Week 3: Science!

So, got to the gym last week! Horray!

I have been really loving Planet Fitness if only because I get there, do my thing, and leave. It’s no fuss and I am loving it.

What I do need to invest in is a set of weights for home so that will be next paycheck. I considered a kettlebell but the 50# ones are insanely expensive so I am going to go with free weights instead.

This weekend, we had two of our friends visit from Madison, WI. It was an unhealthy eating experience, to say the least. But, I felt less guilty on Saturday when we walked 4 miles around the Field Museum

I always love museums. I don’t know why people don’t go more. Chicago actually has the entire month of February free for their museum circuit which is always a plus! I learned a lot and the Field Museum Tattoo Exhibit was definitely an awesome experience.

Bonus, one of our guests has a cousin who works in Public Relations so we got a sneak peak of the behind the scenes hallways, libraries, and science things!

Speaking of science, there’s an article going around my friends’ list currently and it is definitely one of my favorites. It shows a woman who did a ton of weightlifting, exercise, and eating healthy and how she is one pound difference from before to after.

Why am I against scales? Muscle weighs more than fat. This is not an opinion. It’s science. You may actually never meet your goal number especially if you’re doing weight training or lifting. 

This is probably the most normal situation, especially in Crossfit. The problem with scales is they are a tool, yes. But, I have too many friends who live by it. If you are gonna weigh yourself obsessively? Throw out your scale.

If you want to measure your weight loss, the best thing is a tape measure. If you cannot throw the scale away, I ask that you consider only weighing yourself once a week at the same time (I weigh myself every Monday at 2:00 PM at the gym because I don’t trust myself with a scale at home).

Above all, the most important advice I have learned through this is you have to love yourself, regardless of your weight and before you jump in, let me tell you why.

If I don’t love myself at my current weight, I won’t love myself at my goal weight. I am not here to tell you to stop working out or eating healthy. I want you to keep at it! But, remember – you’re the same person no matter how fit you are. 

I have a friend who has to be in a specific number. She’s fit, she looks great. However, if she gains one pound (even if it’s muscle), she freaks and goes on crash diets and works out until she’s so fatigued that she crashes.

Having a goal is awesome (mine is 70 lbs away!) but I have friends who live and die by a few pounds measured on a scale. You’ll kill yourself doing that. If you want to get healthier, I encourage you. If you want to hit a specific number and you can’t go above or under that number — you’re screwed, friend. 

Saying, “I would like to live a healthier lifestyle” is a good start. Saying, “I would like to look and feel healthier” is also good. Putting a number on that is going to crush you especially if you live and die by the scale. Pay more attention to how your clothes fit, how your run time gets better, or how you can lift heavier things. That’s progress. 

This week, I am going back to healthy eating and keeping up with my 3 times a week to the gym. Next blog? We make some new March goals!

Week 2 & Eating Habits

Well, weighed myself and lost 10 lbs my first week. This is normal for first week exercise/dieters. You lose a crap ton of weight the first week and then it levels out to one to two lbs (sometimes) every week after. I am glad I lost the initial 10 because that number was not a good one.

Last week, I went to the gym four times which is awesome! I did body weight on the third and fifth day. I need to incorporate more strength training but I have been gun shy at the gym. I finally found the weight section today and will be trying it out this week.

Motivation

  • My sister’s wedding in September.
  • Laura and Justin’s wedding in April 2018.
  • Not dying before 35.

Today, I rocked the elliptical for the first time in many moons. My FitBit was not having it, sadly, and only recorded half of my steps. I did 30 minutes and 3 miles and my FitBit was like, “Great job on that one mile, champ!” I gotta just keep moving.

So, I don’t tell many people this because it’s not a topic of discussion, but my healthy eating habits come from my sister, Jodi. On the right, she was 290 lbs. She’s now a cool 150 lbs and rocking out for her wedding in September. She did Weight Watchers and the gym (she taught me to schedule the gym like meetings and I live and die by that) a few times a week.


Here are some tips that I learned from her and I hope they help you! Not one size fits all (and I am not professional!) so see what works best for you. 

