Memorial Day Murph

Memorial Day is always a special time to us, and we annually seek out a ceremony to attend in order to show honor to all those who have lost their lives for our country.  Yesterday, Rob and I participated in a new (for us) Memorial Day event that I was introduced to through my Crossfit box called Memorial Day Murph.  We may have a new family tradition!

Many Crossfit workouts are named after heroes – various people who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  “The Murph” was named after a Navy SEAL named Lt. Michael Murphy.  The story has it that this particular workout was one of his favorite crossfit workouts and he performed it multiple times a week.  Unfortunately, on June 28, 2005 he was killed in action in Afghanistan.  Now each year on Memorial Day, Crossfitters from all over gather together to complete this workout in his honor, and also to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

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Oh, and to make it even more challenging….to truly do this workout Rx style (“as prescribed”), you also wear a 20-pound vest!  We didn’t do that this time, but many people did.

My local box made this into a huge event! So many people came – from our own box, and other boxes in the area.  There was food and a bounce house for kids, and so many people bringing donations for the Wounded Warrior Foundation!  The workout was split up into heats of around 10 people each that were staggered to start every 30 minutes.

Rob and I were part of the first heat and I think we did great!  My amazing hubby agreed to do the workout with me and was by my side the entire time.  Running is still really hard for me (but I’m getting better!), so my runs were super slow – but he was right there pacing himself with me! He could have easily lapped me since he’s an experienced runner, but instead he was right there beside me cheering me on (and even singing to me when I asked for music) as I jogged my way through that first…and then the last…mile.  That meant the world to me!  I was so proud!! I managed to run the 1st mile COMPLETELY without walking at all!  That was a milestone for me. When I first started Crossfit, I could barely run 200m (1/8 mile) without stopping.  I might have been slow, but it wasn’t a race.  It was all about each person doing their own workout competing only against themselves.

When I went into this, I told myself I would be proud of myself if I even completed 1/4 or 1/2 of “The Murph”.  I’ve never done it before, and I’m still working on my very-scaled pull-ups.  In Crossfit, scaling an exercise means adapting it to your ability.  I can’t do strict pull-ups yet, so I use a resistance band on the bar that I put one foot in to help provide some assistance in pulling myself up.  The bands are like giant rubber bands in various strengths each providing a different amount of help.  I use the biggest one that gives the most help….for now.  My goal is to be on a much smaller band, or not at all, by next year!

Anyway, I was shooting for completing 1/4 – 1/2 of the workout, but when I hit the 1/4 mark I knew I could keep going!  Then I got to the 1/2 mark, and I knew I still had some life left in me so I kept going some more.  Just past the halfway mark, my muscles started to fail so I set my sights on doing 3/4 and I did it!!!

I did 75 pull-ups, 150 push-ups, and 225 squats!  Then, I completed the last full mile run again with Rob by my side.  I did stop and walk a little bit a few times, but I ran most of it.  So so proud of my accomplishment!

1 mile run + 75 pull-ups + 150 pushups + 225 squats + 1 mile run = 1 hour 3 minutes!!

Rob did the FULL Murph in the same amount of time, but his time would have been much faster if he ran on his own.  He was more interested in doing it WITH me than in getting a fast time though.  I love you, Babe!!!

 

I want to share with you the story behind Lt. Michael Murphy.  I found this posted online and it’s a great read as a reminder of why we have Memorial Day, and why we were willing to go through a little physical suffering in honor of all those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Why Memorial Day Murph was started:

On June 28, 2005, deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, a very committed four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a reconnaissance mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. The SEALs, Lt. Michael Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell had a vital task. The four SEALs were scouting Ahmad Shah – a terrorist in his mid-30s who grew up in the adjacent mountains just to the south.

Under the assumed name Muhammad Ismail, Shah led a guerrilla group known to locals as the “Mountain Tigers” that had aligned with the Taliban and other militant groups close to the Pakistani border. The SEAL mission was compromised when the team was spotted by local nationals, who presumably reported its presence and location to the Taliban.

