Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fundamenals of Clean Eating (Part 2)

Last Post I began talking about methods of eating that have worked for me in my weight loss and athletic efforts. I want to continue that conversation and invite you to try a few recipes and eating changes that may kick start a more wholesome lifestyle.

Here are concerns I hear from those trying to change:

I don't want to deprive myself of the things I like.
Let me be clear on the "cheating". I "cheat" everyday. The indulgence in comfort foods is not a bad thing and they should be a part of your eating habits in order to make the big change to better eating as a whole. BUT, You have to change your idea of cheating. Indulgence should be a treat in small amounts. To blast your body with tortillas or ice cream or a huge bag of chips is not a cheat...it is a train wreck. Convert your "cheat" to a single meal once a week or a special something once a day. Eat one thing a day you REALLY love. No matter what it is, just do it (enjoy it, eat the portion, savor the flavor and texture). Then stop. Reset to your healthier eating again! That is the success.

Clean eating seems really boring and limited. I don't want to eat the same things everyday.
Think about your daily diet now. How often do you have the meals you prepare or buy outside the home? Chances are, you eat the same 4-5 things over and over anyway...the difference? They are not portioned correctly or they are just not nutritionally good for your body. Yes, clean eating usually ends up being the same 4-5 meals every week. Yes, it can get boring just like any other nutrition habit. Would you rather continue with your comfort level where it is with your nutrition or would you like to make a change here or there? There are thousands of clean meals on the Internet that are quick and easy. I bet you can find a few that are really tasty! Bacon makes everything better.
My easy and excellent Salsa

I want quick results.
You will read a ton of claims from pills and nutrition supplements that promise fast weight loss. Clean eating boasts the same claims based in sugar and processed food reduction. Most people who switch to clean eating see a weight loss of 5-7 pounds in the first week without the aid of pills or processed chemicals tricking your body to lose water. After the first week, if you are consistent, you can see a weight fluctuation of 1-2 pounds a week. This is a healthy rate of weight loss. If you don't see those changes, all hope is not lost! A nutrition guru can help shed some light of how to improve results.

I don't want to have to think too much so I just buy prepared meals.
It is a daunting task to try and figure out what to eat.
Remember, when getting started, you need to put meals together with protein, fats, and good carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. When you do this, you can eat till you are full and not have spikes in hunger later. when a plateau occurs, you can seek help to take it to the next level! But start somewhere easy...the basics.
If you really just want to buy prepared meals, go to a company that specializes in clean eating. There are tons of local catering companies developing prepared meals just for you. Google it.
Paleo Shrimp n' grits

The prep work required of clean eating takes too long and takes a long time to clean up.
Yes. It takes a long time. Prior planning goes a long way. This is the main factor preventing results. Not the ability to hold off eating junk! It is up to you to plan a meal, have a solution, and follow through with your nutrition change.
-Always have a clean snack on hand.
-Take a day to prep salsa, cold proteins like chicken breast for salads, and cut cold veggies for easy sides.
-Buy nut butters, almonds, prepared guacamole, and lots of fruits in its own peel...like an apple.

Remember, you have a support system. I am here to help and I want to be a voice of hope and reason. You will see huge changes in your body by eating clean. You don't need a gimmick to get to a happy body. You will be a better athlete by fueling right! Just do it!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fundamentals Of Clean Eating (Part 1)

A friend recently told me she was sold on the idea of all this talk of "paleo" eating and wanted to get on the boat. Her big hang up was the burning question, "What the heck do I get to eat?"

I named my site Not So Paleo because I am not a stander on soap boxes. I am not a regimented eater. I am by no means a "dieter". I wanted a little corner of the Internet to call mine and generally attract attention to the awesomeness of my ego. I also want to help. So many folks who run blogs try to fancy themselves as dietitians with all the answers when in fact, anyone with enough time and know how can learn the ins and outs of sounding credible about nutrition. Anyone can technically be a nutritionist because it is not a recognized term of official-ness.

Call me a nutrition enthusiast with a lot of time and personal experience on what works for me (and a ton more in what does not!). Fortunately, what works for me is backed by science and countless hours of real and credible research that I will not bore you with because it's just a little silly to think you want to read more regurgitated snore fest material.