  • Eating slow. Put food in mouth, chew 30 times, swallow, put fork down, wait five seconds, repeat. This seems super tedious, but it helps you recognize your full limits faster.
  • Stuffed does not equal full. You’ll know when you get full when you feel full and satisfied. Stuffed is when you’re in a food coma and can barely move after. Knowing the difference will help.
  • When eating a salad, get the dressing on the side and not on top. Before stabbing your salad, dip your fork in the dressing on the side. You’ll use about a half less and each bite has a full flavor of dressing. 
  • When eating out, ask the server to give you half the order and wrap the other half for you. When eating out, portion control is difficult so cutting it in half will be a huge help. And you get a surprise leftover later.
  • Water. When you’re hungry? Drink a cup of water and wait. Your body may be thirsty. If you’re not hungry, you answered that question.
  • Got a sweet tooth like me? If you’re hard craving bad desserts and treats, brush your teeth. You can always, of course, eat healthier treats but if you’re in a pinch, brushing your teeth will get rid of the craving.
  • Never deprive yourself. If you love tacos, try a healthier version, get a small version, or treat yourself on a rare occasion. My sister loved her frappachinos so she would get a tall rather than a venti once in a great while. When you swear off food you like, you’ll crash and be more tempted to try it.
  • Quick diets should be temporary. I learned this from a friend who is a nutritionist, too. Last year, Mike and I did Paleo for two months and then went back to normal healthy eating. Diet change is good but the really difficult ones (Paleo, Whole30, etc.) should be done in bursts. A lot of those diets take away important stuff. The plus side of those diets, however, is that you will find ways to be creative.
  • Make food. Stop ordering out. Key! Mike and I found not only is it healthier to do but we save a ton of money while we are at it. Ordering out is okay now and then but it’s always a roulette on the nutrition and macro count.
  • Try 2-3 new veggies or fruit a week. I found to love cauliflower this way (I remembered how much I hated it before). If you don’t like something, try cooking it a different way (I love fresh spinach but cooked spinach makes me gag.)
  • Count everything you put in your mouth. Every single thing. Even if you take a taste? Count it. 
  • Going out? Eat beforehand. You’ll end up picking and grazing on a small dish than a big one.
  • Going to a party? Bring a dish you can share that’s healthy. I do this with hummus and veggies – always a hit and great for you!

Tomorrow, I am going to elliptical again and then weight training! Very exciting! I like the ability to have freedom to go whenever I want.

Enjoy your weeks, swolemates!

Chia Pudding

It was a success! I added strawberries and almonds too ūüôā Chia pudding has more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries, and a ton of protein.

And it’s super easy to make!

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used Noosa’s blueberry yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Tablespoon of raw maple syrup (Grade B if you have it)

Whisk it together in a mixing bowl. Cover (I used Saran Wrap). Put it in your fridge overnight. And boom! The chia seeds will expand in the mix making it like pudding!

And new gym bag came in today!


It’s dark red but the sun makes it look pink!

Today, I am off to the gym at about 1:00 and then headed home to clean before a friend-date with my buddy Adam. It’s a good day ūüôā

Day 3 of 2 Gyms.

Before I begin, I gotta give some mad love up to my Crossfit Buddies, Laura and Justin, who just got engaged last night. Laura and Justin, if you’re following along at home, are the reason I¬†got into Crossfit. After talking to Laura about their wedding plans, I realize I have even¬†more incentive to get my butt into shape. (Their wedding, my sister’s in September of this year, my best friend’s in July next year.)

Laura and Justin have been dating for a long time and they are crazy in love with one another. They’re super important to me. Here are their gains (Left side is most recently and right is roughly three years ago)!

(They inspire me daily).

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So, signing up for a second gym was probably the best decision of my life.

Last night, Mike and I were supposed to go to Crossfit. He couldn’t make it (brewery kept him way over and Crossfit closed) so I went to the gym all by myself. I have a ton of energy that I have been lacking in the past few weeks (not going to CF or any gym will do that to you).

Planet Fitness is great for just walking into and doing my business and walking out. It’s a super zero hassle life and I really appreciate that I can go to it whenever I want. Tomorrow, I have to go in the afternoon but god knows before 4:00 because that place gets insane at 4:00.