A fierce firefight erupted between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force of more than 50 anti-coalition militia. The enemy had the SEALs outnumbered. They also had terrain advantage. They launched a well-organized, three-sided attack on the SEALs. The firefight continued relentlessly as the overwhelming militia forced the team deeper into a ravine.

Trying to reach safety, the four men, now each wounded, began bounding down the mountain’s steep sides, making leaps of 20 to 30 feet. Approximately 45 minutes into the fight, pinned down by overwhelming forces, Dietz, the communications petty officer, sought open air to place a distress call back to the base. But before he could, he was shot in the hand, the blast shattering his thumb.

Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

An MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent is as part of an extraction mission to pull out the four embattled SEALs. The MH-47 was escorted by heavily-armored, Army attack helicopters. Entering a hot combat zone, attack helicopters are used initially to neutralize the enemy and make it safer for the lightly-armored, personnel-transport helicopter to insert.

The heavy weight of the attack helicopters slowed the formation’s advance prompting the MH-47 to outrun their armored escort. They knew the tremendous risk going into an active enemy area in daylight, without their attack support, and without the cover of night. Risk would, of course, be minimized if they put the helicopter down in a safe zone. But knowing that their warrior brothers were shot, surrounded and severely wounded, the rescue team opted to directly enter the oncoming battle in hopes of landing on brutally hazardous terrain.

As the Chinook raced to the battle, a rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter, killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, Murphy, Luttrell, Dietz and Axelson, continued the fight. By the end of the two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Axelson and Dietz had been killed. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead.

The fourth SEAL, Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket propelled grenade and was knocked unconscious. Regaining consciousness some time later, Luttrell managed to escape – badly injured – and slowly crawl away down the side of a cliff. Dehydrated, with a bullet wound to one leg, shrapnel embedded in both legs, three vertebrae cracked; the situation for Luttrell was grim. Rescue helicopters were sent in, but he was too weak and injured to make contact. Traveling seven miles on foot he evaded the enemy for nearly a day. Gratefully, local nationals came to his aid, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three days. The Taliban came to the village several times demanding that Luttrell be turned over to them. The villagers refused. One of the villagers made his way to a Marine outpost with a note from Luttrell, and U.S. forces launched a massive operation that rescued him from enemy territory on July 2.

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.

This was the second worst single-day U.S. Forces death toll since Operation Enduring Freedom began nearly six years ago. It was the single largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.

Just don’t quit

In my last post I told you about Crossfit and some of the great things about it.  Now I want to share a story with you about something that happened to me a few weeks ago so you can really understand why I love it so much.

One Saturday morning 3 weeks ago, I was driving to my Crossfit box for the morning workout.  It had been a while since I had been there so I was just praying all the way there that it would be a strength based workout.  I love those.  Lifting heavy weights makes me feel strong, and even though it’s hard, I’m much more capable at those than other things.  Like running.  Or burpees.

If you don’t know what a burpee is, watch this.  It looks easy, doesn’t it?  Go ahead and try one.  Better yet, try 5 in a row.  Not as easy as it looks, especially when combined with other exercises.

I arrived at the box, took a look at the workout board and saw that God had answered my prayer with a big “NO”.  Obviously, he wanted me to grow mentally that day.  He wanted me outside of my comfort zone.  He wanted me to have to depend on HIM to get me through.

The WOD (workout of the day) was a long run (long for me anyway – it was really only 2 miles, but I’ve never run that far before), and along the way we had to stop several times and do burpees.   Seriously?  I got sick to my stomach just seeing that.  I STINK at running.  And at burpees.  But it got worse.

Then the trainer tells us that we will be doing this in teams.  I take a look around and as I look at who is there, I know that whoever my teammate is – I will be slowing them down.  I got paired up with a girl who is great at running. That made me feel guilty before we even started.  I felt like a child all over again and no one wants to be THAT kid that loses the game for everyone.

