It took me over two years to lose one hundred pounds of excess fat and to really let healthy habits stick. From the time I started – and I actually even mention it in the second video in my YouTube video series 100 Reasons to Lose 100 Pounds – I knew I wanted to focus on whole foods and lose the weight by eating right and working out.
In that time, I tried a lot of things. A LOT. Like so many people working on a healthy lifestyle transition, I dabbled in various diets, fasts, detoxes and such. For a while I was also supplementing, and some things stuck around, and others would come and go.
I wanted to have a good deal of experience before even touching on the subject of supplementation, and I want to be wholly forthright that as of this posting, I am speaking from personal insight only. I am working on obtaining more education and earning credentials to speak with knowledge as well as insight, but again for now, this is strictly from personal experience.
Quite often when strength training, many of us supplement our protein with a protein powder, and after trying several products and types of powders, I fell into a rhythm of regularly using whey protein. I missed using it whenever I’d do the Whole 30 challenges, but of the various “diets” I tried, I liked the Whole 30 the most. I still utilize some great practices from that nutrition plan, and mix in other healthy things that I enjoy.
Wow I’m doing a pretty good job continually focusing on positive and not going on a rant about diets!
Okay back on point…
In my experience as a woman who has lost one hundred pounds twice now, and has struggled with healthy habits for my entire life, when someone comes along with help and solutions, it’s very, very seductive. When the goal is met…y’all the seduction continues. As I progressed in my fitness journey, I was approached by FIVE supplement companies. FIVE. It got to the point where with an initial message or text, I KNEW what was about to go down.
I would hear how inspiring I was and how I would be GREAT leading a team, and to support and encourage them to reach their goals! YES! That’s what I wanted!
I resisted for a bit, though admittedly, I was still using my own combination of products (whey protein and creatine pretty much daily, and I started trying out branched chain amino acids (BCAA) pre-workout and often before bedtime). Finally, I was a bit more open-minded to products distributed through independent distributors (knowing that it was very likely a multi-level marketing approach). Still, I wanted to remain receptive, especially if it meant trying products I was familiar with and could possibly lead toward me helping people by my experiences.
What I’m coming to realize is, like caffeine and more indulgent snacks, perhaps I can incorporate these things into my life every now and then, but currently I want to take a month-long holiday from product usage and let my body reset. I mean, from the very start, I didn’t need anything but food and water (well, and a whole lotta motivation), and until I started using products, I didn’t miss them. We can’t miss what we never had, so I’ll work on weening myself off and then start my cleanse.
I participated in a nation-wide 24 day challenge, and half way through, the accident happened. I was at my athletic pinnacle; I worked out for 5 hours two days prior, did my hardest yoga class before playing my ass off and earning MVP jammer the night before, and then that Monday morning things changed BIG time for me.
Strong Saturday! Super Sunday! MOPEY MONDAY.
Well, after the wreck, I wanted to let my body recover and though I ate healthy, I ate bunches. Whenever I get hurt, I need a few days to mope and eat too many carrots and natural peanut butter. I’ll nosh on like 6 bananas a day. They help, but dude 6 bananas is an excess 500-600 calories, yo.
I got a bit “fluffy” on the challenge. My two-a-day workouts got diminished to stretching, meditation, prayer, yoga, Epsom salt baths, physical therapy, doctor visits and a lot of calming the demon. I was also drinking 2-4 post workout recovery shakes (110-220 calories a pop) a day after the accident.
Needless to say, the challenge didn’t yield the results that I had planned, and surely not what the challenge hosts had planned. It kinda pretty much backfired.
But maybe it needed to.
I can gladly talk to people about health, food, my personal journey, happiness, finding the Light in the darkness, encouraging stuff, things that I have credible life experience and insight on. Shit, I’m no expert. But I’m well educated from the school of hard knocks!
When I went on the challenge, people asked me about it and I said wait until I’m through before I give my insight. Well, I’m through it, and through I don’t regret the experience, it doesn’t trump my experience with whole, clean nutrition.
Supplements to me are yet another thing that I’ve tried out, and I could go either way on them personally. I really prefer to stick to what’s natural. If it’s not readily accessible to me through nature or a grocery store, then maybe it’s not what my body naturally needs. However, I won’t judge people for using safe products. I can speak about my experiences and share what I learned.
However, it’s odd to me that so much stuff is added to supplement nutrients. What else are we putting into our bodies in order to get this nourishment?
I realized yesterday that an energy supplement I was taking is catabolic. CATABOLIC! I had no idea that I reduced my tea intake to put THREE TIMES as much caffeine in my body with the supplement! So now I have to ween myself down off the supplement to become less caffeine dependent, and I want to do it soon because if I can’t lift right now (not for a few weeks), then HELL NO to putting something catabolic in my body!
So, I’m breaking down what I supplement, and why I do it. Then, I’m coming up with a list of things I will use in place of the supplements. Also, I’ll create a plan to ensure that I’m well-prepared!
Taking: Energy drink supplement
Holiday: Black tea, green tea, B-vitamins, almonds, fruits
Taking: Electrolyte replacement drink
Holiday: cucumber-infused water/cucumber and coconut water, my cocktail of coconut water/diluted coconut milk with salt and agave, cocktail #2 of water, salt, lemon and agave, more electrolyte-rich foods post-workout (celery, strawberries, cantaloupe)
Taking: post-workout recovery
Holiday: post-workout snacks with 3:1 carb:protein. Examples:yogurt with fruit/granola, bananas and nuts/peanut butter, turkey and apples, soy nuts and fruit…so many options.
Taking: whey protein powder
Holiday: Preparing in advance, more egg whites, lean proteins, tofu/soy. I use the whey mainly in my morning oats or in a protein shake, so I’ll get more creative with breakfast!
Taking: Amino Acids (BCAA, Argenine)
Holday: This is a big one. I may be getting in TOO much protein, so who knows if I even need aminos? I didn’t need them before I started taking them, and straight up, I was more ripped before!
I gave up creatine when I started the challenge and especially when I started supplementing aminos. Thought I liked it and did experience benefits in strength, muscle mass and recovery, I also know damn well over time that’s not the best product for my kidneys.
So, while I remain non-judgmental on safe and reliable product consumption, it’s something that I’m going to take a break from. When I did the 24-day challenge, I knew I wanted to do a 24-day challenge without product usage. The timing just fell into place and I’m excited to get back to basics.
Things are falling into place marvelously. I finally found the balls to reach out to a life coach and get in on an advising session with her. FINALLY. I had a great consultation with another friend and mentor and discussed my eating habits, and got great insight from her, as well as updated body measurements including BMI. I needed that. I was relying on weight for too long, this will help me with my next goals. She also gave me great direction in prioritizing, and how to further the credentials I’m looking for as a part of this health and fitness community.
Kimbo saw me for her yoga class that night and mentioned how much better I looked. I felt so relieved, like I was finally going in the direction I intended to, felt more focused, and felt closer to myself again. I had a wonderful yoga practice. My balances were so strong, strongest they’ve been in a good while, and my Crow was on point!
You know, I said my life was about to change drastically. I had no idea it would happen this way; shit the major life stuff never happens like we planned it to. However, this is yet another example of what happens when we put an intention out there. It just manifests.
Every step I feel closer to my goals. I have a list of three major ones, and they’re coming together. The last is the cherry on top…we won’t go there just yet.
…but when we do, it’s going to be magical. Like, fairy tale shit.