Saturday, August 15, 2015

Comfy Pants Challenge

On Facebook I'm starting a challenge to help get back in shape now that I have moved to North Carolina.  I've taken some time off and if you've followed my blog, I'm back to my original weight.  That would have scared me years ago, but now I know that bodies change, you gain and you lose and I know how to lose it in a healthy way.  The challenge is open to anyone, so if you'd like to join, let me know and I'll send you a link.  

My plan for this week is to incorporate more vegetables and fruit and quality meat into my day.  I will also do some sort of workout 3 times this week.  To make sure that happens, I have them scheduled into my calendar.  If I miss one for some reason I will reschedule it, not skip it.

My goal is to be able to fit comfortably back into my work clothes.  If I take this challenge seriously and don't fit into them at the end I will buy myself some bigger more comfortable ones.  However, I believe if I make some healthy habit changes I won't need to do that.  

Good luck to everyone who is participating!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a quitter.

I’m a quitter.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  I think from now on, if I post, it probably won’t be often.  My life as it is currently isn’t going to be as interesting to anyone who found previous posts interesting.  There will be no more posts about losing weight, since I stopped weighing myself over a year ago.  There will be no more dieting posts, or counting calories posts, since I quit dieting a year ago as well.  The truth is, I decided to take my health and my life, much more seriously.
Did I post when I was counting calories and losing weight for my wedding that I also was losing my hair?  That was the first sign to me that something needed to change.  My hair was never exactly full, but it had never fallen out before.  At that point in my life, I thought I was so healthy.  I was running several miles almost every day of the week, I was restricting my calories to about 1200 a day, I was consuming low-fat, low-calorie foods.  I was making sure to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day, and I was eating 6 small servings instead of 3 big ones.  I had tons of recipes on how to make chicken breast taste good without adding any calories or fat.  I had a drawer full of low-calorie snack bars to take with me just in case I was starving.  
I had headaches all of the time.  I blamed it on the sun, on too much coffee, on too little coffee, on job stress.  I wasn’t sleeping very well.  Almost every day, driving home from work, my stomach would hurt, it would be pressing against my pants.  I felt gassy and bloated, even though by the time I was driving home I had probably only eaten 700 calories.  
Worst of all, I was depressed and anxious.  I was worried about my job, money, my husband, my dog, my family back home.  So I cried a lot.  
Funny, I didn’t sit down to list all of these side effects.  I was just going to say that my hair was falling out, and I’ve made changes to my life in response, but then I started to remember the rest.  Healthiest in my life?  Nah.  I was skinny.  That’s about it.

Is it any wonder that nobody wants to “eat healthy?”

You may have read in previous blogs about how doing a whole30 challenge changed my life.  Very briefly, it is a 30 day challenge in which you remove from your diet a bunch of different types of foods.  I had accepted just because it was a challenge, and hell, I can do anything for 30 days.  I am glad I just accepted because I didn’t read about it first.  If I had, I would have declined.  It sounded so unhealthy.  Some of the rules made sense, like cutting out sugar (I could see how sugar can make you unhealthy), but among the “healthy” foods that I would be cutting out of my diet included: peanut butter, whole grains (all grains!), oatmeal, quinoa, milk and cheese, beans, corn, peas, soy,  anything processed and sugar substitutes.  The first question that everybody asks is “what can you eat?”
Turns out that there is a lot of food out there.  There is a lot of healthy food that I had to find.  I had to fight some major misconceptions and beliefs that I held about food.   
Here’s just a few:
  • “Fat is bad!” Truth: There are good fats and I was probably starving my brain by avoiding all of them.  I began adding them to my life.  Avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, fat from pastured beef, chicken and pork.
  • “You need to drink milk for the Calcium!” Truth: You get a ton of calcium from vegetables.  Most people just don’t eat enough of them.  But you certainly don’t need to drink milk if you are going to be eating your leafy greens.
  • “You should replace most of your food with “healthier” versions like low-fat mayonaisse and sugar and calorie-free cookies and “lean cuisines.”  Truth: The real thing is going to kill you a lot slower than the low-calorie versions.  What the hell is even in a sugar-free, low-calorie cookie?  I am astounded now when I read labels.  If you do nothing else, start reading labels.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, eat a real cookie.  With flour and sugar and salt and stuff not laboratory created.  That low-fat cracker is poison.
  • “A calorie is a calorie.”  Doesn’t matter if it comes from a banana or from the sole of your shoe, they are the same thing.  How do we even allow ourselves to believe this?  Do we really believe that our body digests and uses a brownie exactly the same as it uses broccoli?  I mean, we are not stupid.  If you give a child a helicopter puzzle and tell them to create a giraffe out of it, they will look at you (rightly) like you are crazy.  Why then are we asking our bodies to do the very same thing?  Take that sugar and flour and make lean muscle mass and create blood and fat and all of the vitamins and minerals that your eyes and ears and brain need.  Try to make it out of that lean cuisine.  Try to make it out of that diet soda.  

