Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boys are Gross

This week has been a whirlwind of busy. I can't say I'm not to blame, because I'm the queen of procrastinating, but seriously, I need there to be two Fridays this week. Or two Thurdays (today?! yikes!). I'm leaving town on Saturday morning, and when I arrive back in Seattle on Tuesday, my mom will be with me, seeing my house for the first time.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with "the mom clean." You know, the one you ONLY do when you know your mom is coming up? Because she raised you good? Last time she was visiting and I still lived in my condo, I caught her running a long spatula under my stove, past where the broom can reach (presumably looking for dust bunnies?) She says she dropped one of her vitamins down there...but I'm skeptical. Luckily, I passed that test with flying colors (boyfriend is a great mom cleaner).

The mom clean can be daunting enough as it is, however I decided that there were some nice little projects I wanted done around the house before she came up. Things like, tiling the bedroom, painting the bedroom, painting the front door, etc. Well, somehow those all got pushed to this week as well. That's enough to do if you don't count my job (boss really likes to pile it on before a vacay), my homeowner association duties (the monthly meeting has to fall this week), gym time (didn't miss a day), and all the other little errands I need to do before I leave (shopping, haircut, etc.)

So yeah, slammed. However, as Saturday quickly approaches, I realize there is only so much I can do. In true to my style, I decide to throw another monkey into the wrench, or wrench into the monkey? I bought a refrigerator on Tuesday. It will be delivered the same day my mom and I are arriving (after our 2nd day of driving from San Francisco). It was such a good deal, I couldn't pass it up. But even fridge buying takes up precious time I didn't have. I sacrificed a trip to the hardware store that only sells the cabinet pulls we have. We need 12 more pulls, and the store has been out of stock for weeks, and the best they can do is say "just keep stopping by to see if they are in."

So, I buy the fridge, and realize I have an hour and a half to kill before a homeowners meeting that is right around the corner. I don't want to go back home, so I decide to take a walk around Greenlake, which is close. I had my gym clothes in the car from the morning, and was wearing a shirt with a sweater over it, I could just take my sweater off and be ready to walk.

I pull my running tights on under my skirt in the parking lot, and take my skirt off. I take my sweater off, and tie up my shoes. I start walking down around the lake, and about 10 steps in, a man was running towards me. He was just staring at me. Well, not at me, but at my breasts. That's when I remembered. The shirt I was wearing was kinda sheer, and although it was dark purple in color, in the daylight I bet my boobs made the shirt pull forward enough to be see-through! I immediately turned around, went to my car and put my t-shirt from my morning workout on over the sheer shirt. I'm SO glad that guy had the courtesy to stare me down when I was only 20 feet from my car.

I'm more grossed out by the fact that just by the look on his face I could tell that he could see through my shirt. Boys are gross. Ok...break time over. Back to work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing the "L-Sit"

Today may have been my hardest day at Crossfit thus far, not counting my first day that is, because first days are always the hardest. There were a few moments I was unsure if I would be able to finish my workout, as the way it was set up, the less strong you were, the longer the workout took.

We had to complete 3 minutes of the "L-sit"

Of course, there is no way I (or anyone that was working out with me today) could do that for 3 uninterrupted minutes. So, each time we "dropped" we had to do 5 burpees.


Let's just say I had to do A LOT of burpees, and even now, at 2:30pm 6 hours after my workout, my hair in a bun is still damp from sweat. However, I DID manage to do 3 minutes of the L-sit (well, modified) after 18 minutes, 51 seconds. So, that means I basically did 15 minutes of burpees. I wonder if my arms will be functional tomorrow?

Do I still like Crossfit? HELL YES. Although...ask me tomorrow. Ha ha.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Want to be a Billionaire, So Fricken Bad

I'm guilty of letting the "less-Paleo" moments come more and more frequently. Forget starting on the slippery slope, I'm at the bottom of the hill. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but it just seems as though lately I keep giving myself permission to not be the best I can be. I don't know what causes this phenomenon in me, but I can say with 100% certainty that it is the phenomenon that has contributed to my life-long struggle with my weight.

I know there are so many other people out there that struggle with this same phenomenon. I read it nearly everyday on various blog sites...its cyclical almost. Some bloggers are new and gung-ho (invincible!), some are settled into a routine (losses slowing...getting bored), and others have become comfortable and therefore have been "slipping up" more and more often (denial). In the 9 months I have been keeping this blog, how many times have you seen me in one of these various states? I know I have hit every single one at least once, if not multiple times.

