Monday, November 7, 2011

Zero Excuses Challenge

Today is the first day of my six week challenge.  Prior to beginning this, I received the Zero Scale at no cost to me to use for the challenge as they are the sponsors.  As this challenge progresses, I promise you that any opinions I post about the scale will be my own.

So, let’s get started and let me share what the next 6 weeks will include.  First off, I had to weigh in.  Yes, I know!  I haven’t weighed myself in ages because I got so frustrated with working hard and not seeing those 3 stupid numbers change.  Then, if you recall, I went to the doctor and she informed me that I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last year and promptly sent me for the blood tests that resulted in me being referred to the specialist, who I see Wednesday.  But I digress.  Here is my first weigh in:

 How awesome is that?!  I WEIGH ZERO!  My dream finally came true…. Of course you know I’m kidding.  But, the fact that my weight would start at zero is one of the reasons, I  agreed to even try this.  From this point forward, when I weigh in the number on the left will be how many days since I last weighed in and the 0.0 will change to number of pounds lost/gained. Since I have no idea what my total weight is I’m hoping this will help me to stick this challenge out and not be discouraged.

The second component of the challenge is a fitness program.  This program was designed by Rich Kreps, who is the personal trainer/nutritionist working with the challenge participants, and who also has his own website with fitness and nutrition information. When I spoke with Rich and he told me that this program is based on one that celebrity trainer Harvey Pasternak used with Halle Berry when she was in training to get into the suit she wore in Catwoman. Not that I think I’ll end up looking like Halle Berry but jeez who wouldn’t want to try?!

The fitness program consists of 35 minutes of cardio and 3 strength training exercises per day:  one upper body, one lower body and one for the core.  For example, this morning I did 5 minutes of walking on my treadmill to warm up then I did 2 sets of 25 of chest presses and squats (no gym so I had to sub for leg presses).  The core exercise was planks and that was followed by 30 minutes of interval running.  Since I decided to just run for 3 miles.  Three miles of intervals is hard!  But I got it done in 34:15.  Not too bad.
Now to the food.  As I’ve mentioned many times I do not like restriction and it makes me want to stomp my foot and yell “no way” like a 2 year old.  When I first got the information Rich sent us, that's pretty much exactly what I did.

The preferred diet for the challenge is Primal/Paleo which means eating protein, vegetables, some fruit, and nuts – NO beans, grains/gluten carbs, or dairy to speak of!  While I know that people who follow a very low carb diet to lose weight seem to lose successfully, I honestly do not believe this is something that I would do long term.  Therefore, this truly would be a diet for me,  not simply a lifestyle change.  As the secret to success for weight loss maintenance seems to be finding something you can do the rest of your life, I am concerned about this.  While I am not a huge consumer of grain/gluten carbs or dairy, I do like a portion or so each day.  No dairy means eliminating even cheese, which Iis where I almost exclusively experience dairy and I do like pasta and whole grains.  Eliminating those items is not at all something I would do forever.  When Rich and I spoke about this, I was quite honest about how I felt:

Rich: How about using spaghetti squash in place of pasta?
Helen:  No.  I don’t like spaghetti squash in place of pasta.  I like spaghetti squash but when I want pasta I want pasta.  Also?  Don’t call turkey bacon.  It’s not bacon.  If I eat bacon, I’m eating pig bacon, okay?
Rich (laughing):  OK, I see you are going to be my nutritional challenge.

Ultimately my concern sent me out hunting around the world wide web for more information to see if there was some things I could do that would help me stick to this at least for a couple of weeks. Based on what Rich sent, I was wasn't feeling very confident that I would last more than a day or two. In my surfing I came across Robb Wolf's website and by the time I finished reading the information he has there, I felt a lot better.  As it turns out, since I generally eat low glycemic, my current eating is not very far off of Paleo with the exception being that I eat desserts! Based on this new information, my plan is to eat more Paleo than Primal and to try to stick exclusively until Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving?  Well, right now I'm thinking I'll have some stuffing and pie. We'll see.  Anyway if you go to Robb's website and look at the FAQ page, you'll get an idea of how I will eat.

I will say that doing all this thinking about how NOT to eat beans, grains and dairy made me sit down and write out a meal plan for myself that I could then add some things to for Mr. Helen.  Look at these pretty Prosciutto Rolled Asparagus I made to eat as snacks!

I’m planning on posting a weekly update on Monday telling you honestly how I did and how I feel about the challenge and the Zero Scale.  I hope you’ll follow along.

Now, let’s rock and roll!


  1. I'm definitely follow along because I find this challenge extremely interesting.

    Question: do you have to do your fitness exercise 7 days a week or do you get a "day off"?

    A co-worker of mine did Paleo a couple of months ago and it worked for her at that time. When she stopped, she went back to her old eating habits and gained again.

    I think your Paleo way of eating is a bit more strict than my eating. I can have carbs at 1 of my meals. I can have cheese but no yogurt and fruits during the day. I have to eat the fruit in my carb hour.