So, you want to get healthier huh? Probably you want to lose weight and have more energy? AND most likely, this is not your first attempt to do those things.

Here are a few things to know:

1. Sugar is really bad. It's like a gateway drug for crappy eating cycles and it screws up everything in your body.

2. Processed food in general has a ton of sugar.

3. Real food is simple and cheaper than processed food but takes more time to prep and clean up after. If you eat real food you won't over do it with sugar.

4. Water comes in many forms and hydration should not include sugar in any way.

5. There are really only three food groups: Fats, Carbohydrates, and Protein. You need a solid amount of all three in equal parts to function as a human.

Lets talk for realz about these first few ideas...

If you skipped the little movie, go watch it now. It pretty much explains everything in a super fantastic way.
When you skip sugar, you also skip the triggers in your body that cause the sugar rush and crash that keep your cravings for more junk going. If you lose sugar for only a few days you will see what I am talking about. You won't have the compulsion to eat that tub of ice cream any more...weird but true.

Sugar is in everything. EVERYTHING!! I cheat everyday. I have a beer (sugar), or I have a scoop of nutella (sugar), or I grab a few little chocolates like kisses or treasures. After those first few days of sugar detox, its really all you need to feel like you are having a treat. Long gone are the whole pints of ice cream or dozen donut days.

What is real food and where can I get it?
Real food is simple. It comes in its own package. You can find it at the perimeter of any grocery store and it rarely has a coupon. Usually there is no branding or cartoon commercial icons on the product. You can't get it at any fast food place...even Subway (I guess technically you can but it will cost you a ton and you wont get much in return).

Why do you think real food is cheaper? I just spent $5 on a freaking spaghetti squash...
Think about it, a box of cereal has 8-10 servings right? Most folks NEVER measure out that 1/2 cup serving. EVER. So lets figure you have three servings a sit-down. Even if you bought the store brand crappy frosted flakes it is riddled with sugar (the gateway food) and the box only lasts half the week. Then your hungry again in an hour (because of the sugar and lack of other nutrition sources) and you go get more food.

That $3 box of cereal causes you to want to eat more and more often. You pile on the candy bar and soda, the "healthy" protein shake, or the low fat yogurt right? By lunch you will be dumping in lots of expensive processed food and tons of sugar.

If I choose the .5 a bowl oats with strawberries (.35 a serving) and some nut butter .10-.15 cents a serving) and an egg (.18 cents) (I mix in an egg or two, it makes it creamy and I get my protein...I cook it of course and no it doesn't taste "eggy"). I can sweeten it with a tablespoon of maple syrup and I save calories and have a natural sugar source that wont crash my sugar receptors. I have a solid, clean, real food meal with all the needed nutrition sources for under a dollar. And without the sugar crash, I only need a little snack or something to carry me to lunch...if I'm hungry at all.

That spaghetti squash will cover a family of four through two meals...totally cheap source of carbohydrates and nutrients the body needs.

Don't drink your calories. It is all sugar. I'm not going to hide my problem with iced tea, coffee and most especially Diet Coke. I drink it all and lots of it. I never add sugar to my coffee. I add cinnamon or coconut milk...or I put it in my protein shake (its like an iced mocha!) My iced tea is a flavored caffeine rich hydration source. Sorry, there is not enough caffeine in there to cause it to be a diuretic. It is a hydrator on the whole.
As for the Diet Coke, I have no excuse. It is my vice, I like it and I drink lots of water too. Most likely the aspartime fairy will clip my wings eventually but I enjoy the fizz. There are worse drugs out there...like heroine.

The Food Group Trifecta
Hey there. You need three things in your diet besides water: Fat, Carbs, and Protein
You neet equal portions of all three to find the balance in your body. A portion of fat is the size of your thumb. Carbs (good carbs NOT SUGAR) are usualyy two hanfulls (one if it is fruit...because of the SUGAR), and protein is the palm of your hand.

