Fighting the Fat Talk – Screw the Scale

A lot of healthy living blogs out there are talking about how to “Fight the Fat Talk”. I will make no claim at being able to provide any professional advice or tips supported by any time of research. Instead, I want to talk about my own personal struggle and how I am trying to help myself.

Rewind One Year…

Last year, about this time, I was completing my first Whole30. It was an incredible experience. It literally changed my life. Food had a whole new meaning for me and “healthy” had been completely redefined in my vocabulary.

As 2013 progressed, a deeper change occurred. My inner voice, the judgmental one, went quiet. When I looked into the mirror, the first thoughts in my head were not belittling, nit-picking, or demeaning in any sort of way. I was happy with my body, my progress, …myself.

The love/hate affair with the scale was broken. With no batteries in the scale, I only weighed myself a few times over the twelve months (using gym scales occasionally). Instead I took my body measurements and went with an “intuitive” health scale.

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Unfortunately….something has happened…. and the mean voice has awoke with me. 

I have weighed myself every day the past week.

I find something to pick on each time I look in the mirror.

I have tummy issues.

I have skin break outs.

But most regrettably, I am starting to tell myself that I’m not good enough.

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There’s a fine line between “wanting to be a better person” and “not being good enough”. Everyone should strive for continuos improvement…whether it’s in their health, fitness, financial, intellectual, emotional, etc status. We can all be better people. But in doing so, we should also love ourselves in the process.

My box is doing an 8-week challenge (typical of most gyms with the body measurements, pictures, weight loss, prizes, etc). I told myself that I would not partake in this challenge because I want to tackle this in a healthy way. I need to break my bond with the scale.

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So now I know, I weigh 165-170lbs and I have 15.5-16% body fat. This means that over the last year I have gained almost 15-20lbs, but I have also lost 10lbs of body fat (used to hover around 25%). These are just numbers…and they do not define me. And I’m not going to hide those numbers out of shame. While I’m heavier, I know that I’m healthier.

I will clear the house of chocolate.

I will remove the battery from the scale.

I will focus on the things I love… including myself.

And surely, over time, once again…. I will silence the mean voice within….

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Recap of 2013

Wow… what a year!! There have been some serious HIGHs and some big time LOWs.  When I look back on 2013…these are the things I will remember. And I think I’d like to do a post like this later that includes all of my CrossFit milestones…. 

January

Wrapped up the Whole30. It was an incredible experience. I have a new appreciation for food & health in general. I contemplate doing Whole30 again, but eating strict Paleo is much more long term solution.

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Gregg & I built a Handstand Snowman

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Completed by first Hero WOD

 

Volunteer Orientation at Stray Rescue with my friend Kristi. We got to walk a few dogs. I enjoyed it so much, and didn’t take any pups home. I didn’t make it back the rest of the year, it’s not in a great spot of town (I shouldn’t be down there by myself and Gregg can’t bear the thought of seeing the dogs without a home). 

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February

Mardi Gras Beer Tasting with the in-laws. It was a Christmas gift from father in law. The party was in the St. Louis City Hall Rotunda (where Gregg and I were wed). 

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Free tickets to see Lady GaGa (for a 2nd time) from a private box. They were from my employer as recognition.

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Trip to Texas with my mom & step dad. Lots of time spent with my extended family for my Great Grandma’s 93rd birthday and family reunion. Lots of pictures and good times. This is one of my favorite… hands of my Great Grandma (teal sleeve), Aunt Char (going clockwise), Me, Mom, Cousin Sam, Aunt Lisa, Grandma Kenna.

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March

I had the opportunity to attend “Transition to Managmenet” week long class at the Leadership Center. It was tough being away from home but I really enjoyed the time of reflection and energy I got from the classes. Oh, and I also got to try a workout machine called ‘Jacob’s Ladder’

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We got a pretty big Spring Snowstorm. Tucker was playing with his safety beacon…

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I participated in my First CF Competition. It was at CF314 with two other local boxes. My team placed 5th out of 11 and we had a great time

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Gregg and I set Pete the Pig out at Ted Drewes.

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April

I competed in, and completed, the 2013 CrossFit Open. I learned a lot about CrossFit during this time, but even more about myself. Ranking 5th at our local Box.

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Even though I wasn’t training for a run I completed the Go! St. Louis 5k

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May

Visited my favorite Winery – Chandler Hill – with Brooke. She relocated to Texas for her job and I miss her terribly. It was a busy day at the winery and they ran out of chillers… we know how to stay classy.

