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Excuses. We all have them. This week, I’ve had more than enough to share. Tuesday, I knew what the workout was (it was a benchmark WOD for the challenge Bob is participating in), and I was too much of a wimp to do it again (it involved wall balls and burpees. My favorites.)

Wednesday, I didn’t go because I don’t enjoy max lifting day. And today, I didn’t go because I was “tired”.  And it was so nice and warm in bed and I was cuddled up next to Bob.

I’ve been in a funk all week. This weather has been miserable, and I just want it to be warm. I’ve only been back two weeks from vacation and I want to go on vacation again. Winter is killing me.

Whine, whine, whine.

I know, logically, that if I go to CrossFit, I’ll get those endorphins going, and more than likely be jarred out of the funk that I’ve been in.  But yet I keep making excuses so I don’t go, because I feel like I have no energy, and I am no good at forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do.

Especially when I can make up reasons why I can’t (or won’t) do them.

Sometimes, you need to take some time off. Sometimes, it’s important to rest. But this week has not been that time, and I know that.  So I have been feeling guilty and down on myself because I know I should be going and I’m not.

Time to break the cycle. No more excuses this week. I’m going tomorrow, and Saturday, and I’m posting it here so I won’t back out with another sorry excuse.

biggirl

Do you ever struggle with making working out a priority when you’re in a funk? How do you force yourself out of it?

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This Sunday ends my current paleo challenge that Flower City CrossFit was hosting. This challenge was very similar to the Lurong challenge I completed this Fall, and it was exactly what I needed to kickstart my eating back into a good pattern.

I don’t have my final measurements yet, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that I made nowhere near the progress I made on my last challenge. It makes sense – the Lurong challenge was the first time I had really undertaken something like that, and I was heavier and had more weight to lose. I had some great results after that challenge, but this time I’m thinking I might have lost about 5 pounds.

Don’t get me wrong – 5 pounds in 8 weeks at this point in my journey is still very good! Especially because for 1 out of those 8 weeks I was in Jamaica drinking red stripes, eating multiple desserts, and generally out of my exercise/diet routine. It just fell short of my goals. My goal was about 10 pounds, because I wanted to get back down to my post Lurong weight. Again – I haven’t had my final weigh in yet, but as of yesterday I’m still about 4 pounds away from my goal.

Part of the reason I had such an aggressive goal is because of the weight I gained after the Lurong challenge. As you might recall, I had 2 months between challenges, and I was definitely a little too lax with my diet during this time. It also happened to include the holidays, and so I don’t regret the way I chose to handle the holidays, but my execution could have used a little work.

So – this time – I’m going to have a plan!

I need structure in my eating, which is why these challenges are so good for me. The problem is that once the challenge ends, I am susceptible to indulging in a month long grain, dairy, alcohol, and sugar bender. So, here is my plan for life after this paleo challenge:

  • Monday: full day of  (moderated) cheats

I’m going to try not to go too crazy on Monday. There have been more than a few foods that I’ve been missing, and I want to make sure that I get all of them in right away to help curb my cravings. So, when I say a “full day” of cheats, what I really mean is that I’m going to be doing small cheats throughout the day. I’m not going to binge on M&Ms at my desk while I type, but I might have a muffin with breakfast. I’m not going to eat an entire pizza by myself for lunch, but I might have a slice along with a nice salad. I’m not going to eat a dozen cookies after lunch, but I am going to have something chocolatey for dessert after a paleo dinner.

  • One more cheat meal for the week

After Monday I am still going to allow myself one more cheat meal that week. I am going to try not to have any cheats throughout the week that do not fall into that 2 hour block of time when I designate for my cheat meal. That is why it’s so important for me that on Monday I get to have at least a little bit of everything I’ve been craving.

  • Moving forward – 1 cheat meal per week

People who follow this lifestyle year round have told me that they try to limit their cheats to one meal per week. It seems like you can still get great results, and reap the same benefits from a paleo diet (better sleep, better energy, more clarity during the day, not feeling bloated, etc.) by eating this way 90% of the time. So, that is what I am going to attempt moving forward: limiting all of my cheats to one meal per week. Not one day, but one meal.

