What's with the name?

What's with the name? In my mid-twenties, I had essentially gone through one kind of life and am starting to enter another. The people that are probably going to read this blog know exactly what I'm talking about - but for those who don't know, here's a brief rundown . Cheers to Chapter 2! A journey in health in many ways, and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I am also a blogger for GreenMommas.com. This is my blog.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spinning Wheels

It's January in VT. That means cold temps and snow, usually. This year it's meant inches of ice. And because I think its ridiculous to invest 500 bucks in studded snows, for me the ice means my wheels spin from time to time. I was thinking the other day that I could compare my drive in to work on an icy day to my health journey.

The trip takes about 20 minutes, 30 in bad weather - with the ice, my wheels spin a little out of the driveway, and sometimes a little bit when you hit an icy patch. My health journey is not unlike this. You get out the gate with some hardship (leaving from home), spin your wheels a bit, move forward, sometimes they spin again, but eventually if I keep a firm grip on the wheel, I'll get to where I'm going. It might take me longer because I'm cautious. I don't want to race through it.

Right now, I'm essentially spinning my wheels on ice. Meaning, it's been a solid six months since I've dropped a pound. Am I frustrated - yes, incredibly. I've been doing what I know to do to lose and it's just not happening. Sometimes a little voice in my head asks me what the point of it all is. But I know exactly how to answer. Just keep on the path, keep making small adjustments to see what works and what doesn't and eventually the wheels will stop spinning and get a good grip on the road. And I'll get to my destination.

That's the point. I have to keep going. There is no reason to give up. The answer will always be to keep going because I know that in time (hopefully soon), I'll be rewarded for my efforts.

With the scale battle aside, here's some cool things that have happened since my last post (I know it's been forever):

  • I was awarded the 'Life Earthing of the Year' by my peers at work for my commitment to health and for inspiring others.
  • I came in second place in the 'Fittest Earthling' competition - Women's Elite division.
  • I can deadlift 145lbs
  • I can clean 105lbs
  • In 2014 I lost 45lbs, bringing my total weight loss to a little over 105lbs!!

Here's some simple changes I'm making this month to work towards losing weight again:

  • Only one coffee a week. Tea on the other days
  • With meals, multiply my green veggie intake by 2, cut carb (rice, potato) intake by half
  • Limit dairy & gluten as much as I can

As an inspiration to keep moving myself further, pictures always help. Here's a two year review, what I looked like at the start of 2012, 2013 and 2014:

I also turn 30 this year, and this is my big motivator. I want to be in the best shape of my life when I hit the big 3-0 in July. Although I feel like I'm definitely the strongest I've ever been, I'm not the lightest I've ever been.

I'm taking on 2014 with new motivation and new steps to get to my goals!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Progress [Re]Defined

First of all, I apologize for not keeping up on my posts. It's been over two months! I know some of you might be thinking 'I bet she fell off the band wagon' or 'she became less dedicated'. Well, then, you don't know me. I've been busy! I ended our Slim it to Win it program down 20lbs (in four months), placing #4 overall. Still continuing to lose, little by little, down about 106 lbs total. Because the weight loss has been slower in the last few months, I feel like I should talk about something that has been plaguing me for so long: my relationship with the scale. Meaning, it's the ONLY definite indicator I have been using to document my progress.

A confession: I weigh myself way more than I'd ever like to admit. On a good day maybe once, on a bad day upwards of three times. What is the point in doing that? There isn't one. But I am attached. So, this post will hopefully be a bit therapeutic for me because even though the scale says I'm making 'little progress' there are so many other things that indicate huge progress when it comes to my health and fitness. I need to release myself from basing my value on a number. One number.

If I throw away the number what else do I have as definite progress? Progress is....being able to say no to dessert. Progress is smiling through a workout that would've left me flat on the floor last year. Progress is being able to lift 95lbs. Progress is liking what I see in the mirror, finally. Progress is zipping up in to a size 10 pair of jeans in disbelief. Progress is being able to shop anywhere I want. Progress is realizing how my body responds to certain foods, and adjusting nutrition accordingly. Progress is doing a 10 mile bike ride on a 'rest' day. Progress is being somewhat unrecognizable to friends you haven't seen in awhile. Progress is self-confidence. Progress is signing up for a race and not having to think that I can't run the whole thing. Progress is liking who I am, how strong I can be.