I was literally in tears before we even started.  I won’t lie, I was having some anxiety about the whole thing.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

At this point, my sweet friend who introduced me to this place came over and joined my team.  She volunteered to run just so she could come along and encourage me. Who does that? She’ll never know how great that made me feel.

So, we head out on our run and sure enough, our group was in the back of the pack.  But you know what I found? No one cared.  No one cared WHERE we were.  After all, it wasn’t a race and there was no prize for being first.  Instead, they only cared that we finish.  They cared that I didn’t quit.  They slowed their pace to match mine and talked to me the entire time.  They even let me rest at one of the burpee stops and did my part of the burpees for me.  I was running and crying at the same time – partially from sheer exhaustion and partially from being so humbled and in awe at this level of encouragement.

As we neared the end and the gym was in sight, the groups that had finished first came out and ran the last bit with our team.  They had already done their workout, but they came out to run MORE in order to cheer us on to the finish.  I get goosebumps and feel the tears welling up just typing this.  I was in awe.

At first I was so embarrassed.  I didn’t want the attention from being last.  I just wanted to do this workout on my own – not as a team.  I didn’t want anyone to see me fail.  Just let me do it myself.  But that’s the difference.  See, if I had done that workout on my own – if I had run alone, and came in last after everyone else was back – I would have felt like a failure.  I would have focused on the fact that I was the slowest one there.

Instead, because we did it as a group and I came in with other people – I felt like I accomplished something.  When those people came back to run with me I felt like I was worth something.  When my friend congratulated me for not quitting, and when the trainer said I worked hard – I felt like a winner.

And I should feel like a winner!  I ran 2 miles and did burpees along the way! I’d never done that before.  Each of those people running with me had to start somewhere too.  A few people told me stories about their first runs and how hard it was for them.  That gives me hope that one day I will walk in to the box, see a run listed on the board as part of the workout, and NOT feel like I want to turn around and go home.

THAT is why I love Crossfit, and my box in particular.  You won’t find that type of encouragement and support just anywhere.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

No wonder Paul uses running in so many of his examples in the Bible.  Faith and running have a lot in common – they both require endurance and keeping our focus on the Lord!

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)

My journey into Crossfit

Earlier this year, I was talking to a good friend of mine and mentioned that I wanted to check out Crossfit as a means of exercise.  It turns out this friend of mine did Crossfit and it was how she got in the amazing shape she is in.  She told me about her Crossfit “box” (that’s what they call it instead of a gym) and invited me to check it out.

So I did.  That was a few months ago.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go regularly for a few months because of some other conflicts in my schedule, but recently I was able to clear some things from my calendar so that I can focus on my health & fitness.

This journey starts NOW!

I just turned 39 a week ago, and I really, REALLY, want to get back in shape and be Fit by 40!  To accomplish that, I absolutely have to dedicate myself to getting my Crossfit in at least 3x a week.  This past week, I went 4 times.  I can’t wait to go back tomorrow. I have finally found a type of exercise that I absolutely love.

“What is Crossfit?”, you might be asking.

I’ve seen Crossfit described many times as “different” from other gyms, but I think you have to try it out to fully understand.  Crossfit by definition is “a strength and conditioning program that combines weightlifting, gymnastics, body weight exercises, & aerobic exercise” but it is so much more than that.

Every WOD (workout of the day) is different, so I am constantly getting to try new things.  Some days we’ll be jumping rope, doing dead lifts and box jumps.  Other days, we’ll use the rowing machine and carry kettlebells until our arms feel like they’ll fall off.  Sometimes we’ll run and do burpees.  Other times we’ll throw heavy medicine balls at the wall over our head and do pushups.  All different, all the time.

The classes and the trainers push my limits and encourage me to go further than I would on my own, and as a result I’ve realized I can do things I never thought I could do before.

You compete against yourself, not against everyone else in your class.

It is a community – a family.  Everyone there is at a different level physically.  Some are recovering from injuries or accidents.  Some are top champion competitors.  Some are stay at home moms trying to get back in shape.  Some are military men and women looking to change up their physical training.  Some are there because they want to compete, others just want to get in shape.

