Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Little Bit of a Lotta Things

Hey all!

So, I've officially made it through week 2 of my 4 week fat loss carb cycling/intermittent fasting plan - and no one got hurt! (ha - during the fasting part particularly!).  Let me go ahead and preface this with a disclaimer by saying I'm not posting this eating plan anywhere, I'm under the direction of a trainer and my workouts and lifestyle are carefully planned around trying this to jump start my metabolism and in conjunction with my personal workout plan.  Plus, I don't know how effective it is.  That said, carry on.

It's been a good experience overall, and I definitely felt the "inferno" last Monday during my first Monday following a fast day - I was like a baby needing to be fed every few hours! I ate when I was hungry...which was multiple times during the day.  The crazy hunger subsided by mid-week but I literally ate every morsel of food I brought with me on my work trip. 

I've been weighing every day - not obsessively, more out of curiosity.  So far I've noticed a decent loss during the week, a gain after cheat day (duh) and then a good loss after fast day.  It's almost like the 2 steps forward, 3 back, then 5 forward if that makes sense.  Unfortunately I've not actually been home on a Tuesday to weigh due to starting a new job and being in a different state the last 2 weeks on Mondays.  But I can tell by how I feel and how my clothes fit throughout that I'm on the right track here. 

Interesting observation - so Saturday is cheat day - you're supposed to eat whatever you want essentially - pile on the calories and fat - the theory on the next day, fast day, is that your body will kick into serious fat burning mode, being confused by the heavy eating followed by a fast.  It's a 24 hour fast, so I do still eat dinner on fast day (and let me tell you it was the best chicken salad and green beans I've EVER had lol).

Well yesterday I ate a few things that qualify as pure crap food in my normal way of eating (fast food for lunch - wha???) and not only did I not really enjoy the "freedom" I felt like crap and had trouble sleeping, then woke up looking hungover, seriously.  I planned my meals carefully, as I am always afraid of the "eat what you want" mentality turning into a binge.  Being a food addict, this will forever be a concern of mine.  I do well within parameters...not so well when I'm given the ticket for a free for all.

So I decided next Saturday will be a bit cleaner.  Instead of pizza at the Italian place (it's award winning by the way - but I was seriously underwhelmed) I'm going to make my own - I tend to really like my own ingredients and I see exactly what I put on it - and I use FLAVOR! Seems restaurants these days are afraid to spice things up, if I'm eating pizza, give me the garlic!

I like the way I cook - I like the way my food tastes and I crave my own cooking much more than eating out, which is something I NEVER thought I would say.  I was always the girl who was up for eating out pretty much anytime, even when my lunch sat in the fridge at work!

I couldn't even finish my dessert last night, it was some awful cookies, several flavors of ice cream.  I had to throw most of it away as I just felt so sick already.

My my, how times have changed.  For the better.

My new self has some better ideas about Saturday and it will include ALOT of fruit as that is something I really have been missing during the week.

But truly, I'm pretty impressed with myself to be eating exactly according to plan for two weeks during a time when I've been on 8 airplanes, hotels and the like.  But hey, I've done a Whole 60, a Whole 45 and a Whole 37.  If I can do that, I'm pretty sure I can do anything.

Fast day has been interesting.  I'm hungry, but not overly so.  I drink a ton of water and also my black coffee.  Even when absolutely exhausted, I found I cannot nap on fast day, unfortunately.  Yes, this is totally a first world problem - and has actually made me realize how awful it must be to live with hunger daily and my heart is moved.  24 hours is an inconvenience, and honestly, psychologically has been pretty good for me.  You think alot when you are trying not to think about food. :) 

My training has been going well also.  I did suffer a bit of a setback with my left shoulder about a month or so ago. Suddenly, during a TGU (Turkish GetUp) with a 30lb weight, I felt weakness in my left shoulder.  A TGU is a tough move with a kettlebell, where you are in a faceup position lying on the floor and you bring the weight straight above you with one arm, then raise yourself up to a standing position with the weight in the air the entire time.  It's hard! But I had been using that weight for awhile.  I realized quickly this was going to go south and carefully got the 30lbs back to the ground without damaging anything (my toes included).  The next day my shoulder just ached.  The pain I was feeling was localized to the top of my shoulder and all of my research was pointing to my rotator cuff which would be devastating.  My friend is a PT and she worked on it a bit for me then suggested massage therapy.  It was a few weeks before I could get in to see someone but once I did, we realized during the treatment that I actually had done something to my trapezius (which I called a trapezoid for at least a day before realizing it - HA!) and that was causing the pain to radiate upward to my shoulder and down my arm.  I've since had 2 massages and I am SO happy to report I'm probably 75-80% better.  In the meantime, I've adjusted my training a bit - I realize the biggest issue is weight overhead.  Therefore, instead of TGUs I'm just doing the Kettlebell swings and squats with the bell (still using the 30lb).  I'm also exploring some other moves.  Additionally, with my T25 workouts, I'm in the Beta phase but trading out Upper Focus for Lower Focus when that one pops up.  I'm allowing RipT Circuit as the overhead work is pretty minimal and I think it is good to keep some activity going up there.

