Friday, April 18, 2014

WholeFOREVER (but not really)


Dude, right now I'm killing it!  (in a good way of course).  I cannot believe I did not blog at ALL in the month of March!  Bad blogger!

March started off with a BANG! I decided to eat whatever I wanted the entire day of my birthday.  I became very, very ill. To this day I'm unsure if it was an actual bug that had me puking all night and the next morning (only to be stopped by zofran and phenergan) but truly I'm sure WHAT I was eating did not help one bit.  Let's back up a bit.

My daughter had asked me to run a 5k race at her school with her that morning.  So, I didn't sleep in on my birthday.  Because running 3.1 miles with my favorite person trumps sleeping in ANY DAY!  She had  never run a 5k without stopping before.  Her plan was to do that.  I wanted to help!

That morning, we lined up and a few of her friends were at the front. Here's how the conversation went:

"Elizabeth, we need to go nearer to the back, sweetheart."  ~Me
"But Mom, I want to run with my friend!" ~Lizzie
"Hi, friend, how fast did you run your last race?" ~Me
"Oh, 24 minutes.  I'm hoping to beat my time today." ~Friend

"Back of the pack, Elizabeth, if we finish in under 40 it will be a miracle." ~Me

She hadn't been training at all so I told her if you want to cross the finish line without stopping you HAVE to go slow.  Period.  Or we won't be able to run the whole way which was her main goal.  She was bummed but determined.

Well, my baby girl made me SO proud.  She does a few hours of dance per week and is a pretty active kid, so I'm not shocked she was able to run 3.1 miles without stopping but her little red cheeks at the end reminded me we need to run together more often, overall.  We passed many adults who had to walk, but didn't go crazy fast of course.  We finished in 38 mins and change.  As we put our results into the little age group buckets, I realized, CRAP! I'm in the 35-39 age group...I should have TRAINED!

We stuck around for awards because there were door prizes.  No inklings that we would actually win anything...well...

We both got 2nd place in our age group!!!

Shock and excitement for my baby to get a medal in her first race!

10th 5k race ever, slowest time since 2012 but FIRST MEDAL!  HAHA!

Before we left for the race that morning.

Best start to my 35th year EVER.


We then ate lunch at Zaxbys (mistake #1), and headed home.  Showered, relaxed some, then headed to Augusta to do my favorite things (shop and eat!).  We had a ball shopping.  We bought a snack while out shopping and were eating it while shopping (possibly where I picked up the pukey-bug).  We ate a humongous dinner at PF Changs.  With my free birthday dessert.  Oh my geez. My tummy was rumbling!  There may have also been ice cream.  At this point I blacked out I think.  (lol)

Went to bed feeling AWFUL!  I knew I was going to be sick.  Sure enough it started around 2am and every hour after that until 10am when a friend brought me some meds.  I finally slept and took me a little over a day to get better.  Funny part is I also had a fever which is why I thought it must be a bug.  But who knows. Managed to keep the rest of the house feeling ok so that's a plus.

Didn't exactly get right back on the healthy eating train, but wasn't being crazy either.  But my weekly "treat" time was becoming a bit of a problem (wait, didn't I do a treat yesterday?  ah, I'll have another one today!)  Coupled with my lack of workout motivation with the program I was in...yeah.  Recipe for a few pound weight gain.  I had gotten down to 170 and was ecstatic to find the 160s again.  So super excited.  and then found myself at 184 AGAIN.  GAH! Me and the 180s!

So I made a rash decision pretty quickly...to do a Whole 60.  A full 60 days of Whole 30 eating.

A day or so into it, I was like CRAP!?  What was I thinking?

And then I began to feel AMAZING again.  My skin brightened and my head cleared.  My gut felt clean again and I honestly felt like I had experienced a healing.  It's amazing what good, whole, clean food can do for you.

Not everyone is going to have the kind of results I have with this way of eating.  And that's completely fine, to each his or her own.  But me?  This has truly changed my life.  Revitalized my love of good, whole food.  Made me a chef in my own right!  Tonight we ate grilled pork marinated with all natural seasoning, topped with my made from scratch bbq sauce, side of roasted sweet potatoes and cole slaw made with my homemade cole slaw dressing (whole 30 mayo, almonds, pineapple, raisins and half and half cole slaw/broccoli slaw).  Every bit of it was CLEAN.  And it tasted like a treat meal!  Every day, something I eat feels like a treat.  Just check out my facebook page where all of my food is posted.  It's amazing.

And let's just look at some results in pictures.  I took pics in Dec 2012 when I started my first challenge with my beachbody coach, Nate.  I remember looking at them and being so disappointed!  Check out the difference in these pics that were taken from December 2012 - April 2014.


First pic from Dec 2012 (225.6 pounds), after a year of Paleo/Whole 30, April 2014 (175.8).

Flexing.  Look how my arms are shaping up!

The rear.  Eeeeeek.

Front view.  Do you see Abs?  I do! I do!  Almost!

Side pic.  I seriously stared at this comparison.  Wow.  NOT sucking in here either time.  And Abs!  ABS!!!

Amazingly, I once weighed an additional 70 pounds heavier than the pictures on the left!  Crazy right?  Too bad I wasn't taking pics of myself then like this.