If you have been at this for awhile like I have, the cycles become very familiar. I know what I'm supposed to do, and what I'm not supposed to do, yet, something compels me to rebel. The best way I can describe it is that I give myself permission to not be the best I can be. In my head, I'm backed up by my success over the past few months, I feel that it is "ok" to cheat. And the cheats come faster and faster. This has nothing to do with my diet not being sustainable, or because I'm lazy, or because I'm stressing out over something in my life. I think it may have to do with fear? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being great? I don't know, but if I ever figure it out, I'm going to be richer then Bill Gates. If anyone could figure out why fat people can't "just do what they are supposed to do for as long as they need to do it" there would not be a bazillion dollar weight loss industry. Just as the credit default swaps bet on people not paying their mortgages, the folks behind The South Beach Diet, or Weight Watchers, or P90X are betting, HOPING that I fail so I buy more shit (too bad suckers!).

Luckily, I've learned a whole bunch. Not everything, but a lot. I do know that if I don't do something fast, I'm going to sit at this weight for a long time, and then eventually go right back to where I was 9 months ago. What I need to remember is that there are things I can not eat. Ever. Its going to take practice, and that's what I'm chalking this little cycle up to- PRACTICE.

However, that does not change the underlying fact that I need to be better. I have seen great success in so many aspects of my life by eliminating grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, and alcohol. I have to accept that I can not drink an occasional beer. I can not eat a Larabar everyday. My diet must consist mostly of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fats.

I'm revisiting my Eulogy post today, because I need to get back to the mind-set I was at when I wrote it. The day before I went Paleo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ants in my Pants

Friday. So hard to focus. Even more so then normal.

Every once in awhile, there is a post I read and I just want to jump up on top of my chair and shout "YES! YES!" The post resonates with me in a way I didn't even realize I wanted, or needed, but for whatever reason, I want to dive through my computer screen and meet the author.

Today, I read a post by Jen over at Prior Fat Girl. She is amazing. Her blog has quickly risen to be one of my favorites. I feel like if we lived in the same city we would be friends. (I'm not creepy, she just seems fun) Check out her blog, and especially the post today to see what I'm talking about.

Have all of you become a facebook fan of Dave's Cave? If so, THANK YOU. If not, I'm only going to keep bugging till you do.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Snowball vs. Unraveling

Lately it seems as though everything keeps going my way. Its as if the positive direction my health has taken has oozed into other aspects of my life, and things have snowballed. The events are so small that if I blinked I might miss them, but as they roll together, a significant ball of happy is formed.

Who knew that removing grains from my diet would lead to a job interview, or that joining Crossfit would make my radio only play good songs? Skeptics may say coincidence. Had I not been living it myself, I would align myself with those skeptics.

It makes me wonder, when I observe people I know getting things they want, meeting goals, etc., is this the reason why? They simply keep doing the right thing for themselves, and the rest falls into place? Positive begets positive, and then BAM! Success.

What a contrast this is to being on the other side of things, when I felt like I was constantly unraveling. Nothing was going my way. Oddly, that led to more of the destructive behaviors that caused even MORE to not go my way.

The Thai food I ate for lunch made it rain on all my outdoor runs. The ever shrinking wardrobe in my closet had me encountering traffic every time I was running just a little behind. It was like I was stuck in Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" song.

I know that some days will be inevitably bad/disappointing, but I can't help from thinking that I'm more prepared now to deal with these types of days. I continue to build up my confidence by attempting new things. With more confidence I feel better about myself in general. Feeling better about myself in general leads me to see more positive around me (and discount the negative). Seeing more positive means seeing even MORE positive. What does that equal? One hell of an annoying girl that is happy ALL. THE. TIME. and continues to have things go her way.

Man I used to hate those people.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


One of the hardest things for me to stop doing after I decided I needed to go Paleo was baking. I LOVE baking. Growing up, we were never allowed to buy pre-made, pre-packaged things. My mom said, if you want cookies, make them. I ALWAYS wanted cookies, so you can imagine what happened. Holidays, birthdays, basically any occasion was celebrated with home baked goodness. I watched my mom make hundreds of birthday cakes for her co-workers. *Side note- one time I even dropped one of the cakes she made for work on our driveway full of fall leaves and debris. I thought she might kill me. She brought it to work to show them that she at least made an effort, and guess what? THEY STILL ATE THE CAKE! Leaves, twigs, and all! My mom was blown away by how much her co-workers wanted to eat a cake she made.

So I have inherited the "making birthday cakes for my co-workers gene" I've taken on this role at nearly every job I've had, because EVERYONE deserves a homemade birthday cake on their birthday. Everyone. Today is my co-workers birthday.

This photo was taken about 30 minutes ago. We celebrate BIG in this office! (We are actually in a contest to see who can keep their stupid hat on the longest). These things are not designed for comfort.

