Week 5: The Excuse Train

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Christ, I need to get my eyebrows done.

We are into Week 5!

Woo!

Last week, I hit the gym twice. Which is not something too exciting. Mike and I were going through some fun times with moving things around for his job so we were busy all last week and barely had a moment to breathe.

This week, I have hit the gym twice so far (taking today to do body weight exercises) and continue to rock Thursday as well as Friday, too.

I was talking to a friend this week about how they can’t find the willpower or motivation to go consecutively to workout. Let me tell you, friend.

If you think every single athlete in the world never misses a gym day, you are so incredibly wrong.

Remember, it’s¬†okay if you miss. Don’t beat yourself up but don’t make it a habit. If you miss, just make the effort to go the next day. It takes 21 days to make a habit so you gotta keep on top of it and it’ll get easier, I promise. No one is perfect in any stretch. Just keep going!

Some tips for not missing the gym (Doesn’t work for everyone but if you want to try!):

  • Make it a meeting in your calendar. I live and die by my Planner and Google Calendar. If I see it, I know that it’s on my To-Do List.
  • Bargain with Yourself.¬†Every day I go to the gym, I bargain with myself. I say, “If I go today, I’ll take off tomorrow.” I never take off tomorrow but I tell myself I will to motivate me.
  • Keep a Journal. When I¬†really don’t want to go, I look back on my progress. I try to write in it here and there about what goals I achieved. How good I felt. It reminds me that going is better than not.
  • Count Down. I set a time specific to go the gym. I always go before rush so I don’t have to fight people for the machines. If I go at 2:00, I have a goal to get my day work done and housework so I can do it. “2 more hours. I am going to do laundry.” “One more hour. I got to start getting ready.” and then when it’s time, I have no distractions, work, or housework.
  • Singing Reminders. I am a terrible singer, but I have a song I sing when I am getting ready that is basically, “Go to the gym” over and over. I sing it when I put my clothes on, get in my car, and go. I am hearing it, saying it, experiencing it.
  • Rewards. I will admit I am¬†not on top of this but when I remember, it helps. For every workout, I reward myself with $1. That way, when I get enough money and reap the benefits of working out, I can get a new workout item (clothes!).
  • Following Inspirational People on Instagram. While you may not be rockin’ Crossfit, I follow a few of their top athletes from Stacie Tovar to Julie Foucher (which is easy. She works out at my Cleveland Box). But, also, I have picked up some friends along the way. My friend Nicia is always rockin’ updates. When I am in a slump and I see that they have hit the gym, it sparks me to get moving.
  • Social Media Accountability. There was an article that a friend of mine posted that said those who post their workouts are sociopaths. Call me a sociopath, but it’s literally the most beneficial for me. I don’t post my workouts to say, “Look what I did” but instead, I post them to say, “I did this. I need to be held accountable.” I also sometimes will look back at it and go, “I didn’t want to go that day, but I did!”
  • Accountabilibuddy.¬†My husband is mine (though he’s slid since changing jobs. But, that’ll change soon!) but sometimes I would check in with another CF’er and say, “Hey! I went to the gym today. When are you going next?” And you motivate each other that way. You don’t have to go to the same exact gym at the same exact time to have an accountabilibuddy.

You may even find your own way to motivate yourself. If it works, stick with it. You can do this. I know you can.

Week 4: The Hardest Discussion

As I am eating my carrots and hummus, I thought I would give an update.

Last week, I dragged and went to the gym once and I did a workout video at home that was brutal. I am not going to beat myself up about it but instead just get right back into it. I know I have to leave within the next hour, however, or the gym is a huge party and everyone is the world is invited.

I had a discussion with my friend¬†J.R. after he returned from my Crossfit Box on Thursday. We talked about what works for us and what doesn’t work for us. I have been enjoying my time at¬†Planet Fitness because I can go in, not talk to anyone, put my earbuds in, and rock out on my workout. This actually works best for me.

Our Crossfit Box, recently, decided to get political. While I am always down for community, it went in the opposite direction. Without details, we have an image around the box now that is a bit unsettling and I am not sure how to bring it up to my Head Coach. I want to go back to Crossfit, but I am battling with it. I could easily go to the box, keep my head down, workout, and move on. But, right now, I am not too comfortable with it.

Which sucks, honestly. But, I have to make a decision on if I go back or if I go to another box. That’s the joy, I think, of fitness in general. You don’t have to stick around for the same exact workout at the same exact location. I enjoy trying new things and I hope that you do, too.

