Monthly Archives: July 2012

Waking Up The Dead

I never could relate very much to those people who seemed so “in tune” with their bodies and their senses. People who taste something and can say things like, “Is their aspartame in that?” or “wow, is that a bit of brown sugar?”

I would look at them in confusion and have to look at the actual ingredients in order to confirm or deny. I’d think: Really,? How do you taste things like that?

It’s like my senses have been dead all this time. Totally and completely rendered useless by eating fake ingredients and “filler” items filled with wheat and grains.

Tastebuds: A little reminder for you…

Doing this whole wheat free thing is changing me – it’s like I’m waking up all my previously dead senses. It’s weirdly exciting to be able to identify more flavors naturally. To appreciate real food. It’s also scary to think that for a long time, I wasn’t really aware of how salty something was, or how overly sweet things were. They just were categorized in my mind as “snacky” or “dessert!” I had a hard time discerning when something was sweet vs. sour, or rich in flavor. I’ve also just become more aware of how I feel after I eat something that is either “good for me” or “off track.”

A Few Instances

I’ve noticed a considerable decrease in my need for salt over the past few weeks. I come from a family of “salters” – and my hubby used to hassle me about it all the time. I made a major effort to decrease my need to salt things over the last few years – but it was more because I knew I shouldn’t eat so much salt, not because I didn’t want it. But this month – I just don’t need as much. I don’t want things to be so salty. And for really what may be the first time in my life I’ve said this: Sometimes, things are TOO salty!

For instance, the other night I went out with my good friend to catch up – we had some wine and ordered a few appetizers to share. It was pretty limited because I’m on a no wheat thing and she’s doing no dairy. Fortunately, they had some olives and smoked almonds – so that’s what we ordered. I’m not a huge fan of almonds, but compared to some of the other choices, it seemed like the safest bet. They were actually pretty good – but way too salty. I found myself wanting to roll them around on a napkin first (which I didn’t really do because it was a nice place and I didn’t want people to look at me weird).

This weekend – we had sort of a crazy few days of eating “out of the ordinary” because we visited my family (Unless you consider eating ice cream cake “ordinary” of course).

At the beginning of our challenge – hubby and I agreed we would have 2 cheat days where you could eat whatever you wanted with no judgement from the other.  I hadn’t cheated until this weekend and I just took both my cheat days in a row and now it’s over with. The weird part? I’m glad that I won’t be cheating any this week – because I actually feel sort of crappy today.

Sort of like a fog is in my brain, and despite having more sleep than usual (like 8.5 hours) – I woke up groggy and tired. And I’m still tired now even after a cup of coffee. *sigh*

I felt sort of like that yesterday when I woke up as well. My husband and I kept saying – why are we tired? We both slept a decent amount! It wasn’t until this morning  we realized we were feeling the impact of eating “off plan.” After all, I had bread last night! We went out for our city’s restaurant week where a bunch of nice places offer a 3 course meal for $30/person. So it’s a good chance to try a new place, or a place that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. It was DELICIOUS, but I did order for my first course this Crab Pimento Cheese dip and it came with pita chips. Of course, they also brought bread to our table and since I was cheating – I had a slice. It was weird – it tasted super sweet to me.

So – that was my cheat yesterday. The day before we had 2 slices of oreo cookie ice cream cake (it was my nephew’s birthday and NO the 2 slices were not in a row!). And I guess I’m paying the price today. Weird how just a few weeks can really change your body, your senses, and create a lot of awareness about how your body is impacted by certain ingredients. It’s like I’m having this new awareness ABOUT my new level of awareness and it’s sort of cool. Things are starting to come together – the pieces of the puzzle (if you will) are starting to form a picture.

