Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today feels really good

This morning I did not wake with the same energy as yesterday. Plus, it was storming outside and I just wanted to roll over and snuggle into my comfy bed. But I told myself I would CrossFit today and that meant getting out bed and getting out the door. Once on my feet, I was good to go.

I knew what was coming because I had looked the night before. I took it one step at a time. The first part of the hour focused on strength.

5 Rounds: 1 Strict Press, 2 Push Presses, 1 Push Jerk

Quick tutorial: All three moves start in the rack position with the barbell at your shoulders and end with the barbell overhead, arms extended. With a strict press, you do not move your legs. It is entirely focused on the strength of your upper body. With a push press, you can use the momentum of your legs, so you squat a bit and the push to the sky in one motion. With the push jerk, you squat and push to the sky, but instead of all the momentum going up, you squat a little lower under the bar so you can extend your arms while you are in the down motion...then you stand up straight with the bar raised above you. The differences are slight, but it can greatly affect how much weight you can handle.

Since you are doing all three moves in the same set, you are limited by what you can strict press. I managed to get up to 80# which felt really good.

Next came the conditioning part of the hour:
  • 50 Sit Ups
  • 50 Double Unders (Sub 2 for 1 Singles)
  • 50 Sit Ups
  • 50 Lunges
  • 50 Sit Ups
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Sit Ups
We had a 35:00 time cap and I was worried. It took a little while, but I was fine until the burpees. Man, I have only done 50 unbroken burpees two other times in my life and I'm pretty sure I substituted squat thrusts for much of them. Most everyone finished by the time I got to the burpees, but no matter, I pressed on.

With 10 to go, 3 in the group did them with me to help keep me going. By the time I got to the last 50 sit ups, it was like I was in a different place. I could hear two of the girls counting me off sets of 10. In between the sets, one of the guys would count off 5 slow seconds for my rest. I didn't think. I just did what they said and tried not to choke on my own breath.

And then I was done. I finished in 26:40 which was slow, but I finished. And I did every. single. rep. It was 7am and I had just done one of the hardest workouts of my life.

Life is Good.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Post cleanse high

I feel great!! The juice cleanse ended Friday night. I have never been so happy to be eating a paleo diet. :-) Some people say that they have a lot of energy on a juice cleanse. I did not. Not even remotely. But I did try very hard to do some sort of physical activity throughout.

As a reminder, my reasons for doing the cleanse:

  1. To get rid of the carb and sugar cravings - this totally happened. I actually noticed the afternoon of the first day that my desire for afternoon sweets was way lower than normal. It made me think that in the future a 1 day "after vacation" cleanse might be a good way to refocus my efforts.
  2. To get rid of my bloat and jump start weight loss - This also happened. My net weight loss for last week was 7.2 pounds. A lot of that was bloat but it has made me feel so much better and my clothes aren't so snug.
  3. To show myself that my will power is strong enough to make the sacrifice - I was proud of myself for seeing it through.
 Saturday morning I got up and went to Jazzercise. I was still weak from my cleanse, but I work out well in the morning so it wasn't bad. I had paleo choices from Chipotle for lunch.

For dinner, I made a paleo stew that was in an article my friend Gwen had posted. Here is the recipe:

 Makes 5 big servings
2 pounds of chopped chicken thighs
chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (solid)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bag of frozen mixed peppers and onions
1 jar of Sharwood’s Indian cooking sauce (I like their Butter Chicken) Salt, pepper and
spice to taste. (I like lots of red pepper.)
1 cup of water
1. Heat cooker on medium high, stir in coconut oil, chopped onion, and garlic.
2. After onions are translucent, add the chicken and stir for about a minute. Season
with salt, pepper and spices.
3. Add bag of frozen peppers and onions, add jar of Indian cooking sauce, add 1 cup of
water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat once pressure lid is on and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Interestingly, the list of ingredients calls for a large chopped tomato but the directions don't. Oh well! I LOVED using the pressure cooker. This is my first time and it was great! BFF & I went to church Saturday night and I was able to cook it when we got home. The chicken was cooked perfectly in about 35 minutes. I will have to find some other great paleo pressure cooker meals! I haven't had a lot of good exposure to Indian food so I was worried about the flavors, but this was really good. I chopped and roasted potatoes and used as a base. BFF liked it too!!

Sunday I made myself some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Yum! For lunch I had leftover stew. For dinner I cooked up some salmon and roasted some brussel sprouts. Delish! I like all of these foods anyway, but after only 3 days of not eating (chewing), everything was fantastic!

I leave for Louisiana Friday morning, so I have prepared everything to eat until then. Baked ham and cheese fritatta for breakfasts. Lunches and diners are leftover stew or salmon. For snacks I have lunchmeat to have roll ups. I also make a tomato & cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I should be all set!