No matter the number, progress is this:

And progress, should be defined by how I feel: incredible. Amazing. Thrilled. Excited for life. Happy. Confident. Strong. I may have started last March, but there will be no definite end. There will always be new goals, new health priorities to achieve, and that - is exciting!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Cleanse to Rule Them All & Other Things

I realize it's been over a month since I've posted. But wow, I'm over 2,000 page views. Incredible! Thanks to all of you that continue to read my blog!

The cleanse is a thing of the past - I lost 14lbs total (12 during the month of April) and have really reconsidered the way I was eating. Or I should say, how often I was eating. For the last month I've been having four smaller meals - two of them are the whole fruit and veggie smoothies or juice. This works very well for me, keeping my metabolism going throughout the day and sustaining my energy. I've also tried to cut out as much gluten and dairy as I can. Mostly because it's hard for me to control myself when I start to eat it (cheese or bread). I'm working at it but I still have indulgences, like strawberry-rhubarb pie on Sunday. It's important that I not try to set crazy limitations on myself so allowing a little indulgence once in awhile works for me.

I have to talk about some of my new favorite food things. Recently I discovered fresh-pressed juice. We are incredibly lucky in Burlington to have a few companies that offer a full juice bar, and we also have one company that is at the Essex Farmer's market on Fridays. There is nothing more delicious and refreshing as a carrot apple ginger juice (lots of ginger). I bought a juicer after crunching some numbers - my buying a $5 juice twice a week would mean the juicer would pay for itself in about two months. I've been juicing everything - a great 'wake up' combo is lemon, apple, kale & mint. Landon loves fresh orange or lemon/apple juice and I feel much better about letting him have that over grocery store orange juice (I've never let him have sugary juices).

My next new food thing is a lovely company, YourFarmstand.com, that brings together local farms and the people that want their awesome food. It's online ordering with free delivery for all things local. I have been able to get (finally) reasonably-priced local meat. The veggies are very inexpensive as well and they get delivered directly to me at work every Thursday. The quality of the food thus far has been nothing less of superb. I highly encourage you to check it out, they deliver to many areas!

I'm going to jump all over the place in this post, sorry!

Gardening season is here! We have two plots this year - 1200 sq feet of gardening space. Both plots are planted already. We've got greens in one plot (beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, more beans, lettuce, kale, spinach, cukes, basil, herbs, tomatoes, brussel sprouts) and the other plot has less-green things (corn, potatoes, onions, squash, melons, radish & peanuts). Not kidding with that last one; Noah has a whole bed of peanuts going. Hoping to make some of our own peanut butter in the fall. With twice the space we anticipate twice the yield lasting us throughout the winter, as we ran out in January/February of this year. 

CrossFit is going really well. I feel stronger every week - can currently do 115lb dead lifts, 75lb push presses, almost a hand stand and I'm working with a 20kg kettle bell (~44lbs). Five or six months ago, I was working with just a bar (45lbs) for those first two exercises and a 12kg kettle bell (~26lbs). I am really happy with how strong I am becoming! I had a defining moment last month when we were working in teams on a circuit workout. Each team would use the same bar for dead lifts - and my instructor put me on the boys team! I'm as strong as some of the CrossFit boys now! I have noticed a huge improvement in my mobility, too. When I started CrossFit my squats were right at my knee line, and my hip flexors would hurt when I tried to go lower. I can now to a really well-formed 'air squat' with my lowest point well below my knee line, with no pain. 

Last month and this I've lost another 6lbs, bringing my grand total up to -97 (whoa!) and 19 lbs lost in the first three months of Slim it to Win it. And guess what? I'm #4 out of 50 (or so) people for percentage of weight loss. With a great three weeks I could win this thing.

I'm finally feeling like I am close to the finish line. It's within my reach. My goal when I started this journey was to get down to 150 and I'm 30lbs away now. It's funny when I tell people I 'only' have 30lbs to go. That seems like a lot of weight to most people. But when you consider that I'm already down almost 100lbs, it doesn't seem like a lot. Sometimes, I almost feel like I want to slow my weight loss journey down. I don't want the journey to be over. But fitness & health is something that I'm always going to be working on, even after I hit my goal weight. I am excited to finally be able to build a wardrobe - during the last year I haven't had more then three outfits at a time because it's just too expensive to buy a whole new set of clothes every two months. I've finally started living my life without physical limitations, challenging myself everyday to be stronger and continue to make great food choices. 

