Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reboot? Restart? Rewind?

It feels good to let my finger do the talking once again.  Hey readers.  I sure did take a leave of absence, didn't I?  I also feel I lost myself in the process.  After my mid-week meltdown, I've been doing a lot of self-reflection thinking about where I derailed.  It wasn't any event or circumstance that caused it.  It's really just plain old complacency and laziness, with a dash of arrogance.
Complacent. Webster defines complacent as "satisfied with how things are and not wanting to change them."  I'd say that was true.  I remember saying to myself over the last few months, "I'd be happy if I stay just how I am right now."  I don't think I truly believed that, but that was what I was telling myself.
Lazy, defined as "disinclined to activity or exertion : not energetic or vigorous."  I'd agree with that.  Sure, I still worked out more days during the week than not, but sometimes I wasn't feeling it so I wasn't as energetic as I could be.  I was lazy or mind and spirit if I think of how many times I should have recorded what I ate or paid attention to what I was eating.  I was so tired of tracking my food, and I really didn't want to discipline myself to continue so I let it go.  Lazy. You bet.
Arrogance. "An insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people."  I'd say I was more arrogant in thinking that I was untouchable, and I had this weight thing beat.  It couldn't creep back up on me anymore.  I also remember thinking that as long as I worked out, I could eat anything I wanted.  Calories in = calories out results in keeping a constant weight.  So, if I just exercised, I could eat what I wanted.  45 pounds later I realize it really doesn't work that way.  I don't care what you do, if you eat 4 pounds of straight up sugar in a week, no amount of activity will make that go away.
Melt down commenced.  Analyzing done.  Reboot.  Restart. Rewind?
No. I'm not looking at it that way.  It's good that it happened.  I can't go back in time for a redo.  I'm not restarting all over again and reboot isn't quite right either.  I'm going to remember what I did to get myself in this position, and move on.
I'm going to go back to what worked before.  Counting calories, which helps me keep track of what I'm eating.  However, prepackaged foods are out.  They contain a lot of preservatives, hidden sugars, and salt.  Instead, I'm going to create my own healthy meals from scratch.
Activity will remain the same.  Kettlebells are still my favorite so that will continue, as will Zumba.  I'll admit I'm struggling with both right now due to the added weight, but I hope to gain my mobility back soon. 
Candy.  Can't do it.  I can't do moderation.  It just doesn't work for me. It's been four days since I've eaten candy, and I'm going to keep counting those days.  Candy is my weakness, straight up, no-holds-bared sugar.  I need to keep it away, and I've told my family, friends, and loved ones to help me with this.  I also realize that my idle time is very dangerous.  Idle time is where I binge.  So, I must keep my hands busy.  After dinner, I must keep myself occupied.  Prayer and reflection.  Cross-stitching.  Watching TV with family.  Anything to keep me occupied and my hands busy.  Hot beverages also help so I'm going to use that as well.  Idle hands are a candy playground, so these hands will be busy.
Lastly, new goals.  When I first started, I figured 160 pounds was my perfect weight.  I'm not so sure anymore.  At this point, I just want to be healthy, strong, and under 200 pounds by the end of the year.  So, my goals for 2014 will reflect this.  Here they are in no particular order.
  1. There WILL be a number "1" leading my weight at the end of 2014. 
  2. Deadlift 300 pounds.
  3. Perform 10 switch snatches continuously with a 50 pound kettlebell.
  4. Run a 5K without stopping and under 40 minutes.
  5. Perform one pull up.
I'm confident that I can complete 4 out of 5 of these fitness achievements.  That pull up will be the most challenging, but I'm still going to attempt them.  As I complete each one, I will share them with you.  Plus, I'm definitely looking for another Tiffany charm.  I certainly haven't forgotten about those little tokens of goodness!
I also challenge all of you to think of some fitness goals you'd like to accomplish by the end of 2014.  No, I'm not talking resolutions. I'm talking goal-setting.  Be realistic and challenge yourself.  Take yourself out of your comfort zone.  Share them with others.  All of you have been such a tremendous source of support for me, and I want to return the favor. 
We can make 2014 the best year ever for all of us.  The Dog Days are Over.  Keep Calm.  Move On!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Mirror

I know we've all experienced hardships that have truly tested us.  I've wondered what is that catalyst that causes one to make changes, hopefully for the better.  I'd like to think I've experienced a few of those moments of clarity.  Where everything seems so sharp, you can see it right in front of you.  You can touch it.  You want to make those changes, and create a better quality of life. 

So you make that change.  You educate yourself, and make a plan.  You follow that plan to the tee, vary rarely deviate.  You start to see how the positive changes are impacting you.  It's working.  People notice the change.  You're pleased.  You're successful.  And you move forward, working toward you goals.

And then one day it stops.  It all stops.

You don't see the changes anymore.  You work so hard to keep the momentum going, and you continue to go nowhere. You fight so hard, and you hardly see any results.  You tell yourself to keep going, keep pushing.  And you don't see anything. 

The clarity leaves. The sharpness fades.  It disappears.

Suddenly, you start to see changes again, but these changes aren't so positive.  It's little things at first.  Getting winded going up two flights of stairs when it wasn't an issue before.  Your arms feel funny when resting at your sides because your stomach is bigger.  Clothes don't fit right any more.

And then you look in the mirror and see a face that's starting to resemble someone you swore you'd never see again.

That's what my life has been like since May of this year.  It came to a head today.  It was a shitty day.  I can tell you that much.

I'm scared.  I'm so scared.  I don't want to go back to that lonely, sad woman who felt like she didn't have a life.  I can see myself getting back to that, and I'm so scared.  I'm acknowledging habits that will take me back there.  Closet binge eating.  Yes, that right.  $40 worth of Jelly Bellies in ONE WEEK.  All gone.  Three pound bags of Hot Tamales eaten over two to three days.  Yes, that right.  So, today I said to myself, "Let's go shopping for some new jeans so you can be more comfortable."  Why?  Because my pants are too tight.

And then I realized what I was doing, and I remember a time when I was gaining weight many years ago after getting off the low carb diet.  I went and bought two new pairs of jeans in larger sizes because my pants weren't fitting anymore.  That was the day that I accepted that I was gaining my weight back, and it was ok.

And it's not ok. It's NOT. It's completely unacceptable.

I knew what was happening.  I saw it in the mirror everyday.  I saw it in my clothes that didn't fit like they used to.  I was stressing today because it was the last day of my kettlebell class in our fall session, and we had our assessment.  I was scared.  I  knew I was going to do badly. I was afraid of what it would be like.  I know I haven't been able to keep up in my Zumba classes recently because I've gotten heavier.  Now that assessment is looking me in the face, and I have to try to beat my rep from the beginning of the quarter. 

So I look at my assessment sheet and see all those numbers.  Those reps I needed to beat.  My vision got blurry.  I'm hiding the tears that start streaming down my face as I look at the sheet on the floor.  I start warming up, and I'm trying to breathe and I can't.  Tears start flowing more freely.  After warming up, we start the assessment.  I need to beat 36 kettlebell swings in one minute using a 45# bell.  I do five.  My heart is pounding.  I'm crying.  I can't breathe and I feel like I'm going to vomit.

I leave class.  I've never left kettlebell class.  EVER!  I go into the locker room and cry my eyes out in a shower stall.  I sat there and cried.  I wanted to go back and finish, and I couldn't.  I was so scared. 
I couldn't do it.  So I left.

I think about those jeans.  If I had bought those jeans, it meant that I was done.  And I'm not done.  I have so much more to do. Why am I closet binge eating?  Hell if I know!  I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. That's what makes this so difficult.  These is nothing that drove me to this point.  It's just me.