I urge you to TAKE PICS even if you don't want to share them now if you're doing a healthy journey.  One day you may look back and be brave enough to post them.

Sort of feels like I'm in a WholeFOREVER right now.  But it's NOT a drag.  It feels amazing.  I feel so stinking happy, glad, whatever, to be where I am at.  Looking at the "after" or as I prefer to call them "current" pictures I know there is still some work to do.  Another probably 15-20 pounds from here, not just 10.  Or I may just do redistribution of the weight.  If I replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle, I may not be meant to weigh much less than I do right now.

Overall, I feel good, I looooove my food, and I'm jazzed about what's next.  OH about that!

I finished P90X3 a few weeks ago.  Did not order the "I crushed it" shirt because honestly, I did not crush it!  BUT I did finish.  And then launched into a 21 day kettlebell challenge.  So far it's unintentionally been my only workout each day as everything has gotten in the way of me running lately.  Truly everything in bloom is killing my allergies.  Anyway, I'm on day 18.  It has been awesome! I see amazing changes in my shoulders! Literally it's an interval swing challenge. You can find the book to follow it and get it on your kindle for $2.99 right now on amazon, click HERE.  It's been so much fun and a nice change.  I will be on Day 21 on Monday when I start my FAVORITE program again...

Guess what it is???

T25!!!

I'm so super stoked.  New challenge group and everything.  CANNOT WAIT. 

Planning to CRUSH the month of April.  So far, I'm totally doing it already! Cannot wait to see what a Strict W30 tied in with T25 and some kettlebell workouts and running here and there do for my physique.  Dare I imagine bathing suit season? 

I've rambled enough.  Hope you enjoyed the long awaited update.  I'll be back sooner rather than later, at the least, at the 30 day check in point for my Whole 60.  {I'm still weighing a few times a week but not letting it change what I'm doing in any way. Just taking note - I'm back at 175 this week - so already 10 pounds down since April 1!}

Peace out my friends!  Do something healthy for yourself this weekend!

~Clara

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Donde Esta Mi Mojo?

Otherwise translated...Where is My Mojo?

I know a number of people have commented to me before how they are amazed at how disciplined I am with working out, eating right, etc.  I always laugh a little as I don't feel like a disciplined person.  Even after almost 5 years of this lifestyle change, working out is something I go through spurts of HATING.

Truly!

I'm not kidding you.  I lose steam, mojo, whatever you want to call it, periodically.  Sometimes it's triggered by illness, or travel, or just laziness.  Yes, I said laziness.  Your faithful blogger who has lost over 100 pounds and went from a size 24 to a 10, is sometimes downright LAZY.

I'm in a spurt like that right now.  It could be that I'm not LOVING P90X3 like I did T25.  It's a good program, but I just don't like Tony Horton as much as I love Shaun T.  I just don't look forward to the workouts as much. Could be because I can't do a pullup unassisted.  Not sure.  But I'm almost 10 weeks in and just not loving it. 

Does that mean I have a right to be lazy?  No way.  I need to power through, I mean, it's ONLY 30 minutes for crying out loud!  And running?  Haven't done that in a month or so.  Ridiculous!

Gotta get my tater in gear.  Find my Mojo.  PUSH until I begin to love it all again.

Honestly, this happens to me every few months or so.  GASP! I know!  What a disappointment I am.  Just teasing.  I'm human.  So are you. 

This, my friends, is totally, completely NORMAL.

So how do I deal with this?

Right now my issue is I am not feeling well.  It could be a few poor food choices I made last week while traveling, or being excessively tired, or that I've got a bug of some sort.  Or a combination of all three.

So until I feel better, I'm not going to beat myself up too terribly much.  I'm going to try to keep my nutrition as tight as I can, and get some walking in if I can stomach that. 

And I'm going to take it one day at a time, realizing that taking care of myself comes first. 

The thing is, it's easy during these times when you don't feel well to stop eating well too.  I mean, you aren't exercising.  For me, alot of times exercising and eating well HAVE to go together.  If one slips so does the other.  It's kind of ridiculous really.  But it is what it is.

Why in the world would a wanna-be fit blogger be sharing all of this with you?  I mean, it's a little demotivating isn't it?

Not for me.  I have always been real here...and don't plan to stop that.  If you're perfect and this doesn't resonate with you, move on to another blog. 

But if you struggle with finding your Mojo sometimes, you've come to the right place.  And you are not alone.  You are normal.  And you are still awesome.

Slip up a little this week or weekend?  Decide to be awesome with your next meal, next decision about whether or not to get up early and workout, etc.

You can do this.  We can do this.

Hasta la later. :)

Clara

Sunday, February 16, 2014

And All Roads Lead To...

Home? Maybe.  Finding my happy place?  YES.

So I finished a successful Whole 30 this past week.  Actually I did a Whole 39, staying on plan a few extra days for my friend Annie to finish hers up.

In those 5 plus weeks, I lost 17 pounds.  WHAA???  Yeah that's what I said too!  I weighed in at my lowest of 170.2.