Everyone is encouraging and helps one another.

I hear a lot of people say Crossfit isn’t cheap.  Maybe not, but I don’t think you would find the level of encouragement and one-on-one training for the money anywhere else!  Each time I go to class, the trainer is right there working with each of us individually on our technique and form, pushing us to do a little more than we think we can, and modifying the workout to meet each individual’s needs.  In addition, the other class members are cheering each other on – whether they know each other or not – and making sure the person that finishes last feels like they did the best.

If you are looking for a new way to exercise, I highly recommend you look for a local Crossfit box in your area.  Don’t be intimidated, just go in and try it out.  I think you’ll be amazed.

Yesterday, my Crossfit box had a block fitness fair so we did our workout outside as a way to “demo” to the guests what a WOD might look like.  Man, was it HOT out there and it’s not even summer! The workout was hard and fast and I felt miserable in the middle of it, but when it was over I felt amazing and couldn’t wait to go back.  That’s how it is every time.  The workouts are crazy hard and the time goes super fast.  In the middle of it you wonder if you can possibly go on or finish, but then all of a sudden it’s over and YOU DID IT!  Then those endorphins kick in and you feel proud of yourself and excited about doing it all again.

Our workout yesterday has us in teams again.  As a team we had to complete several rounds of burpees and ball slams.  We could split it up between us depending on our strengths or how tired we got but we had to complete a certain total for each round.  Thankfully, my partner ROCKED the burpees and took up the slack where I couldn’t, but I was able to pull the weight on the ball slams.  Once again, she had nothing but encouraging things to say the entire time.  She didn’t give me a hard time for not being great at burpees or complain when I needed a break that we were going to be last.  She just kept working and encouraging me.

My darling hubby was there and got a few pictures of me in my glory.  That’s a 15 pound medicine ball that I was lifting over my head, slamming down to the ground and squatting to catch it while it “bounced” off the ground.  15 pound balls don’t bounce very much so you have to squat down there fast and low to get it.

 

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I look forward to seeing my body get in better and better shape and I go through this next year.  I’m already feeling a difference in my strength and tone, so it will be fun to see the changes.  I’m not shooting for a particular weight number on the scale, although I do have a range I’d like to be in.  Most of all, I want to be healthy and strong.  I want to stay active and try new things.  I want to be confident in myself and be brave enough to try things I wouldn’t before.  I want to avoid the plague of health problems that run in my family.  So far, I’ve been incredibly blessed, but with 40 around the corner I know that getting in shape will play a major role in how the next 40 years go for me.

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, so here I go!

 

I thought this verse I came across in my quiet time a couple days ago was particularly fitting.

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” (Hebrews 12:11-13)

A stress fracture and a fancy new shoe

God has a way of slowing you down when He wants your attention. 

I recently discovered that I have a stress fracture in my 2nd metatarsal on my left foot.  My guess is that it’s from jumping rope since I recently attempted to add that in as a fun way to exercise.  Let me tell you, it’s NOT as easy as I remember from grade school – kids make it look easy! For the last month, my foot has hurt when I walked or stood on it too long. I’ve been ignoring it thinking it was just a bruise and would go away. 

It didn’t.

After much urging from my hubby about taking care of my feet (I know!), I finally made an appointment to get it checked out.  I wasn’t looking forward to hearing “there is nothing we can do but wait”, but I knew I needed a professional opinion if I ever wanted to go hiking again. 

The doc poked and mashed all over my foot for a while and then told me what I assumed all along – “there’s not much we can do except wait for it to heal”.  Yea, I figured.  She did tell me to get some cushions in my shoes to take some of the pressure off when I walk, and she ordered an x-ray and MRI, but she said she doesn’t expect to actually see anything on those. 

After the appointment, I headed over to the “Brace Shop” at the hospital on post to pick up my shoe inserts where the “foot guy” also sent me home with the latest stylish footwear.

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Jealous? They go with everything.  At least they might if I had a matching pair.