Yesterday, I struggled a little internally as I knew I had to make a cake, I had to make a cake that my co-worker would like, and I also had to make a cake that may not necessarily appeal to me. When I bake, I have a serious problem with batter. I began thinking of options, and then, it struck me! I saw this cute Martha Stewart recipe for Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. I loved the idea because you put a single Oreo in the bottom of a cupcake liner, and then pour the batter on top. So, essentially, the whole Oreo is the bottom "crust" for the mini-cheesecake! I loved it.

I am not a big fan of cheesecake (gasp!). I knew it would not be hard for me to resist eating a batter of cheese and egg and sugar. I'm indifferent to Oreos, so there was no problem there either. WIN! So I went ahead, and made these ADORABLE treats:

Onto some Crossfit news:
Yesterday kicked so much ass. My official first week started on Monday. I'm now doing what is called their "on-ramp" program. I don't do the regular workouts, but instead I work with a trainer to learn the 9 basic movements, work on skills, and get slowly acquainted with the equipment/format/etc. There are 4 different levels of Crossfit. In order to pass from one level to the next, you must complete a standard set of skills. Once you get checked off for completing all the skills in Level 1, you move onto Level 2, etc. Yesterday, was skills day for me, and I was able to check off 5 things (out of 15-20?). Some things I won't be able to do for awhile. But still! I felt pretty damn accomplished.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Introducing: Dave's Cave

Do you want to eat healthy, nutritious, "clean" meals, but never have the time to think of ideas?

Are you interested in the way I eat, and want to test out some Paleo meals before deciding to take the full plunge?

Do you like to cook/want to learn more technique?

The food that I eat is just too good not to share with the world. So, I introduce to you: Dave's Cave.

Each day, a "meal of the day" is posted. The meal is sugar free, grain free, dairy free, legume free, and 100% delicious. Eating Paleo does not have to be hard, or complicated.

Please, check out the site, fan it on Facebook for daily updates, and let me know what you think!

Check out this post for my results after just 30 days of Paleo.

P.s. No, I have not been hacked. Please check out Dave's Cave!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crossfit is NO Joke

Ok, ok, I know some of you might be sick of me gushing about my newest obsession...Crossfit. Hey, at least I'm not talking about how great Paleo is anymore (even though it really is, and I have to fight the urge to post about how great it is everyday. HA!) So yesterday I was shown/proven how fast my first seven Crossfit workouts result in marked improvement in performance.

There is a lake here in Seattle, Greenlake, and it is a popular place to run. There is an inside paved track (2.7 miles) and an outside loop trail (3.1 miles/5K). I've always run the outside because the inside loop is always packed with people. Since I've lived in Seattle, Greenlake has always been a constant for me. My nine years here in Seattle can be broken down into "being able to run the full loop without stopping" and "not being able to." I remember when I first moved here, I could run the outside loop in 30 minutes.

I like Greenlake because its so familiar. I know what to expect at every turn. Its a benchmark for my fitness, as when I'm out of shape I can't complete the loop without walking, and when I'm "in shape" I can. One year ago I tried to run Greenlake because I knew I needed to see where I was at. I could not run the whole thing. It took me 39 minutes to do the loop. In March, 3 months after I started this blog/journey, I had lost 15 pounds and had been exercising regularly. I headed to Greenlake to see where I was at after 3 months of exercise, and I ran the loop non-stop in 35:41 minutes. I was ELATED! I knocked 3.5 minutes off my time. March - June I continued to run, but really never got faster then a 35 minute loop.

In June, I started eating Paleo, and my exercise pretty much fell off a cliff, even though my weight loss accelerated. I was fine losing weight with no exercise. It was like a dream come true! Somewhere in late July or early August, I decided to try a Greenlake loop. I had to do some walking, but still finished the loop in 36 minutes. Anyone that has spent a lot of time running, or doing any other sport knows how quickly the cardiovascular ability disappears if its not kept up. I definitely was not keeping it up.

September 1, enter Crossfit. As of Friday, September 17, I had completed seven Crossfit sessions.

Yesterday, I decided to hit up Greenlake to see where I'm at. In the back of my mind was how I haven't run distance in weeks. In the back of my mind was the time in July when I couldn't make it around without stopping.

I decided I would just take it slow. I would go as far as I could go, and if I had to walk, fine. I started out and focused on finding a rhythm. A rhythm for my breathing, for my steps, for my thoughts. I felt strong, I felt good. At about the half way mark, I looked at my watch and was blown away to see that I was only at 17 minutes...normally the watch says something entirely different. I realized I was on track to have a really good time, and that motivated me to keep going. I pushed on, I felt like I was moving at a snails pace. I finished the outside loop in 33:33!

Holy shitballs. You mean to tell me that I can essentially do no exercise for 3 months, then do 7 Crossfit workouts and beat my time from prior to 3 months ago when I was running consistently?!?!??! If that isn't amazing, I don't know what is. If that isn't efficiency, I don't know what is. If that isn't proof that Crossfit does exactly what it claims to do, I don't know what is. Crossfit is no joke.