So super duper close to 165, a number I would, for some reason, call HOME. (or GOAL or DONE or whatever).  The funny thing is, I guessed at that number when I weighed 285.  I didn't dwell on it much then, as it was SO FAR from 285 pounds.  But I guessed I would end up there.

And as I look at my 170 pound body I realize it's probably more like 155ish that I should be shooting for (and Nate is saying "told you so!").  HA!  Jokes on me.

But truly this is not depressing, because at this point, I know I am going to get to wherever my happy place is weight-wise.  Which could be different things at different times in my life.

It's no secret that I would love to consider having another baby at some point.  I don't know if I can, or will.  But it is definitely a goal to shoot for.  And one my husband is ecstatic at the thought of.  I turn 35 in a few weeks so I know I really can't keep delaying it.

Overall, I'm pretty happy about how things are going.  I had a few days of intentional offroading and learned a few important lessons from my poor gut's reaction.

1) I don't miss bread.  Like at all.  Even if I decide to have a burger out and about, I don't need or want the bun.  Unnecessary gut pain.  
2) If I'm going to eat pizza out ever again, I can GUARANTEE it won't be from a fast food pizza place.  Oh my geez.  I almost induced vomiting to feel better the other day after some pizza from a "hut."  Next time I'll hold out for the awesome firestone cooked pizza from an Italian place.  Waaaay more worth it! Or, I can make my own, on lavash.  (zero gut pain or weight gain there!).
3) I will be super duper picky about chocolate going forward.  If it's not organic, I'm not eating it.  It is unbelievable how awful store bought valentine's chocolate can make you feel.  (But my homemade paleo brownie pie?  AMAZING.  Here's the recipe: Paleo Brownie Pie (with icing)) Totally worth it and NOT a gut bomb.  I seriously had sores in my mouth from this awful pseudo-chocolate.  GROSS.

Of course the scale HATES me right now but instead of obsessing over that little 2 days off, I'm cleaning things up and going pretty close to Whole 30 starting tomorrow.  I say pretty close as I will still allow *some* dried fruit (not alot, but some raisins in recipes here and there, as well as RX bars, which are W30 approved) and I also will not allow myself to obsess much about meat choices while traveling.  Do the best I can, and my results will continue to speak for themselves!

So a subject that's been percolating in my mind to share with you lately (besides that update) is the difference between can't (cannot) and won't (will not).

Here are the definitions as you know I love to start there:

Can't (cannot): to be UNABLE to do something.  Like I CAN'T do certain poses in yoga as it is physically impossible for TRex (me) to do it. Eventually I might be able to do these things with practice, but right out of the gate?  Can't do it.  So I do the best I can instead.

Won't (will not): to be UNWILLING to do something.  Like when someone says I WON'T drink coffee without creamer.

Actually, they usually say "I can't give up my creamer" but what they mean is "I won't."

Look, I'm not trying to upset anyone by pointing this out, but I feel like we should take FULL responsibility for what we are WILLING to do!  Why do we feel it is appropriate to avoid responsibility when it comes to our food, exercise, and drink choices?  I think we as a society have enabled ourselves and each other to cop out of said responsibility.  And it's not helping us, folks, it's getting in our way of being at our best health, AND it's making us feel like we aren't in control of our own successes.

If we weren't somewhat in control of what happened to us, how would anyone ever excel at anything???

So next time you say you "CAN'T" get up early to work out, unless you have to be at work at 7am and have 3 kids to get ready for school BEFORE that, ask yourself..."Is it that I can't or that I WON'T?"

Healthy lifestyles don't need to be miserable.  You might decide "I just WON'T get up early" and that's completely fine.  But then don't find an excuse not to work out later.  Just about everyone I know that works out has a VERY busy life, myself included.  But we make it a priority.  I WILL WORK OUT.  And if I decide not to do it in the morning I WILL do it later in the day or before going to bed.

Because if you are truly determined to DO something, then you will.

This whole rant reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:


Another favorite, that my husband used recently in our church newsletter is this:


Sorry for the graphic picture.  ha! 

I'm passionate about this because I truly lived my life saying "I can't" but meaning "I won't" for a LONG TIME.  I was that person who was too busy, didn't like vegetables, had zero extra time for food prep and was unable to run as I got winded easily.

That girl turned into someone who can easily go run a 5k, cooks 3 meals a day on days that I'm home, does food prep on Sunday afternoons, LOOOOOVES me some veggies, and work out almost every day even though I am busier than I have ever been as a working/traveling career person, wife of a pastor, mommy to a tween and struggling like everyone else to keep my house sanitary.

And you know what?  I'm doing it.  Because I stopped using my unwillingness to change as an excuse to stay exactly where I was.

I suspect I'm hitting a nerve with someone out there...please know it's not personal.  I'm all about being direct...and truly I would probably be a little miffed were I reading this pre-2009.  But I feel like these things are so important to share just in case even ONE of you out there is ready to hear it.

Share away my friends...maybe we can get more people saying "I WILL" vs. "I WON'T"!

One person at a time, one blog at a time.

Because THESE kind of results don't come from someone who is UNWILLING to change:






OR how about my amazing Dad?  What if he said "I won't go to therapy and give 150%" or "I can't do this or that."???  Where would he be?  Certainly not getting up to hug me with BOTH arms when I saw him last week.  Check him out.