He said this would help much more than the inserts because it would keep me from rolling up on the ball of my foot as I walk.  He’s right, it definitely feels better to walk on it with the shoe.  Let’s hope it helps it heal faster too!

Jump Ropes: They’re not just for kids!

Remember these?

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Yesterday we bought one, and wow – those things are a lot harder than I remember!  Of course, I think the last time I used one was in elementary school.

I just turned 38 29 for the 10th time last week, so elementary school was a long, long time ago.  Evidently, I have lost some of my youthful coordination too.  There will be no videos of my jumping rope on YouTube anytime soon.

So, why in the world did I buy a jump rope?  Like I said, I just turned 38.  That’s 2 years away from the big 4-0.  Yikes! It’s sneaking up on me.  Good thing my sweet husband went first so I can see it’s not the end of the world (like how I fit that in? I love you, honey!), but I still want to do what I can to ensure that my 40’s are full of fun and lots of activity, and for that – I need to get FIT by FORTY!  I want to be in the best shape of my life.  I have spent the last year adjusting the foods I eat, figuring out what works for me (paleo) and what really doesn’t (gluten, sugar & too much dairy!).  Now, it’s time to really focus on the activity & exercise.  Like most people, I used to be fit and active, but years of desk jobs and too sedentary of a lifestyle have left me wondering where my strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination have gone.

For now, I’m working on things I can do at home.  I’ve tried the gym membership and that only works as long as your motivation to drive to the gym lasts, so I’m determined to make it a daily habit at home first.  We have plenty to work with – a giant trampoline, weights, exercise ball, stretchy bands, & the Wii Fit/Yoga.  I can also do pushups, crunches, lunges & squats without any equipment.  We just added a pull up bar and the jump rope, so I have plenty to work with for now.  Once I get to the point where all of these things are easy, then we can re-evaluate.   My hubby and I put together an exercise plan that I will follow for a couple weeks at a time and we can make adjustments as necessary.

I’m actually really excited about the jump rope.  It’s such a simple thing, but doing it for a short time yesterday sure got me winded, so I’m looking forward to seeing my cardio improve as I use it daily.  Reading the paper insert surprised me though – I don’t remember jump ropes being so dangerous!  Evidently, kids aren’t supposed to even touch them (rules #5 & 6) and I’m going to need eye protection (rule #8). 

Well, no pain – no gain, right?

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Rockfish Summer Camp Days 2, 3, & 4

Lovebug is having the BEST time at camp! This has been an amazing experience for her and she’s already asking if she can go next summer.  I’m so glad she’s loving it!  It makes for some very long days because I have to wake her up early, and she gets home late, but it’s worth it.  She wasn’t ready for the sleepover camp, so this way she gets to have all of the fun but sleep at home in her own comfy bed.  She’s so tired, but so happy when I pick her up each day.  She eats her dinner that I bring her on the way home (complete with ICE COLD watermelon…what could be better after a long day in the hot outdoors?), then gets a quick bath, brushes her teeth, I read her a story, and off to sleep she goes.

Today is her last day and they are going on a field trip to a bowling alley.  I know she’ll have a great time because she loves to go bowling.  We’ve even made great progress in the bowling sock/shoe area.  She either wears the shoes without socks, or she wears the ONE set of socks she will tolerate.  She found a set of socks a while back that have the days of the week marked on them.  She loved that and will wear them IF they are on the right day, of course! It drives her crazy when I suggest she wear her Monday socks on Thursday, or when I dare to suggest she mix up the pairs.  *grin*

Here are the videos with Lovebug’s summary of her days at camp on Day 2 and 3.  She actually did an amazing video for Day 2 full of all sorts of detail, so it’s pretty long.

Day 2:

 

Day 3:

 

Day 4 – singing a camp song she learned:

Rockfish Day Camp – Day 1

Looks like I worried for nothing!  She said she had an awesome day at camp!  She had fun playing, swimming, making a craft, and making friends.  Her counselor came up to me when I picked her up and told me how smart she was!! He said they were talking about rainbows and asked if anyone knew where rainbows came from.  Lovebug raised her hand and told them that the rainbow came after the flood as God’s promise to us!  She even told me about a couple things that happened today where she did a great job communicating her needs/wants, and another time where she handled a change very well!  I’m so proud of her!!

