Monday, January 31, 2011

The Unexpected Punch in the Face

I've had two pretty negative experiences with my Crossfit coach these past weeks... and after the one this morning, I went with the "calling her out" approach. I'm a frustrated crier, so I went with the email approach. Open letter to a Crossfit coach below.


Your words from this morning have been rattling around in my brain for the past two and a half hours, and I wanted to discuss them with you - so you'll know where I'm coming from. They hurt. There's really no other way to put it, but on the off-chance that you weren't aware, I wanted to tell you. I'm not writing this because I'm mad, though there is some of that as well. I'm writing it because I'm disappointed and hurt, and as my coach, I feel that you're the last person in the world who should make me feel hurt and discouraged. I'm also hoping that you weren't aware that your words made me feel this way, and by telling you that they do - that it won't happen again. I know that I'm a bit of the class clown, and that my sense of humor may make it seem like I don't mind being the butt of a joke, but sometimes - I do.

My experience with IAC has been very different this year than it was last year. This year, I decided to get off my grain-loving butt and devote myself to Paleo. It's been really, really hard for me and until Saturday, I was damn proud that I hadn't so much as eeked in a pita on my food log. Instead of any praise, this morning I got "Well, I knew you'd cheat". Ouch. I started paleo immediately following Christmas because I didn't want the extra workouts and the deprivation insanity to start at the same time. So this isn't week 4 for me, it's week 6. That's six weeks for a girl who couldn't go 1 day without ANY sort of bread before. I was really proud of that fact - until this morning. Maybe I'm overly sensitive following our exchange last week - but it all boils down to the way I feel - like I have a coach who doesn't believe in me.

Last year, my IAC coach was Carey. I'm not telling you this to impart any sort of "my ex was hotter" type strategy - but because I think she's a stunning example of what a coach should be. I didn't do every single prescribed extra workout last year either - but Carey was positive and enforced to us all that she was happy we were getting the extra workouts in, no matter what they were. We'd write them in our food logs - and every week she'd go over them with us, adding in any comments that she thought we needed to round out the workout (maybe some more cardio here, try to get in some more weights there) and even when I ate a BAGEL last year - it was more of a "hey, you're doing so well, don't do that". It was criticism but I never felt like a dog, getting smacked on the nose with a newspaper.

When you asked us all to fill out a form giving you feedback on your coaching style, and how we liked to be coached, I did it. I was hoping that this might impart that while sometimes I need a boot to the backside - I also need a cheerleader. I need someone to believe in me other than myself. When I did lean lifting over the break with Anna and Cat - I was amazed. Holy crap, I can lift like they do. They were nothing but positive influences on my lifting and the eye opening partners that I needed. I did the same amount on press as Erika did this last time. ERIKA. I remember joining our class, struggling to do my 45#, and looking at her thinking I'd never, ever be able to lift in her group. I can. That's the type of reinforcement I need from a coach. I don't want this to feel like I'm berating you incessantly. I'm trying to open your eyes, tell you how I feel, and what I need. Right now, I feel like you don't believe in me, and that you haven't - and I get to spend the next six weeks in our IAC group. Not a great prospect at the moment.

Take care,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don't You Miss It?

I have to be honest. One of the questions that makes me want to stab my own eyes out lately is "Don't you miss X?". X can be anything the person asking the question can't live without. Sugar. Splenda. Chocolate. Beer. Wine. Chocolate.(yes, twice). Bread. Cheese.

The answer is quite frankly, yes. I do miss it. I miss chips and queso more than pretty much anything. But you know what I don't miss? Walking into my closet and trying to remember which clothes fit - because they all do. I don't miss that feeling of pulling something out of my closet and TRYING to put it on. And I certainly don't miss the feelings that came afterwards when it didn't fit.

You won't catch me on America's Next Top Model anytime soon - but I'm choosing myself over cheese, crackers, wine, chocolate, etc. I'm not in a corner, weeping and drinking lemon water and wishing it was wine. Yes, I miss it and that's okay too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Me vs. Me

I think I haven't been completely forthcoming about this I Am Crossfit challenge that I'm doing. It's Paleo eating, 5-6 workouts a week, and thrice daily food logging to a Google document where my team and my coach can all see it. Hello Accountability!

In general, while I am not yet Crossfit - I am:

  • Missing bread and sugar

  • A wee bit cranky

  • Sleeping like the dead

  • Sore in places I didn't know existed

All in all - not bad. There are days when it's just me against myself. The little devil on my shoulder telling me to just sleep in and skip the workout, that it's too cold outside to go for a run (and didn't I just work out this morning?), that a little chocolate won't hurt, or that sunflower seeds - how can they be bad? I gave into this demon a few times in the past week. I chomped on salty, delicious sunflower seeds until I was so dehydrated that any ounce of water I had consumed, didn't matter. I slept in and missed a workout - 13 hours of sleep that were pretty awesome - but I didn't make it up later.

