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One Bite at a Time

By Marcus | In Nutrition, Psychology | on January 2, 2013

Male athlete swinging kettlebell

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time”

-Creighton Abrams

Coming from me, you may think that the above quote is encouraging a new meat source, but you’d be wrong… this time. The quote is meant to emphasize that when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task, one should break it down into smaller pieces that can be more easily dealt with. Looking only at the big picture can lead to discouragement, if not a feeling of hopelessness.

I have heard some murmurs about the upcoming nutrition challenge being a “Whole90“. That alone can put some people off, and I could not disagree more with that assumption! Look, of course I’m going to encourage you to eat Paleo, but I understand you’re human as well. Don’t take that the wrong way though, as I can assure you that going a full 90 days without cheats of any kind is certainly possible. You need to not look at the elephant and instead look at the bite in front of you (literally, in this case).

Here is my suggestion for how to tackle the upcoming challenge. Start off with a strict Whole30 (W30). If you don’t know the deal by now, go to their site. They just started their latest worldwide Whole30 yesterday, so you will be sure to find more than enough information about the ins-and-outs of how to approach a W30. Don’t let laziness be an excuse for cheating or being unprepared!

If you’re paying attention, you’ll realize that is just the first 30 days. What then? I would then suggest careful reintroduction of one of the Paleo “gray area” foods that you feel you “cannot live without”, such as dairy. Your system will be relatively at a baseline at that point, so you can see how the reintroduced food makes you look, feel and perform over the course of a week. Do you get an inflammatory response? If so, you may want to avoid that food from now on and you gained more from the W30 than just a slimmer waistline. If you don’t notice an effect, take it back out of your diet for a few days then move on to the next “gray area” food, perhaps legumes. Repeat this process, and you will gain greater knowledge of your body and what foods may have been causing you some sabotage in the past.

Note, as we’ve said before, you will want to separate these potential hazards when doing reintroduction. For example with dairy, some cheese (dairy) is one thing, but ice cream (dairy + sugar) is entirely another beast and pizza (dairy + sugar + refined flours + gluten) really shouldn’t even be a consideration. That first 30 days you work so hard for creates a unique opportunity where you have a clean slate to experiment with. Don’t give in to temptation and waste it on a “cheat day” filled with suboptimal foods. You can do this!

For more advice on how to handle days 30-90, see Ruth’s post “Day 30 and [NOT] Jumping Off the Deep End” and my post “Life Sentence”.

P.S. I heard back from the Body Fat testing company and we’re currently looking at a start during the 3rd week of February. I should be able to confirm within the next week.


Happy birthday Shelley!! You seem to dodge the camera because I could not find a photo of you! But thankfully, your husband was kind enough to send in this celebratory bio:

· Shelley was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii and went to the University of Oregon.
· She has been doing CF for over 5 years, lives for her morning workout and is particularly proud of her pull ups.
· Shelley greets you with a big, beautiful smile, but when it is time for business she is a fierce competitor – whether at CF, paddling, running stairs, or playing the card game speed (she’d be the world champion if they held such an event).
· She recently started her own event marketing and production company, Blue Firefly, and has helped plan, design, and run various events and marquee retail store build outs throughout the country.
· Her athletic passion outside of the gym is Hawaiian style ocean outrigger paddling. She is currently the President of the Marina Outrigger Canoe Club and a mainstay of one of the top women’s boats, which medaled virtually every race this past season. She trains year round for the seminal intra-Hawaiian Island races that take place in the fall.
· She is an accomplished amateur chef and loves to cook. She enjoys travel and snowboarding and she has a soft spot for animals, particularly her beloved cat, Peanut.

Happy Birthday, Shel!


WOD 01.02.13

Deadlift 1×5 (or Wendler’s 5/3/1)

AMRAP 3
15 Kettlebell Swings
10 Pullups
Rest 1 minute
AMRAP 3
20 Ball Slams
10 Pushups
Rest 1 minute
AMRAP 3
30 Double-unders
10 Pistols

10 Comments to "One Bite at a Time"

  • Tina says:

    January 2, 2013 at 6:57 AM -

    Happy Birthday Shelley!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  • Sara says:

    January 2, 2013 at 9:09 AM -

    Happy birthday Shelley!!!

  • Alia says:

    January 2, 2013 at 9:14 AM -

    I got a picture of her this morning. I realize it’s too late. Happy Berfemeday Shelley Pants!

  • Holley says:

    January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM -

    Happy Birthday Shelley!!! Great fun facts from your husband!

  • Amanda says:

    January 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM -

    Happy birthday, Shelley!

  • Mark Miller (M^2) says:

    January 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM -

    Happy birthday Shelley!

  • Datenite says:

    January 2, 2013 at 3:14 PM -

    Happy birthday Shelley! Glad that you are part of the CFI family. Now we just need to get Joe in here!

  • Cristina says:

    January 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM -

    Happy birthday Shelly!

  • Chris Qua says:

    January 2, 2013 at 11:37 PM -

    Happy Birthday Shelley!!

  • Shelley says:

    January 3, 2013 at 6:44 AM -

    Thanks everyone!!!! For making me birthday workout so special! Matt, yep, no excuses, Joe’s coming in!

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