Wednesday, November 30, 2011

266- Introducing Destiny*

Destiny is my December challenge buddy.  Destiny is no stranger to the Paleo diet, and is a member of a crossfit gym.  I met her a few months ago at my gym, she was just starting out and she reminded me a lot of myself.  We bonded over things like our hatred of pull-ups and burpees- the things that are very difficult when you have a little too much of yourself to move around.  

We attend separate gyms now, but thorough normal Facebook stalking, I read she was engaging in a 60 day Paleo challenge with her gym from November 1 to January 1 - to stay focused during the holidays.  I knew she would be perfect to join me in December.  

Destiny and I shared some ideas before beginning, and we agreed on a day each week to share our weekly food logs, set small goals to work on, and decided to do a "benchmark" workout at the beginning of the month and then again at the end of the month to see if there are any changes.  Our plan looks something like this:
1) Take a photo in an outfit that is just a little too snug 
2) Eat a paleo diet
3) Log food each day
4) Set 2-3 mini goals to work on this month
5) Perform as many push-ups as possible on Dec 1, again on Jan 1

I'll be back in a week for the first update!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

267- Bitter No More

Wow.  I feel great.  I can't attribute my feeling to any one particular event, so maybe this is just my new normal?  I feel like I'm on a constant endorphin high.  I know I've written about this before, and I bet its even obnoxiously annoying for some people to read (people that are unhappy with their current situation).  I know there was a time when I would be annoyed by someone always writing about how great they feel.  I mean, COME ON, who feels like that?  I would have thought.  But really, that bitterness was just me being unhappy with my own situation.  Not to mention this 365 days is an experiment on myself, so I feel its very important to give detailed accounts of my mood, physical abilities, changes observed, etc., etc.
Everything is much better on this side of things.  I'm not always looking to tear others down.  I'm not wishing people to fail.  I'm not concerned with anyone else at all really.  All I want to do is get through each day doing what I have found is right for me.  I don't wish people do what I do, or follow what I believe, I just wish that anyone that is unhappy right now starts taking the steps they need to figure out what is right for them.  When you find it, you'll know, and if you stick to it, you'll feel great ALL THE TIME.
I put on a pair of pants this morning that I got a little over a month ago, and they fit perfectly.  They were cut slim, so when I first tried them on a few weeks ago, they were like a second skin.  Today?  They fit how they are supposed to fit.  They buttoned with ease, no parts of me were spilling over, and instead of my body pushing on the fabric, the fabric was pushing on my body.  Still a little self conscious, I asked the bf deluxe if they looked like sausage pants.  "Your sausage days are over.  The only thing that is there is a big ole hard butt."  Satisfied with that answer, I wore them to work, and rocked them.  I absolutely love that all the clothes in my closet I can just grab and put on and feel comfortable.   

Monday, November 28, 2011

268- Say Grace

Perhaps in honor of Thanksgiving time, new gym decided to put up "Grace" as the workout of the day.  Grace is 30 clean and jerks for time- but these weren't Crossfit clean and jerks, these were Olympic clean and jerks- the kind where you do a full squat.  I've never been lucky enough to partake in Grace, but I love oly lifts, so I was pretty excited about this workout.  All I have to do is move weight from the ground to overhead 30 times?  No running?  No pull-ups?  No burpees?  Awesome!
Ok, well, whoever says that "lifting weights is not cardio" is full of crap.  When I thought that or even said that out loud as recently as 2 years ago while doing bicep curls and quarter squats, I had no idea what I was talking about.  That is also when I thought cardio was necessary for fat loss, and didn't wreck havoc on your body.  HA!  Little did I know.  After performing 10 full squat clean and jerks as fast as I could muster, I thought I was going to die.  Sweat was pouring off my brow, and my oxygen?  Where had it gone?  I still had 20 more of these beastly moves to do, and the clock was ticking fast.  My stomach was turning, so I tried to settle into a rhythm of just getting them over with.  I might as well have been doing 100 burpees, cause I felt the same. 
Eight minutes to do 30 squat cleans at 75#?  I never would have predicted that- I would have thought 5 minutes, maybe.  I'm so glad I didn't go with the recommended weight of 95#, while I'm sure I could do it, I would have been there all night!  

Example of a squat clean and jerk:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

269- History Has Been Made

In less than five days, I'll be 100 days into my one year challenge.  100 days!  I stepped on the scale out of habit to see how much "damage" was done over Thanksgiving, and I weighed less than I did before Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty sure that has never happened in the history of me!  When I think about it, I shouldn't be surprised, because like I mentioned before, it was just another day, but when everyone around me is talking about their excesses and getting back on track on Monday, etc., its hard not to get caught up in that and assume I went crazy too. 
But I didn't.  I'm focused.  I've got a few more days with Jordan, and then I jump right into my next 30 day challenge with Destiny.*  The 30 days between December 1st and December 31st are going to be probably the most challenging of the year.  December 10= holiday cocktail party at my house.  December 15-18= Las Vegas for my sister's birthday.  December 24-25= Christmas.  December 31= New Years Eve.  That's a lot of events involving alcohol and tempting foods.  Well, I should clarify that foods aren't really tempting anymore, but with inhibitions lowered from alcohol, I may make poor choices.  Alcohol in excess of a 2-3 glasses also makes me retain water.  I have some thinking to do on how I want to handle those events.  I'm going to take it one at a time, starting with the holiday cocktail party.  Depending on how well my plan goes, that will determine my plan for Las Vegas, and so on and so forth.  It really is about finding balance, and not just allowing myself to use any excuse to go nuts, but at the same time, enjoying life. 
*Not her real name, but she does kinda have a stripper name, so I gave her a new stripper name.  Ha!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

270- The Annual Football Game

A couple of years ago, a group of my friends started an annual football game Thanksgiving weekend.  Many out of towners are in town, so its a great chance to see everyone, get together and socialize after.  Five years ago, when we played for the first time, I remember being panicked.  I didn't have any nice workout clothes that I would allow anyone to see me in, especially this competitive group of fit friends.  I tried on everything reasonable in my closet before settling on something.  I went for a short run prior to the game, as some last-ditch effort to get myself in shape for what was to come?  

