Monday, June 30, 2014

I refuse to be responsible for the next nuclear accident

Exhaustion has taken on a new meaning. Drained, depleted, weary, expended. None of those words truly encompass this feeling. You know when you blow up a balloon and let go of it before you tie it off and it deflates in that loud wet airy pluergal noise or whatever it’s phonetic equivalent would be…anyways that’s how I feel..completely pluergaled.

We knew opening up a new business was going to take its toll. We new the construction for the new building was going to require a lot of hours, sweat, energy, perseverance and blood...literally. We knew that while we began this new adventure we were still going to have to keep all of our old adventures rolling too. We can’t exactly stop working on the jobs that actually pay our bills. Or stop tending the needs of our little munchkins. Or stop those daily things that just kinda suck time such as errands, cooking, eating, laundry, oh the laundry! dishes, 12 trips to Lowes in one day, bandaging of booboos, breaking up arguments, and dishing out wise and insightful lectures, showering, attempting to look presentable (which has resorted to a side braid and one coat of mascara), playing chauffeur to swim lessons, VBS and various kid summer activities. And then there are those things that just kinda pop up that you can’t ignore such as my incredible baby sister having her beautiful baby girl and us packing up for a quick two day trip consisting of 10 hours on the road just to see those perfect long lashes, sweet wittle cheeks and hear those angelic baby coos. (Maybe I need another baby…Ha! Now that is terrifying.)

We don’t usually fall into bed until early the next day and awaken more zombie like than we did the day before. I am certain that our Core team is existing purely from the copious amounts of coffee we consume throughout the day. I actually calculated that I have purchased 12 POUNDS of coffee since April! I tell you what, my Keurig gets more attention than the dog does. This addiction and reliance upon caffeine didn’t just happen at once. It was a slow process. It started as a simple two cups in the morning to a cup after lunch and then to one or two after dinner to keep me awake for our late night Core meetings. So yeah…that is a bit embarrassing. To be honest I hadn’t realized how bad my lack of energy had gotten until I was stuck in the car for 5 hours and my mood was less than lovely and despite my inability to focus my energy on exhibiting patience I focused it all on my new and irritating ability to be hypersensitive to every breath my kids take and wear on my psyche like sandpaper. I’ve realized that something has to give because a mean mommy with a drip line of caffeine doesn’t exactly say, “I’m healthy. Come get you some of this.”

I have gotten so caught up with eating right and staying toned and fit through working out that I had completely ignored my body’s need for sleep. I think all of us kinda get stuck on the idea of health just being food and exercise but the more research I do the more I realize that sleep is just as important as its two more popular counterparts. In fact, the effects of lack of sleep on our bodies is quite fascinating and I am amazed at it’s connection to the dreaded WEIGHT GAIN.

Initially studies showed a simple link between lack of sleep and an increase of calories consumed. It was originally assumed that it was the body responding to the additional hours of metabolic activity which led to the increased caloric intake but more recent studies have given us a better understanding of what actually happens in our brains when we do not allowed enough time for our brains to “reboot.” First you have the amygdala. It helps regulate our emotions and desires. When we have not gotten enough zzzzs, brain scans show that our amygdala reacts much more strongly to calorie dense foods. So if you like donuts when well rested you are going to LOVE donuts when tired.

Then you have your prefrontal cortex. It is responsible for decision making. I would say that is kinda stinkin important. But when we are tired it shuts down for business and lets the emotional and desire driven amygdala take charge, which leads to poor choices. This is why we have a tendency to binge on junk when we are fatigued. See, there is a real scientific reason for why you do bad things!!! Blame that villainous amygdala!

But lack of sleep doesn’t just lead to weight gain. It can also be responsible for decreased immune function, decreased memory retention and problem solving skills, increase risk of depression, mood swings, and increase in that evil systemic inflammation. And if you think those things aren’t important enough to force your little but ever growing tush into bed consider this little tidbit: The Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which fatigue and lack of sleep played a role.

I know I don’t have to convince you how good sleep is. Not only does it feel amazing and wonderful but it also aids in healing, recovery, gives us a more positive outlook, increases our athletic performance (maybe that is why I’m such a klutz), decreases stress levels, aids in successful aging (beauty sleep) and promotes cellular regeneration.

So basically here is the problem: I need more sleep. I have no issues actually falling to sleep or staying asleep so I need to do some schedule adjustments and rip out this IV drip of coffee I’ve got going on. But I know that a lot of people suffer from lack of sleep because your body has a difficult time actually shutting down and staying there. There are several things you can do to help you get to snoozing.