One last pic - of me and my hubster a few weeks ago at a friends house.  I married such a hottie! BLESSED! 




Me?  I'm finishing packing my bags for a week in Arkansas of all places.  First visit there and excited to explore Little Rock and find me some good healthy places to eat (and shop)!

Thanks for being on this journey with me. :)

Clara

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year, New Start

Hey friends!  Been a looooong blog break.  So much to tell.  I'll start at the beginning, and when I get to the end I'll stop.  Deal?  Deal.

So in December I participated in a 21 day challenge starting on 12/2 to take me through to Christmas without gaining "holiday weight."  It was AWESOME.  Perfectly timed, and the accountability I needed.  About two weeks in I picked up some sort of December virus.  You know the kind, horrid cold that hits you out of NOWHERE.  I was literally in bed for a few days which never happens to me.  I went through an antibiotic that did nothing.  Only when I started taking a steroid did I begin to recover.

Oh great, a steroid.  Instantaneous weight gain right?  Actually, not in this case.  I lost weight.  Like 5 lbs in a week.  My low weight was 172 pounds.  172! I cannot ever remember the scale saying that, not since my junior year of high school.

During my illness I didn't exercise, but I did make sure my eating was on point.  I didn't have much appetite but still forced myself to eat 3 times a day.  I lost weight probably due to losing some muscle, but also due to keeping my nutrition tight.

I was finally starting to feel better and I was gearing up for a wonderful stay-cation at Christmas. I had from 12/24 - 1/2/14 off of work! All the presents were wrapped under the tree, the out of town gifts were mailed out and cards signed, sealed and delivered.  I was settled in on the Sunday before Christmas, finally starting to feel better, when I received a text from my Mom at 11pm.

"At the ER with Dad, possible stroke.  Please let the brothers know and start prayers."

If you have parents over the age of 60, you pretty much constantly flinch when a text or call comes in late at night.  This was the text I had been flinching over for a few years.

My parents have been eating Whole 30/Paleo like me since July.  Mom has lost 25 pounds and Dad had lost 35 at the time.  She was pretty much done losing but Daddy still had a ways to go.

As the hours continued, and the conversations with brothers, travel plans and the enormity of the situation settled into my heart, I realized my plans were rapidly changing.

The next morning, we woke up, opened up our Christmas presents, then packed and headed to Florida.  Dad had definitely had a stroke and had very limited use of his left side.

We spent the next 5 days in the hospital, and today he's finishing up at a Rehabilitation hospital where he has absolutely AMAZED everyone around him with his positive outlook and diligence in regaining his left side.  Today he can walk with a cane for short distances and with some assistance, and I have no doubt he will recover just about fully with time.  He and Mom plan to return to W30/Paleo as soon as he is home, which will be this week.

All that to say that I spent two unexpected weeks in Florida.  Complete with tons of eating out, ice cream, fried food, zits, arthritis, mood changes and looking about 10 years older when I got home.  I know how to do this, folks, I just chose not to.  And I paid for it.

I was 187 pounds when I returned home.  Good thing I had a Whole 30 group starting on January 1st/6th.

And boy, did I need it.

When I say I looked older when I got home, I ain't kidding!  It wasn't pretty.  But about 24 hours into eating right again and I began to feel my insides healing again.  Big sigh.  I know how to do this.

I've felt awesome for the last two weeks.  I have no idea what I weigh now but if I had to guess it would be somewhere in the 170s, maybe even low 170s.  My size 10 jeans are falling off of me.  I'm going to try on some 8s this week.  AHHH!

I also started a new workout program, P90X3!  I'm excited about it.  It's tough, but only 30 minutes long.  You all know how I love me a shorter workout!  So far, I'm enjoying it, though it will be hard to compare T25 to it. T25 was the bestest ever.  I'll probably do it again once I'm done with P90X3...though this one is 90 days long!  EEEK!

Last night I hosted a Whole 30 potluck at my house for the local folks participating in the challenge this month.  I was SO impressed with our W30 spread!

Here's what we had, going in order of the buffet (lol):

Shepherd's pie (using venison and mashed cauliflower on top)
Crab Cakes (recipe here)
Deviled eggs (paleo mayo, fresh dill, mustard, sea salt, paprika)
Zucchini ribbons/spaghetti with an amazing homemade sauce
Grilled chicken tenders with southwest seasoning
Meat stuffed plum tomatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes
Roasted brussel sprouts
Sauteed mushrooms
Shrimp skewers

Seriously, we were all stuffed and it was amazing.  First time I have ever had a buffet of beautiful, compliant whole 30 food! It was amazing.

Journeying with this group has been wonderful for a few reasons.  First, it's reminding me of the excitement I had in my first Whole 30 last February.

I also remember how overwhelming it was.  I remember how awful I felt for a few weeks.  How tired I was.  How limited I felt.  How judged I was by others who didn't understand what I was doing, or thought it was unhealthy, extreme, or just plain silly.

Then I remember that day I seemed to turn a corner.  Getting on the scale on my birthday (Day 30) and weighing 12 pounds less than when I started.