I was also panicked because this is the exact type of event I want to participate in, and be ok at, yet I was horribly out of shape and heavy.  This was clearly one of those moments where I was conscious of where I was, and how far from where I wanted to be I was. I went out and played on the cold muddy field, I gave it my all, but I might as well have been invisible.  The couples only threw to each other, my bf was working, I was slow, yet in my head I thought I was moving at mach speed.  The days after rank in my top 5 of the most sore I've ever been.  I was sore in places I didn't know I had, and places that I never thought would get used "playing" football.  I heard later that everyone else was pretty sore as well.  That made me feel a little better.

This year was different.  There was no panic about what to wear.  There was no panic about my stamina or ability to keep up.  I ran around and didn't feel like I was going to die.  I was not ignored as much, and actually got the ball thrown to me a few times.  Best of all, I know I'm not going to be sore tomorrow.  Except for my left middle finger, which I managed to bruise the crap out of catching a ball the wrong way when tossing the football back and forth AFTER we were all done playing.  I seriously hope this injury streak I seem to be on this year ends soon.  Typing with two fingers taped together is annoying.   

Friday, November 25, 2011

271- Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

This Thanksgiving was an experiment for me.  I did not use the holiday as an excuse to let loose and eat anything and everything I wanted.  Working with the bf deluxe, we carefully planned a meal.  The meal was real foods- grilled turkey, lots of vegetables, and a pumpkin pie made with a gluten free crust and a filling with no refined sugar, only a little grade B maple syrup.  

This year, Thanksgiving was just another meal.  I ate one plate.  I didn't have seconds of anything. I was satisfied, not overly stuffed.  In all honesty, there was a twinge of missing out.  I wondered if I'm ever going to be able to eat a homemade roll again, or some of my mom's stuffing, or a piece of apple pie.  I know right now, this year, having any of those items is not possible.  I would not trade the way I feel, the current ability to look at any of the aforementioned items and BE ABLE to refuse them, or my shrinking body for any food of the past.

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, with hardly any leftovers in the fridge, my life as far as eating and thoughts about food remained how they have been for the past 3 months- food is not ruling me.  I did not wake up and jump out of bed excited to eat leftovers (yes, there was a time in my life when food would get me out of bed).  Thanksgiving was just another day.  The things that made it different from any other day were the break from work, and family/friends joining us for dinner.  The food was secondary.  That's how holidays should be.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

272- Paleo Thanksgiving in Pictures

First Paleo Thanksgiving= success!  Rather then try and explain, I'll just show you how it went down:

Brunch cured meat/cheese/olive tray

Pine cone turkey decoration made by my mom, to replicate one I made for her 25 years ago.

Thanksgiving table cloth.

Pedro in his Thanksgiving outfit.

The table set with the china- isn't it kinda messed up how we have to wash the dishes before dinner, AND after?!

All the goods are on the table.

Up close of the spinach salad with eggs from the ladies- look at those yellow centers!

I forgot to take a picture of my dinner plate, but realized that before dessert, so I managed to snap this shot before devouring the paleo friendly pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

274, 273- Good News, Bad News, Update

Good News/ Bad News:

I upgraded to a new iPhone 4Gs/I lost most of my pictures, including my November 1 picture (its ok, I'll just use my "after picture" from last time)
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving/I still have sooo much cleaning to do to get ready
I got to leave early from work today/I didn't get the PR I wanted at the gym today
All our Thanksgiving dinner shopping is done/except when I realized we forgot spinach and heavy cream

Week 3 update:

Everything is going really well.  I've been good with taking my Fish Oil and vitamin D supplements.  I've been working on my kipping swings and pistols, and see progress, but I still have a way to go.  Scale has dropped by a few pounds, not that it matters, but for this month I won't be able to say I weighed the same in my before and after pics.  I always think its way cooler to see how a body can transform regardless of the scale.  

Jordan had a really good week.  She focused on getting more sleep, not eating when things didn't go her way, and making good choices in situations where the food was out of her control.  She's happy that the scale is holding at a low number, and she feels amazing.  

One week left with Jordan!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

275- Family Dinner

Sunday night is family dinner night at our house.  The bf deluxe works a 7-3ish shift, so I get to spend all day at home cleaning, preparing for the week, and making a big good ole' fashioned Sunday dinner.  Sunday dinners usually mean some sort of large meat chunk slow cooked to perfection, served with some sort of carbohydrate (aka, vegetable) in the form of steamed, roasted, salad, or pickled.  
Did you notice what I did right there?  I used the "C" word.  I'm going to start working it back into my vocabulary, because I realize I've been sort of misleading when I say "I don't eat carbs."  I DO eat carbs (lots of them, in fact), I just eat them in vegetable and fruit form instead of bread/grain form.  Besides, I think the more times I can say I DO eat something, the better.  I digress, the sematics surrounding how I present what I eat is not the point or inspiration for this post.  Just a sidenote.
ANYWAY...last night, I didn't really prepare for Sunday dinner.  I sort of forgot about it until about 3pm, and then was like, oh, crap!  All my big chunks of meat are frozen!  I scrounged around in the fridge- it was pretty slim pickings since everything in there was either a) reserved for Thanksgiving, or b) not in there like normal.  Luckily, we almost always keep a pound of organic ground beef on hand in the fridge for quick emergency meals.  I wasn't feeling tacos, and definitely didn't think burgers were Sunday dinner worthy, and then, staring at the rest of the fridge contents- it hit me!  Meatloaf!  I haven't made meatloaf in a long time.  So I scoured a few of my favorite Paleo recipe sites (Everyday Paleo and Health-Bent) and found that in both of their meatloaf recipes, they used almond flour.  I hadn't tried that, previously I just used egg and ground flax seed as my binder.  What happened next was quite possibly the best paleo meatloaf creation of all man-kind.  I know this because of how much the bf deluxe ate.  Holy crap, when he likes something, he is a bottomless pit.
I learned long ago, long before my Paleo days that good meatloaf (and good hamburgers) need a mix of ground beef and ground pork sausage.  No joke.  In fact, the bf deluxe and I have a long standing fight (not really a fight, but just and incident that he won't drop 6 years later) involving meatloaf, specifically the best meatloaf I've ever had in my life that he made one night, and it used the ground beef/pork combo.  The meatloaf was SO good, I not only ate a ridiculous amount that night at dinner, I took ALL the leftovers the next day to work.  I didn't leave any of the leftovers (and there was A LOT leftover) for the bf to make a sandwich the next day, and that apparently is grounds to never let me forget it.  I admit, it was not my finest moment, taking all that meatloaf to work with me the next morning while the bf innocently slept and then consuming it selfishly because it was THAT good.  He would have been ok if I had shared it with my co-workers, but he knew me too well, and knew that I ate it all myself.  And now I hear about it at least once a month.  Six years later.  Again, I digress.  I'm getting to my point (the recipe) next, I promise!
Recipe for the best ever Paleo Meatloaf:
1 pound organic and/or grass fed ground beef
1 pound bulk natural pork sausage
1/2 large white onion (finely diced)
2 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1/4c. tomato paste
1 heaping tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Dump all ingredients into large mixing bowl.  Mix with hands until all ingredients are entirely encorporated and your hands go numb.  Divide into 2 9" cake pans (I prefer shallow discs of meat to the traditional bread pan loaf) so, I guess it really should be called "meatcake."  Whatever.   Cook until shruken and done-looking (mine took 30 minutes?).  Serve with roasted yams, or broccoli, or cauliflower, or salad, or whatever you want.  Try not to eat it all, because everyone loves leftover meatloaf and your significant other won't believe you when you lie and say you shared it with co-workers.  Trust me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