    Good luck and I'll be here to support you all the way.

  2. ::fist pump:: You GO, Helen!!! You can do this! I'm excited for you, and I sincerely hope you see some good changes, both on that scale and in your clothes. :)

    And I adore that you are giving Rich a run for his money.

  3. Now THAT is a scale I'd get on!! ;-) Seriously though, what a great idea!

    Are you going to work your Muay Thai kickboxing workouts into the challenge's workouts...or will kickboxing be in addition?


  4. I follow a paleo/primal lifestyle to maintain my weight, more primal because it allows a bit more wiggle room. I don't have a problem with dairy and couldn't imagine my morning coffee without it. If I need to lose a few pounds I do go without the dairy and nuts.

    I am amazed with how I feel full longer with the added fats/protein. The late afternoon carb cravings have practically disappeared. I'd rather have greek yogurt with some berries or a steak over anything.

  5. Im with Shelley.
    GO HELEN GO!!!!

  6. Go Helen! This sounds almost fun! Oh, I guess it sounds fun because I get to watch you do it instead of doing it myself! Seriously though, it is fun to search out new foods to try and substitute. Vicky makes those asparagus snacks and they are delicious! I think she uses a lemony dressing with them.

  7. Love your thoughts on this Helen - and I agree, I don't think its something that I can maintain for the rest of my life, but I am interested in seeing how my blood sugars are effected - even in the past two days I've already noticed I am taking SIGNIFICANTLY less insulin, so that's good!

    Holding planks? I could only hold them for 30 seconds with a 20 second break - I was shaking!

    I just ate a nitrate free turkey sausage scramble with zucchini, roasted red pepper, spinach, 1 egg and 1/2 cup of egg whites - I am absolutely stuffed! :D

    So glad you are doing this Helen!

  8. This is exciting, Helen! That scale sounds like a motivator! Your asparagus snacks look delicious! I'll be anxious to hear how things are going. Good for you!

  9. That's one cool scale! Never heard of it before today!
    You go girl - you will kick this.
    I'm looking forward to following along....

  10. I really am excited to see how you will do! I am more primal with eating dairy. I would never totally give up my dairy, but I have reduced it to about 1 cup of milk per day. It actually cleared up my skin doing that, as an aside.

    Get some almond meal or coconut flour and you can have some bread type things. I just made almond flour biscuits today that were pretty decent!

    And strength training every day? I don't think I could do that.

  11. I am cheering you and Biz on with this challenge! I will be following you and look forward to seeing what you eat and how well this works for you!

    I would be willing do a dietary change for a couple weeks just to boost my metabolism into a higher gear and get some weight loss going. I am attempting to cut back on the carbs even though most of them I eat are the good ones. It just seems to take that kind of action for me to lose weight these days.

    Wishing you much success Helen!

  12. I agree with you on this 'diet'! Paleo will never be the way I eat forever. But I'm going to do it the best I can for the challenge. It shall be interesting! Can't wait to see how we all do!

  13. I'm glad you don't have creepy toes. I'm excited to see how this challenge and you move forward though I think it's funny to hear/read about your non-compliancy toward Rich's suggestions... It (slightly) reminds me of going to the doctor, asking them for help, having them suggest that I lose weight because of course, the reason I had bronchitis was because I was fat. That suggestion always moved me into defense. I love spaghetti squash with anything.

  14. Cool!! You know I'll be following along. I like the concept of the scale.

    You can do it!

  15. I recently did the Tony Ferguson programme, and its low-carb/low-GI diet is basically Paleo. I managed to stick it out for about five weeks, so... I'm hoping I can last five or six weeks this time.

    But it's definitely gonna be a challenge again. At least I'm allowed to eat squash! I love my squash.

    It's gonna be an interesting couple of weeks, though. :) Good luck to us all!

  16. You asked a question about my return to blogging. Here is a link to the post that will provide some answers, if you're are interested. Thanks for asking, Helen.

  17. Very interesting concept behind that scale...looking forward to your reports, which will be fab I'm sure.

  18. I think the idea of the scale is great. It allows you to focus on what's happening with your body without being so concerned with the number. Good luck with the challenge.

  19. Great job already for taking the challenge. YOU will not regret it. I bought the zero scale, which I love, and I work out with Rich five days a week. He is the best!!!!! I lost 26-pound in a couple of months. Just in the past three weeks along, I lost 3.5 inches of my waist. I used to go to the gym for years after my two girls. But never dropped a pound. Since I started with Rich I have been dropping and dropping weight. It used to be so hard just to drop a pound after an hour at the gym. NOw I go and workout with Rich for 30min and have been seeing drastic results. The nutritional advise definetely plays a huge part in the losing weight process. I had go give up wine at night and nowI don't miss it. I love his outlook on what is good for us to eat and healthy. My family and enjoy eating Paleo....I now love salads...yummy almond chicken...we don't miss the carbs at all. I had a burrito the other day and it made me sick. Just follow Rich and you will lose weight. You will!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck