Wednesday, April 23, 2014

All About The Mindset

Our dear friend Jim is super awesome to write his before and after story and allow me the honor of posting it on my blog!!! He has been strict paleo for 6 months and I think you will see that the proof is in the coconut pudding. He is a great example of how a combination of paleo and CrossFit work so well at any age in life. (That was not meant to be an old joke.) :) He definitely practices what he preaches and I have seen proof of his true determination. (The icing he is referring to was my Jack's birthday cake...which was sooooo yummy by the way but Jim totally turned it down even though we were making oooh and ahhh noises while eating it in front of him.)

The Difference

A little over six months ago I had a life changing event take place that gave me an opportunity to reflect on how I was taking care of myself.  Or rather, how I was not taking care of myself.

I was overweight, I thought I knew about proper nutrition and I didn’t really care about my health.  That can be a lethal combination for a 44 year old man.  Fortunately, I found out that I really didn’t know what I thought I knew and I took a hard look at the way I was living my life.  I was mixing unhealthy quantities of the wrong foods with insufficient quantities of the right foods and my physical activity was at an all-time low.

Because of my chosen profession I never thought I’d live to be 34, much less 44, but I decided that since I’ve made it this far I may as well try to go all the way.  That meant I would have to make a significant change in my life.  Notice I didn’t type ‘changes’.  I typed ‘change’.

First of all, life is change.  No matter who you are you will experience change throughout the course of your time on this planet.  There’s no way around it.  Some change you have no control over.  Some change you make yourself.  It’s the change you have control over that I’m talking about.

That said, when it comes to health, people in the know will generally tell you to change two things in order to become healthier.

1:  Change your nutrition
2:  Change your level of physical activity

I know this because I’ve been on the receiving end of this message.  It’s absolutely true that if you’re interested in becoming a healthier you then these two items will have to be taken very seriously.  You will have to change the way you eat and exercise to meet your health goals.  But this isn’t the change I’m referring to.

The singular most important thing you have to change to get to that true healthy is your mind.  It’s all about mindset.  It’s all about determination.  It’s all about you.

Below on the left you’ll find a picture of me 5 months ago.  I was 207 pounds and I was pushing 23% body fat.  That’s not good.

The picture on the right is me this morning.  I have no idea what my body fat percentage is and I don’t care how much I weigh.  I feel like a completely different person.  Not because I look different.  But because I think differently than I did before.

That’s the difference.  I changed my mind.  I made the conscious decision to become something else.

There are a lot of health and fitness professionals that will tell you that your daily focus should be on 30% fitness and 70% diet.  From experience that is flat out incorrect.  Your daily focus should be 100% on your daily focus.  I don’t care what diet plan you start.  I don’t care what fitness program you start.  The difference will be your determination.  The difference will be how bad you want it.

There’s going to be icing.  There’s going to be injuries.  But through it all you will be able to become what you want if you stick to your goals.  I don’t cheat on my diet and I don’t miss an opportunity to work out.  Even if that means no sugar.  Even if that means doing burpees at midnight in my bedroom.

Once you’ve made up your mind then you can worry about the details of your diets and your exercise programs.  That’s when you need to talk to a nutritionist.  That’s when you need to step into a CrossFit box.  And not a moment before.  Because if you’re not prepared to change your mind then none of the rest of it will matter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The CrossFit Spectrum

This past weekend Levi and I competed in our first ever CrossFit competition at CrossFit Downtown. I am actually kinda anti-competitions because I think they are dangerous and unhealthy for many reasons. I personally feel like competitors push themselves past their healthy limits and end up either injuring themselves or putting their bodies into adrenal fatigue. NOW let me also state that this doesn't have to be the case. A competitor could very well compete to the very best of his or her ability while maintaining good form and continuing to remain properly nourished, and hydrated while managing fatigue. Furthermore, my natural inclination is to not be athletically competitive so I have a difficult time wrapping my head around it, but I respect and admire the drive and motivation that competitors have. But this particular comp was benefiting a really cool mission feeding families in Mexico and therefore allowing for opportunities to share God's love in a very tangible way. Plus it was being organized by one of my favorite people and I totally got conned into signing up because I just love her so crazy much.

I was a bit nervous about competing because Levi had the crazy idea to RX, which in CrossFit terms means "We laugh in the face of double-unders and do muscle-ups in our sleep."Let me just tell you, none of those things describe me in any way. I couldn't do a successful muscle-up even if I was promised a Lulu shopping spree! And my double-unders are a joke. For those of you who don't know what this dreadful thing is let me just tell you that apparently it is where you are supposed to take a jump rope and fling it around your gangly body two times before your feet hit the floor and you do this repeatedly. For me though, a double-under is doing three single jumps while I gather up enough courage and spitfire to jump up as high as I can while tucking my legs, flinging that rope as quickly as possible, leaving lovely whelps and bruises along my backside, then landing hard on my feet with a ridiculously proud smile on my face because I got one double under! But the Popes were going to RX this comp one double-under at a time.

