Life After Major Weight Loss

MeI can relate to this blog post by Josh of Slim Palate.

I lost over 100 pounds but always felt like I needed to lose more. I cut carbs out and would stress over everything I ate, feeling guilty when I had carbs or like a failure if I indulged. I didn’t see what others saw when I looked in the mirror.

I worked out two to three times a day. Getting up at 3 AM for a run and lifting before work and then lifting again after work. Often going for a second run in the evening. I was logging 6 to 10 miles a day running plus hundreds of pounds lifted in weights each day. Everyday. I pushed my body to the limit and I still wasn’t happy with myself. I felt like I needed to do more.

Photo: Henry House Photography
Photo: Henry House Photography

Gradually I came to accept the achievements I had made. I began to enjoy my food and not feeling guilty for eating carbs, because I NEEDED them. We all do. I stopped working out 7 days a week and only going to the gym once a day. Granted injuring my PCL last year, hello overdoing it, pushed me to rest more than I would have otherwise, but I did start taking rest days.

Yes. I gained weight. But not the fat I carried around before. I gained muscle. I started to appreciate my body for the journey it’s been through and how strong I was becoming. I’m in a much healthier place now than I was before. I still struggle at times when I see a photo I don’t like or clothes don’t fit a certain way. But I’m nicer to myself.

I focus on whole nutritious foods, including carbs. Balancing work and workouts. Building a strong base and foundation of strength. Rest and activity. Stress relief through favorite activities such as reading, taking an epsom salt bath, going for a walk, meditation, and laughter. I no longer focus on food or let it rule my life.

We expect life after weight loss to be magical and that if we just get to a certain point… but it’s not like that. There is a lot more to life, health, and our bodies than numbers on a scale.

Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.
Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.

Sustainability, Stress, and Abs

Sustainability, Stress, and Abs or What I Took Away from Paleo f(x)

It’s difficult to write a blog post when a large purring orange cat is curled up on your arms and partially on your computer, but it’s even more difficult to write a blog post when you are still overflowing with information and processing it all. Paleo f(x), if you are unfamiliar with it, is a 3 day conference in Austin Texas covering all aspects of health from nutrition, to movement, to products.This year was my first year attending, and I was blown away by the impact the event had on me. There was an expo floor where I got to meet some of the amazing people behind my favorite companies and learn more about other products. Cooking demos and presentations by authors, bloggers, health professionals, and more were on-going all three days, it was often hard to decide which presentation to attend because there were so many amazing topics. With only 5 minutes between presentations it was often a mad dash to get to the next one. I attended workshops where I learned about training using biofeedback with Jen Sinkler and David Dellanave, plant medicine for the mind with Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larsen from Barbell Shrugged, and speed under the barbell with Dutch Lowy . I even got to briefly share a barbell with Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo and Stacy from Paleo Parents, both amazing women I respect greatly who help to encourage strong female lifters. I even got to be there and cheer on Nicole from Merit + Fork as she attempted her first barbell cleans. I had an amazing inspiring chat with other 21 Day Sugar Detox coaches, Diane Sanfilippo, and her team. And that isn’t even getting to the tip of the iceberg on other experiences.

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I know I’m missing touching on many other experiences, such as coincidentally finding out I was on the same flight to Austin and one row behind Suzie from The Tasty Remedy an amazing woman, fellow 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach, and friend. Or eating, and drinking butter coffee, at Picnik everyday we were in Austin or having some killer BBQ and eggs benedict. I was able to meet people I admire (or people I have only spoken to online) and new to me people I look forward to getting to know better such as Everett AKA Paleo FatKid, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDX, and Holly Morello from Nourishing Excellence.  I listened to presentations from some pretty amazing people such as Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Diana Rodgers, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDXBen Greenfield, Sarah Ballantyne, Dr. Andy Galpin, and so many more amazing people that it would take me forever to mention.

My overall takeaways from the weekend were a focus on reducing stress, the effects stress has on our every day lives, and sustainability is greater than abs. I learned about many applicable topics such as anabolic windows, carbohydrate timing, using real food to fuel for athletic activities, who a ketogenic diet may help and who it may be detrimental for, food and autoimmunity, and stress reduction. I came away feeling like I was hungover with information but so inspired to get back home to put everything in use for myself, family, and clients.

Oh, about those abs! Visible abs are such a sought after ideal that there are billions of dollars spent in the health and fitness industry to attempt to achieve them. Just watch television late at night or early in the morning for evidence. Most of the information shilled is false, if it were that easy or true everyone would have abs. It’s not always healthy to obtain those abs either at the cost of what else is sacrificed, such as hormonal health for women. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the idea of having visible abs myself, but the reality is it’s not possible for every man or woman to reach that ideal. And that is okay! Overall health and being at the right body proportions for your own body is more important. I do know people that have those visible abs and they have genetics on their side. In other words sustainability is greater than abs!