I know it sounds crazy, but even after my first 3 Crossfit workouts, I felt like I was getting stronger.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Can't. Straighten. Arms.

Crossfit is the last thing I think about before falling asleep, and the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that anytime I MOVE I am reminded of Crossfit? I am not complaining one bit. I love it. I love feeling like my workouts have done something. I love feeling like I am getting stronger everyday.

Because I have a health/fitness blog, I read a lot of health/fitness blogs. Because I eat Paleo, I read a lot of low-carb/Paleo blogs. The sharing of ideas and creativity that takes place on the internet is something to be in awe of. I have been reading about people using spaghetti squash as a low-carb alternative to noodles for quite some time now. By nature, I'm a skeptic.

Last weekend, I happen to walk by a squash display (summer is clearly over) and somehow a spaghetti squash found its way into my cart. It proceeded to sit on my counter for days...I knew it was there, I just wasn't sure I was ready to take the plunge. What if it wasn't good? It seems like so much WORK. Squash? For noodles? Bwahahahahahah....

Luckily I have a boyfriend that does not share the same fears of cooking things that I do. I came home last night to the most complex/fancy paleo meal I have had to date:
All natural boneless pork chops with savory peach sauce, roasted cauliflower, and spaghetti squash. O.M.G.

I absolutely loved, LOVED the squash. I see so many uses for it in the near future...I will try it with a tomato based meat sauce, I will try it soup (the new chicken noodle?) and perhaps a cold noodle salad? Yum!

I can't wait for lunch today. And I can't wait for Crossfit after work because we are running sprints. I CAN DO THAT! Thank god because my arms need a break.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The other day, Season 1 of the show "Hoarders" became available on my Netflix instant queue. I was intrigued, because I had heard about the show, but never actually watched an episode. As I watched the first episode, I was captivated...I had so many questions, so much curiosity, and down-right disgust. To me, the hoarding phenomenon is so out foreign to me, I can't even fathom living like that or even getting to a point where that much stuff is inside one's home.

Hi pot? Yeah, its me kettle. You are black!

After I picked up on the similarities between hoarding and being obese, I watched the show with a different eye. I had more compassion as I watched these poor people physically struggle with what they knew was wrong, but just couldn't control. I know the feeling.

I know the main goal of the show is shock value, of course to boost ratings, get a following. They find particularly bad cases to report on, because as Americans, we love extremes! I fell into all the traps...I immediately began comparing myself to them. Thinking about how I hate clutter, and could never live in such filth. I wondered over and over what kept them from just throwing stuff away.

This is no different then seeing a larger then me person on the street, and comparing myself to them. Or seeing a 600lb person on Oprah whose skin has grown into the couch they can no longer move from and wondering, why don't they just eat less?

Then there is the panic that arises from wanting to make a change, but then actually going through with it. Its so easy to wake up every morning and say "today is the day I'm going to change!" But then actually doing it? That is panic inducing. In general, people like to avoid panic, so the habits do not change. That's how you find yourself at 300lbs one day, or with a home full of rotten food and stuff you can't throw out.

Even consequences do little to deter one from unhealthy habits. It is a true sickness when you are faced with your kids being removed from your home, or jail time, and you can not clean up your home! How about being at risk for diabetes, or heart disease, or cancer. Those are deathly consequences that fall on deaf ears as the compulsion to avoid the panic wins every time.

Nearly every hoarder shown wanted to wake up and have "it taken care of for them" or for it to "be all gone when I wake up." Oh, how many times have I said, if I could just wake up skinny tomorrow, I would never let myself get like this again! Everyone knows that is not true as the hoarding, or the excess weight, is a SYMPTOM of the problem, not the actual problem!

Even within the larger title of "hoarder" there were different types. People that hoarded food, people that had shopping compulsions and hoarded sale items, people that hoarded animals, and people that hoarded collectibles they had every intention of selling. It was so clear to me how each person was in denial of how bad their problem was. Each person never intended to do harm to themselves, and only a few of them realized how self-destructive it was. I'm no expert, but I imagine if there are many different types of hoarders, then not any one solution can be applied to a hoarder. Sounds vaguely familiar...

Due to the show being confined to an hour, there is little follow-up on the long term process. I have no idea what the success rate is, or how many of these hoarders were able to make a permanent change for the better. I can only venture a guess that it depends on so many factors:
a) being ready...truly ready, not just saying you are ready
b) letting go of denial
c) realizing the true consequences of your behavior
d) wanting to change
e) finding the right form of help for your situation/trying different things
f) family/life support

For me it is great progress to go beyond the disgusted factor and find compassion. Clearly I have so much in common with a group of people I was ready to simply watch for entertainment. Maybe I can learn something?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pottery, Willow, and Leather

In case the title of this post didn't give it away, today is my 9th, NINTH! Anniversary here in Seattle. I moved here on September 15, 2001. Wow. Its hard to believe that nine years has gone by since I graduated college. When I think about all that has occurred in the last nine years, it feels like a lifetime. Jobs, friends, weight, and sunshine have all frequently come and gone.