276- Ladies Brunch

I'm going to give a shout out to my girl friends over at the original gym, Crossfit Muk.  Today a group of us got together for a run and brunch.  It was a fantastic fall morning, clear and very cold.  It was my first long run since the ankle sprain, and it held up just fine.  I think I experienced more issues from trying to change my running form in my NB Minimus' (calves on fire) then my ankle.  I'm going to be sore tomorrow for sure.  

I'm excited to have Greenlake runs back in my repertoire.  Brunch was tasty, and filled with good conversation.  I'm hoping these workouts/brunches become tradition!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

277- Payback is a B%*#$

Before I did Crossfit, I let Jillian Michaels torture me.  I thought the 30-day shred was the hardest thing ever.  I couldn't do many push-ups (even on my knees), I had a hard time with the plank moves, and all the moves, actually.  But I still did it religiously because at that time I thought Jillian Michaels was bad ass.  

The airing of this video recently makes me beyond happy.  Here is Jillian, someone that used to beat the crap out of me struggling in probably one of the most simplistic Crossfit routines:

In terms of my goals, I'm not where I want to be yet.  But watching Jillian, someone who is supposed to be so fit, and America's "weight loss guru" have a tough time lifting 65# off the ground, and above her head makes me pretty excited that I can do those things.  I can do those things and a lot more.  I still respect the crap out of her because I like her tough no-excuses attitude.  However, I definitely saw a whole new side to things when watching her look how I used to look doing her video after running through something that might be 1/2 my warm-up nowadays.

I hope the show the Doctors continues to promote Crossfit!  The shit works better then any Jillian video, Jillian is proof of that!

Friday, November 18, 2011

278- When Worlds Collide

I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but this blog is very personal.  Yes, it is available for anyone on the world-wide-web to read, but I do not promote this blog.  I do not blog for comments and/or support from others.  As nice as that is when it does happen (and I do appreciate support), this is a place for me to document and hash out my experiences.  There have been occasions where friends/acquaintences have found out about it and asked for the address.  I am picky with the friends I choose to share this with.  My own mom and dad do not know this blog exists.  In fact, I think if a large majority of my friends were to know about this blog and read it in its entirety, I might just curl up and never leave the house.  Its embarrassing.       
I have always seen my extra weight as a flaw in myself, something that shouldn't be publically discussed, and its sometimes very hard for me when friends ask me about the stuff they read here.  This blog also only represents a small fraction of my life.  There is so much more to me then the stuff I discuss here.  I rarely talk about my job, my relationships, my hobbies, and my non-health/fitness related dreams (surprisingly, there are lots of).  Exceptions to this would be when there is some cross-over or intermingling between my "regular life" and the things I choose to discuss on my blog, also known as my worlds colliding. 
I've never been comfortable talking about my issues with food, but through this amazing community of other people sharing their experiences, I see so much of myself in others.  I've been directed to new information, seen amazing transformations, been disappointed, angry, sad, and so excited by people I've never met, yet check in on daily.  This blog has made me take leaps out of my comfort zone, and has made sharing some of my experiences out loud, and in person, easier.  That is tremendous growth on my part- to not feel isolated, to not make this only my problem to deal with. Of course these gains in growth are not without consequence.  As a result of the things I choose to discuss here, I have lost a good friend.  I am in the process of mourning this loss, and its very stressful.  I keep thinking that I can do more to salvage the relationship, but now I'm fairly confident its a lost cause.  
If a friend has a personal "journey" blog, and you don't agree with the majority of the things they write, do you end the friendship?   
What if instead of my blog, I chose to paint pictures?  What if I took my feelings, expressed them on oil and canvass and that was my theapy?  What if I kept my huge collection of years of paintings in the basement because they were so dear to me, I didn't want them hanging in the house for all to see?  One day, totally nervous, I chose to share them with you.  If you didn't like my paintings, think my technique is crap, or even if you were offended by them, would that be enough reason to throw 12+ years of friendship out the window?
I see things through my eyes.  I think Mark Rothko's paintings are dumb and I could do them myself.  Art is subjective, my blog is subjective, and like any artist driven to keep painting like they do, I wouldn't continue to grow like I have been if I stopped doing what I do here.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

279- I Got Nothing

Today I was every dogs fire hydrant.  Eh, what can I say?  It happens.  Tomorrow will be a better day.  I'm going to go shower.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

280- Paleo Turkey Day

Oh, Thanksgiving.  How I loved you so.  Historically you were always my favorite holiday, because it was ok to eat ridiculous amounts of food.  You were the one holiday where I didn't feel like a total fatass for stuffing my face with mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, yams, rolls, pie and the like.  It was expected that everyone would go back for seconds.  It was expected that everyone would try each kind of the 3 pies.  It was expected that everyone would stuff themselves beyond belief.  It was expected that the next morning I would wake up and eat pie for breakfast.  It was my kind of holiday!  I would trade all the gift giving and receiving of Christmas for a holiday of gluttony anyday. 

