fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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awareness

Beth’s OLW for 2019

 

Overdue post.

I’ve joined in the OLW (One Little Word) trend every year for the last few.  I’ve had words like focus, joy, more, and yes act as a tone-setter or guide through the year.  It usually takes me a few days to settle on one after thinking about where I am in my life and how I hope to grow.

What about 2019? After considering options like courage, go, and forward, one word kept coming back to me.

Fearless.

I originally didn’t like it since fearless strikes me a negative word.  It is about the lack of fear, instead of a positive trait like courage or fortitude.  But, then I thought about myself.  I do have a lot of fears.  I operate from worry and fear too much of the time.  I let worry keep me from taking on challenges, tasks, and possible joys. I want LESS of that for myself.  People notice when I am acting from a place of confidence and energy.  I carry myself and approach the world differently.  It shows.

So, fearless it is.  Fearless captures the power, the passion, the strength I hope to embody this year. I know this won’t mean I am suddenly unafraid or free from worry. It’s more about changing how I react to worries. I’ve already noticed myself telling friends not to get hung up on what they can’t control.  Not to operate from a place of fear.  In those moments, as I encourage friends to confront fears, I am encouraging and reminding myself, too.

Maybe I’m finally learning that, in the end, I’m the only one who catalogs my failures, not to mention the things I don’t even try to do in the first place (which are even bigger failures).  I’ve got to push forward and keep growing into myself.

This week’s example: sled pushes.  My first reaction was NO. I’m scared! I’ll get hurt! I’m too weak! (In my fearful, defensive voice!)

Then my good friend KT encouraged me to do it. Well…

And so I double checked with Coach Alex to be sure I was minimizing the chance of injury or aggravation.  He gave me form tips and the green light.  So, in front of people much stronger than me, I pushed the darn sled.  Faster and heavier than I would have ever done on my own.

Fears do come up.  They always will. It’s my choice to bow to them or challenge them.

Friends and coaches who know where I’m coming from and where I’m going help me keep pushing, fearlessly. (And in the pic below, I imagine Superman telling me I can do it, too!)

I’ll share updates about this as the year goes on.  Cheers to fearless, 2019.

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Grinding Out the Meters (and Dancing)

You wake up on Saturday, and see a workout like this:

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500+ meter run

25 alternating dumbbell snatch (so 50, really…)

25 calorie row

2,500 meter bike

30 alternating dumbbell snatch (yup, 60…)

30 calorie row

3,000 meter bike

35 alternating dumbbell snatch (you guessed it, 70…sigh…)

35 calorie row

3,500 meter bike

10 heavy ball over shoulder

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What do you do?  Some people get up and do it anyway.  Some people just stay home.

There are definitely days when I don’t feel like doing it, but I do it anyway and find my groove as I go along.  I am off my game if I don’t get there.

I will say, though, that I didn’t dread this workout too too much. Most of it is bike, and bike is my jam. I’m better at sprints than long distance, but I can still push through long meters pretty well.  It is not a slog, as it is for many.  Just like there are people who fly through burpees or running, when I am just trying to keep moving, slow as I am. Ever since I met the bike, we get along (most days).

This Saturday we added some classic tunes, and next thing you know I am dancing from the waist up as my screaming quads continued to grind it out. One of the amazing people at our box snapped a pic and some video. (Check out and follow our instagram feed for the video, posting soon!)

I debated on posting this picture.  It maybe isn’t the most flattering look, since it shows what I call my “flotation device” (stubborn belly flab).  My negative inner voice even wondered why I still look like a before picture when I’ve been working on health, fitness, and nutrition for years now.

But then I thought, this shows me being healthy, silly, and energetic.  And considering I was in a room with about 40 people I am still getting to know, I’m glad I felt that free, both with all of them and within myself.  That’s progress. Sharing it with you, flab and all, is even more so.

So, I ask you, in the middle of the grind, what makes you dance?  What makes you strong?  What makes you move? What makes you push yourself?

What makes you free?