Overall Paleo f(x) was a whirlwind of activity that I hope to never forget. I’m already looking forward to next year for Paleo f(x) 2016!

Timeout: Why I Chose to Not Share

Timeout: Why I Chose to Not Share My Daughter’s Lives and Photos on Public Social Media

Recently I uploaded a photo to Instagram of a lunch I made for the girls and I. It was a Saturday, I was overloaded with homework and in need of a trip to the grocery store. But children get hungry. Especially our youngest who enjoys breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, etc., and they aren’t shy about being vocal in sharing their hunger. I threw together what I had, Cappellos gluten free gnocchi, asparagus, brown butter ghee, ground lamb, sage, and spinach. It was a pretty plate so I snapped a photo, posted it, and went back to my homework as the girls enjoyed their lunch.

THE photo that started it all.
THE photo that started it all.

Then I got the comments. That my children don’t exist. That they must be imaginary. That they must be some words I will not repeat in regards to my lovely bright sunshiny funny girls and no ‘real’ Mom could get her children to eat that way. I was asked to prove my children would eat that lunch. I deleted the comments.

When I decided to change my life with what I eat, I subsequently changed the lives of my whole family. The girls eat what we eat, mostly without complaint. They love vegetables. Being human and having cravings and wanting to enjoy life they also enjoy treats, the youngest will choose watermelon over candy any day. But I do not need to prove this to anyone by showing photos or videos of them eating and loving their vegetables, lamb, bone broths, gelatin gummies, or any of the meals they enjoy. Friends and family know this. The girls know this. It is what it is.

I’m no stranger to posting cute photos of my children to my personal Facebook page. I share photos of them being silly, performing in a play, eating giant turkey legs, or playing in the sunshine. I’m a proud parent with beautiful children and I love documenting our lives in photographs. But it’s not for public consumption. It’s for me, for them, for their Dad, for our family, and our friends. For our family we feel more comfortable not to share every moment with strangers.

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I chose to work online and help others with their nutritional needs and to improve their lives. I chose to put myself out there into the world of the internet where people can be mean, cruel, and hateful, but they can also be inspiring. My children did not choose this. Even before I started this work online I would not post photos of my children publicly online that identified them. I have posted photos without their gorgeous smiling faces, such as the photos above, but I choose to respect their privacy. I promise I do have children that have heads and faces, I just don’t share those heads and faces.  They are perfectly capable of choosing to share moments of their lives when they are older and understand the implications of doing this. Until then, as their Momma, I made the choice to not share this huge aspect of my life with the world.

I have no problem with other families who do not feel the same way I do and post photos of their children. I’m often the first person to like these photos as they often make me smile, laugh, and I love seeing how they have grown over the years. No shade to any parent who does this. I love seeing your children and your pets! I like them much more than your extreme close up selfies which are startling when I’m catching up on social media first thing in the morning. I respect this choice.

The internet can be a wonderful uplifting positive place, or it can be negative. I promote the wonderful and will not tolerate the negative. Play nice or don’t play at all.


Balance and Rhythm

San Juan Islands Trees
Relaxation here I come! Trees in the San Juan Islands.

Balance and rhythm is not something that comes easily to me. I struggle with maintaining a balance between work and school, personal and professional pursuits, working out and rest days, family time and me time. It doesn’t help that I push myself to always do my best, even at the expense of my sanity. I’ve always been a perfectionist and my own worst critic. I can be very hard on myself when I do not give everything 100%. Having as full of a plate as I do means at some point something has to give and I need stress relief.

It’s become more apparent that my balance and rhythm is out of whack. I chipped a tooth and cracked another because my nightly teeth grinding habit since I was a little girl has migrated to the day time. I was asked what that weird noise was recently and I realized it was me grinding my teeth. In the middle of the day, without realizing I was doing it. The classes I’m taking for my degree are more mentally challenging than any classes I’ve ever taken before, and writing technical papers in the third person is not something I excel at apparently.

So I gave in here and there. I let a little more dust and cat hair settle around the house. I’m changing to posting here every other week until I finish my degree (for more regular posts and updates you can always follow me on Instagram at Nourishtofuel). I got my cracked tooth fixed and I’m getting Invisalign to correct and prevent further teeth grinding mishaps. I’m making rest days as important as lifting days. I’m letting everything I have to do for school go while I’m at work, because there is nothing I can do about it then. And most importantly I’m focusing on my family when we have time together.

Having a super long 23 day vacation from work starting this Friday helps too! Especially since part of the time I will be home with my girls while they are on winter break and part of the time I will be in the San Juan Islands with my husband.