Thanksgivings will never be like that for me again.  I don't say that to feel sorry for myself, or so that you will feel sorry for me either, I say that in all honesty.  The way I used to go about Thanksgiving was horrible for my body, and downright disgusting.  I mean, think about it.  A day in which all the foods traditionally made are things I can not just stop at one bite of?  Whoever had just one bite of homemade mashed potatoes?  Or pie?  Or...?  Its a set up for failure.  This year it was completely the bf deluxe's idea to do a Paleo Turkey Day.  Afterall, its really not that hard to modify the dinner and make it full of vegetables and turkey.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be dying to grab a second helping of brussel sprouts and arguing within my head about how much room I should save in my stomach for paleo pumpkin pie.  Will there be some "paleo" treats?  Yes, it is still a holiday!

Here is our menu plan for the day.  The bf deluxe absolutely hates the idea of "paleotizing" things.  For him, its black and white.  Either it is paleo or it isn't.  So, he is not, and is not, allowing me to make things like cauliflower mashed potatoes, or "stuffing," or anything that is traditionally made of non-paleo ingredients yet attempted to be re-created with paleo ingredients.  I understand where he is coming from.  I still resist on a few occasions.

Before dinner (the in-laws like to show up early and spend the WHOLE day with us):
Paleo pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting- (recipe for cake HERE with 1/2 the amount of honey) I will be making up my own frosting recipe.  This is something that has been paleotized.  However, I made it, and the bf deluxe LOVED it, so it gets the OK.
Natural, uncured bacon
Scrambled fresh eggs (from the ladies in the back yard)

Assorted cheese/meat/olive/pickled things tray

Roasted Turkey
Roasted vegetable medley- cauliflower, butternut squash, onions, carrots
Smashed yams
Brussel sprouts w/ pancetta
Raw cranberry relish (Elenas' Pantry)
Spinach salad with hard-boiled fresh eggs (again, thanks ladies), toasted hazelnuts, pancetta crumbles, dried cherries, and chef's special vinaigrette dressing
Pecan Pie (brought by the in-laws for the non-paleo folks)
Paleo friendly pumpkin pie (with almond flour crust)- again, this is something that needs minimal modifying to make paleo, and I'm probably going to be the only one eating this.
In case its not obvious, prior Thanksgivings= foods that I love and cannot get enough of (stuffing, apple pie, candied yams, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls).  New Thanksgivings= foods that make me say "meh."  There will not be any need/longing/craving to eat more.

A few months ago, a bunch of people at the gym were raving about this new frozen yogurt place that lets you pick all these cool toppings, and its so good, and fat free blah blahbitty blah blah...I had just begun my 1 year challenge, and was so close to being on the brink of just saying "fuck it" and going.  Then, I read nearly the exact story on one of the Facebook Fan pages I follow.  His thoughts on the new fancy frozen yogurt place would change the way I think:
Why would I purposely try something new that I could possibly crave often?  It would be better to just avoid it altogether so I never know what I'm missing.  There are enough things that I do know about that I'm missing out on, and I don't need to create any new ones.

And this relates to Thanksgiving (and the rest of my life) how?  Why would I purposely put myself in a position of having to resist foods that I can not control myself around?  That's so stupid, I'm not even going to try.  Guess its time to find a new favorite holiday!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

281- Mid-Month Update

Week 2 down!  This month (year?) has been flying by.  I am continually amazed by how time can seemingly go by faster and faster each year.  I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving already.  At this rate, my 365 day challenge will be over tomorrow, and I'm going to be 73 years old in two weeks.
Progress Report on my Monthly Mini-goals:
Continue eating a paleo diet- YES.  This is...dare I say it...rountine now?  It requires very little thinking, but still quite a bit of planning. 
Continue to work on kipping swings at gym/increasing my dead hang hold time- Yes- I work on this 4x a week at the gym.  Its still going to be awhile before I get a kipping pull-up, but I'm practicing the movement for muscle memory
Work on one-legged squats daily- Yes- I have been working on this nearly daily.  One leg (the not sprained ankle leg) is so much stronger then the other.  My balance has improved by working on these for sure.
Take fish oil and vitamin D daily- Yes!  I've been SO much better about this.  Vitamin D is easier to take/remember because the pills are about 1/3 of the size, and I can take them whenever.  Fish Oil I have to make sure I take before a meal, so I don't get the dreaded fish burps, but I'm usually so excited to eat, I forget.  Plus the pills are gigantic.  Still working on this.
Have my first Paleo Thanksgiving- everything is on schedule for a Paleo Turkey Day next week! 
Jordan's Progress Report:
She e-mailed me last Thursday (before our normal Tuesday check-in) and informed me she was able to fit into a pair of shorts she hasn't worn in 2 years.  She also saw a low weight on the scale she hasn't seen since beginning to test Paleo, about a year ago.  She was beyond ecstatic.  Progress on her goals stalled out this week as life got in the way, but she assured me that checking in once a week and HAVING goals has made them more present, and therefore something she will work on. 
Oh, and I found a sucker (ha) to take December 1 - December 31st with me!  She is already involved in a challenge with her gym, but she welcomes the additional support because she's having a hard time getting motivated.  We've been sharing a few ideas, and WOW!  This chick is awesome, and has brought some great things to the table!  Can't wait to introduce you all to her in December.

