Onward Toward My Goal

So last weekend I posted about my new fitness-related goal, and after the post, I worked really hard to do some research into what I need to do to correct my squats. Inevitably I ended up on a CrossFit website and discovered that there is a CrossFit gym not far from where I live. Their website was phenomenal, and I was able to link to the CrossFit journal from the website. The journal has a lot of great information about beginning CrossFit, how to improve squats, and recommendations related to CrossFit. After reading and reading and reading, mostly about beginners in CrossFit, I asked myself: “Why am I holding myself back? Why can’t I do the CrossFit thing now?”

Before my shopping adventure last weekend, I swung by CrossFit Decree – the gym not far from where I live. There was no one there because it was early afternoon on Saturday, but it was tiny. I got excited. After the frustration that I felt after my first CrossFit experience,  I felt like a smaller gym was just what I probably needed. And I was right. After talking to a wonderful coach named Renee on the phone on Thursday (haven’t met her yet, but I can’t wait to!), I went to CrossFit Decree and participated in their 6:00 class.

It was amazing. It was everything I had dreamed CrossFit would be.

I had explained to Renee my experience with the other CrossFit gym, and she said that they would work with me to make sure that I didn’t overdo it and burn myself out too quick. They did a great job. I have been to two classes so far and am about to hit my third in an hour. Then I will have two days off, during which I will probably not be able to walk from being so sore (I have been fighting soreness like crazy today!) before I do it all again next week.

The coaches at CrossFit Decree have been awesome with showing me how to modify the exercises so that I will be able to do them, and working with me to make sure that I don’t overdo it. And the other people there are just as awesome. I can’t wait until I don’t feel like a newbie any more!

So, I need to go get ready for my workout. I will probably post again this weekend!

Changing It Up

Okay, squats are NO JOKE! Especially when you realize that you have been doing them wrong ALL YOUR LIFE.

Thank goodness for CrossFit Winston Salem. I have already gleaned quite a bit of information from their website, including the CrossFit Journal, which has a training guide which includes… The Squat Clinic. I can already tell that this handy gem is going to be invaluable to me as I work on strength, technique, and form on my squats. Because I have none. Definitely no strength. My technique and form? What are those?

So tonight I did my first EPLifeFit workout since whenever I did the last one that I did. I can tell that my form has improved somewhat, just from what I learned from the EPLifeFit site. The information that I got from the training guide was priceless. I actually felt for the first time that I would be able to work up to a squat the correct way. And when my workout was done, I was jelly. My legs, my abs, and my arms were straight jelly. It kind of reminded me of how I felt after my first CrossFit workout. And it was great.

So I went shopping today and got food for the week. I was going to make the pork chili, but I am so scared that I am still burnt out on it. Plus the Wal-Mart that I live near now sucks! They didn’t have any poblano peppers. So I modified that recipe, but I can’t tell you about it until I know whether it came out well or not. I used the ingredients that I ended up getting for the chili that I didn’t make to put together a meatloaf – Southwest style:

2 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 (4 oz.) cans green chilis
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

So you put all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and form it into a loaf in a baking dish. Then y bake it at 375 degrees for an hour. Serve it with guacamole and cilantro!

Where is My Focus Directed?

I came to a very interesting realization during the past week: I am finally content with my body. I don’t feel like a bloated, overgrown, tomato-shaped, nasty, tired, worn-out individual any more. I am proud of the clothes that I can fit into and am happy that simply being doesn’t make me tired any more. Trust me, all of these feelings were ones that propelled me into the nightmare that was my dieting life. And eventually had me find my way to Paleo. I feel like I can do and be now.

This is a big thing, especially with all of the stress that I have encountered over the past month. But it also made me realize that I needed to reassess my goals. See, my primary goal when I started doing Paleo was weight loss. I have accomplished that goal to the point where I am satisfied. But I don’t feel fulfilled yet. I have things that I have always wanted to do that I am still not able to do, even with my amazing weight loss. I want to do kickboxing and MMA style fighting (yes, I have a secret desire to be Jason Bourne). I want to be able to do a hand stand like all of the CrossFitters that I am absolutely jealous of, especially since my CrossFitting wipeout back in February. I want to be able to do CrossFit regularly with a passion that exceeds even my understanding.

So I think that I need a change in focus. Weight loss is all well and good, but I’m not even weighing myself any more – it is hard to keep that focus now since I stopped doing that. But stopping the constant weighing was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself in this journey. It is definitely time for a different focus.

I guess with all of the fitness-related desires that I have, the next step would be to focus on fitness. There are so many contradictory stories about fitness and what fitness is, but luckily, I have a place to start. I have been singing praises of EP LifeFit since I joined, but I haven’t really done much with it. I think that spending time on the forum of the website has actually hurt me rather than helped. I am the type of person that doesn’t need five people giving me their personal opinions about everything that I have been trying to do. While it has bee helpful in some cases, it has also been a hindrance because I have posted something that has been working for me and when I do, I have five people coming around to tell me that I am doing it wrong. HELLO? One of the aspects that I have always liked about Paleo is the fact that everyone does it differently – they do it how it suits them and they do what works for them, and if it doesn’t work for you then don’t do it. So it really sucks to be posting about what I am doing and what has been working, only to be shut down and told that I am not supposed to be doing that.

