Confessions of an addict part 5,6,&7

I’ve chosen to combine the last 3 weeks of my Eat to Perform journal into one entry, primarily because I was getting bored with writing down each meal I was eating day in and day out. If I was bored writing it, I’m sure you would be bored reading it. What I’ll do is compile the best and worst moments and share them with you in one easy read.

Week 5

I’ve successfully completed 4 weeks of the nutrition challenge and hit the half way mark. I feel fitter, leaner, and stronger than ever before. I had a few slip ups when a good friend came to town and we went out for dinner and drinks. I was shocked when I didn’t feel like garbage the next day.

I really enjoy starting my week with homemade meals from Meal Prep Sunday. It saves me so much time throughout the week when all I have to do is pack my food bag for the day and head out the door. Making convenient meals on the go is key!

I finally seen HUGE gains this week: I PR’D my front squat by 15 lbs! I shocked myself as I only anticipated to PR by 5 lbs. I did a happy little PR dance (channel your inner Bob Ross on that one) and enjoyed life that night. I remember Meghan telling us the huge PR’s she had seen after doing ETP and I was thinking, “I don’t know how that can happen” but it did, and I’m stoked to test some more lifts in the coming weeks. In addition to the 15 lbs PR, I crushed the next day’s work out as well, and was not winded one bit. Things are starting to align between working out and nutrition and I’m digging the results.

Today was Valentine’s Day and honestly, it was the BEST v-day I’ve had in years. As a single lass, I’ve grown to despise this cheesy hallmark holiday but found a new appreciation and meaning for it today as I spent it with my lovely friends. Their selfless gestures and including nature are absolutely wonderful and I’m blessed to have them in my life. They cooked a hearty and healthy Valentine’s Day dinner and I brought the delicious and nutritious dessert:

Dinner:

  • Streak
  • Sweet potato fries with coconut oil and dill
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

Dessert:

  • Paleo Banana Ice Cream
  • My homemade Protein Bites

Can you say heavenly? The downside to all this deliciousness is I ate far too much and was miserable. With so much good food within reach, why stop?

Week 6

The results are in, friends. According to my super accurate health screening at work, I am .002 away from being considered obese! I tried my best to not laugh out loud when they were going over my results. To humor myself, I asked numerous questions to see how knowledgeable these people were. For starters, I asked the obvious:

“Why are you only screening for BMI in lieu of body fat percentage?”

Nurse: “We do screen for body fat percentage but I don’t know why we are not today.”

Me: “If I requested you screen my body fat percentage in lieu of BMI, would you do that today?”

Nurse: “No. Your company is the one who is requesting BMI.”

Me: “Of course they are. Okay, switching gears: normally when one is obese, would you say their numbers regarding blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol are really high?”

Nurse: “Why in fact, they always are”.

Me: “According to my numbers, my blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides are incredibly healthy. Can you help me understand how my numbers are healthy but I’m considered borderline obese?”

Nurse: (long pause) “I, um, I’m not quite sure how to answer that. Nobody has ever asked me these questions before”.

Me: “That surprises me. What do you suggest I do to lose ‘said’ weight?”

Nurse: “Eat less, exercise more.”

I chuckled and shook my head in disbelief. I thanked her for her time and I’m sure she was happy to see me go. I could have gone on but decided to let the poor lady do her job even though the health care system is, in my opinion, broken in so many ways.

What saddens me most is the fact that people are not asking proper questions when going through these health assessments. Educate yourself! Ask questions! Challenge the system. Think for yourself and think outside the box. There is so much knowledge out there but you need to seek it out yourself.

Changing subjects all together, something incredibly positive happened this week: YOGA. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed yoga in the past and have benefited in mobility, but I’ve never quite experienced yoga the way I did this this evening with Good Vibes Yoga. It was a life changing experience in the sense that I felt a mind/body connection like never before. It was an emotional, self-awareness connection which brought such clarity and relaxation. I’ve never been this excited for another yoga session in my life.

The next day I was still on the ‘omg YOGA’ train and telling everyone about it. What an incredible experience! Later that evening, I went out for dinner with friends and cheated if you will, as I finally let loose and had some alcohol; nothing too crazy but enough for it to be enjoyable. The only thing that suffered the next day was my metal state, because this girl is not built for less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Does this mean I’m getting old? #iThinkitDoes

Week 7

This week was pretty great. My strength has come back full force and I see a lot of new PR’s coming my way. I’ve noticed the food I’ve been eating and habits I’ve created around my nutrition are all aligning and working for me instead of against me and I’m happy to see the hard work and dedication show in multiple avenues of my life.

To summarize my 7th week of eating clean, I’m proud of how far I’ve come and only had a few shortcomings and slips. I’m excited to see my results in the next week as we will be weighed and measured for the first time since the challenge began. (Side note: I was actually weighed a week ago for my biometric screening at work and have GAINED 3lbs). With that said, I’ve also dropped an entire pant size while gaining 3lbs. Say what?!?! Building muscle and losing inches…what a beautiful thing!

 

Confessions of an addict, part 4

Day 22

Guess what I finally did today?!? I went GROCERY SHOPPING!!! Meal prep Sunday turned into meal prep Monday, and it was glorious! You should have seen my kitchen this evening: I utilized everything accessible in and on the stove as well as the George Foreman grill. The remainder of my week will include delicious and nutritious meals and getting my macros back on point.

I cooked so many delicious things, I couldn’t decide on what to eat for dinner, so I sampled a little of everything: I had all the ingredients for a BLT (sans the bun), couscous, blackened chicken breast, smoked apple wood burgers, sweet potatoes, and chopped veggies.