Here's a picture of me and my friend Rebecca, whom I met in Raleigh in person for the first time this past week!  She was such a help and support to me when I began this lifestyle last year and we are both admins on a huge Paleo group on Facebook so we've gotten to know each other better this year.  I'm sporting my new favorite tank top.  "I AM WHOLE 30."  Yeah, I earned that.

In one of my favorite stores - any guesses???

We had a great time having dinner then shopping.

Will post an update for you in a week or so on how things are going.  In the meantime, be well!

~Clara

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Celebrating the NSV's

Ever heard of the acronym NSV?  It stands for Non Scale Victory.  An NSV is when you find something in your or about you has changed for the better because of your efforts to be healthier.  It has to be a change that has NOTHING to do with the scale.

I finished the Alpha phase of T25 today.  I've also consistently been swinging my kettlebells around for a few months, and am on Day 54 of my Whole 60.

You would think the scale and I would be BFFs.  Not so much.  I'm at 176.  Which is not bad, given I once weighed 285 (perspective is imperative here).  But, it is a little disappointing when the scale doesn't agree with your hard work, sweat equity and dedication in the kitchen.  Measurements weren't much better.  Nothing horrid, just not alot of change.  I can feel my triceps way better - but they are not necessarily smaller, just changing in shape. 

So today I want to list out some NSV's to be proud of, to hopefully inspire you to do the same and NOT allow the scale or it's lack of downward cooperation to make you want to quit.

  1. My skin looks awesome.  One side effect of eating so clean and so many veggies is that my skin responds so well.  I just have a glow about me and today went all over town with no makeup on besides some lip gloss.  I realized it about 3 stores into our trip and exclaimed to my daughter, "Oh geez, I've been walking all over the place with no makeup on!"  She said, "Mom, you can't even tell.  You look great."  When I gave her a look, she said "I'm not just saying that Mom."  And of course, in her 10 year old fashion gave me a good old eye roll. (yep, a mini-me!)
  2.  I bought a size small dress today.  I'm not always a small - I mean, hello, I wear a size 10 or 12 shorts/pants.  But every now and then I luck out - tried on a size medium in a maxi dress today and it felt too roomy.  Asked the sales girl to bring me a small.  She did.  And it fit perfectly.  Whaaaat?  Given I used to wear a 22/24 in the SAME STORE it felt great to say the least.
  3. I love the way I eat.  This is super important.  I have a ton of satisfaction with my meals. I don't feel deprived.  Did NOT crave the cheeseburger and fries my daughter ate in front of me earlier - I was excited to get home and eat my leftover ribs and brussel sprouts.  Every morning my breakfasts are satisfying and YUM.  I love the way I eat.  Everything tastes so good.
  4. I feel disciplined and in control.  This is so important for a food addict.  I feel like I'm in control but not in a miserable "I can't eat anything" kind of way.  Instead I feel like I'm making great choices as second nature since I have been doing it so long.  It feels natural and amazing.
  5. Not everything is measurable.  So I can't measure that part of my body where my butt meets my legs - (once heard it called the Bu-thigh - lol!).  But I can tell you my butt fits better in my jeans.  Not something I usually can measure with a tape measure and no number attached to it - but feels great.  I bought a pair of size 10 shorts yesterday that fit PERFECTLY.  Do you know how amazing that feels?
  6. I ran a 5k last weekend with no training.  Once again, being an athlete is amazing.  I am not fast, but it's cool that I can go run for 34 mins and change without months of training and enjoy it so much.  Running for fun has really been enjoyable and I know my strength training during the week has made me a better runner.
Overall, I'm really really happy with where I am.  I can get upset that I'm *still* in the 170s or I can look back and remember how long I was stuck in the 180s!  Many women would not be a size 10 at 175 pounds.  I know I don't *look* like I weigh that much and that I have some great muscles to show for it.  I wouldn't trade my muscles for anything, including my shrinking bust (lol).

I'm looking forward to next steps.  Going to try some new things nutritionally, still staying within the paleo/W30 guidelines but going to see if I can jump start some fat loss again.  I'm excited about what is next and ready to see more positive changes.