Here she is making a video for Daddy and all her grandparents on the way home from camp.  She is VERY tired, but VERY happy!

Lovebug goes to Summer Camp

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I dropped Lovebug off at camp this morning, and I think I was more nervous than she was.  It’s a Day Camp, so she will go every day from 8:00 – 6:00 and have a fun filled day full of outdoor activities, crafts, swimming, and even a field trip to go bowling one day.  It’s not her being gone all day that makes me nervous.  She’s already done a couple day camps this summer when she went to Science & Art Camp at a local children’s museum (I’ll post about that soon – lots of pictures!), but this one is different.  The museum camp was all indoors and was taught in a classroom type setting with some free play worked in.

At this Day Camp, there are a lot more opportunities for her Sensory Processing Disorder & Asperger ways to be an issue, and I’m just praying that she is met with lots of grace.

They will be going swimming, so that requires Lovebug to change into her swimsuit (not a problem), and then change out of it into dry clothes (often a problem).  Changing out of her wet clothes into dry clothes often presents a challenge because she gets so cold that it’s hard for her to think clearly.  Because she can’t think clearly, it makes putting dry clothes on a sticky body even more challenging, which leads to great frustration.  We’ve been practicing at home, so I’m praying it goes smoothly and that the counselors will have lots of patience and compassion.

I’m also a little concerned about her because she tends to burn up her energy sources super fast, especially when playing outside and doing physical activities.  Normally at home, this isn’t a big deal because I can give her a snack every hour or 2.  At camp, however, they have a schedule they will be following, so I’m hoping her body can hold out till the next snack or meal time, or that she will be allowed to grab a quick snack out of her bag if needed.  I’ve told them, but now it’s a matter of them following through.  If not, I guess they’ll learn because if she uses up all her energy and doesn’t get a snack quickly, it will definitely lead to a sensory/emotional meltdown!  I’m hoping they use the information that I gave them, and if this happens I pray they will see it for what it is – a need for a break and some food – and not as a behavior issue because to the untrained eye, it can often look like one.

The only other issue I’m concerned with is just her trying new things and letting new people help her.  When we went to a family camp at this same camp location (both to enjoy family time and to familiarize Lovebug with the surroundings in preparation for Day Camp), she got to go rock climbing! She was super nervous, but Mommy & Daddy were there to help her.  Daddy put her helmet on for her and helped adjust her straps.  This time, a new person will be doing all of that, and having a “stranger” touch her can be enough to put her over the edge sometimes.  She’s also anxious that they will “make” her to go further than she wants to.  I told her to give it her best, and when she thinks she’s ready to quit, to try a little bit more before stopping.  Often when she does this, she ends up surpassing her self-imposed limits.  Again, we talked about this ahead of time to prepare her, but I’ll still be a little anxious until I hear how the first day went!

On the other hand, there are a lot of positives too!  Being outside most of the day and doing physical activities will do wonders for her! She absolutely thrives in nature and water, so the combination of the two should make for an incredibly fun day for her!  She enjoys making new friends and meeting new people, and loves getting dirty, so I suspect she will have a great time!

My little girl is growing up! I know this “letting go” is good for both of us, but that doesn’t make it easier!  In the meantime, I will keep myself busy with projects that I want to work on and I will look forward to hearing all about her first day at Summer Camp!

My 30 day Paleo Challenge

For the past 30 days, I have been following a strict paleo way of eating (I don’t like the term ‘diet’). I haven’t mentioned it before because I wanted to complete the self-imposed challenge first and see how it went.

There is more to it, but to sum it up quickly, this means no grains, dairy, beans, & sugar.  There is a lot of information out there on the science behind this, so I’ll let you do your own research.  Before you think I’ve lost my mind, let me explain how I got to this point.  