I don't want to gnaw on some grissly fat...
Good fats help with bodily function and brain health. Omega-3 specificly reduces inflamation (from sugar) and keeps the body happy.
Fat sources that are good:
Almonds (try chocolate covered ones)
Nut butters
Olive oil

Carbs are bad arent they?
In addition to sugar and processed foods (sugar)
Fruits and Vegitables are carbohydrates and you need them! They are the big energy source for your body!
Guess what? You can cook them in butter or olive oil with garlic and salt. Yum!
Avoid processed foods, that includes bread and pasta. <----try spaghetti squash, you will like it. AND making zuchini noodles is fun.

Being Paleo means I eat endless piles of meat...right?
No, it means you eat a clean source of protein. Some folks like to get nuts and go grassfed and organic but keep is simple when you start right? It is hard enough giving up all that comforting processed food.
Protein = Animals

What about dairy?
Lots of people blah and blah about dairy. I say, treat it like a fat (because cheese is and so is sour cream)
and eat it in moderation. It comes from animals and animals are a clean source of food. Watch your "flavored" dairy. It is FULL of sugar. Avoid it.
These pancakes are nothing but eggs and bananas with cooked straberries on top...

Here are foods I eat and when I eat them:
Whey protein powder
Nut butters
Homeade salsa
almond milk

lunch meat
chicken breast (cubed in salad or in whole form)
Beef jerkey
Carrot sticks
Romain lettuce
bunless hamburgers
sweet potato
oil and balsamic
goat cheese
boiled eggs

frozen veg (KISS)
big salads
homeade dressings from oil and balsamic and spices
More homeade salsa
Ground beef
Ground lamb
Pork chops
Low sodium meatballs from the freezer section
Brussel sprouts
Grilled zuchini....
Any other green veg you can think of
cheesey sprinkles of feta or goat cheese

Part 2 will talk more about portions, meal combos and being realistic with yourself. For now, eat more real stuff, prep often, don't get lazy on your food. You are not a garbage desposal.

Friday, September 27, 2013

SA BeatDown CrossFit Competition Recap

Last weekend my gym banded together and traveled up to San Antonio, TX to take on the SA Beatdown. It was the first stop on a three leg tour put on by several CrossFit affiliates in the San Anontio area. We had 13? competitors and only three of us challenging the RX division.
This event was not my first RX competition, but it was my first individual performance. We were all a little anxious waiting to see what the workouts would be and even more anxious when we discovered what they would be!
The RX girls were pretty squared away when it came to all the moves except handstand walks. HANDSTAND WALKS!!!
I had never even practiced that let alone try and go 25 feet. I had a real need to get my large body up to the chest to bar move for this comp because the strict movement was sporadic and generally terrible on my behalf.
So, lets back up to one week prior to the competition and the announcement of the first workout of 3:

Wod 1:
first 6 minutes- find your 1 rep max thruster
no break:
4 minute AMRAP
30 double unders
10 thrusters 95lbs

This was not a huge concern for me but I wanted to put in a great number here to get me off to a strong start. While thrusters aren't my greatest move, it was my chance to gain reps with a heavy thruster max. The three of us spent a few days testing max with Olympic shoes or nanos. Ultimately, I decided on the nanos and the others went with Oly shoes. I was able to PR in my nanos and knew if I tried doing double unders on my oly shoes I could really hurt my knees.

Wod 2:
3 minute AMRAP
chest to bar pullups
ring pushups

So here is my fear...I was terrible at C2B in the open. It totally destroyed my scores. I had avoided them on a regular basis and still not mastered them. And now, they were there, looking at me again. Monday before the competition I locked myself in the gym and got on the bar with my camera and videoed my technique. After a few it was obvious, I was pulling up and not IN! I was totally high enough but I was under the bar, almost horizontal. A few small changes later and I finally whacked my chest on the bar. Not only did I hit the bar, I hit below my chest and almost at my abdomen! With a little more practice and a change in grip, I was linking 3 together. HUGE breakthrough! I have a 74" wingspan so getting anything overhead can be a challenge.

Wod 3:
25 ft handstand walk
25 calorie row
100ft prowler push 160lb

This was the big challenge but also the huge opportunity to gain points. Row and push are two strengths for me. I just had to get through that handstand walk...