If you had told me upon my first year moving here that I would be here for 9 more years, I probably would have laughed in your face. I guess I never saw Seattle as a permanent stop for me. I kept thinking the weather would get to me. It does, but then it passes. And so do the years.

This is also a reminder to me to be vigilant in my efforts, of having goals, and seeing them through, because the time goes by so fast. I don't want to dwell and get too upset over the fact that I've spent the past 9 years struggling with my weight, because the important thing is now I'm on the right track. I have 9 years times 5 or 6 left in front of me. I don't want to spend any more of those floundering or unfocused. I've learned my lesson.

I'd like to lay out some goals for the next year, so that when I hit my first decade in Seattle, I can end on a positive note:

1) Continue to eat Paleo (85% or better)
2) Be a Crossfit rockstar (give 100%, everytime)
3) Be able to complete at least one full, real pull-up
4) Get back into sailing (once I reach a reasonable weight)
5) Find a job that is more suitable to my personality (more structure, more challenge)
6) Continue to maintain the friendships I have, and don't miss any opportunities to re-connect with lost friends
7) Travel outside of the U.S. again (preferably with boyfriend)
8) Get my first credit card
9) Be more consistent with retirement saving/contributions

Here's to another great year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still in the Honeymoon Phase

Yeah, still excited about/loving crossfit. Yesterday I got to do my first "real" workout, as in participating with the rest of the class, and not doing a scaled down (ha!) beginner routine. The 6pm class had 4 people in it, 2 boys and 2 girls (including me). After completing the warm up, we were taught the movements we would be doing for the workout.

I like the format of having 5-10 minutes of group instruction with a trainer, and then going about the WOD (workout of the day) with the freshly learned skills. The whole idea behind the workouts is that you scale them down to your ability (use less weight, etc), but then you do them as fast as you can. After yesterday's workout, I was beat, but I think I could have done more? I was a little upset with myself for not giving 110%. Like a dork, I went home and practiced the move we learned that day, until I felt it was safely in my bodies memory. I'm sore today, so maybe I did give more of an effort than I thought?

Crossfit, much like everything else in life gives you back what you put in. I can already see that if I don't push myself everyday, I will not get the results I want. Its not enough to show up and go through the motions. I have to make sure I'm doing all I can, at every moment, especially when the workouts are so short! It really sucks during, and for 10 minutes after, but then...euphoria.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Plateau Much?

Grrr...scale is still holding strong at 38 pounds gone. At least its not going up, right? I did also read that sore muscles retain water. I have been in some various sort of soreness for a week now. Eating has been good, but there is always room for improvement.

After Saturday's awesome workout, I was wondering how sore I would be on Sunday. Not too bad, I had every intention of going for a nice run to loosen up, but then this happened:

Really cheap bricks. I am a sucker for a deal. I have a backyard that has been torn to shreds by the boyfriend (he's got a plan he says). Bricks that could cover the dug out dirt paths for cheap? WIN. So after some craigslist wheeling and dealing, we convinced my boyfriends dad to get his brand new Ford F-350 Super Duty dirty and haul 1,000 bricks for us.

We drove to the house with the bricks. They were still in the ground. Not mortared or anything, but still, in the ground, in a pattern. After about 45 minutes of 3 of us pulling up bricks, 1,000 bricks were loaded into the truck. We drove back to our house, then spent 45 minutes unloading 1,000 bricks, and stacking them neatly (each brick weighs 4.5 lbs BTW- I weighed one). I was no longer running.

Today, I'm definitely feeling the brick workout, and opted to not wake up at the crack of dawn and Crossfit. I brought my stuff so I could go after work. I haven't checked out an evening class yet, so that will be fun. I'd like to see what its like going to a class that has more then 2 people! I like the individual attention, but I think also a larger class might be good for competition/motivation. I also haven't decided if I'm going to go in the mornings before work, or after work. There are pro's and con's to each time selection. However, historically I think I do better with a morning workout in my routine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shaking...High off my Fix

I'm so high. I'm shaking, sweating, red faced, and can't stop grinning. Yup...just finished some Crossfit "crack." Let me tell you...that is some good sh*t. It was just me today because they were technically closed! I read the hours wrong, showed up at 3pm, and they close at 1pm. Two of the trainers were there working on stuff, and said they would be happy to put me through a workout! How fricken' awesome is that?!