I remember pushing myself harder last year than I ever have.  I remember turning down MANY MANY MANY foods that would steer me away from my goals.  I remember eating more veggies last year than I EVER HAVE IN MY LIFE.

I remember watching my parents begin this journey and see successes. 

I remember binging on more than one occasion.  I remember realizing that I have an issue, not with weight, but with food.  I remember how hard it was to face that, name it, and claim it as part of me.

I remember beginning to heal from that.

More than anything, I remember taking control of my food fate, and losing the 40 pounds I had gained back in 2012...plus another 10.

Moving forward is a beautiful thing.  I am excited to work toward continued healing this year, knowing that I will always be a food-aholic, and being completely OK with that.  Because while I am accepting that is who I have been for a long time, and I am loving myself in spite of it, I am also not remaining in a bad place long enough to lose sight of all I have accomplished and pushing forward.

2009 vs 2013. BOOM!

2007 vs 2014.  Pardon the bite of apple clearly in my mouth in the pic from this week. :)


It's a new year.  Not a "new" start, but a restart, a chance to continue pushing forward, with the goal of having more good days than bad in 2014. 

That, my friends, is what daily decision making is all about.  For this month, ALL of the decisions I'm making nutritionally are to move me toward my goal of 165 pounds, not away from it. And I'm 13 days in and feeling like a million bucks.

That counts. :)

Clara

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bloodwork Don't Lie!

Hey friends!

Sorry for the blog break. It has seriously been crazy busy, as per usual.  I'm just better at managing it sometimes than others.

So as you know in October/November I hit a few bumps that tumbled into pretty huge realizations of my struggle with food, my compulsive overeating disorder, my attempts to "harm" myself with food, etc.  It was a tough time.  I spent more time thinking than I have in a long time.  I spent time calling myself out on my feelings, naming them, becoming OK with them, and ultimately, putting myself on the path to healing the wound that food has been for such a long time for me.

It is so funny to me when people who don't struggle with food issues try to identify with someone like me who has them.  These aren't always "skinny" people or "fit" people, many times they are just people we know, who have never been obese and just live in moderation...and wonder why not all of us can do that.  It can get exhausting explaining myself so unless I'm asked, I don't bother.  And that's OK with me.  For those it might help, I blog about it.  And hopefully my transparency on this blog will help one other person.  So yeah, I end up putting a great deal of "me" out here in cyber space, which may or may not be advisable to some.  But truly, I feel called to share my testimony in the event it might help someone else begin their healing process as well.

Some great things have happened in the last few weeks I want to tell you about.  First, I had my bloodwork done.  Now, I haven't had a lipid panel (cholesterol measurement) done since 2010.  I had bloodwork last December but for some reason they didn't measure that (wha???).

Anyway there was a part of me a little concerned about my cholesterol since I have a high protein and healthy fat with TONS of veggies diet.  Funny but true, a friend recently told me she was somewhat concerned about how MUCH I eat as you can see from the food pics I post, this girl doesn't go hungry.

First, really funny, they sent me a postcard from the dr office saying "your bloodtest results were normal!" when I had clearly asked to get a copy.  lol. I guess some people just aren't curious?

So here are my results compared with results from the past:



Cholesterol Info 7/1/2009 1/20/2010 8/4/2010 8/25/2011 11/19/2013
HDL (40 or >) 67 40 49 52 68
Triglyc (<150 td=""> 228 169 143 106 48
LDL (<100 td=""> 122 109 114 112 108
Total Cholesterol (<200 td=""> 235 183 192 185 186

Hoping this shows up well on my blog, but you can see the following:

Comparing my HDL (good cholesterol) year over year, it dipped down for a few years, and then went back up.  I'm at an all-time high right now which is excellent.  YEAH!

Comparing my Triglycerides (the fat in the blood) year over year, it took a good jump each year landing, amusingly at 48.  48!  I have been in awe of that number.  I'm so pleased with that.  And guess what?  I EAT FAT!  And EGGS - 3-5/DAY!  YOLK AND ALL!  Sorry.  Felt it needed to be shouted.  Eggs are not your enemy.  French fries from McDonalds are!  This marks a 180 point DECLINE in my Triglycerides in 4 years!

Comparing my LDLs (bad cholesterol) year over year, you can see it's kind of all over the map.  They want your LDL under 100 IF you are at risk of heart disease.  Since I am clearly not (there was even a note on my bloodwork to state that, the lab made) this being a smidge higher than 100 is not a big deal. In fact, between 100-129 is "near ideal" depending on who you ask.  I'm super happy with this as well.

TOTAL Cholesterol numbers:  year over year comparison, decreased by 49 points total which is awesome!
 
I know my increased activity/strength and good nutrition is to thank for these changes.  You know I have been so excited about it!

So...not to overwhelm, and I have somewhere to be, so I'll update you on my physiograph I had done over Thanksgiving break and how I made it through Thanksgiving later on.

MORAL - keep going and striving to be healthier and fitter!  You will be glad you did.  I SURE AM!  Bloodwork don't lie.

~Clara













































Sunday, November 3, 2013

I Am More...and So are You.

Here I am!  What a whirlwind of a few weeks I've had going.  No excuses, I know!  But the reason for my absence has been two-fold...I have been choosing other things over blogging, and I have been trying to figure out how to describe what's been going on in my head in the best way possible.  The latter being quite the challenging task, right?

