Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Short-timers, I Has It

I'm pretty sure this is my last week at my current job. It would be nice if my new job gave me a definite start date, but hey, I try not to ask for much. So, what does one do on a Tuesday of one's last week when the boss is not in the office?

Some of this:

A little of this:

And blog, of course. See how I did that up there? Killed two birds with one stone. I showed you how bored I am, and also the boots that now fit me that I wrote about yesterday. I couldn't pull it together today to come up with a whole outfit to wear them with, so I just have them on under my jeans. I figure that's a good way to break them in.

Since yesterday, I have been right back on track with my Paleo eating. I endured a headache for most of the day, but knew that it was just my body telling me I indulged a little too much over the Thanksgiving holiday. Today I feel great. I'm really beginning to appreciate how forgiving my body is when I treat it right.

The key to my success this week is going to be planning my meals. I have been slipping a little in that department, and really the only way for me to be my best is with thorough planning my meals and perfect execution of my plans. For the first time in 3 months I made my breakfast for the entire week (a delicious scramble). I used to do that every week. Somehow I got off track and started bringing larabars or apples and almond butter, or natural chicken sausages for my breakfasts. These items are not ideal.

I have 2 pounds of flank steak currently marinating in my fridge that is going to turn into a delicious dinner and lunch for tonight and tomorrow. I'm stocked on broccoli slaw, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, and various meats. Hello Paleo wagon! I'm back on!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I can't be the only person on the planet who buys things that they love, even if they don't quite fit. I also can't be the only person on the planet who has wound up with a closet full of clothes that vary between 4-5 different sizes. I always have the best intentions in mind...one day I will be small enough to fit into those pants/shirt/jacket/etc. More often than not, that day never comes, and the clothes either sit in my closet and go out of style, or they are out of style and make their way to the Goodwill.

Well. True to this pattern, last February, I bought a pair of cute knee-high boots on super sale that all the kids are wearing these days. I was early in my journey of health and fitness, had lost about 10 pounds, and was still hitting the gym regularly. I saw them as a good goal, and figured I'd be wearing them in a month or so. When they arrived, the weren't even close to moving up anywhere past my ankle. My calves are large, but they are all muscle. I didn't see how they would ever fit.

Into the closet they went. Occasionally, I'd pull them out and give them a try, still to no avail. My boyfriend would watch and say "your calves are all muscle. They aren't getting any smaller." As if I was going to give up! I've been trying them on more frequently lately, and on Friday, they fit! I got both boots on, and proceeded to run around the house with glee and try them with everything I own in my closet. Yes, I'm a dork.

They are still a little too snug to fit jeans under, but that will come. Purchasing these boots in February, I never thought I'd have to wait till nearly December to wear them, but it is true what they say, better late then never!

The scale was up 2 pounds today, but after all the Thanksgiving sugar and grains, I'm not surprised, and I know it will come right off after a few days of strict Paleo! Oh, and did I mention that my cute boots fit?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, my excuse

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. This is the first year that I recognize feelings of indifference to the whole shebang. It could be that we are not having traditional Thanksgiving fare this year, or perhaps that I'm distancing myself from food being a source of happiness/celebration/comfort. Food is fuel, and I figured out this year that my body prefers to run on the highest octane (no grains, sugar, dairy, or legumes).

Oh, how Thanksgiving used to be a reason for me to go nuts. It was acceptable to eat until I could eat no more. It was acceptable to eat foods that are rich in fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and the like. It was acceptable to eat pie for breakfast (the day after Thanksgiving that is)! Everyone was celebrating the gluttony, even my skinny friends. It was a free pass for me to do what I wanted. What I thought I wanted was to eat whatever I desired, and as much as I desired (because the rest of the year I was so deprived? Ha!). The rationals I used to make are nearly comical. I no longer want to do that.

Thanksgiving was the start of a month-long holiday food bender. In the past few years, it started around the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, thoughts and actions such as "I'm going to be eating crappy in a few days, this donut won't matter" and "We are going to be cooking so much in the next few days, I better get some take out food." Then the big day would arrive, and I would eat and eat and eat, because that's what everyone was doing. Thanksgiving would meld into holiday parties, holiday parties turn into Christmas, Christmas turns in to New Years Eve, and then...!!!!!!!!!!