I’m learning to listen to my body. And while that may not always be enough to get me to actually make the BEST decision – it’s way better than I was before! And I know that there is something to this when my husband actually says this morning: “Have you noticed me snoring at night lately? I know I snored last night because my throat hurts.” And I realized – he hasn’t been snoring as much since we started this whole thing – almost like he could breathe better while avoiding the wheat products. And last night – he had wheat and work up with a sore throat from snoring. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I guess sometimes we don’t even realize we are harming our bodies, or are suffering unnecessarily until you actually change something and realize you feel better without it. Despite feeling a little foggy today – this new understanding about my body and how different food impacts it has never been clearer. Best thing of all: I’m totally looking forward to all my wheat free meals this week because I know they will help me feel more focused at work, more energetic during the day/during my workouts and help me to avoid senseless snacking on bad for me foods.

It’s almost like magic – except it’s real. Real Food, who would have thought?

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Lift Heavy Things: Progress Report

I did my Fitness Assessment on Monday (for the Primal Blueprint Fitness program I’m doing) and so today was my first actual circuit workout utilizing my assessment as a starting place. Check out yesterday’s post if you have no clue what i’m talking about.

Here are my results:

Knee Pushups: Goal is 30

Circuit 1: 22
Circuit 2: 15

Assisted Pullups: Goal is 20 (i am using the assisted pull up machine at my gym…still figuring out what weight to set it out to replicate a double leg assisted style as outlined in the primal guide)

Circuit 1: 20
Circuit 2: 20 (i made it harder because the first set was too easy – just not enough resistance) Obviously I am still figuring this out!

Squats: Goal is 50
Circuit 1: 50
Circuit 2: 50
I didn’t find these EXTREMELY challenging – but I think I will do one more week of these before I move to the next level up.

Forearm/Knee Plank: Goal is 90 seconds
Circuit 1: 90 seconds
Circuit 2: 90 seconds
I’ll admit – this was harder than i expected it to be. I’m not positive my form was perfect the whole time during either circuit. Going to keep working on this one for another week before I move up to next level.

Forearm/Knee Side Plank Left Side: Goal is 45 seconds
Circuit 1: 40 seconds
Circuit 2: 30 seconds

Forearm/Knee Side Plank Right Side: Goal is 45 seconds
Circuit 1: 30 seconds
Circuit 2: 40 seconds

The side planks are also harder than i expected. For some reason I feel like I’d be better at it if I were using my whole arm instead of being on my forearm, but maybe that’s crazy. Still have some work to do on the side plank series.

So I still need to do my sprint workout this week (thinking about doing that tomorrow) and then I want to try and get a walk and an easy  bike ride in this weekend as well to count as my “move slowly/rest/play” days.

Tomorrow is weigh in day! It’s week 3 of my wheat free/paleo/primal inspired food challenge. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

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Primal Fitness: Are you Ready?

Source: tribesports.com

Alright, so today has been super busy so I’m going to update as quick as my little fingers will type so that you all can be up to speed on my next challenge.

Of course, I’m currently doing my 30 Day Food Challenge (Paleo/Primal Inspired) and if you’ve been paying attention you know that 80% of your health and fitness goals are obtained through what you EAT! So it’s super important.

But we can’t forget about that other 20%: Exercise!

So I am REALLY changing it up. By really, I mean that it’s going to be flat out weird for me to do this fitness challenge because it’s so different than anything I have ever tried before. Are you ready for this radical idea?

I am going to work out less.

What?! That’s right folks. The word is less is more. Less does not refer to less efficient though – and that’s the key to my next challenge. I am going to be traveling back through time to connect with my primal ancestors. That’s right – I’m following the Primal Blueprint Fitness plan. It’s written by Mark Sisson (yes, I mentioned him last time because i’m reading his book The Primal Blueprint) and it’s all about getting fit through some core movements and targeted activities. If you want to check out the fitness plan for yourself – you can get it for free by going to his site here.

You have to subscribe to his newsletter to get the passwords to download his ebooks – but the newsletter is full of great information if you are considering dabbling or learning about Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Think protein, healthy fats and carbs from good places (like fruits and veggies vs grains) and that’s the premise of the lifestyle.