Monday, November 14, 2011

282- Feeling Good

Today, sitting in the passenger seat as my bf deluxe was driving me to work, I looked down and thought, damn, I'm getting smaller!  That felt good.
A co-worker stopped me in the bathroom today and told me that I looked really good today.  I thanked her.  That felt good.
Since the bf deluxe dropped me off at work today, I was car-less and decided to run to the 1/2 mile each way to the gym.  Running a 1/2 mile took me 5 minutes there and 6 minutes on the way back, and it didn't even feel like I was doing anything at all.  That felt good.
I set up for today's workout, and one of the guys comes over to me and says "wow, you're doing this Rx'd?  I like that!" and gave me a high-5.  That felt good.
When I got back from the gym, I had an e-mail from my boss titled "WOW."  I opened it, and it said he saw me running to the club (gym) and he was impressed.  That felt good.
My friend that cancelled dinner plans with me last night at the last minute rescheduled for later this week.  That felt good.
I reached out to the person I want to do the December 1 - December 31st challenge with and she responded with a YES.  That felt good. 
I got a lot done at work today.  That felt good. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

284, 283- Funk

Yesterday I was deep in a funk, and didn't really move off the couch.  That is not how I want to live my life- feeling crappy for myself, ignoring chores, being sedentary, and wasting a day.  I was so consumed by the funk, I didn't even realize something was wrong with me until today.  I didn't have the energy to do anything- dishes sat in the sink, this blog went un-updated, it even hurt to lie on the couch.  

I slept in late today, woke up, and DECIDED to make today different.  I forced myself to get out of the house, I walked 1.5 miles (one way) to Starbucks, got coffee, and by the time I was 1/2 way through drinking it, I suddenly felt normal again.  I don't know if it was the exercise, the fresh air, the coffee, or the texting with great friends I was engaged in, but its like a switch flipped, and I was better.  I took myself across the street to Goodwill for some retail bargain hunting, and found 2 skirts and a sweater for under $20!  

My life is what I make of it.  If there is something that I don't like, I'm going to work to fix it.  Even if I have to fake excitement, or push myself to do something I don't want to do, I refuse to let myself feel sorry for myself on a couch watching Grey's Anatomy re-runs for an entire day ever again.  (Unless I'm hungover, ran a marathon the day before, or completed some other feat of greatness in productivity that warrants a day of absolutely nothing.)

The funny thing is, I love my life.  Yesterday was some crazy anomaly, might be the weather, or maybe I just needed a mental day off.  Perhaps this is what people mean when they say they "feel their feelings" instead of numbing them with food.  Come to think of it, I did used to spend many weekends baking and eating things, now that's not an option, so whatever is going on I feel it full force.  Hmm.  I'm going to have to take a few days to think about that and work on that theory.  

Meanwhile, the bottom line is I'm better today.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

285- Specific

You say you want to get in shape.  How will you know when you are there?
You say you want to lose weight.  If you're losing muscle and water, does that count?
You say you want to get stronger.  How are you going to measure that?
You say you want to eat better.  What does that mean?
You say you want to be healthy. Who determines what is healthy?
I can't count how many times I threw around these vague, arbitrary terms.  Why it never dawned on me that any time I uttered one of these statments (either to myself or out loud) I was essentially saying nothing. 
Let's go through some former thought/action processes of mine using these catch phrases:
I want to get in shape.  Ok.  Great!  That sounds like a plan!  I'll just start exercising and eating well.  If I do that long enough, I'll be in shape!  But wait.  How will I know when I'm in shape?  Can I run a 5K?  A marathon?  What if I can run a marathon but I'm still larger then I want to be?  I give up.
I want to get in shape and lose weight.  Ok, even better!  I'll keep running and training for races, and I'm bound to get smaller.  I mean, look at runners, they are tiny!  Now I can run distances longer then 5K, but I can't do a push-up to save my life.  I'm smaller, yes, but I have to keep eating less and less calories to get/stay smaller.  I give up.
I want to get in shape, lose weight, and be stronger.  Wow!  That sounds great.  I'll keep running long distances, throw in some push-ups/lunges/and sit-ups, and call it good.  That way I can build up my muscle mass so my metabolism revs up, burn all sorts of fat with running miles and miles, and its a sure fire way to get in shape, lose weight, and be stronger!  I do all this and nothing changes.  The scale doesn't move.  I don't see abs after 2 months.  I give up.
I need to focus on eating better.  Yes!  I'll keep my calories between 1200-1400 per day!  I'll have an oatmeal packet for breakfast, a banana for a mid-morning snack, subway sandwich at lunch, handful of peanut M&M's at 3pm, and pasta with tomato sauce and broccoli for dinner.  So low fat!  Whole grains, fruit, veggies, nuts (wrapped in chocolate), its so balanced!  I can't go more than 3 hours without getting insanely hungry (and SUPER grouchy), I'm starving after a workout and tend to eat everything in site, I lose a few pounds over the course of a month, and slowly start eating more meals out, eating more junk food, and end up even fatter a few months down the road.  I give up.
I just want to be healthy.  Be at a healthy weight.  Not have my doctor want to test my cholesterol.  I don't want an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disese, or any other ailment.  I'm going to start taking a multi-vitamin and eating more salads.  I'm going to join a new gym and go everyday.  I'm going to stop eating out at restaurants so much.  I'm going to cut back on sweets.  This lasts for 1-2 months.  I give up.
Looking back now with new eyes and new knowledge, I see that none of these statements were specific.  Let's do a small revision:
I want to get in shape.  I want to be able to run a 5K in under 27 minutes, perform the majority of my crossfit workouts Rx'd and faster then the majority of the people in my group. 
I want to lose weight.  I want to keep muscle mass, but lose fat.  I'm going to take measurements of my body and use that as a gauge.  The scale can not tell me everything.  I realize this is going to be a long process as I build and retain muscle, fat will be slow to come off, and it will take weeks for fat loss to be measurable on the scale, but my body will be getting smaller. 
I want to get stronger.  I want to be able to do at least 2 strict pull-ups in a row, and multiple kipping-pull-ups.  I want to increase my major lifts (power clean, dead lift, squats, press) by at least 20lbs each over the next few months.  I want to be able to do one-legged squats (pistols), and 30" box jumps. 
I want to eat better.  I have done extensive research and found that the standard American diet (SAD) is not conducive to my genetics.  I read study upon study debunking the link between cholesterol and heart disease.  I have experimented on my own body, and found that eating wheat/gluten causes me to have allergies, and that eating refined sugar and carbohydrates only makes me want more refined sugar and carbohydrates.  I need to balance my blood sugar levels by eating foods that don't cause my blood sugar to spike.  I'm going to eat real foods.  Meat, vegetables, naturally occuring fats, occasional fruit, and nuts. 
I want to be healthy.  By eating a diet of real foods (but not "going on a diet") and exercising in the form of mimicking human movements (walking, occasional sprints, lifting heavy things, squatting, etc.)  I will be doing what my body is programmed to do.  If its in my genetics that I will gain more muscle, I will.  If its in my genetics that I will lose fat, I will.  Overall health is a result of the activities I choose to repeat.  The more times I repeat ingesting real foods and performing functional exercises, the healthier I become.   