1.    Force yourself to get into bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day.
2.    Turn off the TV, iPad, laptop, etc. NO FACEBOOK BEFORE BED! I can’t tell you how hard it was to go to sleep after seeing that lotus flower photoshopped onto that person’s shoulder with the caption “Why you should never use Head & Shoulders shampoo.” It was disturbing.
3.    Pray. Get rid of those worries and to-do lists by telling God about them. Or better yet count your blessings. Thank him for those beautiful things in your world. I have found that when I am troubled the most effective treatment is to”…fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8…just in case you want to check that one out.)
4.    Drink a warm drink (not coffee) or take a warm relaxing bath before bed.
5.    Take a magnesium supplement. CALM is powdered magnesium that is highly absorbable. You can mix it in warm water and it makes a delightful raspberry lemon drink before bed.
6.    Try melatonin. Some of us just don’t produce enough melatonin naturally and supplementing is helpful. You can also do things such as sleeping in the darkest environment possible and getting plenty of light during the waking hours. Some people have side effects such as nightmares from melatonin so it isn’t for everyone.
7.    Limit caffeine and sugar. Duh. But we don’t always think about this when we are snacking on that bowl of strawberries or dipping that banana into almond butter before bed.
8.    Set an alarm clock for the morning. Set several. Whatever you have to do to have peace of mind that you will wake up on time. I hate that panicked fitful sleep that leads to constantly waking and looking at the time. Just choose your favorite bouncy good morning song to wakeup to so you aren’t dreading the blaring of a bullhorn.
9.    Splurge on expensive sheets and pillows. Your bed should be hallowed ground. A place of refuge. Not a torture chamber. If you wake up all bent out of shape it may be time to invest in a better mattress or pillow top.
10.Do not bring work to bed. This is totally hypocritical for me to say. I am notorious for working until the wee hours of the morning because the house is finally quiet and my mind can focus. But no more. Officially for this chick, sleep comes first.

I’m sure you wonderful people read my posts and think, “this girl is all kinds of messed up.
Practically every one of her posts is about how she is struggling in one area or another.” And
well, dear reader, you would be correct. I am hoping that my honesty about my
imperfections and struggles with being healthy and still maintaining normalish human status
makes those who could possibly have the same struggles feel not so alone or at least make
you feel better about yourself if this is an area you excel in. I’m really excited to have a
better understanding of the importance of sleep and I won’t feel so guilty for going to bed
early. I mean I think it is in everyone’s best interest for this girl to get her beauty sleep.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Where are MY pretty maids all in a row?

I posted awhile back about my little “Come What May Garden” and I wanted to give a bit of an update on how my garden grows. The first couple of weeks of gardening were fine. We received enough scattered showers to keep me from having to actually make the five yard trek from back door to garden to water it so I was cool. Easy peasy. Then it got hot and the rain bailed. But that was okay because cute little green plants started popping up all over the place and I’m not gonna lie, it was EXCITING. (That’s right, my life is that dull.) But due to the nature of our “Come What May Garden” and because we just pretty much scattered seeds at our whimsy, I had absolutely no idea if these adorable little green signs of life were actual plants or weeds. Which that was cool too because then I had an excuse to not pull them and therefore kept my responsibilities to the garden to a minimum of watering once a day.

But then last week happened and all of a sudden my sweet little garden looked like the jungle from Avatar. It was officially obvious what plants were weeds and which were actual produce. And let me tell you, the weeds were winning. By a lot. So it was time to be a responsible gardener and tend my garden.  I understand why Mary was quite contrary now. I found out real quick that weeding is dirty work. I had bought adorable gardening gloves already so I was definitely well dressed for the occasion but I was not at all prepared for the fact that it wasn’t just my hands that were going to be in the dirt, it was going to be my whole body. These weeds had the biggest stinkin roots so that I had to shake the snot out of them just to keep some of the dirt in the garden, but I’m pretty sure I ended up wearing the majority of it, including a couple earthworms. Which, by the way totally reminded me of when you throw pasta on the wall to make sure it is done from cooking and it just sticks there…worms do that too. Just so you know.

