Monday, February 27, 2012

DO DO DO....DADA DA all I want to say to you

All my life, I've had a funny little thing I do when I'm feeling insecure.  I act the complete OPPOSITE.  I BEHAVE as though not a thing in the world can shake me.  I have certain things I do...ways I sit, place my arms etc.  The person across from me in these situations would never know how nervous I really am.  I was practicing this last week as I sat in an attorneys office.  my attorney is older and has a strong Texas drawl.  He always wears expensive dress shirts and ties and everything is in place.  So when I visit him and we are in the conference room I usually sit leaning slightly back and I will hang on arm up over the chair like I don't give a crap because it makes me feel like I have some power.  It's interesting too, because he responds to this.  I can tell he "buys" my fake bravado and he respects and likes it.  He and I were talking about business things and the subject of diet came up.  I told him what I had been doing and how pleased I was with the results.  As I think back on it now though, I can see why his reaction was what it was. 

I BEGAN by telling him all the DON'Ts!  DON'T eat this and DON'T drink that.  He smiled and laughed and said in a sarcastic tone, " I can pretty much just drink water...  That sounds great."  We both laughed and I went on to tell him what you CAN have, but really it was too late.  The focus began and ended with a focus on what NOT to do.  As I've thought about reeling my own diet back in a little tighter again since my 30 Day Challenge ended...I've focused a lot on the DON'Ts and that can be pretty depressing and leave you feeling deprived.  Some of the ladies in the STRONG LOLA 30 DAY CHALLENGE group on Facebook talked about doing another 30 Day Challenge because they felt like they had slipped back in to old habits.
 I think that's great, but I want to offer a suggestion.  Rather than focus on the DON'Ts...focus on the DOs!  It brings a completely different perspective that can apply to any diet and fitness regime.  Whether you are Paleo or a Vegetarian, it's the same thing.  Focusing on the positive and the things that you should be doing will make it a completely different experience.  So I will give you MY list of DOs!

DO choose the highest quality of food and meat that you can afford!  I recognize that buying grass fed beef and organic veggies costs more than if you buy the regular stuff, but if you can work it in to your makes a difference in the way you feel, the taste of your food, and the way your body digests it.  The food you buy that is not organic and is in the grocery story has chemicals that your body has to process and remove in order to keep from poisoning your system.  I have also read that organic veggies, grass fed beef, range free chicken, and cage free grain fed eggs also have a higher concentration of nutrients.  Pay attention to the QUALITY of the food you purchase and do the best you can.  If you can't get the highest quality, don't beat yourself up or feel like you cannot participate in a healthy lifestyle.  Make the best choices that you can and remind yourself that whether you are eating organic veggies or not, prepared properly that's still a better choice than throwing a bag of frozen corn in the microwave.

DO eat balanced meals!  While I understand bacon is delicious and so is fruit...only eating those things or eating too much is not good either.  Make sure that you have balance on your plate.  Eat protein and healthy fat and good carbs at every meal.  People think that the word carb is evil.  It's not.  We need carbs, but it's best to get them from healthy sources like vegetables and fruits and sweet potatoes.  Choose good, healthy carbs rather than eliminating them from your diet.  Make sure you are getting enough healthy fat so that you feel full and stay satisfied longer.  There are lots of sources of good fats in olive oil, raw nuts, avocados, and olives.

DO prepare ahead to avoid snap decisions choices made out of desperation!  Many people cook meals ahead of time.  I think this is a great idea and is very helpful to many people!  I have never been big on this as I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, but I prepare by ALWAYS having some type of veggies on hand and some kind of meat thawed out in the fridge.  As long as I have food that I can prepare on the spot, I will make good choices.  Another option is to cook bigger portions when you cook and put the leftover away for later so they are easy to grab and reheat when you need them!  Remember that you always have a choice.  Panicking never leads to anything good.  Many times, if I stop for a moment and think I can come up with a meal that is delicious and quick.

DO eat food that you like!  I am a picky eater so I preach eating what you like.  I have a very narrow range of meat that I like so it can be a challenge at times, but I never want to feel like I'm forcing myself to eat things I don't like.  If you don't like broccoli, don't eat it!  Find another green that you DO like and find different ways to cook the foods you enjoy.  I LOVE zucchini but if I ALWAYS eat it prepared the same way, I get sick of it.  I grill it, saute it, and sometimes I add canned tomatoes.  Using different spices and ways to cook things is fun and keeps you from getting bored.  Be creative!  I've surprised myself (in a good way) many times throughout the course of the past 2 months.

