adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Losing Weight’ Category

whole30 recap: change your life in unexpected ways

I walked by the book It Starts With Food yesterday and realize I have been shirking my duties in writing a Whole30 experience recap. I was particularly struck by the tagline “Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” because that is exactly what this experience did.  I have outlined some of those ways in my previous post, but I want to be more specific and complete in this post.

Shockingly, the biggest takeaway from the Whole30 was that Mr. Prepared and I grew a little bit more into sync with each other again.  After a brutal winter ski resort season in which EVERYTHING was new, compounded by moving across the country, moving from an apartment to a house in the fall, and all the stress that comes with everything being NEW (jobs, doctors, schools, etc.), we were SHELLED.  We were tired, irritable, unhappy, anxious people.  And the only person each of us could vent to was the other.  We had no in-person support system (we are working on it and the network is improving!) at first, so the tears, the frustration, and the stress were often directed at each other.  This experience was the first fulfilling, long-term “project” we have worked on together in a long time.  We are healthier and happier people as a result of this “commitment”, and we are finding our ways of growing into this community, seeking out people and opportunities that enrich our lives personally and as a family.

While Mr. Prepared has been bulletproof in sticking with the Whole30 principles, I have slacked here and there on some things.  But you know what?  Everything I thought I missed so much isn’t really all that great.  Cheese? Meh.  Yummy Greek yogurt? It was OK.  I haven’t even gone back to bread or grain products- I really don’t miss them at all.  (OK, other than beer.  I had a few beers.  Yes, they were good, but I don’t have time for beer right now!)  So I imagine that most of those “needs” we make up in our mind about foods we “couldn’t live without” are just truly in our mind.  Food is so closely tied to emotion and memory for me that I know I still have some mental work before me to get these things a little more in line with “normal” emotional attachments to food.

Unfortunately, I have become a food freak.  By freak  I mean that I have gotten on my soapbox more than a few times, and even muttered under my breath at dinner the other night that the American agricultural industry is trying to kill us (what?  It’s probably true.)  My stance about food is a little too extreme for most people, and that is a dangerous combination with my work as a personal trainer.  I am toning it down A LOT for clients, but if anyone really engages me in food conversation, they are bound to get an earful.  I am sure it will all turn out to be bogus in the end and you can have the last laugh. But until then…you have been warned.

But what you really wanna know are the stats, right?  You want to know if it WORKS.  Everyone can define this differently, especially since it isn’t a “diet”.  I had been told there was a magical, mystical Whole30 land where you could have boundless energy and sleep like a princess.  I also secretly wanted to look ripped like one of those Crossfit competitors.  If those were the showing that it “works”, then no, I didn’t start eating unicorn rocket fuel or photo-shopping my mirror.  Here’s what happened:

  • Sleep.  I have slept like crap pretty much since we moved.  When we started Whole 30, I was sleeping about 4-6 hours a night.  I knew I would NEVER make it through training for a half-Ironman on 4-6 hours of sleep a night.  I get sleep now.  I get very nice, rested sleep.  I can go back to sleep if I wake up.  This was HUGE.
  • Smell. About the fourth day in, we woke up and rolled over and I realized we didn’t “smell” like night sweating and restless sleep.  We didn’t smell at all practically.  I had pretty terrible night sweats up until I started this (more on that another time) and they are pretty diminished now.  We also both recognized more healthy levels of sweating while exercising, whereas before I don’t think we were sweating enough.
  • Thirst sensitivity.  I could tell when I was actually thirsty instead of forcing myself to drink a required amount of water in the day.  Since there a little controversy over “how much liquid is enough/too much” I figure improved thirst signals meant I was headed in the right direction.
  • Weird aches and pains.  Mr. Prepared has had an ache on the outside of his knee since oh, 2011.  He reports no more ache.
  • Bowel movements.  C’mon, we are all adults!  To sum it up: before=not regular.  Now=regular.  If you need details, try it yourself. 😉
  • Eye of the tiger.  I may be dramatizing this a little.  I had a bike power test on Day 18 of the Whole 30.  Many sources said that your workouts will feel flat the first 2 weeks, and they did.  But I swear that as I got ready for that bike test, I could feel and access a bunch of energy for it.  Maybe I just did a really good job of psyching myself up for the test, but maybe it was Whole30?  Anyhow, crushed the bike test!
  • And for you scale slaves… OK, I admit I was a scale slave too before Whole30.  Part of Whole30 is that you can’t weigh yourself for the 30 days.  I had to have Mr. Prepared hide the scale.  That was pretty revealing.  I had lost and re-gained the same 6 pounds 3 times since New Year’s prior to Whole30.  I was fairly obsessed.  Not so much anymore.  I am down 7 pounds.  Mr. Prepared is down about 15.  Also 2% body fat for me.

