Welcome to the September No Sugar More Sleep challenge! If you missed it, here is where you will be entering your daily points for the challenge. The form is very simple to use, and you might win some sweet prizes at the end of the challenge! Also, please use the Facebook group for questions, inspirational posts, or creative recipes you are trying out! If you are unsure about something, someone else likely is as well, so ask away.
Why are we focusing on sugar in this challenge? Sugar has gained mass attention in the media in the last couple years, and health officials around the globe are speaking out. The World Health Organization recommends adult and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. The American Heart Association recommends limiting to 6-9 tsp per day. To put that in context, there are almost 10 teaspoons of added sugar in one can of pop!
For some people, sugar might be soothing and calming, a pick-me-up when energy is low, a “guilty pleasure”, or just part of daily routine and something you never really thought much about. As part of the challenge we also want to avoid sweeteners. Some people have success cutting their sugar intake by swapping in, say diet soda for regular. But keeping very sweet tastes in your food routine means that your palate adapts to this frequency and level of sweetness. You’re still always expecting everything to be super-sweet and you’re disappointed when it isn’t.
For this challenge, sugars we are concerned about include any kind of refined sugar, syrups, and other caloric sweeteners. Added sugar allows for foods to be sweet of course, however it also add calories while offering virtually no nutrition.
On an ingredient label, sugar may appear under many names. Some of the most common ones include cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar and crystal solids. Sugars are also found in ingredients like brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and brown rice syrup.
Common Sources of Added Sugars
- Sugary beverages (soda, fruit punch, sweet coffee and energy drinks)
- Sugary cereal
- Candy and chocolates
- Flavored yogurt
- Baked goods such as cakes, pastries and cookies
Added sugars can hide in some surprising places, such as:
- Whole-grain cereals and granola
- Instant oatmeal
- Frozen foods
- Granola bars, protein bars and cereal bars
- Pasta sauce
- Dried fruit, canned fruit, applesauce and fruit juices
- Baby food
- Barbecue sauce, ketchup, salad dressing and other condiments
The first step in reducing your added sugar intake takes place in the grocery store. Scan labels for added sugar and, instead, fill your shopping cart with healthier options. You also can reduce added sugar intake at home by cooking from scratch. By making your own granola, pasta sauce and condiments and serving homemade baked treats, you are in control of the ingredients used.
Don’t be mistaken, we don’t want you to eliminate carbs. Your body does need nutrient-rich carbs to function properly. These include things like dairy, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. You are better off having high fibre legumes, vitamin C rich potatoes at a meal, or adding berries for antioxidants to your breakfast. Fuelling yourself with nutrient rich foods will satisfy your body in a way refined sugar can’t.
Make a healthy relationship with food the overall focus instead of focusing on the fact that you are depriving yourself of sugar. Encourage positive associations with foods by playing up their good qualities
Best of luck and happy eating!
Emilie and Robyn
#9 CONSISTENCY VS. PERFECTION
This is based off of my experience and experience working with and around other active individuals.
I’ve been counting my macros for over 7 months now and although I can’t imagine not weighing, measuring and tracking what I eat, there are still incredibly challenging days and days when I question why I still do it. Then I remind myself why I started in the first place and I remind myself of those moments when I either looked in the mirror or finished a WOD and said to myself “Damn, I feel really good.”
I’m not a master when it comes to dieting or macro counting by any means, and I’m continuously learning things along the way. One thing I’ve learned along the way is something I find to be the most important thing that we can remind ourselves as we start creating a healthy relationship with food.
Don’t strive for perfection. Instead, strive for consistency. Trying to be perfect with your eating is not only difficult, but it’s exhausting. When we try to be perfect, we put pressure on ourselves. When we don’t reach perfection, we take it as failure. This can lead into a whole lot of emotional eating and it’s an easy way to throw all your hard work out the window.
Perfection, in this case, means hitting your numbers exactly on point every single day. This also means being overly cautious of what we’re eating and making sure every single thing we put in our mouths is sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, organic, grass fed, or any sort of other dietary restriction. A couple of perfect days, or weeks, is usually followed by a couple days or weeks of eating whatever you’d like because “you deserve it.” Let’s end these “well deserved” binges and start being consistent with how we eat, day in and day out.
Unfortunately, what we don’t realize is that one day or weekend of binge eating can set our bodies back weeks of progress. You’ll see puffiness in the mirror, you’ll see extra weight on the scale, and you’ll feel lethargic in the gym most importantly.
Instead, learn how to incorporate treats into your every day life.
Some tips to help you become more consistent:
Failing to plan is planning to fail – If you’re using a tracking app for your diet, pre-enter your day into your app! If you know you have a party to go to, you have family coming over, or you simply know you’re going to want to have a glass of wine with dinner, enter it ahead of time. Simply work the rest of your day around this indulgence and you won’t have to feel guilty about eating or drinking it.
Just because you went over, doesn’t mean you have to blow it out of the water – Say it’s 7pm and you’re at a dinner. You’ve had maybe 2 glasses of wine or some of that delicious table bread that set you over your daily carb intake. Don’t take this as an opportunity to say, “Oh well, I’m over anyway now. I may as well eat everything I want!” Stop where you are, reset your mindset and move forward.
Enjoy the process – Ultimately this isn’t, or shouldn’t, be about getting a 6-pack. Having goals is important but enjoying and loving the process is even more important. This is about you creating a long lasting healthy relationship with food. Take it one day at a time.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you stay on track with your eating habits, and will make sure that you can continue to enjoy all the food you love while working towards your fitness goals.
Work with me to build your consistency. Sign up for 416Life Here!
