My New Journey

I am so proud of myself right now. I actually took the plunge and called one of the coaches at Crossfit. I had a great conversation with him, and he told me that he usually allows people to take the first three foundation classes for free. Well, since I am absolutely obsessed with starting Crossfit right now, and I feel like I would majorly regret it if I didn’t at least give it a shot, I went online last night and registered for the three foundation classes.

Once I actually registered for the classes, I became almost giddy with anticipation and nervousness. That feeling has carried over to today, as I experience butterflies in the pit of my stomach every time I think about going to my first class TOMORROW. But between the butterflies I realized that I really need to define my reasons for doing this. Obsession for the sake of obsession is simply ridiculous, and will probably not get me very far as far as motivation goes.

So I started at the beginning. The Paleo diet has dramatically and completely changed my view on eating, health, and nutrition for the better. I have had no desire to cheat since I started this diet because I know how I will feel if I do. The benefits in energy and a feeling of overall health are so substantial that I don’t ever want to go back to the way I ate before.

So my question has become: how can I transfer these benefits to my fitness? I have seen the benefits that my weight lifting has had, but I have gotten out of the habit of going to the gym. Just the other day I wrote about how I didn’t want to go to the gym because of all of the people that were there. I have recently felt that I am at a crossroads when it comes to my fitness and fitness goals, and one of the reasons why is that I recently used the phrase “I’m going to make myself go to the gym.”

I don’t ever feel like I have to make myself eat this way. I just naturally want to.

I remember when I did sports as a kid. I loved softball, and I loved hitting balls back and forth on the tennis court when I was in high school. I was proud of my skills, and I have such a competitive streak that I constantly want to improve. I tried to recapture that when I became an adult. I played in practice sessions with a men’s softball team about ten years ago and that was really fun, but it didn’t last long. Since then, I haven’t had many opportunities to do anything competitively like that since, mostly because I haven’t felt like I am in shape to do anything like that.

What I have learned through my obsessive research into Crossfit is that it is highly competitive and focuses on many different skill areas. Focus seems to be on personal improvement, as well as competition between members. While this is true to an extent through the workouts that I was doing at the gym, there will be an entire community at Crossfit that is dedicated to the program, as well as to eating Paleo. The coach told me that right now they have a Whole 30 competition going on, too.

With three free classes, I will be able to find out of Crossfit is everything that I think it will be, and I will be able to tell if it is right for me. I will be posting about my experience soon, I’m sure.

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Where To Go From Here

So I feel like I am at a crossroads when it comes to my fitness. Not my diet – that is still going well. As a matter of fact I just took a few days off for my birthday and I did a lot of cooking. I now have beef stew, pork chili, and meatloaf sitting in my refrigerator, waiting to be used for my lunches. I even made some mashed cauliflower tonight to go along with the meatloaf and it was very good.

No, I’m talking about my workouts, which have become non-existent the past few weeks. Either I am just totally losing my drive to go to the gym, or I’m bored with it. I’m not sure which is the case right now, but I’m trying to look into other options as far as workouts go. I’m thinking about Crossfit, although it makes me kind of nervous. I have heard of a lot of people getting hurt doing Crossfit, but I know that a lot of Paleo folks swear by it. And…that’s all I’m really thinking about because I’m not sure what else is out there that I would be interested in, either.

See, the last time I went to the gym it was packed. Ridiculously packed. I would be waiting or fighting over a machine packed. And I have been scared to go ever since, because one of the things that I love about my workout is that it doesn’t take me forever to do it. Waiting for a machine would cost me time and frustrate me to no end. As a matter of fact, I left last time without finishing my workout because I didn’t want to wait on the leg press machine.

I know that it won’t be like that forever, but the thought of trying something new excites me. I’m not sure where to go with my fitness goals next, but I do know that I need to do something. I was enjoying the feeling that working out gave me, and the body that I was gaining from it.

I Did It!

Yes, I did it. I made it  to my goal of being under 200 lbs. before New Year’s.