I went to bed with a happy stomach and felt relaxed knowing I have meals for the week ahead.

Day 23

7:00am: Back on my breakfast grind! I made 2 over medium eggs this morning along with 3 pieces of bacon and some organic dried, Turkish apricots from Trader Joes. MMMMMMMMMM! My meals are packed for the day and I’m ready to go! Let’s do this!!

10:00am: My mid-morning snack of organic granola with almond milk is nice, but upsets my stomach 20 minutes after consumption. I should probably give that up all together, but it’s so tasty!!!

12:15pm: It’s almost lunch time and I’m getting hungry. I brought in one of the apple wood burgers (sans bun) with lettuce, tomato, onion and asparagus. Can’t wait to eat that!

3:30pm: I’ve got an hour left of work and I’m starting to get a bit hungry again. Luckily I’ll be home soon-ish and enjoy a pre-wod meal. I’ve input all of my meals for today in MFP and I’m shocked by how close I’ve come to my macros today! I’ve successfully got myself up to 200g of carbs!! Woohoo! Next week I hope to hit my real goal of 253g. I’ve also come within 5-10g of fat, protein, and sugar! I’m thrilled to see myself finally getting closer to ALL OF MY MACOS!! That feels like a victory, my friends.

Day 24

It’s HUMP DAY, WHAT WHAT?!?! The week is so much better because I’ve prepared my meals in advance!!!

I brought my lunch today, but the roomie wanted to continue a Wednesday girl’s lunch at Mixed again, so I couldn’t pass that up. The food is good; it’s healthy, and filling! I highly recommend it!

Mid-afternoon, I took a health assessment for my insurance company. Many of you saw my rant on Facebook regarding the results, but for those who didn’t, here’s what you missed:

 

I know I didn’t eat enough throughout the day because I skipped a pre-wod meal before competition class tonight and I felt the difference! I was slow moving, hungry, and didn’t perform as well as I could have. I also shaved down my calluses the previous evening so my paws were a bit raw for all of the bar work. No Bueno.

Post-comp class, I ate a feast! I ate the following:

  • 4 oz blackened chicken breast
  • 1 cup chicken couscous
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 slices bacon

It did the trick. I went to bed feeling full and satisfied.

Day 25

I’m convinced breakfast is the best meal of the day, hands down. The day is so much better when I eat a hearty breakfast with delicious coffee on the side. I’m the kind of girl who needs at least 1-2 cups in the morning before we have an intellectual conversation. My friends will attest to my zombie-like behaviors, pre-coffee, and sometimes surprise me with it if we have some early morning activities planned.

Although my meal game has been on point this week, I’ve really slacked on actually ‘posting’ my meals on MFP. I’m still weighing everything with the food scale, but I input a few meals and just forget to put the rest in or forget to ‘complete’ the diary.

Day 26

It’s Friday! Yay! And to make Friday even better, I took a half day at work, woot woot! Off at 11:30am today starts the weekend off right.

I came home, made a delicious lunch, cleaned the house, and received my first Stitchfix! I heard about this concept from a few gals on Facebook and how much they love it, so I decided to try it out.

Clothes shopping has always been challenging for me. As a 5ft-ish girl with an athletic body, you can only imagine how awful it is for me to find anything that fits my body proportions correctly. Jeans in particular are the WORST. Try sizing an itty-bitty waist with a big booty and thunder thighs correctly- it’s nearly impossible! Anyway, back to the Stitchfix I received. I was excited to see what the stylist picked out for me as I was very detailed in what I was looking for. My box included 5 items: skinny jeans, a raglan top, a suede shawl, a navy-blue jersey dress, and a geometric design necklace. The first thing I grabbed was the jeans. I looked at them and laughed out loud as I thought to myself, ‘there’s no friggen way I’m fitting in these things’. To my surprise, these sweet jeans FIT ME PERFECTLY!!!!! I mean PERFECTLY! I’m so picky when it comes to jeans because I’m used to something being off- pocket placement, too much gaping/space in the front and waistband, too tight in the thighs- but not these. I am in LOVE. The brand is Kensie– I’ve never heard of it until today. But I will be purchasing more, that’s for certain!

Okay, enough with my Stitchfix obsession and back to food and nutrition. The end of week 4 is approaching and I’m excited to say- I’VE OFFICIALLY DROPPED A PANT SIZE, just by cutting out SUGAR and PROCESSED GARBAGE!!! Who knew that would happen?!?!?!? I’m feeling leaner, lighter, and am starting to see my abs again! That is enough motivation to make this an ongoing habit.

Day 27

I lead a pretty exciting life and by exciting, I mean I was in bed last night before 10:00pm. Talk about a party animal. I slept solid: waking at 8:30, made some breakfast and hit comp class for 2 hours of torture. It was a well needed ass kicking, one which started the morning out perfectly. After enduring the brutality, I quickly ate something small (protein bar) and rushed about the afternoon running errands before my evening plans.

I really should have done all of my grocery shopping today, but decided against it as all the crazy people were stocking up for the snowpocalypse heading our way. I hate being in the grocery store with all the frantic folks, cleaning out the aisles, so I opted out and will see what I have in the fridge.

Of course when I come home, nothing I currently have in the fridge is appealing. So there’s that.

The rain quickly turned into snow in the afternoon, making me regret my decision to NOT grocery shop when I was running errands earlier in the day. If we get as much snow as they predict, I’m not going anywhere tomorrow, and will be stuck with the unappealing options currently lurking in my refrigerator.