These are just a few.  I’m sure you can find a better list somewhere else, these were the big ones for me.  

And so, I gradually became a quitter.  For 30 days I got rid of soy, alcohol, dairy, grains, sugar, processed foods and felt awesome.  After the challenge I inevitably added most of that back, because factory processed foods is so delicious.  I wasn’t ready to say no when offered donuts.  I went through several phases of guilt-ridden “binges” where I ate tons of crappy food and felt bad about it, then went back to “healthy” eating.  I didn’t realize quite yet that I was dealing with addictions, not motivation problems.  I didn’t realize that every time I quit alcohol or bread it was practice for the next time.  I made many, many mistakes.  Then in December 2013, this last year I was drinking a lot.  Maybe not very much compared to other people, but for me, it was a lot.  My husband had quit drinking years ago when his mother got a liver transplant and he never went back.  So I was drinking by myself.  And not just a glass of wine to relieve the stress or offer my heart some healthy resveratrol, but a couple of glasses.  Or a couple of tequila or gin drinks.  By myself.  And then, there I would be at 8pm.  Drunk.  Watching tv or playing on the computer.  I didn’t want to live that way, I didn’t like it.  I was going to quit drinking for the New Year.  I asked myself if I was ready.  The surprising answer was “no.”  So I listened to myself.  I decided I would wait until it actually felt right.
On January 4th it did.  I stopped drinking.  It was strange.  I’ve quit drinking many times in the last couple of years.  It might not have the same effect on you, but I easily get hangovers, and when I’m drinking I eat tons of crap.  It makes me feel bloated and nauseous and tired.  I don’t sleep well.  In fact, after drinking I would fall asleep fast, but wake up at 3am in a feverish sweat.  With the air conditioner on I would be so freaking hot.  For all of these reasons I quit.
And this time, I was ready.  I can honestly say I don’t want to drink anymore.  That’s not to say that someday something will change that, I don’t know, my life has changed so many times.  This is right for me right now.  
This blog is about the things I’ve quit.  
  • I’ve quit soy (that was easy, except for soy sauce.)
  • I’ve quit drinking alcohol.
  • I’ve quit running or doing any distance cardio (paddling, jogging, bike rides).  Your body might be able to.  Mine was screaming for me to stop.
  • I’ve quit sugar substitutes.  Which, I figured out later, was the reason for my headaches.
  • I’ve quit peanut butter.
  • I’ve quit weighing myself.  I seriously have no idea what I weigh right now, and it is immensely freeing.
  • I’ve quit judging myself by the size of my waist.  It might sound conceited, but I am a good-looking lady.  It’s stupid to spend my time shaming myself about some muffin top over my usual jeans when my stomach is in a bigger phase.  You know who cares about that?  No one.  Or stupid, judgmental people.  They are not my friends anyway.  Why was I trying to impress them in the first place?
  • I’ve quit eating meat and eggs from unethical sources.  I’m doing my best with this one.  I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks they know my body better than me and will tell me I can live without meat.  Sure.  If I want to feel sick all of the time.  I’ve tried it.  So I have pledged to get my meat from local farms, the farmer’s market or Whole Foods, which, at least out here, tells you where it’s sourced from.  I can’t pretend like I don’t know what’s going on at mass producing CAFO farms.  I can’t unsee the images.