What a great feeling! This is the first time that I have seen a one at the beginning of my weight since I was pregnant with my second child six years ago. So I am definitely celebrating today!

But while I am celebrating, and since it is almost New Year’s, I think that it is time to reflect on some of the things that I have learned these past six months. Learning is all about reflection, after all, and this process has definitely been a learning process. So here are some of the things I have learned:

1. Eat.

I recently wrote about my weight loss slowing down, and how aggravated I was about it. After I wrote that post, I  began counting my calories so that I could figure out what was going on. On the first day that I counted, I only ate a little over 1400 calories – a number that seems almost impossible to me! I don’t think I have eaten that few amount of calories voluntarily…ever! Then I started looking at my habits. I had begun to skip breakfast because my mornings are so busy. I would make breakfast, but then I wouldn’t eat it until lunch because of all the running around I was doing. You would think that I know better than that! I believe that was what has accounted for the majority of my issues when it comes to consuming too little food. I have had a little down time this past week, so I have begun trying to come up with a new plan for when school starts next week!

2. Eat Your Vegetables.

Especially when doing Paleo! I got sick a few days before Thanksgiving – nausea, diarrhea, no energy. When my daughter got sick with salmonella a few days later, I thought that was what I had experienced. But a few weeks later, I got sick again in the exact same way! So I pulled out my Paleo Diet Book to try to find some answers – and find answers I did! Apparently, if you eat too much protein without vegetables or fats to go with it, you will get sick – with diarrhea, nausea, and no energy. My days of skipping to the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken and nothing else have been over ever since, and I have been trying to find some new, yummy things to put on my salad to add more flavor. My current favorites are a basil-infused olive oil that I found, and red wine vinegar. I have also added more avocados to my diet – I can’t get enough of those, anyway! Last night I made up a double batch of Garden Fresh Meatballs so that I will have something to fall back on when I get tired of the salads. I will let you know how well they come out after being frozen!

3. Listen to your body.

I have been repeatedly laughed at and made fun of for some of the things that I have become very hard-core about since starting this diet. Like, I won’t eat anything if it has any type of sugar in it. I have found out from experience that even the smallest amount of sugar will give me GI problems that cause a lot of pain and heartache (or stomachache, actually). It isn’t worth it. I read the hell out of labels to make sure that there are no hidden starches or sugars in anything. The bloating, pain, and other things aren’t worth it to me, either. Sometimes I eat something that causes the scale to tick up slightly, but as long as I think that the splurge is worth it in the long run, it is okay. I definitely stay away from wheat and bread products. I inadvertently ate a cracker one day at the farmer’s market and I was so sleepy and run-down for two days! That is definitely not worth it! I have found out that my body can handle sweet potatoes pretty well, so I have added them to my diet – not an every day thing, but I will eat one every now and then.

4. Variety is the Spice of Life

I have been on the lookout for some new recipes, because we all get tired of the same old thing over and over again. I have found that I can take a lot of recipes, use different spices in them, and have a totally cool new eating experience. I did this last night with my Garden Fresh Meatballs. I have found that altering recipes just slightly to please my taste buds goes a long way in determining whether or not I am satisfied – as in, I don’t desire anything else to eat when I am done eating. I have modified so many recipes in this way, from the Crusty Chicken recipe (which is actually a fusion of two other, different recipes), to the Best Chili Ever recipe, which I have to modify because it didn’t agree with my stomach at all (it sure did taste good, though)! I am also trying to figure out a way to modify my salmon, because I eat that a lot for breakfast, but it really is getting old.

5. Lift weights.

One thing that has amazed me since I started this is how much stronger I am. I haven’t been doing any cardio since I read the “Body by Science” book, and I have enjoyed my workouts so much more because of it! It really is fun to go and lift, and when you realize that it is time to add more weight, it is super exciting! I wish that I had written down what weights I started with when I started lifting, but all I know now is that I love going to the gym, and I love that my workout is so short – just 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how motivated I am. When someone mentions doing cardio when they are with me at the gym now, I cringe and try to get out of it any way that I can. I did get on the elliptical machine a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how much better I did on that machine than I did before I started lifting. I can definitely tell that I am stronger! I have no idea how much muscle I have gained, but it doesn’t matter – all that matters is that I fit into my clothes better!

