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The last two months have been insane! I’ve got a “Part 2” blog post for the holidays coming up, but wanted to share a brief recap of our trip to California!

Mid November, I joined Bob while he was out in San Diego for a work trip and we did a little exploring together. It was a MUCH needed trip because I felt like we hadn’t spent any time together since the beginning of October when school started. I loved San Diego, (so warm! so sunny!) but we only had a few days so we still have a lot more things to explore in the future. He’ll be going out there a lot for work, so I’m hoping to join him at least once more… we’ll see!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip:

Farmer's Market in Little Italy

Farmer’s Market in Little Italy

La Jolla -- gorgeous area

La Jolla — gorgeous area

Unlimited mimosas at brunch overlooking San Diego skyline

Unlimited mimosas at brunch overlooking San Diego skyline

In La Jolla -- rooftop bar

In La Jolla — rooftop bar

Sunset on Coronado Island

Sunset on Coronado Island

Altogether, it was a nice respite from a busy life and we enjoyed the several days together uninterrupted by work or homework. So nice.

Have you had a quick getaway recently? Where’s your favorite place to rest?

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CrossFit Update:

So yesterday I RXed Christine which make me really freaking happy because as it turns out, I suppose I HAVE gotten stronger.

For those of you who don’t know, Christine is 3 rounds of 500 meter row, 12 body weight deadlifts, and 21 box jumps.

The last time I did Christine I used 80 pounds. This time I used 145. Last time I finished in 14:48 — this time I finished at 15:46. So, although I was a minute slower, I also was using 65 more pounds.

I decided that next time I do Christine, I need to do a juice cleanse so I can lose weight. (Totally kidding, juice cleanses freak me out!!) MAN 145 pounds is a LOT OF WEIGHT. Especially after rowing. That first time I picked up the bar after I got off the rower, I double checked to make sure no one added plates while I was gone. It felt like a million pounds. And then I had to step up a few times on the box jumps because I almost bit it after the deadlifts. Also, my rowing is terrible and I need to work on getting faster.

But yet, despite all of that, I still RXed a named WOD!! 🙂 Hooray!

Gratuitous Ryan Gosling meme. Because I rowed 500s and would have liked a bubble bath.

Gratuitous Ryan Gosling meme. Because I rowed 500s and would have liked a bubble bath.

Reaction to Bob’s post yesterday:

If you haven’t seen Bob’s post from yesterday, go read it. It’s a good one, and an honest one. And I think anyone who has lost weight (even a little bit) and tries to keep it off can empathize. It’s hard work, maintaining, and it’s overwhelming to think that you’ll have to do this the rest of your life.

I remember once when I was in Weight Watchers we were talking about maintenance. I hadn’t reached my goal weight yet, and the leader was talking about how she had been a lifetime member for 10 years. She had kept the weight off that long. And then she said something that terrified me.

Every day of those 10 years has been a struggle. I continue to count points. I continue to say “no” to food I want.  I continue to reassure myself that my health is worth the determination and motivation I have to muster up every single day to eat healthy and exercise.

I remember thinking then that I couldn’t ever return to my blissful ways of eating whatever I felt like eating, whenever I wanted, if I wanted to keep the weight off.  That was an incredibly sad thought — but then, I realized a sense of empowerment.

I don’t HAVE to choose healthy foods — I GET TO choose.  And those choices lead to either gaining back weight or keeping it off. It’s in my control.

But that doesn’t mean the choice is easy. And like Bob, I wish I could just eat pizza and beer and watch TV. And it is a CHOICE, every day, to eat a salad instead of ice cream, to head to CrossFit instead of sleeping, and to drink water instead of a margarita (mmm….).

So I guess I’m reiterating what Bob said yesterday, but adding my own positive slant to it. You make the choice. You have the control. And it may be monotonous, and boring, and overwhelming, and frustrating, and terrifying, but it’s still up to you and how you handle it.

How do you manage to maintain?

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Okay, so I have a confession. I am 5 pounds over where I want to be. Which wasn’t a big deal until I realized I was avoiding certain clothes because I noticed it in my stomach. Yes, thanks to vacation eating during the road trip & pre-vacation traveling (NYC, Boston, etc.), these 5 pounds are sadly here to stay until I do something pro-active about it. I was hoping it was just water weight that would come off quickly, but that, my friend, was disillusioned.

So! Starting yesterday, Bob and I are on strict 10 day Paleo. (Which is great for Bob, too, since he can’t really move.)

