About bookloverlori

I read a lot of books. I drink a lot of tea. I have a lot of kids. :)

Happy THREE Year Anniversary to Me!

I can’t believe it’s been three full years on my Journey to Health! If you ask anyone in my life prior to the last three years, I’m pretty sure they will also tell you how unbelievable it is. It’s crazy! Never in my life have I ever done anything consistently, These last three years have been a wild ride and my life will never be the same.

I know I’ve let my blog go, and that makes it look like I’ve slipped and messed up, but I haven’t. I’m still doing in my thing… Crossfit 4 days a week and attempting to balance the macros most of the time. I like to joke that I’m taking the Scenic Route to health. Lol!

What everyone wants to see is how much weight have I lost. People are still preoccupied with that number on the scale. I don’t really care about that number anymore. I think I weighed myself a few months ago and I’m smaller now, but I don’t know what I weigh. I’m far more concerned about other numbers… My A1c, which is NORMAL… My fasting glucose, which is NORMAL… My weights in the gym, which are killer high! These are the numbers that matter to me. The scale… well it will come eventually. I’m having another bod pod analysis done in two weeks and I’ll have specific numbers, but according to the last one, done almost a year ago, I have 152# of lean mass and I was still gaining muscle and losing fat at a reasonably fast rate.

Most of all, I’m happy! I’m happy with the journey that I’m on. I’m happy with my life. I’m happy with my family, my dog, my gym, my friends…. I’m just happy! For someone who spent most of her life fighting depression, this is a truly amazing thing to say… and an even more amazing thing to feel!

Want to see a pic? How about some side by side pics?

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Am I done? No way! I’m probably only halfway to where I want to be. Progress seems to come in spurts with periods of stability… and I’m okay with that. This whole thing didn’t go as planned. I thought I’d be done by now. I really thought I’d be done in about a year… then came two… and now three… and there’s more to go. However, it’s getting there… one step at a time. The definition of “getting there” keeps changing. And that’s okay too. 🙂

Celebrate with me, my friends, especially those of you who carried me along the way. You know who you are. I’m forever grateful!!! Happy Three Year Anniversary… to Us!

Balancing Macros is Hard!

For a very long time I’ve been trying to eat mostly Paleo. It’s been working well, but after several months of plateaus, I needed to change things up. Enter, Macros!

You remember Macros from High School… Macronutrients, otherwise known as Carbs, Protein, and Fat. Apparently, following a mostly Paleo diet throws them all out of whack… and while I’m fairly comfortable eating 50% of my diet as fat (because… FAT!!!), it seems to throw nutritionists into catatonic states. But what really got my attention was that my own coaches were starting to talk to me about refining my diet even more, switching from trying to go Mostly Paleo and learning how to balance my macros in a way that better meets my goals.

After sitting down and figuring out my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) with one of my awesome coaches, my daily calorie intake came out to be 3042 calories… which promptly freaked me out. I’ve completely gotten over the fact that I can’t eat 1500 calories a day because my metabolism will start to shut down. I’ve even mostly gotten over the fact that I really can’t eat 1800 calories either. On workout days, it’s simply too low. However, jumping up to 3000 calories… faint! That’s asking a lot and I haven’t quite been able to do it. I can’t imagine trying to explain to my Mother that I need to eat 3000 calories a day when the prevailing opinion is that I should be eating half of that. Considering that I have lots of weight left to lose, I thought creating a moderate deficit would be okay, so on workout days, I routinely eat around 2500 or so. On non-workout days, I try to eat around 2200. A non-workout day breaks down as follows:

220g Carbs (880 calories)
165g Protein (660 calories)
73b Fat (657 calories)

It totals about 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, and 30% fat. I still find it very hard to hit my percentages. Fat always seems to be higher, routinely around 35-38%. I’m working on it. I’ve also noticed that I am still very uncomfortable eating carbs after a long time of trying to keep them low. It might be in my head, but I swear that I struggle with cravings when my carbs aren’t exceptionally clean. There’s a phrase, “If It Fits Your Macros” then you can eat it… but I have to tell you, after experimenting with that, it doesn’t work for me. The Great Taco Experiment was a failure, after two Taco Tuesdays and not being able to stop eating taco shells… yeah, it fit my macros and didn’t throw my balance out of whack, but my body chemistry didn’t like it one bit! The carb cravings were awful that day and the next. So, the goal is to balance my macros with clean food, which hasn’t actually happened yet… but I’ve gotten close a time or two. I’m a work in progress.