Sometimes in life, it's just you vs. you. I can't be mad at anyone but myself. So today I'm picking myself up, dusting myself off - and getting 100% back in the game. Because why on earth would I do this to myself to only give 80%?

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Hundred Percent.

This post is two-fold - both dealing with 100%. Today I partnered up for lifting with the ever-buff, Ms. Erika Jeanne ( This in itself was a feat - I've always imagined that Erika can lift more with her pinky than I could with my entire body, but I was determined to try. Out came the big plates, and all I could think was "Oh crap, are those 15#s? TWO of them?" but I was determined to try. Several lifts later, we were both at 105# - distinctly a new PR for this selfdoubter. Erika, bless her loyal heart - did not doubt me. She eyeballed me, told me when my elbows were heading for the floor and in general - cheered me on to a THREE REP PR! I can't wait to try again and see what my one rep max is!

Onto my other 100%.... I am not an organic girl. I do not eat grassfed beef, despite trying to be Paleo. It was in this vein that I continued with my fat-free half and half in my coffee, snubbing my nose and gasping for air at the thought of using full-fat cream in my coffee. More fool me. As I was filling up my cup this morning, I was checking out my carton to see if it was recyclable (I realize that avid recycling doesn't mesh with my pesticide-filled produce buying, but go with it) and I was astounded to see a little asterisk with "NOT NORMALLY FOUND IN MILK PRODUCTS" on it. My eyes scrambled up the side of the carton to see what the heck was in my beloved nonfat half and half.... CORN SYRUP? My dairy product contains... corn syrup? Disgusting! You can bet your ever-shrinking behind that this girl is going to full fat creamer tomorrow. I am so grossed out at even the thought that I've been having corn syrup with my coffee.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confessions of a Semi-Paleo Eater...

Paleo means: Eat meat, seafood, vegetables, seasonal fruit, good fats such as avocados, nuts – but not in excess. Plenty of olive oil, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Stay away from all processed foods, dairy, grains (yes even whole grains and brown rice), sugar, artificial sweeteners, fruit juice, and starchy foods like white potatoes and beans.
I have to admit - despite my best efforts, I am still not 100% paleo. I still use a bit of half and half in my coffee, if my salad comes with some goat cheese - it's staying on there, and I prefer peanut butter to almond butter, in any situation.

I'm content with that. I'm still 95% better than I was before, and I truly don't believe that a diet Dr. Pepper will make me fat. Is it good for me? Probably not. I'm weaning, but I don't know if I'll ever be 100%.

After the challenge, I fully intend to let myself have a glass of wine here and there. Call a cop.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


For some reason, I'm having horrible sugar cravings. Well, not just any reason. Reasonably certain it's PMS. Sorry for dragging my lady bits into the blog, but when all I can think about is carbs and the syrup I want to cover them in - it's what ends up on here.

Paleo is treating me well. One jeans size, 2 inches, 4 pounds...and a partridge in a pear tree. Once I get past these sugar cravings again, I think I'll be golden and back on the path of gluten-free righteousness. Until then, I'll be having unclean(eating) thoughts about a stack of buttermilk pancakes from Kerbey Lane.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spice is...mostly nice.

As my husband will gleefully tell you - I led a pretty sheltered food life. For my birthday, I always only want one kind of cake - and it better be made from a box. I'd never had a pear until I was in my mid-20's. As far as I know, I've still never tried lamb. I don't like ANY seafood (Exception: tuna) or pork in the chop/loin/anything but bacon form.

Trying to go paleo has been really eye opening to me. Fennel? Brussel Sprouts? BroccoLINI? What the heck? Would I like any of these things? Was I going to feel like a cow, let out to graze on random crap in the field? Could I live without mashed potatoes, my beloved bread, and without *gulp* PEANUT BUTTER?

Turns out. I can. I do miss peanut butter. Anyone that tells you almond butter is better, or even remotely as good is a dirty two-faced liar. That being said, I'm trying. For my lunch veggies today, I went for an awesome mixture of roasted squash, fennel, broccolini, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts with an interesting Moroccan spice mixture that I snagged at Central Market. I learned a few things - all the veggies are pretty good, I still think fennel has a spicy licorice taste (which may be a sign that I didnt roast it long enough) and my stomach really wasn't quite sure what to make of the Moroccan spice mixture. It was tasty, a little spicy, and my untried stomach wasn't quite sure. Since I didn't throw up in my trashcan like I was fearing, we'll call it a victory.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paleo in a sea of pizza...

I work with a bunch of engineers. Literally, three feet to my right is our DBA. That being said - they eat like high school boys. Pizza is a regular occurance, and fries are right behind it. They crack a beer at 3pm, and attend meetings in bare feet.

I am a semi-reformed stress eater. I used to take my feelings, cover them in chocolate and shove them in my craw. Or to be a bit more honest, it was bread. Nothing soothed a crap day like a good piece of toasted sourdough. Yes, I know how weird that sounds.

