Friday, December 31, 2010

Universe? Is This a Joke?

Sometimes I feel as if the universe is playing one big practical joke on me. Let's examine this past week alone. It is my last week at this job. I was scheduled to work Monday- Thursday, and have Friday off (New Years Eve, federal holiday, etc.) and have a nice three day weekend before starting my new job on Monday.

Well, I get a phone call on Wednesday morning from my boss saying there is too much snow near the office, and don't bother coming in. I can come in on Friday instead. This job is turning into the job that never ends. So here I sit on a federal holiday when all of our clients have the day off (meaning any outstanding e-mails will go unanswered, and anything I submit will go unread), causing me to have nothing to do, waiting to go to crossfit, then home, the party (whoooo new year!). Ok, so maybe some of you are thinking so? That's not that big of a deal. Clean up your desk/computer and be happy you are on your way out. Fair enough.

But. But! On Tuesday of this week, I get an e-mail from that California job in which I interviewed for back in February. I have remained somewhat in contact with them because I don't want to burn any bridges. But if you remember, I had a difficult time negotiating things with the company, and ended up turning down their job offer because the salary they were offering wouldn't be feasible for me. So, the e-mail says "We have a possible job opening in Seattle. Are you interested?" I wrote back, "thank you for thinking of me, however I begin a new job January 3rd and am no longer looking for new employment." She wishes me well, and I think that is the end of it.

Yesterday, I get another e-mail from the California job. This one has all the details of the position, including the salary. The salary is ridiculous. As in A LOT. I know this move is done by the California job on purpose...and all I can do is laugh. THIS IS MY LIFE. The day before I start a new job, I get asked to apply for a job paying ridiculous amounts of money. Now I know money is not everything, and I don't want anyone to think that all I'm focused on, because I MUCH rather have a job that I like, that I'm good at, and that I feel is stable, then a crappy job paying a lot of money.

So, I'm trying to keep things in perspective. The difficulty I had with the California company (9.5 hour interview, stressful negotiations, etc.) is still fresh in my mind. However, who is to say I'm going to like my new job? I could absolutely hate it. I kind of like the idea of having options. I especially feel lucky in these hard times where there are millions of people who are looking for work. Believe me, none of this is lost on me. I am grateful, while at the same time feel I'm being toyed with by some higher power.

I sent the California job my updated resume. The position they are looking to fill doesn't start until May, so I'm thinking I will have enough time to check out my new job and see if its a good fit before deciding if I want to take a big risk and leave probably the most secure industry in the nation for a larger (MUCH LARGER) pay check. Sigh. Never a dull moment!

Wednesday's snow day, and the job stuff (ending job of 3.5 years and being asked to apply to yet another new job) has thrown me off track. I missed two days in a row of crossfit, that has NEVER happened since I started, and my eating has been so NOT paleo. Tonight being New Year's Eve, I don't expect this trend to end until at least tomorrow. Without doing it on purpose, this year I'm turning into one of those "January 1st I'll start back on it" people. I'm ok with that, because I know I will be successful. I have spent this whole year being successful.

This is the year I will do a pull-up. This is the year I will run a sub 7 minute mile. Now that my collar bone is in sight, this is the year I find my hip bones!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Day = Pictures

My boss called early today (just as I was about to jump in the shower) and told me not to bother coming into work. It was a snowy mess and I should stay home. I looked out my window, not one flake at my house. Seattle is crazy when it comes to snow. Less than one inch can set the whole region into city closing panic. Its crazy. I had to trade Friday for today, but whatever. Its the boyfriends day off, so we are hanging out together. Except for right now, because I'm writing this post, and he's cleaning the house. Heh.

Anyway, here is a photo re-cap of my Christmas:

Dave slaying our tree.

Christmas card photo.

Gorgeous California December Day.

Christmas Day stockings!

Personal Chef.

The meat. So good!