Confessions of an addict, part 3

Day 15

Another day off from work, woohoo! I’m up early and working in my sweat shop. I’m getting ready to make a scrumptious breakfast, delicious coffee, and walk the dog shortly after. I’ve done a terrible job over the weekend preparing for this week’s meals. Luckily for me, I have enough extra food made up to last me a few more days. Procrastination at its finest!

Day 16

They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I say that applies to almost everything in life, with the exception of sugar and my addiction to it. I feel like this will be a life-long battle; one similar to the way drug addicts experience withdraws. Okay, that’s probably an extreme analogy, but in all seriousness, I still crave sugar. Let’s be clear: not the sugary crap like Sour Patch Kids or Pop Rock- more like rich, dark chocolate, homemade cake, cupcakes, tiramisu, and GUM!! Oh, how I miss gum. I miss changing the flavor of my mouth, because one’s mouth tends to go stale about 30 minutes after brushing teeth.

The last few days have been chaotic for me as I’ve been preparing to compete in The Crossfit Circus this coming weekend and also sell my products there. Between sewing in my sweat shop the last 4 days and only leaving to get more fabric and workout to keep my sanity, I failed to grocery shop and meal prep as I normally do each Sunday. With that said, I’ve been using all the leftovers I have in my fridge for make-shift meals. I totally see where that term derives from now.

I’m not thrilled to be back to my normal 9-5 job today but I do appreciate the habitual routines I develop in and around the work day. For example, I woke at 4:30am today, ate a small pre-lift meal, went to the gym at 5am, lifted, came home, showered, cooked breakfast, packed all my meals for the work day, got to work, and ate at my scheduled times. When I leave here I’ll go home, eat a pre-wod meal, hit the gym for workout #2, eat, strategize for The Crossfit Circus, shower again, sew, sleep, and repeat everything tomorrow. That’s a typical weekday for me. With all these activities, I MUST make some time this week to properly grocery shop, or hire an assistant to do that kind of thing for me. One can dream, right?!?

Day 17

We all get busy, so ‘being busy’ is a crappy excuse for not doing things. Let’s be real for a moment: I haven’t made time to go grocery shopping yet, so I’ve been scrapping together anything I can in my fridge that’s ETP approved. Truthfully, I’m running out of options and I need to get my shit together.

Since I failed to properly pack a nutritious and satisfying lunch, I tried out a new-to-me restaurant today called Mixed, and it was delicious! It offered a great variety of healthy options which fit nicely into my ETP plan. Ladies, take advantage of the Wednesday deal: two ladies receive buy one get one half off!

As I returned to the office after my delightful lunch, I noticed someone brought us Thelma’s cookies. I’M SO JEALOUS!!! I WANT ONE SOOOOOOOOOO BADLY. They’re literally in my sight, staring at me, begging me to taste them. But I won’t give in. I think my co-workers are purposely doing this to see if I’ll crack. Not going to happen. I thrive on challenges!

But seriously, check out the adorable packaging:

 Thelma's Cookies

I’m still struggling to hit all of my carb and fat macros on a daily basis. I’m doing really well with my protein consumption and natural sugar but need to add more carbs. Perhaps more bacon will suffice to increase my fat consumption. I’d be okay with that for now.

Day 18

Today I feel leaner and lighter; my work pants are loose and do not fit like they did a few weeks ago. I believe I’ve lost some inches already but cannot confirm yet since we are not allowed to measure or weight ourselves until the end. Although curious, I’m glad we’re not measuring or weighing until then. I’d hate to be discouraged as I’ve done a good job staying with this so far.

Day 19

Another day, same story- Old Mother Hubbard is hanging around my cubbards. I’m scrapping together anything and everything I can because I still haven’t gone grocery shopping-woof.

2:00pm: I just realized I’m emotionally eating- which I do when I’m stressed out or pissed off. In this case, I’m both. Luckily for me,  I’m binging on dried apples instead of the whole bag of Reeses. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I started feeling full- I honestly don’t know how many I ate. Ugh….

6:00pm: I’m paying for all of those dried apples I ate out of anger. I am bloated beyond belief! All of the fiber I ate in a short amount of time and natural sugar- woof. I over did it and it sucks!!! Hoping this goes away over night because I hit the competition floor tomorrow morning.

Day 20

Today’s day one of The Crossfit Circus, and I’m thrilled to step out on the floor with my gym wife. Since the emails indicate costumes are welcome, we went ALL out. Who doesn’t love a good reason to dress in costume?

From left: KT Marie, Sara, Me

 From left: KT Marie, Sarah, and I.

KT Marie, Sean, and I striking a pose!

 From left: KT Marie, Sean, and I.

Also, shout out to our friends who joined suit and dressed up as well!

Lions, Tigers, and Ringleaders, OH MY!

 From left: Brad, Chris, KT Marie, myself, Alyssa, and Kya.

Circus.2

Above: Kt Marie, Chris, and I.

During competition days, I don’t eat a lot until the final event is finished. Today’s fuel was ALL HEALTHY deliciousness, and (mostly) challenge compliant. I didn’t make any of the snacks but the gym wife and Alyssa did. Protein bites, protein muffins, homemade protein bars, fruit and protein powder fueled my day. Nothing was pre-weighed, because I had no time for that and just ate what was in front of me.

Post competition day one, we fueled our bodies properly with REAL FOOD: steak kabobs with grilled peppers and onions, along with a baked potato and steamed broccoli and carrots. Probably the best steak I’ve had in a while. I’m now in a happy state of food coma and ready for bed. The Final Act awaits us in the morning.

Day 21

Today’s the final day of The Crossfit Circus and only one event remains. I ate a protein muffin and apple prior to the event, which seemed to get me through The Final Act without redlining. After the event, it took me awhile to want something to eat. I munched on more protein bites, bars, and muffins to get me through and cheered on the rest of my friends.