I've been trying for awhile now to reform my stress eating ways, and here I am - in the middle of a crap day at work, ready to tear my hair out....and I have... cashews? turkey jerky? Is this some sort of joke?

Even knowing that I would feel like gluten-filled death if I ate it at this point isn't stopping the wanting. So here I am, blogging out my craving to you fine folks and already feeling a bit better. :)

How Sweet It Is...

It's amazing to me after eating things that are not sweet (no sugar, no artificial sugar, etc etc) that my tastebuds have been a bit transformed. This morning I decided to add some banana into my breakfast to change it up a bit, and after a pretty hard workout. I couldn't get over how sweet it was. A banana? I used to eat one of these things every morning, taking it for granted that it was sweet and delicious.
After reading the blogs and chatting it up with several of my Crossfit classmates and I Am Crossfit teammates - I realized, I need to get better at setting more realistic, smaller goals for myself. Despite the fact that it is so cold that I sprinted through the deli/meat section at the grocery store this morning - I am going to get a move on with my running. It was the weak link in my workout, and as we've all learned - sitting on it isn't going to make it improve itself. I'm excited to see what these 8 weeks will bring, and how strong and awesome I can get on diet and exercise alone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

In the eye of the beholder...

My recipe blog is going to morph back into half life and half recipes as I'm working on my Crossfit/Paleo challenge.

The benchmark workout was this weekend, and I can't help but feel disappointed in myself - which I have to admit, doesn't make a ton of sense. I did this same challenge last year, but not eating Paleo, and in the beginner class (which means jumping pullups, and a 45# bar for my hang cleans). This year, I've bumped up a class into intermediate (green band pullups, and a 65# weighted bar for my hang cleans).

Saturday, I managed 2 rounds, a 200m run in the 12 minutes alotted. Instead of thinking about how I rocked the hang cleans (my husband's words there) without setting the bar down, or how I plowed through my band pullups - all I can think is those ugly three letters... DNF.

That's right. Did Not Finish. My running was definitely the hinderance in this workout, and yet it's all I can seem to see. I keep replaying the workout in my head and instead of seeing those awesome points, I'm seeing my poor running (or really, the moment when I was reasonably sure I was about to vomit in front of 40 people and possibly onto a coach. it was NOT pretty.)

So on that note, here is either a picture of the exact moment when I failed myself - or the moment when I ran 400 meters in 2:02 (my second fastest time ever). In the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brussel Sprouts and Kale? Oh my!

As many of you know, I love bread. I don't just mean, prefer it over other things - I mean love it. Stomach hurts? It's time for bread and ginger ale! Staying in for movie night? How about a warm grilled cheese? In fact, back in the old days (read: a few years ago), if I had a bad day at work, I would stop and pick up a loaf of warm french bread from the market, come home, and eat the whole damned thing. Not a great habit.

For Crossfit, I signed up for my I Am Crossfit Challenge - the same one I did last year, but in a heavier/harder weight class. Not that I'm heavier (though now that I think about it...) but I'll be using heavier weights, and having to do band pullups instead of jumping. Running portion is still the same, though I hope to not stop to walk at all this year. That's a big goal for me in and of itself. In order to not revamp my whole eating style when this kicks off this weekend, I've been sneaking in little changes here and there since after Christmas.

Currently, I'm opting for a more paleo/zone style of eating. No bread. None. It's a little rough the first week, but now I'm rocking! :) In this quest, I have discovered that I actually like brussel sprouts. No really. I do. Same with kale! You might not want this recipe as it's got some fat going on (DELICIOUS!) but it's a good way to start expanding your circle of veggies in a delicious way.

Kale or Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Shallots and Garlic

  • Either one bunch kale or half pound of brussel sprouts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • One shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 ounces of thickly sliced pancetta (you can sub bacon!)

If you're using kale - make sure you rip the leafy parts off and discard the stem. It's very, very bitter and doesn't cook into anything you'd want to eat. If using brussel sprouts, cut them either in half length-wise, or in quarters length-wise.

Turn your stove on medium heat, and melt the tablespoon of butter in the pan. Once this is melted, toss in your pancetta and let it cook 5-7 minutes or until they're deliciously cruchy browned bits. Add in the shallots and the garlic and stir around for a minute or so until they start to soften. Do not let the garlic burn!

Now, if you're using kale - you toss it in here and let it cook for 6-8 minutes until it's turned a deeper, electric green color and is wilted and cooked. Raw kale is not great. Make sure you're moving the pancetta and the garlic and tossing it all together. This will make sure that the garlic doesn't burn and that your leafy greens are covered in deliciousness.

If you're using brussel sprouts, toss them in the pan and leave them alone for about 5 minutes. You want to stir them once to make sure they're covered in the butter/rendered pancetta. You want to get those crispy brown spots on the brussel sprouts. If you're worried that you're going to cook them too long - you can always cook them before the garlic and shallots, and then add those last (make sure to cook the garlic for at least 2 minutes to get rid of that raw garlic taste!)

I promise, it will taste much better than you think!