One Year of My New Life

Remember this? Here I Go Again

One year ago today, I walked into the Weight Watchers At-Work meeting to weigh-in for the “first time” again. I am happy to report it was my LAST “first time” and I made changes that started that day and stuck with them now for a year.

One year ago on November 1 (tomorrow) I went to my first CrossFit workout. I had surgery six weeks before and had abided by the “no lifting” restrictions. But I was cleared and ready to go. I remember that workout like it was a year ago. 🙂 We did back squats. We did Cleans. And I was oh-so-very sore all weekend long. (I also came down with Strep that weekend, which was not so fun.)

Today, I reread several of my posts over the past year and I link them for you now:


Tomorrow, I will compete in my first CrossFit Competition. I’m nervous. But it’s the good kind of nervous. I am entered in the scaled division and I just hope to do the very best I can and see how it goes.

As I think about this past year the main thing that comes to mind is my focus on maintaining these changes I have made. AS my initial “Here I Go Again” post mentions…I had always been an active person, but the food was my problem. I’m not going to lie, even with the changes I made this year, the food is still my problem. It’s something I cannot ever let myself become mindless to ever again. I will forever need to keep track of the food I eat on a daily basis. I will forever need to regroup after my inevitable falls “off the wagon” and get back to tracking.

Actually, I’ve been “off the wagon” for about four weeks now. It’s just been crazy with our schedule and Craig’s new job. I’m hopeful I can get back on now. Does that mean that I’ve gained 15 pounds? No. But it means that if I don’t get it in check, I might. Does that mean I haven’t worked out? Nope. Still haven’t had more than a 2-day layoff for exercise in a year. But the exercise isn’t the problem.

I recently reviewed the time since November 1 to see about workouts and was pleased to see that it was true that I had not had more than two days in a row with no formal/vigorous exercise since then. Even when we had a 2-day road trip for our vacation, when we arrived at my sister’s, I headed out for a 5K just to get something in on that 2nd day. I try not to obsess, however, my anxiety kicks up if I start thinking I won’t be able to get a workout in if I didn’t get one the day before.

In the last few months, I’ve had some interesting internal struggles with what I’ve done and how it impacts my family. First of all, there’s no question I am healthier and a better mom when I feel good about myself — both my actual health and my appearance. Secondly, I know I’m showing my kids what a healthy life looks like and I’m proud of that. The struggle comes in where the potential for weight-related problems rears its head with my kids. My kids are growing right now and are active and make (for the most part) healthy choices in the kitchen. But it was recently pointed out to me what my transformation in the past year may look like to them — especially my Helen, who wants so much to be like me in all ways. I believe my kids are proud of me for making healthy changes, but I worry that my girls (especially my girls) gain or retain some part of MY insecurity with weight and body image by seeing me work so hard to change my own weight/body to fit something I am happy with. This is a real concern. I want my girls to know they are beautiful no matter what. I worry that because they’ve watched this transformation over the past year, that they may think that I don’t think I am beautiful no matter what. So, that’s probably a post for another day. But it’s something I’ve had on my heart for a few weeks.

For today, I am going to celebrate. I’m going to celebrate the fact that my weight is in a healthy range, that my cholesterol (both the good and the bad) are in optimal ranges, that my resting heart rate is fantastic and that my blood pressure is excellent. Today, I celebrate the fact that I know eating a cookie is not going to derail my health because I know to limit my intake to just one (or two! haha) and not eat the whole box. Today, I celebrate that I understand how processed foods and sugars impact my body and I know how to make healthy and moderate choices on those. I celebrate the fact that I can Back Squat 185 pounds; I can Front Squat 145 pounds; I can Hang Squat Clean 130 pounds; I can do good-form “perfect” push-ups to the tune of 10 at a time; I can do unassisted kipping pull-ups. I could go on, but I won’t. I feel so empowered from all the goals I have reached in the last year and for that, I am grateful and I want to celebrate it.

Many of you have sent me congratulations and celebrated my success over this past year. Thank you for that. I knew that I needed a lot of accountability and  checks to keep me going and I appreciate that you all agreed to help me with that.

My journey is still far from over, though. Because I believe the hard part is in the maintenance. Yes, losing weight is hard — I’m not going to deny that. But I’m discovering that maintaining those changes when the weight is gone can be its own kind of incredible struggle. When the focus is not so much on losing and you can widen your lens-of-life and look at more things everyday — taking the time and the part of your lens to continue to focus on your health still takes effort. Some days that effort is easier than others. But no matter what, I must continue to focus on maintaining these healthy changes.

My focus continues to be on these main things:

  1. Tracking my food in a food diary
  2. Exercise most days of the week (this typically means one true rest day per week and sometimes two rest days per week, depending on the schedule…usually NOT two days in a row if I can help it)
  3. Stick to the Paleo philosophy most of the time

So, I’m going to allow myself a “Birthday” Treat — if you will.

My New/Healthy Life is 1-year-old today.

Paleo Challenge Part Three (the Part After)

I completed four weeks of clean eating (Paleo) and maintained my workout regimen with CrossFit. This afternoon, I went in for my post-challenge body composition. I am thrilled with the results.

