Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Apparently, I took a break from posting!

Sorry about that, I was legitimately busy - I slacked off on the blog, but not on working out or eating right.

Good news too, my husband is back! Finally! 10 long months later, and he's finally home. While I'm in no way complaining, and I'm ever so grateful to have him home, it does mean some significant changes in my life.

  • Eating. I am 100% committed to eating right and staying Paleo. Why? It works. I've been strict for the past week and I already am sleeping better, more um... regular, and I just feel great. I've been talking about it with my husband too, and he is also committed to it. This makes it easier as we won't have 'cheat' foods in the house. I did however, have to give a little bit and allow cheese into the diet. Still, cheese has protein, and I need a lot!
  • Working out. Still Crossfitting like a mad woman! Only, a little less often. Because my husband now has quite a commute for the next 2 months, he has commandeered my car. I am able to get to work by carpooling with a coworker, but I can't get to my box as easy. I can now only go in the afternoons, which means working around my dog training schedule. So far so good, and I may still manage 2-3 times a week (four if I can make it on Saturdays). I'm also trying to do more running on the days I can't go, and working on leveling up my ability to bike so I can ride my bike to the box if I don't have the car. The way I see it, if you want it - you will find a way. If you don't, you will find an excuse.
Lately, I've done REALLY well on food. I mean, really, really well. Pinterest has been especially helpful with uncovering more and more Paleo recipes, as has the cookbook I purchased from Paleo Diet Lifestyle and Sarah Fragoso from Everyday Paleo. I've tried some new recipes - like devilled eggs made with avocado, a super easy pulled pork, or this really amazing chicken I made in a crock pot!

My husband has pretty much agreed to TRY everything, and to try his best to stick to it. He has even made dinner a few times - chicken with veggies, and amazing burgers (no buns!) with avocado on top.  I've made it my goal to eat 1g of protein for every 1 lb of lean body weight (126 lbs) of my body.. so I'm going all out for 126 g of protein daily - which jives VERY well with our Paleo diet and lifestyle. I'm no longer counting calories (how many times can I flip this over lol?) but I am still logging food to ensure I'm eating plenty of protein, but keeping my carbs at a reasonable level as well.

I'm dedicated to working out no matter what, too. If I can't get to my box, I'll find a way - whether it is a home work out (giggity!), trying to get my pull ups, running, biking, playing a sport - ANYTHING that gets me moving.

Because you know me, I'm Wonder Woman.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exercise does not always lead to weight loss.

Although I had pledged to stay off the scale for some time, my curosity got the better of me one day. I decided I wanted to step on and check my body fat percentage, and to do that, I needed to know how much I weigh. I was hoping that even though my weight wasn't changing as I had hoped, maybe my body fat percentage would be down. Everyone kept telling me that I was likely building muscle.

I started going to CrossFit in September 2011. I was 206.5 lbs and 37.9% body fat.

By October, after just about two months of CrossFit and strict Paleo diet, I had come down to 196 lbs and 37% body fat.

After that, though I continued to go to CrossFit, I struggled to keep eating healthy. I stay pretty busy and I don't like to cook. I fail to plan ahead most of the time, and while everything I ate when I was eating Paleo was delicious (and is inteded to be a liefstyle, not a temporary diet) - when I stopped eating Paleo, my weight came back. Fast.

My last check I was 201 lbs and 37.4% body fat. Not only did I gain weight, I've gained a considerable amount of at - not muscle.

Somehow, and this may be due to how much I worked out leading up to the test - I managed to keep a clear head. How can I work out this much and still gain weight? Because they don't go hand and hand, and in fact, exercise really is kind of use less in terms of weight loss.

I'm not in any way saying you shouldn't exercise. Exercise is good for you, whether it is CrossFit, running, Yoga, Zumba, or going outside and walking your dog. Anything and everything that gets you moving is good for you.

However it may not make you lose weight. I hate to say it, but you really can not out exercise a bad diet. You are only as good as what you fuel yourself with - and I fail in that area, badly.

I went back to counting calories - and I remember again, why I hated it so much. When you count calories, it doesn't matter what you eat. As long as you are under a certain amount, you can eat what you want... but that's where you'd be wrong. What your calories are made up of are what matters.

You can't eat 1500 calories containing tons of sugar and salt and expect to lose weight. You could eat twinkies all day, come under 1500 calories.. and well, you'll probably be starving, but you're not going to feel very well either.

However, when I followed the Paleo diet to the letter - I lost 10 lbs, and that was the only 10 lbs I've lost all year. All signs indicate, that that particular lifestyle suited me, and I need to return to it. I ate clean and my body responded well.

I stopped because I missed old comfort food. Eating out is difficult when eating Paleo (and really, that should be a good thing!), you can't eat things like macaroni and cheese or ice cream by the buckets or pizza twice a week.

When you eat Paleo, you eat a lot of protein, and a lot of veggies. You have to be creative because you can't used proccessed foods, grains, or beans. You have to be ready to change your lifestyle.

I'll never be thin if I don't change how I feel about food. Food should not be comfort, or something to do when you are bored, and should never be a social 'activity'. Food needs to become fuel for my body. I want to be a lean, strong, athelete.

I want to be strong and fast and healthy.

I'm still going to be logging my food as a way of keeping track of what goes into my mouth, but the amount of calories I consume really doesn't matter. What matters is that I eat clean and I stick to it, because exercise alone will not help me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I am a woman, and I lift heavy weights.

