Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 95 - April Update

Lost 2lbs. this last month, I'm down to 218. Progress, but still not as much as I have been hoping for, especially considering that my measurements are also mostly the same and I've been doing CrossFit 3-4 times a week all month long.

So I've decided to try a stricter approach. Lower carbs, lower calories and actually tracking what I eat, not just free grazing paleo. I have already been doing this for the last few weeks and it's only since I started tracking my food that I've been able to drop the 2 lbs. down to 218. Clearly, this is something that works for me. Probably because I'm a good organizer when I need to be.

I've got ADHD. I deal with it pretty well and have never really taken medication for it (I tried it briefly, but ended up deciding not to continue as CrossFit seemed to help my restless symptoms as much or more, but without side effects - plus it's fun!). While my nature is not inherently organized, I have a very organized list-making mother who taught me how to be organized too. The more organized I am, the more successful I am, so it becomes a good positive feedback loop. If there is one thing we ADHD kids thrive on it's that positive dopamine response.

In any case, I think that may be why I also do better when I organize, log and plan my meals using a calorie counting app. For some people it would be too much, but for me it organizes the chaos of my brain and encourages me to make good food decisions. I can see, with data, how different macro nutrient ratios and calorie amounts effect my mood and performance. I can also see how I feel more satisfied on the same amount of calories depending on the macro ratios and micronutrient density - which encourages me to continue eating real food.

My BHAG for April? To get under 200 lbs. by my birthday at the end of the first week in May. Twenty pounds in a month is a tall order, but not unheard of. I definitely think I can do it if I stick to real food and limit my carbs (especially sugars) and calories. Part of that goal also includes doing a strict paleo plan like a Whole 30 - I'm not following their rules exactly to the letter - but I'm still calling it my #Whole30Before30.

In addition to CrossFitting 3-4 times a week, I am also now able to walk to work most days (walked to work today, actually) and am re-starting my 5K training, planning to run 2 times per week (in addition to running as part of CrossFit workouts) and going for a hike as an active rest day at least once a week too.

This month I'm focusing on improving my paleo movement and sleep. I am still working my way through Good Calories, Bad Calories, but will also be reading Primal Connection by Mark Sisson this month to focus more on non-food aspects of the paleo lifestyle.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day 64 - Hello Energy!

Well hello energy, where have you been hiding?

I don't know if it's the mostly paleo diet I've been adhering too, my focus on getting enough protein lately, the changing seasons, the supplements I've been taking, taking the rest days off from CrossFit or a combination of all of the above - but over the last 24 hours I've suddenly experienced a surge in energy.

At CrossFit last night I gave a great performance, exceeding the goal I had set for myself when I first saw the WOD, by finishing 8 full rounds of the AMRAP and the strength training before felt almost easy, even doing 15 reps at 80% of my established one rep max.

I fell right to sleep when I got into bed and woke easily before my alarm even went off in the morning. I didn't feel groggy in story times and instead of sitting down during the craft time I got up and was walking around shelving (a task I usually avoid because I find it tedious, especially when I'm low on energy).

Clearly I am doing something right here and that feels great!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day 60 - A New Month and New Challenges

So I gained 2 lbs. this month but my measurements stayed that same. So one again, while I wish the scale were moving more - I must at least be putting on muscle, not fat. I don't have a specific wight goal in mind, but at this point I know I should lose at least some weight if I want to make gains toward my fitness goals.

Case in point. When I established my one rep max on the bench press a couple weeks back I was able to bench 95lbs. For a baseline that is really not bad at all, remember I've only been CrossFitting since November and I'd only done bench press a couple of times at my box before establishing that. At 95 lbs. that puts me square in the middle of the pack among the women. I'm basically one of the (if not the) strongest of the weak, then there's a gap between my bench mark and the one rep max of most of the competitive athletes who can bench their body weight or more. Yet, I can barely do one good rep of knee push-ups because I have to push-up sooo much weight, even from my knees.

And that's just push-ups. I want to be able to do a strict pull-up - just one - before the end of the year. Right now I cannot even do an assisted pull-up with a band because of my weight. There's not even a whole lot of men, whose body form is already better equipped to do a pull-up naturally, who could pull up that much weight. Rich Froning only has to move 180 lbs. and I am no Rich Froning.

Goals for March 
  • CrossFit 3-5 times per week 
  • Take advantage of my wellness time at work to walk home for lunch a couple days each week 
  • Take advantage of the longer daylight hours to start walking to work as much as possible again
  • Make time on Sunday afternoons and/or Monday mornings to prep some food for the coming week 
  • Eat fresh food before it goes bad 
  • Keep strict paleo and limit higher carb foods to post-workout 
  • Refuel after workouts with starches, protein, healthy fats and supplements
  • Finish reading Good Calories, Bad Calories
  • Take time to wind down each night to encourage a full 8-10 hours of sleep

Day 59 - Another month over

Since February is a short month AND I'm working this weekend, I'll post my end of month stat's tomorrow . . . but here's a quick update.

What Went Well? 
I did CrossFit a LOT. I established my one rep max on 4 lifts and impressed myself with how heavy it was on several of them! I did yoga. My skin is looking clearer than it has in a while. I have a lot of good ideas for paleo snacks and meals now.

What Didn't Go So Well?
The bane of my existence continues to be dishes. I do really well prepping and cooking at home, until one night I'm too tired to clean up right after I cook - or I have somewhere to be - and so the sink pile begins. The pile of dirty dishes I HATE (here let me emphasize that this is not your garden variety dislike of hand washing dishes that is fairly common - this is complete loathing of the task, which makes it impossible to motivate myself to do it ever - except that I have to eat somehow . . . ) leads me to eat out, instead of cooking at home - just to avoid them. Which is expensive and harder to stay on plan, especially with the limited food options available in my small mountain town.