6. Sometimes the “Experts” Have It Right – They Just Have the Wrong Starting Point

I have seen or heard many things that have come out of expert’s mouths that have actually sounded common-sense to me lately, but only if you think about it in the context of a Paleo diet. When I think about them in terms of SAD (Standard American Diet), they make no sense at all. I’m talking about the studies that say “Eating this or that can help prevent this or that disease” or things like that. I am going to have to start keeping up with these things that I hear, because I can’t think of a single specific one now that I am trying to write about it, and it would be fun to put them in their own blog post.

I am so excited looking forward into the New Year – excited about all of the things that I can accomplish now that I have accomplished this. This is so huge to me, because I have been trying to accomplish it for about two years now! And with this new lifestyle, I accomplished it in three months! I went through all of my “skinny” clothes yesterday – I haven’t done that in a LONG time, and there were clothes in there that I had forgotten about! It was so much fun going through those clothes and knowing that it really is possible to be wearing them again! And that is my next goal, to be able to fit into those clothes again! It will happen in this coming year, and I am excited about sharing the journey to get there!

Losing…What?

I have been doing a bit of online research this morning, and I came across a blog post about weighing yourself when on a diet. A woman named Deb is featured in the post, with pictures of her at 155 in the before picture, looking very unhappy, and at 155 in the after picture, looking much more fit.

Wait…what?

Yes, you read that right. She weighs 155 in both pictures. She is on a Paleo diet.

Reading this is great for me, because my scale hasn’t budged an inch in a few weeks, which is usually pretty frustrating for me. It would be this time, too, but I feel so great eating this way that I have stopped caring about the scale. Not to the point where I won’t get on it, but I get on it less. And still it hasn’t moved.

And yet coworkers tell me that it already looks like I have lost more than the scale tells me I have. I look at them unbelievably when they tell me this because I can’t believe it. But I go on eating this way because of the way it makes me feel. And I work out, too.

But then came another blog post.

What? No cardio?

Now here is the point where my fiance is going to get a little frustrated with me. He and I are very big into researching things. I usually research along the way (hence the reason for all of the “along the way” blog posts) and he researches beforehand. He’s been telling me about the no cardio “thing” for a couple of weeks now, and telling me I need to read “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff and John Little. He has formulated a workout that he does every time we go to the gym that incorporates weight lifting and no cardio. And he finishes his workout while I am still struggling along on the elliptical machine, usually finishing his whole workout at about the same time that I stagger off of the machine, about to die – when I am ready to begin my lifting. So I am happy to report to him that the book is the next thing on my immediate reading list. I will let all of my droves of readers (ha ha, joke) know how the book was.

So Deb achieved this amazing feat without losing a pound and without doing cardio. Not only that, but one part of the post says that she counted her calories for one day and ate….(wait for it)….”slightly over 3900 calories per day.”

WHAT???

Oh wow. This Paleo thing isn’t a diet – it is a freaking miracle! One of the most wonderful miracles that I have found, and I am taking advantage of it! (Or I will be when I get myself off of that elliptical machine – I have been telling my fiance that it is no joke, and now I’m starting to be convinced that it is of the devil!) I can’t wait to be able to blog about the information I find out about these new finds of the day!

*I must also throw in a disclaimer. I am not a religious person, so any mention of devils or miracles in the above post should not be construed as religious zeal, whether positive or negative, toward any particular diet or workout machine.

*I must also throw in another note: While Deb is eating 3900 calories a day, I believe from some of the tags on the posts that she is doing Crossfit, which to me means that she is also burning a heck of a lot of calories. Using common sense, I do not advocate or think it wise to start eating calories like nobody’s business simply because Deb is eating 3900 calories a day.