The result of switching things up… I feel better. I have more energy. I feel more satisfied. My weightlifting numbers are going up again. And the scale began to finally move! Hallelujah! I’m sure I’ll hit more plateaus. Every other month seems like a plateau. I may have to change more things up as I go… and that’s okay. Yep… it’s all a work in progress. 🙂

I’m Heading into my Two Year Anniversary

I’m a few weeks away! November 1st will be two years from the day that I walked into Crossfit for the very first time, scared as could be… unhealthy, unhappy, and ready for a change. I remember when I first started applying to Graduate Schools, so many years ago. I was so desperate to get in that if they wanted me to eat dirt, I would have eaten dirt. I wanted it that much! It was the same for Crossfit. Turns out, my coach wanted me to eat more Paleo, which is kinda the same thing as “eating dirt” for someone who’s never considered Paleo before. Lol! I kid…. maybe! 😉

I don’t really know how to condense everything the last two years has meant to me. There’s been so much. I competed in a Crossfit event. I stopped taking every single one of my medications. I’ve lost right around 40 pounds and dropped from a pants size of 22w to a solid 14. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life!!! And there’s more… there’s sooooo much more. How do I even get it all down???

The past two years have both flown by and trudged along, one foot in front of the other. There are moments when it seems like NOTHING is changing… I’m stuck at a plateau and the scale isn’t budging and the clothes are not getting looser and I’m questioning everything. I have wonderful coaches and every time I get stuck, they encourage me to trust the process and be patient. They keep me on the right path, review my food journals, go over my short and long term goals, and tweak things here and there. Then there are moments when in the blink of an eye, everything changes. I’m wearing a size 18W FOREVER… yeah… 18 months in and I was still wearing an 18W… and then bam, in three months I drop to a 16W and then a regular 14! It happened seemingly overnight!

Then there are my friends. I can’t even begin to say enough about the people in my life. I have rarely associated with such an amazing group of people who ALWAYS have something positive to say. I remember walking in the door, scared and afraid, and by that second week, people were talking to me, encouraging me, helping me. One of them told me recently that when she saw me come back for that second week, she knew I was going to be okay. She is a big reason why I am okay! She, along with my other friends there, saw changes in me when I didn’t yet see them, both physical and mental. They kept me engaged and focused. They pushed me and cheered the loudest when I succeeded. They became my role models and showed me that it IS possible to be a strong, fit woman at any age and no matter my history… even if the most athletic thing I’d ever done was be in high school band. They helped me with my eating, and probably got sick of all the food photos I texted them. Lol! The result, though, is that I’m much more conscious of what I put in my body and food isn’t just for fun, it’s fuel to get me through tough workouts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect by any means… but I’m better… and next week I’ll be better still.

Year One was all about getting smaller. I’m not going to lie, the whole reason I started Crossfit was to lose weight… and I genuinely believed I’d be finished in a year… but, somewhere along the way, things changed. Losing weight was important, and I can’t really be fully healthy carrying around so much extra fat… but the main focus began to change towards health and strength. The scale was still there, but instead of being the sole measure of my success, it became secondary to my lifting numbers and my clothing sizes.

Year Two was all about getting faster and stronger. I wanted to work on endurance and I have made some serious progress on that front. I can now do Jerry without walking, which is a total of running 2 miles and rowing 2000 meters. I no longer freak out when running shows up in a workout. I’m still nervous about it, but there’s no more crying. Lol… yes, there has been a little crying over the last two years, mostly related to running. Now, I know I can do it. There’s never going to be a wod where I have to run more than one mile at a time… and now I know I can do it. I’m still scared… but I know it’s going to be okay.