Take coconut shakes, for example. I have LOVED my coconut shakes. Strawberry and almond butter was my favorite. I posted on the forum about my love of my coconut shakes and one of the girls posted that we aren’t supposed to be drinking coconut shakes because they can spike insulin levels and will make it harder to lose weight. So guess what…I stopped drinking the shakes, and I stopped posting on the forum. That was a buzz kill for me. And I miss my shakes. They were my sweet treat! I needed a sweet treat every now and then! Even my coworkers commented on my shakes because they know that I can’t have sugar – they said that I finally found something to calm my sweet tooth (not that I really have one any more). But I don’t have to give up my shakes! I am happy with how I have been doing things – I have found things that work! Why am I listening to someone who does not know my journey and does not have the same goals as me, even though they may be trying to help? I know what works for me and what my body needs, and I know where my focus is.

At least, now I know where my focus is.

I need to stay off the forum. It has become detrimental to my personal journey. I need to focus on that journey and focus on the beginner workouts that EP LifeFit has posted, because starting those workouts is what is going to help me get in the shape that I need to be in to be able to accomplish my fitness goals. And those goals are going to be the focus of the next leg of my Paleo journey, because the journey isn’t over. I have just made a new commitment to clean my diet back up after the move so that I will have the energy to tackle my new fitness goal. My energy levels have been in the tank for the past month, what with all of the stress and everything here lately. But by giving myself direction, I am hoping to alleviate some of that stress and be better able to focus on what I want to do with myself, as well as getting my energy levels back up.

I love this journey. And I love being able to come on here and rant and rave about it, and have my five loyal readers like what I have ranted and raved about. You guys inspire me to keep going and keep pushing, because I know that I am not alone. Thank you for your support!

Eating Out Paleo

I have to say it: ever since I started the Paleo lifestyle, eating out has not been much fun. I like to eat out as much as the next person, but experience has led me to realize that no matter how straight-forward something sounds on a menu, you really don’t know what you are going to get.

Take Mexican food, for example. There is a Mexican joint that I absolutely love not far from where I work. I have gotten fajitas without cheese, tortillas, sour cream, or half of the other stuff that makes them fajitas many times. Extra guacamole. And then an hour after I have eaten what I thought was a perfectly fine Paleo meal, I have seriously felt like crap.

Or how about instances like today: I took my daughters to a restaurant and found a hamburger steak (hold the gravy), baked onion, and salad with oil and vinegar. I was served the smallest hamburger patty on the planet that had absolutely no flavor. Apparently they only put flavor in the gravy. I’m not sure what kind of vinegar they were serving, either; it looked like it could have been rice vinegar, but I don’t know. When I left that restaurant I felt so dissatisfied that I wasn’t even sure that I had eaten anything.

For me, this lifestyle has been a journey involving flavors, textures, and simplicity. It has been wonderful and eye opening, and realizing that a restaurant’s hamburger steak only has flavor because of the gravy is a bit of a betrayal. Mainly because I took hamburger And made a meatloaf with flavor that would knock your socks off this evening. With flavorful mashed garlic cauliflower and my own baked onions. It was one of the best meals that I’ve had in a while.

Paleo Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground beef
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram
1 onion, minced
1 red pepper, minced
1/2 green pepper, minced
3 c chopped fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
1 egg

Heat your oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then shape into a loaf in a large (9×13) glass or metal pan. Bake for 1 hour.

The Value of Preparation (and A Rant About No-Poo)

Okay, so I’ve been away for a while. Life got kind of crazy when my house got broken into, but things are beginning to settle into a routine. I think it is time for the same to be said about my eating habits! Don’t misunderstand – I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon. But I’m willing to bet that I have consumed more sugar in the past two weeks than I have in the preceding nine months, because I haven’t been feeling like my usual energetic self (and I’ve been starting to crave some really bad stuff).

Can you believe that I’ve been eating Paleo for NINE months? And not just eating it, either, but really living it! I stopped using shampoo in my hair well over a month ago. My hairdresser told me that my hair was crazy dry and very unhealthy quite a while ago, so I have been looking for alternatives ever since. Who’d have thought that I would find one in the Paleo community? Apparently there is a whole movement based on not using shampoo. What most people do is either wash with straight-up conditioner, which was how I started out. I was so worried about my hair at the time and the ingredients in that conditioner, that I began to use baking soda to wash my hair and apple cider vinegar to clarify (although when I posted this link I realized that I was not diluting the vinegar enough…maybe that is why no one wants to get close to me any more). Now the next step for me is to find an all natural curl enhancer, since my hair is naturally curly, I refuse to put more nasty chemical-laden product in it, and I now have a gigantic frizz-ball on top of my head after I actually use the baking soda. I don’t do the baking soda every day – I have been trying for only once a week, but have only managed to make it four days without washing. The reward was that, when I went back to see my hairdresser last weekend, she said that my hair was very healthy! She made quite a face at me when I explained to her what I was doing, but she had to admit that it was working.

But anyway, it has been nine months. And the rewards have been endless. But it is definitely time for me to get things back into a routine now, which means that I need to actually plan my week like I used to! That means that I will be doing quite a bit of cooking this weekend in order to have food to take for my lunches during the week. I also need to get with the other people in my newly-formed household and create some kind of menu for dinners throughout the week, too. Nothing like preparation to keep one on track!