And then, the day came.
We woke up at 5:45am and headed to SA for the 8am start time. We live over an hour away so it was a super early rise for us.
It was unusually cold and windy for south Texas last Saturday. With winds dipping into the 60's I was thinking it could be a wonderful cool day or get really miserable with rain in the forecast.

I began my warmup for Wod 1 about 45 minutes early with a row and some mobility and ended with a few too many thrusters at 125. I didnt want to hit my max projection but for whatever reason, I felt the need to do 125 over and over. I know now I  did too much. I was a little unnerved when another competitor pushed up 145 twice in the warmup area...I knew this was a big event and I would fall in the middle of the pack. still...

I wish I was just a little pretty when I worked hard. First wod started great with me hitting my projected 135 in the first 2 minutes. Since I had some time, I loaded 140 on the bar. Unfortunately, I was unable to lock it out on the left side and had to retry. With only 2 minutes remaining I gave it one more try. Alas, it didn't happen. BUT, 135!! that was my goal and I did it in my Nanos.
My judge must have been new because he seemed nervous about making mistakes. When he told me I had to load 120 on the bar for the AMRAP I just about had a fit. It was supposed to be 95lbs! Was I wrong? He let some time run out and consulted with another judge, yes, 95lbs. Duh!

Good thing I was loaded and done with my max. It didn't phase me much. We hit the 4 minute amrap and I knocked the 30 double unders out fast. Then came the set of thrusters and my arms told me how tired the were. I didn't anticipate being so fatigued. I sucked wind on the thrusters and no-reped the last one, dropping the bar. Boo! I got the last rep and dove into the double unders. I wouldn't see them again. I knew time was running out and I would be lucky to get throughout the thrusters again.
I picked up the bar and was able to get three more before time ran out. DONE!
After reminding my judge how to count and correcting his math, I was satisfied with my score and ready to see my teammates compete. I had an hour or more before I had to get the next wod done (we could choose when to do it as it was a floater wod, meaning we had to just get it done at some point during the day).

Wod 2 was quick and painless with only 3 minutes to get things done. With chest to bars finally in my roledex of skills, it was simply a matter of strength getting me through the levels. The arms were really tired after wod 1 but so was everyone elses. I gave myself about 45 minutes rest and took my chance to get business done when no one was looking directly at me. This is why there are no pictures. I didn't even wait for Mr Dad to show up before starting. I just wanted it over. To my surprise I could hear him yelling at me about a minute into the work. Mr. Dad had arrived in the gym site to see if I was ready. He said he didn't anticipate me starting without him. I felt kind of bad about that but so happy he got to see me work. I did my first two rounds of chest to bar with efficiency and good form. The rings were not nearly as challenging as I thought they would be! But, when I hit the 9s my arms gave in; my muscles wouldn't pull me up consistently. I got to 7 and time ran out. I couldn't do them a week prior but even after the thruster work, I was able to get 16 in under 3 minutes! I was satisfied with that!

The final wod had the three RX girls sitting in 5,6,7 in the division, me sitting 7th. We were able to watch the masters do the wod before us and the men were doing the same weight we would but those lucky guys didn't have to do handstand walks.
 We started the final wod with the walk and I inched along in progress finally getting the full 25 feet in about 5 minutes time. Everyone struggled with the handstand walk but I needed to gain ground where I could.

 I hit the 25 calorie row in  less than a minute sitting in the 1400m range for the pace. I hopped off and pushed the prowler past 2-3 competitors and my butt caught on fire. I started to lock up in the last 5 feet of the push and look a few seconds to get some blood flow before pushing it out and heading back to the walk.
When I finally got there my judge told me I had a few minutes and to get every rep. If I could get to the half way mark, I would gain a rep and score a point. He was hard on me, every time I would come down with a finger inside his instep it was a no rep. This was such a time waster and totally my fault. I managed to will the final rep by getting to the half way mark just as time was called. I was so frustrated and proud of my hard work all at the same time. What a strange way to feel!