Embrace the path you’re riding down, and the people you choose to share it with.

fitness and nutrition

Strengthening My Patience Muscles

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I’ve had a setback.  An injury.  My lower back flared up on Sunday. I was just sitting in a chair and turned the wrong way, I suppose.

It is the same area where I’ve had pain before.  I dropped everything and laid down.  Heat, cold, Advil, rest, rest, repeat.

I know tons of people think CrossFit is dangerous.  But, in case you are tempted to comment with an “I told you so,” I’ll just point out that it is much more dangerous to be sedentary.  My form could always be better, no matter how hard my coaches work to improve me.  Perhaps I’ve gotten overconfident while trying to increase my weights.  I still stay away from barbells for the most part, but I have been pushing myself on dumbbells.  Who knows.  I am still learning.

If you speak to even the fittest people at my gym, many have injury stories.  That may be just athletes in general.  It’s part of the process.  Of having a body.

So, I’m back to basics.  Just walking.  Trying to move.  I made it to the gym once to get on the air runner (to walk) and rode some meters on the bike erg.  It was good to see people even though I couldn’t do the workout. But for the most part I am just walking at the park, solo. I have to say, it’s pretty boring and hard to find motivation to cover any serious distance.  I miss the box. Some of the joy is in the camaraderie. It’s hard to believe I used to do this kind of solo walk / running every day.  I can’t imagine that now, although a fair amount of solo exercise is in my near future.

It is very hard to be patient. My patience muscles are some of my weakest. It’s especially challenging to wait on an injury you can’t see. No timeline. No visible progress. Just waiting.

I’ll be core strengthening and stretching more, too.  Again, weak muscles. A different kind of discipline.

So, for now, I’m bundling up. Putting one foot in front of the other. Up a hill and down then up again.

dare to be different, hustle

Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?

We were out of school one day this week.

Naturally, I arrived at the gym at 6:30am.

A friend greeted me: “You’re off today.  Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?”

Maybe.  And many people would be snuggled up on a frigid January morning (and were!) But, for someone like me, a day off of work is a chance to start my day at the gym.  Although I was #team530am for nearly a year, my current schedule of work / life responsibilities doesn’t allow for crack-of-dawn workouts very often.  I miss that morning jolt of energy! There’s nothing like conquering a workout before the sun comes up. The time will come again.  Life just has its seasons.  #team430pm will have to do for now, as often as I can get there.

So, while others were relishing a few extra minutes of sleep, I was working on my burpee box jump overs, thrusters, and assault bike. Might not sound like fun to some, but it carried me on a wave of confidence and accomplishment for the rest of the day. Yes, it was challenging.  Yes, it asked a lot of me. But, as the corner of one of the signs in our box says, surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.  Getting to the box does just that, for one part of my life’s mission: to be healthy, strong, confident. All the friends who scraped themselves out of bed to workout are on their own version of that mission with me. This is also why online communities like the Stronger U group and many others are so helpful.

What mission are you on?  Do you surround yourself with others who are on that journey, to encourage each other and show up even when it is hard?

friendship

A Pic is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it Clicks?)

 

This pic says so much about the stories and adventures of Chick 1 and Chick 2, aka KT and Beth. Is it worth a click?

A pic is like a piece of chocolate in today’s internet-crazy world – tempting. One picture can make or break person’s image online. One picture can lure someone to to the darkside. One picture can get a click, a like or go viral. Just one click. Just one pic.

Enter the above picture. Grainy at best. Boring to some. Intriguing to others. A Thelma and Louise duo of sorts. Two trailblazers setting out to tackle whatever life throws at them. Today it may be a road trip but tomorrow it could be a covert operation.

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but that is what #1095Days is all about. The ups, the downs and everything in between that these two muddle their way through on the daily. Endless opportunities right there in the front seat. The pictures captured are part of the stories.

Fulltime jobs, Mom duties, business partners, athletes, mentors, the list goes on as do the adventures and challenges on the ride. Buckle up, you are virtually engaged in this project. Keep following the hashtag online to see more tidbits as they are released. #1095Days

No two days are the same. This pic will be a story told in our upcoming project. A sleuth adventure that neither planned. An adventure that could have left them both in tears but instead it was met with smiles and a “we got this” attitude.