This week, one of my sons asked me about running. They’re doing a Pumpkin Run at school and apparently, they have to run for 8 minutes without stopping. He wanted to know if I could do it. For the FIRST time in my entire life, I can answer YES!!! Yes, I can run for more than 8 minutes at a time… much more. I don’t actually know how many minutes I can run without stopping since I’ve always stopped around the one mile mark, which for me is about 12 minutes. When I started out, I was done around 100 meters. I couldn’t make it past 100 meters without stopping to catch my breath and walk a bit. Now, I can do a full mile, 1600 meters, and likely much more than that on a good day. That’s just HUGE!!!

There’s just so much more I want to share! I’m putting together my Before and “Middle” pictures for you. I’m not an “After” yet. I’m not sure what “After” is anymore. I now realize that there’s no definitive point when I’m going to be finished. There’s no point when I can stop, say I’ve arrived, and sit on my laurels eating ice cream. I’ll just get different goals and start working towards those. I do have a target weight, but it’s not set in stone. It depends on what I look like and how I feel… and if my body says NO then my body says NO and I’ll be happier 10 pounds higher if that’s what makes me feel and look the best. I’m still 50 pounds away, so I’ll be working towards this goal for a while, likely all of year three and possibly beyond. I have a size goal as well. I’d like to be a solid size 12. I look good as a size 12. I think it’s a realistic and achievable goal for year three. If my body decides to take me to a 10, then Amen, but I’m not going to stress about it. I’ve never been a 10 in my whole adult life so who knows if it’s even possible at this point. What will be… will be… and I’m happy and content to enjoy the ride.

So… that’s my update! I’ll be putting up those pictures soon… and I’ll keep plugging away at my goals. I’m going to make sure I do an extra workout to celebrate the start of Year Three!!! O.M.G… YEAR THREE!!! I still can’t believe it! I don’t know what I thought when I first started Crossfit, but it didn’t occur to me that I’d be here, two years later, talking about my goals for YEAR THREE!!! It’s just…. unfathomable!

Happy Crossfitting, y’all! I’m wishing you all the very, very best! 🙂

I Heard it Again Recently… Crossfit Makes You Bigger

I actually hear it all the time. Oh, Crossfit, that makes you bigger. Oh Crossfit, that makes you bulky. Oh, Crossfit, you’ll never get smaller on Crossfit. After hearing it fifteen million times, from people who DON’T DO Crossfit, I thought I’d sit down and think about it. Is Crossfit making me bigger???

I started almost two years ago (this coming November) and since then, I’ve gotten much, much stronger. I have muscles where I had only fat. Unfortunately, I don’t have actual measurements, but I can tell you that my arms, while still flabby, have MUCH more muscle to them than before… but overall, they are smaller. My chest has gone down several inches but my back muscles are bigger than before, but again, overall, my chest measurement is smaller. My forearms are smaller, my calves are smaller, my stomach is smaller… I’ve gone from a size 22 down to a stretchy 14. I would say that is Smaller!

However, not everything is smaller. My quads have transformed. The fat seems to have melted a bit, especially on the inside, and the actual quad muscle… well, these days it’s a baby Quadzilla. Lol! I wish I had measurements, though, because I suspect the overall circumference is not that different, only that my quad muscle is significantly more defined, while the fat on my inner thigh has diminished proportionately. And frankly, I’m completely happy with my baby Quadzillas. One day, I may have fully grown Quadzillas, and I’ll be sure to post pics of that! 😉

I agree with the Crossfit-Makes-You-Bigger group in one way. If you’re starting out skinny-fat (that’s a real term, y’all!) then you’re going to build some muscle. You’ll start seeing that muscle and if you happen to like the model look, you might not be too happy with actual muscle… and going up a size or two in the process. Being a bigger girl, I’ve never been on this side of the equation.

Oh, and one other thing… I think my Trapezius muscles (my traps) have gotten bigger as well, but I’ve never paid attention to them before, so I’m not really sure.