I've been participating in a 10 week Mindset Makeover through JillFit Physiques (click here for Jill's website).  You might think, "Uh, Clara, you've been at this for 4 years, why do you need a mindset makeover?"

Part of me was a bit skeptical and wondered if it would all be just review.  But it was worth the $50 investment to find out.  Because no matter how long I've been at this, sometimes it feels like I've had as many failures as I've had successes on this journey.  I take 5 steps forward, and 3 back.  I know the math, it still ends up putting me ahead, but why do I continue to step, fall or trip backwards?

I've described the hard, challenging times I've faced as dealing with "Mud Mountain."  That this journey is all about my desperate climb to the top, and the days I somehow stick my face or tater back in the mud and slide down like I'm a kid at a water park with no lines.  While Mud Mountain is a great metaphor for this weight loss and overall health journey, it almost simplifies the root of why I keep finding myself clawing my way up rather than  confidently scaling it a little too much.

I have the experience, determination, and proven results over the last 4 years that I should be more confident, self-assured and DONE with fat loss, securely in maintenance phase.  So why am I not "there"?  Why haven't I arrived?

I'm going to just preface this, probably unnecessarily, with the simple fact that I feel the need to be brutally honest and transparent on my blog.  Being honest about my failings I hope will allow someone else to look at themselves as closely, and hopefully grow in the same way I have, or in some way be better.  I would not be the Christian I am, or the person I am trying to be, were I sugar coating this journey and pretending it's been a breeze.

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know, it's NOT so simple.

I won't give Jill's program away, but will share that one of her daily emails hit me square between the eyes, smack in the middle of a binge.  She was asking me to name my struggles. Put real, honest names on them.  And the timing couldn't have been better.  In the center of a supreme, super-sized binge.

I say binge, because I need to be completely honest about what happened a few weeks ago.  I saw 179 on the scale.  The LOWEST weight I've been since 1996.  Yeah, that's 17 years ago (and yeah, I used a calculator - haha).  I was ecstatic!

I had planned to "offroad" a little that night, not really to "treat" myself, but I guess to celebrate in some way.  I began using this term once I turned into this Whole 30/Paleo lifestyle.  Because I need to offroad some and not call myself "Bad Clara" when I wanted to eat something off plan.  I need to offroad some and every now and then enjoy a "treat" and not call it a "cheat."   I need to be able to not call this a "diet" but a lifestyle and in order to truly make it a lifestyle, it has to be realistic.

But me?  I am given an inch (or a nice word to label bad behavior) and I take a freaking 5k instead of a mile.  I crash and burn faster than someone can suggest a restaurant or two.

That morning started off as per usual.  I enjoyed my healthy breakfast, then took Elizabeth to a BBQ in the next town where she and her dance team were performing.  Stephen met us up there and after Elizabeth went off with one of her friends, Stephen and I decided to sample some BBQ.  We each had some fried potatoes which were ok, but I could taste the grease.  They were fresh cut which had caught my interest, not frozen or bagged.  Then I had some ribs and beans and cole slaw.  Not a ton of any of it.  Felt a little ick, but generally ok.

Later that evening we went to an Italian place in Dublin that I love, Deano's, and usually I have a grilled chicken or grilled shrimp salad there (you've seen pics of said salad).  Instead, that night, I decided to have their brick oven pizza.  We ordered one with spinach and bacon. The crust was pretty thin.  Also had some fried zucchini and some bread with dipping oil (that was probably my favorite part).  Still felt ok, but a little weird.  And maybe turning just a tad out of control, but I was "offroading" so that is ok, right?  Truly, none of the food had the flavor of my favorite foods now (w30 style tastes good to me!).

We stopped next at the Frozen Yogurt place for Elizabeth and her friend to have yogurt.  I considered not indulging, but decided I wanted to.  They charge you based on how heavy the yogurt cup is.  Guess who's was heaviest?  MINE!  It was loaded down with yogurt and just as many ounces in toppings. I practically licked the bowl.

The next morning I felt like CRAP, seriously, sluggish and puffy and quickly went back to my eggs and snap peas.  At church, in two separate conversations, friends approached me to ask if I was ok, I looked unhappy.  Well, no, I wasn't OK but didn't realize it, I had a food hangover, and it showed on my face and in how I felt.  Huh.  Emotionally I was ok, but my body had taken a beating.

We went to lunch out and I had baked chicken, rutabega and a small serving of broccoli salad.  Was doing OK until I also decided to have one of Elizabeth's fried chicken wings, half of her biscuit and a huge slice of cheesecake.  I tried to continue to pretend that I was fine, and would be back on track that night.

We went and played tennis for a few hours, returned home, and I ate the leftover 2 slices of pizza from the night before.  OK, I'll be back on track tomorrow.

Returned to the fridge, opened the door, and had a HUGE revelation.  I was searching for something "BAD."  Not something yummy, or tasty, or to fulfill a craving and I was understandably NOT hungry.  I wanted something BAD for me.

It was like I wanted to hurt myself.  Whaaaa?

WHOA.