By making my goals specific, I create a starting point (not just a starting weight), and my progress can be measured in other important realms.  By working towards one of my strength or healthy eating goals, I reach a goal of health by default.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

286- So. Angry.

There are pieces to my personality that are unflattering when they rear their head (temper, excessive eating, stubborn, etc).  I'm aware of this.  I'm also human and cannot ignore or pretend these pieces don't exist, because eventually, something will happen that triggers a beast to emerge.
I will say that the flattering pieces FAR outweight the unflattering, especially when I do the right things- eat right, exercise, sleep, work, socialize, plan, etc.  If I'm content with everything I'm doing in my life, then the beast(s) stay at bay.  Lately, when I've noticed a beast emerging, I take the time to analyze how a previous version of me would react, and how I react now. 
This morning I opened my eyes from a deep sleep and noticed it was light- too light in the room.  My eyes flashed over to the alarm clock, and it read 7:20.  DAMN!  I bolted up and realized I must have turned my alarm off last night instead of on.  I frantically searched for something to wear, gym clothes, food for lunch, and I seemed to just be running in circles.  When I wake up with my alarm, I seem to have no trouble doing all these things.  My gym clothes were in the dryer, still damp.  I sifted through laundry mountain in the dining room for clothes to wear.  I brushed my teeth and packed up last nights leftovers for lunch, and realized I would not have time to cook myself breakfast sausage.  DAMN.  I grabbed an apple, and looked at the almond butter container and then remembered I had almond butter at work. 
An apple and almond butter is definitely not my ideal way to start the day, nor is it a breakfast I should make a habit of eating, but it would work in a pinch.  The fat in the almond butter should be satiating enough to get me to lunch, and I would be working out later, so the sugar from the apple should be put to use quickly. 
I made it to work only a few minutes later then normal, layed out my gym clothes around my cubical to dry, and got to work sifting through e-mails.  After my coffee, I decided to slice up my apple and have breakfast.  I go to the kitchen, cut up my apple, put it on a plate, open the fridge to grab my mini-tupperware of almond butter...and its gone.  I move aside 3 giant pizza boxes full of pizza, a huge plastic container of salad, and search every corner.  I move aside the mustard with the barely readable label and a use by date of March '09, the cans of pop, a half sandwich, NOTHING.  WTF.  I start to panic.  I was counting on that almond butter being there.  I can't just eat an apple.  I need some protein/fat to accompany it.  Everyone I work with sucks.  I was fuming. 
So, I grab my apple slices, head over to the receptionist and ask her if she knows where my almond butter went.  "Oh, was that what that was?  I threw it out."  I look crushed, she goes on to say: "Half the time I don't know what's in that fridge, and the power went out, so things go bad."  Me- blank stare she says "Sorry."  Me- "that's ok, I'll just bring more in."  And it was ok.  Even though I was counting on that almond butter, and even though I could have brought some from home, it was ok.  I need to learn a better way to deal with the unexpected, and the first step is for me to understand that these things happen. 
I know, I know.  Its almond butter, not the end of the world.  Instead of getting visibly irritated with the receptionist and rolling my eyes or making a snide comment, I listened, and then walked away.  Instead of grabbing a piece of pizza (or 3) to eat for breakfast (because you know, my whole plan for that morning was shot) I went back to my desk, dug into my lunch, and ate some of my pork shoulder with the apple slices.  Instead of dwelling on this event, I realized how ugly I was being, and moved on.
The take away from this situation?  I've changed and I'm slowly re-teaching myself how to cope with events that used to derail me completely.  This is no different than last week and the Halloween candy, when I saw myself taking 5 pieces and eating them like it was nothing.  I stopped that beast, just like I stopped this one.  Change is possible.  Habits can be broken.  Life is so much better with the beasts at bay. 
Oh, and yesterday, we worked on push-press again, and even as sore as I was, I got new PR's- 10 RM 85#, 1 RM- 115#. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

287- Introducing Jordan*

In my call for help last week, I mentioned I was taking the remainder of my year (a little over 9 months) and breaking it up into nine 30 day challenges.  I asked for volunteers to take a 30 day chunk with me, because, lets face it, accountability, support, and help are all incredible tools when it comes to eating well and exercise.  In this first call for help (I can assure you there will be at least one more) I got 5 resounding "yeses."  I've got November 1st- December 1st covered, and four volunteers for January-March.  January may have two folks, or maybe I can talk one of them into April (KMcC?).  I'm beyond ecstatic about this, I have help all the way up until the end of March, and maybe April!  I have a thought for someone to rope into December 1st to January 1st, but have yet to contact them...I'll let you know how that goes.  I understand that is probably the worst/hardest time to get someone to try and eat no sugar/grains/etc. with me! 
Week one of my November 1st to December 1st 30 day challenge (aka count-down to 100 days) with my friend Jordan* is complete.  We shared our food logs yesterday over e-mail, as well as our monthly mini-goal progress updates.  I have been rocking the Fish Oil and vitamin D supplements, and she has been steadily working herself back into paleo eating after a tough start to her week.   
A little background on Jordan- she has made several attempts over the past year at eating paleo.  She is incredibly smart, active, a phenomenal athlete (with a very athletic body), and would probably share her last piece of bacon with me if we were ever in a situation where there was only one piece of bacon that needed to be shared.  I'm going to hazard a guess for her reasons at attempting to adopt a more Paleo approach to her eating, and if any of these prove to be untrue in the next 23 days, I'll let you know:
- she likes the way she feels eating this way
- something about this way of eating makes sense to her
- she wants to lean out (more muscle definition)
Her mini-goals for the 30 days are to keep attending her gym and doing outside runs, working on upper body strength, getting enough sleep, and stretching. 
So far so good!  I'll let you know how we are doing next week.
*name has been made up for privacy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