Basically, I wanted my bigger girl friends who, like me, may constantly hear “Crossfit makes you bigger.”, well, I just wanted to reassure them that it really doesn’t. Bigger girls lifting heavy weights does NOT make you bigger overall. Your muscles will surely get bigger and stronger, but the rest of you shrinks… shrinks more than the muscle you’re building. There’s no way someone will ever convince me that Crossfit will make me bigger when I’ve gone from a size 22 to a stretchy 14. It’s not possible.

But most importantly, let’s not forget that it’s really not about the size, anyway. It’s about health and being healthy… and there’s no question that Crossfit and eating better have made a world of difference in my life. So, Crossfit on, my big girl friends… Crossfit on…

 

 

 

Sometimes the Steps are Small…

And sometimes they are great big GIANT leaps!!! Today was a Leap!

Fourteen years ago, I was put on my first blood sugar regulating med. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I certainly didn’t think I would be on it for the rest of my life. The thought just didn’t occur to me. Before the year was out, I was on medication number two! Again, I didn’t think much of it. Eventually, life happened, kids happened, bad food/exercise choices happened… and I found myself at the age of 41 on FOUR different daily meds. I can’t really tell you how it happened, but there I was… and I wanted OFF! Thus began my search for… something different. I found Crossfit.

Three months into Crossfit, and attempting to eat better, I dropped med one. Six months into my often-failed attempts to eat better and Crossfit, med two dropped. Things were going well. Around the nine month mark, I was able to drop my daily shots. That was HUGE! I’d given myself daily shots since I was pregnant with the twins. But… there was one med left. I’ve been sitting on this med for over a year, waiting patiently to get rid of it. A few months ago, my doctor cut that med in half… and as of yesterday… IT’S GONE!!!!!!!

I did it! I really, really did it! I wanted OFF those meds and it took me 21 months to do it… and I did! :happycry:

My latest round of blood work was fantastic. My A1c is 5.5. I’m not even “at risk” for Diabetes anymore. My PCOS symptoms are generally under control. My fasting glucose has been consistently in the 80s. It’s AMAZING!!!

I know I go on and on about Crossfit and Paleo/Primal, but it really has changed my life. It’s added who knows how many years to my life!!! I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m much healthier. And I’m not done yet! Nope… not done. I’m still only in the middle of my journey. I’ll be redefining my goals a bit over the next few weeks. Getting off meds has been number one for so long. There are so many things I want to do… and for the first time in a while, it feels like I can really do them! 🙂

Oh Nautilus Machines, You’re So Good For My Ego

Today is a rest day. The Hubs is home and I decided to tag along with him to his globo-gym.

There was a time, before kids, when I regularly worked out on Nautilus Machines, dutifully going down the line, 3 sets of 10, going up every other week. I never actually saw much progress, but it was fun, when it wasn’t boring or lonely. Eventually, life got in the way and to be honest, I lost motivation when the results weren’t spectacular. I thought it would be fun to play around with the machines today and see how much I’ve progressed since I’ve been crossfitting. It’s been a year since I used a machine.

Started with machine bench presses. I love bench presses and my real life (Crossfit) one rep max is 135#. I knew it would be higher on the machine, but even I was stunned to top out at 185# :faint: Lol! That would never happen with a bar and plates! I remember playing around with this last year and I was topping out at 145#. There’s clearly been some gain in the last year. 🙂 Moved on to tricep curls next. I don’t have a baseline for them, but I was thrilled to max out at 130#. I could have lifted more but at that point, I wasn’t able to lock out at the end, so I called it done. There’s no isolated tripcep curl in Crossfit. It’s sorta combined with strict push ups.

Finally, I went over to the quad machine and started around 50#. It flew up. lol!!! Okay… moved up to 100 and then moved the peg down the plate after every rep… and kept moving the peg down the plate after every rep… and kept moving the peg… and I maxed out the machine!!! :roflmao: O.M.G. I maxed out the leg quad machine and I know I had more in the tank. My final press was 245#!!!

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That is CRAZY!!! How the heck did it happen??? I don’t know. Crossfit must be doing something right. Clearly, I’m getting stronger. It’s exciting!!!