 

The background:

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.

I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), which comes with IR (insulin resistance) and seriously affects my hormones.

Diabetes runs in my family.

Statistics show that something like 40-50% of women with PCOS will develop diabetes by age 40.

I just turned 37.   I don’t have diabetes.  I want to keep it that way.

I need to lose 60ish pounds.

I don’t eat a lot of junk food, fast food or processed food.  For the past 4 years, our family has eaten 80% all natural/organic.  We don’t eat High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial colorings or artificial sweeteners.  I rarely eat white flour, and instead eat brown rice, whole wheat flour, and other whole grains.  I don’t drink soda.  I don’t smoke.  I rarely drink.

Cutting out those things made no change whatsoever on my weight, and I was out of things I could cut out of my diet (almost).  So something else must be going on.

 

A little sidenote:

Over the past few years, as we have done more research on Lovebug’s Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD, we also seen over and over that a GFCF (gluten free, caisen free) diet would likely be best for her. 

I was fine with the gluten free part, after all there are tons of substitutes out there for breads, muffins, crackers, etc – many of which we already liked.

The CF, or dairy free part was another story.  Give up cheese?  Were they crazy? 

Several months ago, I had tried the GF diet with Bug for a while (not even trying the CF part), and in even a short time I realized I felt better after eating.  Unfortunately, I was in over my head and didn’t stick with it because I was spending a fortune on groceries.  I had to take a step back and figure out how to do GF without all the pre-packaged foods.  I needed to get back to what I enjoyed – cooking from scratch.

 

Fast forward to recently:

I had heard of the paleo way of eating in the past, and knew that it was “no grain, no dairy”.  I had dismissed it once again because I could “never” give up cheese. Yet, this lifestyle kept coming back in front of me and I had a strong feeling that this way of eating would be good for me. 

Recently, while I was doing some other research online, I saw several references to a “30 Day Paleo Challenge”.   Several people were saying, “just give it 30 days of eating the paleo way and see what happens”.

No grains, no dairy, no beans, no sugar……for 30 days? Could I do it?

I decided to give it my best shot.  I can do anything for 30 days, right?

Besides, I’m only cooking for 2 at the moment, and I’m in charge of deciding what we eat. 

 

Preparing for the challenge:

First, in order to make my plan, I picked up a copy of the book Everyday Paleo.  This book is written by Sarah Fragoso, who is a mom herself to 3 boys.  Her book contains a ton of yummy recipes (with pictures!!), as well as a 30 day eating plan, and grocery shopping lists.  Remember, she’s a mom, so these are even kid friendly recipes!  She talks about incorporating this way of eating into your kids’ lives, and how it can help them.  Both on her blog, and in the book, she’s very real about her lifestyle and how it works for her and her family. I love that!

I also cleaned out the fridge and the pantry before I started.  Like I said, we already have very few processed foods in the house, but there were a few things like chips & bread that had to go.  There are just some foods that I can not have in my house without eating them. 

I also prayed about this.  A lot.  I knew that I couldn’t get through this without God’s help.  I am so weak, but He is strong.  So I asked for His help. 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Phil 4:13

Then, I was ready!

 

The challenge:

I did not follow her exact eating plan because I already had food in my freezer that I wanted to use, but I did make several of her recipes and every single one was delicious!  I’ll post about those separately, but we’ve been eating very well. 

I DID IT!  Not a piece of candy, no pizza, no cheese, no ranch dressing, no bread.  For 30 days.

 

The results:

I did lose 8 pounds.  That is amazing, especially considering I still haven’t bumped up the exercise to where it needs to be yet.  But, I can tell you that even if I had not lost an ounce, I would be sold!  The physical changes I’ve had are life changing!

Within the first week, I could already tell a difference in how I felt.  My energy level was amazing! There were several evenings that I was asking myself “did I have caffeine this afternoon?”, and the answer was always “no”.  I felt GREAT.  So great that it’s scary to think about how tired I was all the time before.  I’ve been running around chasing my daughter up and down the stairs, cleaning house late at night, and feeling overall amazing.