New Year's resolutions, disgust, regret, etc.

I'm hoping to avoid as much of this scenario as possible this year. Yes, tomorrow I will be partaking in non-paleo foods, and consuming more calories then I should, however, on Friday, it will be right back to the Paleo lifestyle. I will be attending CrossFit today, making up some form of CrossFit-like workout to perform at home on Thanksgiving, and be back in the gym on Friday and Saturday. I have come too far to fall back into old patterns. And, as I mentioned above, I'm noticeably indifferent this year to our Thanksgiving meal.

Things that got me excited this year instead? We have a house and are hosting our first Thanksgiving. I can wear a cute outfit (I'm pretty sure I wore sweats last year). I got a fancy table cloth, covered in roosters, or cocks if you prefer- that will keep me chuckling all day (yes, I'm 5). We will be eating off china that has been passed down to me from 2 generations. I have Thanksgiving decorations that I finally get to display. AND...I don't have to work tomorrow!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Friday, November 19, 2010


If I were a wild horse, and CrossFit was a horse whisperer, then yesterday's work out broke me. It seemed simple enough written on the big white board:
1-10 Power snatch, Overhead squat
800m Run
10-1 Power snatch, Overhead squat

Translation: perform: 1 power snatch, 1 overhead squat, then 2 power snatches and 2 over head squats, and so on and so forth until you reach 10 of each. Run 800 meters. Then reverse. 10 power snatches, 10 over head squats, all the way back to one of each.

Seems easy enough right? Well, it was the hardest workout I've done so far, and I didn't even finish it in the allotted 35 minute time limit. I was close. I had my 3, 2, 1 left of the countdown but I was struggling. Head had taken over, trying to hold back tears of frustration, I was broken.

When I got home, I decided to add up 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55. HOLY CRAP. And then I didn't quite finish, so I added up 10+9+8+7+6+5+4 = 49. Ok...I was feeling a little better about myself, I did 104 power snatches and 104 overhead squats holding a 50lb bar. And ran 800 meters in the middle. Next time I'll finish in the time limit, possibly holding more weight.

Oh, and today I had my yearly check up, and my doctor was SO excited about me losing 40 pounds. Like, more excited than anyone I've seen. It was cute. My blood pressure was perfect - the past 4 years at each appointment they told me it was high. I also had blood drawn, and the lady found my vein immediately. Normally it takes forever, and at least a few tries. Not sure if that has anything to do with weight loss?

So after being poked and prodded, I treated myself to a gingerbread latte. Whole milk. It was delicious.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

True Story

Yesterday I was checking out some new blog links (I'm always interested to see who my favorite bloggers have linked to their blogs), and I stumbled upon this one guy's blog. It had the customary catchy title, before and after pics, and a series of links that took you to his favorite posts that he had written. One of the links/post titles was called "Best Way to Lose Weight." I could not resist clicking on it. Somewhere, deep inside me is still the yearning for a cure all/quick fix, or perhaps new ground breaking knowledge on weight loss that I don't have.

If I have learned anything in the past year, it is that no one can tell you how to lose weight. What works for one person will not necessarily work for me. So, it takes some serious blogging balls of steel to actually write a post telling people "the best way to lose weight." This particular blogger lost his weight by counting calories, tracking them, and reducing intake. Fair enough. He was then brazen enough to go on and on about how this way was the only way, and every other diet out there is a fad.

Obviously, if someone is successful in their efforts, they believe their way is the best way. I'm definitely guilty of being biased towards my Paleo Diet as the best way to lose weight. It worked for me- shocking I would feel this way, I know. I am not now, nor will I ever be in any position to tell people what is going to work for them if they want to lose weight. I do know this though...if you do nothing you will not lose weight. If you do something only part-time, you will not lose weight. If you do something to lose the weight, and then stop, you will gain the weight back.

As you can imagine, there were many comments left on his post. Most of which were in agreement with him, but there were a few dissenters. My favorite comment said:

"While South Beach/Paleo/Atkins get results, it’s often through “tricks” like setting your body into Ketosis. And to get your body to do that, there are often major sacrifices, in the sense that certain things cannot be eaten ever. For me, personally, any diet that excludes certain things every time, all the time, is not sustainable. For me, the diet that works is the one that makes me feel like I can “cheat” – eat the piece of cake at the party – while still following the rules."