Getting It Together

So I’ve been doing well with my diet for about two months now. I’ve only had two cheat days – one last Friday and one in May. My boyfriend and I went to the beach, where he asked me to marry him. And so, since we are getting married in two years, at the beach, I need to start getting really serious about getting into shape.

I said something to my trainer about being bored with P90, the same two workouts over and over and over and over again. It gets old quick. And he recommended that I try a different program. And so I have started the Master Series today, in the hopes that I won’t get bored and it will keep me engaged long enough to accomplish something.

I have also started doing Balintawak training with my boyfriend on the nights of the week that he is home. It is very low-impact, and very fun. I have fun, anyway. I wish we had some more drills to work on, though. We work on the same ones over and over again. The only thing we have to work on with them is speed. Hopefully we will be working on that soon.

I’m tired, though. Sometimes I think that this is probably how people in boot camp feel. I have been trying to take it a little easy at work, since I’m doing so many workouts, and so far it isn’t too bad. I’m hoping I can hold out, though. I’m trying not to go too hard on the workouts, since I’m not used to doing them.

And so that is how things are going so far. I will check back soon and we will see how it is going from here.

Progress

Well, today is the end of my first thirty days of Power 90. So I had to take my measurements today. While I haven’t lost any weight (I knew I hadn’t before I took my measurements) I have lost 14.5 inches, mostly from my thighs. This is incredibly awesome, and a real, tangible sign that all of this hard work is paying off. It is even a sign that my diet isn’t causing a lot of stress or making me unhealthy. Although, due to the numbers I plugged into the body fat calculator, my BF% has actually gone up. I don’t get that, but I’m chalking it up as a fluke, because I have lost so many inches at this point. And I can’t wait to see what I will lose in the next thirty days! From what I hear, 30-60 and 60-90 are golden because I have just spent thirty days stoking my metabolism.

I am trying to do some research to find out what system I want to use next. I had been going to do P90X after this, but I have heard so many people talk about the different systems out there, and I want to take a look at them. I may post my opinions at a later date!

Progress!

Today I finished my second week of Power 90, and it felt really good. I’m really proud of myself right now, not only for finishing two weeks, but also for not overdoing it and getting sick. I haven’t been sick yet. I can tell that I’m getting stronger because the exercises aren’t quite as hard for me to do, either. I was able to get through more of the sweat video without pausing as often, and I added the third round of the strength circuit in the middle of this week. So all in all, it is going extremely well.

I found a 5K in October that I am going to try to run. It means that I will start training in June, and that means that I will have plenty of time to get myself in shape to be able to handle the training. Especially since things are going so well with my workouts right now, I should be in great shape to train in June. And the training will be on top of whatever program I am doing in June, so that will be a great addition to my workout routine.

So as far as my plans go as far as my regular workout, I am planning on doing 1-2 for as long as it takes until I can do all of the exercises at full intensity and feel like I’m not getting any more benefits. It may happen sooner than I think, but that is the plan. After that happens, I will move on to 3-4. When I start doing 3-4, I will order 5-6 so that I have it for when I can do 3-4 at full intensity and feel like I’m not getting anything out of it. When I move on to 5-6 I’m going to order P90X so I can start on it when I get to the full intensity point with 5-6. And I am going to keep progressing through that system the same way.

On top of all of this, my boyfriend and I just ordered a Total Gym, so I will have that to supplement my workouts as well. I’m actually pretty glad that we got it because it has a way to do pullups. I was trying to figure out how I was going to do pullups when I make it to the P90X because a door attachment won’t work in this house. That will help me out a lot.

So those are my plans, and my path to achieve them. I have a lot that I want to accomplish, but I have a clear path. I also have plenty of motivation. I kind of blew my diet on Saturday, and stayed up really late, so I didn’t want to get up on Sunday and do my workout, but I did, and I was so glad that I did. I knew that if I didn’t, it would throw me off and I would quit. I felt so much better after I did my workout, and I was proud of myself for getting up and doing it. After all, being part of a team, Team Never Fail Again at that, should give me the motivation to do what I need to do!