That's how it all ended up for me. I was super proud and angry all at the same time. I didn't rule the comp. I didn't shine or get to be impressive for the crowd (who doesn't love that), I didn't really feel like I was much competition for the top finishers, but I did everything I wanted to do. I have to learn to be satisfied with that. I have to realize how many others don't have the ability to do the physical things I take for granted. I'm trying to be patient and thoughtful and grateful for the experience and put the ego aside. It is not an easy lesson to swallow, being great but not the best. It reveals a lot about my character and some of it I'm not very proud of. In the most positive way, I am proud of myself for what I did do and how I performed based on my ability.
Even more importantly, the competitors I have the gift of training everyday took a chance and competed for the first time along with the "RX girls". They were excited and inspiring and wonderful. I cant wait to see how we all progress in the months leading to the next CrossFit Open and our continuing competitions. Our Gym owner was able to move on the the final wod for the women RX and totally put it all out there. She did things we had never been asked to do before (like 1.5 pood kettlebell snatches and overhead walking lunges with a 95lb bar...) she inspired me to get the lead out and get better. As for this competition, I'll settle for 7th place. Pretty impressive to me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Weightloss Story: Part 2

If you missed part one of my story you can catch up here.

So there I was at the end of the marathon, 216 pounds, feeling totally fit and amazing, eating a bagel and cream cheese...thinking this was as good as it was going to get.
Was I really destined to be the Athena athlete beating the odds and tromping across the finish line of every race statistically too big to be there? Was I really happy with the way I felt about myself and how I looked? Decidedly not.
My big fear was, now that the ultimate challenge was complete, what was there to motivate me? If 216 pounds was as good as it got, How the heck was I going to maintain It when running 10 or more miles a day was the standard for the last 9 months? What if I didn't feel like running anymore ?
Rather than think logically, or scientifically, I immediately signed up for a half marathon and went head long into more training. You know the story by now, lots of running, lots of food (mostly grain and vegetables as I was following the running mantra of carbo-load and protein is bad...). I could not imagine fitting in more training (like weights or cross training) it was just too much work! I hurt and I was exhausted...and still stuck at 216 pounds.

Not long before my next big race, Mr. Dad decided to do some shake up of his own. He also ran the marathon and was just sick of running at this point. He did not want to lose the progress he had attained from training so he opted to try a new sport instead.

Mr. Dad had heard of a gym in our little town that was more weightlifting classes than the traditional gym experience. He told me it was like personal training and group exercise rather than running the treadmill and doing machines. That sounded great until I saw this:

Now, I got to the part of the video with the guy doing the ring handstand push ups and totally disconnected. NO ONE wants to do that, right? Who the heck wants to work THAT HARD?!

I patted him on the head and wished him well...then I went to watch my movie and run 10 miles on the treadmill.
One month after the marathon and my weight held steady with no signs of dropping. I regularly consumed fast food and restaurant meals along with a big portion dinner. AND if I wasn't running on my mill, I was sitting on my but looking at the computer. I was totally unmotivated, lonely, and had no real goals to get me to a different place.

Mr. Dad came home from his first class at the new gym totally covered in sweat and red in the face. "CrossFit" had kicked his butt. He told me all about his workout and the fact a 68 year old woman had left him in the dust. This only reinforced in me the idea of it being totally scary and NOT for me.

"You would love it" he says. "They make it so you can do it, you would start slow"...
Well, eventually I would be expected to do all the crazy stuff in that video wouldn't I? Isn't that the goal? Isn't CrossFit supposed to kick your butt everyday and make you an ubber athlete or keep special forces guys in shape for there job? My confidence was so low, I really never thought I could do any of that...specifically because I had not clue how to do it right then and knew I didnt have the ability to if I wanted. "I can't even do a push up". I kept making excuses for myself.

Eventually the curiosity in me caught hold and I wanted to at least watch Mr. Dad do his thing. He was more motivated about this workout class than anything I had seen him do in years.
Before I went, I stumbled upon another video or two as I research a reason not to try this thing out. This one really spoke to me...

..."Everyone knows your name"...
..."If I don't go, someone calls me"...
..."My gym is not fancy"...