DO eat when you are hungry!  This is not about starvation and deprivation.  REMEMBER THAT!  It's about nourishing your body and fueling it well, so that it runs more efficiently.  If you are hungry, EAT!  This is another example of why it's good to prepare and always have food available.  If you have snacks prepackaged or you have fresh fruit and veggies in your fridge, you can easily prepare a snack that is healthy.  If you are consistently feeling like you are hungry or never satisfied, look at what you are eating and make sure you are eating enough protein and healthy fats.  This doesn't mean you have a free pass to eat all day just because you are bored.  Don't confuse stress or boredom with hunger, but if you really ARE hungry then you should listen to your body and eat!

DO make your food look appetizing!  I never used to arrange my food in any certain way on my plate or care about the colors.  I certainly didn't garnish my food or make my plate look photo ready.  Now, I do.  It does not take me hardly any extra time to throw a little garnish or place my food carefully on my plate.  When I sit down to eat and I have a plate that looks beautiful, I am excited to eat what I have prepared and there's also a sense of pride in what I have created.  It sounds silly, but this has been something that I and my family have really enjoyed.  It makes our meals more of an experience and that is a good thing. 

DO keep track of what you eat!  Since the day I started the Strong Lola 30 Day Challenge, and even in the month since it's ended...I take a picture of every meal I eat on my phone.  This does a few things for me.  It keeps me honest.  If there's bad stuff on my plate, it's gonna be in the picture.  It's easier for me than having to write everything down.  I don't need a pen and paper and my phone is always with me so it works well and I've accumulated quite the library of "food porn" as we like to call it!  It also goes hand in hand with making my food look appetizing.  I want to create meals that are photo worthy!  Try it for a week.  And if you want even more accountability, start a blog and post your daily meals!  It's also fun to send your pics to friends that are also watching what they eat to share ideas and get that reaffirmation that you are doing a good job!

DO be flexible and forgiving with yourself and others that are not making the same choice as you!  Sometimes you will HAVE to eat out or you may find yourself unprepared.  DO THE BEST YOU CAN.  Most restaurants will cook food to order.  Just be sure to ask lots of questions.  If you are at a Mexican food restaurant, order chicken or beef and ask for grilled veggies and/or guacamole INSTEAD of rice and beans.  Don't freak out or become a food "Nazi".  Having grilled veggies that were grilled in regular butter or vegetable oil is better than eating a cheese enchilada.  And if you make a mistake or choose to have a cheat, do it and then get back on track the next meal without beating yourself up!  I find when I beat myself up, it almost gives me a license to really go crazy because I feel like all is lost anyway.  That is not the case.  You are human.  Move on and do better next meal.

DO workout!  They say you can't outrun a bad diet.  Well, you can't just eat healthy and get fit either.  You need the two parts working hand in hand to be truly strong and fit!  It was hard for me at first, because my body was not accustomed to functioning on good, real, healthy food.  I was tired and felt bad.  I was weak in the gym and I wanted to just forget going most days, but I hung in there and eventually I felt MUCH better and I could see real changes both in my appearance AND in my performance in the gym.
As I think about my conversation with my attorney, I regret not telling him how great I feel first thing.  I wish I would've shown him the AMAZING pictures on my phone of the delicious and healthy food that I DO get to enjoy every day.  I'm DONE with DON'Ts and ready to focus on the DOs!  Be confident in your ability to succeed and if you're not sure at first...DO the DOs and fake it til you make it!  Try this approach and see if you feel differently about the choice you've made to get stronger and healthier.  Look at this as an opportunity rather than a struggle.  It may make more of a difference than you think!

Thursday, February 9, 2012's gonna cost ya!...

Ok...I'm just gonna be straight up honest.  I always thought eating healthy was for boring people that like gross food!  I immature view, but nonetheless, it was MY viewpoint for most of my life.  It was easy to rationalize bad choices because I could say that I believed in "moderation in all things".  I could say that "God, put all these things on the Earth for us to enjoy and use."  Who wants to argue with that?  You know what they say about talking about politics and religion...  Sure, a smart person could argue and say "But what about drugs?" and I would come up with some snappy comment and walk away still thinking I was right and they were wrong.