We changed our lives in expected and unexpected ways.  We are trying to keep in line with the Paleo thing for now (this is much trickier, as the slope is more slippery), and get the kids more on board.  My main goal in the next 10 weeks is figuring out racing and training nutrition that fits within the scope of racing efficiently and eating well.  Tomorrow is my first big volume day (5 hours!), so we will see how it goes.

If you have any Whole30 insight you want to share, please do in the comments!





as I am now

It’s kind of weird being “normal” sized in a town where no one knew you were overweight.  The assumptions that people make, the looks that you get, even the conversations that people are willing to have with you are different.  It feels both thrilling and depressing that people don’t “know” me.  I loved living in a small community for 15 years, but somehow the box started to feel suffocating and I wanted OUT.  Now that I am out, a lot of days make me want to crawl back in the box, where people know ALL of me and still love me, or don’t.

As a personal trainer trying to develop my business, a big part of me is my story.  People don’t train with a trainer (long term anyways) because they are “the best” or “the most hard-core”, but because they can develop a relationship with you.  As a trainer, you may be the best or the most hard-core, but your clients keep coming back for YOU.  If you can be hard-core and be attuned to their needs, their goals, and keep your client engaged and having fun, that’s great!  When I am working with clients who have a weight loss goal, I don’t always disclose that I have been “there”, but I generally think it helps.  It’s hard to imagine size 2 “Tiffany Trainer” who has always “loved fitness” as being very relatable to my old self. That’s why I loved Weight Watchers, because the group leaders were real WW successes, and they could speak from their hearts and from their own experiences.

I do miss aspects of my old self as time goes on.  I wanted to write about it more, but a friend popped this article into my inbox TODAY – as I have been writing this- and I think it is written just a whole lot better than I could write about it.  Check out this post from MindBodyGreen:

5 Things I Miss About Weighing More Than 300 Pounds

out with the old…WAIT!

I don’t know why we feel the need to inevitably reflect (perhaps a bit too sentimentally) at year’s end, yet certainly I can’t help but get caught up in the tidal wave of Year in Review.  I know that I started off the year with some giant goals, and it’s probably worth at least a peek at them.  Maybe just a peek at the ones I nailed… oh, ok, let’s look at them all.

But before we get to all those goals, can I just say how happy I sounded about going back to work in that post?  So happy.  One thing I did realize this year, being both crazy employed and totally unemployed (other than my awesome job as MOM), is that I do like to work.  I don’t like to fill out forms and work at a desk under fluorescent lights, however.  Who does?

Anyhow, getting to the goals:

1. Tracking my food. Weighing less.  Well, the truth is that I did track my food.  Just not consistently.  A week here and there, a couple of days on and off.  Not consistent.  A small bout of food-fueled pity partying here and there.  A lot of moving-away partying.  Still has to be a goal for 2014.

2. 1/2 Marathon.  Done. Bam.  Not in unseasonably sunny conditions, but in unseasonably blizzardy conditions.  But it was cool.  I would do it again.  In fact, I am doing another one in March.  My running feels strong and durable now, so I am pretty psyched.

rock CF rivers half

3. Half-Iron distance race.  Didn’t happen.  When Mr. Prepared got a new position in May and started living in the Holiday Inn two time zones away, my training went into salvage mode.  My main goal became to qualify for Age Group Nationals at a race, which did happen.  But the 1/2 Iron is here and on the table again for 2014.  My new plan (so far) is to do Rev3 Wisconsin Dells, because I get to race and take my kids to America’s greatest waterpark.  Smart mommy.