Levi and I stroll in late (not our fault by the way) with coffee in hand, lip gloss applied and pony tail perfectly not Levi. He looked great too minus the lip gloss and pony tail. And that's when I see it. The first heat has already begun and it looked terrifying because everyone is already dripping and exhausted, and to make matters worse these were the scaled competitors which meant their WODs were slightly less challenging than the RX (although not by much). But I'm cool...I'm pretending to be cool. I walk around, sip my coffee, chat with some friends. Then I causally glance over to my right just in time to see one of the dudes doing front squats puke up his breakfast and then just keep going. He continued to squat that weight while every now and then spitting out more IHOP cuisine. And that isn't even the craziest part!  I fully expected the entire competition to stop and handle this disaster. NOPE. No one even blinked an eye. One of the coaches grabbed some Clorox wipes and just took care of the spillage and everything kept going. And that is when it hit me...I am sooooo NOT going to be good at this. I just don't care that much about winning. Even if I just had to sneeze I would set that bar down, squeak out my stupid sneeze and totally expect everyone within a 10 foot radius to say, "Bless you."

I look at Levi and he says, "Eh, we got this...just do your best. Pace yourself. If you feel your form break, stop." Then followed his pep talk up with a fist bump and kiss to the forehead. And then I was good. I love that outlook. It is kinda the way I approach CrossFit already. I want to continue to improve in my abilities and strengths but in a safe way that works for me and my body. We certainly didn't pansy our way through the comp and we have the kettle bell bruises to prove it yet we also didn't kill ourselves either. We had fun...lots of fun!

Here is what is really cool...those athletes that took it crazy serious and looked like death after each WOD, they had fun too. Because they did the competition the way God created them to, fiercely and with everything they had. We are all made so incredibly unique and I love that this girly chick can compete next to the dude who beats his muscle bound chest and spits on the floor in between reps. That is what makes CrossFit so cool. No matter where you are in your fitness you can do CrossFit. It is the CrossFit Spectrum...that's right, I just made up a thing. CrossFit athletes range from the dude with a desk job who considers walking from car to desk his activity for the day all the way to Rich Froning. (Google won't be disappointed.) Everything can be scaled. I may not be able to lift as much as The Hulk but that's okay, I'm not made the same way he is. But that doesn't mean I don't lift weights and increase my strength. I just do it in a way and speed that works for me...lip gloss and all.

Another really cool thing about this competition was getting to know athletes from other CrossFit boxes in the surrounding communities. We had teams representing CrossFit Downtown, CrossFit Heath, CrossFit Swashbuckle, Mach 3 CrossFit, CrossFit Rockwall and maybe more that I didn't get around to meeting.  That is really awesome, right? I really enjoyed hanging out and sharing snacks with incredible people that I don't get to see anywhere but on Facebook. And I loved seeing the CrossFit community concept at work...different boxes all cheering each other on, learning new names, high-fiving and fist bumping, encouraging and supporting one another. I know I'm getting mushy but really it was heart-warming and like nothing I have ever experienced anywhere else.

At the end of the day my quads are shot, Levi and I proudly hold the second to last place position, and we got to check off our very first CrossFit Competition. My sweet friend took the above picture of me and Levi doing partner deadlifts and my little Momma just kept looking at it at the Easter lunch table over and over again mumbling about how she cannot believe her prissy little curly pony-tailed daughter became an athlete. And I love that because she is right. I was just like any other normalish person who looks at CrossFit and thinks, "Holy smokes! That looks hard and scary and I would feel so retarded trying to just jump rope." But somewhere along the way I got stronger, faster, more powerful, athletic, and found an amazing community of incredible people.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I have my moments...and then I post them on Facebook

I just want to thank the creators of Facebook and Instagram for allowing me to capture this rare moment of mommysuperdom and give the impression to the world that I not only teach my children valuable lessons in growing your own organic food but I can also hold my breath and flex my muscles with every ounce of strength I've got while smiling. I mean seriously people this looks too good to be true because it is. So yeah, we did plant a garden. And really I use the term 'we' loosely. I forced the kids to help for about 5 minutes. Apparently the sun was too hot and the weeds were too prickly and they were dehydrated immediately. So I said what every loving mom who is trying to teach her kiddos a valuable lesson would say, "Swallow your spit." But then the complaining got to be louder than my awesome Foster the People Pandora station so I sent them off to help Levi with the flowerbed in the front. You're welcome Handsome. 