So far this week, I have completed:

  • Monday: 60 minutes on the treadmill.
    • 30 minutes HIIT. 30 minute brisk walk. I was so excited about the gym that I¬†lost track of what the hell time it was.
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes on the treadmill.
    • 30 minutes HIIT.
  • Wednesday: Bodyweight Workout
    • 50-40-30-20-10 of Squats, Pushups, Jumping Jacks, and Sit-ups.

My only hang-up is FitBit. It doesn’t record my treadmill work properly. It’s probably because my hands are on the heartbeat railing but I am going to test that theory out again.

Water intake is still going well. I have my water bottle next to me at all times.

Eating healthy? Got that in the bag. I am actually really excited because at the store yesterday, I was eyeing the Chia Seeds and said, “Alright, let’s do it.” I am trying to make Chia Pudding¬†and as I am typing this, I realized I forgot sweetener or honey in it. I will report back on its success. I used Noosa Yoghurt which is – y’all – bomb.com. I love them.

I ordered a new gym bag!

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I never needed one for Crossfit, really. I would tuck away my Converse in the car that was two feet away and brought my water bottle in. We also never had lockers so there wasn’t a purpose for it.

Now, at the other gym, I have to have a lock, facial wipes, and now – I need to add toiletries and emergency stuff, too. I have a lock for the locker, might as well use my gym bag right. I am thinking of adding first aid items in there, too. Basically, I will fill this bad boy with good things that are needed ūüôā

Thursday and Friday РI am going to Planet for the elliptical for HIIT and then also do some weight training.

Saturday – I am going to walk in my first protest! Pretty exciting!

Sunday – Rest Day.

So far, so good! I hope your weeks are going super well!

If you’re new to a gym.

I can never recall my feelings or reactions from the times I started a gym because months pass and in my experience, I forget all of the emotions that go into it.

Yesterday, I started my first day at¬†Planet Fitness. I know what you’re thinking because I have thought it, too. In my time at¬†Crossfit, I have learned¬†Planet Fitness is a dirty set of words and speaking about them positively will warrant a few eyebrow raises around the room. Now, the same goes for¬†Planet Fitness. It’s not a place that is welcoming to¬†Crossfit members either. This two year understanding brought me to the idea that I don’t need to impress or please either gym in my dedication.

I can tell you that¬†Crossfit is the most high intensity workout I have ever experienced. It works. But, it works for¬†me. It doesn’t work for everyone. I love the community and that they cheer you on till the last second. Crossfit is good for you if you want a challenge, want to work hard, and hustle through workouts with some great friends.

I can tell you¬†Planet Fitness is a great starter gym if you haven’t been before. They do a few things that I don’t agree with (Pizza and Bagel Day) but they are a great place to go with a whole host of people of different ages, sizes, and workout styles. Planet Fitness is a good place to go if you are just going to workout and want a place that has machines that are capable of getting you to your goal.

TL;DR – No gym is perfect for everyone. But, there is always a workout/gym that is perfect for¬†you. If you’re not sure what is best for you, try something new every week till it ‘clicks’.

Most gyms, Crossfit especially, will give you a free trial run. Always give it at least a week (3+ workouts) to really figure out if this is right for you.

If you’re new to a gym, you might be nervous.

You might sit in the parking lot all dressed up in your gym wear and make excuses to not go inside. You might drive around instead and waste the time you could be at the gym. You might make an excuse that your phone needs to charge in order to work out.

I know. I have been there.

But, let me tell you, once you walk in and say hello to the front desk/coach and you realize everyone is there to just workout? It becomes easier. You just have to take that first step into the facility. Once you do, it’s a cake walk.

If you’re new to a gym, you might be¬†super excited.

And that’s awesome! You should be excited! You’re on your way to a healthier you!

If you’re new to a gym, you might only be focusing on fitness.

A LOT¬†of people make this mistake. Losing weight comes from not only diet but your eating habits and visa versa. You need to make sure you’re eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. Don’t lose sight of that!

Most importantly,¬†listen to your body. There’s a difference in feeling of, “Oh this is challenging!” and “Please stop. This is too much.” You don’t have to workout 5 hours a day, 7 days a week to achieve your goal. Listen to what your body has to say.