Rev3 Dells

4. Mantra: Be Positive, Patient, and Persistent.  Kind of a hard goal to quantify.  I was all of these things at many times through the year.  I felt as a family we were very positive about our move to MI.  I worked really hard to be patient with the kiddos, model good behavior, and yell less.  I think I was moderately successful.  I was persistent in achieving my goal of becoming a certified trainer– I took the steps to do that, and I can now say I am an ACSM certified personal trainer as of December!  I also took my Madd Dogg Athletics/ Spinning Instructor training course in December.  I don’t currently have a plan, but I am working on it.

ACSM logo

There were lots of highlights of the year, though, including Mr. Prepared doing his first 100-mile race in Zion.  What a great time with family and friends in an amazing location with a wonderful result.

Zion 100 Taylor finish

Carrying Sarah to the finish! Can you believe it?

Selling our home in Eagle was fantastic and lucky, as we caught a blip in the market, even though we didn’t want to leave.  We also were very happy to find an amazing (Uh-MAZE-ing) school here in MI for the girls.  Lots of new opportunities are here, and many have yet to be discovered.  Needless to say, I am looking confidently toward 2014.

shared: 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

As I move into the fitness industry, I am mindful of all the things that make working out important to me and other people.  Yesterday, I did my Spinning instructor orientation (more on this later!) and the hilarious Master Instructor warned us against becoming “Suzy Psychospins”, which is a finer line to walk than you might think.  But this article brings it all back to what I know and how I feel about being active and healthy.  One of the reasons I lost weight was to be an example to my beautiful, AMAZING daughters how to be healthy and active, and the sheer joy and love of how being fit and healthy opens doors of opportunity to you.  I feel like I could do anything with my fitness, and that’s very liberating!

Check this out:

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out by Brynn Harrington

cleaning out the pipes

Mr. Prepared declared last week…Halloween week…to be THE week to cleanse. Logical, isn’t it?  It’s like deciding to stop drinking while you’re visiting your in-laws for the holidays.  Love that guy.

Mr. Prepared never does anything the way it SHOULD be done anyways, so I should expect anything different.  You know, most people when they start running, they do a couple of 5ks, maybe a 10k, half-marathon, etc.  There’s natural progression.  Not Mr. Prepared.  He just rolls straight into ultramarathon.  OK, I take it back.  He did one 25k first.  But after that?  50 miles, 50k (he claims this is too short), 100 miles, 100k, it’s just gotta be F’in far.  That’s been the real challenge here in the Midwest, finding stuff that’s gonna be far enough.  I have a Pinterest board on it though, so we are getting all set up realllll goood.

So anyways, last month we did the whole no alcohol thing for a few weeks, a little liver cleanse.  Worked out really well, we should have kept going, but we didn’t and we just. need. to. move. on.  But oh, no.  Mr. Prepared has a couple of beers and one night of bad Chinese food and we are officially CLEANSING.  Five minutes later, he’s on Google and asking me if mesquite is really the superfood that 2 yahoos in a Youtube video are trying to convince him it is.  Until about 5 years ago, I thought mesquite was a just a flavor you could add to BBQ sauce and Duraflame logs, so um…yah?  Go for it?

He implodes on his Google search about 15 minutes later, and I steer the ship toward a very doable sounding 48 hour cleanse.  I bought a juicer for it, even.  Well, I had a coupon and it was on clearance, so it came in pretty cheap and I had visions of making all these yummy (but NUTRITIOUS!) juices for our family- I still hold on to that vision!- so I bought it.

Cleanse begins, and the juicer is a hit.  Then I tell him he needs to prepare all his food to go to work.  And to make some tea because there is no coffee on a cleanse.  The creases in his brow get deeper.  I take the kids to school and he sets himself up, and me too, because he is a really nice guy despite the bad rap he gets sometimes from me.  Everything is going fine for me until about 3 PM, when I am trying to throw a bunch of vegetables together to make a stock which is supposed to be our dinner.  And I think, I don’t want to eat veggie stock for dinner.  I want what I am making the kids.  And while I am at it, I’ll have some Pirate Booty.  And thus, the cleanse was done for me.  Not even 12 hours.  I know.