I did notice something while at the local globo-gym. It was lonely. There were lots of people there and lots of trainers milling around, but no one talked to each other. There wasn’t anyone there to cheer me on or give me a fist pump at the end. And frankly, halfway through my peg-moving, I lost interest and walked around for a few minutes before coming back to finish. Everyone has their niche, the exercise that excites them and gets them going. I’m so glad I’ve found mine!

So Many Good Things

It’s truly been a week of WIN around here. It certainly hasn’t been perfect… I certainly haven’t been perfect… but overall, things have been pretty darn good! My eating has stayed relatively Clean throughout the week. I’m still having a “Fun” meal once a week and it’s really helping to solve any deprivation issues that might come up.

This whole second year has been about endurance, trying to move more during workouts, taking fewer/shorter breaks… and for the last two months, it’s been about increasing my running. Seriously, my running was pretty weak. I could do 200 meters without stopping but 300 was a stretch. I started running before and after my wods with the intention of increasing them to 800 meters (half a mile). If I could do this, I could do any workout thrown at me, except for specialty ones like Murph and Jerry. This was my goal. I started doing 400 meters (200/break/200) before wods and after wods. Using my run/breaks/run system, I worked my way all the way up to 800 meters and then it was time to start stringing them together (300/break/200/break/200/break/100). Eventually I got to 400/200/200. Then last week, there was a HUGE jump and I finally ran 800 meters at once!!! I was able to repeat it a few more times! SUCCESS!!!

Yesterday, the most amazing thing happened. I did about 850 meters without stopping before the workout and again after… but after the workout, I decided to just keep going. I was running around my building and 4 1/2 times is a full mile. I did my planned 2 1/2 and just wanted to see if I could do 3 1/2. I was slow… but I just kept moving, no walking, no stopping. I made the 3 1/2 and realized how close I was… one more time around the building and I was going to hit a full mile! I’ve never run a full mile in my entire life… EVER! I’ve never even come close. Before I started Crossfit I was struggling to run 100 meters without stopping. Well yesterday, the weather was a perfect 78 with low humidity and a slight breeze. I actually was able to say a few words while running, which is HUGE since I’m usually struggling for breath. Conditions were perfect… and I went for that last time around the building… AND DID IT!!! Yay!!! I hit my very first mile!!! I actually ran a total of 3 1/2 miles last week in addition to my regular crossfit/lifting!!! That’s amazing to me. It’s unbelievable when you think about where I started. I can’t WAIT to do it again!!!!

Actually, I’m not sure when I’m going to do it again. I know, I know, I’m “supposed” to keep adding distance but that’s not my goal. My goal was to be able to run well enough to not have a small panic attack when running showed up on the workouts. I’ve done that. Now I’m shifting my goal a little to work on speed. My mile was probably in the 12 minute range. I’d like to get faster. I have a new program that consists of my usual 800m run before the wods and speed work/sprints after the wod. This should keep my ability to run any wod… and increase my speed and give me better wod times! 🙂 I start Monday!!! (Thanks, Anna, for the program!)

Something else MAJOR happened this week. Someone told me that Target goes up to a size 18 in their Misses department. I haven’t been in a regular department in probably 15 years. I decided to go check it out. Hubs and I ran over there after a workout and I grabbed a pair of shorts and a pair of jeans, both in a size 18 AND a size 16. I was being optimistic. I headed over to the dressing room with a VERY apprehensive Hubs. He’s been witness to more dressing room crying than I want to admit. I tried on the 18 shorts and they were TOO BIG! It wasn’t even close. There was a big gap at the waist. Feeling fainty… I grabbed the 16’s and tried them on and oh my goodness… they fit! I haven’t been in a REGULAR store in a REGULAR Misses Department in a REGULAR size in YEARS! It was an amazing moment. I repeated it with the jeans and once again, the 18’s were clearly too big and the 16’s fit perfectly… See:

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Overall… It’s truly been a great week. I know they all can’t be this great… but I’m so thankful this one truly was!