288- Dead Lifts

I now know why they are called dead lifts.  I might be dead.  Yesterday at gym #1, we did a 12 minute workout consisting of 3 movements- bear crawl, dead lifts and pull-ups.  The dead lifts were relatively heavy, but not to crazy 155#.  Still, over the course of the workout I ended up doing 54 155# dead lifts.  I went home and looked up what the workout was going to be for today at gym #2.  Oh, a 15 minute workout consisting of 3 movements?  Dead lifts, sprints, and pull-ups?  Awe, man!  Essentially the same workout I just did, only 3 minutes longer, and with HEAVIER dead lifts?!

I woke up this morning feeling every muscle in my shoulders, upper back, and abs.  Still, with my love of dead lifts, I was confident I could pull them off in today's workout.  I started out with 155# on my bar, but after the first round had to drop down to 135#.  It was just too much.  Still, I completed 6 dead lifts at 155#, and 30 at 135#.  Now I die.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

289- Can't Force It

The older I get, the more I realize I'm not as in charge of my life as I think I am.  I notice anything I try to force, or feel strongly about generally does not go the way I push it and I'm always having to adjust my course, sometimes with great sadness or disappointment, other times gladly.  This is not a bad thing, it just takes some getting used to.  

Sure I can take steps in a direction of my choosing, but will I end up where I think I'm headed?  Nope.  Never.  I do however always manage to end up in a better place, whether I realize it at the moment or years later.  

So I'm going to go on doing what I can do everyday to make myself feel great (eating paleo and crossfitting!), but I'm going to quit trying to force life changes to happen at the wrong time (promotions, home buying, etc.), and just leave them up to whatever captain is steering my boat.  I suddenly feel so relieved.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

290- Fall Back

I love the end of daylight savings.  It makes me feel normal again.  I woke up wide awake at 7:30 this morning (yes, on a SUNDAY!) and immediately started my day.  I had an extra spring in my step, the sun was shining, and I got so much done.

If you forget about the part where I spent 2 hours peeling, coring and baking apples from the tree in our yard for applesauce only to find out when they came out of the oven that they had been infested with apple maggots, it was another perfect day!  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

291-Gift of a Day

Today was a beautiful clear fall day.  The kind of day where I could not sit inside and watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix, and had to go work in the yard.  I cleaned the chicken coop, I swept pine needles (holy crap, douglas fir trees are worse then any deciduous leave dropping tree!), did general yard stuff, took down my Halloween decorations, and sat in the sun.  

Its been awhile since I tried some Paleo baking, and ever since discovering Elena's Pantry, I've had much success.  I tried her Paleo Bread recipe a few months ago, and I've also made her banana muffins modified to be paleo.  Today I tried her Paleo Pumpkin Bread, and the house smells amazing.  I doubled the recipe (but kept the honey at the single recipe amount) added zest from 1/2 an orange, and stirred in some organic raisins at the end.  It made a perfect 12 muffins:
Seriously, I never knew almonds, eggs, salt, pumpkin, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, honey and raisins could look so good.  

I'll be enjoying one of these later with some organic pasture butter while watching Grey's Anatomy.  A perfect end to a perfect day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

292- Three Straight Days

Just as predicted, for the past 3 days there has been 1) a ridiculous mountain of candy in the kitchen at work (that seems to replenish itself daily) 2) no less then 2 boxes of donuts in the kitchen, and 3) catered lunch. 
I'll be the first to admit that I've stared at the donuts.  I've lifted the lid to the box and got a wiff of the sweet smell.  I've even picked up some of the Halloween candy chocolate pieces, and ran my fingers through the huge mound just looking at all that was there.  I thought about how I wished I could just grab a donut.  But I know better.  I thought about how good a mini Kit-Kat would taste with my morning coffee.  But I know better.  Insulin does not take any days off.
Today as I was staring at the mound of candy, letting my mind picture myself taking that next step of actually removing a piece from the basket, something weird happened.  I didn't just see myself taking one piece, I saw myself taking THE REST of the mini Kit-Kat's in the basket as well as the Hershey Bar (the rest of the candy was the Halloween dregs, jolly ranchers, twizzlers, etc).  I caught myself mid-thought, and said "yeah. Exactly.  There is no one piece.  You would end up taking 5 Kit-Kats and a Hershey bar, which would be 2.5 REGULAR size Kit-Kats!"
This was so eye opening to me, since I was able to see a few steps farther then just picking up the one Kit-Kat.  Rather then be in a non-present fog of just giving in and rationalizing, I was aware of what would happen next.  I saw myself grabbing all of them, with the panicked thought "there's only a few left!"  When in reality, I counted them and I saw there were 5, far more than a few.  I remembered how easily they would go down.  I remember how easy it was to eat ridiculous amounts of mini-candy bars.  I finished filling up my coffee, put coconut milk creamer in it, and walked out of the kitchen empty handed. 
Was this a near slip-up?  No.  After 70+ days avoiding this stuff has been more of the habit then giving in to it, so its not really a big deal.  Does it wear on me at times?  Absolutely.  I really think that is the issue going on here- its been 3 days of this stuff (4 if you count me handing out candy at Halloween) and I'm sick of being around it.  If its constantly in my face, then I'm looking at it, thinking about it, smelling it, etc. 
I know for me, the best way to be successful is to not be in situations where tempting items are (like an alcoholic avoiding a bar).  I do not walk into cupcake shops or bakeries.  I do not buy treats for the bf deluxe.  I try my best to not make treats for others (birthdays are the exception here), I keep restaurant dining to a minimum.  I do these things to build up my strength.  The longer I stay away, the less appealing they become.  I certainly have enough strength for the occasional circumstance (declining birthday cake at a friends party or whatever) but these next few months are going to be the toughest as I'm constantly bombarded with old familiar haunts.  One thing is now certain to me- 70+ days is clearly not enough time to put all the food crazy behind me.  The crazy is there, and is looking for any excuse to come out. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

293- Awesome Arms

Yesterday was a strength day.  We were attempting to find our 1 rep max for push press after finding our 10 rep max.  I was paired up with a new girl, it was her second day ever.  She had a great attitude.  I was happy to be paired with her and help her out.  