I went and checked out the workout. It WAS different. It WAS doable. It Was hard...and it was a competition. The fact they held you accountable by time and not just completion threw a twist I had not anticipated. I LOVE competition.
The next day I did the Filthy Fifty workout with Mr. Dads class.

MONDAY 061204

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders
Post time to comments.
Compare to 060910.
Posted by lauren at December 4, 2006 2:10 PM 

It was totally scaled and totally slow...but I had a blast getting through the work. I loved seeing all the people around me working so hard, I wondered how I compared in ability. I thought I was a pretty impressive girl, having just finished a marathon...
I quickly realized I was NOT in shape but just a good long distance runner.
I was motivated to see some improvements. I wondered if I could slim down working out so hard in an hour and skipping the two hour sessions on the mill.

Mr. Dad knows me well, I did love it. It was nothing like that first scary video.

I was in love with the community of the gym. It was my little family. Yes, we bonded. Finding friends who wanted the same things in life and struggled by my side to do amazing things...was awesome!!

On the first day of my commitment to trying something new, I took pictures. I hoped to one day not be totally humiliated by them but to use them as a tool for inspiration for myself and others. This is me on the first day of CrossFit January 6, 2012:
216 pounds and 31% body fat (as a marathon runner!)

I gave myself 3 months. I would do the workouts 5 times a week and work hard to see what might happen.
At the 5 month mark I was still going strong pushing bigger weights and running faster than I ever had. My marathon training had all but stopped because I was easily getting in 7-10 miles of running each week during workouts and I felt really good.
And at 5 months I had dropped 7 pounds of fat even though I had not changed my eating one bit. The idea of doing diet and food...seemed like too much to do. It was my reward for working so hard! I like hamburgers!

Surely I would continue to drop the weight if I just worked out hard enough...
29% body fat

At the 10 month mark of my training I was motivated and inspired! I loved the new sport so much.

 I wanted to teach, to inspire, to be a part of the ground floor of the new fitness movement. I went to San Antonio and got certified to instruct.
As the training go harder and the workouts more complex, the frustration over my size was mounting. It was not a frustration over my pants size anymore, my new frustration was the absolute inability to do things smaller people could! If I was so "good" at this sport and so inspired to work hard and compete, why were there certain things I just could not do.

At last the realization had come. I had to really focus on food. It was the food...It had to be better for me to be better. Any heavy person can tell you, they know exactly what they are NOT supposed to eat. Finding the right balance of the right food is the real challenge.
I started with the Paleo diet. Then I got the flu at my 1 year mark of Crossfit training. I don't know if it was going "paleo" or getting sick, or resting for a week that did it but I immediately lost 10 pounds.
27% body fat

Within a month another 5 pounds and I was seeing results in my workouts and weight on the bar.
I totally cheated on paleo eating. I drank beer, I had bread once in a while...
90 percent of the time I ate fruit, nuts, seeds, veg, and lots of meat. I did not deprive myself of meat. This worked but I was tired without carbs ( I wasn't eating enough!!)
27% body fat

I did the CrossFit open, totally scared and overwhelmed...but all that is good for the confidence. I love the quote: "Do something everyday that scares you."- Elenore Roosevelt
It has become my mantra.
In May, I took another rest. Almost two weeks of nothing but rest and a bit of weightlifting for my Olympic certification. I dropped another 15 pounds...almost over night.
Rest? Was rest the magic pill???

The summer has proved eventful. It has been full of joy and sorrow...and it has tested my confidence. Through everything life has thrown at our little family (fires, floods, cancer...) the CrossFit sport and my training has saved me.
It is not a strait arrow to health. CrossFit alone will not make you the picture of amazing achievement you see in so many athletes. For me it was the combination of Consistent training, good clean food in rational portions, and rest.
IT DID NOT WORK WITHOUT THE FOOD IN CHECK. I'm only just beginning to understand how my body works. Food is still a mystery and my nutrition knowledge grows by the day. I read. I learn. I am my own science experiment.
Recently, I asked my trainer what to do with myself now that my "goal weight" had been attained.
22% bodyfat

Her response was simple and true: Keep going. Make new goals. See what this body can really do.