The idea is that our modern day methods of working out are actually not always that great for us. We suffer from what Mark calls “chronic cardio” – where we exert ourselves at too high a level for too long a period of time – and it actually has negative consequences like burnout, fatigue, and as I’ve experienced: injuries.

Source: marksdailyapple.com

So the primal fitness plan focuses on strength training (he calls it “Lift Heavy Things”) 1-3 times per week (using your own body weight) through 4 essential movements: Plank, Squats, Push Up, Pull Up. He also suggests a one short but intense Sprint workout a week. The other days he calls “Move Slowly for a Long Time” days and this should be something active like a walk, hike, cycling (think about 55-75% of max heart rate) for 2-5 hours per week.

He also encourages you to return to your childhood – and play more! So whether that’s frisbee, playing tag with yours kids, playing on a friendly softball team or the YMCA kickball team – just doing something that is active but doesn’t have you thinking “oh gosh, I gotta work out now.” He also encourages you to listen to your body and rest. Get a good nights sleep everynight – and of course, try and stick to your Primal eating plan at least 80% of the time for max benefits.

So I’m trying it out. The first step was to do a self assessment so I know where I need to start with my Lift Heavy Things workout. Your goal is to be able to progress to the Essential Movement – but you might not start there. For instance, one of the moves is a pull up. I literally laughed out loud at my feeble attempt to even lift THIS heavy thing off the ground at the gym yesterday. So I’ll be starting with assisted leg lifts fo ‘sho.

The self assessment can be found in the fitness ebook (when you download it – type in page 50 and the next 2-3 pages are about it).

Here are my results and where I’ll be starting:

Pushup: I could only do 6 big girl pushups (on hands and feet) – so I’ll be starting on level 2 with Knee Pushups.

Pull Ups: As mentioned above, I couldn’t even pretend I did one. So i’m starting at level 1 with Chair Assisted Push Ups (2 legs).

Squats: I rocked the squats. The level 4 was for people who could do 61+ so I just stopped at 65 because it wasn’t like anyone was around for me to impress. So I’ll be doing Level 4 – Full Squats.

Plank: I held the plank on forearms and feet for 50 seconds. This has me starting on Level 2: Forearm/Knee Plank + Side Knee.

If you are wondering what any of this means, he has videos linked in the fitness guide so you can see how to do the exercises!

So 2x a week I’ll do the Strength Circuit – which means I’ll do a series of pull ups, push ups, squats and planks and then repeat. Each move has different levels – so once you can get through both sets of your circuit and hit the right “number” you can level up to a more difficult version of the move.

I am planning on using my TurboFIRE HIIT workouts to do my Sprint workout – this will be good because it’s about 10-15 minutes of intense cardio that pushes me with built in 1 minute recoveries. I may also try to do some stairs/treadmill sprints since it’s only 10-15 minutes. I can handle that once a week (I think).

And then the other days I’m going to do crazy things like, go for a walk. Hike on the weekend. Ride my bike around the neighborhood or town with my bike friends. I’m still going to be doing my turbo workout because I teach the class and don’t want to stop doing that. I will count it as my “play” – since it’s definitely more than 55-75% of my maximum heart rate!

I’m excited because this will give me a TON of flexibility to try out new workouts or revisit old ones (like going to the Trampoline Airobics class). Maybe I’ll even brave the rock climbing wall this year. EEK.

Of course I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. I’m nervous about the idea of doing so much less in terms of intensity – but maybe it’s what my body needs. Maybe I don’t have to kill myself to have the body I want….maybe I just need to trust that my kick A ancestors were on to something.

After all, they would have lived a lot longer if there weren’t wild animals attacking them or if they had some modern medicine to cure things like infection. In fact, based on the research done on their remains – it’s predicted that if accidental death or infections, etc. didn’t occur our paleolithic ancestors would have a max life span of about 94 years. And yes, that is actually LONGER than what’s predicted for our current human population based on how things are going in the human evolution right now. Pretty crazy, huh?