I have an eating disorder.  I will ALWAYS have a eating disorder.  It will never go away, but it can be managed.  I've become complacent, and when that happens, poor habits creep back in.  I have no excuse for what I've been doing, and that's what hurts so much.  I'm so disappointed in myself.  I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing this year, and it's terribly unsettling.  Believe me, I'm not looking for pity or condolences or back pats. I've always been 100% honest with you, and I will continue to be that way.  First step is admitting what I've done.  Second step is doing something about it.

So what am I going to do?  I'm going to put it behind me and move forward. I'm going to start blogging again and recording my food intake.  I'm going to make myself accountable again.  It's a huge risk, but this entire journey is a risk.  I must remain accountable. 

I want to send a special thanks out to M.C, my boo, my mom and my sis.  I needed your words of encouragement, reality and yes, even anger and frustration. Duly noted.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

It's been so long since I've done a blog post that I feel like I had re-learn the process.  Hello out there to any of you that are still hanging in there with me.  It's been one hell of a summer!  Some great things have happened... And some not so great things.  I felt like I had this weight thing beat.  I mean I'm cruising along.  I figuratively threw my scale out the window for the summer.  I'd focus on my eating and continue working out.  That was my plan.  And as you can tell from my moodie and post title, the best laid plans don't always come to fruition.
I'm realizing as I look back on my summer that I got into some very poor habits.  I tried to quit the Jelly Bellies, but I'll be honest and say I didn't have my heart in it.  They are too good and too easily assessable.  And Jelly Bellies weren't the only thing I was eating.  I was loving up on my sweets.  Carbo-overloading and loving and hating every minute of it.
So, what do I have to show for my Summer of Sin? Weight gain. I told myself, "Don't worry.  You'll just maintain because you're still working out."  And I was.  I worked out the entire summer.  I seldom missed any days.  But what I came to realize is that not even exercise can take care of excess.  I need to find my balance again and go back to what was working for me.
When I look back on all the different combinations of food, diet and exercise, I felt my best when I was on the Whole30 program.  It was tough to start, but once I was there, I felt amazing.  My cravings were manageable, and after a while, I didn't feel hungry.  I ate to gain satiation, and I selected foods to get me there.  Once the 30 days was over, I was able to find out what my trigger foods were, and instead of planning a good, healthy diet that would help me manage these items, I did the opposite because, HEY!  It's the summer. 
How much weight did I gain?  Well, I was hovering in the 220 range for quite a while, and now I'm up to 248.8.  I'm not going to hide it.  I'm going to put it out there because it's only going to help me.  I'm not beating myself up about it either.  Why?  Because it does more harm than good.  I didn't eat well, and I ate in excess, and of course, this is the logical result.  It's not rocket science. 

Calories IN > Calorie OUT

So, what do I do now?  I'm going back to what worked for me.  I'm going to focus on good food.  Lean meats, vegetables, healthy fats and protein.  That's it.  I'm also going to cook with olive oil and avoid seed oils.  When I was on the Whole30, my blood pressure dropped 20 points.  It was because I was eating very great food.  Whole foods.  I removed the dreaded "FRANKENFOODS" or as most people call them, processed foods.
Food.  Food.Food.Food.  FOOD!  I love you.  I hate you.  I always thought that exercise and Tom and Murphy would be my downfall.  If I couldn't keep the exercise in my schedule, I'd win!  Funny!  Exercise isn't my problem.  Managing my food is my problem.  I love exercise.  Food is my nemesis, and I must bring that healthy balance back.
Am I disappointed?  Hmmmm.  No, I'm not.  It was inevitable.  I think that's how I'm looking at it.  I tipped off the wagon. I didn't fall all the way off.  I'm proud of the way I'm handling it. I'm going back to what worked for me.  I'm blogging.  I'm holding myself accountable.  I'm fighting back.  I refuse to lose myself again.  I love my life.  Just because I gained some weight back doesn't mean I throw in the towel. I have so much to be thankful for this summer.  I took some great trips, and met a wonderful man.  I signed up for tennis lessons, and I'm actively fulfilling my dream of becoming a recreational tennis player.  I got three (YES, THREE) tattoos!  My doctor removed two of my three medications.  I was asked to share my weight loss story/struggles with a group of women that are also TRANSORMing their lives.  There is no reason to dwell on the negative.  It's time to return to what works and kick out what doesn't. 
So, to kick off my "REBOOT 2.0,"  I'm dedicating this post to my love/hate relationship with food.  As I was finishing up my workout this morning, a song came on my playlist that made me smile.  It really does sum up my relationship with food.  You may have won this battle... but I will win the war.  Food, We Fight... We Love. 
Until next week...  Thank you for hanging in there with me folks.  I'm still on this journey.  I took a small detour, but I'm getting back on track.
If you're curious of my tats, here they are.  I love them.  Each one means a lot, and I can't wait for my last piece.  That won't be until I reach my goals.
This was a tattoo that I got with a group of wonderful women that have been an amazing source of support for me.  We decided to get tattoos together, and most of us decided to get "friends" inside of an infinity symbol.  It's very fitting.  My Friends are my lifeline, and I love all of you.  So, I dedicated my right foot to you.  I'll never get a tattoo on my foot again.  It hurt like a mutha!

This piece was something I though of doing for a while.  I wanted something to symbolize my journey and what I've accomplished so far.  My favorite song is Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. My father introduced this song to me at a young age, and it always resonated with me.  The beginning stanzas are very fitting, peaceful and positive... which is how I like to live my life.  So it made sense to get the sheet music and have the first few lines made into a tattoo.  This was also the last song that played as I finished my first workout that began my weight lost journey.  The starts represent the favorite colors of my family.  Black - Niece, Light Blue - Sister, Dark Blue - Brother, Green - Father, Red - Mother, Purple - Me 

This tattoo is my sorority mascot. I've always wanted a dove, and it seemed fitting to add it right above my brand.  ZPBS! I love my sorors and my frat! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Phase Two Reboot

Long time no read, right?  I know.  I'm seriously absent and tardy from blogging.  I decided to take a much needed vacation from blogging (and a lot of other things).  Let me fill you in on what I've been up to since I've been away.

In my last entry, I shared that I completed my first half marathon.  It was an amazing experience.  I'm so glad I did it, and I plan to do it again.  It was also mentally draining and physically exhausting.  After the marathon, I had two trips coming up - Minneapolis and Jamaica.  So, I decided to take a well deserved vacation from blogging.... and healthy eating.

Yes, sir!  I was living la vida loca!  If I wanted it, I ate it.  I ate heaps of hot tamales and jelly bellies.  So much so that I'm surprised I didn't turn into either of those things.  It's funny how the candies I crave aren't loaded with fat. In fact, my favorites pride themselves on being fat free.  That's great, right?   Because I'm ingesting my calories and they are all coming from sugar and not added fat (insert sarcasm).

Well, we all know the answer to that question, or at least I hope we do.  I knew what I was doing, I just didn't care.  I was tired of eating right. It's not fun. My taste buds were having hissy fits and my body was literally screaming for sugar.  You all know that sugar is my weakness.  Any form of sugar.  I don't discriminate.  Carbohydrates are what my body craves, and I gave into that for a good couple of weeks.

This is my kryptonite!
I won't lie.  I was also despondent at my plateau problem.  I've been hanging at the same weight for a very long time, and no matter what I did or what I ate, it didn't go anywhere.  So, I figured I'd be happy where I am and eat my weight in jelly bellies and keep exercising.  That's how I justified my guilt at eating these little beans of heavenly goodness, when really there isn't any justification.

