When you realize your pigout is compromised of healthy choices — September series

The following is a summary of changes noticed this month, as a result of having done CrossFit since January 8, 2013.

Lifestyle:

  • Can put shoes on by bending at the waist
  • do CrossFit 3x/week, including when on the road, but, took two weeks out of the program.
  • Food eating is healthier.  I had a night where I gave into a “pigout” munchie night, I realized the next day that things had shifted when my pigout meant popcorn and some nuts and water.

Capability:

Physical

  • 3X in Jan.    Now a size X or size 14 blouse
  • 26w in Jan.  Wearing size 16 pants.
  • Weight  268 in Jan  – 222 no change in September…as my son says, the only weight that i should be concerned about is the weight that I am lifting
  • For women:  who needs Kegel exercises when you have CrossFit.  Realized that sneezing, coughing, etc haven’t been a problem for a few months, in fact, no problems at all exist…

Other:

  • wearing earrings now as my face has changed shape and they look better
  • buying clothes a size ahead so that I have clothes to shrink into
  • Cheered on my first UG Series / CrossFit Brantford teams
  • Missed the last step when rushing out of the office late at night, fell hard, but, probably not as bad as if my balance wasn’t as improved as it is. Then again, I would have been going down the stairs one step at a time. – sadly, that fall took away what I thought would be a september milestone — no falls.

For previous months changes: here is August’s

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Two PRs, witnessing creativity & the school crowd returns

Watched dedication this morning, as M came in with a walking cast.  Turned out he had broken his foot on Sunday, and was at CrossFit on Tuesday.  He’s a physiotherapist, he knows his body, and it was good to see how he adjusted work and challenged himself.  CrossFit is adaptable and great to see someone using their creativity.

It was also good to have the teachers and students back to the 6am wod.  Nice to have the box be big enough to handle us all.  So much fun and support from this group.

My previous PR for front squat was 65 pounds.  I knew it was out of whack, but, how much was it out? Turned out a lot.

Did 115 pound PR for front squat this morning as part of 5of3. Definitely the one round max will be higher. Thanks to Coach Carmen for the tip on approaching the bar.  I was adjusting after it was off.  Made a huge different to the wrists and allowed me to go straight into the squat.

The WOD involved 20 front squats, so I took it down to 85 pounds, not thinking my previous snatch was 65 pounds.  Hmm, would I be able to get it up to my shoulders. Hit it without issue, and used 85 pounds for the front squats.  Given that I did them in reps of 5, I did the snatch 4x.  Should be easy to get the number higher.

Strength
Front squat 

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 

WOD

For time:

20 Front squat  (185/135) 

30 Box jum (30/24) — dang, I can’t jump…but did 30 at 8″

40 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1) 

50 Thruster (45/35)  — used the 35 pound bar, was wiped by the end.

No brain, and forgot to record time, but, it had to be 20min or more.

That’s ok, another day of CrossFit..and I may not be fast, but, I’m like the tortoise, eventually I get there.

Thanking Michael for some awesome bacon, and the fresh eggs for breakfast. Now time to get moving on my day

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Furniture moving, burpees and coffee: August series of changes

The following is a summary of changes noticed this month, as a result of having done CrossFit since January 8, 2013.

Lifestyle:

  • A secondary fitness item is part of a schedule now as AquaFit is in weekly schedule.  Feels good to be in the water & stretch.
  • Moved the furniture in my house: piano, heavy mahogany (old) buffet, china cabinet, on my own.
  • Found a great new coffee place — awesome coffee — means no milk — Paleo! Thanks Monigram Coffee Roasters

Capability:

  •  I am more nimble, such as when moving around when in a “squat”, “perching’
  • Burpees are using a little  jump as compared to just struggling to get off the ground
  • Situps are now firing more like a situp, ie abs, arms, hips
  • Did my first team WOD by participating in a “bring a friend” session.
  • Did my first double under — only did one, but it is a start
  • You can see my   strength progression in this link, and my Named Wod’s here:

Physical

  • 3X in Jan.    Wore a size 14 blouse from Laura’s this month, but most are 1x or 16.
  • 26w in Jan.  Wearing size 16 or 18 pants.
  • I have knees.  (Those of you who are big will understand this)
  • Resting heart rate down from 82 in Jan to 62 in Aug– based on this chart, I went from below average to good
  • Blood pressure was sitting at 144/72 after minor surgery.  Not bad considering how big that I still am
  • Measurements: Jan to July to Aug:  Left Arm 15.5 =>13.5 ->, Bust ? now ? ->, Chest 44.5 =>41.5-> , Waist 53 =>44->, Butt 50.5 =>47->, Thigh 28.5 =>25.5->  *** note original measurements were done poorly.  Will be interesting to see the progression.
  • Weight went from 268 in Jan to 225 in Aug.