They asked me where I have been. They were certain they scared me off. I said no, its just that today is the first day I can move since Tuesday. They laughed and laughed. Joking ceased.

My workout today was twice as long as any of my other workouts, and WOW, it was great. Maybe I'm crazy, but I already feel stronger? I feel great. I'm walking on sunshine surrounded by rainbows and puppy dogs. My boss is talking in one ear, and I'm like "la la la la la." Maybe its important and I should listen? Nah. La la la la la la la la la.

I can't wait for Monday! Peace b*tches!


SaFriday...the day that occurs on a Saturday when you didn't work on Friday, and are "working" on Saturday to make it up. So here I am- physically that is, hardly ever mentally (heh). All I can think about is getting in my Crossfit "crack" in a few hours. After three days of crazy soreness, I FINALLY feel better, and can actually move like myself again. Ready for more I am!

Eating has been good. As I've mentioned before, this Paleo thing has come way easier to me then I ever could have imagined. I'm to the point now where I really don't even think about it any more. There are simply foods I can eat, and foods I can not. I don't get intense cravings anymore, or feel deprived of anything to the point of obsessing about it. If circumstances lead me to eat something that is not 100% Paleo, I make up for it by exercising and eating well the next few days. Isn't that the way it should be?

It breaks my heart to see other bloggers write their "full disclosures" of going off whatever "plan" they set for themselves. I spent years...nearly a lifetime on that roller coaster...and I wish I could instantly make them feel the freedom I feel. I honestly believe it is a chemical/biological (not sure which word applies) reaction that can not be controlled by will no matter how one tries. It can only be temporarily suppressed until the offending agents are removed from the body.

Then I begin to doubt myself. How do I know this isn't just my "temporary suppression" phase? I don't. But I've done this enough times to know that I'm different. I look at food differently. I react to food differently. I think about food differently. I cook food differently. I eat food differently. It is these differences that silence the self-doubt and keep me pushing forward. Feeling better everyday. Seeing the efforts of my changes in my body.

To anyone struggling out there, keep pushing. Keep researching healthy lifestyles. Keep trying new things. I need you to do this so I will keep doing this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

16 Years Ago

The last time I felt like this was 16 years ago. It was the day after my very first Gold's Gym weight lifting experience with the my High School Varsity Crew Team. I will never forget how sore I was. My freshman year, I was a "novice" on the crew team. Our workouts were hard, but we never went to the gym or did weight circuits. Sophomore year meant Varsity Crew, and a gym membership to the local Golds. I had never lifted weights like that before. Our coach had a us do what I would consider now to be pretty basic routine. We did squats, hamstring pulls, back extensions, sit-ups, leg press, seated row, lat-pull downs, various shoulder exercises with free weights, bench press, and more that are escaping my mind now.

Standard stuff, right? Well, after a morning of completing these for the first time ever at a gym, I was SORE. I could barely lower myself to the toilet, and then, when I finally did make it, my glutes were so sore it hurt to be sitting on it. I couldn't lift my arms above my shoulders, and as a high schooler had to have my mom brush my hair for me. I remember shuffling around the school hallway, and climbing the stairs? I was like an old man. I had my mom write me a note excusing me from P.E., because literally, I couldn't move.

Yesterday morning I completed day two of Crossfit. I was pretty sore from Monday going in there yesterday, but figured, eh, what the hell? Yeah. Today, I can't move. Everything hurts. What is crazy is that in comparison to the workout 16 years ago that made me so sore, my two Crossfit workouts were pansy (for lack of a better term). But, how pansy could they be if they make me feel this way?

That is what I like to call efficiency. If I can feel this way after working out for a combined total of 20 minutes, not including warm up (Monday: 10:22, Tuesday: 9:41) and performing 3 exercises each day, that must mean the movements I'm doing at Crossfit are incorporating a lot of muscle groups. Where I once spent at least an hour wandering around a gym focusing on one muscle group at a time, I was now doing exercises that use my whole body (kettlebell swings? OMG).

I can't be too whiny, because I definitely did this to myself, but I will be so grateful when I can perform something like, oh, WALKING without wincing! I'm going to try and make it to Crossfit tomorrow, but that depends on how I feel.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"I'll Swim Around"

Do you ever have those moments in life when you think back to something you did or something you said, and it makes you cringe with embarrassment, or makes you slap your forehead with an open palm? Of course, the incident is blown WAY out of proportion in your own mind, and those around probably don't even remember it happening. But still, for whatever reason, you hang onto the memory of it and allow it to affect you so greatly that hopefully it is never repeated.

Last year I was away for the weekend with a bunch of friends. It was an overall awesome weekend. Sun, watersports, drinking, good times. On Saturday night the party was raging, games, laughing, fire, the whole bit. Someone announced it was time to swim. If you don't know by now, I love the water. I love being in the water, I love activities on the water, always have. Swimming is never something I have turned down, despite my various fluctuations in weight. I put my suit on.