On my list to quit for good:
  • Bread.  (Including cookies, donuts, all flour) Turns out that this is way harder than quitting drinking.  If you tell someone that you’ve quit drinking, I think they assume you have some kind of alcoholism that has destroyed some part of your life, so they don’t bother you too much.  But if you turn down a donut or a cookie, it’s like you’ve slapped them right across the face.  The reactions that you get from people are astounding.  “Just one, it won’t hurt you, but it’s so good!”  I have literally had to lie to people at work and tell them that I am grain and dairy intolerant.  I have to tell them that I am allergic and that it will make me sick.  Even though I’ve just told them that it will make me sick or possibly kill me, they will continue to offer.  Or they will give me this sad look that says how sorry they are for me.  Quitting bread is HARD.
  • Dairy.  It’s on my list, but not high priority right now.  My biggest problem is that it gives me acne on my chest.  It’s annoying, but so far not annoying enough that I have stopped.  Some day, maybe.
  • Judging myself for eating bread and dairy.  Nobody is perfect.  I am still stuck in the cycle of shame that comes every time I “break down” and eat bread of some kind of fried food.  I’m working on it.

And to those people who say “everything in moderation,” screw that.  I don’t enjoy hangovers in moderation.  I don’t like headaches in moderation.  I don’t want to feel bloated and gassy or depressed or anxious in moderation.  I would still prefer to eat a cookie if I want a cookie, but that doesn’t mean my long-term goal isn’t to quit.  I know that I’m not ready yet.  Some day I hope to be. This blog isn’t about you.  However you want to eat or drink or exercise to be healthy!  Awesome! Doing something, anything is better than nothing.  I have just moved past wanting to be skinny.  I don’t want to be skinny and unhealthy.  I want to be curvy and clear-headed and happy.

Is there anything in life you would like to quit? Share your story here!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Toenail

Sadly, today I had to skip out on Murph, the hero CrossFit Memorial Day workout. I think I have an ingrown toenail. That shit hurts! Hopefully the pain and redness will go away and I won't have to see a doctor. I bought a basin to do Epsom salt soaks and I put neosporin on it. All the articles I read about it recommended that you put cotton under the nail to keep it separated and from getting worse. 
So I've been walking around with this cotton ball in my toe. That's sexy. My dog loves me anyway. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Enjoy Every Moment

The old me used to get really antsy about being on time or other people being late. It was like I thought there was something that I was supposed to be DOING or maybe I was missing out on something. I've discovered over time that the thing I'm supposed to be DOING is enjoy the moment. To find a quiet spot, enjoy the lady who sat too close next to me, slurping her soup, the meager breeze, the sound of cars riding by and slippers slapping the pavement. It's pretty blissful when you can relax and truly enjoy the good and the strange, all the things that used to irritate me, now I find hilarious. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Lazy Crossfitter

Kermit's Awesome at Yoga
Today I discovered something very, very sad.  It turns out that I have lazy shoulders.  In fact, I believe I may actually be a lazy crossfitter.  This morning I started off with a yoga class.  I love yoga because it forces me to feel all of those muscles in my body and you really can't ignore them when they scream at you.  Your teacher's like, "hold that pose for three more breaths," and you're like, "holy shit, how long is a breath?"  And your muscles laugh at you and tell you how you've been ignoring them all this time.  You think to yourself, "I am a crossfitter, I am strong and I have large muscles that lift big, heavy things" and your muscles just chuckle.  "Try holding your arm straight above your head," they say.  "Reach down and touch the floor while your back leg is straight and your front leg is in a lunge, keeping it in a 90 degree angle, tough guy."
Normally when this kind of smack talk is bandied about, I ignore it by thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch when I'm done and dreaming about what I'm going to make for dinner.  And what I might have for snack in between.  Today, for some reason, I decided to listen.  And they stopped screaming and started telling me the truth.  They told me that during my crossfit workouts, in order to get through the full thing, I try to conserve energy.  I power through moves using the least amount of effort as possible.  I do this instead of using my full body.  A part of me thought I was being smart, but the truth is I was being kind of a wuss, afraid of it hurting a bit.  The problem is, at some point, you stop getting stronger because those muscles you've been neglecting are important.  I have been stumped on a few maneuvers that I should have been progressing on.  For me, it's over head squats, pushups, hand stand pushups and handstands.  They stump me.  I'm pretty strong, but no progress.
After a quick lesson from the yoga instructor today on how to position my arms for down dog, I noticed there were some muscles that I haven't been engaging to avoid getting tired.  But I realize that had I been doing my best to keep them active from day one, they'd be stronger today, and I would be further along in a couple of moves.  After doing some shoulder and back work, I tried out some overhead squats with those muscles engaged and banged out some sturdy, smooth reps at a normally heavy weight for me.  I made sure to keep my shoulder blades together and it totally changed my ability to hold the weight over my head.
I learned about the muscles in my arms that I need to strengthen and stop ignoring.  I learned that I need to engage my whole body in every move.  I need to be aware of when I should be flexing and when to relax.  And stop being a lazy crossfitter.