I have a confession to make…

…I had Zombie Burger today, post competition, and it was glorious! I’d say it was compliant and in my macros: I had my favorite burger: #6 DEAD MOINES: a single burger, no bun with prosciutto and gouda along with French fries (white potatoes). I really wanted a beer but opted out. So this counts, as a compliant meal, right Meghan?!?

Regardless if it does or does not, it didn’t make me feel sick, which is awesome. I was slightly worried about that as I haven’t eaten there since this summer.

Confession #2

I did not eat anything else the rest of the evening, so I know for a fact I was well under my macros today. I didn’t even track in MFP yesterday or today because how does one track homemade protein bites, bars, and muffins that were prepared for, with love, by friends? It wasn’t practical for me to guess and truthfully, wasn’t on my mind during the competition. So, here’s to being exhausted, surviving another competition, lying around the rest of the day, [should meal prep but honestly won’t] and getting back on track tomorrow. Cheers, friends.

Confessions of an addict, part 2

Week 2- Eat to Perform begins

Day 8

Today has been the best I’ve felt since we began the challenge. It was also my first day of Eat to Perform. I found it challenging to hit all of my macronutrients today, and came short of my daily goals for protein and carbohydrates. I found myself feeling starved throughout work today, which tells me I need more protein and complex carbs throughout the day. Although I planned well last night (i.e. cooked so much food) I failed to pack the lunchbox appropriately. Who does that?!?

I was excited to add back in almond milk and oatmeal today! Oh, and BACON. I love me some bacon! I cooked up a mighty fine breakfast scramble this morning with bacon, of course.

For lunch, I made tacos! I chose to season the meat with salt, pepper, and some Mrs. Dash table blend. Instead of taco shells, I used a head of lettuce and approximately 3-4 full leaves as the ‘shell’. I added some mango peach salsa for flavor. It was tasty!

For dinner, I ate pot roast, potatoes, and carrots. Another delicious meal.

Snacks today consisted of too much fats as I may have overdone it with the bacon and almonds, but I felt energized and full throughout the day. I just need to get in the groove of pre-weighing everything and logging it into MFP to see where I have wiggle room.

Day 9

I feel better daily, like a normal human being. The feeling is glorious. My food is working for me instead of against me and I feel it. Although delicious, cutting out the processed garbage makes me feel more alert and less zombie like.  With new additions allowed back into my diet and the caloric intake increase, I’m feeling satisfied yet slightly bloated, which I was forewarned about. I’m slowly trying to increase my carbohydrate intake to 200g/day and in a few weeks increase it again to 253g/day. Seems like a lot, huh? It is. Yesterday I didn’t eat enough, period. I barely consumed 100 g of protein and less than 100g of carbs. I did, however, consume 10 glasses of water and paid for it as I woke up hourly to relieve it.

I’m currently on a better plan of attack today and hope to be closer to my macos by the end of the day. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, which probably explains why I’ve been taking the time to come up with such delicious options.

Lunch was spectacular, consisting of organic lemon pepper chicken breast, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and bacon! YUM! I will say the one nice thing about utilizing my fitness pal is it shows you where you have wiggle room and where you don’t so you make better eating options. The numbers don’t lie! For example, I really want some more fruit right now, but after my breakfast, lunch, and snacks thus far, I only have 12g of sugar left in my daily allotment and if I eat this strawberry banana chia seed smoothie, there goes 10 of those 12 remaining sugar grams. Sadly, I’m opting out of that delicious strawberry banana smoothie today.

Instead of choosing that smoothie, which I know for a fact is delicious; I chose a road less traveled: GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but:

It was the MOST DISGUSTING THING, EVER. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I pawned it off on my old boss who was thrilled to receive it. Gross.

3:45PM: Feeling a little crash right now and literally counting down the minutes until I’m off work. I’m not craving any sugar though, which is a first in 9 days! Woohoo! Small victories!

5:00pm: I never eat a ‘pre-workout meal’ but for the sake of the macros, I figured today I should try. I whipped up a smoothie:

  • 1 small banana
  • ½ cup organic oats
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop SFH chocolate protein powder

It was yummy! I felt full and ready for my 6pm WOD. I was shocked by how I didn’t seem to ‘run out of gas’ during the workout tonight and think I should keep doing something like this.

7:30pm- Post-wod I whipped up a taco dinner:

  • 4 oz lean ground beef 93/7 with chopped onion (1tbsp)
  • ¼ cup mixed bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced and diced
  • 100% white corn tortillas
  • 5 tbsp Peach Mango Salsa

Prior to ETP (when we were not allowed tortilla’s) I used lettuce leaves from a head of lettuce as the ‘shell’. It was very good!

Day 10

I wasn’t in the mood for a hot breakfast this morning, so I chose a smoothie, instead. I blended together the following:

  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • ½ cup organic oats
  • 1 scoop SFH vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

I like the taste and consistency of adding oats to the smoothie; also it helps keep me full longer.

Of course, working in an office environment, there’s the constant temptation of terrible food choices- someone brought in Panera bagels today. Luckily for me, I’m full from the smoothie so the appeal of simple carbs isn’t there. WINNING!

10:45am: Mid-morning snack time! Since oats and granola have been allowed back, I’ve found a new love for oats which I’ve NEVER experienced before; however, I despise warm ‘oatmeal’ due to its regurgitation-like texture. More power to you if you can consume that. It puts the T in NASTY for me! Here’s what I’m doing with oats:

  • ½ cup dry oats
  • 1 small banana, chopped up
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Mixed together cold, it’s like crunchy cereal. I dig it.  The downside to this sweet treat: Since grains were allowed back into our diet, I’ve noticed it really f*cks with my stomach- I feel bloated and have stomach cramps within 30 minutes of eating the oats. Add it to the list of $h*t my stomach is sensitive to. It’s getting rather long.

