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Hello, all. It looks like I have accidentally signed up to do another Whole30 Challenge. This time around, my partners in crime healthy eating will be two people I’ve come to know really well over the past year through something called Nerd Fitness. I haven’t really taken the time to talk here about Nerd Fitness, but since it’s such a big part of my life and something I talk about off-line bunches anyway, I probably should.

What Is Nerd Fitness?

Nerd Fitness is a website aimed at providing the tools you need to ‘level up’ your life. Level up your fitness, your diet, your job, the cleanliness level of your house — whatever — any of the personal growth areas you want to work on; NF aims to help through great articles, tons of free resources, and an accountability forum. The guy that runs it, Steve, puts a lot of his time and effort into making the community the best it can be – and it’s really pretty great. The articles are well-written and well researched, the fitness advice is spot-on, and I can’t say enough good things about the forum.

Take for example, the latest article posted on Nerd Fitness – “Why You Should Level Up And How To Crush 2014“. Lots of great information here on how to get unstuck in life, how to improve the things you want to improve, and how to join in the fun with the Nerd Fitness Community (The Rebellion).

The NF Community is structured into 6-week challenge cycles – for every 6-week cycle period you choose 3-5 things you want to focus on, put up a challenge thread, sign up for an accountability group, post daily updates on your progress, and engage with other community members. You’re all there for the same reason – to get fit, eat right and generally level up your life – and you’re all probably nerds, so you have that in common too. It’s a supportive and great group to get involved with, and 100% what I credit for making me stick to working out and eating right this past year. I’ve gone on 6-8 month stretches before, but something has always gotten in the way – lack of support, increase of apathy, vacation, something. Not this time.

In 2013, I participated in all seven 6-week challenge cycles and have leveled up areas of my life I never thought I’d actually get around to. Not only have I lost over 20 pounds and built a bunch of muscle, but I sort of almost run (if you told 16 year old or even 32 year old me that would happen, I would have laughed in your face and probably flipped you off), I went through my clothes and edited them heavily to create the kind of wardrobe I actually want to wear, I consistently work out, I eat right pretty close to all the time, I’ve pushed myself creatively, and cleaned waaay more than I would normally. All because of the challenge structure, accountability and support I’ve found on the Nerd Fitness forums. What I get there has been just the thing to bolster my willpower – when I’m not feeling like working out or want to eat ‘all the carbs’, I turn to my NF friends for support/handholding/a whop upside the head as necessary.

And then I do what I need to do anyways because I’ll never accomplish my goals if I don’t work toward them. And I’ll get side-eye from my ‘Canadian friend’. Or harrangued by my ‘Texas friend’. Or just generally called out for whatever lame excuse I came up with from any number of other corners of the globe.

Right now, my overarching goal – and something I’ve been working toward for a couple months now – is to be physically ready to participate in Mudderella this May 10. Mudderella is a 5-7 mile muddy obstacle course aimed at women (though men can join in) – along the lines of a slightly less intense Tough Mudder. This is something that up until about 6 months ago I thought was nothing that I a: wanted to do, and b: could even possibly consider doing for fitness reasons. Crazy fitness people do those things; I am not that. So I kicked the fear aside and I signed up. And started training. And you know what? I think I might just be able to finish it. I won’t be the fastest out there (and that’s really not what this is all about), but I think I’ll make it across the line. Possibly even with all my limbs intact. What? Whoisthisperson?!

And if that wasn’t enough, I just signed up for another crazy mud obstacle run in July – this time, it’s zombie-themed and in NY. I’ll be doing this one with my serious runner hubby and a longtime friend – and it looks like tons of fun.

Back to Whole30. For those of you that have been reading for awhile, you might remember my last Whole30 challenge – which I totally dominated, thankyouverymuch. I learned a lot of great lessons about behaving while eating out and a lot about the sheer amount of shenanigans hidden in most foods that come from off the shelf – even things as simple as diced tomatoes. Who needs sugar in diced tomatoes?! 

This time around, I will be posting my meals daily – and will be recapping where possible. I plan on doing more than 1 recipe a week as well, but we will see where that goes. Hopefully whatever I’m eating is good enough to point you guys toward at least twice a week.

Whole30 Take 1 recap post

It will be interesting to see the difference in food from August (the last time I did a Whole30 Challenge) to January. I’m foreseeing a lot less fruit salad with chicken and a lot more hearty stick-to-your-ribs fare.

What Is Whole30? 

Whole30 is a month-long hard reset for the body. Kind of like paleo on steriods. No sugar (even honey or stevia), grains, dairy or legumes. Just whole, natural foods – like meats, veggies and fruits. Nothing in a package. No soy (mental note: find coconut aminos; Braggs isn’t going to cut it this month). Amend fish sauce buying to conform.

This program is designed to break the back of sugar and carb cravings and give your body a balanced place from which to build healthy habits. It seeks to reset your metabolism, knock out systemic inflammation (that you may not even know you have) and zero out other gut health issues. Have random stomach pain like me? This may help balance that. Irregular? IBS? Feel like crap all the time? Can’t lose weight? Well .. this crazybananas plan might work.

My favorite part of the plan, aside from the reset, is the tough love. This is not hard – not like quitting heroin or beating cancer. Don’t even think about slipping – what you put into your mouth is always a choice. You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to eat – learn to stick up for yourself, peer pressure is for elementary school students. This will take effort but you will be better for it – especially if you’re a first-timer to cutting out grains and legumes. But … you can do this.

You know what? They’re right. In the grand scheme of things, 30 days is a small amount of time to deal with a little inconvenience. Unless there are roving bands of rapist donuts in your neighborhood; then maybe stay inside and eat what you’re supposed to anyways.

So, let’s go!