I think this strategy will be good for me. It has some rules in it that I can still follow and keep myself on track, but it also gives me the opportunity to enjoy life, and to indulge when I need to indulge. It is also very important to me not to be “that guy” who never eats what his friends are cooking. This Saturday we are going to a friend’s house for dinner, and our hostess, Ariana, makes amazing food. And cooking for other people is one of the way that she expresses her love, so it is especially bad for me not to be able to eat what she is cooking when we go. This Saturday, since I’m still on the challenge, she has graciously agreed to keep it paleo-friendly. But in the future I can just plan my cheat meal for the week around what our social calendars look like. So if we are going to Ariana’s a month from now, I just know that will be my cheat meal for the week. No regrets.

What do you think? Does this sound like a reasonable plan to you? How do you manage your eating as a lifestyle in your day to day affairs?

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Confession: As Bob and I have been losing weight slowly over the last nearly 2 years now, our adorable Brittany, Stanley, has been gaining weight.

Stanley in April 2010, a few weeks after we adopted him. (Photo thanks to Katie Roupe)

Stanley in April 2010, a few weeks after we adopted him. (Photo thanks to Katie Roupe)

When we adopted him from NBRAN he was a tiny little thing, probably only about 35 pounds, and he needed to put on a few pounds to be healthy. We don’t know his background, but we can only assume that he was neglected and perhaps kicked (he runs away and used to pee himself when someone would put their foot on him).  He must not have been fed much, either, because this dog is a food whore. He will eat anything that you leave on the counter top, edible or not (toothpicks, tupperware, measuring cups…).

Stanley, April 2010.

Stanley, April 2010. (Photo by Katie Roupe)

So between Bob and I going to CrossFit in the mornings and being too tired (and cold!) at night, Stanley hasn’t been walked regularly in a year.   I used to run with him, but I didn’t do much of that while I was training for my half marathon because my long runs were too long for him.  Which means that combined with his addiction to finding food, he’s now at a hefty 53 pounds.

Stanley, Thanksgiving 2012, waiting for food to fall. (Photo by Katie Roupe)

Stanley, Thanksgiving 2012, waiting for food to fall. (Photo by Katie Roupe)

Poor puppy. His parents haven’t been very responsible.  Additional weight on dogs can cause all kinds of problems (I did some research) but the worst of it is that overweight dogs live shorter lives. I can’t imagine life without Stanley, and I certainly don’t want to be a contributing factor to his death. I want Stanley to live a long, happy life and die a very old dog.

Stanley on a walk w/ my mom -- she watched him while we were in Jamaica

Stanley on a walk w/ my mom — she watched him while we were in Jamaica

So it’s time for the entire Hartman household to be healthy. We’re going to start incorporating short walks after work, and hopefully as it gets warmer and Bob and I start running outside, we can take him for shorter runs during the week. Since we’re both hoping to register for the half marathon in September, we’ll be incorporating some interval running into our CrossFit heavy schedule (using CrossFit Endurance) later this spring and early summer as well.

For now, just getting him outside for a short walk is better than nothing, which is what it’s been lately.

Maybe we’ll even take “before” and “after” pictures 🙂

Do you guys have dogs? How do you keep them healthy? And how do you balance working out at the gym with keeping your dogs exercised? 

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You may remember a little while ago in my January Goal Recap I mentioned that I was thinking about trying to learn a new sport/activity. Well, yesterday I took my first step toward that: I played my first game of ultimate frisbee.

Let me make a confession: I think I played ultimate frisbee once in college, but it wasn’t organized, and it was just people running around a field trying to get open. It wasn’t organized, and I don’t think anyone would take offense if I said that none of us really knew what we were doing. Furthermore – I only played that one time because I was so winded after only a few minutes of action. Even though I was more active in college, I still weighed 280 pounds and I was not fast and I had very little endurance.