That night we ate dinner at Zaxby's and I had fried chicken fingers and french fries.  Then a pumpkin spiced latte from McDonalds on the way home with a hot fudge sundae with extra fudge.  My family went along with it (somewhat gleefully at first, then they seemed concerned) but I could tell they were uncomfortable watching what was happening with me.

As a teen I suffered from depression and the need to feel loved and approved of pushed me to make some bad decisions here and there in my life.  Following a bad breakup in high school I all but stopped eating, getting down to 160 pounds (20 less than I weigh now) and crying every day.  I went through counseling and really tried to work on my "issues" at the age of 15, but truly, my compulsive overeating hadn't peaked back then like it would later on so I have never officially dealt with that.

Throughout my life food has been my enemy and my best friend.  Always there for me, but always taunting me, judging me, and causing me to feel like I have no self-control whatsoever if the right item was put in front of me.

And there is such a parallel with any kind of addiction with food addiction. We've had this conversation before.  We cannot stop eating like we can stop doing drugs or drinking alcohol.  So it's almost harder to beat a food addiction, and I can honestly say this as someone who also had an alcohol addiction in my late teens/early 20s and managed to beat that, completely sober for 11 years now with the exception of one poorly executed glass of champagne at a wedding 10 years ago.  Someone battling alcohol and having to be around it (work functions, the nature of their job, the world as a whole) also has to deal with constantly declining things that will cause them to relapse.  Food is everywhere.  Especially when you're involved in a bunch of church and work functions ALL.THE.TIME.

So that 24 hour period of what I would have called "offroading" before was truly not that.  It was a full on relapse.  NAME THE STRUGGLE.  Ouch.

But I have had a revelation about this food issue of mine.  And I have blogged about this before.  Being a compulsive overeater is something I need to embrace, better understand, and be ok with.  And not sugar coat it.  My virtual friend Clare at Peak 313 (see Clare's website here) blogged about moderation, and how everyone's moderation looks different.  Can I even have any moderation?  I think I can.  But I think I have to really carefully PLAN my offroading.  I have to consider that my moderation will look differently than people who innocently sometimes as me "How did you let yourself get that heavy?  Didn't you realize what you were doing or that it was unhealthy?"  They have no idea.

With my treats or offroading, I am responsible for making sure I'm really trying to satisfy a craving or enjoy something I love rather than doing what seems like trying to hurt myself.

Because I don't want to hurt myself.  As cheeky as this sounds, I love myself.  Because God created me and He loves me and accepts me.  Scars, bumps, bruises and all.  It's my duty to take care of this body, this temple.  I need to make that a priority and pray more when I begin to let old feelings and habits take over my brain and push me to make decisions I will regret.

My binge resulted in an 11 pound weight gain in just 36 hours.  11 pounds!  Of course some of that was bloating, etc., but I actually saw 190-something on the scale again.  It was terrifying!

Yesterday morning I was back down to 180.8, a solid 2 weeks after the most recent "episode."  I still have not fully recovered from that crazy binge two weeks ago but I will.

I will.



Because "I am MORE than the choices that I've made.  I am MORE than the sum of my past mistakes.  I am MORE than the problems I create.  I've been remade."  (Tenth Avenue North really sums it up for me in this song/video You are More by Tenth Avenue North - check it out!)

Thank God for allowing me to be new every morning.

And thanks to you for being with me on this journey and allowing me to be completely real with you!  I'll update some more on some fun stuff like my new FitBit, taking a few weeks off of weight training and the new training plan I created for myself to get back up to 10k distance by Thanksgiving for the Turkey Trot.  But this blog is already alot to take in.  Let it sink in and come back to see me later in the week.

~Clara

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Living, Learning & Loving

Hey all!

So it has been a very good week back on track.

I found myself feeling 100% better about pretty much everything.

Let's start with the workouts.  This was week 3 of the Gamma phase of T25.  Every workout in this program is HARD, but there are a few that qualify as killer in my book.  My favorite is Speed 3.0 (love me some fast cardio), then Rip'T Up which incorporates weights.  I don't love Extreme Circuit or the Pyramid.  Oh, the dreaded Pyramid! It has tons of reps counting UPWARD.  I instead love to count DOWNWARD.  I don't know why, I just do.

Either way it was a tough week.  And I did a few additional running workouts as well.

First, I ran 5k last Sunday morning in my neighborhood for two reasons. Reason numero uno was that I needed to know I still could.  Reason numero dos was that I knew I had a surprise 5k race coming up that next weekend. Since my friend Wendy follows my blog, I had to stay totally mum about the fact that I was sort of training for that race!  I was not very fast on Sunday morning running alone (37:32).  My IT band quit working at the last quarter mile, but I just don't run very fast on my own and when I'm not pushing myself (more on that later).  In stalking Wendy, I found she was running more like a 34-35 minute 5k.  GULP.  I foam rolled multiple times during the week and ran another 2 miles on Wednesday with zero pain, and a little faster than she ran hers (found out by random texting questions to her - I cannot believe I still managed to surprise this girl!  haha).  Anyway, I hoped I would be ok, but would be seriously challenged!  Enter mutual friend of Wendy's, Sarah, who is also a runner, and was texting me encouragement all week. So thankful for that!