A whole gang of us marched down to the mighty Columbia River in search of an access point for which to jump in. Somehow the drunken group got split up, and a smaller group of us found a boat ramp with a dock. Only two of us were set on swimming, me and this other guy. I looked over, and he was stripped down to his undies and instantly in the water. It was then I realized how high the dock was out of the water. It was probably a good 2.5- 3 feet above the water. I scanned for a ladder. Nothing. But, there was the boat ramp I could swim too if necessary. I watched as this incredibly fit guy hauled himself up onto the dock with some considerable effort. There was NO way I would be able to do that.

I stood on the dock, staring at the water. Then he looked at me, and said "ready? On three." He grabbed my hand, counted down, and I was jumping. It seemed like an eternity before I hit the water, and when I did, I nearly panicked. It was pitch black, and moving, fast (um, Columbia River? what did I expect?). I tread water for a bit, and once again, this super fit guy hauled himself up out of the water in a gigantic-pull-up motion. I swam close to the dock and grabbed the edge with both my hands. My arms were fully extended above my head, and I pulled up. I got my shoulders out of the water maybe. The fit guy came over to assist me. He pulled, I kicked and fought. I was no where close to getting on that dock. He tried again. And again. Finally I said "I'll swim around."

I was mortified. I probably would have been even MORE mortified if I weren't buzzed. Here was probably one of the most fit guys I know, and between the two of us, I couldn't be pulled from the water. First off, that has never happened to me before...I have been swimming off boats and docks many times, and if I couldn't get myself out, usually I had no problem if someone was helping me. Secondly, I realized at that point that I must be REALLY fat (I was at or near my highest weight, by my calculations). Thirdly, I was scared. If I didn't have the strength to pull myself up (out of water even!), that is a real problem. What if I were in a situation where I need to essentially do a pull-up to survive?

This moment is one that I think back to many times and cringe. I'm guessing (hoping?) the boy doesn't remember it, or even know what a pivotal factor it was in where I am today. The funny thing was, I considered myself in shape (denial). I could run 3 miles, we went for a hike the next day and I kept pace with everyone. I always thought that I wanted to get to a certain weight, and be able to run a certain distance before I could truly call myself in shape. This experience showed me that what I really want is functional life skills, and the strength to perform them. I mean, seriously, when in life am I going to have to run 8 miles? However, I can think of 100's of examples where I would need to be able to lift my own body. I need to know that I can rely on myself 100% to get me out of any predicament.

I never want to have to "swim around" again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

H-O-ly Crap.

Ok. Wow. I ended my first Crossfit workout over 20 minutes ago. I'm still panting. My arms and legs are shaking. My face is bright red. I can't wait to go back tomorrow. I just hope my breathing returns to normal by then.

I showed up a little early in case I needed to sign any release forms. I was introduced to everyone, and then there was about 10 minutes of awkward waiting for 1pm to roll around. I eyed all the equipment around the gym. Some of it looked straight out of medieval torture chambers. Other equipment was fun, toy-like looking almost. Other items were familiar.

There was a huge white board on one side of the gym, with WOD scribbled on it, and a list of warm-ups, and then a huge blank space with names and times. Our trainer pointed to "warm-up 1" and we ran out the door for a quick 400m. Once that was over, I was singled out to work with a trainer to learn some basics. I was taught "free squats" (squat till your bum hits a medicine ball- there is more to it, but that's the gist) "samson stretch" (stretch in the lunge pose with your arms above your head) and then told to follow those up with push-ups and jumping jacks. So after my 400m run, I did 3 sets of 10 free squats, 15 seconds on each leg of samson stretch, 10 push ups, and 25 jumping jacks.

I was officially warm. I was told that my form was "very good" and "indicative of an athletic past." No words could ever sound sweeter to me. I'm sure they were just trying to encourage me and be nice, but still, I'm a sucker for that stuff. Next up, I was introduced to kettlebells and the rowing machine. Ah, my 3.5 years of high school rowing DID serve some purpose later in life! Lol. So after the trainer was confident I could do each skill, he told me the workout. 21- 15- 9. I would do 21 kettlebell swings, 21 push-ups, 300m row, 15 kettlebell swings, 15 push-ups, 300m row, 9 kettlebell swings, 9 push-ups, 300m row. As fast as I could.

The whole thing took me 10? 11 minutes? I was DEAD. I can honestly say I gave it my all. I'm sure it was first day jitters, wanting to show that I'm capable of some things. But also, it's a promise that I made to myself, that I will give Crossfit everything I have, every workout. I will leave my infamous attitude at the door. I will not let my brain tell my body when it thinks its had enough. I will not let my brain tell my body what it thinks it can and cannot do.