But, as I have become more fit and my athleticism has increased, ultimate frisbee has been hanging around in the back of my mind as something that I once thought I would never be able to do because I wasn’t athletic enough. So, I made the first step yesterday to conquer another unattainable goal – to enjoy playing ultimate frisbee.

I joined a pick up game at Cobbs Hill park here in Rochester. Apparently they play every Sunday regardless of weather conditions. Which was good, because it was only a few degrees above freezing when I got there, with a decent wind and some snow flurries throughout the game. Not ideal conditions for my first time, probably. The people there were amazing – so friendly and welcoming, especially considering I had never thrown a forehand (or “flick”) in my life before the warm ups. And if I had to guess, I’d say 75% of all of the throws were forehands.

Long story short: I had a blast. I had been reading up on the basics for a few days beforehand, so I had a general understanding of what it would look like, but it was completely different from what I expected. The people I played with were fantastic, they helped teach me a lot, and I even surprised myself at how well I played. Was I the worst one on the field still? Yep. But was I catastrophically bad and a liability to my teammates? No, I don’t think so! I even caught 3 of our 11 scores during the game!

The biggest thing I surprised myself with, was that my athleticism made up for my lack of experience and understanding. I have never in my life been able to say that before. If I misread a play on defense, my speed and endurance allowed me to catch up to the person I was guarding to make up for my mistake. If I was cutting the wrong way, I was still able to continue running and cutting to correct myself. I even made a few diving plays – agility that I still surprise myself with! It was a great feeling to know that, for once, my body wasn’t what was holding me back. As I start to understand the game, I might actually become a decent player!

There was a negative to playing yesterday. As I mentioned it was quite cold, and the field was actually completely frozen and covered with ice. This resulted in me having cold feet during the game and putting a pretty hard pounding on my feet in cleats that are a tad too narrow for my feet. When I got into my car, and my feet started to thaw, I realized I had two impressive blisters on my feet – one on the inside of the ball of each foot. Both are a bit over an inch long, and they are incredibly painful. I think they are so bad because I didn’t feel them forming during the game, so I probably overdid it with my running, cutting, etc.

So, this morning I got up at 4am, brushed my teeth, and bandaged up my feet. They hurt, but I thought I could still make it for the 5am CrossFit Endurance class. I put on my sneakers and I almost fell over before I could take them back off because my feet hurt so much. So, I am taking an unplanned rest day today. I know I’ve written before about the benefits of rest, but it is really hard to practice what you preach! I had two workouts planned today (CrossFit Endurance and the CrossFit WOD), and Meg and I were supposed to take ballroom dancing lessons tonight. Now all of that has to be put on hold for a stupid rest day! I hope they’re better by tomorrow so I can get an endurance class, a WOD, and a basketball game in!

I never thought I would see the day when I was upset that I couldn’t work out.

Any tips or tricks on how to make blisters heal fast? Have you been meaning to try a new sport or activity lately? What’s holding you back?

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Sunday Meal Plan!

How’s everyone’s weekend going? Mine has been wonderful so far — and relaxing. I’m really sore from CrossFit — turns out after taking 2 weeks off, you forget how sore it makes you. After a while the perpetual soreness because second nature, but this first week has been rough. I’m pretty sure I hurt all over, and muscles I didn’t even know I had are in pain every time I move.  I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, that’s for sure.

Here’s our meal plan for the week. I actually spent time this week on it (compared to last week when I still wanted to be on a beach) so I’m looking forward to a week of great eats.

Today: Chili is in the crockpot. I didn’t follow a recipe, but threw in 3 pounds of meat, 5 bell peppers of various colors, 2 onions, a couple large cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste to thicken it up, and garlic.  I don’t think you can really make “bad” chili.

Monday:  Salsa chicken in the crockpot! It’s really easy. You need salsa and chicken. 🙂 I use two jars of salsa and a few pounds of chicken (so we have it to eat throughout the week) and I let it cook in the crockpot on low all day.  Haven’t had this in awhile and it’s my favorite simple crockpot meal. We’ll eat it in lettuce wraps, and I’m going to make this Mexican slaw on the side.