My mind has been clearer, and it’s been easier to focus.

I have had zero "afternoon crashes”.  Zero.  This is unusual for me.  I even had one day that I literally forgot to eat.  I met a friend that morning unplanned and then the day got away from me. Before I knew it, it was 3:00 in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten all day.  I KNOW that’s not healthy, but the point is – I still felt great! Normally, I would have been literally shaking, and getting grumpy (just ask my hubby), but I wasn’t at all, so I was able to make a smart choice about what to eat instead of just grabbing something full of sugar to stop the shaking.

No cravings.  I am still in shock that I went this long without sugar, ranch dressing, and cheese.  Because I haven’t had the highs and lows, I’ve been able to make better choices and really think about my foods instead of just grabbing something because it’s easy or I’m craving it.

I have slept better.  I know this because when I wake up in the morning my husband’s side of the bed is still made, which means I’m not tossing and turning as much.  Normally, when he’s not in the bed, I end up with the blankets all over the place. 

I’m also not getting up during the night to use the bathroom.  For ages now, I have gotten up multiple (3-4) times during the night, and had just resigned myself to the fact that it was just how I am.  Not any more!  I’ve been getting up once on some nights, and there have been many nights I haven’t gotten up at all.  Scary to think that the “excess urination” might have been caused by blood sugar issues all along.

Another awesome side effect is one that is probably “too much information”, but I’m going to share it because I know there are thousands of women out there dealing with this, and I want them to know about this!!  One of the side effects of PCOS is increased testosterone and unwanted facial hair growth (so my ‘sideburn’ areas often need a little plucking/waxing).  In the last 30 days, this has not been a problem! Unheard of! Oh, there has been a stray or two, but overall, I have seen this greatly diminish.

I can tell in my body that I’m less “puffy”.  I know that sounds funny since I still have a lot of weight to lose, but I can tell that my arms and legs and other areas are just less swollen.   I can see it in my face!

 BeforeAfterFace

Life changing, I tell you!

 

What now?

I’m keeping on.  I’m sold on this lifestyle.  Does that mean I’ll never have bread again? Or pizza? Or ice cream?  Not a chance!  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  In fact, Sarah Fragoso wrote an awesome post about just this “all or nothing” topic.  I think the 90/10 rule applies here.  If I can do this 90% of the time, then I’m good.  If I choose to have something that doesn’t fit this lifestyle, then it’s just that – a choice.  I can tell you that I will make wiser choices.  If I want pizza, I’ll make a gluten-free crust.  If I want something sweet, I’ll start with fruit, or some dark chocolate.  I’ll make ice cream with just coconut milk and fruit in my Vitamix.  I know I’ll have beans – I love beans.  And corn tortillas.  But I can leave off the cheese, and I can make gluten free choices most of the time.

I’ll bump up the exercise! I’m redoing my Couch-to-5K program because I had stopped it for so long that I had to start over.  That’s felt really good.  I’ll also add in more weight resistance, lap swimming & bike riding.  At some point in the future, I would love to look into some CrossFit or Mixed Martial Arts classes because I really want to get stronger in addition to losing weight.

I’ll also continue incorporating this into Lovebug’s life.  She’s been eating what I’ve had during this month, but she’s has extras too.  I haven’t stopped her dairy intake, but I did decrease it a lot, and I’m trying to make the majority of her foods gluten free again.  Overall, it won’t be too challenging to adapt her to this lifestyle, at least 90% of the time.  She is already an adventurous eater, eats a great variety of fruits and vegetables, loves sushi (sashimi, actually – she prefers just the fish), loves meat, loves to help me cook, and will try just about anything.  The other 10% of the time, she can enjoy her organic, dye-free, gluten-free candy guilt free!

 

Before you say “I could never do that”, I’m not saying it has to be for everyone.  Do your own research.  As for me, if eating this way makes me feel this good, I’d be crazy not to continue.  Soon, I’ll post some of the delicious recipes that I’ve had this past month!