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May 15, 2013 – goofing off during CrossFit Workout – I tore my left ACL and meniscus. (No picture). We were testing our jump measurements… running long jumps should always plant with BOTH feet!

 Caught a few baseball games..

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June

Trying to find the joy in the little things… my hydrangea plant produces the most monstrous flowers.

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A few trips to the pool too:

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June 25, 2013 – Surgery for ACL Reconstruction and Meniscus Repair. Tucker was worried about me…but i was in the loving care of my mom, husband, and pups.

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July

Lots and lots of Knee Recovery. Lots and lots of Knee Pictures.

I took some time off work and then worked from home for several weeks. It was during our busiest time of the year and I was out of the office for almost 4 weeks. I will not repost all the knee pictures.

 

August

We took Tucker for a ride in the Jeep to Ted Drewes. 

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I learned to embrace the GYMNASTICS portion of CrossFit and started dabbling on the Rings.

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Gregg’s BDay was low key and more pool time…

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September

Over labor day weekend (August/September) we took a trip to Colorado. Gregg completed a race called the Ascent while I spent lots of time with my mom.

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Along with several other volunteers we painted St Louis Fire Department headquarters parking lot, fence, and training tower. The project was organized my The Mission Continues.

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October

We took our annual Trip to Mexico.  Dreams Puerto Vallarta.

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Sharp Shootin at the Range

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Set Goals for 34th Birthday!

 

November

Attended The Mission Continues Gala.  Met Jon Stewart. 

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Saw Justin Timberlake in Concert

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We wait late into the night… who’s mail delivery comes at 730pm?!  But we get the results from the Captains text. Gregg is #9. This is huge.

 

December

In the quickest turn of events… Gregg’s promotion is made.

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I take advantage of the break from work (nine days off) to clean house, clear out closets, and get lots ready for donation. Here is my shoe graveyard:

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For Christmas, Gregg got me two wonderful gifts. Strikingly different, but both perfect for me. A Strand of Pearls from the Jacqueline Kennedy designs. And a pair of Reebok Olympic Weightlifting Shoes. I’m equally excited for both!

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My Biggest Accomplishment – Keeping my Head on right during the ACL tear, pre-hab, reconstruction surgery, and rehabilitation. In 2013, I became a CrossFitter.

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Post Surgery: Ten Weeks

It has been just over 10 weeks since my reconstruction ACL and meniscus repair surgery. It’s been a while since I’ve done a status check of my knee….

Over the past several weeks I will have really good days. Some days I even feel like I’m >75% recovered. But then, I usually over-exert myself on those days and I pay for it the next (feeling < 50% recovered).

Skipping two one week of PT (so it was two weeks between visits), I felt like my progression slowed. I wasn’t good about doing my homework while in Denver and I walked a lot. At one point in Denver my knee was uber painful and a bruise started forming on the back of my knee. I got a little nervous that I’d done some damage.

Once I went back to PT and my therapist were talking about how I felt… she reminded me that at four months I’d feel good but I needed to be very careful. I reminded her that I was only at 10 weeks (several weeks shy of that mark). She said that I’m progressing much faster and she needed to remember I wasn’t at the 16-ish week mark. 

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At my 10week PT appointment I also achieved FULL range of motion (141*) while working on my heel slides down the wall.

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So, how does the knee feel?

  • The outside incision still has quite a bit of scar tissue underneath it. 
    • Pain is usually located around incision areas so I’m trying to bust up the scar tissue. The outside incision is most common achy spot. Under front of knee cap is second biggest offender.
  • The whole knee aches nearly all the time, sometimes it’s a “thickness” feeling others it’s a much sharper pain. I get tired of telling people I hurt, so I often don’t mention it or want to talk about it. I just tell them “I’m good”.
    • Sometimes I will get stabbing pains in the inside of the leg/knee. It feels a bit like I imagine electrocution would feel. Quick, intense, and then gone.
  • Going up stairs and hills is slightly more challenging than normal; but going down stairs and hills can be extremely difficult. If I don’t have a handrail, I will often take one step at a time just because I don’t feel stable.
  • Building up my quad muscle has helped reduced some of the “popping” I was feeling. 
  • Moving around (from push ups to sit ups, skin the cat upside down hangs, rolling over in bed) still feels odd. Not always painful, but just not normal. It reminds me of the “looseness” I felt when the ACL was torn. And of course that freaks me out.
  • Sometimes I feel wobbly on it. And I almost alway worry that I’ve re-injured myself. But I try to calm myself by realizing it’s likely the muscle strength and coordination that I still need to work on.
  • My PT graduated my homework to lunges and mini-squats. I do that in addition to quad sets and prone hangs.
  • There are times I wake up in the night, in pain, when I straighten/stretch my legs. 
  • Sitting/Standing too long I get stiff and tight.
  • Getting full extension when walking is tough. I really have to slow down to feel it and walk right. I hate walking so slowly… so I haven’t been doing it. But I worry that will harm me in the long run.