Here's-97lbs :

Also celebrating 6 months without coloring my hair. I had forgotten how pretty my natural color is. It's still a little bit lighter at the bottom because of the highlights, but it blends pretty well. 

Cheers to the home stretch!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week Three of the Uber-Long 21 Day Cleanse Diary

April Weight Loss: -12lbs
Running Total: -90lbs in 14 months

We're on the last week! The start of the third week was also our weigh in for the Slim It To Win It competition. Imagine my surprise stepping on the scale and seeing I had lost 12lbs in April! It was an incredible feeling and also a notable success; in 13 months of consistent weight loss, I had never hit double-digit weight loss. The closest I had come to breaking 10lbs was the first month I started on this journey, losing 9lbs in March 2012. To see such a high number at this point in the journey was amazing.

The day after the weigh in, I was off to Boston to see my brother graduate from Northeastern. I packed up my blender, supplements, frozen fruit and spinach and headed down:

 It was a weekend of celebration but my food intake was really good. I had the smoothies twice a day and a manageable dinner of either fish or chicken with some veggies. I refused all of the bread & cheese plates at each dinner. Friday we had a lunch after the graduation. I ordered chicken & broccoli with Ziti in a garlic & olive oil sauce. I asked for double veggies and handed off the ziti to someone else. While everyone went to the hotel to nap after this lunch, I headed to the hotel gym, getting a few miles in on the treadmill and lifting some weights. We used the hotel pool on Friday night, getting a few laps in.

Saturday morning I experienced hot Yoga for the first time with my brother & sister. It was, for lack of a better word, sweaty. I've never been a fan of yoga but doing it in the heat brought it to a whole new level. After the class, our drenched selves walked around Jamaica Plains for awhile trying to find breakfast. We stopped in to a lovely coffee shop that had fresh carrot juice! What a great, refreshing reward after yoga. I was pretty that I really didn't crave coffee despite the small coffee shops and Dunkin' Donuts we stopped by the whole weekend. By Saturday afternoon I was starving and managed to find a nice little Lebanese place in the mall food court. I found - in a mall - lightly seasoned chicken kebabs with a small side salad.

This weekend was a test. It proved that you can have so many hurdles (temptations) in your way, but it's your will power and desire to be healthy that will help you overcome them. You can only accomplish health if you really desire it and the momentary temptations become not worth it. And I REALLY want this - to be healthy.

I had one of those defining moments this weekend that I will never forget (well actually there were many non-health involved ones like driving in the car with my siblings singing to 'Hey Jealousy'). Sis, Jen & I went shopping in the mall - in H&M. Now, this is one of those stores tailored to the younger women, a place I would normally never dare go in. I bought a dress off the rack without trying it on and it FIT! A large, from H&M. I got a little teary eyed seeing how far I had come to be able to shop anywhere in a mall. Not just plus-sized stores or department stores, but the trendy, girly shops! Most people underestimate such a small thing like that - being able to shop for clothes anywhere - but it was such a huge moment for me. That moment, shopping in that store, makes everything that I have done in the last 14 months so worth it.

I stepped on the scale Monday, I had lost another 1.5lbs in Boston. Hooray for gluten & dairy free, it's really paying off! I didn't hate any of the pictures that were taken of me either - here's a picture from right after the graduation of my whole family:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Days 8 - 11 of the Uber-Long 21 Day Cleanse Diary

Day 8 :

At this point the eating regime has become somewhat normal to me. I don't allow myself to get really hungry because I find that's when I crave the food I'm not supposed to have the most. It scares me a little that my eating is so controlled right now and so is the weight loss. I know I have to add back in protein on Day 11 (Sunday), but I almost don't want to. But I have to remember I lost most of my weight in the last year at a very steady, much slower pace. Losing a pound almost every day is too fast. For a moment today I was tempted to revert to my teenage self; that girl that lost weight so fast by eating only around 800 calories a day and working out for two hour sessions. But when I was 15, I lost 80 lbs and gained it all back just as fast as I lost it. While the fast weight loss during this cleanse is comforting, this not a manageable way to eat, as tempting as it is to continue on with it just to lose weight fast. I am much smarter this time around.