Long story short, he eats the veggie broth, but he is casting furtive glances at our food.  He goes to bed and moans about how hungry he is and how terrible his run after work was until he falls asleep.  Wakes up, still hungry, a little grumpy, and then…I throw him under the bus.

Me: I do have a little time today for lunch if you want to meet…O wait! You’re cleansing!  Forget it.

It took him about 4 milliseconds to tell me he was done with the stupid cleanse and that he would meet me at 11:30.

But now that Halloween has passed, I think we might have to give it another try.  I think we can make it at least 36 hours this time. 😉


who's gonna stop me

So now that I hit the “STOP” button on the treadmill of life, jumped off for a break, and am ready to move in a new direction, I cannot tell you how much better I feel.  Physically and mentally.  Literally, my stomach stopped hurting as it has pretty much ever since I “decided” I was going to shoulder this job that I didn’t want.  I haven’t felt this motivated or empowered in a long time, and I feel like I have my life back to me.

And of course, I have a plan.  It would be unlike me not to have a plan, but sometimes you just have to jump without knowing all your options, right?  So I was thinking about what lay ahead in the future for me, thinking about what I have done in the past and whether I cared to return to that place.  Which I really don’t.  I am not ready to grasp at straws yet.

I want to enjoy work and be motivated to do it.  And as I looked around at what inspires me, the answer became pretty obvious.  I want to help people achieve their goals and dreams.  What I love about teaching adults is helping them on the path to reach their goals.  I share their feeling of accomplishment that they have when they finish their course successfully or pass their GED exam or learn more about reading or math or grammar or anything.  I want to do that all the time, and if I can’t do it always in a school setting, then there are other places I can do that.

Becoming a personal trainer will fit in with what I love to do, and it is extra special to me because I know about struggling with my weight, my self-confidence, and all the mental BS that held me back for many years.  With my students in my adult ed classes, I still have a hard time relating to their struggle because I never struggled in school.  But losing weight, getting fit?  I know A LOT about that struggle.  I want to help people enjoy becoming athletes if they want because I know how much joy racing and triathlons give me, and if I can share that passion with someone, that would be awesome!

I know it isn’t going to be easy, and maybe it seems cliché, but I am determined and I know I have the intelligence and motivation to do this thing right.  And it is so gonna happen because the right reasons are keeping me moving forward toward my goal.

this is me. committing to 5:30.


hello, pretty.

No matter what, I have to admit that I love to workout at 5:30 AM.  I love getting it done, moving on with my day, the fact that it’s light out after I am finished.  But I HATE getting up to do it.  I lay there after the alarm goes off, savoring each nanosecond until I know I have to get out of bed, dreading the freezing coldness of our bedroom.  I try not to make any noise and if I am really ready, I have already put all my stuff in the bathroom so I can change in the light and brush my teeth.  Inevitably, I often forget something and have to stumble into the dark closet where I make a “God-awful amount of noise” (Mr. Prepared’s words) to pick up my sneakers or my backpack.

But I love the end result, so I do it.  Cybercrush will tell you to do what you hate.  I think that is what has happened to me and 5:30 AM.  He says, “Do what you hate.  Learn to love it anyways.”   I mean 9 AM as a workout time is so much sexier and appealing, I will give you that.  But I have work, kids, errands, a million things to do by 9 AM.  And I have learned to love the gritty darkness and flashing orange traffic lights of 5:30 AM.  And the -15 degrees.  That’s my favorite part.  Thank God for seat heaters.

The best part of 5:30 AM?  I haven’t had the time or mental power to come up with an excuse not to do it yet.  If I worked out at 5:30 PM, I could think of a trillion legitimate excuses not to workout.  I know that 5:30 AM is my time before the world comes on like gangbusters.  If I want to reach my goals for 2013, I will do whatever I have to, because achieving my goals would make me oh so happy.  Even just if I could be “positive, patient, and persistent” that would make me oh so happy.  And usually after 5:30 AM workout, I am off to a good start on every goal on my list.


Just sayin’.

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