Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Transformation Tuesday

As I make small steps in my fitness journey and overall health, it helps to take pictures along the way to reflect on all the changes I have made and appreciate the process, no matter how slow. Sharing said pictures is a different story, and although I'm sure there is someone who could relate to my story and needs some motivation to take small steps themselves, I just never imagined sharing personal pictures of my weight and ever changing body. ...until now. 

My fitness journey is like so many others I have read about. A constant battle of yo-yo dieting, lowering calories to lose weight, not understanding the damage on my metabolism and overall health. Two pregnancies, an eating disorder and a mountain of insecurities, I can safely say I have come a long way, and my journey has only just begun. 

I don't really know how many people will read this, or if someone can even relate remotely to my story, but it has been such a great outlet to be able to write about my accomplishments, and I'm hoping by posting some pictures, it will remind me just how far I've CW and to never give up!

I could not find a good picture of me from 2004, but I hit an altimeter low weight of around 130lbs. I am 5'10", and was anorexic and frail. My hair was falling out and my teeth were deteriorating quickly. In the picture to the left, November 2008, I was around 170lbs. My son was 18 months and I just kept excepting my body as a "mother's body."  None of the weight came off before getting pregnant with my daughter (center picture October  2009), when I tipped the scale at 180lbs. 

Today I am a healthy 150(ish)lbs. It took several months to adjust my mind from craving the scale to show me 140lbs. I had to retrain my brain to understand that the weight I have gained is from loss of fat and gain of muscle. I try not to weigh myself, and remember that today I am happier than when I was cutting calories. Today I am fit, not skinny. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Diet and Exercise. Yes please.

I have been asked by a few people how I got in to my current iifym (if it fits your macros) diet and what exercises I do, so I thought I would give a bit of a back ground story about where I've been, where I am, and where I am going with my fitness and nutrition. I got in to running about 2 years ago. Prior to this, I thought running was the worst form of exercise I could not run a mile without stopping, had a hard time with my breathing, and loathed the people around me who found peace in the activity. Somehow, I taught myself, little by litte, how to work up to a mile or more without having to stop and low and behold, one day I found a runners high. I loved it. Over the next year I started running in the mornings, sometimes becoming obsessed with it, and rarely taking a day off. I mostly ran 3-4 miles a day with a longer 5-8 mile run once a week. I dropped 5-10lbs easily and loved my thinner physique. Along with my runs, I had a personal trainer that was willing to come to my home once to twice a week for strength training, mostly WODS and crossfit type exercises. Then my husband and I bought a Breville juicer and incorporated juicing in to our daily lifestyle. We cut out most processed foods, junk food and any fast food we were eating. Healthy eating habits were important for a healthy life, as well as a way to show our children how to care for their bodies. As with most things in my life, my new eating habits were not enough for me. I found an excuse to cut out gluten and within a week of changing to an entirely GF diet, I also decided to go vegan and cut out most sugar. Crazy, I know. Perhaps it was from watching multiple documentaries on Netflix, like Food Inc, Fork Over Knife or Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Whatever the reason, I forced myself to stick to a strick diet, often feeling hungry throughout the day, craving foods I was denying myself, and probably lacking vital nutrients. I stuck to this diet throughout the summer of 2012. Occasionally I would cave to my sugar cravings and sneak a cookie or ice cream. Along with my excessive exercise habits, I also went on a month long binge of running every single day, I started feeling pain in my right hip. I didn't know at the time if it was from running or possibly an injury from one of my workouts, but eventually I spoke to a specialist that explained I had a hip impingement. I was given a few options; I could get a cortisone shot given during an MRI, hip surgery (whaaa???) or take active rest and refrain from any workouts for a minimum of a month. I hate needles, was not about to jump in to a surgery, so I opted for the time off. Initially I did not think I would be able to last an entire month, but eventually I got comfortable with sleeping in rather than waking up each morning at 5:30am to workout. So started my evil black and white cycle of taking time off of working out. After my time off, I jumped right back in to a heavy workout schedule. Running 5 days a week and various workouts 2-3 days a week. Since I had so much time off from working out, I would easily injure myself again or my hip impingement would flare up, so I would take another week or two from working out. This yo-yo cycle was not contained to just working out. My eating habits tend to go hand in hand with exercise, so naturally I would fall off that wagon as well. From November of 2012 till March 2013, I had gained 20lbs and suffered multiple sports related injuries such as a dislocated shoulder, pinched sciatic nerve, swollen hips and joint pains. I was obviously not happy with myself and something had to be done.
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My first step in exercise abuse recovery was getting away from the exercise that was causing so many injuries. I realized running could not be my primary source of exercise. I started BodyPump, a weight lifting class at 24 Hour Fitness, and replaced running with cycling. It took awhile to adjust to a new workout and cardio routine, but I have been injury free since March and that alone has been worth it. My second step was creating a healthy relationship with food. I was still eating clean 90% of the time, but was still feeling hungry, fatigued, and often left with strong cravings for sugar. I started seeing more people talk about Macros and how important it was to not worry about just the number of calories I was eating in a day, but really focusing on the overall nutrition and balance of good fats, carbs and protein. The more I adopted this way of eating, the less hungry I felt. Slowly my sugar cravings were curbed. I mean, how can you crave sugar when you are allowed to eat peanut butter and chocolate flavored protein shakes?!
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Since no one I knew personally was tracking macros, I started following as many people as I could on InstaGram that was following a macro nutrition or iifym diet. I figured out that the website www.iifym.com had a calculator that would tell me exactly how many of each vital nutrient I needed in a day to achieve my desired fitness goal. I can not say it has been easy without the help of a professional nutritionist or a coach, but it is not impossible. I still feel like I am adjusting my numbers to fit my desired outcome, but in the short time of following this flexible diet, I have already seen a significant change. For more information, daily recipes or fitness motivation, follow me on my InstaGram @livingsemicrunchy Instagram