Other:

  • Went & had my ears re-pierced . Face is slimmer & earrings look better.
  • Was able to have colonoscopy at clinic which means not “high risk”.  It was also clear.
  • Had a bad eating week, but even with it, was able to bring myself back into line.
  • Shopping at  second hand store for  smaller sizes so that I can  shrink without spending a fortune on clothes. Important to have clothes that fit.
  • Helped as part of CrossFit community by doing the HotShots Wod at CrossFit Brantford.

For previous months changes: here is July’s

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Tough Question: “How do you experience the weight loss” – Part II

A few days ago a friend asked how I experience the weight loss, and so in Part I,  I took on the easy part of discussing the physical experience.  Today, I’ve taken on the mental experience and will leave the emotional one for later.

Part of losing weight is breaking the patterns, taking control of my mind and my automatic responses to stresses has been a key element of weight loss.   So mental experience of weight loss includes the learning of what are my triggers and how to move out of them.  It included pondering various studies, arguments and folklore regarding diet coke, insulin spikes, wheat belly, gluten, Paleo diets and other item shared by friends and coworkers.   There are controversies around the impact of most of these items and it would have been easy to get bogged down in the various papers.  Ultimately, I had to let go and just find the middle road and what seemed logical for there is no question that  my eating choices were a key contributor to my weight gain

As an analytic, I needed to also give myself metrics to reflect on what was working  because I knew the weight losses would be slow.  I knew that if my brain didn’t see change over a few weeks that I might start to second guess my activities.  In order to get past those self-doubts, I started the spreadsheet recording  inches. I also tried a few different programs settling on supertracker to record food intake / output / stats.   The program was critical in the first three months, and is still a good program for me to fall back to when I hit a plateau. Why? It provides caloric but also nutrient, food group charting, including goals.  It allows my analytical side to kick in, bypassing the emotional triggers.

The other part of the analytic was to be honest about what the weight loss was blocking, in part, the writing of this blog and the monthly summary of functional changes. It was essential that I remembered that I needed to avoid bench seats at restaurants.

Relearning to cook from scratch, plan meals, do crockpots was a fun challenge.  It involved building new routines which paired with the CrossFit regime:  ie, new fruit/vegetable market, new meat stand, new egg location. But that is really about the experience of learning to eat healthy again rather than the experience of the weight loss.

The biggest learning was to get past the idea that weight loss was the sole measurement of health.  Now for those who bluster at that one, clearly weight combined with height is a key  measurement of health; however, it is not the sole one, nor are the simplistic BMI calculators available a good measure of how healthy or obese I am.  I needed to accept that I was morbidly obese. I needed to accept that weight was only one of the goals, and if anything, more of a byproduct of achieving “healthy”.

The other learning was to get past the dependence on the scale. Yes, I weight myself daily, but, if it goes down a pound or up two it is less of a cause for celebration or despair.  I had to purchase a digital scale to stop my brain from playing the “what does it really state” game of the old style scale. Once I went digital I had a clear accurate measurement. I then had to accept the natural ebbs and  flows of weight.  As a woman, my body has always floated up or down 5 pounds through the month…and of course as a human our body floats, plus..there is working out adding pounds with muscle.  So….the hard part for me is to get my brain to quit relying on that scale and then triggering food eating  behavior based on what the changes were. This continues to be one of the hard ones, yet, I cannot give up the scale as a measurement tool.

In summary, the experience of weight loss intellectually has been about reprogramming my mind and trying to understand the weight loss variables and learn to live within the grays.

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Tough Question: How is the weight loss experienced by you?

A friend asked me the other day “How is the weight loss experienced by you?”

It is easy to name the functional changes since starting CrossFit in January or to provide statistical information on weight, sizes, capabilities. Experience is harder as experience of weight loss includes baggage both personal and from society and emotional challenges related to history of weigh loss.

Over the next few posts, I will try to articulate the experience of losing weight, and today, will start with the Physical experience

Picture that you have a weight vest on, and over the last 20 years you have added 5 pounds per year to the pockets. You never take that vest off. Your body has adapted to carrying the weight as it was added, not really noticing the impact until the load of the vest is literally killing you. Now, picture that you start removing a pound a week or so at a time. At the end of 6 months, you have removed 45 pounds from that vest. That is how my body is experiencing this weight loss.

Last fall, climbing the stairs were a challenge. My body was struggling with carrying and moving 270 pounds. If I slipped or stepped on a piece of crooked sidewalk, my balance was unable to keep me steady. Falls were common as were twists to knees. My knees were under pressure and were failing to recover from those twist injuries. This manifested for me in taking one stair at a time: move one foot up, bring the other foot up, lean heavily on the armrail. It also meant that if a misstep occurred, I was falling down stairs. Truly, falling up & down stairs was a fairly regular occurrence – which just reinforced the slow, one foot at a time, stair ascends & descends.