I am still a very heavy girl - in fact, I've recently learned that my body fat percentage has actually INCREASED over the past 7 months (a whole OTHER issue to deal with) - but lifting weights has made a dramatic change in my life, for the better.

Before I started CrossFit, I had the same worries every woman does. I don't want to bulk up. I just want to be skinny. I don't want to be a body builder.

Here is some news for you - femininity is not synonymous with frailty.

Just because I am female, it does not mean that I need to be a tiny, fragile little bird.

I recently read a great post over on Everyday Paleo, which is actually what inspires this one, that listed several reasons the author lifts weights.

So today, I thought I'd share mine.
  1. I can save my family. Yes, this is the exact same item she listed first, and it's important to me too. I don't have children - but I have a husband, 3 dogs, and a cat. I used to have a Great Dane. Towards the end of her life, her health was failing, and several times she would fall and have a hard time getting up. I became terrified that if she fell when Tyler was away, I would have no way to get her to a veterinarian - she was 105 lbs. That fear was always in the back of my mind, until she left us. Now, I look at my ailing old German Shepherd. He is 13 years old and 75 lbs. His hips are not holding up well, and he sometimes falls down. I know he'll let us know when the time is right, or if he becomes injured - but I know now without a doubt that I could pick him up and put in the car and take him to the vet. My two smaller dogs and the cat are obviously no problem, but then there is Tyler. You never know when life will throw something at you - let's say there is a fire, and he falls unconscious. I know I could at the very least, drag him out of danger. This gives me comfort, confidence, and pride.
  2. I am confident in myself. I lack the ability to confront people and I am horrible in crowds. I have panic attacks in group events and I'm bipolar. I used to hide in clothes, and in my hair and always hang out in the back of the room. My gym clothes lately have gotten a bit smaller - no more baggy t-shirts and sweats (honestly, what I was I thinking? That crap was hot!) but instead fitted capris and tank tops. Even my regular wardrobe has changed - I find myself in cute summery dresses most days now, instead of hiding in jeans and t-shirts. I've also become a lot more brave - and let me share with you last night's adventure.

    Last night, I had gone to bed. I don't know about all of you, but I rather enjoy sleeping in the nude. So I'm alone, just me and the dogs. It's dark, I'm naked. I'm just about to drift off to sleep - and suddenly, I hear a crash in the living room. I sat up immediately and my heart was pounding - and I heard what sounded like stomping around. I got up, grabbed my German Shepherd by the collar, and cautiously approached my living room. When we peeked around the corner, we saw a figure. About my height and weight, standing there in the living room, wearing all black. My dog, Thunder, became instantly frenzied - barking and growling and lunging at it. I did what apparently came natural - I reached for the first object that could serve as a weapon within range (which was a folded up TV tray) and I whacked the figure with everything I could, and it hit the floor hard. My dog was standing over it growling, and then I flicked on the light. Instantly my dog calmed down and walked over to me tail wagging. I stood there victorious over my fallen enemy - my dress form.

    Earlier in the day, I had been working on taking in a dress. (Taking IN. You hear that? TAKING IN) I had wheeled the form into the living room as I was watching TV while pinning, and when I got tired, I decided to leave it - fully clothed in my black gown, in the living room. You would think the headless, armless nature of it would have been more obvious, but when you are scared, you just act. The noises I heard? My cat had knocked down the baby gate that keeps the dogs out of my craft room. The thumping was her knocking things off my desk.

    I realize I was in absolutely no danger whatsoever, but keep in mind, a year ago I would have hid in my room crying and not able to process anything. I perceived that I was in danger, and I acted on it. That speaks volumes for my confidence levels - I am more than capable of taking care of myself.
  3. I enjoy working out. For the first time in my life, I really enjoy (dare I say, love?) going to my CrossFit box. While I am still not the biggest fan of running or burpees, if we have a day of weightlifting I will always be there. I am always pushing myself for a new max, and striving to get the little 'RX' next to my name. My deadlift is up to 225 lbs now - and I am damn proud of it.
  4. I seek out other physical challenges. I have hated sports my whole life. Really. I admit I still don't like them... but I find myself seeking out obstacle courses. Finding ways to challenge myself. You already know that my first challenge was the Savage Race, and I also completed the Tampa Mud Run. I am going for Savage Race round two this fall, Run For Your Lives in November, then Tough Mudder and The Color Run in December. I used to see these and declare the people who took part in them to be insane.
  5. Sex life. Okay, yes, my husband has been gone for the better part of the past year - but I DID get to see him a few times in that period. I've never been a huge fan of sex - and I realize it was caused largely in part by my extremely negative body-image (oh god he'll see me naked! Better turn off the lights and get under the covers and get dressed again right after!), and my low energy level. (No, I'll just lay here. You do all the work.) I've noticed over the past year my sex drive has soared. Which is very unfortunate, considering I've been alone the better part of the past 10 months. Without giving too many details... trust me when I say this - from a fat girl. Sex is better when you have the energy to really have it.
There are a lot of other benefits to lifting weights for women, like increasing bone density, reducing your risk of injury and arthritis, and helping to improve your attitude and dealing with depression. I wanted to share my personal reasons for doing it. I will keep doing it, I will always do it. If I'm always big and I lose weight slower than a turtle and a snail racing, so be it. But I will keep lifting, because I am Wonder Woman.