This line of thinking makes rationalizations very easy.  It also leads to confusion as to why we may not be meeting our fitness goals which leads to excuses like "I feel tired and sluggish because I'm getting older." or "Women can't have great abs after they've had babies." or "I'm just not as genetically gifted as those other people at the gym.  That's why I perform poorly."  While not everyone can be energetic and #1 with a six pack, we can all certainly be better than we usually expect we can.

I was always just average size to on the verge of chubby growing up.  Then after I had children, I woke up one day at 200 lbs.  I decided to make a change and I worked very hard in the gym and I was careful with my diet.  The problem was that I still ate too little of the right stuff and too much of the wrong stuff.  I just watched my portions and then killed myself in the gym...6 days a week...almost 2 hours a day.  For YEARS, I out ran my poor diet with this plan.  About a year ago, I started to notice changes.  I still looked great by most people's standards but I felt different and I didn't feel like I looked as lean.  I noticed that instead of being in the top 3 finishers at the gym, I was slowly moving towards the bottom.  I hated it, but I was too arrogant to change.

Being a Crossfit trainer for almost 4 years, I was aware of the Paleo diet but it went against my "I don't believe in diets and especially not diets that cut out whole food groups" policy.  Besides, I was sure that it would never work for a girl like me that had eaten OUT for lunch...EVERYDAY for the past 8 years and ate out 4-5 nights a week as a general rule.  It wasn't until I started really loosening up my diet over time as I faced some personal problems and pain over the past year that I started to really become unhappy with both the appearance of my body as well as the function of it.  I had heartburn 3-4 times a week.  I regularly ran on 4 hours of sleep and I was not working out near as much as I had in the past.  Doing workouts was a drudgery.  I felt like I was dragging a weight behind me...every day.  I felt justified with the poor choices that had lead me to this place because I was in such internal despair.

As I've gone through the stages of loss, mourning, and evolution that I am still very much NOT done with...I have changed.  I've learned that arrogance and stubborn will don't help me be better.  I've learned that sometimes, we THINK we are sacrificing but maybe we aren't really sacrificing as much as we should or could. I feel like I am finally starting to get back to where I want to be...or even better.  I decided to do the "WHOLE 30 CHALLENGE" with some of the people from my gym I train at.  I invited anyone that wanted to join me to join me on Facebook and to my surprise there are over 800 people in this group now! Secretly, I feared failing...but I also knew that if I wanted it badly enough...I could do it and I did.  I made it through 30 days with not a single cheat!  30 days of no sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, dairy, or legumes!!!

After a total of 40 days since my start, I've lost 10lbs and lost a total of 6 inches on my body, but what I lost is NOTHING compared to what I have gained!  I gained confidence in my ability to change again.  I lost that somewhere in the shuffle of feeling like my life was secretly imploding.  I learned to open my mind to new ideas and became willing to do things that I never really liked and wasn't very good COOKING!  I became more comfortable with being different and asking for help.  The WHOLE 9 website says "Let us change your life!"  I thought..."Whatever.  Nice catch phrase." but it has indeed changed my life and although they hear it every day I'm sure...I can't thank Melissa and Dallas Hartwig enough for the knowledge they have armed me with!

It wasn't easy.  In fact, the detox was almost 2 weeks of HELL!  I was tired and lethargic and emotional.  I felt achy and broke out in a rash but I committed myself to 30 days NO MATTER WHAT and I never gave up hope.  Many people will start and then quit with the excuse that this must not be healthy.  NO...what you've done to your body for years is unhealthy and your body is pissed.  Give yourself time to adjust and change.  It doesn't happen over night!  I'm not very good at planning or cooking ahead, but I always made sure I had plenty of food here at the house to cook and wasn't afraid to try new things.  I've changed my view on healthy eating.  I try to buy high quality food...grass fed beef, range free chicken, cage free/grain fed eggs, and organic veggies when I can because I now know that it DOES make a difference both in taste and in the way I feel!

Now that I am through the 30 days, I have had very few"cheats" here and there but I try to "cheat" as smart as possible and keep it to a minimum.  I realize that everything I eat is a CHOICE.  I'm either eating food that makes me healthier or less healthy.  It's that simple.  Eating healthy is not for boring people that like gross food.  Eating healthy is for people that want better and want to treat their body right.  Eating healthy is for people that are adventurous and enjoy trying new things and experiencing new flavors.

If you want something different out of your fitness, but more importantly, YOUR have to pay the price!  You may need to look at your diet rather than just what you do in the gym.  It will not be easy or always fun, but it's worth it.  The bottom line is that if you want to be strong and's gonna cost ya!  Are you willing to pay the price???