Who wants to go primal with me? I’m excited about getting my hunting and gathering on.

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Weekend Review: A hike, a few stings and some other things.

It feels good to say I have officially completed my Summer Push Challenge. 90 Day, 6 workouts a day and then add at least 12 more workouts (to count for my weekly TurboKick class i teach) and you have the minimum of workouts I accomplished over the last 12 weeks. That’s right, about 84 workouts! Mega proud? Absolutely!

In order to “celebrate” my accomplishment, I only thought it fitting to do something active as a way to say “YAY me!” We went for a hike at a near-by trail where my husband often rides his bike or trail runs. Because of the never ending rain and thunderstorms this past week, we didn’t want to risk driving somewhere semi far away with both dogs in tow only to find that it was too muddy to hike. The trail wasn’t too bad, even though the humidity made it feel like we were swimming through warm water the whole way. We only did about 3 miles (our dogs aren’t ready for much more than that – I know, shame on us!).

It felt good to just be doing something good for us as a way to celebrate an accomplishment. So often, my celebration would be food related or going and having a drink somewhere fancy. But this way way better, and I think we are going to try and make it a weekly event with the pups. It’s good for them, healthy for us – and gives us a chance to be outdoors and together. Win, win, win, right?

Unfortunately, I was attacked by some bees on our hike – so as my co-worker so eloquently put it today – “You look like someone socked you in the face, what happened?” So, apparently it’s pretty noticeable to someone other than me. But it feels like my jaw has a growth on it and it’s sore to touch. The little suckers also got me on my side – so that is super pleasant as well. As if I don’t have a constant case of the “itchy- scratchies” (NEOpets, anyone? No? Just me, I guess) due to allergies and skin issues anyway – these stings are like icing on a not-allowed in the first place cake.

Apparently, my husband “did not believe me” that there were bees swarming around me as he was trying to clear a tree from the trail. It went something like this:

Me: “Ahhh! There’s a bee!” (dancing around trying to wave a bee away from my face piece)
Him: “I don’t see any bees” (as he continues to move a giant tree from the trail)
Me: “Ahhhhh – there are MORE bees! Go!!!”
Him: “I really don’t think there are any bees.  I don’t see them.”
Me: “They are on me, they are on Peach (me swatting them away from my dog and myself trying to run)”
Me: “Too late! Too late! They got me!” (grabbing my face and side and running away).

I guess he believed me then.

He is always excited about something! Treat! Frisbee! Water! Bedtime! Really.

 

Other than a brilliant reminder that bee stings really freaking hurt, the hike went well. I only slid in the mud a few times, and we got a laugh out of watching how different our dogs are. Yoshi, our big brown lab, could hardly be restrained from jumping into the creek whenever we crossed. Muddy pathway? No problem – he plowed through. We even had to go a different way once because it was a small ledge over a creek and we were SURE he would jump in and take us all with him.

Doesn’t she look so regal?

On the other hand – we have (princess) Peach (a lab/pit/boxer/whoknowswhat mix) who did everything she could to walk around any watery areas, and pranced across the bridges avoiding that filthy creek water as quickly as she could. She is seriously ridiculous. The last week I’ve been trying to catch her when she “goes to do her  business” because she is so prissy she won’t go and pee (or poop) in the yard when it’s wet and muddy. So where does she go? On our cement porch area. FAIL!

Anyway – the dogs had a good time, and other than the bee attack, I did, too. And now my hubby feels really bad that he didn’t believe me about the bees. And there is a certain satisfaction to being right, no matter the cost, right? 🙂

I did a self assessment test today during lunch at the gym for my “new workout program” I am starting. I’ll have full details on that tomorrow for anyone who is interested. It’s cool because for about 99% of this program – you can do it at home, outside, or in your gym with basically no equipment.

Currently Reading..