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf (special request from Bob) with sauteed cabbage and sweet potato fries on the side.

Wednesday: Bob’s got floor hockey from now until forever on Wednesday nights, so our Wednesday meals need to be simple. This week we’re sticking to our favorite 15 minute meal of sausage & peppers.

Thursday: My favorite seafood stew.  Bay scallops were on sale at Aldi this week so I’m going to try it with these instead of shrimp!

Friday: Bob gets to eat leftovers while I go out on a girls’ night for wine & dinner with my best friends 🙂

I’m in need of some simple, healthy, Paleo-friendly recipes for Wednesday nights now that I’ll have all of 20 minutes to cook usually. Suggestions? 🙂

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When I started losing weight, my only goal was to be skinny. Through high school and college, most of my friends were thinner than I was. I always felt uncomfortable in a bathing suit.  This only intensified when I gained weight after college and my friends stayed thin.  I remember one particular weekend we went away with friends and the cabin we rented had a hot tub. Because I was so self conscious, I refused to go in. Most of my girlfriends were laughing in the hot tub with a glass of wine, and I was sitting up on the deck with Bob wishing I had the confidence to be wearing a bathing suit. (My friends wouldn’t have judged me, which I realize now when I look back on this. At the time, however, I was mortified that they would see how heavy I was.)

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On vacation in the Outer Banks. No chance of a picture of me in a bathing suit here.

So when I stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers my first day at 172 pounds, my first thought was, “I can’t wait until I’m skinny enough to wear a bathing suit and not feel self-conscious.”

When I was toward the end of my weight loss, my parents planned a family vacation to Jamaica, at an all inclusive resort. And I thought, “Finally I will be able to wear a bikini and feel confident.” And when family members told me I looked tiny, I was ecstatic. Finally. I was there. I was “skinny”.   I didn’t mind wearing a bathing suit. I didn’t mind wearing short shorts and a tank top. I was proud of the way I looked and all of the hard work counting points to get there.  (To be fair, “Meg skinny” is not “real skinny”. I still have plenty of curves — my hip bones will always be wide — and I actually consider myself average.  But compared to what I once was, I was skinny.)

jamaicabed

In Jamaica with my family April 2012

And then I started CrossFit.

I didn’t want to lose any more weight, but I wanted to find an exercise routine that was fun and kept me healthy. What I found was an entirely new framework from which to view myself.  I learned about nutrition and how important it is to fuel your body with real food. I adjusted my diet and my lifestyle. And slowly, I adjusted my expectations for myself.

I don’t want to just be skinny any longer.  Instead, I want to be strong.  I mean, yes, I don’t want to be overweight. I still monitor my weight. But I’d rather have someone tell me that I look toned, or that I’m strong, or that they admire my (very small) muscles.

DSC03986

In the last year, my perception of what is “healthy” and “beautiful” has changed. Being skinny is no longer my end goal. In order for me to feel beautiful, to be confident in my body, I want to be strong. I want to have muscles. I want to be toned. I still don’t want a 6-pack, or to be a body builder, but I do want to be able to carry heavy things and move furniture and not have to ask a man for help because I’m too weak.

There is SO MUCH PRESSURE in our society, in our culture, to be “tiny”.  People think it’s a compliment when they tell you that you are looking skinnier, because they assume that you want to be skinny.  Little girls grow up wanting to be thin and beautiful because that’s what our culture tells them is valuable.   And until this year, I believed it too.

I may always struggle with wanting to be thin, especially when I’m around people who seem to eat 20,000 calories a day and stay 100 pounds.  I grew up envious of those people because I could never accomplish that with my metabolism. But now, when I start comparing myself to someone, I have a lot more good things to say about myself than I used to. If I see my arms in a picture and think they look fat, I remind myself that those arms can lift 70 pounds over my head.  If I see my big thighs when looking at someone else’s slender, long legs, I remind myself that I can deadlift more than my body weight.  If I feel like I have a bloated stomach, I remember the last time I did 100 sit-ups in a workout.