Most of these bullets sound like I’m not doing good. But I truly believe I am. I think this just goes to show how far I’ve come…but how much more work I will have to do! I think it also shows that when I visit the ortho surgeon in a week that I am not ready to be ‘on my own’. I want to continue some PT visits…even if it’s less frequent…but I feel I need (a) that reminder that I’m not healed and (b) someone to help keep me in check and a little less worried as I get back to it.

whole30 review

The

yes!

when i committed to doing the whole30, i had my hesitations. i’ve never been able to stick to a diet nor have extreme self control around food. don’t get me wrong, i didn’t binge but i was complacent telling myself i ate “relatively healthy”. 

committing to the whole30 on dec3rd, crossing christmas and new years was an even bigger challenge. but i told myself it would make it easier than “trying to cut back”. because rather than allowing myself “just one” or trying to track how many “just one’s” i’d had that day… the answer would always be simple. it would be “no thank you

turns out that worked!

it was hard, and i went through some ups and downs in my emotions. but i made it through!

you can read all about the common stages over on whole9life.com

THE TIMELINE: A DAY-BY-DAY GUIDE TO YOUR WHOLE30

 

now here’s my take…

week 1 – i was tired and hungry. making sure i ate enough protein was challenging. i do think the volume of each meal increased, but cutting snacking probably offset that. realizing i couldn’t chew gum was a major bummer. {funny how i don’t miss it now}.  did i mention how tired i was?! 

week 2 – i lost my hunger. as my body began adjusting to the new REAL food, i lost my appetite. some of this may be attributed to lack of meal diversity but i was also getting sick of meat. slowly, my energy starts to creep up and my relationship with food and appreciation for it begins to change about half way through. gregg dropped off from whole30 to paleo – rather than going with him – that gave me more desire to stick with it.

week 3 – late week 2/early week 3 i had food dreams. lots of them. some funny, some bizarre. but i start to feel the “tiger blood”… looking back through my blog posts they are chipper and energetic.

week 4 – early week 4/late week 3 my energy plummets. i’m crabby. and i’m mean…. turns out, my body needs more carbs during certain time of the month. after i learn & adjust accordingly, energy is back up and mood improves! the last half of week four felt like it took forever. i was just ready for day 30 to be here.

day 29 (nye) – i tell myself i’ve done well enough. i can eat whatever i want.  but i don’t. because i committed to 30 days, not 29.

day 30 (new year’s day) – i tell myself i’ve more than proven myself…that night, i will indulge in a little frozen custard. however, ted drewe’s is closed, and i feel ashamed of letting my guard down on last day.

day 31 (today!) – for weeks i’d planned to get starbucks this morning….yet i didn’t. i don’t know why. i told myself i’d “need” or “want” it more later in the week. i stayed compliant to whole30 (other than my paleo-ized banana muffin).  i’m looking forward to carrying the things i’ve learned day-to-day.

there is, honestly, some anxiety in my head…. what happens after all this???  what happens when i eat something and feel like crap???  what happens when my energy plummets and i gain all my weight back, or my headaches return, or acne reappears??? 

well, the answer is simple, i eliminate what hurts. 

i eat good food.

i would encourage anyone, and everyone, to the whole30 challenge. it will change your life. i promise.

i’ve lost weight. tightened my bod. quit taking prescription migraine meds. skin is brighter and clearer. energy is up. i’m happy. tummy issues are gone.  

what will you gain? only one way to find out!!…. 