 

I’m also still reading more about the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and I’m currently soaking up information from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint. He has an EXCELLENT website with tons of great articles on nutrition and exercise called: marksdailyapple.com

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The Final Results (Summer Challenge)

So glad I finally stopped dreaming about it – and just started working on it instead.

It’s time to reveal my final results for my TurboFire program. I started it 3 months ago – and the time has flown by. Technically, I still have one more workout to do – and it’s a 40 minute long stretch, so I’m guessing that one more workout isn’t going to dramatically change my results. Rest assured, I will do the last workout though!

More than ever – this summer challenge has reminded me that I am capable of completing what I started. I wouldn’t say that a few years ago – but perhaps a person can truly change, after all.

This week I’m down 1.8 pounds from my weigh in on Thursdays (since I weighed in a day early due to my traveling last week). I’d like to share that I had an “emergency” weight number previously (before I gained 15 pounds) and that was always my number that made an alarm go off in my head even when nothing else would. It was a number that would typically stop me cold in my tracks and help me get my head in gear. The last time I saw it and just kept  gaining weight, I felt helpless in the struggle to stop gaining weight. I felt like I was doing everything right – and yet, the pounds kept coming on despite my workouts and calorie counting.

Today, I got to see my emergency number again – but this time, I’m going the RIGHT way…back down below it. That is an an amazing feeling!

Totals for Program:

Chest: down 2 inches

Hips: down 2.5 inches

Thigh: down 1 inch

Waist: Down 1.5 inches

Arm: Down .5 inches

And as for my weight: Down 8.8 pounds!

Not too shabby, right? Especially since I really don’t feel like I was really committed to trying to eat better during the first half of the program. I mean – I was still trying to do well (eating most of my lunches and dinners at home), but I had what seems like 50000 events where I let myself cheat for whatever reason.

I’ll be taking my “after” pictures this weekend. So I’m curious to see how my body shape might have changed. I’m assuming I’ll be a little less pudgy as I do feel like I’ve put on more muscle! The other day when I was doing my workout – there is this one section where you have to put your hand on your thigh as you touch down and I was like “whoa!” because my leg felt rock solid when flexed. I’ve always been muscular – but this is a new level.

This is also the completion of week 2 for my Food Challenge, so I’m excited to see what changes continue to happen for me over the next few weeks. I am, of course, already researching my next physical challenge and I hope to be ready to share that with you on Monday! We’ll just say I’m feeling very primal about it!

 

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People Along the Way

What adventure are you on?

For every adventure, there are people you meet along the way. People who may change your course, obstruct your course, help you over an obstacle or just be there to go through it by your side. It really wouldn’t be quite the epic adventure if there weren’t people along the way, right? I mean, how interesting would Harry Potter’s situation be if it weren’t for Ron & Hermione?

The last four years of my life have been a pretty amazing adventure – one that I didn’t quite expect to happen. I’ve been on this adventure of trying to figure out what the best version of me is – really and truly. And while that has had me focus in a lot on weight loss, better eating habits and things that impact my physical self – it’s also been a quest to understand who I am a little bit more than I did before. All in all, it’s helped my soul heal a little bit from a lot of years of self bashing, and a few years of letting someone else drag me down.

As I’ve been up in the mountains and down in the valleys so to speak during these 4 years – I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot along the way. But there are some things that really ring loud and clear for me – and as I was thinking about it all of these lessons are kind of connected to a person (or persons!) and I wanted to take this Thankful Thursday (I know i’m a slacker at doing these every week) to recognize some of the “people along the way.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (but you should believe it, too)

I learned this lesson when I met my husband (for the 2nd time – but that is another blog post). I was really at the bottom on my personal barrel in a lot of ways. I was the heaviest I’d been in a long time, my heart had taken a major beating and I was just so tired of everything, including myself. When I met him and he thought i was funny, interesting, pretty and smart – he helped me start believing in myself again. I am so thankful to have him in my life everyday and he never has stopped believing in me, even when I wasn’t sure I could do something along the way.