We took turns trying to find our respective maximum push presses, and at one point, when I was loading up my bar, new girl asks me: "So, is this the only thing you do?  I mean, workout wise? Your arms are amazing."  Whoa, whoa, whaaaaa?  Back up.  Did she just say my arms (my worst thing in the world) are amazing?  I thanked her, and said yes, any "arms" I had could be attributed to crossfitting and the awesomeness of the program/trainers/etc.  

But here's the thing.  I know what I have, and I know what I don't have.  Amazing arms are something that I do not have.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that they allow me to hang from a bar, hold myself in a handstand, lift heavy things, hug my bf deluxe and doggie, and eat!  But when I think of amazing arms, I think of sculpted deltoids, and curves of biceps, things I do not have.  I do not wear tank tops in public.

However, I did nail a 110# push press for my one rep max, so maybe my arms are pretty amazing afterall.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

294- HELP ME

Ooohhh, I'm so excited about this, I don't even know where to begin!  I've written about how I'm going to take all the help I can get when it comes to making the right food/exercise choices for me.  Help comes in many forms, but I find pier support/friendly competition the best.  I have a little over 8 months left in my one year challenge to myself, or 294 days.  So, here's what I'm thinking: I'm going to break up the rest of my time into nine 30 day challeges.  I'm going to ask for volunteers to take a 30 day chunk and go Paleo with me.  30 days is all you do, get 30 days closer to my goal is all I do.     
By working with a different person each month, I'm bound to never get bored.  We can share recipes and helpful tips.  Its an exciting opportunity for anyone that has been thinking about taking the Paleo plunge!  I don't bite (although, people are Paleo), I'd love to share what I've learned, and also to have the accountability of a partner for the remainder of the year.  30 days is NOTHING!  C'mon, who is with me?!
I already have a volunteer to get me from Day 70 to Day 100.  Who is going to take the 30 days after that, and after that?  I would love it if people that haven't tried Paleo to give it a try, its just 30 days!  Or even if you have tried but want to try again.  You can help me get to 365 faster, and you might just learn something about yourself!
There will be rules.  But nothing too crazy.  Once we have agreed upon a 30 day plan/goal set, I think we would be fine with a once a week check in.  That's 4 emails in 30 days.  Don't tell me you don't have time! 
You can remain anonymous if you want, or I will promote the crap out of your blog.  I'm not picky.  The only thing I do want is people that are serious about giving this a go for 30 days, and will actually give it their all.  I don't care if you eat 34 twinkies the night before, and then on day 31 eat 42 big macs.  All I'm interested in is 30 days of you abstaining from sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy (dairy can be potentially negotiable).  You don't even have to exercise. 
If you'd like to take a chunk of days let me know in the comments.  Otherwise, I'll just hunt people down.  I know where to find you.  I need 8 volunteers for the following: 
Dec 1 to Dec 31st
Jan 1 to Jan 31
Feb 1 to Feb 28
March 1 to March 31
April 1 to April 30
May 1 to May 31
June 1 to June 30
July 1 to July 31
I'll handle the last 20 something days on my own.  If, IF there is an overwhelming response and more then 8 people want to do a 30 day chunk, no problem.  The more the merrier. 
A few links (I have so many more) of Paleo inspiration/information:
An easy to read bio-chem breakdown:

A few good places to start:

Paleo Recipes!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

295- November 1 Update

So I'm 70+ days into this one year challenge.  I decided on October 1st to start doing monthly progress reports/goal setting.  I've been updating my measurements every month, and staying of the scale for the most part.  I say for the most part because while I know the scale doesn't really tell me anything real about my body composition, I do know that the number on the scale should be travelling in the downward direction just due to my size.  

The thing is, in these past 70 days, it hasn't budged much at all.  Up until a few days ago I was having panic moments that maybe yet again one more "plan" of mine is failing me.  Sure I feel great.  Sure I don't have any more cravings for horrible foods, and I can look at any food item with out it ruling my thoughts for the next hour/day/week.  Sure I've avoided sugar, grains, legumes, etc. for over 2 months, been going to CrossFit 4 days a week, but really?  No change on the scale?  

Perhaps I was spoiled by my initial Paleo experiment when I dropped 25 pounds in 3 months.  Of course I'm within a few pounds of that weight I reached after the 25 pound loss, but I clearly have more to go!  Hence my doubts.  

On October 1st, I decided to take a photo of me in shirt that I really like, but it is just a tad too tight for comfort I would not leave the house wearing this:

And same outfit Novemeber 1st:


Ok, so once again, the scale is full of shit.  I'm done panicking.  Moving forward on my course for a year of sticking to this plan...  

Progress Report:
Ankle- still getting stronger.  Sometimes I have some pain/stiffness, but after a warm up my mobility is nearly right back to where it was pre-sprain.
Recent lifts/workout feats that come to mind-
New Deadlift PR- 3 rep max- 200#
Box jumps- back to doing 18" box jumps
Ran 2 miles no problem
Sleep- getting plenty and still waking up before my alarm most days
Standing all day at work
Water consumption- good
Supplements- need to be better about taking fish oil and vitamin D.  

Goals for November:
Continue eating a paleo diet
Continue to work on kipping swings at gym/increasing my dead hang hold time
Work on one-legged squats daily
Take fish oil and vitamin D daily 
Have my first Paleo Thanksgiving

I took a new picture of me today, again, in an outfit that I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the house in.  The pants fit, but are snug, and the top I chose to go with the pants I wouldn't wear the two of them together just yet. You'll have to wait till December 1st (day 100!) to see if I feel comfortable wearing them together yet!