Back in Seattle. Yay!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Year Anniversary

One year ago, I made a decision. I did a 180 on the unknown path of destruction I was headed down and began back tracking to familiar territory. I didn't want to wait till January 1st. I had enough wake-up calls in a short amount of time, and I needed to do something different. I was done with the half-assed attempts and excuses. I was done with lying to myself and others around me. I was done not living the life I KNOW I should be living.

One year ago, I did not know where I would be today. I'm sure I had some arbitrary number of pounds in which I wanted to weigh, or wanted to lose, because one year ago, that is what I thought meant everything. I took it one day at a time, because that is all I could manage. My main goals focused on running, and being able to run certain distances in certain times. I had always equated running with being in shape and being healthy.

One year ago, I didn't want any of my friends or family to be reading this blog because its embarrassing. I didn't want to be the token fat friend that has to struggle everyday to do the right thing. I just wanted to GET there...wherever there was. And somehow, magically, no one would notice and it would be like I was never 80 pounds overweight. I'm glad I got over that fast and shared this blog with friends and family because I think it strengthened many relationships. Oh, and its pretty much impossible to lose 40 pounds (let alone 80) and not have anyone notice- what was I thinking?

Today, I have a very different vision of where I want to be, and what is healthy to me. I know I still have weight to lose. While it may seem painstakingly slow, I really feel that dropping 40 pounds in one year has been sustainable, and a good pace for me. More importantly though, I want to trust my body. I will do my part of feeding it what it needs, and preforming functional movements, and I trust it will do its part of finding a shape/weight it likes. This is a big jump from having a number in my head and working towards that. I'm done with the numbers. I will still be weighing myself because it is a good overall indicator of what is going on, but I will not be giving any merit to the numbers.

Today, I'm ready to take my journey to the next level. I've proved to myself I can do this. I've made it one year and have learned so much. I know what fuel my body prefers. I have a solid exercise regimen. I'm going to pull it all together and see what happens.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Deepest Apologies!

I hadn't realized until it was brought to my attention yesterday by a fellow blogger (thank you Ann) that I haven't posted anything in well over a week. I took last week off of work, and I normally do my blogging at work, so that might have had something to do with it. I took the week off because the boyfriend and I were traveling to California to visit my family for the holiday. Last week was a whirlwind of Christmas shopping, mailing cards/packages, cooking, packing, traveling, visiting, and squeezing the most into each day.

The past few weeks have been inconsistent, to say the least. The scale has been all over the place, my eating has had moments of brilliance, and moments of WTF. I haven't felt very strong in some of my crossfit workouts, where in others I feel like I've come so far. I am so happy that the holiday season is coming to an end. I prefer a more calm, predictable life, at least while I'm trying to overhaul my eating and exercise patterns. Just a few more days and the parties will be over, the excess treats will be gone, and a new year will be here.

Last week, in the days before I headed to California, I knew I had to be a Paleo rock star for a few reasons 1) drop the bloat I had obtained in the past few weeks, 2) make my allergies disappear, and 3) so it would be easier to continue eating well while on vacation. One week ago, the scale was up 6 pounds from the lowest weight I've achieved in this journey. In the two days before heading to California, I was great. In California, home for 4 days of holiday celebrations and meals, I ate the best I could. Over the course of 4 days, I did allow myself two pieces of sourdough bread (there is nothing like San Francisco sourdough), a piece of chocolate cream pie, a piece of apple pie, and a few random chocolate balls. Other then that, I was meat and veggies. Today? The scale was down 3 pounds from last week.

I don't think I've ever gone home for a Christmas and come back weighing less then I did before going. I'm pretty excited about that.

Other things on my mind include that in one week, I start my new job. Historically, things that disrupt my routine cause a set-back in my eating/exercise plans. My routine is definitely going to change next week. I'm going to have to figure out what works for me, and figure it out fast to minimize any down time. I'm going to be waking up 2 hours earlier (6am). I'm going to be commuting on the bus. In the evening, after work, and after my bus ride home, I'll hop into my car and drive 20 minutes north in traffic (making it a 40 minute drive) to crossfit, for the 7pm class. I'll get home around 8:30pm. There is no way that this is not going to change things for me!

