I took on the Engine 2 Challenge during the toughest month of the year. The Halloween Month. It was ambitious due to my propensity for candy corn, but I wanted more than the usual challenge. I wanted to make some changes during a time when I usually go backward.
To refresh your memory, here’s how the Engine 2 Challenge works.
Week 1: Eliminate dairy and processed foods
Week 2: Eliminate the above plus meat products
Week 3: Eliminate the above plus refined oils
Week 4: Hang in there
Here’s how I did “on paper.”
Test Before After Normal range
Weight 140 139 N/A
Cholesterol 185 151 140-200
Triglycerides 79 72 35-135
HDL 73 60 40-95
LDL 97 77 70-100
Fasting glucose 95 91 70-100
I didn’t lose weight, but all of my numbers went down, including my LDL which decreased almost 25%. My blood was – for lack of a better word – cleaner.
Here’s how I did “not on paper.”
It wasn’t easy to adapt. I had to do a crash course. I quickly retrained some bad habits and paid serious attention to labels. I stopped eating piles of chips when I got home from work. My only desserts were super dark chocolate or cereal with oat milk.
I prepped meals weekly. I literally listed our dinners for each day of the week and created a strategic shopping list. I cooked new recipes. My faves include Raise the Roof Lasagne, Engine 2 Black Beans (nothing fancy, but SO good), Handstand Burgers, DIY Energy Bars, and more.
I did weekend batch cooking. On Sundays, I cooked up batches of rice, grains, beans, roasted veggies and more. I was able to take home-cooked food to Skirt Sports almost every day.
Sounds time-intensive and possibly annoying, right? To be honest, I really needed a kick in the butt to get myself more organized and become more aware of what I put in my body (and as an extension, in my husband’s and kid’s bodies too), so I embraced the process. I’ll be honest. Even with the extra effort involved, I truly enjoyed the E2 challenge. For me, the most important components (that I plan to continue for the long-term) are giving up processed foods, virtually eliminating dairy, and vastly decreasing meat. I’m not as worried about the added healthy oils, but may be due to my high level of physical activity.
It was enlightening. I felt physically better than I have for a very long time. I didn’t measure this, but I think my fitness improved. I didn’t lose any substantial weight, but my clothes all fit better than they have in years. The spare tire ring-around-the-middle decreased. Everything improved.
Since I felt great, why wouldn’t I keep going? And so I did. Instead of gorging on November 1st, I continued eating Engine 2 style. I added some treats here and there including Kim & Jake’s cake for Tim’s birthday. I put cream in my coffee again. I ate some turkey on Thanksgiving. But the real truth is that I didn’t like it as much as I remembered. The pecan pie and ice cream was a different story though! So here I am – a modified Engine 2 Girl. Plant-powered with a few exceptions here and there. Feeling great. Enjoying the change.
Stay tuned for the Eating Experimentation Year in Review. Thanks for playing with me!