Your never done. Right? There has to be more. The scale has become only a tool to keep my mind in check. I know when I have overdone it with food or training. You HAVE to listen to the body. After almost two years, I don't want to screw things up...I just want to get better.

You must learn all you can.
Never be afraid to try something new to see if it works.
Be consistent when something feels right.

Getting to the sweet spot with your body takes effort. Not just gym effort, not just food effort, not wishing or hoping for better.

But you just have to keep going. Be inspired.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Weightloss Story Part 1

I was always the wannabe athlete. I had the build to be one heck of a great volleyball player or swimmer. When I was young people told me I was tall enough to be a model or a great basketball player, all before they even had a chance to know me well enough to know if I was even interested in such things.

As a child I loved music and ballet. I remember in kindergarten being told tall girls were not built for ballet so I might as well go do something more productive with my youth.
In high school I was socially awkward and most definatly unique compared to the rest of the girls in my school. I was terrified to really be around the other athletes because I was sure I was not as good as they were, having not spent years on the court or in the pool. So I played in the band. I was told I was a waste there because I should be on the court where I belonged. No mention of if I liked music or enjoied what I was doing.
As you can imagine, this presented a few conflicting thoughts on my young mind. I was an eater. I ate when I was lonely or angry...sad or frustrated. Unfortunatly, that was often. So I was not only tall, but a heavy, often unhappy tall girl.

When I meat Mr Dad in college I was a solid 190 pounds (my lightest in college) and pursuing my interest in competitive mountain biking and keeping my mind away from the heartbreak of my first serious break-up. It didn't take long for the pounds to creep on when Mr. Dad was treating me to restaurant meals and away from the trails and active life I was trying to lead.

So marriage eventually came and so did the dreaded 200s on the scale. The 210 mark followed within the first year and by the time we had our first daughter in 2005 I topped out at my pregnancy at 265. I never hurt so badly in my life as I did at that weight carrying a baby. I fought the weight by working vigurously at my job as a PE teacher. I played touch football, ultimate frisbee, swam, and managed 300 students and the equipment all myself. It never occured to me the slice of carrot cake and fried chicken I fed myself each day might be keeping my pregnancy weight higher than anticipated.

I gave birth and expected the weight to fall off and back down to the then comfortable 210 range. Who knew taking care of a baby and working full time made you too tired to exercise and cook well?

When the oldest daughter turned 18 months old I was still in the 220 range and feeling awful. I went off to Weight Watchers and they taught me the good ol' point system. I of course lost weight and got to eat all the junk food along the way...just as long as I stayed within my points.
An average day:
Mcdonalds sausage mcmuffin 7pts
instant oatmeal 3pts
lean cuisine meal 7pts
Chicken breast and salad dinner 7pts
Snack 3pts

As you can see, it was a terrible nutrition profile...but I lost weight. Isnt that what I wanted?
I began running and pushing my comfort level as an athlete. I felt accomplished when I ran my first 5k. At 29 years old I began believing there might be more to this body than I gave myself credit. I felt like a real athlete, not afraid to push my comfort zone...much.
In 2007 I became pregnant with my second daughter and remembering the pain I put myself through being so active during my first pregnancy, I immediatly stopped all active efforts and dropped back into the fast food line two times a day.
Guess what? I gained every pregnancy pound I had lost. I tipped the scales once again in the 260's at the end of my term.
It was only a few weeks after my youngest childs' birth that I began walking her in the stroller. Eventually I ran.
I still ate like crap. I never lost any weight.

My father became very ill in the winter of 2011. We were sure he would not be with us long. To show support and maybe a little desperation (who can do much for a cancer patient 1000 miles away?) I vowed to run a marathon in his honor. I wanted to do something hard, impossible, something worthy of my fathers respect. I also wanted to get healthy and get as far away from cancer as I could.
I trained for 40 weeks for my first marathon. Diligently, I ran according to the ultra novice plan I found on an internet search.
I lost some weight. Not much.
I crossed the finish line at the 2011 San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon in 5:37 and weighing in at 216 pounds.
I spent 20 hours a week running my tail off. Miles and miles and miles...
I never changed my nutrition.
So the big question was, why was I still so big? I was a runner, I ran 10+ miles a day, I ran a marathon!! I needed to eat!!
I was broken. I needed to find the answer and inspiration within myself. I thought I would have that at the finish line of the big race. Instead, I found a bagel and cream cheese.