I'm hoping that I can find a way to eat good, clean, meals and Crossfit 4-5 days a week seamlessly as I start my new job. I'm hoping that new job adrenaline, and the start of the new year power me through the tough moments until I do settle into a nice routine.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday, and please, please! Don't beat yourself up if you feel your health plans went off track. Today is a new day. Use it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Breakfast Sucked

Last night I finally found the time to make up some (normally) yummy breakfast scramble. I don't know if something was wrong with it, or me, or what, but today I could not get down more than 5 bites of the stuff before nearly gagging and relying on my coffee to get me through to lunch. I can't describe the flavor, but it is a flavor that sometimes accompanies eggs that makes me HATE eggs.

Moving on to more exciting things...I would like to introduce everyone to Dr. Izumi Tabata. I'm not sure what his Ph.D., is in, but I think it might be torture? Dr. Tabata invented the Tabata interval (4 minutes of 20 seconds ALL OUT, 10 seconds of rest). These intervals are commonly used among the most elite of athletes (Tri-athletes, cyclists, runners, Crossfitters, etc.) and I think most would agree that they are no joke.

The theory: Dr. Tabata focused his research on exercise intensity rather than duration.
The experiment: In his study, he had two groups. Group A was to be performing the intervals (4 minutes of 20 seconds MAX effort, 10 seconds rest) 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Group B was to be performing regular cycling at about 70% of their max effort for one hour a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. Each group had their VO2 Max and anaerobic capacities measured prior to beginning the study.
The results: Group B (5 hours of exercise per week) increased their VO2 Max by 9.5 percent. Anaerobic capacity remained unchanged. Group A (20 minutes of exercise per week) increased their VO2 Max by 14 percent and their anaerobic capacity by 28%!!!!!*

So, the next time someone tells you that you need to put in 1 hour at the gym everyday to get in shape, introduce them to Dr. Tabata.

Our workout yesterday consisted of 3 moves- medicine ball cleans, medicine ball sit-ups, and wall ball shots. For each of these moves we completed a full Tabata (four minutes, 8 20/10 intervals, however you want to see it). I can barely move today. I seriously overestimated how restful the 10 seconds would be.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vote: Is this behavior normal?

Ok, yesterday I vowed to get my crap together. I blogged about it. I planned my meals. I went to CrossFit. I drank my water. And then, DISASTER struck. Once the disaster was over, I couldn't help but think to myself, is this normal behavior? Or is this the kind of thing that keeps me blogging about my fat ass and not getting me any closer to doing a pull-up?

So, my day went like this:
Left over Cauliflower pizza with sliced pork and pineapple on top. Estimated calories- 200
Pork chop, baby carrots, 2 satsumas. Estimated calories- 350
CrossFit- 30 minutes of warm-up exercises, 10 minutes of workout
Got home, started making dinner (a pork chop)- they were on sale, gimme a break.
While dinner was cooking, I looked over at my failed "cookie" attempt from the weekend. I tried to make shortbread cookies to send to my relatives on the East Coast, and I wanted to make a bunch, so I doubled the recipe, and then after baking a batch realized I had done the math wrong, and omitted a FULL CUP of flour. So, instead of nice cookies, I had flat, lacy disks. I took the remainder of the batter, put it into an 8X8 pan, and cooked it like brownies.
I looked over at the untouched failed cookies, and thought "what a waste of all those ingredients. I wonder if I can somehow turn them into something good?" So then naturally I had to cut into the 8X8 mass to see what it tasted like to even see if they were salvageable.
So, there I am, freshly out of a CrossFit workout, with dinner cooking, about to taste a chunk of failed "cookie." One taste turned into 2, then 4, then maybe 1,000,000. Turns out the cookies weren't so much of a taste fail, just an appearance fail. I made myself sick by the time my dinner was ready.
I wasn't even hungry, but forced myself to eat 1/2 a pork chop because I knew I needed something else in me besides sugar.