As you know, I’ve been maintaining accountability with my posts throughout. So, I will structure this post a bit like my Part One post with sections.

How did the food part go, really?

Honestly, it went pretty well. I refused to allow myself room for cheats. I simply didn’t allow my brain to entertain options that weren’t Paleo. Because this was my mindset, I believe I did very well sticking to the plan. If you read my “Part Two” posts, you probably saw that I ate a lot of eggs and bacon for breakfast (and sometimes for dinner), and I ate a lot of salad with no dressing. I learned to put guacamole or salsa on my greens. I also learned to eat tacos without sour cream, cheese or taco shells/chips. And it was good!!

Did I miss anything? Yes. No lie. I missed cheese. I missed margaritas. I missed cookies and chocolate. But the biggest missing took place in the first week to ten days. From there, I was so focused on how big my size 6 work pants were, that I started thinking I might never eat another cookie, piece of cheese or taco/chip!

I did “cheat” after getting my numbers taken today. We needed to use some leftovers at dinner and I decided to allow myself one evening to have some chocolate and a bite of pasta.

However, I plan to be back on the Paleo wagon tomorrow morning and through another 30 days. I am signed up for my first CrossFit competition (scaled) on November 1 and I think maintaining the clean eating and exercise regimen will help me be as prepared as I can be for that.

How did the workout part go?

The best part of this challenge was the strides I took in the fitness area. I posted four PR’s on the board at the box this month. I PR’d my Front squat by 20 pounds. I PR’d my Clean & Jerk by 5 pounds (I had been stuck at 115 for about 3 months, and just Saturday I got 120 pounds!!) I PR’d my mile run by 54 seconds by running it in 7:12. And, I got my first pull-ups! (more on that in another post 🙂 )

But the PR’s are only part of the story. I didn’t miss a single workout that I intended to make and I actually made it to a couple I hadn’t banked on. I was tired at times (mostly because I switched up my workouts to early mornings after doing evenings for almost a full year). But the feeling of fatigue didn’t carry over into the workouts — once I got going in the warm-ups, my body responded and worked as hard as I wanted it to. 

Body Composition Numbers — AFTER

As stated in my initial post, the goal was to lose four pounds of fat without losing any lean body mass. You can see my initial numbers in this post, but you can also see them in my photo here:


My total mm measured on 8/28 were 137. On 9/28, total mm were 107. So I lost 30 millimeters. The biggest change was in my back area (just under my shoulder blade) going from 21mm to 15mm; my waist (losing 7mm in high waist area and 6mm in the lower waist area) and my thigh where I lost 10mm.

My body fat percentage on 9/28 is 22.9%, which is down 4% from 8/28. My weight is down from 162 to 156. I lost 8 pounds of fat while gaining 2 pounds of lean body mass. 

I’m not gonna lie: those numbers make me want to go Paleo 100% of the time forever.

Results (cont’d)
While I’m happy with how I felt diet-wise, and ecstatic at the progress I made fitness-wise, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how happy I am with the aesthetic results. Sarah and Helen went with me to buy an outfit to wear on a date night with Craig. I’m a terrible shopper. I have no idea what sort of clothes look good on me. This is a result of two main things. First, most of my adult life has been spent living in an overweight, out-of-shape body that I hated trying to find clothes to hide in. Second, there’s rarely room in the budget to buy clothes for me — there’s always something a kid needs and that typically takes priority.

Craig and me before our Date Night!

Sarah and Helen helped pick out a pair of jeans, a top and some flats that really looked nice on me. The jeans were “skinny jeans” — my first pair! And while they feel close, they don’t feel tight and they look nice on me. The shirt fits to the shape of my body and I didn’t feel self-conscious as I would have before losing weight. 

When I came down all dressed for our date night, Helen told me I was the prettiest mommy in the world (which absolutely made my life). The boys begged to get their picture taken with their “beautiful Mommy.” Sarah said, “Wow, you look nice. I like that outfit so much better than the stuff you normally wear.” (That’s 13-year-old speak for “Way to get with the program, Mom.”)

Helen insisted on taking a pic of me by myself — football game
in the background…
My baby girl and me

Even Dani agreed to a photo!
My boys and me, football game still in the background

Now, I was most of the way here before the Paleo challenge. I only lost a total of 6 pounds while doing the Paleo Challenge — but I’m sure the combination of 8 pounds of fat lost and 2 pounds of lean body mass gained makes a difference. But, I feel even more “in control” of things now than I did even before the 30-day challenge. For the first time since I made Lifetime with Weight Watchers, I am not sweating out my weigh-in at the beginning of October…I know I’ll be well under my goal weight, no worries about paying that $10!  

I’m confident as I move forward that I can continue to live at least a 90% Paleo lifestyle. And I’m shooting for 100%.

"Fran," Pull-ups and Me

Fran”

I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.

 21-15-9

Thrusters, then burpees.

90 reps total — which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.

My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.

The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).

Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I’m doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure — Yes, I can do another 10.

From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”…someday I will do this workout Rx.”

Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it’s my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
*****
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started  to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven’t formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women’s problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn’t be it, but I suppose it is.
LINK
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I’m convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I’ve been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or — as in “Fran” today, doing jumping pull-ups. I’m not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it’s definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.

I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.

LINK

All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) – 9

Accountability post in 3…2…1…

So, the weekends are getting easier and easier to get through on this. I have even thought (GASP!) that I could potentially stay Paleo indefinitely. I suppose that is the point, right? And no matter what I think I’m definitely going to be going for 90% Paleo regardless. I think it’s unrealistic to believe I would go the rest of my life without beer or my margaritas.

Saturday Food
Breakfast: After getting up and getting a run in (a run which really kinda sucked, by the way) I had a terrific breakfast of 3 eggs, 3 slices bacon, blackberries and a sliced avocado.

It was  YUMMY!

Breakfast was late and also big AND I was getting my hair done over the lunch hour…

This color and style has really grown on me — I love it!

So, I SNACKed on almonds.

Dinner: Taco night! so I had my taco meat with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and a few olives.

Saturday Workout: 3 mile run that, as I said before, really sucked. My legs were sore and I think I was trying to go faster than I should have. But, I was glad to have done it anyway and I resolved to have a Sunday rest day.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon. I made Sarah an omelette, but I wasn’t all that hungry so I didn’t eat one myself.

Sunday Lunch — was kind of just water. We took the kids to the ballpark to watch the Royals last home game of the season. Needless to say, nothing there is Paleo and I can’t afford to buy it anyway!! I’m rather surprised, however, that I really was not hungry. Water was about all I needed.

Sunday Dinner — To start off I had a bed of romaine lettuce with salsa mixed in. Then, I cooked our asparagus in bunches of 5 stalks wrapped in a piece of bacon. My kids enjoyed it and yes! — my new favorite way to eat asparagus!! I also cooked a ribeye steak and ate the whole thing. I put the other one away for Monday’s breakfast.

Sunday Workout: Rest

10 more days of the Paleo Challenge!!

 

 

Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) – 8

Accountability post (again).

Wednesday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon cooked crisp, 2 hard-boiled eggs and raspberries
Lunch: Banana (pickin’s were slim and time was short)
Dinner: Chicken Breast, Romaine with salsa

Wednesday Workout: CrossFit which included some gymnastics work, climbing the rope again (yay!) and then a Benchmark WOD which was pretty much awful, but a good workout, and I was glad when it was over!

Thursday Food
First of all — I weighed in with WW even though I am not required to do so. I dropped 2.0 pounds! Yay! I am sure that is the Paleo kickin’ in on the weight front.

Breakfast: Banana and 2 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: Lunch meeting, but they bought us Chipotle, so I had my salad that is all Paleo!
Dinner:

Thursday workout: Rest day

Friday Food
Breakfast: 3-egg omelette with diced tomatoes and black olives, 4 slices bacon
Lunch: Chipotle salad (romaine, steak, mild tomato salsa, guacamole)
Dinner: raspberries, banana
Snack: almonds

Friday Workout: CrossFit, did a 3-rep back squat up to 170 (1RM is 175), and it was a nice 10 min AMRAP for the WOD.

LINK

Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) – 7

Accountability post following.

Monday Food
Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: had another lunch in the Executive Dining Room at work. Chicken, cauliflower, fruit bowl.
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: 4 slices of cooked, crisp bacon, Avocado and tomato slices, romaine lettuce with salsa

Monday Workout: CrossFit which included me climbing the 15′ rope in about half the time as the last time I did it. Then we did what is called a “benchmark WOD” that was pretty much awful, but a great workout.

Tuesday Food
Breakfast: Banana and 3 slices of cooked, crisp bacon
Lunch: Made a salad of all fresh veggies at Jason’s and added 3 hard-boiled eggs for the protein part (no dressing)
Snack:  Almonds
Dinner: Romaine with salsa and strip steak

Tuesday Workout: CrossFit which included a good 30 minutes of strength training (Push Press, Push Jerk and Front Squats) and then a WOD that was more like a sprint that had rowing, pushups and front squats. It was a good fast workout, which I like to have — especially when I need to rush home to get ready for work!

I am gonna go ahead and let you know that my size 6 work pants are feeling awful loose these days. I’m surprised because as of last weight check, I haven’t lost any weight. So maybe I’m using up fat stores and my body fat percentage is decreasing? I hope so!!


One of my favorite quotes from a movie, ever.

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) — 6

The Next Paleo Accountability Post 🙂

Saturday Food
Midday (went to CrossFit so didn’t eat until later): Bacon and fried eggs

Dinner: Strip Steak over lettuce with salsa

Saturday Workout: CrossFit WOD with Craig. I PR’d on the Front Squat at 140#. Then I went on to do a 3 rep-max at 135# making me think I could probably do a 1 rep max higher than 140#. Go Figure.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, bacon, tomato and avocado slices. Yum!

Breakfast was late, then I went for a run, so I had an early dinner…

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken with Romaine lettuce and sliced tomato

Sunday Workout: 3.0 mile run that was pretty rough as my legs were very sore!