First off, putting Paleo in the same category as South Beach and Atkins...that was comical to me. Do some research, get back to me. Secondly- "there are certain things that cannot be eaten ever." Yup. If you are eating processed foods and are fat, and you don't want to be fat, you are going to have to give up processed foods. Sorry about that...pick your battles. Lastly, and this relates do doing research on a Paleo diet for modern people...you can eat a piece of cake now and then- I know I have!

This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. I can find flaws in the "arguments" but the commenter knows what works for them and what doesn't. Who am I to say what is right and what is wrong? After all, we are aiming for the common goal- doing whatever we think is right to get ourselves healthy. No one can write the best way to do that, except you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shifting My Perspective

I am a firm believer in evolution. I'm not talking Darwin Origin of Species stuff (although I am a believer in that too) I'm talking about being open to change...seeing where different paths take me, and most of all, applying what I learn.

Since the beginning of this blog, I believe I have evolved significantly. I started out by cutting back on my calories, tracking everything I ate, going to the "Y" every morning, weighing in on my Wii Fit, and blogging. This was my strategy. Tried and true, I had lost weight that way before. It worked. Until it didn't.

Here is the important part. I did not give up. Giving up or tiring of my "plans" had been a previous downfall of mine. Instead, I maintained for about 3 months. During that time, I was cognizant of what was going on. I knew I was tired of my routine. I knew I was letting my old habits get the best of me. Luckily, through this blog, I developed a sort of support system. People whose blogs I read religiously, because they were inspiring to me. I rarely comment, so I'm sure these people have NO idea who I am, or how they helped me get past the bump in the road. I was a hungry fish staring at an island of food- if only I could get onto land and eat. (well, it was kinda the opposite of this, but stick with the analogy here)

One of these blogs led me to research the Paleo Diet. I knew instantly it was exactly what my body needed. My insulin was and most likely had been out of control for years. I was storing fat like there was no tomorrow. I researched and researched. I was fascinated by the testimonials. June 1, 2010, my legs sprouted and I crawled up onto that beach. I found a new me that I never thought was possible. I felt great. I lost weight with ease. I was ME. I wanted to shout from the rooftops how everyone needs to go Paleo immediately. I cursed myself for not finding out about Paleo sooner.

Eating Paleo led me to CrossFit. My crawling around on the beach has now shifted to a more upright walk. Each day I perform functional movements that make me stronger. I'm better at everything I do. I'm so much stronger then when I walked in there on day one. However, I can't lie and say I'm not disappointed the scale hasn't moved more than a few pounds since starting CrossFit.

With that one simple "complaint" came the next big leap in my evolution, a shift in perspective:
1) I'm changing my body composition (I see bones and 'dents' from muscles where I have never seen them before at this weight)
2) If I lose 5 pounds of fat, but gain 5 pounds of muscle, the scale isn't going to tell me that!

Eating a clean Paleo diet essentially turns my body into a fat burning machine. Performing CrossFit exercises builds my muscle. Of course there is going to be some transition time where it "appears" as if nothing is happening. But I can tell you for sure, my body looks different. My clothes fit better. That is precisely why I measured at the beginning of the 60 day challenge...to further educate myself and continue to evolve. I will be walking upright in no time at all. Perhaps a wheel invention, or harnessing fire is next?

Oh, and the irony of starting out my journey by blogging, working out on a treadmill, and weighing in on a Wii Fit and then "evolving" into eating and working out like a caveman is NOT lost on me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blogs Are More Than Accountability...

Blogs are awesome. My blog however, is REALLY awesome to me. I started it mostly for accountability, having an "audience" somehow helps me do what I say. How lame would it be if I just talked all the time about things I'm GOING to do, then never did them. I couldn't post fun progress pictures, or talk about my non-scale victories (NSV), or my workouts. If I wasn't making progress I think I would tire of this electronic diary pretty quickly! However, today as I find myself coming down with a cold, I was able to use my blog in an entirely different way. I looked back through my blog history because I remember blogging about the last time I was sick...seemed not that long ago...turns out it was February. Ha!

Something VERY interesting happened! I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but, my last cold was in February. I got instantly sick on the way home from the job interview in California. In my February sick post, I mentioned how I always seem to get sick when I can, like how 'in high school and college, I used to get a cold immediately after finals. It was like my bodies way of knowing it could finally relax.'