Its not so much what I did (eat the cookies) but HOW I did it (like a crazed person who has been lost at sea for 74 days and is just having their first bite of food). I couldn't stop. I kept going back for more. Even though I knew it was wrong/bad/whatever.

I know some people might look at my food for the day and say "well, that's not enough food, you set yourself up for failure." That may be true for some, but when I'm eating Paleo, I really don't eat very much food. I get a lot of natural fat in my meals, and that keeps me satiated. It wasn't hunger that compelled me to eat the taste of cookie that led to 1,000,000 tastes, it was the guilt from "wasting" ingredients, and then some ingredient in the cookie making it impossible for me to stop once I started.

Sigh. More proof that I can not do this less then 100%. I can not be good all day and then have "one bite" of something. I can not be good for a month and then have "one cheat day." It just doesn't work for me!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trying Not to Dwell

Remember how when I began this whole Paleo thing, I said there were foods I would never be able to eat again, EVER? Remember how I was ok with that? I was. I really was. I knew it then, and I know it now, eating right (for me) is an "all in" activity. I can not be good 80% of the time. 80% quickly becomes 70%, then 50%...

Part of my problem has been not catching this downward spiral fast enough. Another part of the problem I realized is that certain foods really F with my body and brain, and by eliminating them from my diet, I can continue to make the best choices with ease.

Today I'm doing a few things: 1) I am catching myself before I fall, 2) I'm not going to dwell over the past few weeks poor choices, and 3) I'm making a serious effort to continue to better my Paleo effort.

After all, eating Paleo is something that I want, and something that I figured out makes me nearly super-human. It is going to take some practice for me to really get that solidified in my head. Bear with me. I will have months of great Paleo success and days of screwing it up. One day, hopefully, the latter will become fewer and farther between.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Start Date!

I passed all the pre-employment hoops, and got a start date today. I'm very excited to be starting out the new year with a new job. My current boss was also really cool this whole time...considering I put my "two" weeks in three weeks ago, and now I'll be working another 9 days here.

Things have been good on the exercise front, not so good on the eating front. Most days I have my shit together, but I have been allowing more and more sugar to creep into my diet. Sugar is the death of me. I know this. My headache is a constant reminder.

In yesterday's workout, we did this crazy move... holy cow, it was a KILLER. It literally made sweat roll off my nose and drip on the floor.

I did the modified version, but still:

Ok...I'm off to drink LOTS of water, eat protein, and psych myself up for today's workout. Entering BeastMode.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holidays '09 vs Holidays '10

I stumbled upon a picture my bf's mom posted on Facebook from last year. What a difference a year can make. Feels like a lifetime ago when the picture on the left was taken. It was last Christmas. The picture on the right was taken 2 weeks ago. If that's not motivation to keep on track through the holidays, I don't know what is.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Know What I Don't Want...But What Do I Want?

After reading an article on fitness and how there is no real definition of fitness, it dawned on me how readily I know what I don't want, but have no idea what I do want. How could I possibly begin, or be working towards what I want, if I don't even know what that is?!?!

I don't know. Maybe this realization isn't as profound as I think it is, but I just see so many applications of this concept to my journey of better health and fitness. Perhaps part of the problem with me not knowing exactly what I want yet is because I have not figured out everything that I do not want. Ruling out what doesn't work for me has been a process. There have also been numerous times where I thought I wanted something because to me it meant health, which is now laughable to me, and has shifted to the "don't want" category.

Let me try to explain...In January, when I began this whole thing, I stepped on a scale in the doctor's office to reveal a weight I had never seen before, a weight that was a good 15 pounds OVER what I thought I weighed at the time! So, my thought was well, I want to be 1xx pounds, so I need to lose xx pounds. I began counting calories and exercising, basing my method on the simple theory that as long as I burn more calories than I consume, I will lose weight. That is true. I did lose weight. But then, when my system became routine, I was able to process and take in more information. Through the blogging community, I started to get new ideas of what I wanted. Body composition became a re-occurring theme. I realized losing weight was not all created equal. It suddenly was not enough for me to lose 5 pounds. I wanted to know how much of that 5 pounds was lean muscle, fat, and/or water.