So I ate my sugar and exercised.  I vacationed and enjoyed myself knowing that eventually I needed to get back on track.  So, I picked a day where I would get back on track and let these heavenly beans and all they represent go.  I knew I had to do this because I can't exist in moderation.  Moderation just gives me an excuse to eat things that I know aren't good for me, and eventually it leads to binging.

It was a very humbling experience reflecting back on where I went wrong..where I pointed the fingers! LOW CARB IS WRONG!  Remember that?  I was so anti-low carb because of my negative experiences in the past.  I didn't want to go back to that, and I'm not.  But I did learn something in all this soul searching and recent research.  Smart carbs is a great choice.

Smart carbs.  Your body does require some carbohydrate for body functions. I'm deciding to be choosy in what carbs I eat.  Sweet potatoes yes... White potatoes no.  Berries yes.... Bananas no.  I'm also staying away from dried fruit.  I know I have a huge sugar problem, and when I did the Whole 30, I used dried apricots as my sugar bomb to keep my addiction going.  If I really want to kick the sugar habit, that means no dried fruit and very little fruit.  So, that's where I'm heading.

Sorry dudes.  I must quit you.
Why am I doing this?  Because I feel I have too.  I have a huge sugar problem, and don't be fooled.  Any food that has carbohydrate will turn into sugar when digested.  If I want to get my sugar issues under control, I must chose my foods carefully and avoid those that will send me in a sugar shame spiral.  So... no more jelly bellies, wheat products, corn, rice, and so on. 

I need to keep focused on my ultimate goals.  Performance wise, I'm still doing great.  I'm picking up Insanity for the next three months along with a specialized class that focuses on kettle bells and TRX suspension training.  Now that I'm not in marathon mode training, I'm picking up Zumba again, and let me tell you, that class kicked my ass last week.  I'm happy to be back to that.

Maybe taking a vacation was good for me.  I was feeling lost and very tired.  Frustrated and bored.  I did what I wanted and revolted against what I knew was the right thing to do.  Sometimes, you need to experience that the grass isn't so green on the other side.  Blurred Lines no more.  Now, I can see.

So, I've been smart carbing for seven days now.  My reboot started effective July 8th.  It was tough this week.  On Wednesday, I almost caved in and bought a pack of Snapple Jelly Bellies. I was searching my house for any leftover candy.  I realized I was acting like an addict so I backed off ate dinner and went to bed.  The rest of the week was much better.

This week I hope will be much smoother. I have to keep myself busy and weekends are tough with so much idle time.  I have the Dirty Girl Run on Saturday so I'll be sharing some photos of that.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm sure I'll have some funny stories.

I'm happy to be back to my blog.  I missed it, and I missed my readers.  I need you guys. You keep me honest and accountable.  Thanks for reading and you support.  Until next time...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't Give Up

Finish line... early before the race.
Hey readers!  I'm actually surprised I'm doing this right now.  I thought I wouldn't have the energy to hold my head up, but it seems I've caught my second wind so I might as well get my thoughts down while they are still fresh in my head.

Today was a big day for me.  A day that I thought would never come for me - considering where I was about a year and a half ago.  I did something I thought I'd never be able to do.  I completed a half marathon.

I'm honestly having trouble putting words to my feelings right now.  I knew this day was coming.  I remember back on January 11th, when my trainer and workout partner convinced me to change my race registration from the 10K to the half.  At that time, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  Then, when I started training in February, I had the idea that I'd be able to finish under 2 hours 50 minutes.  Today, my goal was to finish under 3 hours.  I now realize even the 3 hours goal was pretty ambitious.  I was able to keep that pace (about 13 min 40 sec mile) for about 6 miles, and then I started to poop out.  I knew at that point I wasn't going to make it.  I finished in 3 hours 17 minutes and 52 seconds.  What's even more important - I FINISHED.

I worked hard.  I trained hard. I ran in the snow.  I ran in the cold.  I ran through a sore hip and tender Achilles tendon.  I ran when I didn't want to run.  I ran when I was sick.  I knew that if I wanted to complete this race, I had to take it seriously and train seriously.  Increase my weight training sessions.  I had to drop Zumba - which is one of my favorite things to do. I had to sacrifice to get where I am today.  I completed a half marathon.  I didn't quit.

It was such an emotionally draining day.  I had the support of some many people - family and friends.  New friends I met during my run. Melissa, who said I inspired her to keep going when she felt she couldn't go any longer.  Gwen, from Black Girls Run, who ran with me for several miles.

Heather, my workout partner who convinced me to switch over to the half.  You ran with me for the first 2 miles.  You were waiting for me when I crossed the finish line.  You told me that you got goose bumps just thinking of how I've been preparing for this day. I'm so glad you were there to hug me after I crossed the finish line.

Mallory, my trainer.  You have played a huge part in my journey.  You push me.  You encourage me.  You barter with me.   You also convinced me to change to the half, and you told me that you knew I could do it. You were there for me when I finished today. You didn't have to wait around for two hours after your race to see me, but you did.  You were there for me.  I can't thank you enough, and I'm so glad that I have you in my corner. I'll be ready on Tuesday for more weights.  You best believe.

My family!  You woke up at 3 am to get on the road and travel 60 minutes to get to the race.  You cheered me on at the start and was there to wipe my tears when I finished.  You have been with me every step of the way.  We had a lot of fun today.  I'm so glad you were there to share this day with me.  Mom, I know you never thought this day would come where I would be able to do something like this.  I felt the same way.  Next year, you and sis will be doing it too!  Let's sign up!

All my friends and family. My bestie.  My Cool Girls!  My Fitness Instructors and Co-workers!  Chef, who gave me my 13.1 mile magnet for my car!  The support, the kind words. I thought about all of this when there were times when I didn't think I could go further.  It was hard.  You can train all you want for something like this, but you will never know what to expect until you step your foot over the start line and run across the finish.  Emotion wells inside of you.  You see all of these people. Strangers. People you will never see again in your life cheering for you, telling you not to give up and keep going.  Giving my major kudos for my Buttercup t-shirt.  The police officers, fire fighters, emergency staff, volunteers, Snipers (yes, we saw them).  All of you were there to keep us safe and protect us.  I thank you as well.

It's amazing.  As I'm sitting here and typing this, I sometimes wonder did I really do that?  Then I look down and see my major award.  It's pretty neat.  The guitar spins in the middle.  It's heavy. I've never got a medal before.  I earned that!

I don't know how many of you have experienced something like I did over the last year or so - culminating today.  You feel like you're fine with the "status quo," and all of a sudden something inside of you snaps, and you decide the "status quo" is not okay and you go for a dream.  You pursue it. You don't let your detractors derail you.  You fight.  You cry.  You hurt.  But, you Don't Quit.  You keep pushing even when you're hit and fall down.  Believe me, it pays off in ways you can't believe when you accomplish something that you'd never thought you could do in your wildest dreams.
The home stretch before the finish line.

I never thought I'd be a runner.  

And today, I ran.  

My aces!  You have no idea what you did for me today!
My family!  Thank you for being there!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

Hey readers!  Sorry for not posting last week.  Nothing was wrong.  I just didn't have anything profound to share, and I'm thinking that's not a bad thing.  I feel like my new lifestyle is taking hold and cementing into place, and sometimes I don't have much to report. 

Or it could have been because I did my longest, long run as part of my 14 week training program for the Cleveland Half Marathon (TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! YIKES!), and it completely tired me out.  10 miles.  I think it went well.  I felt like it would have been better if I had water available to drink though out.  I was quite dehydrated after finishing so I talked up on water to rehydrate. The half marathon has many water breaks so I feel I'll be okay.  Plus, when I finished I felt like I could still continue, and at that distance, I would only have 3 more miles left. I definitely feeling better about the Half.