My answer did come...stay tuned for part 2

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Paleo Stroganoff and Zuchini Noodles

It's been a while since I created a recipe and with the local athletes doing a clean eating challenge, I was inspired to get in the kitchen and make something new. It's not surprising that we have been living off the grill and big salads in the Texas summer heat, but I do actually cook on the stove sometimes. Because it is so hot and I am so lazy. It is important that each meal be quick and simple (with few ingredients...).

I was trolling Pinterest a few days back looking for something other than a salad or grill marinade and stumbled upon a very involved paleo stroganoff. If you grew up in the 80's like me, I'm sure you had your fair share of box meal stroganoff or some crazy mix of cream of mushroom soup and ground beef (like at my house). It is a very basic European stew with beef, mushrooms, onion, and various additions depending on the region. Usually, big ol egg noodles laid under our meal...back in the day.

So, I didn't have all the ingredients for the labor intensive Pinterest stroganoff. I DID have  bunch of stuff that might make something similar to the description, or with hope, just taste edible. 
So off I went to the test kitchen (this is a lot  like the Bat Cave without the fancy lighting or man servant to do my bidding). 
This picture was not taken at my house or by me, but they look fabulous

So, anyway, back to the test kitchen. 
The NOODLER! Sounds like a diabolical evil mastermind and it was created by such, no doubt. This thing is amazing. It makes noodles out of stuff. I tried zucchini first because children hate zucchini and I love torturing my children at dinner.
The noodler worked like a charm! It made long ribbons of fancy zucchini and it was very pretty sitting in the bowl on the counter. The device cleaned up faster than the actual "noodling" and that is a huge plus for my lazy ass.
If you have not invested in a NOODLER! is highly recommend one. I got mine at Amazon.com for about $25. 

While noodling, I set a large pan to heat with 2 tbsp. butter on the stove. You could use Gee but I'm Not So Paleo. 
Here is what I did for the stroganoff:
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2 tbsp butter or gee
1 1/2 cup mushrooms quartered 
1/2 cup Prego spaghetti sauce (heart healthy, gluten free, low sugar = good enough)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
Pink sea salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

- Once the butter was melted I softened the onion and browned the beef together
-Once the beef was browned, I added the mushrooms, Prego, and coconut milk
-I let everything simmer on low for about 15 minutes
-In the last few minutes before serving, I threw some butter and the "noodles" into another pan for a quick cook. I finished them off with some salt and pepper

I guess if you want a creamier texture you can add arrow root to the mix but I liked the texture fine without it. 
The final product was filling, hearty, sweet and flavorful. I loved the new creation and know it will be a welcome addition to my dinner rotation. The real winner is the noodler. I bought it back in June and this was my first meal using it. I can't wait to try sweet potato noodles and maybe carrot twirls! My kids might learn to like zucchini...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tips On Life: Being Awesome Is...

Being awesome is a lot of things.

 Always owning your actions
Sticking to classy
Colorful language... and socks

Supporting others in triumph, even when they out-do yours
Standing by those you hold most dear
Wearing your workout clothes to the grocery store and totally rocking your dirty spanky pants and filthy tshirt
Dancing in the rain
Filing up the gas tank before the E...

Being Awesome is not:
Sticking your finger in a moving fan without a protective cover at 2am the night before rope climbs
Sending your best friend the Golden Lasso in the mail disguised as a gift (actually it was halarious and most awesome)

And most of all, being awesome is NOT showing up to a distress call 1 hour after a water main breaks in the front yard during a stage 5 water restriction!! Thanks City Water Guy...how NOT awesome of you. Lesson learned.
(But Andre the amazing handyman WAS awesome in helping repair the pipe in our front yard using $4 in supplies and a few old pull-up bar pipes. Ingenious!!)

Most awesome of the day was this:

Nothing like a random kid giving a personalized portrait in a most flattering resemblance during your favorite part of the day. Yay CrossFit Kids Goofballs.