I’ve only 2 weeks left – I’ve not been updating the blog as often as I was when I started the CEC, but then once you get into the swing of it there’s less to say! This is an update of my progress and thoughts so far, along with some before and after photos.
All in, the ‘challenge’ hasn’t felt very challenging for me. I ate well anyway, and having been strict Paleo for a while in the past, not eating bread and pasta etc hasn’t been a problem for me. I find it fairly easy to stick to a diet, the area I have been struggling with has been cheating enough! Part of the challenge is to have 3 cheat meals a week – however I find that if I’m on a diet, I find it much easier to stay true to the rules rather than break them occasionally. One of my cheats was a home made chocolate muffin, and even though that was 2 weeks ago it caused huge sugar cravings that lasted quite some time.
I’m rarely hungry – I’m eating a calorie deficit apparently, but it doesn’t feel like it. Some people have seemed surprised with the amount of food I take to work with me, however I think once you cut out the high calorie low nutritional value food such as rice and pasta, you can eat a lot more other things to compensate. When I am hungry, I know it’s only a few hours until my next meal, so having 6 meals a day at least has a big advantage there. One disadvantage of eating 6 meals a day is that if you miss one or are late for one, you get very hungry. This is sometimes a problem when working a job like mine where meetings often dictate when you can and can’t eat.
I’m fast coming to the conclusion that no one seems to know how to eat. This week I have spoken to two different active healthy people about their diet. One person was on 20% carb and 40% fat and protein (if I remember correctly!). She was advised this by a lifting coach – and the higher fat allowance than mine (30% for me) seems to go in line with the ‘new’ way of thinking that fat isn’t the enemy. Also, advice given to her was to eat protein early in the morning, where as I’ve been given the opposite advise on CEC.
2 days later at Defence Labs, I was talking to one of the coaches who said they are on an 80% carb, 10% fat and protein diet! He’s eating more bananas a day than you’d think possible, and not eating meat as he’s read things that suggest we aren’t evolved to do so.
It seems more and more to me that however you want to eat, you’ll find evidence to suggest it’s the best way. Confirmation bias seems a heavy factor in dieting! It amazes me that in today’s world of technology and science, we appear to still have no clear idea on how to eat. Everyone has their own ideas, and many of these are in vast contradiction.
After my challenge is up in 2 weeks, I plan on making drastic changes to my diet to see what effects it has on me. Feel free to suggest something! I’ve been trying to be as close to the recommendations given to me by CEC as I can, and personally I’m pleased with the progress so far. However – if this is to be a truly fair experiment, I need to maintain the same level of exercise and alter the diet and compare results.
Before and After Pictures
It’s not quite before and after, because I’ve not finished yet, but here’s the before and progress so far pictures.
Unfortunately the pictures below have favourable lighting in the second set of pictures, but it does show the progress made.
It should be fairly clear from the pictures above that I’ve gained quite a lot of definition – my body fat has dropped from 10% to 8.5%, and possibly lower than that now as that was 2 weeks ago that it was measured.
Progress and Goals
As mentioned above, I’ve dropped 1.5% body fat, I’ve also lost 2.1kg since starting the challenge. The challenge started on the 16th Jan, and the weight loss before that as seen below was me recovering from a lot of over eating over December – that’s what a ski holiday and many christmas parties does…
In terms of performance gains, my strict press weight hasn’t improved at all – I am no closer to my goal! However, I put this down to not training this exercise specifically. I am going to put in more work in strict presses in the next 2 weeks to see if this makes any difference. I’ve not seen any noticeable strength gains recently, but I’ve not re-tested myself properly recently in anything other than my strict press.
My beep test score has improved from 12.7 measured a few weeks ago to 13 in a test done last Thursday. I’m confident my 5k speed has improved too, I aim to beat my PB next time I do a Parkrun.
So far, I’m pleased with the extra definition, but slightly concerned about losing too much weight. This doesn’t appear to have had negative effect on my performance though, running has definitely improved, and strength has at worst stayed where it was – if it has, it’s most likely due to lack of focus on specific strength goals. A bit more focus on strength training in the next 2 weeks, then… end of challenge!