Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Body Rock-tober Challenge! Cleaning up our diets

If you've been following my personal challenge progress, you'll see that I've stayed on course for the first two weeks with my exercising and I am getting good results.

But now it is time to take it up a notch and clean up my diet too. I love food. Like love love. Would leave my husband for good pizza love. So this part won't be easy, which is why I'll need your support. 

The way I see it, there is no point in paying so much attention to our outside, be it hair challenges or weight loss challenges, without working on what's on the inside too. 

Which is why I'd like to set up a challenge for the entire month of October. We will call it the Body Rocktober challenge, because healthy bodies ROCK! (Plus it's catchy :D). The challenge is a pretty simple two tier plan.

1. Diet: 
For just one month only, we will be cutting out all the foods we know aren't good for us (and some we don't). I will list them below and i'd like each of you to pick AT LEAST one category of foods that you will omit for the remainder of this month. If you can do them all, please do! 

2. Exercise:
More important than weight loss is heart health. I would like everyone to pledge to do at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. This can be anything that gets your heart rate up... (Get your minds out if the gutter please) from gyming to swimming, brisk walking to dancing, stair climbing to vigourous housework. Anything. Just 30 minutes thrice a week. 

I would like you to weigh yourselves at the beginning and end of the challenge. You can make it even better by getting a tape measure and measuring your waist, bust, hips, arms and thighs. Sometimes what you don't see on the scales shoes up in inch-loss. 

Below I will outline the food categories you should omit and healthy alternatives. Some foods may appear in more than one:

1. Sugars
This one shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Includes:
- regular sugar
- processed sugary drinks: soda, fruit juice (fruit juice may come as a surprise but most of the packet juices are just sugar, even if they say no added sugar. If you MUST drink it, make sure it is fresh squeezed, with pulp. IThis will count as one portion of fruit/veg intake for the day). 
- cakes, biscuits
- sweets, chocolates
- sugary cereals
Optional extra: 
- no sweeteners. This includes diet coke. 
- no sugar cane 

Replace with small quantities of unrefined natural sugars. Eg honey, agave nectar. Only one teaspoon per day. 

2. Fried foods 
Nuff said really... but just to be clear, this includes but is not limited to:
- anything deep fried : chicken, chips, mars bars, ice cream, cheese (yes, those come deep fried in some places)
- minimise pan frying: healthy foods will fall into this category eg pan fried eggs, fish etc. Opt for poached, baked, grilled and steamed versions. 

If you must try something, a teaspoon of olive oil should suffice. 

3. White starches
Hitting close to home here. Note, I am not saying cut out carbs, just the white ones. We want to encourage eating of high fibre foods. 
- white rice
- white bread
- white pasta
- white flour (plus products made from these, especially those fried or made with lots of butter. This includes the beloved chapattis and infamous croissants, for example.)
Optional extra:
- regular white potatoes. If you do choose to eat these, keep portions small and limit to one portion a week. 

All the above foods can be substituted with whole grain/whole wheat products. Don't be fooled by 'brown bread'. You want to look for whole grain bread and whole meal flours etc. 

4. Processed Meats and cheeses 
- sausages (yes even the low fat or chicken ones)
- bacon 
- deli meats eg salami, polony, nyama bite .. pretty much anything else that does not resemble an animal)
The only exclusion to this is cooked or to
roast LEAN ham or turkey. Preferably not  the one in a packet which comes in squares. 
- cheese squares, cheese strings, cheese in a tube
- cream cheese

5. Red meat
I'm including pork here as it is high in saturated fats

6. High fat foods - not cutting out, just limiting intake
Fat is not our enemy. We need fat to survive. Unsaturated fat that is. Sadly, there are many products that I think are ok on moderation which are saturated fat. Predominantly dairy products. Which we need for Calcium. Which is why I have not excluded them. Further, many low fat substitutes are not healthy or even low calorie options, full of Sweeteners etc

- whole milk - consider switching to low fat milk
- butter
- cheese
- Natural yoghurt is great. Not so much the flavored stuff. 

I think these eaten in moderation (and I mean moderation) are fine. I'd much rather someone has 10g of butter than 5g of margarine quite frankly.

7. Crisps 
These deserve a special category of their own. Includes prawn crackers, chevra, cheese puffs, popcorn .. Basically anything from that aisle. 

If you have cravings, you can substitute them with baked pretzels. 

8. High Sodium foods
- processed meats
- processed cheeses
- crisps et al
- salt!! We need a little but not much. Try cooking with less and avoid adding salt to cooked food. 

9. Alcohol
Wine is NOT grape juice. And even it it was, see my point on fruit juice

9. Nicotine and Caffeine
As a former smoker myself, I know how hard this one may be for many. If you want to try though, that will be fantastic.