I just input the remainder of my meals for today in My Fitness Pal and I’m happier with where my macros are landing. Although not entirely up to par with my carbs and fats, my protein is spot on. I think the only way to get my carbs and fats up today would include a Scratch cupcake, or brownie. I threw that idea out at Meghan today; we’ll see what she says.  A girl can dream, right?!?

…5 minutes later… SHOT DOWN– well for this challenge anyway. Since the goal of the challenge is to eat clean, no brownies or cupcakes, boo hiss! I get it. The good news: after the challenge, TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE! WOOT WOOT! The awesome part about ETP is you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your macros. BOOM! I love food. That is all.

I think I am going to take Meghan’s advice and start pre-planning my meals in MFP. I plan out every other detail of my day so I may as well make a plan for this. It seems to have helped me today, as I’m sitting SPOT ON at my grams of protein (131g), 15g shy of my fat goal, and exceeded my goal of 175g carbs by 8g(out of my 253g allotment), which for me is HUGE! It’s been a struggle trying to consume at least 200g of carbs per day, so I lowered it to 175 and that has proven to be attainable. 200g….I’m slowly coming for you!

2:00pm: Late lunch for me. I am currently eating:

  • 4 oz. lemon pepper chicken breast, oven baked, delish!
  • My new favorite concoction: baked, cubed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and….BACON! Oh.Em.GEE. To die for. Give it a try!!! Shout out to Sarah for the idea!

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…I think I’m starting to fall for sweet potatoes. If you had asked me this 10 days ago, I’d have thought you were nuts. They’ve grown on me. I think the cinnamon helps, a LOT. And the bacon…mmmm. Whatever the reason, I’ve found a new love.

10:00pm: I’m up later than I want to be and although I’m physically exhausted from competition class tonight, I can’t seem to turn my brain off. Class was ridiculously challenging:  I’m not sure what my deal was tonight, but I felt weak as f*ck.  I felt like a whale, bloated from the diet changes this week. Bar muscle ups were NOT happening, not even with a band!  Pull-ups felt like I had anchors attached to my feet and cleans felt incredibly heavy when the prescribed weight was only 68% of my 1RM. I was irate. We’ll just say tonight’s workout didn’t go as planned.

Day 11

Felt a bit rushed this morning as I went into work early. I quickly threw together an egg scramble with:

  • 2 organic eggs
  • ½ cup mixed peppers (green, yellow, red)
  • 1 cup kale

It tastes good and must smell good because everyone at work has been commenting on it.

I tossed my food bag together in a few minutes and completely forgot my almond milk for my mid-morning snack. Bummed! Come to think of it, I really hope I didn’t leave the almond milk out on the counter this morning! GAH! I should have packed my bag last night, but was discombobulated from my performance at the gym that I spaced off.

One good thing about today so far, is I’m feeling less bloated, yay! As I’m sitting at my desk, eating my lunch, I’ve noticed something: my taste buds are changing. I had some sweet potatoes with cinnamon and bacon again today and it’s glorious. It only took 11 days of force-feeding me sweet potatoes to actually wanting to eat them. I’m shocked! I noticed this change last night as I ate my pot roast and regular potatoes and as I took a bite of the regular potato, I was slightly disappointed at the lack of flavor it held. Perhaps I never noticed that previously as I used to douse it with butter, salt and pepper. As an Irish girl, I absolutely LOVE regular potatoes; however, now I think I’m starting to prefer sweet over regular.

2:30pm-Post lunch sleepiness. Feeling a bit sluggish at the moment and still crave/want my afternoon coffee. I’m not sure that will ever go away.

The positive side of today- I’m off in about an hour and don’t have to return to work for the next 4 day. With that said, I’m going to do my best to stay on track and consume the adequate amount of nutrients.

Day 12

It’s Friday and I don’t have to work today! Woo-hoo! It is 8am and I am up and working, though, preparing my merchandise for next weekend’s competition. I have so much to sew, it’s crazy! To start my day off, I cooked up another incredible breakfast. Come to think of it, maybe I’m biased- I haven’t cooked for anyone else in a long time so perhaps I just think my breakfast is the bee’s knees. Anyone want to come be my taste tester, let me know. I’d like some validity to my statements here.

Moving on… I’ve fallen trap to the busy weekend routine, again. In my sewing room, also referred to as the ‘sweat shop’, I put on Netflix and got to work. It’s now 12:30pm and I need some lunch. I’ve realized I’ve done a terrible job hydrating myself thus far, so I’m making a point to stop on occasion to refill my glass.

2:00pm: Taking another break. Eating a snack before I run a few errands. Although it makes my stomach a hot mess, I absolutely love this snack:

  • ½ cup dried, organic granola
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup banana

Sure as $*%t, within 30 minutes of consuming that delicious treat above, my stomach was angry. Of course, I was mid fabric shopping and just had to deal with the pain. There was no time to acknowledge my body’s symptoms so I just kept moving.

4:00pm: I’m back home and frantically trying to prepare dinner as Alyssa is coming over at 6:30 to help me cut fabric. I’m making one of my favorite crockpot recipes tonight from another favorite food blog, Paleomg. From here, I went to the crockpot section and made the Enchilada Chicken Stew which is TO DIE FOR. If you like spicy food like I do, MAKE THIS ASAP. One word of advice- wear gloves when you chop the jalapenos.  No matter how much I scrubbed my hands after chopping them, the jalapeno juice seeped into my skin; which became problematic later in the evening when I took out my contacts – it effing STUNG my eyeballs. Not recommended for a very good time.

