk about ways to deal with this when I’m not participating in a challenge. Because, dealing with unwanted behaviors is a staple for animal trainers and behavior scientists.

All in all, a good week for the challenge. I’ll be interested in seeing which of these habits stick in the long-run, and which ones I will want to kick to the curb.

I’ll say, sitting down and taking 30 minutes to eat meals without digital devices is HARD. I have so much going on every day that it feels like 30 minutes is so long to do “nothing”. It’s driving me crazy. But we’ll see how I feel at the end of the month.

My favorite meal for the week was the Summer Pesto “Pasta” (made with summer squash noodles) with grilled zucchini, red bell pepper, and corn. I grilled myself, a first for me (Chris turned on the grill but I did the grilling). I also enjoyed the Tuna Sloppy Joes. It’s been a while since I’ve made those, but they are always pretty delicious. I’m still so bad at remembering to take photos so I can show them in recipe blogs. Things to work on…

Carry on, keep going strong– eating clean, living green, and training positive.

One Comment

  1. Yes sitting down for 30 minutes at each meal is super hard and definitely a challenge for me. I feel like I have to work up to it maybe. But I will say that this challenge has improved not only my sleep but my blood pressure. Awesome!

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