This past Saturday, I ran my first 5K and I finished in about 43 minutes. I'm not sure of my official time.  The results will be posted soon, and I'll make sure to share those when available.  I'm glad I got a bit of practice running with a group because it does make you start off at a faster pace.  I was able to slow myself down and find my pace to finish the race comfortably.  I was hoping to beat my indoor treadmill time (42 minutes), but that last hill was tough, and with the wind against me, it slowed me down.  No worries.  I'm pleased with my finish. 

I am pleased.  Interesting.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm really pleased with what I've been able to accomplish so far.  I've lost a substantial amount of weight.  My energy is up.  My chronic conditions are under control.  I'm
building muscle.  I'm stronger and faster.  But... The scale isn't moving.  In fact, it hasn't moved for quite sometime.  I'm straddling between 210 - 220.  Not really moving.  So, should I be proud of that?  No movement.  My weight is stationary.  So, is that it?  I mean, should I throw in the towel since I'm not going to meet that 160 pound "Magic Number?"
And where did I get that number anyway?  How did I know 160 pounds was going to be my "Magic Number?"  I basically pulled that number out of my ass thinking I'd probably be most happy and healthy at that number.  It sounded good at the time.  I figured I'd look pretty hot, too.  I don't know.  I'm shrugging as I'm typing this. 
So, If I never reach that "Magic Number," does that mean I failed?  The scale doesn't lie, and that's what I've been using as my measuring stick.  What am I getting at?
Perhaps, I chose the wrong measuring stick.
Usually, I weight myself mid-week to see if I'm "on track."  If I see a one pound loss at that point, I'm super happy, and continue with the week.  If I don't, I'm sad for a bit and keep trucking along.  Lately, I've been indifferent and slightly disappointed that I've been all over the place.  I've tried so many things to try to keep my body in "weight loss mode," and it just won't cooperate.  And although the scale hasn't moved, other things have happened that makes me feel I'm still moving forward.
My run times are getting better. I've finally found my run pace. I deadlifted 225 pounds... an all-time best. I snatched 40 pound kettlebells on each hand... another all-time best. Push ups improving? Check.  Planks improving?  Yep.  Finished my first Metabolic class.  Check.  Do my clothes still fit?  Yes.  I'm wearing a size 14 comfortably. Yup.  All of that, and the scale still hasn't moved.
I made a huge mistake, and I think I finally accepted it this week.  On Thursday, after my Krazy Kettlebell workout with my Worldclass Trainer, we lied back on the lovely artificial turf outside on a beautiful Spring afternoon (I love working out outside).  I'm basking in the sunshine and enjoying the sweat of my labor (it was a kick ass workout).  I posed a question to her, and I value her advice greatly.  I told her I don't think I'm going to weigh myself anymore. I don't feel that my success should be measured by an arbitrary number pulled out of my ass.  Perhaps, my success should be measured in how fast I can run.  How high I can jump.  How heavy a kettlebell I can swing, and how much I can deadlift.
She came me the "DUH" look, which I surely deserve.  She said she doesn't weigh herself at all.  She doesn't own a scale.  The only time she gets on one is if she goes to the doctor.  Success is not measured my the scale.  It's measured by your accomplishments.  Set fitness goals...not weight loss goals.
She's right.  I can't throw everything I've accomplished away just because the scale says so.  My day shouldn't suffer because I gained a pound from yesterday.  My week shouldn't be an utter failure because I gained two pounds.  The scale only gives you a point in time measurement.  That's it.  That's all it does.  It doesn't measure how much water you are holding or how much muscle you've gained.  It just gives you a number, and I'm TIRED of living and dying by it.
I haven't weighed myself in two weeks.  Yes. I'm still freaking out a bit. I sometimes want to weight myself just to make sure that cookie I ate didn't make me gain 8 pounds.  And REALLY!  Is one cookie going to make me gain 8 pounds considering I work out hella hard SIX times a week?  That is unhealthy behavior, and I know it.  So, I'm stopping it.  No more scale.   I don't know when the next time will be.  One week?  One month?  Who knows.  I just know there is a Better Way, and the scale isn't it.

A true measure of success... Doing things you never thought you would be able to do.  

Update!  My official finish time 43 min 23.4 sec!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

By Jove...

Good day to all my readers and followers out there.  I hope you are all doing well.  I'm doing really good.  Another week down, and I'm still going strong.  It was a pretty productive week, and I finally feel like I've hit my stride.  Literally!  I've finally found my running pace.

I've been paying a lot of attention over the past few weeks of how I've been feeling during my runs.  When I'm on the treadmill, the run is very short so I'm able to run short intervals at 5 mph and above (3-4 minute intervals).  I walk for 1-2 minutes.  I usually don't run for more than 55 minutes during the week.

My long runs are on the weekend.  When I attempt the same pace (5 mph), I have a much harder time going the distance, and I think it's because I'm running for distance and not minutes, so I fizzle out pretty quick.

This week, I tried something different. I took my run pace down to 4.7-4.8 mph and did a 3/2 interval (3 min run/2 min walk).  I was able to run on the treadmill rather easily, and today I did the same
thing during my 9 mile run outside...  AND I KILLED IT!

I paced myself well today, and I was able to last all 2 hours and 6 minutes at this pace and get nine miles in without much fuss.  I'm beyond tired right now, but I feel fantastic.  I feel a lot better about my plan to run the half marathon, which will be here in FOUR WEEKS.  I'm glad I have a plan in place because I was quite worried about it.  After I finished, I also felt like I could still keep going.  That's important since I'd have 4.1 more miles to go before I hit the finish line.

I only have one more long run before May 19th.  This coming weekend, I'm going for 10 miles.  10 miles!  I still can't believe I'm doing this shit.  One year ago, I was just starting to run.  I remember thinking I couldn't do it, but I did.  I must have started around 3.25 mph or something like that. Now, I'm walking faster than that speed.  It's unreal.  I have a hard time believing what I'm able to do sometimes... Especially since I deadlifted an all-time best of 225 pounds on Thursday.  That's more than I weigh.  I deadlifted myself!  That's crazy!

It's important that I keep on with these challenges.  It keeps my workouts varied so I rarely get bored, and my body doesn't get used to any one move.  Tomorrow, I'm taking a break from running and taking Kick 45.  I'll get some cardio in by jumping rope and rowing instead of using on the elliptical machine.  My box jumps are improving so I'll be attempting 5 risers instead of 4 in the near future.  I still have personal training twice a week, and I swear I've never done the same workout twice.  Sure, we see some of the same exercises (deadlifts, push presses, thrusters), but they are never paired the same.  I really love that.  My trainer... she's the best.  She knows me so well.

I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today. I've been looking back at my weight loss photos and looking at some of my old pics on my Facebook page.  I know I've mentioned this before, and maybe it bears repeating.  It's hard looking at those pictures because I don't feel like that woman anymore.  I was in so much pain - both mentally and physically.  I was lonely.  I was tired. 

Such a big difference from even a year ago.  I'm so different on the outside, but I'm still the same girl I always was.  All I can say is... How You Like Me Now?  LOL!  I'm doing alright. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Getting Back On Track

Hello Readers!  I feel like I've done a complete 180 from last week.  It's amazing what a week of horrible eating and reflection can do for you.

Last week I felt like I was standing on the edge of a precipice.  Directionless.  I wondered how did I get so far off track.  I allowed these distraction to take control and move in a direction that I knew wasn't good for me.  I knew this.  I even asked myself while I was stuffing numerous hot tamales in my mouth, "What on earth are you doing to yourself?"  I used to ask myself this questions when I would binge.  I'd never answer the question though because I don't think I knew the answer to be quite honest.