What was nice about the conversation, however, was that we both were supportive of each other’s processes. I find that in the fitness world (of any kind), there is this weird competition that is unspoken of. If you Crossfit, people will tell you that you’re an addict. If you lift at a gym, but don’t Crossfit, you should be doing Crossfit. If your friend dances and does yoga throughout the week, they’ll probably tell you why it is the best.

Here’s the problem with that. There is no perfect workout regime that is a one-size fits all situations.

Any movement of any kind is good and you have to find out what works best for you. This goes along with, too, the other side of it. If your friend reaches out to you and asks what works best for you, always remember that it might not work best for them.

People have asked me about Crossfit and I tell them, “I love it! It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy the community atmosphere. But, it’s not for everyone.” I see it all the time on social media where people will get in drag out fights over what is the best thing. Don’t be that person in the drag out fight. If someone asks, hey, what kinds of workouts do you do? Tell them! But, be supportive of their fitness decision. That’s the most important thing.

If you’re just starting in fitness, I highly suggest you try something new every week. If you have the funds, I suggest you try ClassPass¬†in which you can try different classes through the month and see what works best for you. The whole point, however, of fitness and being the best you is¬†you have to find what is best for you. Same goes for dieting. A nutritionist will never give the same exact diet to every person. They cater it to fit the person and see what works best for them.

What matters most is that you move. You get to decide how. No one else (except a licensed professional.)

I am off to the gym, now. I hope your weeks are amazing like you!

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!

February Plan

So, January (after Midwinter), I:

  • Tracked food.
  • Walked 10k a day.
  • Drank a whole butt load of water.
  • Ate healthy

In February, I plan to:

  • Continue January Goals.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Go to Planet Fitness 3 times a week for cardio and will increase times when I get comfortable with three.
  • Go to Crossfit once – three times a week with Mike.
    • However many times Mike does not go to CF, I’ll supplement weight training at PF.

Exciting news, too. My friend Leia, my very best girl, has been wanting to get in shape for some time. Crossfit was too much heavy lifting, yoga was expensive, and so on. I proposed Planet Fitness to her and she is all about it. So, I have a workout partner! Which is pretty exciting.

I called PF to see if I can come in tonight, late, when Mike goes to bed. They said absolutely as they are staffed 24-7. I am pretty excited that I will be able to go whenever I want.

I am feeling really motivated right now. I know that if I can’t go to Crossfit, I have a 24-7 gym at my disposal. No excuses.

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.

2016: Year in Review

Well, it’s almost the New Year.

This year has been up and down and back again. I was pretty consistent with diet and workout up until last month where it turned sporadic.

We have a new team member that I needed to train and now, he’s off for a week so I am juggling two jobs. Late hours have happened but it ends this weekend. 

I did, however, complete one major goal.

That major goal was doing a box jump. This seems SUPER easy to do but my brain would not allow me to even breathe near a box. This was huge for me.

I did go to Crossfit three-four times a week up until last month.

I went over 200# on my backsquat.

I went over 275# on my deadlift.

I had some challenging weeks with Coach Carl. He’s off the map again so I am on my own. This time, I am not waiting around for him. I love and respect my Coach but the distance of two states seems to be almost impossible. I think I was in my mind that I would reach my goal this year but I waited and I can’t do that to myself.

Eating healthy is becoming second nature for Mike and I. It was a challenge, don’t get me wrong but finally he likes healthy stuff and we had a nice long talk yesterday. Now that Mike is a brewer, he works out every single day and asking to do Crossfit is a daunting task. Since I am at my desk all day, I don’t get this luxury. But, after explaining how important it is to me, he understands that he has to go with me. I love support systems. They work well.

I picked up smoking again (I know, I know) but gonna try again after Midwinter. I told Mike I would quit before and he laughed and laughed. That convention is the most stressful one next to GenCon. So, Tuesday after Midwinter, I am gonna try again. For those who have done this, it’s not easy. I just gotta pull the trigger and stick with it.

So, now onto 2017.

  • Run a mile, unbroken. 
  • Quit smoking.
  • Crossfit at least three times a week.
  • Keep up with my FitBit steps.
  • If I miss Crossfit, I will do an at home WOD, no questions.
  • Switch from beer to red wine.
  • Continue eating healthy.
  • Pay more attention to form. 
  • Do an assisted pull-up. Another head game of mine. I know I can do it but my body is not having it.
  • Do the Rennisance Diet after Midwinter.
  • Check in and record my progress.
  • Use a measuring tape for real and throw out the scale.

Rewards for completion:

  • New wardrobe.
  • Scrub cleaning the bathroom of smoke stains and re painting it. 
  • Teeth whitening.
  • New workout gear.
  • A rower.

What are your resolutions? I believe in you. I know we can do this together.