Before and After

I know you’ve seen this picture in my last post, but I wanted to use it to compare. Same weight. Skinny vs strong.

I’ve started to condition myself to stop thinking in terms of “skinny” and start thinking in terms of what my body is capable of doing.  I’ve found much more confidence in building my strength than I ever found in getting skinny.  

What about you? Do you struggle with wanting to be thin?

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In some ways, this is “Being Big Bob Part II”. For those of you who haven’t read my original Being Big Bob post, please click here.

I have a digital photo frame on my desk at work. I just started using it a few months ago, and I loaded a bunch of photos from our laptop onto a USB drive from the last several years. As you can imagine, there is quite a range of different types of photos, and different time periods. So while I am at my desk at work I am often confronted with an image of myself at 300 pounds, and I also see photos of myself at my current weight.

I don’t recognize either man.

I really don’t. It is almost comical that at this point after having the photo frame for so long, and seeing these images so often, you would think that I would identify with one or the other. But even today I still see the images of me 100 pounds heavier, and think to myself “Wow – I am so glad that I’m not there anymore.” And I’ll see the images of me at my current weight and I will think “That doesn’t look like me.”

One of the pictures of me from 2 years ago on my photo frame where I don't recognize myself.

One of the pictures of me from 2 years ago on my photo frame where I don’t recognize myself.

So, basically, I see pictures of myself as I really am and I don’t recognize him. When I picture myself in my own head – nothing comes up. I reject the heavier picture of me, but I also cannot accept the lighter picture of me. I think it’s related to my identity crisis that I wrote about in the original Being Big Bob post. I don’t understand the psychology behind it. I don’t know why I can’t picture myself as I currently am. Is it fear? Disbelief? Not letting go of something? Is it something innocuous like familiarity? I really don’t get it.

But I don't recognize myself here either - and that is what I currently look like!

But I don’t recognize myself here either – and that is what I currently look like!

On the topic of pictures, this vacation in Jamaica was the first time that I have ever been confident enough to have pictures taken of me without my shirt on. I have never been ok with people taking pictures of me without my shirt on, and honestly they’ve never had much of an opportunity, because I never was comfortable being in public without my shirt on. The only exception was when I was in a pool, and even then I didn’t like having my picture taken.

We had a picture taken of Meg and I in the pool last year in Jamaica, and I strategically placed her directly in front of me so you couldn’t see my stomach. That was the only reason I agreed to having my picture taken shirtless.

This is the photo where I threw Meg in front of me to cover up my belly. Besides - she's better to look at anyway ;-)

This is the photo from last year where I threw Meg in front of me to cover up my belly. Besides – she’s better to look at anyway 😉

I’ve always been self-conscious of how I look without a shirt on, which is why it was significant for me to have a shirt off so often this vacation in Jamaica. I had to keep reminding myself that it was ok to take my shirt off when playing beach volleyball. Or it was ok to lay by the pool with my shirt off, that I wasn’t going to gross anyone out, and nobody was going to stare at me or look down on me. It was a mental struggle for me to accept it, but it was so liberating to be able to do it!

Just being able to play beach volleyball shirtless, and not feel self conscious, was a huge win for me.

And not only did I allow myself to walk around the resort shirtless, but I was even ok with a few pictures of me shirtless. Not a lot, I’m still not 100% comfortable with it, but some. And that is a huge step for me toward accepting my new identity as a healthy person.

I was wary of having this picture taken without my shirt on, but now I'm so glad we did it!

I was a little nervous of having this picture taken without my shirt on, but now I’m so glad we did it!

Do I still have some excess fat I could do without? Yes. Was I strutting around without a shirt because I’m so muscular and have such a great body that I wanted everyone around me to see it? Absolutely not. I’m still no Ryan Gosling or anything, but I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen shirtless. And that was the first time in my life that I could really say that, and start to believe it.

It’s something I didn’t even think about until I started to look at pictures of myself in my photo frame. It is something that I have been able to let go of, and continue toward my path of self-acceptance. What about you? What symbolizes what you still need to let go of? What milestone or step in the right direction can you take?

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