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cauliflower Salad

I recently came across a gluten free recipe for tabbouleh that replaced the couscous with cauliflower. I really wanted to attempt this dish, but didn't have any of the proper ingredients left from my recent trip to the farm, so I decided to make the dish with what I had left in the refrigerator. What I came up with was a fresh, crisp summer salad. A great alternative to rice, pasta or couscous. Here's what I added;

1⃣ Cauliflower head, grated
2⃣ Cucumber, diced with skin on
3⃣ Jalepeño, diced
4⃣ Red onion, diced
5⃣ 2 limes, juiced
6⃣ Black pepper 
7⃣ Garlic salt (or your seasoning of choice 

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and let it marinate in the fridge for a couple hours before serving with our dinner. 

Half a grilled chicken breast, SooFoo, cauliflower salad and half an avocado. All in a days macros!


Epic dinner, all in a days macros!

This week I have made another new diet change and have decided that counting my calories was obviously not healthy or nutritious, so instead I have started counting my macros. I am still getting the hang of it, but got my information from www.iifym.com which stands for; "If It Fits Your Macros." One of the things I know I was not getting enough of was carbs, especially since I was primarily gluten free, so imagine my excitement when I realized I had enough room in macros for a One Bun pita! 
It may have been my favorite part of dinner tonight! I honestly don't remember the last time I had real wheat bread! 

My hubby sautéed some red onions with avocado oil and added some of our pre prepped chicken. 
I cut some fresh avocado and shoved it all in a toasted pita with my favorite sauce, Siracha! 
I was one happy camper tonight!
Nomnomnom! I think I like this macros stuff!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Green Smoothie

I have been making smoothies for a couple weeks now, and never really follow a recipe. I try to use as little sweetener as possible, occasionally adding some pitted dates to even out the earthy tast of kale or beets. I figured I would start writing down some of my recipes. For my own reference, or in case others would like a new recipe. Here is this mornings Green Smoothie; 2 large kale leaves 1/3 large English cucumber (skin on) 1/2 kiwi (skin on) 1 spear pineapple 1 small turmeric root 4 pitted dates 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk handful of ice
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I blended all these in my Vitamix. It made enough for me and my husband. Enjoy! Instagram

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gluten Free Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Although there has been a whole year since my last blog post and many reasons I could give as to what has kept me so busy, I will just head first in to my 1st post since going dark. After several weeks of walking past the Vitamix machine in my local Costco and doing some brief research, I finally decided to make the commitment. It could have been the yummy soup I sampled one afternoon, but it was mostly because my son thought the spinach smoothie was ice cream... umm, yes please! It was a sad day in our household for our Breville juicer, but the Vitamix has certainly proved it's worth of counter space. I have made several smoothies from that day two weeks ago, but yesterday I decided to use it for somehting basic. Mixing. I had also bought a new gluten free pancake mix from Costco, and decided to use the Vitamix as a simple mixer, but of course, the Vitamix is not a simple mixer. I decided to ass fresh, organic blueberries and a few dates to sweeten the mix. The kids loved the deep purple/blue color and devoured them quickly. Here is my recipe.
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1 cup Wildroots Ancient Grain Gluten Free Pancake mix 1/3 cup unsweetened Almond Milk 1/4 cup filtered water 1 tsp coconut oil 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup fresh organic blueberries 4 pitted dates (for sweetness and fiber) I blended all the ingredients above in my Vitamix before pouring the mix in a hot pan. My kids love their pancakes thin like crepes, so we rolled ours before devouring them. If you find the mix to be a bit thinner than you like, you can use a bit more pancake mix. Also, I kept this recipe vegan, however, you can add egg or egg whites as a binder and more fluffy pancake. Instagram