Here is a picture of  me surprising Wendy!


Not the best angle of my arm, but I didn't care.  Was so glad to show up and shock her by telling her I would run her first race with her! Wendy really impressed me, training alone for this race, her first 5k, and doing it on her birthday!  Sarah and I decided there was no way she could run this race alone...since Sarah had a work function to attend and I only live 2 hours from Wendy, I signed up for the race and then did all I could to keep my big mouth shut before it! (if you really know me you know how tough that is!)

Here's a better picture of me in that dress - I found it in my closet on Friday before leaving for Savannah, and was super excited it fit!


Also a picture of us on the way to Savannah.  We were so excited to surprise our friend!






So, my body was pretty sore when we got to Savannah Friday evening.  Of course, Pyramid was the last workout of the week, and I completed it that morning.  This week I tried really hard to go up a little in weights and my forearms and hands actually felt it and were a little sore.  Apparently that just takes some time to improve and get stronger.

In talking with Wendy, I realized she had a pretty aggressive goal for the race.  Her plan was to get a PR even from the 3.1 she had run the week before! (GULP again!).  Anyway I told her my goal was to get her across the finish line in whatever time she chose, and if I for some reason had to slow down she could keep going and not to look back.  She wanted to finish in 34 mins or less, so that's what we shot for.  I knew we needed our pace to be between 10:45 and 11:15 so I tried to keep us there.  The first half mile we never went over 10:30!  I kept looking at Wendy and trying to decide if I should tell her we needed to slow down or what - this was HER race after all.  We slowed a little a few times but that girl was determined to be fast.  Since she informed me we would not be talking (haha - I'm a talker when I run which is probably why I am slow!) I had both earbuds in and put my playlist on shuffle.  God knew what songs we needed - a few times I was really struggling - this pace was truly all-out effort for me for over 30 minutes.  I was not sure I would be able to finish but determined to hit the goal she had set.  The course was pretty flat and nice, through the campus of a local college in Savannah.

We finished in 32 mins and some change (or 33, I thought 33 but cannot remember, and forgot to hit stop on my Garmin - of COURSE).  Close to my PR from 2011 of 32:16.  I was in shock!  I'm hoping they post race results soon, as I'd like to see the actual time.

Here's us after the race:



So, you know I always have some kind of learning or takeaway from something challenging like this.  You ready?

1) I loved having a reason to have to push myself.  Knowing Wendy had a goal and really wanting to do all I could to support that fueled me during this race.  I really wanted to make sure her goals were met.  I of course, wanted to survive, and did not at all mind finishing the race 4 plus minutes faster than I ran last weekend, but my true focus was on the birthday girl (did I mention yet it was also her birthday?  Isn't she amazing to have such a huge awesome goal to accomplish on her birthday?). Focusing on someone other than myself and my goals was really refreshing.  I loved every minute of this time with my friend, watching her achieve a huge goal. 

2) I am capable of way more than I thought I was.  Before yesterday I would have told you, hey, I have NOT been training to run, there is absolutely no way I would be able to run a 5k in less than 35 minutes right now.  But I think I realized I haven't been pushing myself like I could.  Amazingly, with little running training, my brain and heart kept my legs going and I was virtually pain free.  I know this is due in large part to how strong I am getting.  I am living in these moments of "aha" and realizing I am so much stronger than I gave myself credit for, both physically and mentally.

3) I may not be at my goal, but I am no longer a fat girl.  OK, don't roll your eyes here and say duh...when you've been as heavy as I was (285 pounds remember?) sometimes it is tough to shake that feeling of being a big overweight person.  I'm not petite, trust me, I realize that, but when I looked at the picture above, I also noticed more curves than rolls.  And more muscle than fat.  I've been really impatient for the last 15-20 pounds to come off, but while I have been busy worrying about that stupid scale, I've been missing the fact that my body is busy reshaping itself.  I'm pretty OK with the girl in the picture above.  Curves, muscles and all.  I feel more like an athlete than a fat girl.  It's so awesome to say that out "loud."

On another topic, nutrition was good this week.  Definitely felt SO much better being on track!  I did have some sweet potato fries last night and yogurt covered raisins (ewww) but other than that have been 100% where I need to be.  And I lost 6 of the 10lbs I had gained in 3 days (yep, I gain quickly, I'm telling you!) and my belly has stopped bloating.  The rest will come off this week, I'm sure of it.

So there you have it.  Successful surprise, successful race, successfully stayed on track with my eating pretty much all week even with travel.

And most of all, success in my way of thinking.  This week I'm excited to start a 10 week program with Jill Fit Physiques (http://jillfit.com/) where she will be emailing me some educational information and homework every day for the next 10 weeks to help me change my mindset.  I'm super excited about this and ready to really tackle the mind issues associated with eating and health head on (pun totally intended).  If the head game is as much of a challenge as it has been for the last 4 years, even with successfully losing the number of pounds I've lost, I think everyone could benefit from this.  I'm excited and promise to tell you how awesome it is (without giving her program away lol).

In the meantime...I'm gonna keep living, keep learning from my good and bad days, and keep on loving myself.  I know that's paramount in my journey to be the best I can be physically.

Clara