If you’re new to a gym, you might feel intimidated.

When I started with Crossfit, it was the most intimidating first day of my life. I looked around and realized that everyone was in shape and I wouldn’t be able to match them. This is a normal feeling but I am here to tell you why you shouldn’t feel intimidated.

Everyone is at a gym for one goal – to work out. They’re not there for anyone else. They’re not there to mock other people. They’re not there to single you out. I have heard one or two stories where there has been a situation like that in 30 years of my living life. I can’t promise you that people won’t be jerks but I can tell you that it is¬†insanely unlikely that they will be.

I have done¬†Crossfit, a¬†Global Gym, a¬†College Gym. In my experience, I have never seen someone be mean to another person. In fact, people are actually helpful. My first day at¬†Crossfit, one of our CF Friends Angelo, noticed¬†Mike¬†had a knee injury. He promptly walked over and said, “I noticed you had a knee injury. Let me show you how to do squats in a way that won’t mess up your knees.” This is very much the same across the board at most places.

The short version of all of this is that people just want to go to a gym to workout. No one is there for you. You are there for you.

If you’re new to a gym, you might not want to ask questions or you want to seem knowledgable (You’re not and that’s okay).

To prevent injury, it is the smartest idea to ask questions. If you don’t know how a machine works or you don’t know how a movement goes,¬†ask someone.¬†Planet Fitness has a reputation of not knowing a lot about fitness. If you’re in a gym where staff doesn’t really know, ask someone nearby. Again, people are willing to help you.

This¬†prevents injury. If you’re unsure, just ask. When you get home, you also can research online or through reading material, too.

I also have a few fitness kids on retainer which is helpful as well.

Do not crowdsource on social media as it will end very poorly.¬†A friend of mine crowd sources everything from diet to fitness to everything in between. Do not do this as it will end up with 100 voices screaming over each other on what works best for them. You gotta do what’s best for you.¬†Ask someone who knows what they’re talking about.

If you’re new to a gym, you might be intimidated by your choice of all the machines.

I find that exploring a gym is the fun part. I hate the treadmill but love the elliptical. Don’t try to do a ton of machines at once. Take a walk around, make note of what you want to try, and then give it a go after you understand how it works.

You should try everything in your gym at least once. You might find that you like something that you thought you would hate!

If you’re new to a gym, you might¬†want to exhaust yourself.

When I go into the gym for the first time, I go at it like a bull. I want to run 50 miles, lift 8,000,000 lbs, and so on. It’s very exciting to get healthy again, I know! But, take it slow if you haven’t been to the gym or been active in a long time. You don’t want to overdo it.

Last night, I simply walk/ran on the treadmill for an hour. Nothing crazy.

Remember, your body¬†needs rest days. Working out 5-6 times a week is good but you have to have a day for your body to relax and recoup! I know a few friends who do 7 times a week which is a little too much but if you’re hell bent on doing 7 days, do light work on day 7 like yoga or a light walk.

If you’re new to a gym, you might¬†want to¬†buy everything in preparation.

I researched Planet Fitness and found out they have lockers, but you have to provide your own pad lock. I went to CVS, bought myself a $5.00 padlock and headed to the gym.

I purchased a gym bag today on Amazon for $20.

Water bottle? I already had. Gym clothes? Already had.

Start slow on buying things. I find that when I finish a month or two of working out and eating healthy, that I reward myself with a new item. New outfit, new workout bra, new shoes. You name it. Some people even do the $1 per workout and then take the money to buy things. If that works for you, do it!

For working out, I can tell you the most important item you will need is¬†good shoes. Good shoes will support you, help you do cardio a little bit better, and will lower back pain and leg pain. I learned this the hard way when I used old, beat up sneakers for my first day at Crossfit. A month later, I got a good pair of running shoes from Nike. It was a life changer. So, if you’re going to¬†buy anything, buy a new pair of kicks. You back will thank me!

If you’re new to a gym, you might beat yourself up over failing.

I have met quite a few athletes in my day. I can promise you that each and every one of them, no matter how fit or healthy they are, slip. I have never met a person who didn’t skip a day at the gym or who cheated on their diet.