So while I’m pulling up these weeds I’m honestly expecting woodland creatures to come up and start helping me but they must have all been busy helping Cinderella get dressed or something so I was on my own. The lack of distracting woodland creatures led to drifting off toward the worry spiral that is always waiting to suck me in. I started to think about how I was having to put forth hours worth of work toward a garden that had yet to produce ANY edible food (worms excluded) which then led to how am I going to have time for this garden once our summer coma wears off and we are putting in 18 hours a day trying to get this new business started? And what about swim lessons? How am I supposed get that done when I’m needed at The Core? Or how are we to continue to eat healthy when I have absolutely zero time to spend on cooking? Jack and Addie need a fun summer too. They don’t want to be painting and pulling up carpet all summer long. And Jack needs a haircut. And so does the dog. I’m pretty sure I need to start taking more B-vitamins because my eye is twitching again. I need to write down B-Vitamins to the list I have yet to start along with the sunblock and that other thing I was supposed to remember. Can we even afford to get both Jack and Tysen’s hair cut? I mean starting a new business is scary and expensive and being on a budget SUCKS. What if no one shows up and we are floating this thing out of our income for months? Maybe I could learn how to cut hair. At least the dogs hair. And Jack can go back to his shaggy beach look.  I totally forgot to thaw any meat for dinner tonight…again. I’m kinda hungry now. But we are supposed to work out in an hour and I have to be at my best right? I have to represent an ideal. Meet Jessica, paleo and crossfitty. I am soooooo not a coach. This is crazy. What the heck am I doing? OMG this is really happening and there is no stopping it now. What if I fail?

(That was scary, right?)

Fortunately I have a God who listens and loves and delights in me. So you know what? I totally may fail. But I’m gonna give it my all and I’m gonna do it to glorify Him and to love on those He loves. I am so fortunate that my work doesn’t have to be about making money but about loving others through providing real ways to be healthy so that they too can do what God has called them to. So that all kinda makes me pretty stinking happy and super excited to have this opportunity at failure or incredible, impacting, life-changing success. And I’m going to start showing myself and others a bit more grace. We all have our worry spirals. If the dog’s hair doesn’t get cut then I’m okay with that. And if you order a pizza because you are too tired to cook or you would rather have that time to snuggle with your family, then I’m okay with that too. I think if we would let go of our ridiculous expectations for ourselves and for others we may all be able to do some pretty amazing things. So I’m gonna keep trucking on. Come what may.

I made just the loveliest little fritatta the other day and I was so surprised with just how easy it was. You could use any ingredients of your choosing but these are just what I had in my kitchen.

4 eggs, beaten
1 lb free-range chicken sausage, ground
handful of fresh spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in skillet that can also go in the oven. Add spinach and cook down. Add salt and pepper. Pour beaten eggs in and sprinkle tomatoes and onions on top. Let cook for just one minute at a medium heat.

Set oven to broil and stick pan into oven and watch closely. Pull out when egg mixture is slightly browning.

Slice and serve.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Don't sweat for someone else's goals

Well its JUNE! I have been looking forward to this month for awhile now and here it is in all its Juney glory. Back in March I posted that I was going to focus on some weight loss and that June would be my target end date. I've had LOTS of inquiries about my progress and so I guess it is time to tell my weight loss story.

Things did not go as planned. I had planned to keep a food journal this entire time. I had planned to limit my fat intake. I had planned to limit starches. I was going to work out twice a day. I started off good. I managed to keep it up for about a month. But then I lost focus. I got rid of the scale so I couldn't weigh myself because I had become obsessed with a number and not how I felt. I apparently do not do well with a super strict diet. I lack the focus. I enjoy fat and sweet potatoes too stinkin much! But despite my lack of determination I lost weight. Well, I actually don't know what my weight is. But I like the way I feel in my clothes again. And I think I know what made the difference.

I stopped lifting heavy. Last year I was constantly working to increase the weight on the barbell. I wanted to RX. For those unfamiliar with the CrossFit term it is the prescribed weight for the workout otherwise you "scale." And scaling felt like being less than, like my workout wasn't as tough because my weight was less. And so that was my goal and it was very much encouraged and stressed to increase your weight, lift heavier for the sake of new PRs (personal record) even once the RX weight was achieved. It was fun. I would be so proud of myself every time I added weight and could accomplish the lift. I was getting stronger. But I was not happy with my body.