Today? I have NO idea what I want to work towards as far as a weight because at my current weight (which I have been numerous times in my life for long periods of time) I'm smaller (thinner) than I ever have been at this weight. That means a) I have more muscle than other times at this weight, b) I can no longer rely on the scale to tell me how I'm progressing, and c) I do not want to be the 1xx pounds I thought I did previously.

So I have shifted my thoughts of what I want. I want to be able to do push-ups on my toes (lots of them). I want to be able to do pull-ups, squat 1.5 times my body weight, do handstand push-ups, dead lift 2x my body weight, run a mile in under 7 minutes, and get to the point where I'm performing most CrossFit workouts prescribed. I want to have under 20% body fat. I want to eat Paleo no less than 90% of the time. Currently, being able to achieve the aforementioned items would mean health and fitness to me.

It may change. But, instead of focusing on what I don't want (like, I don't want to weigh 2xx pounds) I'm going to focus on what I do want (be a x-fit super star!).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Serious Improvements

Yesterday at CrossFit, we began a new program. I'm floored by how much time, dedication, and thought the owners/trainers invest in the gym and us- the clients. It makes me want to do great things instantly, like suddenly start running sub 7 minute miles, and jumping up on 24" boxes, and banging out pull-ups like I weigh 45 pounds...just because I want them to succeed in all the work they put in, and success would me mean being able to do any of the aforementioned items.

Anyway, yesterday was all about body control, and performing movements that will help us work on our body control and will eventually lead us to obtain 3 movements- Ring Dip, Pull-up, and Toes to Bar. We had to do some non-typical CrossFit plank pose, and dead bug, and some typical things such as hanging from a bar, V-ups, diamond push-ups, and static hold (on parallel bars, almost like L-sit, but without the legs out in front).

I've been CrossFitting for about 3 months now. In my first week, attempting to check some things off my level one sheet, I attempted to hang from a bar for 30 seconds. I lasted 3 seconds, and WOW, that felt like an eternity. A few weeks later, I tried again, and was able to make the full 30 seconds, but barely. Yesterday? I hung for 45 seconds. I could actually feel other muscles engaging to hold me there, like my abs, instead of before I was just focused on how my arms couldn't keep hanging on.

Before starting CrossFit, I used to do a Jillian Michaels video pretty regularly. I thought it kicked my butt. In level 3, the video uses a lot of "plank" pose moves. They were SO hard. I would try and see how long I could hold plank for, usually not even making it to 30 seconds. Yesterday? I held it for 1 minute, 45 seconds!!! I was shaking like crazy, but I was trying to 'win' at least one thing. It was just me and one other guy, the other 3 people had dropped. I was staring him down. Finally, I hit my limit. He lasted till 1 minute, 52 seconds.

While I often beat myself up for not being able to do the majority of the workouts fully prescribed, I should focus instead on what I HAVE accomplished. It is pretty amazing to me that in just the short time I have been participating in the CrossFit program, I am seeing incredible results. It gives me so much hope that one day I will be doing pull-ups, running sub 7 minute miles, and just about anything else I want to do.

In case you missed it, I'm still REALLY excited I can get these boots on! I got the boots on over a pair of my skinniest jeans. But the jeans are super thin...almost more like a khaki/jean material. I'm wearing one of these outfits today:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sneaky December

I just realized its December 2nd. Apparently December got here yesterday, and I didn't even notice.

A couple of things:
1) Yesterday's workout was 3:41. That's right. 3 minutes, 41 seconds. Do you know what I did in 3 minutes 41 seconds? I moved over one ton (2,100 pounds) from the ground over my head. Sounds impressive, huh?

2) I haven't posted update head shots in awhile, so I took advantage of the net and found a cool slideshow thingy to imbed into my blog (see below).

3) Still don't have a start date for my new job.

4) Yesterday I almost got my toes to the bar...once.