There’s really not much to say about me… I’m your average everyday 31 year old chick – happily married with two furry kids (my dogs)! I’ve summarized a little bit of my personal experiences with nutrition and fitness below.
Regarding my “diet”:
In high school I ate just about anything I could get my hands on with no regard to nutritional quality, fat content, etc. I had a fast metabolism and was very active in sports, so I really didn’t worry about what I was putting in my body. I was too busy worrying about high school sports, dating, and the like. I was about a size 8 throughout most of high school, with a decent muscle base, and didn’t have any body image issues whatsoever. I was very content with myself as far as my size went.
After high school, I began training for body building & figure competitions. It was the first time that I had really been in a formal gym, and also the first time that I had ever watched what I ate. I followed a traditional “bodybuilder diet”: Oatmeal, Eggs, Meats, Veggies, Protein Shakes, and Supplements. If found myself leaning out very quickly. At my first competition, I tipped the scales at 125lbs. . . and I’m 5’10”. I thought I looked great, but I look back at pictures now and realize that I looked like a starving child from a third world country. My trick to get through the depletion diets was to say to myself “I can have this food or that food in XX number of days – right after the competition”. This was an unhealthy way of looking at food, and I always ended up going on month-long (or longer) binges and packing on the lbs w/ tons of junk food and sugary crap after every show.
As I continued to compete, I got better at not going off the deep end, and leaning out only to a reasonable level, but I still fought the food and craving demons in my head constantly. I’m very type A, and had no problem going 6-8 weeks during show prep without a single solitary “cheat”. .. but after every show. . . IT WAS ON! I’d gorge myself on every last thing that I’d been craving the hell out of over the preceding 6-8 weeks.
After moving to TX and discovering CrossFit, I was introduced to the Zone and Paleo Diets. I was a natural at the Zone, because the weighing and measuring were nothing new to me, and it was almost identical to how I had been eating during my competition prep. But the idea of an “Unmeasured Paleo Diet” really appealed to me. I was so sick and tired of spacing my meals exactly 3 hours apart, and weighing every last thing that went into my mouth.
I participated in my first Paleo Challenge in 2009 with a group of friends. It was a 7 week challenge, and we were allowed one “Vice” – a non-Paleo food that we could have as much as we wanted of. We were also allowed energy drinks, protein supplements, and Splenda. I chose Oatmeal as my vice (at the time not understanding the whole point of eliminating grains completely). I ate an oatmeal pancake every morning – made of Oatmeal and egg Whites – but stayed Paleo the rest of the time, with the exception of Splenda and Stevia and Post-Workout Protein Powder. I saw amazing strength gains and unbelievable physique transformations! I stayed Paleo after the challenge was over, and took the additional step of cutting out the oatmeal – leading to even better performance in the gym and physique transformations.
Unfortunately, I fell off of the “Paleo Wagon” over the Holiday Season of 2009, and that marked the beginning of a downward spiral that lasted 9 full months. I managed to gain 20 lbs of unhealthy weight (a.k.a. NOT muscle!), and was no longer setting PR’s in the gym. I found myself fatiguing much more quickly than I used to, and I just feel “blah” in general.
ENTER WHOLE 30!!
In early July, 2010 I stumbled across the “Whole 9” website by Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig. I have been following Robb Wolf’s material for quite some time, and he has referenced Whole9 on several different occasions, so I figured that it couldn’t possibly hurt to check it out! On their site, they have a 30 day program known as the “Whole30”.
I want to stress that decided to take on the Whole30 program as a way to leap board myself back into the healthy attitude toward food that I used to have. Food is Fuel. Food is Good. Food is NOT a Reward, and should NOT be something emotional. Logically, I knew these things, but some little part of my brain was fighting the logic – I felt like I had monkeys swinging from vines up there and beating their chests demanding sugar, sugar, and more sugar. . . So I started the Whole 30 with the plan to continue to eat in this manner after the 30 days was over – but I was VERY excited to see what the initial 30 days would bring!
I decided to grab the bull by the horns, and go strict w/ the Whole 30 program on Thursday, July 29th, 2010. I ended up inadvertently “cheating” on my 28th day by eating some edamame at a business luncheon (at the time, I was thinking Veggie. . not Legume. . or Soy!). I decided to extend my 30 days to a Whole 60, and stayed strict through September 29th, 2010.
I started the Whole30 for many reasons, but among the most important to me were that I wanted to feel healthy again. I was tired of feeling rundown and crappy all of the time, and also tired of the guilt I felt after nearly every single meal that I ate. Those were my primary motivations for starting this new way of eating. . . but over the course of my 60 day journey, I noticed a few other unexpected bonuses:
- CLEAR SKIN!!! – I had acne as a teenager, but always assumed that it would go away when I “grew up”. Unfortunately, I’m in my early 30’s, and was devastated at the fact that I still had regular breakouts! Rarely a day went by that I didn’t have at least one blemish on my face, and most of the time, I had several around my chin and nose. I just assumed that it was my genetics, and did the best I could to minimize them with skin care and prescription topical acne meds. Even with the prescription meds, I broke out regularly though. About half-way through the Whole30, I noticed that my skin had cleared up – I was skeptical, and braced myself for another round of breakouts, but they never happened! This is absolutely the first time I’ve been blemish free for as long as I can remember – and I’m LOVING it! Not only am I blemish free, but my skin looks much healthier in general – it’s no longer dull, and has a little bit of a “glow” to it!