8:30pm: Alyssa and I take a break from cutting fabric to enjoy Enchilada Chicken Stew. I forgot to mention, I omitted the garlic and avocado, because, I HATE GARLIC and unfortunately I’m allergic to avocado. Sad news, right? Sans 2 ingredients, it’s still ahh-mazing.

Day 13

It’s Saturday morning and I’m up early again, because, who sleeps in anymore? Sometimes I wish I could but sleeping in anymore is 8am; which I accomplished today Up and at it, it my 12 day streak of cooking myself breakfast. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and taking my dog for a walk. Did I mention it is January 17th, 8:00am and 49 degrees outside? It feels like a heatwave!

I need to figure out a system of drinking enough water and eating on the weekends, because I get so busy and kind of forget. *Side note* Maybe I should set some alarms on my phone for the weekend, reminding me to eat and drink water, lol. Silly idea, but it just might work.

We had our gym holiday party tonight. It was nice to be surrounded by others’ doing the challenge as we aren’t allowed to drink. There were a good chunk of us sipping our H20 out of Dixie cups, with limes, looking lame, but in this TOGETHER!  I don’t miss drinking but I miss the social aspect of it. Only 6 more weeks… 6. More. Weeks. That is 42 more days, or March 1st, to be exact. At that point, the Open will be in week 1 and who wants to drink or eat badly during that 5 week span? I’M ONTO YOUR PLAN GUYS!

Day 14

Today marks my 2 week span of eating CLEAN: no sugar, no bad carbs, and no processed garbage. I feel focused, alert, and energized. My sugar cravings are minimal and I no longer crave chocolate 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times I really want a cookie, brownie, or chocolate, but my willpower is stronger than the desire to give into food which will ultimately make me feel bloated and lethargic.

I really enjoy cooking for myself DAILY. Prior to this challenge, I cooked for myself but not every meal. I’d rely on a salad from Palmer’s deli a few days out of the week, protein bars (which I REALLY miss, Quest bars in particular), and protein shakes (I miss using Muscle Pharm protein powder). I will say that using SFH protein powder is the cleanest protein out there, and you can taste the difference. The first time I used it, I mixed the chocolate SFH protein powder with only 8 oz. of water. It literally tasted like I was drinking chocolate grass. Get creative with what you add to the protein powder- almond milk and fruit helps masks the taste a bit until you get used to it.

Sundays are my time to sew and meal prep. I’ll be hitting the grocery store later this afternoon to prep for the week to come. This is a big week: The Crossfit Circus is upon us! I’ll be competing with my gym wife and selling my products through the gym. I have a lot to prepare for, so my meal game and macros need to be on point!

Well, instead of grocery shopping and meal planning, I spent the ENTIRE day in the sweat shop. After a productive day, my roommate insisted we try out Flix Brewhouse, a new theater which serves food and drinks. It reminded me of the days I used to live in Kansas City and go to the AMC theaters. I’m stoked that concept has come to Des Moines! The downside of the roomie/movie night was I’m on this challenge and I couldn’t eat or drink what I wanted there. That was rough! They serve 2 of my favorite beers on tap, which most places don’t, and you can even get them by the PITCHER. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?! I’ll most definitely be going back after this challenge is over.

Goal Diggin’

Each year I write down my annual goals in lieu of NYE resolutions. For me, specific goals are more attainable than some resolution you forget about 20 days into January.

Goal setting was introduced to me by my father. As a kid, he continuously asked thought provoking questions like, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, “What do you need to do today to reach that goal?” Though it seemed redundant, these conversations helped shape my futuristic way of thinking. He encouraged me to put pen to paper and write out my goals starting with long term goals followed by short term goals. My dad instilled the importance of setting deadlines and hanging these goals in a place we could look at daily and discuss. Of course as a child, I thought the concept was a bit silly, but it has stayed with me throughout the years.

As the year is approaching its end, I’m starting to reflect on the 2014 goals I set out to accomplish. Did I achieve all I set out to? How attainable were these goals? What could I have done differently?

5 Tips for effective goal setting:

1. Write them down! What kind of a plan doesn’t include a written map?

2. Break goals up into categories: Long Term, Short Term, 6 months, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily. If you look at them as small steps rather than an overwhelming ‘idea’, it becomes more attainable.

3. Give yourself deadlines. Without deadlines, the ‘goal’ will float in limbo and never be achieved.

4. Share and discuss them with others. This helps hold yourself and others accountable.

5. Place them in a spot you look at DAILY. The phrase ‘out of sight out of mind’ is applicable here. If you look at your goals on a daily basis, you’re more likely to achieve them at the pace you’ve set.

Your goal list can be as simple as a hand written piece of paper or an elaborate dream board. I type my goal sheet out and print off a few copies: one for home, one for the office, and one for my purse. A friend of mine from the gym recently introduced me to a fancy Passion Planner, which I am pre-ordering for the 2015 year. Whatever method you choose, be sure to revisit the goals you set out for yourself. You may find they need to be tweaked along the way, which is perfectly acceptable.

Think about what you want to achieve, create your plan, and make 2015 the best year to come!

Napolean Hill

10.01.2012

As I sit at my cubicle, I realize today is October 1st, a symbolic day in my books. On this date two years ago, I chose a road less traveled; a road many think about and few find the courage to take. This road is a bumpy one: filled with endless challenges-both mentally and physically. If you dare take this road, be prepared. Your life will change in many ways you never thought possible. As I sit here and reflect, I wonder where I would be today if I hadn’t walked through those doors.