The difference this time around was that I stopped it.  I stopped the behavior.  I thought about why I was doing it.  I also thought about if the result of eating all that candy made me feel better.  It didn't.  It never made me feel better. Back then, it just made me feel numb, which was better than feeling hopeless.  This time around, it just made me feel sick.  That's way better than numb, and I stopped it.

This week, I committed to eating better.  I got rid of gluten - so that meant no wheat products - and my hip pain disappeared by Saturday.  I took a week off from running and concentrated on tough strength workouts.  Tuesday, I created my own WOD (Workout of the Day).  After warm-up, I did four rounds of:
10 burpees
15 thrusters with 30 pounds (15 lb each hand)
20 plank with press (15 lb each hand)
30 box jumps
I cooled off with 5 minutes of rowing.

I thought it wasn't too much until the next day.  My legs were sore and my triceps were killing me.  No rest for the weary. My trainer put me and my workout buddy though some tough activities that really made me realize how hard I worked myself on the prior day.  No pain, no gain.  Right?

Thursday was another personal training day.  She took pity on me and we only worked on strength training -   deadlifts and bench presses.  Can I just say how badass I felt when I deadlifted a personal best 215 POUNDS!  215 POUNDS!  I haven't bench pressed in years and I got up to 75 pounds.  What an amazing accomplishment.  I felt fantastic.  My thighs were burning later that night, and I swear I passed out by 8:30


I finished the week up with a 8 mile run yesterday.  I really should say a 8 mile walk.  I walked/ran for the first 4, and I fast walked for the last 4.  The rain/snow caught me so it was pretty nasty that last mile or so.  I wasn't happy with it at all, but I'm just glad I did it.  I'm realizing that running isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I don't like how beat up I feel after running hard for a long distance.  So, I'm pretty sure I'm hanging up my long distance running shoes after this year.  It will be nice to say, "I did it," when I cross the finish line at the Cleveland Half Marathon on May 19th.  I'll get a sticker/magnet for my car and look at it with pride... I don't want to suffer knee, hip and back issues. I need to keep those strong for all the weight I'll be lifting in the future.  I'm definitely feeling Stronger.

I'm glad I was able to get myself back on track this week.  Good health and fitness really begins in the kitchen.  Eat well, sleep well, and work it out.  We all have roadblocks that can stop us if we let them.  I feel a true test of your fortitude is based on how you handle them.  I'm proud of what I did this week.  I'll make sure it continues.

I totally earned wearing this shirt this week.
Check out !
 It's a great website for paleo living.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Humility Returns

Hey everyone!  Sorry I didn't post last week.  I didn't have the best weekend, and I felt completely out of it.  I also fell off the wagon.  Not completely, but it was enough for a wake up call.  I've been doing a lot of self-analysis over the last week to figure out what my next step needs to be.  It was very humbling.
Over the last year or so, I've been on a journey to change my life and improve my health. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching others enjoy life and wishing I could be them.  I've talked about this before in prior posts.  I wasn't living.  I was tired of eating my emotions, and food just wasn't filling the void anymore.
So I got off my unmotivated, lazy behind and got to work.  I started tracking my calories, working out and researching.  I wanted to know what I could do to keep my metabolism burning and get the weight off.  I had plans for what I would do when I was successful and looked forward to getting those charms and celebrating my success.
What happened was not what I expected.  The weight came off easily.  Weight lost came quickly and consistently.  Sure I had a few hiccups along the way, but nothing that I couldn't get past.  I read about so many people who were losing weight and found themselves fighting through those dreaded plateaus that can last for very long periods of time... eventually, some of those folks gave up.  The weight came back.  I swore that would never happen to me.  I got this.  Or, do I?
I've been plateauing on and off for about four to five months.  Four to five months.  No joke.  My weight goes up.  My weight goes down.  I'm still on a relatively downward path, but it's not steady and consistent. I've tried many things to get past it.  Calorie variances (some folks call them cheat days... I hate that term).  Not counting calories.  I didn't know what to do.  I was still exercising heavily and weight lifting.  I varied my workouts.  What was wrong?
I realized that my diet was poor, and decided to change it introducing the Whole30. It was a very eye-opening 30 days.  After my 30 days, I lost seven pounds, and I felt great.  I was satisfied with my results, and I was ready to move on to the next step.  So, I reintroduced foods.  I ate cheese and grains.  I ate sugar and dairy.  After that first week, I gained five pounds, and I didn't think too much about it.  I did notice that I wasn't feeling the best.  I felt sluggish, and my workouts weren't the best.  Running was tough.  I didn't have the best weekend emotionally, and I let my emotions control what I ate... which was everything.
This week was horrifying.  Absolutely horrifying.  Sure, I still has good breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  But, I also ate a ton of sugar....candy.  Why?  Because I was sad and upset.  And, even though I got everything resolved earlier in the week, I still wanted candy and sugar, and I ate a lot of it. 
So, what do I have to show for it.  A large weight gain over two weeks... Two weeks where I still exercised 6 out of 7 days, and walked/ran over 30 miles.  That hip pain that miraculously disappeared during my Whole30 is back.  Knee pain when going up and down the stairs in back.  And, humility returns.
How am I handling all this?  Honestly, not bad.  It happened.  I did it to myself. I realize that good health really begins in the kitchen and not in the gym.  I just made a decision to ignore that over the last two weeks and do whatever I wanted.  Am I feeling like I'm glad this happened?  No. Absolutely not, but I'm not going to beat myself up over this.  If I do, that will just send me back in my downward shame spiral where I eat my emotions.  Grains and sugar aren't working for me.  The knee and hip pain show that plainly.
I got myself in this. I'll get myself out.  I'm still fighting through my plateau.  I've derailed a bit, but the train didn't completely fall off the track.  I still have a half marathon to train for, and I'll be running a 5K at the beginning of May just to get some practice.  Next Saturday, I'll be running 8 miles.  Life goes on.  I will always have bad days and bad weeks.  I must learn how to handle these periods with something else other than sugar.  I had tamed that sugar demon, but I brought him back.  I need to put him down again.
Humility is good for me.  I don't have this beat.  I never will.  It doesn't mean I give up and quit.  I have to Raise Up and fight.  I'm not done yet.  God does have plans for me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Have I Learned?

Hi everyone.  I was busy entertaining a high level VIP in my life so I wasn't able to post last week (wink).  I'm sure you guys missed me (yeah, right), so I'll get right down to it.

My Whole 30 is over.  Monday, March 18th was my official last day.  Funny that I also had my physical that day at the doctor.  I had a fasting blood test, and I tried to get the results before posting, but I wasn't able to swing by the office and pick them up.  I'll make sure to include them next week.

I'll admit I'm a bit anxious to find out what those results say about my diet changes.  I did notice a significant drop in my blood pressure.  I'm starting to keep track of it so I can provide my doctor with historical data.  That's probably the only way I'll be able to convince him that I'm ready to be weaned off.  Sadly, once you are on maintenance medication, you just can't stop it cold turkey.  It can dangerous, and I want to get rid of all that medication. 

So, now it's time for reflection.  When I started the Whole 30, I was hoping to rid myself of my artificial sweetener dependence and get off processed foods.  I wanted to eat as wholistically as possible, and see what food choices and groups I could add back to my diet.  What foods are causing me trouble?  Where am I seeing the bloating and inflammation?

I can definitely say that I like what eating "real food" did to me.  I had lots of energy, and I felt really good. I slept great.  I had many personal bests during the last month. My body feels different.  My arms look different.  There is more definition than before.  My legs are slimmer.  My run times are faster.  I deadlifted 185 pounds... Yeah, you read that right.  185 fucking pounds!