“WHAT!?” you may be thinking, “But Meg, you don’t do strict Paleo! And you don’t do Paleo challenges!”

Desperate times call for desperate measures, friends. I need to be in a bikini by July 4th. and I need to look good in said bikini.  And I don’t want to be self conscious of my bloated stomach. And I know Paleo works pretty well for people.

I prepped yesterday like my life depended on it. Shredded cauliflower for quick cauliflower “rice”, created my favorite cucumber salad, baked a few spaghetti squashes, made cilantro chimichurri since I didn’t last week & my cilantro was getting a little wilty.

So glad we invested in a big fridge last summer. It's full to the brim with veggies, fruit, and prepped food.

So glad we invested in a big fridge last summer. It’s full to the brim with veggies, fruit, and prepped food.

I’m going to keep my fruit servings to 2 a day and nut servings to 2 (that includes almond butter). And I am going to eat a crap ton of vegetables. And weigh my meat to make sure I’m not eating more than I need to. (Unless I’m still hungry. Then I’ll eat a little more).

Hopefully I’ll be able to report happy things in 10 days. If not — well, then I’ll know once & for all that the Paleo diet is not for me. But since I’ve never given it a true shot (ie.. never followed it w/out indulging in a non-Paleo food for longer than 5 days), I suppose this is a nice (short) way to see how my body responds.

So without further commentary, here’s our meal plan:

  • Monday: Bob may or may not be meeting someone for dinner. I plan on eating a big salad. With balsamic glazed salmon.
  • Tuesday: Buffalo chicken meatloaf FTW. With roasted cabbage steaks. Mmm, cabbage. And cauliflower rice.
  • Wednesday: We’re going bowling with friends where there will be pizza. I’ll make a big taco salad. You know, without the sour cream and cheese. But with the guac.
  • Thursday: Venison bacon burgers! With sweet potato wedges! and mushrooms!
  • Friday: Leftovers.

I’m hoping that by prepping & planning great meals that I look forward to eating, this 10 day Paleo thing will be relatively easy. I’ll keep you posted.

Quick disclaimer: I do not usually endorse crash diets or cleanses or whatever. I believe that you need to make lifestyle changes in order for healthy eating habits to stick. BUT sometimes I just have to buckle down and do something drastic to lose the bloat that I’ve put on from poor eating choices & to kickstart getting out of my poor nutrition rut.  Also, I”m simply curious to see how I react to a Paleo-only diet — to see if it’s really not for me as I’ve said all along, or to see if it gives me the results it seems everyone else sees!

Have any tips for a new-to-strict-Paleo newbie? 

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Sunday meal plan!

Hi friends! I’m finally putting up a meal plan on a Sunday. Which makes me happy, because that means this has been a wonderfully relaxing weekend. First ice cream of the season at our favorite place (Lugia’s), first campfire of the season, first weekend we’ve dragged the Adirondack chairs out into the lawn and sat outside. I am so excited to have warm weather.

We have a beautiful view. Ignore the pile of leaves.. we have a lot of work ahead of us this summer :)

We have a beautiful view. Ignore the pile of leaves.. we have a lot of work ahead of us this summer 🙂

Because of the warm weather, our week revolves around the grill. Easy, delicious, and ability to enjoy the sunshine while we’re cooking. Can’t go wrong!

Today: Sausage, peppers & onions on the grill, and cabbage steaks on the grill.

Monday: Salmon burgers (picked them up at BJ’s!), grilled asparagus, sweet potatoes with bacon (FAVORITE)

Tuesday: Grilled chicken, roasted broccoli & cauliflower

Wednesday: Leftover grilled chicken over salad (Bob has floor hockey)

Thursday: Burgers with guac, portabella mushrooms, and zucchini strips on the grill

Friday: Out!

Saturday: Our friend Teaghan is turning 2 and we’re going to her birthday party! If we’re still hungry afterwards we’ll eat leftovers 🙂

Hope your weekend was full of spring & summer celebration!

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Pull ups are my CrossFit nemesis. Well, those and wall balls. But wall balls are just annoying – I can do them (not fast or efficient), but I hate them. Pull ups, on the other hand, are an exercise that I have never been able to do. Just imagine weighing 300 pounds and then trying to lift your chin over a bar. Not gonna happen.

