New challenge! Maybe.

Okay, I stuck with the last challenge for 3 out of 12 months before spectacularly crashing in flames. After that I fell completely off the wagon and swung to the other end of the diet continuum. That threw my body into a tail spin, sending me to the doctor yesterday, who totally read me the riot act. She’s making me come in every two weeks until I get things back under control.

Sigh. That’s annoying, even if I do know it’s for the best. (Grains and sugar are evil, people. Truly evil.)

I knew I needed to start a new challenge, but I wasn’t MOTIVATED to start a new challenge yet. Then, this morning, my friends and I solidified plans to go to the Bay Area of California next February. And as we discussed costs I realized I was going to want some hefty spending money.

Enter motivation for a challenge!!!

Our trip is almost exactly 10 months away. (Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait!) Original challenge had a particular monetary payoff for 12 months. I knocked off a sixth of that and came to a wonderful round number for ten months of effort.

(When I told my husband I wanted the money for spending money, he said, “No way! What are you going to buy? A mongoose/cobra death match?” My eyes opened wide. “If I find one, hells to the yes!”)

(That, by the way, links to the funniest Internet story EVER.)

Anyway, I reread that thing, can’t stop giggling, and have totally lost my train of thought.

Challenge. Okay, right. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t like the monetary terms of the new challenge. Last time I was collecting some cash and lots of time off. This time I want money, and he’s not thrilled with the idea of trying to set aside that amount while we’re remodeling the basement. I get that. I also get that the money was the ONLY reason I stuck to the challenge before, and I’m pretty sure I won’t do it without money this time.

(I mean, look, if the health benefits were enough, I and every other fat person would be thin, active, and healthy. Right? Whether they *should* be enough is utterly irrelevant.)

So, I suppose the challenge is a big maybe while he and I negotiate.

Terms of the challenge:

This challenge will/would be similar to the last, but not exactly the same. I’m tweaking the diet a bit and adding some flexes.

  • Between today and June 8, I’m following the Leptin Reset Protocol by Dr. Jack Krause. It’s strict Paleo, no cheats, fewer than 25g net carbs per day.

After June 8, everything loosens up a bit:

  • Six days a week I’ll follow strict Paleo. That means no grains, no legumes, no starches, no sugar (except for dark chocolate and as explained in the Flex section below), and no dairy. I can do limited fruit — my doctor wanted me to include berries — raw honey, and dark chocolate. But I want to keep myself to fewer than 50g net carbs per day. Preferably far less.
  • The seventh day is still a free day, but for the most part I want to keep it more controlled than it used to be. I have ideas about what I want to do, but to keep flexibility, for the purposes of the challenge, Saturdays are still a free day.

Flexes. The biggest issue with the challenge last time was that it had zero flexibility, and life just isn’t that predictable.

  • Flex #1. I’m going to build in 10 “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. That averages 1 per month, but that’s not how I have to use them. Basically a flex allows me to have an additional free day. They will keep me sane when I’m sick, when I have to spend ALL DAY at a work function, when I have to travel, when we lose power and can’t heat food, etc.
  • Flex #2. Salad dressing. I had this one last time. I don’t eat a lot of salad, but when I do — particularly if I’m at a restaurant — I don’t want to futz with trying to ensure the dressing is Paleo-friendly.
  • Flex #3. I eat very few prepared foods, and I’m not changing that. But occasionally there’s something we want to try that’s 99% Paleo… but it has some minute quantity of sugar or non-honey sweetener in it. Get over it. I’m tired of that level of micromanagement. Daily net carb levels DO apply, however, and this isn’t an excuse to go on a dessert binge.
  • Flex #4. Soy sauce. Tamari is preferred, but if I can’t get it, I will survive, even though soy sauce has gluten in it.
  • Flex #5. Occasional cheese. I want to be 99% dairy-free. However sometimes my husband likes to cook a meal that has some cheese. It shouldn’t be a regular thing, but I can live with special occasions.
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4 Responses to New challenge! Maybe.

  1. I’ll be your cheerleader. I won’t say “again” because I’ve never stopped cheering for you, Melissa. You’re a wonderful person. I like how you’re going easier on yourself this time.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Maggie — {{HUG}}

      You’re awesome. It’s great to know I have that cheering section out there. I’m not making things *too* much easier on a day-to-day basis, but I think the addition of flexes will make it easier to handle the things we can’t plan for. My husband wasn’t sure about having the Get Out of Jail Free cards — he thought there should be restrictions on them, like “one a month,” but I argued that if we lose power for 5 days (again) or I have to travel for work for several days, I could end up in a situation where I *need* those flexes. Sometimes I just can’t control my world completely, and that’s what the Get Out of Jail Free cards are for.

  2. Good luck! I’ve done Primal for 10 years, and it’s made all the difference (lost my excess weight, have kept it off for 10 years, am surviving menopause, more or less).

    The Primal I do is very similar to your challenge but it allows hard cheeses, heavy cream, and butter. I try to keep those to 3 ounces a day, because otherwise I can scarf down a lb of good cheese in moments.

    I hope this works well for you.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Nancy! I love Primal. Long term, I will probably do Primal rather than Paleo, but particularly for this first portion, I’m sticking to the stricter version. It’s way too easy for me to take a little flexibility and abuse it.

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