I can also say that I was able to get away from artificial sweetener.  All I drank for the last 35 days is water.  Water.  Water. Water.  It was hard at first, but now I'm used to it.  I don't feel the need to run out and buy packets of Splenda and sweeten up my blueberries.  They are sweet enough all buy themselves.  I don't want to drink any powdered drinks or guzzle a diet soda.  I'll be fine with water. 

I've eaten gluten grains (bread), some pasta, cheese, white potatoes, and candy over the last week, and I can honestly say I haven't had any bad reactions from it.  For the most part, I've eaten these item in small amouts and "real food" continued to be the majority of all meals I ate.  So, perhaps I really don't have any issues with these foods.  However, I do find that if I compare my current eating habits to my prior, processed foods and carbohydrates were about 60% of my calorie intake for the day.  Now, I'll contain that, and focus on protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.  I'll pepper in other items here and there, but I'll won't return to that. Making food choices based on pure calorie content is not a good idea, and I won't continue on that path.

I think I found my missing puzzle piece that will help me complete my good health picture.  It really is all about the food.  Eating real food and limiting other items.  Sorry!  I will NEVER be one of those people that will never touch sugar again.  I enjoy sweets, and I've found that when I exclude something indefinitely, and try to taste it again, my body goes ape shit.  I'm not going through that again.  So, yes.  I'll still eat my jelly bellies and hot tamales.  But, I'll also eat boiled eggs, avocado and sweet potatoes for breakfast, spaghetti squash pad thai for lunch, and baked salmon, greens, and carrots for dinner.  How can you go wrong with that plan?

So, now what's next? It's all about training for the half marathon and reaching my dead lift goal.  The marathon is less than two months away.  I'm changing up my workout schedule.  Monday, run. Tuesday, weight training.  Wednesday, run.  Thursday, weight training.  Friday-Free-for-all. Saturday, long run.  Sunday, rest.  I'm pleased with this schedule. It's going to be tough, but I'm ready.  I just want to perform to the best of my ability, and I'll do what it takes to get me there.

Lastly... the scale.  Oh, I almost forgot about that.  I got my scale back on Friday, and I weighed in this morning. I lost 7.6 pounds on the Whole 30, and you know what's even better than losing 7 pounds... realizing that I paid attention to my body signals, ate to satiation and Satisfaction, and didn't count ONE FREAKING CALORIE.  Yeah, folks, eat real food.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Treats?

Hey everyone!  It's a beautiful day in NE Ohio.  I mean we are pushing 70 degrees here in Ashtabula.  The windows are open.  The sun is shining.  I'm Feeling Good.  Well, I am kind of feeling good.   I'm a bit sore.

As you know, I'm training for the Cleveland Half Marathon on 5/19.  I'm planning on walk/running.  I hope to do a 5 minute run/1-2 minute walk interval hoping to finish before 2 hour 50 minutes.  I hold myself if I accomplish that goal, I'll get myself another Tiffany charm, and this one I'll get when I travel to NYC at the end of June. 
Anyway, yesterday was my first outdoor run since last year.  Back then I was completing slow intervals, and the most I ran was 4 miles.  I usually finished 4 miles in one hour.  My training protocol has me running 3 times a week, Monday and Wednesday, with my long run on Saturday.  Right now, I'm practicing 3 min run/2 min walk, and I'm running at 5 mph and walking at 4 mph.  This past Saturday, I completed 5 miles in 1 hr 9 min outdoors.  That's my best time to date. 

It's vital that I get my long runs in on the road.  I want to mimic the conditions of the run so there aren't any surprises.  I also got fitted for proper running shoes, and they worked out fantastic.  I was very tired after finishing that tired that I actually ended up taking a nap while preparing my Pad Thai (more to come on that).  No worries.  I napped during the resting period.

So, I'm pretty tired and sore today.  Here's to hoping these aches and pains improve over the next few weeks.  I'm pretty pleased with my run yesterday.  I hoping to improve on my time and work hard to accomplish all my goals.  Sometimes I can't even believe I'm able to run.  That's something I thought I'd never be able to do.

Now, for my Whole30 update.  It was another good week.  I'm still sleeping great.  I feel like my appetite has increased.  I did have one heck of a PT session this past Tuesday, and I don't think I did my best in Kettlebells this week.  My arms were like jello.  I don't know if my appetite increase has anything to do with my workouts, but I am listening to my body and feeding it as I feel I need to.  I've also eating post work out snacks on my heavy days.

If I've learned anything in these 22 days is that I really need to listen to my body and what it's telling me.  Getting in control of my eating and my cravings was really important to me. I have cut out quite a few food groups, and what's so funny is that I'm not really missing them.  I'm not missing cheese or Greek yogurt, milk, beans, bread...  Sure, a piece of pizza would be great right now, but it's not going to kill me NOT to eat something like that for a few more weeks. 

I think what's so surprising is that I've been able to cut out added sugar and artificial sweeteners for so long.  Even when I lost weight a few years ago on the modified fast, I was still able to rely on Splenda and get my sugar on.  The only sweets I'm getting in the Whole30 is through the whole foods I eat, and that's mainly fruit.  I am enjoying the fruit, and I'm even trying some items that I haven't in the past.
I'm a sugar fiend.  SUGAR FIEND!  I admit it.  I love candy.  I love sweets.  It makes me feel like I was predisposed to be diabetic because of my love of sugar.  I'm sure when Whole30 is over, I'll get some Jelly Bellies or Hot Tamales or Cherry Heads.  I'm just going to make it count.  I am really happy with how I'm feeling, and it has to do with the foods I'm choosing to eat.  I don't want to fully let this practice go, so when it's time to reintroduce grains, dairy, and beans, I will do so carefully and make smart choices on what foods I'll incorporate into my diet. I'm sure I'll have an occasional Jelly Belly.  That's something I feel I can manage throughout my life and not feel like I'm going crazy.  It's tough trying to slay the Sugar Demon, and in my case, I'm going to tame him. 

Lastly, I will say that I've been introduced to some amazing new foods.  This week I made Pad Thai - instead of noodles, I used spaghetti squash.  Instead of peanut sauce, I used another sauce with rice vinegar, coconut aminos (substitute for soy sauce), cayenne pepper, and orange juice.  It was fantastic.  I also made a salad dressing out of olive oil mayonnaise and added avocado, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro.  It is possible to eat holistically and find delicious foods.  After my Whole30 is up, I'm going to try another recipe for Mexican Chocolate, which came from the Nom Nom Paleo blog.  I'll continue to post pictures of all my creations.  Until next week my friends...

Here is my Pad Thai.  I'm not a big fan of snap peas, as the recipe calls for, but you can substitute other veggies.  I used cabbage, scallions, and onion.  The chicken thighs worked juicy and tender.  I purchased the "Well Fed" cookbook, which is written by Melissa Joulwan. I've tried many recipes, and they are fantastic.  I'm definitely having a lot of fun in the kitchen. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Hey Folks.  I hope you all had a good week.  Mine was quite terrific, and a hell of a lot easier than last week.

Yes, I am still in the thick of my Whole30 program.  I'm at the half-way point now, and I'm amazed at how quickly it's passing.  I haven't had any slip ups as far as I know, and although I still have cravings for sugar/artificial sweetener, it hasn't been too hard to get over it.  In the end, it's best that I really leave those things alone.

As I mentioned above, I had a pretty awesome week.  Energy is up.  Sleep is beyond amazing and really restful.  Everything is ticking along like clockwork.  I've started to notice some physical changes too.

When I was heavier, I had a lot problems with fluid pooling in my ankles.  Fluid retention is a very serious medical condition, and mine was brought on by high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.  My left ankle would swell so badly that I would have trouble walking as my day progressed.  Eventually, it came to the point where I would move as little as possible so I didn't have to walk on it.