- Weight Loss – My primary goal was not weight loss, but I knew I had a few inches to lose from my hips and legs that had crept on as a result of my crappy diet. I didn’t take measurements before hand, and didn’t weigh myself throughout because I didn’t want to be a slave to the scale or the measuring tape. I DID weigh myself the day that I started though (July 29th). I was 154.4 lbs. I weighed myself again on day 30, and was SHOCKED to see 140.4 pop up on the scale! I had somehow lost 14 lbs in a single month. I didn’t go hungry one single time – I’m eating a much larger volume of food than I was before – it’s just healthy, clean food! My jeans are falling off of me (Darn – guess I’ll have to go shopping!!), and my workout pants nearly landed around my ankles when doing double unders! And I can say with confidence that I haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. My strength gains since going strict Paleo have been great!
- Improved Performance in the Gym– All of my WOD times are steadily improving. I can do more pull-ups in a row than I could when I started the Whole 30 (23 vs. 6 – really). I can lift more weight, and do it faster. I don’t get winded as easily (more stamina). Really, what more could I want?
- No More Energy Dips – I’m no longer experiencing a roller coaster of energy levels throughout the day! I’m not a slave to the coffee pot (although I still enjoy a cup of black coffee in the morning), and I don’t find myself nodding off mid-afternoon! I sleep better at night, and have more energy throughout the day – it’s great!
- Emotional Stability / HEALTHY attitude toward food! – I’m an emotional person – always have been. I cry at chic flicks, and I’ll get weepy at the drop of a hat. But aside from that, I was on an emotional roller coaster that I couldn’t seem to get off of, and most of it was driven by food and guilt associated with food, or frustration over trying to refrain from eating foods that I was craving like crazy – and then ultimately guilt again when I caved into the craving. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. I was constantly fighting myself. I couldn’t ever be happy because I was obsessed with food. I was always either fighting a craving, or feeling guilty for giving into a craving – there was never any “peace”. I know this sounds crazy to a lot of people, but I love food – I had an emotional attachment to food. I used it as a reward and as consolement when I was feeling bad. I snacked constantly when I was bored, and every achievement was “rewarded” with food, most of the time bad food, which killed the feeling of accomplishment that I got from whatever the achievement was. When I was extremely happy – I ate to celebrate. When I was extremely sad – I ate to comfort myself. I can now HONESTLY say that I have finally broken this cycle!! This for me is the BIGGEST accomplishment of my Whole 30 experience. I don’t crave crap anymore, which means I’m not fighting myself constantly – which results in me being less grumpy, crotchety, and irritable ALL THE TIME! I am able to view food as nothing more than a fuel source. I eat when I’m hungry, and don’t eat when I’m not. It’s that simple. I never thought I’d get to this point, and am absolutely awestruck that I managed to get here in such a short period of time. Don’t get me wrong – I still LOVE food! But it doesn’t rule my world and my emotions any more.
- There are probably a ton of other subtle improvements to my overall well-being, but these are the ones that I’ve most appreciated. I am a new woman. I am a happy woman. I am a healthy woman. I am an energetic woman. I am NEVER going back. Not ever. No amount of sugar or chocolate is worth it!</p></div>
Regarding my “Fitness”:
I’ve always been athletic – from pee-wee soccer, on to high school sports teams, then Figure Competitions in my early 20’s. I love being active, and just about anything involving sports or fitness. When my husband and I moved to TX, I found myself quickly tiring of the day-to-day lifting routine. I was just board, and I missed competition, but I wanted to stay active. I was sick of Figure Competitions because they had become so much of a “beauty pageant”, and the outcome was so subjective to the judges’ opinions on the day of the competition. I also recognized that the Figure Competition diet was not healthy for me mentally, and had given me “food issues” that I needed to work to resolve.
I found CrossFit when I was 28 after I moved to TX. I had become bored with my routine in the gym, and the extreme deprivation of the Figure Competition diets had really done a number on me. So much so, that I still have major issues with food (binging, sugar cravings, associating food with reward, emotional eating, etc).
I began CrossFitting in mid-2008 and fell in love IMMEDIATELY with everything that CrossFit has to offer. It’s a perfect fit for someone with a Type A personality like me, and also for someone who was bored with their fitness routine and looking for a way to add some competition back into their life.
Through CrossFit, I was also introduced to Olympic Lifting, which I have developed a passion for. One of the reasons that I like Oly Lifting so much is because I feel confident when I do it. This brings me to my biggest weakness as far as CrossFit goes: The dreaded GYMNASTICS MOVEMENTS!! I am not a gymnast and have never been a gymnast, although I have always admired their abilities and the ease with which they seem to perform such technical and demanding movements. I struggle greatly with the gymnastics movements that are incorporated into CrossFit: Ring Dips, Pull-ups, Muscle-ups, Hand Stand Pushups, etc.
In the past, I have avoided these exercises because they killed my ego, and I was just so bad at them, but it was recently pointed out to me that I need to “work my weaknesses” if I ever want to get any better at them . . . what a novel idea!! So going forward, I plan to dedicate at least 15 minutes of skill work a day to working on these weaknesses of mine prior to my Olympic Lifting Workout.
In a nutshell
In a nutshell, I’m just your typical average middle-age woman who loves to be active, and is working to dial in my diet to support my active lifestyle and extend the amount of time I’m able to enjoy it. I don’t have all of the answers, and will never claim to! I’ve gone long stretches of time eating a really healthy diet, but have also spent long stretches as a Junk Food Diva. I have struggled with food just as much as the next person, but finally feel like I have gained some measure of control over my cravings. In general, I’m fun-loving, optimistic, full of energy, and active. I’m an accountant by day, but a fitness enthusiast in all of my spare time. I have lofty goals, but they are not unattainable. I WILL reach them. . .it’s only a matter of time, hard work, dedication, and patience.
Current Residence: Corpus Christi, TX