Don't get me wrong. I was fit. Very fit. But my clothes didn't feel right. Everything was tight. I put on a cute shirt that buttoned on the sleeve right at my bicep that had always loose around my arm and one day I couldn't even button it. I cried. I don't want little wimpy arms but I do want them to be feminine, graceful, lean and I no longer felt like they were. I did not care for the way my trapezius muscles (you know, those neck wings) were bulging and had to only wear sports bras with straps that I could adjust larger to go over the mountain of muscle (they were probably not nearly as huge as I felt that they were but nevertheless, it was not what I wanted.)  I feel awkward even writing this because I know there are a lot of women and men that struggle to have any muscle definition and here I am complaining about having too much. And I'm actually not complaining...I realized I just didn't like my body that muscley and so I did something about it. I see these CrossFit memes all the time about how ridiculous it is that women fear weights because of some imaginary risk of getting bulky and I almost feel like I'm betraying CrossFit by saying that yes, in my experience lifting heavy weights made me more bulky than I was comfortable with.

Everyone has different body goals. Nobody ever asked me what goals I wanted for my body. God made us all so incredible and I am NOT saying that having big muscles and being bulky is bad or unattractive. If you want to lift heavy then by all means, lift heavy. It just isn't what this chick wants. And well, I'm the only one that gets to live in this body so I guess I should probably be the one who decides what I want it to look and feel like. This feeling of discontentment with my body led to realizing that this is something we could do differently at our new fitness center, The Core. We could create workout programming and nutrition that is specific to the individual's goals. And so we did.

We have developed three categories of Core members: Core, Solid Core, and Hard Core. One is not better than the other. They are all different with original goals. You pick the category that best fits your personal goal and work up to it. But as always in order to move to heavier weights or more complex movements you must first prove that your technique is on par. Let me break it down...

CORE: These are our members who are new to CrossFit and still have form and skills to learn. Or they are not really concerned with having muscle definition or losing weight but just want to be active and healthy. These workouts will rarely require barbells. Most movements will be body weight exercises only. This group will consist of younger teens all the way to great grandparents.

SOLID CORE: This is me. This category is for members who want to be lean, have muscle tone, increase endurance and energy, feel healthy. These workouts will kick your butt but will be done at a smaller weight but more reps with increased metabolic conditioning. I really think this is the majority of people. For those wanting to lose weight this will be the category of choice.

HARD CORE: This is for members who want to put on mass, who always want to lift more, be stronger. These members will lift heavier and at less reps. If someone is competition minded this would be a good fit.

All three categories workout together doing the same modalities just at different scales. For instance, if the structure of the WOD is Thrusters, pullups, and lunges then each category may look something like this:

CORE: Airsquats or Thruster with PVC pipes-9 reps, ring-ups-15 reps, lunges-25 meters 3 rounds

SOLID CORE: Thrusters at comfortable weight-15 reps, Kipping Pull-ups or pull-ups with bands-21 reps, Light weighted lunges (10/15 lbs)-25 meters for 3 rounds

HARD CORE: Thrusters at 80% max-9 reps, strict medball pullups-15, heavy weighted lunges (45lb)-25 meters for 3 rounds

So everyone does the same funtionalities but each with a different purpose. I just don't see the point in working out for someone else's goals for your body. This same concept applies to the nutrition portion of health at The Core. We aren't going to tell you to do Paleo, or the Mediterranean Diet, or become a vegetarian. We are going to find what works best for you and your body. If you abhor the idea of using any animal products then we will work with that and create a plan that allows for your beliefs and still be on target for your health goals. If you can't stand the smell of any type of seafood then don't eat it. Sure it is a really lean protein full of essential fatty acids and minerals but we will find another way to get those in. If you despise the idea of keeping a food journal then you wont. Your schedule doesn't allow for you to eat dinners at home? Let's come up with a menu of foods you can pack or healthy items you can get on the go. Did your doctor tell you that you need to lower your blood pressure? Then we will focus on foods with higher amounts of potassium and lower sodium. Can't fathom the idea of giving up grains then lets find a way to work around that or lets try it for just 30 days and see what happens. After 30 days you think grains are needed in your body then add them back...see what happens then. My point is that EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT. Why would every body need the same workout and have the same diet?

Getting healthy is not a one size fits all situation and I think recognizing that and planning accordingly is what will make this ultimate goal an achievable reality for EVERY BODY.

Levi made this recipe for THE BEST PALEO CINNAMON ROLLS last weekend and they were soooo good! The only problem was they were NOT pretty...hence the much more beautiful picture off the website. One really huge tip...make these the night before. We actually doubled this recipe bc we were having breakfast for dinner and the cinnamon rolls were dessert. We then left the second roll in the fridge until morning and then sliced and baked the next day.