Trade in that Pumpkin Spice Latte for this warm, nourishing bowl of goodness. This festive breakfast dish is LOADED with fibre, keeping you full all morning long!
Makes One Serving
• 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or dairy milk
• ¼ cup pumpkin puree
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients together
2. Let mixture set for 10 minutes
3. Pour evenly into serving dish
4. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6-8 hours
Nutrition Facts (using almond milk)
#8 Aligning Your Lifestyle with Your Goals
Click the link above and look through a chart we’ve put together. This chart represents the various amount of dedication and trade-offs you as an athlete have to make depending on what your goals are.
As we look through the chart above, a few things are made clear. It’s clear to see that depending on what your goals are, your lifestyle can and will change. It’s also clear that regardless of what your goals are, a few things will always be a top priority.
It’s important to know and accept that goals will change regularly resulting in your day to day life to change. Clearly, not all of these lifestyles are sustainable for extra long periods of time. They all have a time and place so long as we maintain being happy and motivated to reach these goals.
As a quick exercise, sit down with yourself for a few minutes and look at your goals. Write them down and ask yourself if the type of lifestyle needed to reach them is something you can commit to. There is a cost to being lean and performing at high levels in the gym – there’s no doubt about that. There is a lesser cost to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle but also requires an amount of dedication. Are you up for the challenge of changing your lifestyle to meet your goals?
If so (hopefully the answer is YES!), having someone to hold you accountable during this time can shave off a tremendous amount of time and stress while reaching these goals. Work with a coach and:
- discuss and refine your goals
- talk about your current lifestyle and how it might be preventing you from getting to these goals
- make small changes and steps towards aligning your lifestyle with your goals
- check in with your coach once a week to make sure things are staying in line
- asses progress and make adjustments based on your ever-changing goals
- acquire the skills of measuring and tracking food, learn about eating to perform and learn about quality and quantity of different foods so that you can maintain this healthy lifestyle moving forward
Sign up for 416Life Here!
It’s that time of year when the summer shenanigans are winding down. Gone are the cottage weekends, sangrias on the patio, and lounging by the pool with a nice cold one. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. As we start to migrate indoors, now is the perfect time to zone in on your personal wellness goals and focus on building foundational healthy habits.
416Life is hosting a FREE challenge! The focus of this challenge will be getting more sleep and cutting out added sources of sugar in your diet. These are two fundamental areas that if you start to dial in, the results will be outstanding.
Here’s how to join:
It’s super simple! Join the Facebook Group “Sugar Free September”.
• Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep nightly
No sources of added sugar (flavoured yogurt, jams, granola bars, honey, maple syrup) or sweeteners (we mean Splenda, aspartame, stevia). Only sugars that naturally occur in fruit and dairy are acceptable. This is to help reduce your exposure to sugar and adjust your taste buds to tolerate less sweet foods. This in turn will help reduce cravings while increasing your sweet sensitivity (so that next time you add sugar to your coffee you may not feel you need the sugar anymore). Another added benefit (we hope) is this will have you eating more whole foods, and ultimately more veggies in your world!
Main Points (3 points each)
• Full day of no added sugars or sweeteners
• 7+ hours of sleep per night
Bonus Points (1 point each)
• Did not have added sugar, but did have sweeteners
• Had 6-7 hours of sleep per night
• Eating more veggies than fruit in a day
• Share sugar free recipe in the Facebook challenge group or on Instagram tagging #416Life
Not only will you have better sleep and less overall sugar in your diet, you may find that you have more energy, a better relationship with food, improved workouts, weight loss/fat loss, better focus on daily tasks, should we go on? If that isn’t enough we are also giving away some sweet gym accessories for those who recorded the highest points!
We are excited to host this challenge and invite you to step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try!
Looking forward to it!
Emilie and Robyn
#7 ASK FOR HELP
This step can relate well to building your support system although most of the time your support system won’t exclusively be fitness or health professionals you can go to for help. Most of the time, your support system will be your loved ones.
For someone starting on their fitness journey or maybe first timers dialling in your nutrition, this step will come easier for you. Help is everywhere for you to take advantage of. Do just that! Starting out can mean a world full of questions and worries that can all be sorted out by asking questions and talking to someone to has experience. No question is a stupid question. Everyone is on their own path and journey to living a healthy lifestyle – we’re all just at different points along the way.
Questions about movements and training? Find your local CrossFit box and ask a coach or contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org and talk to one of our fitness professionals.
Questions about rehab, pain, and/or injury? Seek out a physiotherapist or chiropractor. There’s no sense working through an injury alone. Getting advice and help can significantly reduce your healing time. Dr. Paul Oh provides fantastic services helping athletes at all ranges move better and pain free. Book an assessment with him here!
Questions about nutrition or living a better lifestyle? Talking to Registered Dietician or working with a nutrition Coach will cut down the time of finding the perfect diet plan that works for you. Ask for help with food quality, nutrient timing, meal prep, or simple recipe ideas. 416Life is a program that believes in taking control of your life through proper nutrition. Sign up for the program Here!
For those of you who are further along in your fitness and health journey, in this step, it’s almost like taking a step back. Not literally – let’s strive to keep moving forward – but figuratively. Take a step back and look at the areas in which you can improve. As we become more confident in and outside the gym and with our nutrition, it’s easy to think that we have it all figured out. As much as you know as an athlete, there’s someone out there who knows more. Having a competitive nature can be hugely successful towards your growth but having competitive nature hinder your progress by seeing everyone else as your competition isn’t what we want. Instead, collaborate with others to help you succeed even more.
The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know!