Over on Instagram I’ve been talking about the 800g Challenge….a nutrition challenge based solely on the consumption of 800 grams (by weight) of fruit and vegetables every day, no restrictions or exclusions, eat whatever you want, whenever you want, just include the 800g of fruit and vegetables everyday. When a friend mentioned it to me a few months ago, I agreed to give it a try for a few days, thinking it wouldn’t really be that much of challenge for me, given that I eat a good amount of vegetables most days.
I was wrong. Since I eat a mostly whole-foods diet I tend to eat more vegetables and fruit than a person eating a standard American diet (SAD), however, I fell short of the goal, and I didn’t come close to the 800g, landing at about 400-500g most days. Part of that is because I don’t usually eat much fruit, and I eat a lot of leafy greens….which weigh next to nothing.
My gym is currently participating in a 30-day 800g Challenge (you can find more info here), complete with a daily score, leaderboard and bonus points for diversity (eating 6 or more different fruits/vegetables each day), working out at my local gym, and a weekly bonus (last week was eating 25g of something orange, this week is 50g of leafy greens each day).
So far I’ve hit my goal 9 of the last 10 days…..yay me! But man, most of those days it was really hard. 800g is a lot of fruit and vegetables and doesn’t happen without some planning and intentional choices.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- I have to start early and really front-load my day with fruit and vegetables. Before the challenge I wouldn’t eat much before 10am, my biggest meal was lunch, and by dinner I didn’t have a huge appetite for anything. With the challenge I’ve found that I need to have about 500g in by the end of lunch….because if I get to dinner and still have piles of fruit and vegetables to eat I am super grumpy. I hate eating when I’m not hungry, and that feeling of having to eat in order to reach an arbitrary goal makes me even more grumpy.
- I do not like weighing my food. I just don’t. I have many friends who track their macros and weigh everything they eat and love it….flexible dieting isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle that works for them. It’s just not my thing…..I don’t have a “why” for that level of commitment. Maybe someday I will, but for now it’s a no. So having to weigh all my fruit and vegetables every time I eat is annoying to me. I just want to eat…..which leads me to #3.
- Having pre-weighed and labeled food in the fridge makes a huge difference. Every few days I weigh and label some berries, broccoli, carrots, etc so I can quickly grab them and add them to my meal. No need to get out my scale and weigh anything, I just grab the bowl, eat it, then log the item. It took a few days to get the right serving sizes for each bowl, but I’ve figured that out so I’m not having to adjust the portion sizes and re-weigh anything.
- I get tired of chewing sometimes and need more soft/juicy fruit and vegetables….late the other night I was behind on my goal and trying to finish up a bowl of carrots and oh my gosh, I just didn’t want to chew anymore! I decided to take a break, then switched to cherry tomatoes, which went down much easier.
- My digestive system took a hit with the sudden uptick in fiber. The first week I felt really full and bloated all the time. I don’t get on the scale often, but found that I gained a few pounds when I checked my weight over the weekend. Things seem to be getting better this week, and I’m trying to add some less fibrous fruit and vegetables to my daily diet to see if that helps.
Overall I’m enjoying the challenge….if I can just get over the scale and digestive issues, and be more consistent with front-loading my day. Head over to Instagram for more day-to-day updates!