As I began to lose weight, I noticed I wasn't holding water anymore and my ankle looked better.  I was very pleased because I knew my health was improving.  But I noticed sometime remarkable this week.  It was even more narrow.  As a matter of fact, it looked downright NORMAL.  Actually, my hands looked odd too.  My fingers were more slim. 

I took a picture of myself in my new glasses (which are freaking awesome and cute) and sent it to my friend, and he said jokingly, "What happened to your pinchable cheeks?"  My pinchable cheeks?  What?  So, I looked in the mirror, and my face looked different.  My cheekbones are prominent, and I still have my dimple (singular), but my face looks more slim.

What the heck is going on with me?  My legs looks different.  My tummy looks different.  What the hell?

Folks, it's called systemic inflammation.  What the heck is that?  I honestly never even heard about this condition until I heard it discussed in "It Starts With Food."  Even after reading about it, I still thought it was a bunch of hogwash.  I even asked my doctor about it, and he said it is a real condition, and pretty much everyone suffers from it in some form.  Systemic inflammation is "full body" inflammation.  It's your immune system fighting back constantly in some form or another.  Your immune system is hyperaware and active - circulating throughout your body.

Your immune system can become hyperaware due foreign bodies circulating in your body that your immune system identifies as "Not You."  Hence, it attacks and that's where you become inflamed... just like when you get sprain your ankle and get swelling.  You immune system goes into action to protect the body.

Food can play a role in systemic inflammation as well. Food that may not be that good for you.  Foods that give you uncomfortable reactions.  Food that contain a lot of manufactured ingredients.  Bloating. Gas. Sour Stomach.  So on and so on...

Don't freak out people.  I'm not writing this to scare you.  I'm my own experiment so I'm reporting my findings, and this week I found out that my body is changing once again because I'm not so inflamed and bloated by the food I ate.  I've been eating "clean" for two weeks now, and I've seem remarkable changes.  I was really tempted many times this week to get on the scale to prove my theory, but you know what, WHO CARES!   At this point, I'm so pumped full of energy, the scale wouldn't bother me if I gained.  I'm cleaning up my body.

Perhaps there is something to said about all this clean eating stuff.  I still have two weeks to go, and I'm expecting the honeymoon to be over by next week when I'm dying for cake or jelly bellies (again) or something to drink besides water.  I have never only drank water so that's quite an adjustment, and I've never gone this long without weighing myself since I started my journey.  One benefit of drinking only water, my skin looks and feels great :)

My gym performance is off the charts.  I got four miles in this past Saturday, and each Saturday I increase one mile.  I'm really putting my all into marathon training so I've been really pleased by what I've been able to accomplish.  I dead lifted 115 pounds this past week, and I'm swing 70 pound kettlebells like nothing.  Now, that's a Work Out

This week will be even more challenging.  Death by Burpee will continue until I can do 20 burpees in one minute... Yes, I said 20.  I'm working on my pushups by adding one each day so by March 31, I will do 31 pull-bodies, no cheating pushups.  No girlie push ups here.

So, let's here it for a nice, successful week! (YAY!)  I hope there are more to come, and I'm excited by what I'll be able to share next week.  Until next time...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When Your Body Fights You...

Hey everyone.  Week one of the Whole30 Program is done, and I'm still alive.  I didn't die by eliminating added sugars, alcohol, grains, beans and whatnot from my diet.  But I will tell you one thing, this week was not easy.  Let me elaborate.The creators of the Whole9 state on their website that, "Whole9’s original program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food."  In reading their book, I realized that I wasn't making the best choices for optimal mental and physical performance so I decided to give it a try.  I'm going to give you an idea of how my week went - feel free to skip through the days if you aren't interested.

Sunday... I started.  It was fun playing in the kitchen and making some new dishes that were very healthy and wholistic.  I'll share some of my photos at the end this entry.  It was exciting and new and different... But around 3 pm, I had to slow down because I starting having a headache.  Eventually, I took some Advil before dinner to get rid of it.  It went away, and I was able to finish off my evening by making some great chunky guacamole.
Monday... I woke up after a very strange night of sleep.  Not very restful at all, which is unusual for me.  The headache was back.  The headache was back in full force.  I tried to ignore it for the day, and I didn't take any medication either.  I was worried about my work out to be honest.  My run training started this week, and I knew I need to expect some lethargy.  Luckily, I busted out the run and my 50 burpees without any problem.  Unluckily, my headache never left.
Tuesday... I woke up again after another weird sleep.  Oh well.  I was again worried about my work out perfomance.  Today was my personal training session, and I had to complete 50 burpees.  No worries again!  I completed 55 burpees and did a great job lifting.  My workout partner and I worked on dead lifts, power cleans, squats and overhead presses with a barbell.  I felt awesome... it it wasn't for that damn headache!
Wednesday... I woke up after another weird sleep accompanied by an even weirder dream.  I had a dream I ate a hellacious amount of plain m&m's.  Then, as a result, my teeth because deformed, discolored and started falling out of my mouth.  I ran to my sister for help, and she ran me to an oral surgeon while packing my teeth in ice... Really?   So, today was kettlebells, and I dragged ass until about midway through the class when my energy (or more like adrenalin) kicked in.  I finished with 40 burpees and a 35 minute walk/run.  Yeah, I was beyond exhausted at that point.
Thursday... I woke up.  Hmm, my headache isn't so bad now.  By mid morning, I'm not happy.  I'm a bit grumpy and struggling with some things at work that normally wouldn't even bother me.  I can't concentrate so I'm happy when it's time to work out.  Today is Zumba... and I'm not feeling it at all, and I barely finish my 45 burpees.  This day just sucked.
Friday... I woke up.  I rested well.  Finally!  Today is a half day so I go to work knowing I have another 35 minute walk/run and 50 burpees to complete. I'm feeling pretty good since today is the last day of my burpee challenge.  Well, I finish my run and do 56 burpees for good measure... it just took me a really long time.  Buckling under peer pressure, I also join some of my friends in UNLOADED - a 30 minute fitness class.  BAD IDEA.  I just half assed it. I had no energy.  No focus. I'm grumpy again.  I want some Jelly Bellies.  I'm so over this.
Saturday... I woke up at 3:30 am!  Family had a trip to Columbus today. I'm dreading eating out so I decide to bring my own breakfast and salad dressing for later.  I know I can find a salad somewhere.  We eat at California Pizza Kitchen for lunch, and I had a cobb salad (less the bacon, dressing, and cheese).  It wasn't that bad.  I also had some wholesome snacks - dried apricots, raw cashews, and a Primal Pac (thank goodness for Primal Pacs!).  Things are looking good. I purchased my bracelet at Tiffany's for my charms so I can wear them now.  Made my first ever purchase at Victoria's Secret (TMI...).  Awesome!  Once at home, I ate a nice dinner and passed out at 8:30... and didn't wake up until 6:30 am!
What a strange week, right?  I've never really had trouble sleeping.  Why now?  Dreams.  I know I have them (everyone dreams), I just don't remember them... but I remembered that weird one.  What's with the headaches?  Why am I so tired?  What's wrong with me?
It's called the "carb flu."  Or, at least that's why the creators of the Whole9 lifestyle call it.  (PSA... I am not endorsing this plan as the gospel so don't worry that I'm turning into one of those "people."  I'm just sharing my experiment because I find it interesting - end of PSA)  They state that by removing dense carbohydrates from my diet (sugars, grains, beans), my body isn't relying on them as a fuel source.  As a result, my body is rebelling a bit, and I'm suffering from "carb flu." Symptoms include:
  • Grumpiness, irritability, crankiness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and lethargy
Why is my body doing this?  Well, it's getting used to another primary fuel source (healthy fats like avocado, olives, clarified butter, olive oil, nuts and what not), and it's not happy, and I still want some Jelly Bellies, damnit!