What we SHOULD be eating:
- five portions of fruit and veg a day (if you drink five glasses of fruit juice with pulp, this will still only count as one portion). One portion of fruit is about re size of a large apple. Veg can be unlimited but one type only counts as one portion. Eating 1kg of broccoli would only count as one potion 
- dark green leafy veg for iron
- whole grain, whole meal foods - whole grain breads, whole grain cereals eg bran, muesli (avoid high dried fruit content), porridge oats, weetabix
- reducing fat and sodium intake
- healthy fats: avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds (eaten raw)
- high fibre foods - sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, etc high fibre cereals (listed above) 
- fish, chicken, turkey, soya based products

So there you have it. Who's with me?!


  1. Can I do half of the challenge, like choose only Exercise and choose not to eat from category 4,6,6,7 & 9......you repeated 6 yeah I will certainly miss my cheddar but I shall live....all the rest I can't live without..Wachu.

    1. Yikes! Thanks for pointing that out. Will amend as soon as this god awful slow internet lets me. Yes you can pick and choose, so i will put you down for 4, the two 6's, 7 and 9. Yay!

    2. So when i change it will be 4, 6, 7, 8, 10

  2. I will join you on everything except Wine.

  3. Sugarcane is actually good for your teeth but in moderation meaning not daily but like once a month. I will join you on the exercise (I do 5 days a week) and everything else except 5.6 and 9 (coz it doesn't apply)

  4. I will join you on no fried foods & exercise 30 min 3xs wk.

    1. Yay! Come november we can increase it to 4 times a week ;)

  5. Good job Nina....
    I'm in with both feet which is kinda easy for me. A year ago I saw a nutritionist coz my tummy just wouldn't budge despite gym et al. The 12k visit and 3 other consecutive visits @3k was perhaps the best best investment for me; I went on a weight loss eating plan and then a stabilization one (I don't call them diets per se). I changed my eating habits and took my exercise more seriously. I do take my breaks every now and then but when I do, I eat with that in mind - i.e., that I'm not exercising. But I also do give myself treats every now and then....in moderation.
    My challenge right now will be the wine. Damn!!!! I will reduce significantly - I have some nights out and parties this month - since I don't do soda and don't do packet juices, wine just has to stay:-). Lol.
    Challenge nr 2 is wheat! Wah!!!!!!! I make 50% brown chapati for my household - my kids don't even know the taste of white chapati and bread in our house; just like they don't know what tea with sugar tastes like. The day they discover...........hmmmmm. So, I'll keep it to 50% brown for them and 100% brown for me. But I've come to discover that most of the flours are sifted way too much; best bet is the out with most husks - i.e.., the original atta.
    Ok. Enough from me.
    Rocktober it is! Twende kazi.

    1. Where do you get this original Atta? I'm really trying to take charge of my eating (i dont like the word diet either). Last night my husband made white pasta and i almost fainted. Mental note to clear out kitchen cupboards.

  6. Am joining you on this 100%. For me working out is not a problem what i really need to work on is white bread. I MUST try my best to steer clear of the same this month. I really want to look good in December.Legoooo!

    1. Jane, YES WE CAN! Who knows, if the results are really good maybe we will continue until December eh? :)

  7. I will join. Sugar I don't do... the rest 100% in

  8. Hey I will also join in, I have more or less cleaned up my diet just kidogo challenges with number 7 and 9 :) as for exercise that I will need to make very deliberate attempts to incorporate. Lets do this!!

    1. Baby steps. Three times a week for 30 minutes is do-able. Find something you like, you're more likely to stick with it.

  9. before I type out a long comment on how I need to get off coke (Not the drug, the soda) Lemmi see if I will be able to post a comment :)

  10. I will put my mind in the gutter coz sex is exercise too. *hides*

  11. Very Impressive write up..just a quick one..The nicotine and caffeine, does that include green tea and black coffee(no sugar)

  12. The amount of caffeine in green tea is quite low so it's a good substitue for coffee and even regualr tea. Black coffee for sure has cafeeine. There are lots of caffeine free teas though like fruit and herbal teas and Rooibos.

    1. so the ideal plan is to stay away from coffee entirely and do green tea? another one..does coffee cause cellulite?

  13. I think Ive heard that dehydration can exacerbate it and since coffee is a diuretic then it could possibly make it look worse but cellulite is fat so reducing your body fat levels is the only thing that will make a significant difference,

  14. Unfortunately i have avoided all that in my whole life i thought i lived a healthy life only to be told that my cholesterol is way above high risk. I am not overweight or underweight and the only thing i don't do is to exercise i am very tiny and it came as a big shock to me. Just wondering what more can i do to manage my cholesterol :(

    1. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle as outline in the challenge above should help reduce cholestrol but if you are already doing all the above apart from exercise, I would say try that for a period and see what your cholestrol numbers are. High cholesterol can be genetic and may need to be controlled with medicines. Your practitioner should be able to advise you further on what you can/should do.

  15. am in, will do my best to go all the way