Had I quit at any point in the last 5 years I would NOT be where I am today!  Look for the NSVs in your life and tell me what some of them are in the comments section!

Today, if you get no other message from me, please get this:

"The scale is not your friend.  Your own amazing progress is." ~Clara B. 2014.


Holla!
Clara

Sunday, April 27, 2014

You Know You're an Athlete When...

...you're driving down the highway and *almost* pull over when you see two teenagers running - one is running properly, good shoes, good form, the other is wearing loafers, pronates and has terrible form.  Were I not wearing 3 inch heels and a dress and traveling alone, I just might have stopped!

Wait.  Did I just say athlete?  Am I an athlete?  Are you?


This word can be empowering when you refer to yourself as such.  But have I earned this word?


A few years ago my parents were visiting for the weekend and I had a 5k race in Dothan, AL.  They came with me, and kept Elizabeth busy while I ran the race.  Stephen was in school at that time and pastoring a small church so Saturdays were study/sermon prep days for him every week (for 5 years - seriously do NOT miss that!).


I remember after the race my parents were so excited for me.  They've only been at a few finish lines of mine through the years as we live 5 hours apart.  This race was great.  I finished faster than I anticipated.


We got in the car and had a few errands to run on the way home.  Mom looked over at me and said, "We're so proud of you.  Our daughter is an athlete!"


I remember laughing and saying, "Mom, I am so not an athlete!"  But inside I was flattered.  And wondered.

Well.  Am I?

I mean, I don't LOOK like one.  I definitely have some well defined muscles, but definitely also still have some flab to get rid of.  I don't look like a waif of a person who lives on carrots and runs 10 miles a day. (Kinda glad - I like to eat!).  

So do you have to be skinny or look really "fit" to be considered an athlete?

Here's the definition of an athlete according to dictionary.com:


athlete

noun
a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.


Um.  It doesn't even say you have to be fastest (or even fast), great (or even good), or come in first (or even last!).

It literally means someone who is trained or gifted (and we all know in this case for me it's definitely TRAINED - LOL!) in exercises/contests involving physical agility (check), stamina (check), or strength (check check).

I don't really call myself a runner anymore.  I can run, and I do run, and I enjoy running, but it's not my main focus.  As you know if you've followed my journey at all, running has been AMAZING for my confidence, and test of my physical stamina.  But it was not helping me obtain the weight loss goal I had ultimately set for myself.  Not in and of itself.  It is a great complement to my current strength training program and as I said I enjoy doing it.  

But I really like the term athlete better than runner anyway (for me).  I like the fact that I'm physically strong.  I enjoy being somewhat agile (well WAY more agile than I was at 285 pounds right?).  I look forward to spending time on the ball field, or even just playing catch with my daughter, and love being outside now.

All of this from the girl who wanted her car started in the summer with the AC on full blast before I would get in it.

My my.  How times have changed.

On another topic, I finished my first week of my second runthrough of T25!  It was AMAZING! 

Here are a few observations from my first week:

1) this program is NO JOKE!  I mean, I knew that, but boy did Shaun T remind me!  I kept thinking it would be easy after P90X3 but it was not!  
2) I did EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT THIS WEEK! EEEK! So proud of myself.  
3) When my quads wanted to give in I kept on going.  Last year, if you remember, I strained/tore my quads during T25.  Which was funny as I was a "runner" then.  But truly runners end up having weaker quads and stronger hamstrings due to the fact that your legs go in a forward motion only.  I was unable to run full speed for MONTHS and it was during softball season!  It was sad.  So this time, when my quads were on FIYAH! (think this girl is on fire, but insert my quads are on fiiiiire! ahhaha) I PUSHED THROUGH.  Last year I would just stop and take a break until it eased off. Not this time.  This time I imagined myself speeding around the bases on the softball field.  FELT THE BURN.  

Results from my first week:

- lost 1.8 pounds (now at 174).
- lost .25 inches from arm, 1 inch from my waist, and half an inch from my calves.  My thigh says I gained .5 inch but I'm not totally sure I measured them in the same spot (lol).  Not stressing over that as I felt the buuuuurn!  

Remember that I also started my Simple & Sinister kettlebell workout this week which I'm doing in conjunction with T25.  It's kettlebell swings each day (I did around 80/day) along with turkish getups (holy wha???).  Did all of these with my 20lb kettlebell.  

My shoulders are shaping up nicely. :)  May do a shoulder/arm pic next weekend for ya.

OH - and you might be an athlete if...

You ask for heavier kettlebells for Mother's Day. :)

Have a great week all!

Clara



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