When we started CrossFit, almost a year ago, one of our first workouts involved pull ups. I struggled to complete it, even using multiple bands to assist my pull ups. I remember watching some of the other athletes at the gym doing their pull ups unassisted, and “kipping” during the pull up.

And so my quest began. Truth be told, it was not at the forefront of my goals for a long time, as I was more preoccupied with learning the very basics of technique. But I would say the last six months or so this has been a big goal of mine: I want to be able to do unassisted pull ups, and I want to get to the point where I don’t ever have to use a band again.

So, over the last several months I have been working on this. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know it has shown up over and over on my monthly and yearly goals.

On Sunday I re-did 13.5, and was able to get 12 unassisted chest to bar pull ups during it. But today was the bigger milestone for me – I did a WOD with “regular” pull ups (just chin over bar), and I didn’t use a band for any of them.

A chest to bar pull up during Open WOD 13.5 (photo by Laura Rice at http://www.flowercitycrossfit.com)

A chest to bar pull up during Open WOD 13.5 (photo by Laura Rice at FCCF http://www.flowercitycrossfit.com)

All of my extra training, spending time before or after WODs working on strength, and technique, all culminated in this morning. But it’s not enough that I’ve been working hard on it – I have needed a lot of help along the way.

And that’s where the title of this post comes from. I realized this morning that I have received help from at least 9 different trainers over the last several months. And most of those 9 trainers have helped me several times with my strength training and technique. All of them helped, but they all helped in different ways. I learned different tips from one, and another trick from another. For example: Anne helped me with ways to build strength, Michelle helped me first start to learn how to kip, Jess and Aaron helped correct some of my technique that was making me inefficient, Blake helped me string multiple kipping pull ups together. And that is only 5 names out of the 9 that helped me, and all of them have helped me more than just once, and more than just on one aspect.

I have no idea the total time that they have spent with me: instructing me, watching me, pointing out areas to improve, encouraging me when I got upset, and celebrating me when I was successful. Their patience and help was invaluable in this endeavor, and I truly think that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

Another chest to bar pull up during Open WOD 13.5 (photo by Laura Rice at http://www.flowercitycrossfit.com)

Another chest to bar pull up during Open WOD 13.5 (photo by Laura Rice at FCCF http://www.flowercitycrossfit.com)

Just another example of the amazing community at Flower City CrossFit, and how my fitness journey has depended on other people much more than I originally anticipated.

Have I met my goal to do pull ups unassisted in all WODs? Nope. It is highly likely that I have not seen the last band, especially in WODs that include a lot of pull ups. I’m not there quite yet. But I have taken an important step toward doing pull ups in all WODs unassisted – I did them unassisted in one. And it took a village to help me get there. I hope that I can be a part of that village for someone else trying to achieve their goals.

Where have you found that you needed external help in achieving your goals? Do you have an adequate community around you to help you? Are you letting them help you?

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Meal Plan Monday

… because Sunday I was too busy stuffing my face with pancakes. 🙂

At Sprague's with a blueberry and a buckwheat pancake covered in blueberry maple syrup and maple whipped cream.

At Sprague’s with a blueberry and a buckwheat pancake covered in blueberry maple syrup and maple whipped cream.

You know it’s been a great birthday weekend when the scale reads 3 pounds heavier than it did on Friday morning. Most of it is bloat and water weight, but to combat this sluggish feeling I have (I’m exhausted today after a non-stop diet of sugar for three days), I’m going to keep it clean this week.  Little to no cheese, sugar, or gains will be entering this mouth until Saturday when I go on a wine tour with my mom, sister, and Bob.

I’ll give you a recap of the birthday shenanigans later this week, but since I’m already a day late on my meal plan, I figured it’d be best to post that now!

Tonight: Simple. Baked fish with lemon pepper seasoning, cauliflower rice, sauteed spinach. And going to bed as early as possible.

Tuesday: Buffalo chicken meatloaf, sweet potato fries, roasted broccoli

Wednesday: Trying this crockpot recipe and making mashed cauliflower and brussels sprouts (roasted)

Thursday: Loaded baked sweet potatoes! Using this recipe as a base, but adding other toppings like peppers and tomatoes. And not using pre-made spice mix. Yum. I kind of want to make this now but all of my ground meat is frozen.

Friday: Melting Pot has a “skinny menu” so we’re going there for dinner since my mom & sister have never been. Love that place. Love that we can avoid the cheese fondue.

What are you eating this week? I need a good, healthy, crowd-pleasing meal for Saturday night after our wine tour all day. I haven’t decided yet what to make. Suggestions?