Do you see all those weeds?! That is how the entire garden looked...absolutely covered! And Jack and Addie's beach toys were no help so I spent about 2 hours pulling every teeny sign of life out of that dirt...except for the worms. I kept the worms.

Now I actually am going to take some awesome mommy credit right here...get ready. I have officially developed my own gardening program. I may actually try to patent this and finally buy that island because it is brilliant! But let me explain how I came about this genius plan.

First of all you should know I do a garden almost every year. I have NEVER gotten more than nine things out of it that we could eat. I have aloe vera in my window that is dying! How does a cactus die?!?!? I am just that terrible at growing things. Luckily my kids are vocal enough to demand water but it frightens me to think about the alternative...would I ever get them water otherwise? Surely I would...not that it matters because they have legs, they can get their own water. And bring me a glass too...with lemon.

Okay, so I'm bad at gardening. And I don't know if you know this but it is expensive. Especially when nothing grows and you still have to buy food. And I've always bought the plants...not the seeds because they just look so hopeful and I feel so good about myself when I check out at Lowes and everyone sees that I am going to be growing like thirty-three kinds of tomatoes. But every year I try again. Last year I said no more and we just bought a packet of those giant Sunflower seeds on a whim and I let the kids sprinkle them in the garden. AND GUESS WHAT?! Those babies took off! I had the prettiest sunflowers ever...although freakishly tall. I mean really, it was kinda scary.

So it got me thinking...which usually always leads to spending money. But the seed thing was kinda exciting. Like we had no clue if those things were gonna grow and when they did it was like a surprise! Which I LOVE! Flowers are a great surprise...just saying.

Then my Mimi, who is this master gardener (its a real thing, like being a black belt in gardening) said she read an article about this woman taking all her seeds from the previous year and just scattering them all around one of her beds and seeing what grows.

And that settled it! We were growing a garden but this time we were going to use seeds! So we headed to Lowes and we bought every kind of seed packet they had. We also bought 5 tomato plants and some basil because I wanted that special feeling at checkout.

Now I know there are instructions on how to plant seeds. I can read. I saw that they needed to be spaced 12 to 36 inches apart. But I didn't have time, patience, or space for that. So after I...just me, no help, from my kids, at all...finished pulling all those weeds and adding some soil mix (which I lifted all by myself because I'm crossfitty) and vermiculite (I have no idea what this Mimi told me to do it) it was time to plant! I called the kids back now that the hard work was over and let them pick their seeds and pretty much put them wherever and however they wanted. I have officially named our garden "The Come What May Garden." I don't know why I have to name everything...I just do.

After it was all said and done I felt accomplished and I had managed to teach my children some valuable lessons about what our fruits and vegetables start from and photosynthesis and how when you squeeze an earthworm all the poop comes out. And apparently I've inspired Addie to grow her own garden in my Pyrex. Crazy thing is two days later and those flowers are still alive and bloomed. I'm really thinking she might have gotten my Mimi's green thumb...which will come in handy during the Zombie Apocalypse. 

So I'm gonna wait before I bust out the "How to Grow a Come What May Garden" book just to be sure that something actually grows. Listen, there is so much stuff in that garden it is gonna be more like a "Survival of the Fittest Garden" and whatever plant is the strongest will survive. Which is way cool. I'll keep you posted on how it grows...see what I did right there, grows instead of goes...get it??? Don't stop reading my blog...I'll be cooler. I promise.

By the time all the gardening work was done it was way past dinner time. So we made  Kitchen Sink Bowls. Basically we just throw everything but the kitchen sink into a bowl. (See, I name things...its weird.)

To recreate this Kitchen Sink Bowl you will need:
2 Grass-Fed Filet Mignon 6oz steaks from the SUNSHINE SHOPPE
Brussels Sprouts, chopped, tossed with oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 375 for 15 minutes
Sweet potatoes, chopped small and tossed with chopped onion, pancetta, fresh chopped rosemary avocado oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 25 minutes.
Mini Sweet Bell Peppers, sliced and caramelized in skillet
Avocado, sliced
Top it all with a fried egg.

EASY PEASY. Really, this was ready in 30 minutes from start to finish. And you can do any combination of this meal with whatever you have in your kitchen. I usually make this dinner the day before I go to the grocery store because it allows me to clean out my fridge with all the odds and ends that didn't make it into recipes that week.