Whether it was the fear of sucking or fear of the unknown which kept me away for quite some time, I decided Oct. 1, 2012 would be the day I satisfied my curiosity. Alone, nervous, and definitely out of my comfort zone, I walked into my 1st box and experienced my 1st Crossfit workout: FRAN. Like so many others before me, I wondered why I hadn’t started sooner. The energy was contagious. The encouragement, the support, and the challenge: everything about this place was intoxicating. The whole idea of a community which shared similar interests and supported each other was incredible to witness: instantly I knew I wanted to become a part of it.

Each day I learned something completely new and exciting. I began a list of goals I wanted to tackle and started working on them one by one. The process of acquiring new skill sets and the challenge they impose beguiles me. Enthralled by the sport, I quickly realized where I was and where I wanted to be; therefore, my progress developed. Although I am 2 years in and have come a tremendous way since day 1, I still feel like I have a long way to go. For me, the process is on-going. There will always be some skill to tackle, ways to become more efficient, and more knowledge to acquire.

The challenges you experience in this atmosphere lead to the wonderful progress. There is so much beauty in the progress itself; many people forget the small steps it takes to get the end result. I encourage you all to take a moment to reflect on what brought you in the doors initially: what continues to bring you back, and why do you stay? Appreciate the hard work it’s taken you to get where you are today. EARN each score you post. Feel the struggle. Write down your goals and get after them! Nobody will give this to you. Make your mission to destroy the weakness that lives inside you. After all, it’s just ‘YOU AGAINST YOU’.

REPS DON’T LIE! Or do they?

We’ve all been there: Mid WOD, gasping for breath, telling yourself only x amount of work left, and then it happens; the “oh shit, how many was that?” moment when you lose count of your reps.  It’s an honest mistake which occasionally happens to us all.

At the first box I belonged to, the rule of thumb was to start at zero when you miscount. A little extra work won’t hurt you, but lying about your reps will. GUESS WHAT? At the end of the day, NO ONE CARES WHAT YOUR SCORE WAS! Everyone cares if you cheated. If someone calls you out for doing something wrong, listen! Take constructive criticism and GET BETTER. There’s no excuse for shoddy reps when you clearly know the standards.

How are you ever going to get better or excel on skills you don’t put the work into? WHY ARE YOU HERE? Are you one of those who think it sounds cool if you say you crossfit? Is your intention to look the best on the whiteboard so you can post about how awesome your Fran time was when you clearly didn’t get your chin above the bar? Everyone’s level of dedication to the sport varies, which is completely acceptable. What I find unacceptable is the image you’re portraying when you continually shave reps.

Bragging about how much you can lift is great; however, it will only get you so far: the bar doesn’t lie, and it damn sure won’t lift itself. When you’re going neck to neck with someone day in and day out, and they miraculously score a LOT better than you, one tends to notice. I’ve seen this happen at both boxes I’ve belonged to. These are the people whom, in my opinion, are more concerned about how they look to everyone else. They forget that we notice they cheat. I’m guilty of giving these people the ‘stank eye’ from time to time because I question EVERY score they post now. It could be a legit score too, but one doesn’t know this if you’ve been caught cheating yourself or counting reps that are clearly not at the RX standard.

Doing a WOD as RX is a fantastic accomplishment when done using the proper standards and technique. On the flip side, I truly believe it is hurting many Crossfit athletes. So many crossfitters are more concerned about being able to do the WOD RX, but they don’t fully develop the necessary skill work and technique to excel. Take the time! This isn’t a race. Who cares if you’re the last person to finish? Make every rep count. SCALE the WOD if your skills aren’t fully devolved yet. They will eventually get there IF you do the work. Be patient. EARN EVERY REP. Get uncomfortable. Suck sometimes. Most importantly, DO THE WORK. It’s YOU vs YOU.

 

 

The Importance of Flexibilty

When you think of the word flexibility what do you initially think of? Is it your body’s inability to move in certain positions making daily activities or hobbies impossible? Is it that yoga class you know you should attend but make up excuses as to why you can’t make it?

What if I told you flexibility goes far beyond your body’s capabilities and into your mind?

I recently heard someone talk about flexibility and why they can’t do this or can’t do that, and it immediately reminded me of a quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”. Flexibility of the mind is far more challenging than the flexibility of the body. When it comes to pushing new limits, you are your own worst enemy. How many times do you catch yourself doubting your greatness or practicing negative-self talk?

Here are my top 5 go to’s when I hear those negative voices creeping up in my head:

  1. Control the Contorllables. This is one of the best things my dad ever taught me. YOU are in charge of how you think, respond and react to everything around you.  If you can’t control it, stop sweating it and move forward.
  2. Create a P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude).  Figure out what key phrases work for you and remind yourself of them at your time of weakness. Something as simple as “keep moving”, “trust yourself”, “you’ve done this 1,000 times before, you can do it again”.
  3. Leave it at the door. We all have things going on in our personal lives but no matter what is going on in my life, I choose to leave it at the door when I walk inside the gym. When I am there I want to be present and absorb all the information and knowledge around me.  How can I do that if I’m thinking about what happened at work? Be present and in the moment.
  4. Embrace failure.  Without a doubt, you will fail at something in your life; whether it’s a new Snatch PR, a job promotion, or a stupid mistake. What make failures wonderful are the opportunities they create to learn and grow.
  5. Face your fears. We all fear something, but remember FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Start attacking your weaknesses!

Next time you hear that voice creeping in your mind, figure out a way to overcome it.

BECOME UNSTOPPABLE!!!