With 45 pounds gone, my body is less challenged to move that weight, gosh, it thinks it is on vacation. With CrossFit activities my knees are more stable and with the easier load, climbing stairs is now easy. Walking a block means I don’t watch my foot placement to the same degree knowing that should I misstep that I will just unconsciously alter my balance.  Getting up off the floor required hands and supports, ie pull the footstool and use it to push up from. Now, it is just a fairly simple stand up.

It isn’t just the weight though, the weight translates into inches. So, imagine how wide that vest was, and it got in my way when I tried to bend, reach or stretch. As the weight reduces in size, I can physically do things that many humans take for granted. Putting on socks is just bending my leg. Putting on a bra is just reaching around to close the clasp.

The belly fat in particular was an issue. I quit buying any shoe that was not a slip on. Why? Doing up a shoe was not something you wanted to do in public. I had to move fat and pull leg to get my foot into a position that I could tie a shoe. (Doesn’t make considering going to a gym easy when you are putting on runners). So, reflecting back on what life was life, it is amazing to experience again doing things without planning how to do it: from getting dressed to grabbing something off a shelf.

My analogy though, isn’t close to perfect, as the vest wasn’t just external. Much of it was abdominal obesity.  This means that the fat is located inside your abdominal surrounding your organs. Think on what that does to just your natural ability to breathe, for your lungs to expand, for your intestines to function, for your heart to pump. My breathing is significantly better as that fat is reduced. My organs just work better or seem to as evidenced by a decrease in resting heart beat.

So back to the question, how is weigh loss experienced by you?

Weight loss is experienced physically by  feeling less exhausted, lower blood pressure, organs working better, as well as the ability to do things such as put on socks or buy shoes which have buckles.

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An Outfit for the Theatre

When you are large and think about going shopping for clothes, it can be a depressing thought.  You face looking at your obese body in a full scale mirror with no way to hide and a poor selection of clothing.  Well, it just isn’t fun.  The cost can also be prohibitive as discount racks in the plus sizes are generally rather poor, especially in Canada.  (US is much better both for choice and sales.)

An event as fun as going to the theatre or as tragic as a funeral gets a burden of what to wear which is different than it is for the slimmer person in the crowd.

As readers of this blog know, I have shrunk out of clothes recently that were of very large sizes.  When deciding what to do with my “too big” clothes I considered going to a used clothing store and putting them on consignment or trading for smaller sizes.  I also considered giving them to one of our local used clothing stores like Value Village or the Recovery Shop.

My friend June suggested giving them to the local Self Help FoodBank.  They have clothes for people going back to work, interviews, etc.  My style of clothes would definitely be useful but the primary reason she suggested them was that they seldom  have clothes for large women.  There is a high need and scarce supply.

Definitley mine “fit” into that category.  So  one and a half large leaf bags later, the clothes were on their way to be used by women who need a helping hand.   Jones of New York jackets and blouses that always made me feel good would hopefully lift their spirits as well.  Nylons that were in unopened packages would go with the lovely black dress suitable for a funeral or a night out.  Coats that kept me warm would mean they weren’t wearing a ski jacket over their outfit for that all important interview.

I was thrilled to hear the other night that the woman who manages the clothing unit was ecstatic about the clothes.

I hadn’t realized that the centre is sometimes given tickets to the theatre.  June had written a do’s and don’ts of theatre attendance for their participants, so they would understand some of the cultural differences but clothes were a challenge for larger women.

Some of my dressier clothes have now been set aside at the centre for women going to the theatre.  It makes me smile to think that someone will feel as good as I did when wearing them .  I am hoping the dresses adorn many women as they take in shows and have fun at special occasions, or those more somber moments.

I have learned it is important for me to have clothes that fit as I go down in size. I am happy that the clothes that I wear for a few months will find their way soon to another set of women to enjoy them as well.

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CrossFit & AquaFit: Graham’s prediction came true

At the end of January, Graham and I were talking about my first month.  He gave the classic lines about how as you get stronger, you get better, and then it gets harder…

I was asking about how often to go and he said 3 or 4x / week, then a rest day and you may throw something else in too.

I looked at him like he was losing it.

The thought of being able to do something in addition to CrossFit was beyond my comprehension.

7 months in, and I am now throwing in an AquaFit or two per week.  Sure, it isn’t a heavy workout, but it is fun, and my body feels good after the stretching and working out in the water.

Dang, how did he get so smart?

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