No outfits were planned but when they connected both were in dark clothing dressed for a caper. What a surreal experience unfolding in the blink of an eye. KT grabs the camera to capture the crazy. Beth in her firm tone says “don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!” (Of course, she dared.)

Look again at the pic. KT has a devilish smile as she snaps. Beth has a look of horror as she focuses on road ahead.

Enter the hoodies, a dark night and a zest for life, the duo took on the adventure ahead including sleuthing. True badassery if I do say so myself.

Of course, they found time to stop at Starbucks and fuel their adventure before the suburbanites hit the road. Sorry to leave you with a cliff hanger but that is how the #1095Days project was designed.

As the new day appeared the duo met up at their local gym for an action shot as a fellow gym goer took a pic of the two authors side by side. Normally the Chicks work out at different times but there is one day a week that their schedules collide. It’s a Saturday and both had separate workouts but put in an extra cardio session together. Once again solidifying the adventures of the dynamic author duo. Bound together like book bindings. True adventurers. Another in our #1095Days.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

From “They Think I Can” back to “I Think I Can”

 

One of my favorite kids’ stories is The Little Engine that Could.  This might surprise people who know me well, since I am not always known for my positive mindset.  I tend to be cautious, take baby steps, and keep my expectations conservative (at best.)

In case it’s been a while, the Little Blue Engine, when faced with an enormous task, takes it on, chugs along, and tells herself “I Think I Can” as she pulls train cars loaded with toys over a tall mountain.  At the end, she is a hero to the kids on the other side.

I think like this story so much because it is a challenge to me.  At time, my inner mindset is “What if I can’t? What if I hurt myself? Make a fool of myself? What if I fail?”  Then, if repeated often enough, it becomes “I can’t. I’ll fail.” End of story.

This is where friends and coaches come in.  I’m lucky to have several people around me who believe in me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my negativity. Who tell me that THEY think I can.

Enter Coach Alex.  I’ve talked before about injuries I’ve had at the gym.  I do modify movements, keep weights light, and scale in all kinds of ways.  Although it is mostly for safety purposes, there are still times I forget to challenge myself and just basically coast.

One movement that scares me is box jumps.  Body weight movements are just challenging and coordination is not my strong point.  An aggravated Achilles last year was another setback.  I had worked back up to step-ups, often with weight, but Alex got me jumping again.  He prefers jumps to step-overs and step-ups.  I moved from dumbbells, to two plates, up to three.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then one of those friends that challenges me asked me, “So how much higher is it to actually jump on the box?  It can’t be that much higher.”

Which got me thinking.  (Maybe I can?)

She had noticed I was jumping higher and thought that was great, but she isn’t one to let me just rest on my laurels.  The best kind of friend, even though being challenged may not always feel the best.

So between Alex and my friend, I knew the day to try was coming. Today turned out to be that day.  Box jumps in the workout.  As we were getting set up I grabbed the box and, unceremoniously, walked it across the gym to a tucked-away corner (in case I face- planted), set it down, stared at it for a minute and…

remembered what Coach Alex said.  Jump with everything you have.  Feet wider, pump my arms, focus on the box.

Then I remembered my friend, and thought “it isn’t that much higher than what I’ve already conquered.”  (I think I can….gulp).

And I jumped!

And I jumped!

And I jumped! Again and again, 52 times all together.  A few shaky landings and wobbly knees, but NO face plants or scarred shins.  Success.

It doesn’t read as nicely as the children’s story.  There’s not really a happy ending, cheering children, an unlikely hero…for me, there’s only maybe a happy ending to a chapter, then a look at what comes next. (A higher box?)

Thankful for friends and coaches who remind us that we can, when we’ve forgotten what we can accomplish.  Changing our minds can lead to changing our lives, whether in the gym, the classroom, in the living room, or just about anywhere.