Progress

“Progress, no matter how big or small, is still progress”, Shannon reminded me the other day. I was frustrated with my first two performances for the Crossfit Open. She reminded me I had just switched gyms at the beginning of January, started a new strength and conditioning program, and have been putting in the work to make huge gains over the next year. Shannon has been doing Crossfit for about 3 years now.  In her 1st Open experience, she was in the bottom 80% of her region. By second year, Shannon was in the top 18%, and this year she is in the top 5%- on the road to making her debut appearance in Chicago on a team for Regionals.

I remember talking to Shannon in 2011, she was saying I should look into starting Crossfit. She had just started and I could hear the excitement in her voice as she described this community she had become a part of. I didn’t look into it as I was moving out of state to be a general manager of a group fitness facility. At the time, the thought of paying for a gym membership when I had been hired to be a GM at another gym seemed unreasonable. Looking back, I wish I had looked into it and started my journey when Shannon did (you know what they say about hindsight…).

Fast forward 2 years and I am back in Des Moines. Burned out of the whole health and fitness career, I take a month off, not setting foot in a gym. I was still struggling with the idea of paying for a gym membership when I hadn’t paid for one in 5 years while working as a trainer and instructor at numerous group fitness centers.

Shannon finally talks me into trying Crossfit, a friend from her gym had recently moved to Des Moines and recommended a particular box. The date was October 1st, 2012, and I have never been more nervous. I walked into a gym, not knowing what the hell I was doing, and was introduced to my 1st WOD: FRAN. You’re surprised I came back, right? I was hooked. It was love at first thruster. Oh, to be in a new environment where I was being taught new things was invigorating! I quickly called Shannon and expressed my excitement and she couldn’t believe I actually ‘liked’ thrusters (mind you, I used only the bar on day one, so I had no clue how horrible they’d become).

I am the type of person who needs to be challenged physically as well as mentally; Crossfit was indeed, my calling. I thought I was in decent shape prior to starting, even when I took an entire month off before joining.  Who was I kidding? You’re never going to be in ‘shape’ enough to start this crazy Crossfit regime.

Mesmerized by what these people around me were achieving, I quickly started setting goals and chipping away at them one by one. My first goal was to learn how to kip. How frustrating is it to see your partner knock out some unassisted pull ups and you’re (literally) stuck in a band? Second was a rope climb because progressions SUCK.  PERIOD.

I started chipping away at these goals, one by one, and quickly noticed the progress I was making. Competitive my nature, I knew the next step for me would be competing. Watching Shannon and her team compete for the first time was jaw dropping. She and her teammates were incredible. I remember watching her teammate, Kate, perform overhead squats beautifully and I wanted mine to become that fluid and strong. Shannon performed bar muscle ups without any hesitation.

From that moment, my commitment level changed. I was going randomly, a few times per week but I stepped my game up to going 6 days per week. I would NOT miss a day and started staying late to work on whatever was next on my goal list. Little by little, I began to improve and started RX’ing things more frequently.

I’ve learned a lot over my year and a half, and still have a long way to go. As Jimmy Dugan states, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” I’ve never heard truer words pertaining to this sport. I have goals on becoming a versatile Crossfit athlete within this next year, and perhaps one day, I can be at my cousin’s level.

Shannon inspires me every day, and I’m so proud of her accomplishments. I’m thankful to have her help, advice and knowledge. She’s is one of the hardest working people I know, who NEVER lets adversity get in her way.  Without her support and encouragement I may have never walked through those doors, and for this I am truly thankful.

My cousin Shannon and I at the Field of Teams Competition at Crossfit Kilo, November 2013

My cousin Shannon and I at the Field of Teams Competition at Crossfit Kilo, November 2013

An Epiphany Moment Struck Today

As I was sitting at my desk, daydreaming of things I’d rather be doing with my time, it occurred to me that I used to write on a daily basis. I literally would come home from school and unwind by putting pen to paper. Like most adolescents, I had no clue what ‘real world problems’  were, so my writings consisted of who I was dating, the sports I were playing and who else I was crushing on at the moment. Boys, athletics and girlie drama, oh to be that young and naïve again! Why we were in such a hurry to grow up is beyond me.

Back to the real world: My desk job, like so many others, consists of a 9+ hour day. I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, but my job is the kind of job that makes you want to bang your head against the desk. Every.Single.Day. Not the kind of life I had envisioned for this twenty-something gal.

How many people can say they’re actually doing what they went to school for? I can list a handful of my friends who were fortunate enough to know exactly what they wanted to do at the age of 18 and pursued it. I am in awe of those people. I wish my dreams back then were as clear as they are today.

So you’re wondering why this twenty something gal is now considering writing, eh? Truth is, while I’m thankful to have a decent paying job with good benefits, I’m dying of boredom. I need a creative outlet. I am a creative person by nature stuck in a boring job. About a year and a half ago, I had my dream job (or what I thought to be my dream job). I thought I had everything figured out. I uprooted my life, took a chance and moved to a new city, not knowing a single person. Moved into a house with complete strangers and had dreams on changing the world. I took a job as a General Manager running two group fitness facilities.   Life was good. Quickly I found out that taking a salaried position and working 100+ hour work weeks were not for me. I kept up this crazy routine for a year. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I was a walking zombie. I was living and breathing health and fitness, taking care of everyone but me. It didn’t matter. I absolutely loved what I was doing; helping people reach their fitness goals and educating them on lifestyle changes was the most satisfying/rewarding job I have ever had.  I have aspirations on getting back into this line of work someday (soon).

With this blog, I will be speaking mostly about Crossfit, WODS, weight-lifting, and random shenanigans.  I hope to entertain you, at the very least. 🙂