Being healthy should be a part of your lifestyle

Growing up, I just wanted to be skinny like my friends. And I always had the concept that if i worked really hard for a while – I would hit my goal and then I could go back to life as normal. Obviously, this is not how it works.  Now, I get that being healthy is a result of making good decisions on a regular basis. One of my first friends at work who directs all the fitness programs here at our university is the person who really brought this to life for me. She was an amazing example of being healthy – and backs it up by really living the life. She even taught me how I could have fun while doing some of these things which I NEVER thought was possible before.

Thanks to her, I can say i’m a certified TurboKick instructor – she was a MAJOR inspiration in my decision to pursue that goal. It’s my hope to be able to show other people that working out can be a fun time (even if you will sweat a lot!).

Find a Bandwagon

I know this sounds bad – but it’s a lot easier to make better decisions for yourself when you align yourself with similar people (I would argue the opposite is just as true – as in, it’s easy to eat badly or not workout when no one else is either!). This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people who have differing views by any means – but it does mean  you should seek out people who have similar goals. I’ve met a ton of new people this way, and reconnected with old friends, too, who I hadn’t talked to in awhile. I also have been lucky to have a few people along the way who always stuck by my side in this adventure. And even though they might have different perspectives on how to “climb the hill” or “get across the river” – we’re still rooting for each other every step of the way.

***

Ready?

These 3 things don’t represent every aspect of my 4 years of adventure – they are just a quick snapshot of things I’ve learned along the way – and hopefully a “nod of thanks” towards those who have been on this adventure with me for at least some portion of it!

And hopefully, there might be a few nuggets of wisdom or advice you can take with you on your adventure as well – wherever you may be going. Regardless, thank YOU for being on this part of my adventure with me.

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Wheat Free: Week 2 Update

I figured I should do a check in of how I’m doing with the no-wheat/paleo inspired eating since this is halfway through week 2.

Haha – this is so true!

This morning I had one of my first “I’m not sure I’m hungry” moments.  I ate  breakfast anyway, because I didn’t want to arrive to work and THEN be hungry with nothing smart to eat. The last few days I’ve noticed a decrease in how hungry I am in general though. My snacks aren’t as robust, and it seems like my meals stay with me longer. It’s a neat feeling – just knowing that what you are doing is making a positive impact on your body. It gives me more of a feeling of control, i think.

My energy level is better this week than last – that is for sure. Part of my energy woes is coming from a weird work situation, so I feel like I’m just not being as productive or on task – so therefore I get tired because I’m procrastinating. Yesterday, I was so ready to not be sitting at my desk by the end of the day so I had great energy doing TurboKick and could have done more.

Our meals have been really awesome this week. We made:

Grilled chicken Caesar salad (with our own homemade dressing) sans croutons of course.
Pork Tenderloin with asparagus and fresh eggplant/mozzarella/tomato salad with balsamic vinegar.
Eggplant Parmesan with Ground Turkey *no breadcrumbs – we used a flax seed mix instead)
Bratwurst and sauerkraut with turnips

Pretty good! I don’t miss the wheat at all in any of those meals. They have all been really tasty and filling.

I’ve been doing egg scrambles in the morning – sometimes with sausage, sometimes with bacon and some veggies, or slices of avocado. Snacks have been a piece of cheese, olives, and nuts as I need it.

I’m curious to see how my progress goes this week/weekend, I’m hoping that my crazy travel weekend didn’t have any long term impacts on me.

But really – so far, so good. I think i’m past the worst of the “low carb” detox – I’ve noticed a considerable decrease in my cravings for things like candy or other sweets like cookies. I’m still working on moving toward just coffee with coconut milk (I can’t go cold turkey on a little sweetener in my coffee, but at least i’ve switch to Stevia vs. equal/splenda).

Baby steps toward the end goal – which is returning my body to the way it SHOULD have been all along. I just wish I had found this out earlier!

How are you coming along on your food challenges?

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