And no one judges you on that. I have slipped. My Instagram partners have slipped. My coaches have slipped.

If you mess up, try again the next day. It takes 21 days for our bodies to form habits. If you can crush that first month, it’ll just be easier in time. I know you can do this, keep at it.


If anything, if you’re new to the gym – go you. Stick with it and you’ll be happy with the results.

Are you in a ditch, Meredith? Y/N

  • First and second week of January were dedicated to prepping for a huge convention in Milwaukee. We had a lot of things thrown at us (including, but not limited to – three of our staff members getting wicked sick) so it took me for quite the loop.
  • We have had visitors for three weekends in a row so constant cleaning.
  • Being a god damn¬†activist. So, we are going to get a little political – so, hold onto your seats. After the election results, my entire heart and mind were confused, lost, and angry. So, I did what I learned I needed to do. Between throwing donations at Planned Parenthood and ACLU, calling my representatives every single day, I ran around collecting letters for marginalized friends, volunteering, creating artwork for #makeartnotwar, and making sure my marginalized friends feel as safe as I can make them every single day, and fighting fascism on the internet.
  • Feeling a little down? Anxiety, maybe? I have been completely sluggish (probably due to bad eating and lack of exercise) so we are gonna try this all over again.

Where does that leave our heroine?

Well, I talked to a health-nut friend of mine and I explained that I was hustling hard, eating healthy, and then December hit and I went downhill super quickly. I kept trying but I would slip.

She said, “You’re trying to do too much at once.”

And I always thought doing too much at once was a good thing. You get more done. When it comes to health? You can’t do this. People try to juggle 300 things from nothing and they end up failing because it’s too much. So, slow rolling back into routine and I’ll kick it up each month.

So, I am going to do resolutions/goals by¬†month and not this long string of hopes and dreams that I can’t accomplish in a short period of time. So, revising my list for January, starting tomorrow:

  • 10k on my FitBit every single day, not just weekdays. This is pretty easy to accomplish.
  • Water intake has got to go back to a gallon. I have a nifty water bottle from¬†Lesley and I just got to use it more.
  • Watching what I eat and recording it. Actually having meals and not skipping two to be starving at dinner.
  • Floor exercises in the morning and evening.
  • If I make it to Crossfit this month, great. If I don’t – I have to do an at home WOD.
  • Go back to accountability on Instagram.
  • Get 6-8 hours of sleep (This is the hardest thing to do but I am going to try)

Baby steps to get back into routine.

I gotta applaud¬†Nicia¬†who has fallen into a similar boat with me. It’s nice when you can read something and go, “You know what? Yeah. I feel you.” And it’s that level of closeness and understanding of sharing similar situations and knowing that you got each other to lean on. I know I can do this. I know Nicia can do this. I know we’re gonna kick ass together this year and I am really glad the internet brought us together. She’s rad AF.

Tomorrow, we start.

Good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.

Get out there and vote, y’all! Tomorrow is the last day!

Onto fitness!

So, I have been doing the small meals every day and that seems to be going pretty well! Yesterday, however, I made the largest mistake.

We were out of food. This never ever happens. It was 12 midnight. We caved and got fast food. And mind you, not good fast food. McDonald’s. Which we gave up for seven years but it was the only thing open. Even with a grilled chicken salad, it still made me violently ill.

After being sick all morning, we vowed to never do that again. Never again have bare cabinets or just go to bed starving because why in the hell did we think this was a good idea.

I have had nothing to eat today because I am so sick from that. But, good news with gaining back my appetite. Mike is making green beans and pumpkin wheat ravioli tonight with a killer kale salad.

After we do the WOD. It doesn’t look terrible but y’all know how this goes. The easy looking ones are the literal worst.

This month at work, we have to have a coworker make a “morning workout routine” for us. I got Pauline, a yoga instructor. So she designed me a morning salutation workout. I am very excited to do it!

December, I am giving up alcohol. I want to see how drastic it affects my weight loss (I already know this answer). 

I am still training for Savage Race. Now with it being colder out, I gotta grab my cardio off the rower.

FitBit continues to go well. My sister is getting way more competitive and my friends are, too! It’s a good time every week.

And that’s about it for today, y’all.