I’m not going to lie and say my time doing the Whole Life Challenge just flew by. The truth is that I’ve felt every one of these last eight weeks. Two months is a long time to keep up any highly structured health program. I’m proud of the fact that I, with the support of my teammates, stuck with it despite bouts of “eh, screw it,” travel fails and frustration with lame challenges.
As I wrote about in this post from Week Six, the WLC has pushed me to make some big changes in how I structure my meals and indulge in “extras” like sugar and booze. I can go on and on about an enlightened perspective and better habits. But what about the cold, hard facts? After eight weeks on the WLC, did my body change?
I credit CrossFit for helping me shift the way I think about bodyweight. When I went from being a pure cardio junkie to a regular CrossFitter, the numbers on the scale actually went up a bit, even though my pants fit better and I had more muscle definition. Logically, I knew that my new muscle weighed more than fat. But, emotionally, looking at “weight gain” was unsettling, especially when I was working my ass off.
So from that point on, I mostly ignored my bathroom scale and only acknowledged my bodyweight during trips to the doctor. (I had to resist the urge to tell the nurse how much I could deadlift.) The number on the scale just doesn’t tell the whole story … but it does tell part of the story.
After eight weeks of the Whole Life Challenge, I lost about 4 pounds. My level of physical activity was consistent with what I was doing pre-challenge, so I know this was because of cleaner eating. I was never hungry during the challenge; I didn’t count calories or attempt to eat less food overall. I have to assume that those 4 pounds were because of the excess sugar I was consuming through white flour, alcohol, sweets and packaged foods.
Losing 4 pounds certainly isn’t a big deal. But now I know that they’re completely unnecessary for my body.
My before and after measurements help tell the same story.
Waist: lost 1¾ inches
Hips: lost ½ inch
Biceps: lost ¼ inch
All good news, with the exception of my biceps measurement. I’ve been working on pull-ups and was hoping to see a gain here, but I’ll take what I can get.
The next Whole Life Challenge starts on May 2, 2015. Six weeks is a decent chunk of time, and maybe I’d be ready to give it another shot by then, but I think I’ll pass. It’s time for me to take what I’ve learned from this experience and figure out how I can apply it to my everyday life in a realistic and sustainable way.
Thanks for sticking it out with me! It’s been helpful and reassuring to see your comments, likes and shares each week. For all the fellow challengers — what are your biggest take-aways? What will you do differently as a result of your experience? For the challenge bystanders — will you give it a go on May 2?