body composition wrap up

Well, the challenge came and went. 40 days honestly felt like a breeze, but since the challenge has ended and i haven’t been blogging and taking photos, I’ve definitely found myself eating more and more casually and slipping quickly back toward old habits (sugar habits). I have a better working knowledge for what to make for meals, but have definitely been relaxed about eating with friends and eating out. I’m thinking about starting to log/blog again to help myself stay strict because I really do feel better when I’m eating really clean, in terms of energy, in terms of self-esteem, and in terms of general gut health (not feeling bloated ever, etc).

Here are a bunch of before and afters. Overall, I lost 7 pounds and 2 inches at my waist which is exactly on target with what I was aiming for! I also got my first pullup ever and got much stronger with my strict pushups. I’ve never really actively tried to lose weight before and I’m amazed how easy it was using this challenge. Everyone I know who participated in the challenge lost a similar amount of weight, or stayed the same weight but lost inches all over.

frontview

rearview

sideview

I think you can see the biggest different in the rear view photo. Especially at my waist. Much tighter all around. I noticed throughout the challenge that my pants were fitting a bit looser and knew I must have been losing some of the extra winter weight I had put on.

Other Befores and Afters?

When I started the challenge, I had decided I Would Eat:
quinoa
veggies
3 eggs a day
whey protein
limited amounts of cheese
greek yogurt
leafy greens
one or one and a half portions of fruit each day, no more
raw nuts on occasion
split peas
hemp seeds
sprouted beans, or soaked beans
no soy, or rarely

By the end of the challenge, I had:
cut out the quinoa
increased to 4 eggs a day
limited to one portion of fruit, mostly berries. stopped eating bananas because they have a higher sugar count
rarely ate nuts, if ever throughout the whole challenge
cut out the seeds
rarely ate sprouts, never ate soaked beans
ended up eating soy once a day or so, mostly as tempeh
added hummous and occasionally chickpeas toward the end for variety for snacking

When it came down to it, the biggest challenge of doing this as a vegetarian was keeping carbs down. The amount of protein in quinoa, despite being a complete protein which is why it’s touted as a great source of protein for vegetarians, was really pretty negligible when you consider how many carbs are in one serving. It wasn’t worth the measly 10g of protein to pack in 60g of carbs in one serving of food. Once I cut out the quinoa and beans, it became much easier to keep the carbs down.

The other challenge was keeping fat down while eating so many eggs and some cheese. I got a large amount of my protein from eggs each day, but that already kicked my fat count up close to where it should’ve been for the day. Add in my cooking fats like grass fed butter and coconut oil, and I had very little room to play around with variety in terms of eating things like avocados or sunflower seed butter or almond butter or more nuts, etc. Things that could’ve added a little variety. I could have played around with eating egg whites vs. full eggs, but I didn’t really get that far.

Overall, I never felt like I was depriving myself of food and I got a waaaaay better handle on snacking and cravings. I pretty much kicked them to the curb all together. It is amazing how much of that is mental and tied to other things like stress and lack of sleep. Contrary to popular notion, it is not always ‘your body telling you it needs something,’ at least, it’s not your body telling you it needs shitty things like sugar and gluten. It might be your body telling you to drink water or get more rest.

The first week I started, I thought there was no way at all that I would be able to eat within the recommend calorie range without being starving all the time. I had been eating almost double that on a daily basis. However, I quickly realized that just by cutting out the gluten and sugar, I was cutting my calories almost in half, and able to eat really large portions at every meal.

Overall, I learned so much about food and what I was putting in my body and the effect it had on the way I functioned. I debunked so many myths that I had been supporting in my head. The most interesting thing for me was realizing how much we view nutrition at a surface level and don’t question the whole picture. For instance, quinoa = protein, eat lots of it! Beans and rice = protein, eat lots of it! Eggs are bad = don’t eat many. Fruit is healthy! etc. Of course, all of these things are TRUE, but they’re certainly not the whole picture of that food and what it can do for or to your body.

About everydaypants

Ramsey Beyer grew up on a farm in Michigan before escaping to city life in Baltimore, MD, where she received a BFA in experimental animation. She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA. Ramsey and her sidekick, Rover, live in a row house with some roommates in a very organized living space. She drinks too much coffee, works as a nanny, and loves to keep her hands busy with all sorts of projects. Ramsey spends her time gardening, riding her bike all over Philly, taking Rover for long walks, and spending way too many hours at a time working on comics in coffeeshops. Ramsey just finished drawing her first graphic novel length comic book.
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7 Responses to body composition wrap up

  1. jana says:

    what were your macros towards the end? avg calories per day, % cards/fat/protein? just planning my own challenge and am curious…

    • I was aiming for around 1200 calories per day, at the end of the day. So if I worked out and burned calories, I would eat more to make up for it. Probably around 2000 a day total, but would burn around 800.

      Because of my bodyweight and goals, I was aiming for 100-130 g of carbs, 46-60g of fat, and 80-100g of protein. But that changes depending on your size and goals. That’s why I’ve made a point not to state that too distinctly! I didn’t want people to think that was a universal goal to shoot for.

      • Nathalie says:

        is there a good way to figure out what our macros are supposed to be depending on our goals? i can probably google this but i’d love to hear your thoughts. i never pay attention to the exact amounts of what’s what in my food—though i am somewhat aware of what i’m putting in my body (“i’ve eaten a lot of protein and carbs this morning, time to get in some fats”)—and i think this has resulted in slow progress. even though this has been working for me so far, you have definitely inspired me to speed it along.

        great before and afters. look at your thighs—they aren’t touching anymore! that’s pretty awesome. the difference in the rear photo is especially amazing. good work!

      • jana says:

        definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. that makes sense. thanks for sharing all of this and AWESOME job, by the way. you look great!

  2. Melony says:

    You’re so inspiring! Great job, Ramsey!

  3. Alice says:

    I really loved reading all about your meals/exercise throughout this challenge & this wrap up post is really great too! The way you ate throughout the challenge is basically what my ideal diet looks like .. But I very much struggle with how intense of a commitment it is. Partly because I really enjoy food. Both eating things that taste good (I’m not talking about candy bars & soda or anything, but just something that involves some amount of gluten/sugar/dairy) and cooking/sharing meals with friends who aren’t as health conscious. So it becomes somewhat of a life sacrifice that I both hate and enjoy at the same time. Another tough part is trying to reduce my amount of carbs while also running a whole lot .. especially when I’m training for a race that’s high mileage. My body definitely needs the carbs for distance running, but I would much prefer cutting them out of my diet. It’s a hard balance that I haven’t perfected yet! But I love this blog of yours so keep posting!

    • Hey! I’m not sure exactly about running or endurance specific advice but I’m sure you could google something like paleo for runners and find all sorts of information! Thanks for the inspiration to keep posting. I never know exactly who reads it and I quickly lose momentum on it as a result, but I’ll try to keep up with posts!

      The social aspect can be a little tricky, but I’ve found that I was able to eat with friends pretty often, especially when going out for brunch (easy enough to order an omelette and ask for a side salad instead of toast and potatoes. most restaurants are happy to do that!) The only food events with friends I would normally pass up on is a potluck or if they were going to a restaurant I knew really wouldn’t work (like take out or something) but all of them knew I was doing the challenge and were pretty supportive of it. I just made a point to not be that guy sitting in the corner of the room stewing about not eating while my friends were gorging on desserts. I was good about either avoiding those situations altogether or being jokey and fun about it, or providing my own options. Also, if you’re a foodie and have foodie friends, that helps too! Eating at restaurants with real food options didn’t seem too hard.

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