I made it to CrossFit this morning and I felt STRONG! This isn't the greatest picture, but I love my dress today. I have had it for a while, but I love the fun colors.

 My hope is that the energy and strength stays with me through the week. I'm also glad that I'm in town and can get caught up on what you all out there have been up to these last few weeks!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dirty Dancing and a Juice Cleanse

Good morning! I'm at work bright and early this morning because I wanted to take some time to check in. As I mentioned a few days ago, June is always super busy for me. It seems like it wouldn't be too difficult to find 15 minutes in the day to refocus, but it is truly that busy.

I went with my friend Debi to see Dirty Dancing the musical on Tuesday night. We had an absolute blast! The lead male was a TERRIBLE actor but he was a good dancer. I never really thought of Patrick Swayze as a great actor, but it was clear when this other guy was saying the same lines...Swayze wasn't too bad. It was amazingly nostalgic and I want to go watch the movie right now. That was one of my favorite soundtracks as a kid.

Many years June is a bit of a lost month. Between my birthday, the volleyball trip, and the Jazzercise convention, I wake up and it is the 4th of July. If we have something after the 4th holiday, then it just blends to BFF's birthday at the end of the month and next thing I realize, it is August. I'm typically fat and happy and ready to focus on my health and wellness.

This year I'm trying to be more proactive. My friend Glam did a juice cleanse and had me thinking I might try one. I figured right after 2 weeks of travels, food & drink would be the perfect time. I know myself well enough not to try making them myself. I decided to try the BluePrint Cleanse. It is ridiculously expensive so I thought that would provide extra incentive. Ha!

My reasons for doing the cleanse:
  1. To get rid of the carb and sugar cravings
  2. To get rid of my bloat and jump start weight loss
  3. To show myself that my will power is strong enough to make the sacrifice

I couldn't start the cleanse until Wednesday, so Monday and Tuesday I tracked my food and ate well. To give you an idea of how much I bloat, I lost 4 pounds on Monday and Tuesday alone.

I have 6 juices per day:
  1. Green Juice (2) - kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, & lemon.
  2. PAM - pineapple, apple, mint.
  3. BAC - beet, apple, carrot, lemon, ginger.
  4. Spicy Lemonade - lemon, cayenne, agave.
  5. Cashew Milk - cashew, vanilla, cinnamon, agave

I started yesterday with a green juice. Honestly, it tasted like liquid salad, heavy on the cucumber. I do like cucumber so that was good. It wasn't great, but it was doable. I also felt like it did give me some satiety for a while.

Two hours later, I had the PAM and it was so delicious. I'm not a huge juice drinker, but this was just tasty. I'm not sure how lasting it was, but I was busy so that helped.

At lunch, I went to the gym to work out. I had to go later than normal so I can't really compare my energy levels. I ran the day before, but yesterday I just walked. I power walked and did hills, but it was still walking.

After working out, I had another green juice. It was totally fine. Again, I didn't LOVE it, but I was able to drink it and be satisfied.

In the late afternoon, I had the spicy lemonade which mostly just tasted like lemonade. It was nice and refreshing, if not necessarily filling.

When I got home from work, I immediately had the BAC. So...beet juice tastes like dirt. That took a little while to get used to, but I managed to get through it.

My last "juice" of the day was the cashew milk. I couldn't do it. It wasn't necessarily that is tasted bad, it just tasted odd to me after all of the fruit and vegetable juices. I couldn't even get the whole thing down.

I wanted to go to CrossFit this morning, but the workout was almost exclusively toes to bar and double unders. I can't do either and would have to seriously modify the workout. On a normal day, that would be fine, but I saw it as a sign. I packed my Jazzercise clothes instead.

I didn't expect to see much change on the scale since I had lost 4 pounds in the two days prior, but this morning, I was down another 3.4 pounds. Sheesh. This girl can retain a whole lot of water.

My friend said that she felt great and had a lot of energy during the cleanse. I can't say that for myself. I'm tired and a little draggy. I'm not as cranky as I expected to be though so that is a plus. I do have this weird reflux-y feeling which is just so odd but hopefully that will fade.

I have two more days, so I will let you know how it goes. My plan post-cleanse is to focus on a paleo diet. One step at a time.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Life Is Good

Settle in, folks. I've been busy!!

When last I left you, I was busy. I guess I still am busy! Ha! This is how June always seems to go for me. Not complaining though because it is always so fun!!

First up was my eldest godson's confirmation. Well, in all fairness I'm his sponsor, not his godmother, but close enough. He is one of my flock. It was long, but lovely and I totally enjoyed spending time with him and his family.

Saturday night, BFF & I celebrated my birthday. First, dinner at Saint Ann's...