Before you get upset, I'm not talking about modifying.  I modify the crap out of a workout to find the right weight, the right reps that will challenge me, make me stronger.  It will make it safer, and will make injury less likely.  Find the right weight then engage your whole body in the workout.  If you're exhausted, try your best to stay engaged.  I'm going to do my best from now on.

What do you think?  Are you guilty of the same?  Do you completely disagree?  Love to hear from you in the comments!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Spartan Race Hawaii- Coming Up, March 23rd

My Sister Anna, Swamp Romp 2012
Over the past couple of years I've had the pleasure to run several different obstacle course races on the island.  The Makahiki Challenge, the Warrior Dash and the Swamp Romp on the Marine Corps base were all amazing experiences.  I've never done the Spartan Race, but I've heard from many people that it is hard core!  This year it is located at the Aloha Stadium and by the looks of the pictures there's going to be more than just obstacles, there may also be challenges such as picking up weighted bags and running the stairs of the stadium.  The race challenges and obstacles are always a fun surprise.  It's going off on March 23rd, the last day to register is March 19. 

Makahiki Challenge 2013
Swamp Romp 2012
I happen to run across their affiliate program and was able to join.  If you buy your tickets through the link on my page, it cost you no extra, and I get a small fee.  Please, especially if you were thinking of running the race anyway, click here!!  You may or may not know that I have a lot of money to raise this year, I am trying to get home to visit the fam in July (feel free to donate here) and I am determined to make it to a 7 day seminar in September.  

Hawaii Spartan Sprint at Aloha Stadium March 23, 2014! Signup for this Reebok Spartan Race Now!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Olympics Have Begun!!

So, I guess the Olympics have started.  I was a little surprised that they have some events happening already, I thought I missed the Opening Ceremony.  It turns out, however, these are just some preliminary runs and the ceremony goes off tomorrow.
In the meantime, you can amuse yourself by checking out posts like this one about the various states of the hotel rooms that the athletes have been checking into.  There are reports of hotels not being completely built and having rooms being completed, like literally built, while the athletes wait.  There's great pictures from twitter showing the various states of the bathrooms as well, like this one from Russian Market on twitter.

Pee With an Audience
There's also reports like this one suggesting that there may be surveillance cameras in the bathrooms as well. Probably more bathroom controversy in this Olympics than in previous years.  

Less funny are the reports that they are poisoning the stray dogs that are all over Sochi.  There's animal rights activists doing their best to round up as many as they can, but the situation is pretty disturbing.  It's sad that there are so many stray dogs in the first place and now, because of the big event, they are being mass exterminated.  

I'm pretty torn about watching the games.  I am a huge fan of curling, but I'm not a big fan of mass exterminations.  So, I'm going to have to compartmentalize, I guess.  I do, very seriously, want to support the athletes who were brave enough to go out there.  I'm not sure there's anything the Russian government could tell me to convince me that it is a safe place to be.  With their ban on gay propaganda, rumors that Putin has siphoned off some of the 15 billion dollars that it cost to put the big show on, and the ever present fear of terrorist attacks, I'm not sure you could pay me enough to go.  So the fact that so many athletes have gone to represent our country makes me very proud.  I wish the best to the competitors, that they may be comfortable and safe, and that the best side of our country shows its face to combat the nonacceptance of our host.