The lesson to be learned here is we don’t always have everything worked out and flowing the way we think we do or the way we want it to. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or not doing your best. Sometimes life and stress catches up with us in sneaky ways, such as grinding your teeth unknowingly during the day. The important thing is to recognize this. Step back and evaluate what can be changed, what can be let go, and move on from there.

Monthly Inspiration:

Recently HumanX Gear posted my story in the first of a blog series about eXtraordinary people. I was approached in September with a request to tell my story in more detail about transformation, what CrossFit means to me, what it’s done for me, and more tidbits after I had entered a contest to win tickets to the 2014 CrossFit games by stating briefly what CrossFit has done for me. I did not win tickets to the games, but I did get the opportunity to share my story with a wider audience. For that I’m thankful, and I hope my transformation can help to inspire others.

The second story in the series was just released and it’s pretty amazing.

Stop and Smell the Roses

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller

photo credit: MTSOfan via photopin cc
photo credit: MTSOfan via photopin cc

I do my best in the morning to get out the door at exactly the right time to avoid the worst of the traffic. Recently, it doesn’t matter what time I leave as I’ll be sitting in my car fully stopped on the freeway for most if not some of my commute. I’ve accepted this begrudgingly, and subscribed to at least 5 podcasts to occupy my mind.

This morning was one of those mostly parked then move a little bit mornings. I arrived in the city where I work and noticed a couple jaywalking across the street with an elderly woman. The couple had a hold of her jacket and were pulling her across the street faster than her legs were comfortable moving. You could clearly see it all over her face. She was scared and uncomfortable moving at that pace. It made me mad. I called my Mom and told her when her legs don’t move that fast anymore, I promise to never drag her across the street. I’ll hold her hand, we’ll go to a crosswalk, and take our time through the intersection.

Even running late to work it’s not going to make that much of a difference in my schedule to stop and wait for someone who doesn’t move that quickly to walk across the street. It doesn’t make that much of a difference to any of us. You’ll get there when you get there. Your time may be valuable and scarce to you, but if you don’t slow it down every now and again you will miss so much.

I have my girls to thank for learning this. When they were younger their little legs didn’t cover as much ground as my stride would. Plus there are all kinds of interesting things to look at. Rocks, flowers, weeds, bugs, animals, clouds, people, and everything and anything in between. They are learning through experiences and are interested in the world around them. The only way to make good time with a toddler is to carry one, and that doesn’t always go over so well because they have kid stuff to do. I stopped trying to get my girls to move as fast as I did.  I’d hold their soft little hands and look at the rocks with them. I’d limit the number of flowers they could pick at a given time to less than 5 before we had to move on. But I slowed down. To this day I stop what I’m doing and put off cleaning the house, which is hard for someone who is OCD such as myself, to just be with them in the moment.

Before my Grandma passed away I would hold her hand when we went shopping. Usually looking for the perfect grey purse. She was never satisfied with the grey purse she just bought. There was always one out there that would be better than the ones she had found before it. Most of them were never purchased because they just weren’t right (Side note: I know where I got my never ending search for the perfect black purse from). But I would hang back and walk with her. If I had moved ahead, I might have missed a purse or two but more importantly I’d have missed that connection with her. I still notice grey purses to this day and wonder if that might be the one she would have wanted.

Working in western healthcare, before I was fortunate enough to move into naturopathic medicine, you are always pushed to keep going faster. You are never fast enough or quick enough. When our elderly patient’s with cold hands needed a finger stick, I could have had them put their hands under hot water, given them a warming hand pack, or filled a glove with hot water for them to hold (my least favorite of the bunch) in order to warm up their cold hands. This is needed so the blood will flow well enough to complete the finger stick successfully. Instead, I’d sit there and hold their hands in my frequently hot hands and we’d talk. We’d chat about the weather, about their lives, about my girls, or anything in general. It was a personal connection that is so often missing in western medicine and probably one of the many reasons I didn’t fit in that area of medicine well. After all, holding hands with a patient and chatting about what was on their minds or something to distract them from whatever brought them in to the doctor, wasn’t quick or fast enough.

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Young children and elderly people are obviously at different stages in their lives. We can learn something from both of them for those of us in the many years in the middle though. The lesson is to slow down. With young children, explore together and learn about all the amazing things this world has to offer. From elderly people, reflect and observe the world as it’s changed and grown. Hold hands no matter the age and walk slowly to take it all in. Take breaks to just sit and be or inspect what’s under that rock. Don’t push those little legs or those older legs that just don’t move the same as they used to, to rush across the street and through life. We get so little time with children before they grow up quickly and so little time with those around us who are closer to the end of this chapter in their lives, that we really need to just stop, lift our heads up from our lives, and look around a little every now and again before we realize that life just passed us by.