Well, lets see...I put my two weeks in yesterday, and today I'm sick. Like I said, maybe its just coincidence, but I really do appreciate that my body is getting this annual (sometimes semi-annual?) cold thing out of the way before I start a new job. I would hate to be in my first week and have to miss a day because of a cold. But, another awesome thing my body does? I tend to come down with colds on Fridays, so that I'm sick all weekend, but better enough to work by Monday.

So as I type away for my "audience" (thank you if you are real) I'm also chronicling the habits/trends/history of my health. Pretty cool, well, to me at least.

P.S. 49 days left in the challenge...7 weeks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Limits

A few days ago I wrote about how I sometimes have a tendency to hold back a little bit when exercising. In my head I'm saving up for what could possibly be around the corner, yet sometimes around the corner is nothing. That leaves me with times of not giving 100%. When I do this, I'm only hurting myself in the long run. Sure, I'm putting forth an effort, but without giving it my absolute ALL, then I'm not going to progress as fast. I'm fooling myself into thinking I'm doing something so great, yet I'm not giving it everything I have. High achievers would not understand this AT ALL and think "what's the point?"

After this mini-epiphany of mine...how my whole life I've been taking short cuts, I really tried to focus on making sure that each workout I was not slacking or trying to mentally prepare for more which was never coming. I wished there was a definite way I could KNOW that I was giving it my all. The degree to which I am out of breath is not a solid indicator. My internal dialogue is not a solid indicator. Holding back tears? That is as solid as it gets for me.

Saturday's workout seemed harmless enough. Its always the workouts that seem easiest on the big white board that end up being the worst. 200 jump rope, 100 skier jumps (lateral jumps over a 12" bar, back and forth), 50 dead lifts (105#, but one of my favorite moves) and 25 strict pull-ups (least favorite). After the 200 jump ropes, I was keeping pace with everyone else. The skier jumps quickly put me behind the pack, however I made up a lot of time on deadlifts. I was still last, but not nearly by the gap I was after skier jumps. Moving onto the pull-ups...I was using the largest assist rubber band. I still could not get my chin over the bar. Now everyone was done and looking at me. I had two trainers telling me to keep it up. They had me move to "ring rows" which are for people that cannot even do a rubberband pull-up. It was hard. I was giving it my all, there was no question because the back of my throat was dry, and my eyes started to gather tears. Luckily I was sweating so much, I doubt it was noticeable. The rest of the group routing for me did not help matters.

I hate being the last one to finish. I hate that my exercises have to be modified beyond modified. But...but. At least I found my limits. What I have to do EVERY SINGLE TIME to ensure that I'm doing everything I can. I must push myself every time to the verge of tears. Have my body be so utterly exhausted that it is a real possibility I could cry in front of the whole gym. Then I know, I have nothing else in me.

I'm still sore today from Saturday's WOD, but it could also be the 2 hours of soccer and football I played after CrossFit on Saturday that are contributing as well. I'm also down 1 pound...so something must have clicked.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"L" is for...

I have this friend, who I Love to death. Like all my friends, she is smart, pretty, funny, and I couldn't imagine Life without her. She recently moved 3,000 miles away to the east coast, but Luckily, she keeps a blog so I never feel too behind in her Life. One of my favorite things that she does is post pictures of her scrapes, bumps, bruises, and other various injuries. She gets injured a Lot. Well, I don't know what a Lot is exactly, but more then me. Probably because she Lives such a risky Life, being all hardcore and stuff (biking in downtown Portland? Hardcore!).

Today I was inspired to take a page out of her book. Check this out:

This awesome bruise is courtesy of a 26 pound kettlebell. I have a matching one on my other arm, but it was impossible to take a photo of both arms using my phone. Yesterday, we performed "kettlebell snatch" in which you pull a kettlebell from the ground, and snap it over your head with an extended arm. Somewhere at the height of the movement, the kettlebell remembers gravity, and falls back, Landing on the forearm. Supposedly there is a way to ease this slamming effect, but besides the pain when I or someone accidentally touches them, I think they make me Look hardcore.