I gave it so much in fact that it was a full 8 minutes after I was done with my workout that my body felt relaxed enough to get a side cramp. About this time I also came down with an intense headache. One that I knew wouldn't be lasting...but more of a purge of toxins from my muscles. I let the headache wash over me, and as soon as it came, it was gone.

Did I mention I can't wait to go back tomorrow?

And So it Begins...

In approximately 3.5 hours, I will be participating in my very first Crossfit workout. Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes. Ready? Yes. The best feelings in life come from us pushing ourselves past previous limits, and discovering we are capable of more than we knew possible.

I dropped by the Crossfit location by my work (the one I would be potentially joining) just to check it out and get a feel for the place. It was pretty much exactly what I expected...a rented out space in an industrial type area, with a big garage door open exposing sweaty people, boxes, kettlebells, bars, a GIGANTIC truck tire, etc. I went in, and found an empty front reception area, so I walked back to where the people were. A group of very fit men looked at me, and I asked who I could speak to about joining. One guy stepped forward, and gave me a nice run down of the facility, what they do, etc.

He said to stop by on Monday for a free week trial. He said that the class sizes are small. About 20 minutes is spent learning the correct way to do the moves demonstrated by trainers, and then the workouts last 15-20 minutes. I like the sound of that!

I know once things get going I will be fine. I've never liked the feeling of being new, and unsure of how things will go. It's only a one week trial, so if it isn't a good match, then I can make other arrangements.

I'll be back later to let you know how it went!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soup Season

As much as I hate to admit it, summer is morphing into fall here. I don't really recall having much of a summer at all, but that has kinda been the case since I graduated from college. There are no summers like the summers during college.

The days have started to get noticeably shorter. The nights are down-right chilly, and the roads are busier as kids are back in school. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the smells, and most of all the yummy foods!

Last night I was lucky enough to be served up this gem:

Turkey-ball broccoli soup.

I love soup. I love homemade stock. Even more then I love homemade soup from homemade stock, I love having a live-in chef that makes it all for me. I am spoiled I know. But! But! Making soup from scratch is not as hard as you think, and perfecting the skill of making stock (either meat or vegetable) is well worth it, 1,000,000 times over. Stock does not just mean good soup, (for those non-paleo) it means good rice, good risotto, good soup with noodles. For those of us that are paleo, it means good meat and vegetable soups, good cauliflower "rice", and a good way to de-glaze pans where meat-stuff has stuck and make a quick sauce.

Stock is just basically starting with cold water, adding your flavoring agents (such as chicken bones, or other meat bones, vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves, etc. but NO SALT!) You start the cold liquid with stuff in it on medium heat, and allow it to come to boil. Once boiling, you turn the heat down, and practice this method until you can get your pot to the "happy pot" stage, where you have a single rhythmic bubble surfacing. The longer you cook your stock, the better it will be. Plan for 2-3 hours. Occasionally scrape the schmutz off the top. You'll know what I mean. After the water has some nice rich color to it, strain the stock to remove leaves, bits, pieces, etc- discard. Let the stock cool and stick in the fridge. All the fat (if you chose to use meat bones) will harden on the top. When cool, simply scrape off and discard.

What you are left with is the most amazing liquid ever. This liquid has leeched all the flavor from the elements that you included, and is holding them hostage in the rich broth. Again, this is where combinations are endless. You can choose to do a chicken broth, a vegetable broth, a beef broth, veal, fish, even have ethnic themes, such as Asian or Indian. I suggest learning a simple basic stock (check with Martha Stewart) and then as you get good at it, start experimenting!

Turkey-ball broccoli soup was made with a basic (slightly Indian) vegetable stock. I saw the discarded flavoring agents were: carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, turmeric, and chili flakes.

The turkey balls were a simple turkey meatloaf recipe with some added curry (to match the Indian stock), rolled into balls, and dropped into the re-heated, and seasoned stock. You only add salt to the stock when you are using it. As the turkey balls cooked, rough chopped broccoli was added at the last few minutes so it was tender, but not mushy.

So simple, so delicious, and very comforting. Welcome fall.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3 Months Down

Clothes that fit are SO much better than clothes that don't. Just throwing that out there.

Now, onto the fun stuff:

June 1, 2010:

September 1, 2010:

August 1, 2010:

I probably should have taken measurements, because even though there doesn't look like much difference between August and September in my face (and I only lost 4-5 lbs this month) there are huge differences in my body.

So yes, August was a successful month. I shed another 5 pounds. My treat to myself for making it through 3 months of Paleo? I'm joining Crossfit. Gulp. Yeah...I found a location near my work. I called them today. They just said to drop by and try it out. Gulp. Those people are nuts.