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One year ago today, Bob and I walked into Flower City CrossFit and immediately felt completely overwhelmed. We didn’t know who to talk to, what to do, and we were confused as to why there were people laying flat on their backs and looking like they were in more pain that I have ever experienced in my life. I really wanted to turn around and walk back out that door.

Soon, Laura (the owner’s then fiance, now wife) noticed our shell-shock looks of horror and asked us if we were new and doing bootcamp (which FCCF uses as a “ramp up” time to CrossFit). I think we nodded and we were handed waivers to fill out. I really started to get nervous then. If I had to fill out a waiver to work out, what kind of place was this?

And then she walked us through the warm up movements (which we had to ask other people to show us multiple times afterwards because we were so nervous we didn’t pay attention) and then – bam. First CrossFit bootcamp.

I do remember Jeff telling us to pace ourselves so we didn’t die on our very first one. I died anyways. I was halfway through the first round and thought, “man, they don’t mess around here!”

Doing Overhead Squats (my least favorite!) at Barbells for Boobs in October

Doing Overhead Squats (my least favorite!) at Barbells for Boobs in October. (Photo taken by Laura Rice)

Since that day, I’ve learned quite a lot about CrossFit. I’ve fallen in love with the sport, with the people, with the community. I’ve learned a lot about myself, too. So I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned over the last year.

  1. There’s nothing I can’t do. I never thought I’d be able to do a handstand. I can. I didn’t think I could do more than 1 pushup “the real way”. I can now consistently do at least 40 – 45 before I have to scale. I didn’t think I would ever run faster than a 10 minute mile. The last 5k I ran I averaged 9:20.
  2. I am a morning person! I actually prefer to work out in the morning. I think it’s a combination of the people I work out with and the fact that I don’t have to “dread” it all day long. And I have more energy in the morning than at 5pm when I’m drained from work. Amazing discovery.
  3. A CrossFit WOD is a great analogy for life. Sometimes you rock, sometimes you suck, and sometimes you need someone to do it with you so you have the motivation to finish even if you’re the very last one still going. But you get through it. And even if you absolutely cannot finish, you know there will always be another one to tackle the next day. Sometimes life is awesome. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you need to cling to your spouse, your friends, or your family for dear life so you can make it out alive. But you’re alive, and there’s always another day.
  4. I hate burpees.
  5. Strong is sexy. When I watch the women at our box, I am in constant awe. Of their pure strength, their determination, and of their muscles. I am never in awe of how skinny they are. I want to be like them because they’re strong, not because they’re size 0.
  6. I have come to love my thighs. I used to hate them. They’re big. But they’re becoming more muscle, and I’m in awe of the things they help me do, like finish a half marathon, or squat 200 times, or deadlift 185 pounds.
  7. In fact, I’m starting to love my entire body. I’m not sure I could have ever said that before.
  8. The community aspect at CrossFit is incredible. People I barely know have jumped in to help me finish a WOD, have cheered for me to keep going, and have encouraged me to try a heavier weight when I think I can’t. (See #1).
  9. Never compare yourself to others. In life, as well as in CrossFit. There will always be someone 10x faster, stronger, and fitter than you are. Just compare yourself today to yourself 3 months ago. Have YOU improved? You can’t control how you stack up against other people, but you can control being the best possible you. And that “you” will vary day to day, week to week. But be the best version of yourself at that moment that you possibly can.
  10. If you think you can’t do something, allow yourself to have 10 seconds and a deep breath. Then continue. There’s magic in a deep breath that somehow propels you forward. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that you’re delaying the inevitable, or if you really need a mental “step away”, but that moment of inhaling oxygen and exhaling fear gives me strength. I do this at work, at home, and, of course, at CrossFit.

Has my body changed in the last year? I don’t think very much. I’m more toned, I have slightly more definition, but I’m still at the same weight and size as I was a year ago. Has my confidence, mental toughness, strength, and determination changed in the last year? You bet.

I won’t say that CrossFit has changed my life, because that seems to be an exaggeration. I’ve found a community of like-minded people who I can’t wait to work out with in the morning. I’ve found a better way to eat to fuel my body so I have more energy. Our marriage is definitely better than it’s ever been. So while it hasn’t changed my life, I certainly love who I am becoming because of those lessons. And I’m so glad I didn’t turn around and walk out that door of my very first day of bootcamp.

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