And so, I will  add some healthy fats and proteins in to slow the weight loss down - it will be weight that stays off. I'll start in small portions, maybe just with dinner. I'm pretty tired of eating salad for lunch nearly everyday. After the cleanse I've already decided to implement a few changes to my nutrition plan : drink at least 64 oz of water a day, increase vegetable intake, reduce dairy and consider replacing a meal with the smoothie some days. I may end up staying gluten free, but the Italian in me is fighting for that not to happen. A big win for me is that I don't need caffeine anymore, I'm fine without it.

Today I went back to CrossFit after a week off from it. It was amazing. I felt stronger and faster with more energy. I missed it, for sure.

Around 4pm my cravings for food kicked in. I kept surfing the web for some sort of vegan spinach artichoke dip but all the recipes included tofu and/or nuts, which are both off limits. So I took matters in to my own hands! I went over to healthy living (I practically live there now) and perused the isles for an interesting dinner dish. I decided to make a spinach/artichoke pasta! I would use oil and veggie stock along with my old favorites garlic & onion which ended up being a delightful and filling dish! Now, I used organic brown rice noodles which tasted just like spaghetti, honestly. What's nice about the rice noodles is that that you can cook them just like a risotto, absorbing the flavor of the stock and spices. I was really happy with this dish :

Breakfast : Strawberry Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
Snacks : Apple
Lunch : Peach Pineapple Smoothie / BIG Salad w/vinaigrette
Dinner : Pasta! (not really). Rice noodles sauteed w/spinach, artichoke, red pepper, onions, garlic, vegetable stock & a little lemon juice.

Exercise : Back at CrossFit!

Day 9 :
8 days / 6.5lbs down

The scale keeps moving! I had a freak out moment last night when I realized that my brother's graduation in Boston was next weekend, not the weekend after (when I would be done the cleanse). There was no way I could face multiple dinners out and be on this cleanse, right? After my initial scare I made sure I had a room with a mini-fridge with a freezer compartment at the hotel so I could bring stuff for fruit smoothies. Noah reminded me that I would at least be able to eat chicken and fish out to dinner. I decided to bring all my food for breakfast and lunch and then I would at least be able to have protein and veggies at dinner. I can do this, right? The hotel also has a new fitness center which will help keep me on my game Friday & Saturday. So the only thing I'm going to have to say no to is the bread & wine, I can do it!

I'm a little sore from CrossFit yesterday but I was there again today. Since I was starving yesterday around 4 I waited to have lunch until after I workout, instead of before like yesterday. It was a good one! I was doing 70lb push presses, box jumps, squats and wall balls in a team of three. Our team was amazing, we did the most amount of rounds - 10 in 25 minutes. And I was definitely starving after.

Breakfast: Cherry Peach Spinach Smoothie
Snacks : Carrots, Apples
Lunch : Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie, Carrot Soup
Dinner : Sweet potato fries, steamed kale, rice

Days 10 - 11 :
11 days / -8.4lbs

Over the weekend the weight loss kept going, I am now down 8.4 lbs since the start of the cleanse which means I have lost 10.4 lbs this month. NEVER have I hit double digit weight loss in a month during this weight loss journey. I am beaming right now, incredibly happy.

I didn't intend to work out this weekend, but getting up Saturday morning I saw Sarah had already gone running! Feeling inspired, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door and I was so glad I did. I ran my fastest 5K time in just under 28 minutes!!! I stayed steady at 9min per mile for 3.1 miles - incredible! Not to mention it was beautiful outside this weekend.

My eating was good this weekend although I attended two very 'tempting' events. We went to see MGMT at SpringFest on Saturday. Watching pizza and gyros go by me I was a little jealous. But I know that when I get too hungry on this cleanse I start to get bad cravings. Avoiding the food trucks I went home and made a nice rice noodle stir fry for dinner and the cravings were gone. Sunday we went to Noah's parents house. He was so sweet to let his mom know about my cleanse. She bought me a piece of salmon and grilled some veggies for me. Sunday was day 11 so bring on the protein! I had a small piece of salmon for lunch avoiding chips, burgers, potato salad, rice krispie treats, cake and soda. I wouldn't normally indulge in dessert anyway, but if I was not on the cleanse I would've had a burger and some potato salad at least. It was great to spend most of the weekend outside! Beautiful VT spring weather.

This weekend was successful as the scale let me know on Monday!