What Did I Learn?
I need to figure out a way to make meals that taste amazing without dirtying a bunch of dishes, so there a fewer dishes to do afterwards and I'm more likely to have the energy to clean them up right afterwards. I need to nourish myself before and after CrossFit appropriately so that my body has what it needs to heal, repair and improve. I learned I was not giving my body the proper ingredients when I scraped my shin and ended up missing almost a week so I could rest and let me body heal from the combined stress of working out and an unexpected allergic reaction all stemming from what should have been a minor injury.

What Will I Do to Improve? 
I will look for one-pot paleo recipes that will make meal prep even faster and easier when combined with my pre-prep on Sundays and Mondays. I will eat paleo-friendly supplements and food to nourish and replenish my body after WODs. I will make an effort to be well-hydrated and well-rested.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 56 - Is This a Latex Allergy?

I caved and had a sandwich two lunches in a row. What can I say I had a craving that nothing but a sandwich could fill. I waited a full day from the time the craving hit to when I finally caved, hoping that it would go away if I just ate more protein and fat. It did not. I ate the sandwich and it was GOOOOOD.

But, around the time I ate the sandwich I also noticed a rash on my leg.

Last week I bashed my leg on the edge of a wooden box while doing box jumps in CrossFit. It left a nice big scrape right down the front of my shin. I have had to use two extra large band-aids to cover the full scrape. I found out Sunday that if I wear my tall boots the pressure over the course of the day causes pain. So I've been trying to keep anything off of my leg apart from the band-aid (which is hard, when it's snowing out and you really want to wear boots and warm socks).

In any case two days ago when changing the bandage I noticed the beginnings of a rash under the adhesive part of the band-aid. I figured it was probably just irritation from wearing the boots and not being able to breathe as well. But then yesterday I noticed it had gotten a bit redder and a bit larger. Still, my shin scrape is not in a place where it's healed up enough to not have a bandage covering it, so I put another band-aid on. This morning when I went to change my bandage again the rash was raging. It now is causing me more discomfort than the original scrape. It burns. It's an angry red. It's a little itchy (though I haven't scratched it). And it's spread. It looks like a textbook case of contact dermatitis.

So I looked on the box of band-aids and sure enough, there is latex in them. Now, I have never previously had a known problem with latex. This seems to be an entirely new allergy. Which is frustrating, but just reiterates my need to keep strict paleo. I am not saying that my sandwich eating caused it, but it probably did not help. I think it is pretty clear that I have a leaky gut if I am developing new allergies. A leaky gut that I need to heal yet seem to lack to will power to do so.

In many ways I am addict, because similar health issues should tell me to avoid gluten and all the other no-go foods for paleo eating. Yet in the moment of a craving like the one I had earlier this week, even forcing myself to think about the pain and discomfort of allergies or an IBS flare is not sufficient to tamp down the desire to eat a yeasty, doughy, and yes - yummy - bread.

I am not sure how to tackle this. I know I want to, yet I feel stymied by this same hurdle again and again.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Days 33-35

February 2 - I had my check up but wasn't able to get my blood work done the same day, so I will have to go in some morning in the next week to have them do the blood draw. I asked to be tested for blood lipids, thyroid markers, fasting blood sugar and A1c. Did CrossFit in the 8am session and it was the first ever WOD for time that I finished first! There were only two of us , we were both modifying and we both finished around the same time, but finishing 30 seconds faster is still a victory in my book!

February 3 - Took a lunch time walk with the pooch today. Went out to eat with friends after Bible study and had a burger with no bun and a half-serving of regular french fries. The condiments were probably not perfectly paleo, but I think it was a great choice for a night out meal.

February 4 - Did not keep paleo today, between a soda at lunch and cheese pizza for dinner - but I did CrossFit and that included doing my actual box jumps ever. Even when I had done CrossFit previously I'd only jumped onto a small stack of plates. The last time be did box jumps I just stepped up. This time I legit jumped onto and off of the box each time. It was only 12", but as Neil Armstrong might say, it was a "giant leap" for me.

February 5 - Gave myself some time this morning to make some quick roast beef roll ups to have for lunch at work, and threw in some nuts and dark chocolate for good measure. Tonight it's yoga AND CrossFit then I'm planning roast chicken and sauteed zucchini with garlic. Trying to keep pretty low carb to make up for yesterday.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 32 - February 1

Tomorrow I have my annual physical. Even though I'm already a month into this project I am looking forward to getting a blood panel, reviewing my health history and establishing a bit of a base line that I can compare to at the end of the year.

Goals for February

  • Keep CrossFitting 3 times per week
  • Take advantage of my wellness time at work to walk home for lunch a few days each week
  • Make time on Sunday afternoons and/or Monday mornings to prep some food for the coming week
  • Check out more paleo cookbooks to get ideas for lunches in particular
  • Eat fresh food before it goes bad
  • Keep strict paleo and limit higher carb foods to post-workout
Here is my new paleo guide I have posted on my fridge. It's not that I don't already know this stuff, I'm just a visual person and the act of having written it all down helps to ingrain the information deeper as well.

Here are some closer up shots, none of these food lists are definitive, just good places to jump off from.

Paleo Book of the Month - Good Calories Bad Calories

This book is dense. I've started to read it a couple of times but never have made it past the first couple chapters. It's not even technically paleo, but for many people in the paleo community this is the book the frequently cite as having opened their eyes. I will attack this book like a chipper WOD, just chipping away at it piece by piece.