This friend, Let's call her "L" says I'm an inspiration. Well, today, she's my inspiration.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Two Days Down...(58 to go)

Days one and two of my self-imposed 60 day challenge have gone over without a hitch. I feel better, mentally and physically. My eating has been spot on, thanks to shopping, planning, and the drive to be the best I can. I took measurements of my calves, thighs, hips, waist, forearms, and upper arms. It will be interesting to measure again in 58 days! I'm regretting not taking measurements at the start of this journey, but oh, well. We all know that late is better than never.

Yesterday's workout was HARD. I also realized that CrossFit couldn't be more tailored to what I need. First, a little about myself...if there is a shortcut, invariably I will ALWAYS take it (I know, shocking I'm overweight, right?). Example...if the trainers aren't watching me, I may not go as low into a push-up as I should. Don't get me wrong, I'm still working, however, I do tend to look for small ways for me to "conserve energy" for the beating I know is coming.

Now this little habit of mine really goes against the whole idea behind CrossFit. The CF philosophy is to go ALL OUT, ALL THE TIME. During warm-ups, during WOD's, anything. In my head, I'm thinking I'll warm up at 80% to save my body for the WOD, and then I'll be able to at least be somewhat competitive. And then during the WOD, I'll do my best, but for some reason I always have enough energy at the last round for a good push (meaning I really had been holding back something, whether consciously or not).

The good/bad news? THE TRAINERS ARE ON TO ME. Oh, yeah. They could see this personality in me a mile away. They have seen glimpses of what I'm capable of, and now hold me to it. They watch me all the time (do it again Violet, your squat wasn't low enough). This is a good thing. I NEED this. For now at least, I need someone pushing me every step of the way. Until I can ditch that stupid habit of conservation. I think its really more fear based then anything. Fear of the unknown...I'm not sure what would happen if I pushed myself 100% all the time, because I never have.

So, I'm hoping that I can hold the trainers interest in making me better. I know if I continue to push myself hard, and they see this, they will push harder. If they see that I keep looking for shortcuts all the time, they will lose interest because honestly, that is a shitty attitude. Nobody likes a shitty attitude. If I want to succeed in this, if I want to reach my goals, I must stop the shortcuts. Just like everything else I've done, its going to take time to re-learn, and there will be inevitable set-backs.

Side note- as part of yesterday's workout, we had to run with a 10# medicine ball. I have no idea how I used to run with 10 extra pounds on me, let alone 40!!! It makes me feel so much better that such a relatively small number of pounds lost (10) makes such a huge difference.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sprint to the Finish

Here we are, November 1st. There are a nice round 60 days until the new year. I like nice round numbers as much as I like being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, I do my best work when I'm out of time. I am a procrastinator through and through. So here's the thing:

Today marks 5 months since I went Paleo. The last 2 months I haven't lost any weight. I also started CrossFit 2 months ago, and in that 2 months, I was relatively Paleo...it really reminds me of how I was back in June. I began Paleo and stopped exercising. Then, after 3 months of awesome life changing eating and no exercise, I added in CrossFit, and my eating went downhill.

I need to pull the two forces together for optimum performance. So, for the next nice round 60 days, I will be back on the wagon. No sugar. No grains. No dairy. No legumes. I will not be taking as many of my "Paleo liberties" with items such as larabars, beef jerky, dried fruits, organic dark chocolate, occasional 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee, all natural sausages, etc. Those items are fine in a pinch, but the last two months, there have been lots of pinches.

For the next 60 days I will continue to Crossfit 5 days a week.

What I would like to accomplish:
This time, I'm going to take measurements of body parts to keep me further accountable. I will post the results at the end of 60 days. I would also like to make it to my initial goal of 62 pounds gone, which means losing another 21 pounds. That is going to be near impossible, so lets just say, if I lose ANY weight in the next 60 days I will be happy, because losing 41 pounds so far this year has been a huge accomplishment. Oh, and at the end, or somewhere within the next 60 days I would like to be able to get my toes to the bar (see last post for video).

I realize that within the next 60 days, Thanksgiving and Christmas fall. I'm not worried about this because I know once I'm free of sugar for a few weeks, food becomes a non-issue to me. I also know I feel so much better, stronger, when I'm giving my body meat, veggies, and healthy fat. I'm really excited to see what my body can do. Here I go...sprint to the finish!