Well, I'll let that go for now.  No Jelly Bellies for a while, but they will return eventually.  For now, I am going to enjoy the face that I had an amazing night of sleep... which is a benefit along with increased energy, loss of cravings, less pain in joints, and so on.  I'm going to keep going although I feel like my body was really fighting me this past week.  That's ok. I'm Patiently Waiting for my chance to fight back.  That's My Style...
Pics of awesome, wholistic food.  Recipies and reference material are located in "It Starts with Food," written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

 Primal Pac - Healthy snack for people on the go!  These will be great post-work out snacks on days when I doing some heavy lifting.  Beef jerkey, marcona almonds, macadamia nuts, dried mango, and dried cranberries.  After I tried a pac, I went back online and ordered 10 more.  YUM!

Sweet Potato Hash - Seasoned ground beef, roasted sweet potatoes, peppers and other yumminess.  Great recipie!
Egg Friatta with ground beef, mushrooms, spinach, onion, jalapeno pepper and anything else I could get my hands on.  It went great with chunky guacamole and salsa.
I'm getting great at making omelets - so my mom says.  This one was stuffed with spinach and mushrooms.  I tossed some Fuji apples and left over ground beef in it too.  Great breakfast!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's Time to Try Something New

Hey Readers!  I hope you guys don't mind that I took a break last week.  I wasn't taking a vacation.  I had homework, research, and decisions to make.  Let me explain.

I knew that losing weight by using calorie restriction would only get me so far.  Our bodies are very smart, and they adapt very quickly.  In my case, I have a tremendous amount of weight to lose.  So at the beginning, eating less and moving more was a no brainer.  The weight fell off quickly and steadily.  In that time, my body was most likely in shock thinking, "WTF does she think she's doing?  I can't keep up with what she's doing!"  But, eventually, it did.

When your body adapts, the weight loss tends to taper off and stabilize - the dreaded plateaus.  I'm sure I would still be able to lose weight, but it would be slow-going and frustrating.  When this happens to a lot of people in my situation, they become despondent and start falling into dangerous old patterns, and eventually the weight may comes back.  I refuse to accept that!  So, I need to evaluate what I'm doing, and decide if I need to make a change.  (FYI - this may be a long post.)

So, what am I doing right now?
  • I make my food choices based mostly on calorie content. 
  • I exercise pretty much every day.  I now rest on Sundays.
Looking at these items, it didn't seem like I was doing anything wrong.  I know the exercise was a great choice, and I'm keeping within my calorie range to make sure I continued to lose weight each week.  It can't be all that bad.  I lost 120 pounds doing this... so why do I feel like I've come to a screeching halt.  I thought a lot about this, and it could only be one other thing... The Food.

Looking at my food diary, I realized that my breakfast and lunch was pretty simple.  Instant oatmeal. Granola bars. Egg beaters.  Fiber One bars. Sugar free fruit cups. Lean Cuisines.  Fresh fruit.  That's not bad, is it? 

Possibly.  Why?  Because most of it is processed.  The only thing that wasn't was the fresh fruit.  My breakfast and lunch was filled with mechanically manufactured, processed, easy-to-eat food filled with additives and artificial sweeteners.  When I asked for an expert opinion about my food choices, and if I was making poor choices.  I was met with a enthusiastic head nod, "YES!"  So, then I ask, "what do I do?"  Response, "Read this book."

My trainer passed along a very enlightening and frightening book, "It Starts with Food," written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  It pretty much blew my mind.  It's a very easy read, written in a conversational style that felt like the authors are sitting with you around the kitchen table having a chat.  Some of their beliefs are controversial.  I'm still skeptical about some of the things I read.  But, I'm willing to give their plan a try.  Why?  Because I do believe that my food choices are poor.  I'm eating the easiest, quickest foods I can find - processed food.  I want to make sure I'm fueling my body with the best choices out there so I can excel. 

The Whole 30 plan consists of following a holistic eating plan for 30 days and removing foods that fail their Good Food Standard.  The Good Food Standards are:
  • Foods that promote a healthy psychological response.
  • Foods that promote a healthy hormonal response.
  • Foods that support a healthy gut.
  • Foods that support immune function and minimize inflammation.
The book provides amazing detail on how certain foods and food groups either promote or violate the good food standards. I won't go into all the deets here, but believe me, it was eye opening and scary.   I mean, is it really possible that the hip pain I feel may go away based on my food choices?  I don't know.  So, I'm going to give it a try.  Thirty days isn't all that long.  I'm going to be my own test dummy, and you all can be my witnesses. 

Starting today, the following foods and food groups will be ELIMINATED!
  • Sugars, Sweeteners, and Alcohol
  • Seed Oils
  • Grains and Legumes
  • Dairy
No splenda.  No sugar free fruit cups.  No greek yogurt.  No egg beaters.  No granola bars or fiber one bars.  No whole wheat bread.  NO CANDY!  The list goes on and on.  Everything pretty much has grains, seed oils, and added sugar and sweeteners (except whole food).

So, what can I eat?
  • Meat, Seafood, and Eggs
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Healthy Fats
Now that may not seem like a whole lot, but there is a lot you can do with these items, and I'm looking forward to discovering some new favorites.  There are other items you can eat that are semi-processed like canned olives, broths, and sauerkraut.  The authors provide a laundry list of items that you can include if you wish.

What are the rules to the Whole 30 Program?
  • Eat from the approved food list (seen above).
  • Do not consume any foods that violate the "Good Food Standards."
  • Do not cheat and recreate junk foods by using the approved food list.
  • Do not step on the scale during the entire program.
I'm actually happy about that last rule.  I'm also happy that I won't have to count calories.  Counting calories it tough.  I found a way of getting around it by using as much prepackaged food as I could.  With this program, our authors provide us with a food guide that allows for simple planning without portioning, measuring, or counting.  So... no more calorie counting.  As a matter of fact, I did not track one thing this past week, and I was able to lose weight.  I'm frightened about it.  I'm so used to doing it that I don't feel right when I don't.  It did feel quite liberating after the third or fourth day.  I know I can do this.

What do I hope to accomplish?
  • Rid my dependence on artificial sweeteners
  • Better manage my blood sugars without the use of medication.  My doctor feels I should see a tremendous difference.  I'll be seeing him during my 30 day program so we will be having a medicine discussion.
  • Improve my gym performance - remember, I'm training for a half marathon.  I need all the help I can get.
At the end of the 30 days, you begin reintroducing grains, dairy, legumes, and other foods one at a time, taking note of how your body responds.  The goal of the program is to give your body a "reset."  It can pinpoint foods that may be causing inflammation within the body, cravings, and digestive problems.  If you can pinpoint these items, you can make better food choices and decide what foods you would like to keep as a permanent part of your diet.  It DOES NOT suggest eating this way permanently, unless that's what you choose to do. 

As I start this new journey into discovering food, I'm glad to be able to share it with you.  The first two weeks are going to be tough.  I should expect being very tired and irritable.  My workouts will probably suck over the next week or so.  I'll be Miss Crabby Pants! They call it the "carb flu." I'm suffering from refined carbohydrate and sugar withdrawal.  After the first two weeks, I should expect amazing changes in temperament and physical performance... boundless energy.

So this past week, I enjoyed a lot of my favorites for One Last Time... Just kidding!  I'm always going to eat my favs, but I'm going to try to put them off until after the race in May.  I'll provide more insight as I get further into the program.  I think it's good for me to journal how I'm feeling during the week so I can share it with you.  I'm going to be spending a good deal of my time today in the kitchen getting acclimated with all this new food I bought on Saturday.  Until next week...