Then, House of Blues to see Bowling for Soup which is my most favorite band. Hold on a minute, I gotta go put my computer a BFS playlist...  Okay, I'm back. I love them.

A few days after my birthday, BFF & I went to Chicago. First up, we met up with some of my long-time blogger friends...

I swear, I can not see these girls for years, then meet up and it is like no time has passed. I have so much love in my heart for them. Also, I may have been a little drunk because I found this selfie I took in the bathroom...heh. I have absolutely no idea why I took that.

The next day we headed out to Hoffman Estates to watch the men's Team USA volleyball team play Poland. If you have known me long, you know how big of a fan I am. As far as the actual games go, this trip might have had the most exciting yet. The crowd was probably 75% Polish so it was almost like an "away" game for us. I think I still have "Polska *clap*clap*clap*" running through my dreams. We went 5 sets the first night and squeaked to a victory. The next night it wasn't as close, but it was still competitive and fun. We were undefeated (6-0) in World League play when they left the USA, but I heard that we lost both sets in Iran last weekend. I think they miss us.

Ducky enjoyed the game...
 On Monday of last week, I was home and got a chance to do some laundry and rest up because on Tuesday I headed to DC for a work trip. I did get to have a little fun while I was there, but it was mostly work. I got home on Wednesday night and Thursday early morning, I left with 3 coworkers to head to the Wildcatter Ranch in Graham, TX for a work retreat.

The retreat was a lot of fun and we learned some things too. We did some behavioral exercises which helped us understand how to communicate with each other. I also found out that I am a master stool builder. Seriously. One of the events in a team competition we had was to build a stool. Our team of three had eight large dowel rods and a roll of duct tape. We had to build a stool that would hold one member of the team in a sitting position with one leg off the floor for 30 seconds. We had a time cap of 16:00. My team finished in 4:00. We smoked the other teams (some didn't even finish) and it was awesome.

After the retreat, BFF & I went straight to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas for the Jazzercise convention. Friday was a bit low key, but we did a Jazzercise class that evening before dinner. We cleaned up nice though...
It was a miracle because every single one of us loved this picture!!

On Saturday, we worked out for 5 and 1/2 hours. That is a REALLY long time. We did 2 and 1/2 hours of Jazzercise in the morning. Then had lunch. Then we planked for 2 full minutes for which I was totally stinking proud. I had never done that before!! Two minutes is a lifetime when you are on your elbows and toes.

In the afternoon, we did a hip-hop dance class, then a country/hip-hop dance class, then finished with an hour of Jazzercise. My feet were so sore I can't even put it into words. We still managed to get dressed for dinner though. Food and drinks were calling my name!!

Okay, now for the current part. I have learned to be less critical of myself in pictures. YAY if I can get a flattering pose and but if it isn't, I deal. No problem. But someone took this picture of me at the work retreat and I almost cried.

Now don't get me wrong. There was a time when this size was a dream come true. When I was pushing 300 pounds, all I wanted to do was shop in normal stores. But now that I have gone beyond that, just fitting into a 14/16 isn't okay anymore. I'm not packing on pounds, but I'm just not losing anything and I seem to fluctuate higher and higher. So what am I going to do about it?

More to come...


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Where does time go???

It has been over two weeks since I last posted. I can't let myself veer too far away. I need to refocus myself for the challenges summer brings.

I have been holding my own the last two weeks. Work has absolutely exploded (in the best way) and I have been hitting the ground running every morning when I get in.

CrossFit is going very well. We are all starting to get to know each other better so I think we are having more fun. I managed to get there a third day this week. Here is my crew:

Monday and Tuesday's workouts were full of pull ups and hand stand push ups. On Monday, I did pull ups (with assistance bands) for the first time in about a year. On Tuesday, I can't do hand stand push ups, so I was doing pike push ups.

I was a little embarrassed that I had to scale it to this degree, but what are you going to do? We started with 25 of them. Then for the workout, I did 50 more. What I found out is that after 75 of those suckers, you are going to feel it the next day. I was walking around like a T-Rex all afternoon.

It was nice to do some stretching and mobility work today. The workout involved wall balls, toes to bar (which I modified to lifting my knees up as high as I could) and deadlifts. The coach told me my deadlifts were awesome. Woohoo, go me! Speaking of my coach, it was totally cool because he is an alum of my old box. Made me a bit nostalgic, but I'm just glad I'm working hard somewhere.

Tonight is my newest and eldest godson's confirmation. I can't wait to be a part of this big day for him. I have three other godsons, but they are all young so this is my first confirmation.

Tomorrow starts my birthday weekend celebration, lots of food, drink and fun friends! I need to find the balance of enjoying myself while not eating all the things. :)