 

 

more than just weight loss (days 12 & 13)

The

 

it’s been a busy weekend, i missed you. 

friday was a busy day… work wasn’t too shabby, it was the social scene that got a little hectic. but before i jump to the bar scene, i had to have a follow up appointment with my neurologist. i’ve been on daily preventative migraine meds for quite some time. but after talking to her about the whole30 and the reintroduction process she said i could go off the meds (when i asked). 

so here i am (sunday) and 2 nights have passed without taking the meds. i’m a little apprehensive, but very hopeful. she told me some of the usual triggers include MSG, red wine, old cheeses, etc. i plan to find some more literature, this way i can be on the look out for usual food triggers when i’m ready. 

after the doc, i had three happy hour invites. they were scattered all over the city so i only made two of them. the first was with my co-workers. some of them know about the whole30, but many didn’t. and since i was hitting up the bar around 5pm i knew i needed a snack. so i ate my hardboiled egg and blackberries in the parking lot. then once inside, i ordered water with lemon & lime to try to avoid any questions. it seems that if you’re married and drinking water at a happy hour everyone will automatically assume you are preggers. the few people that noticed i just said i had other happy hours to attend and didn’t want to be drinking and driving. (also a true statement). Screen Shot 2012 12 16 at 10 37 58 AM

the second gathering was closer to home so i was able to eat dinner very quickly then head back out. gregg and i met up with all the folks from crossfit314. i’d never been to this particular bar before, and it smelt of heavenly bbq. i was so glad i ate before! again, i ordered my water with lemon & lime. and enjoyed getting to know some of the people i have met over the past few weeks. it was funny seeing the girls in makeup with their hair done.

by 11:30… i crashed.

<<alarm>> went off at 7:45 saturday morning. time for crossfit! i got up very begrudgingly. 9am class was not my idea. but after we got there and got moving i was glad to have it out of the way. the workout was modified, to be a remembrance WOD. for the terrible tragedy and those suffering up in newton, ct. when i suffered during the workout (i even fell and dropped weights during OHS)…  i thought of those dear children, those beautiful strong teachers, and all their families. they will be strong and lift each other up. we all need to do that for one another. each and every day. 

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most of the day saturday was spent finalizing christmas shopping. gregg visited costco for the first time. he is amazed. 

sadly, i still can’t find whole30 compliant bacon… even though the whole9 forums say costco has it. <sigh>

and now it’s time for a confession… saturday (day 13), i had a cheat…. but it wasn’t a food cheat! …i’ve been doing so great on the whole30…. i really have. i know my gut feels better. i know my relationship with food is improving. and hopefully, can fix my migraine/headaches.    but i am not seeing the body changes i hoped for. since i know i don’t want to weigh myself, i decided to take my body measurements. i think this was probably a cheat and while i feel a little guilty about it, it has giving me motivation  to keep it up! 

i won’t post my measurements, but i’ll just say… i’ve lost about an inch in every spot since nov 24 (when i started crossfit, about 1 week prior to starting whole 30).

 

From Whole9

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whole30 recap (day 12)

workout – n/a (busy being a social butterfly)

meal 1 − 1/2 sweet potato, 2 eggs, italian sausage

meal 2 – left over spaghetti & broccoli

snack – hb egg & blackberries (before happy hour)

meal 3 – pork, 1/2 avocado,  + almond butter/banana 

 

whole30 recap (day 13)

workout – “jeremy” 21-15-9: OHS & Burpees!  8:32 @ 25#

meal 1 – porridge (used coconut milk makes 10x more yummy)

meal 2 – left over spaghetti & spinach

snack – pistachios (while out shopping at the mall. good thing i carry nuts in my purse)

meal 3 – surf n’ turf (steak, scallops, sweet potato, brussel sprouts) << much of steak & sweet potato went uneaten

put a fork in it (one week done!)

so the first week of my whole30 journey is done. how do i feel? i feel great albeit very very tired. this is not abnormal for me though.

i’ve always been a fan of naps. so it’s hard to say whether sleeping poorly (from my stitches), week 1 ‘symptoms’ of whole30, or just life in general is dragging me down. but this girl is pooped.

please allow tucker to demonstrate…

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i’m looking forward to week two. it’s going to be a busy week (work happy hours, dinners with friends, dentist appointments) but i’ll be sure to make time to squeeze in a work out here and there. and eat clean!

here’s a preview for the week ahead! yum

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overall this first week has been very enlightening. i’ve opened my eyes to reading food labels (seriously, sugar is in everything!). i’ve also learned how to wrestle some of my own internal food demons. interestingly, i don’t crave anything right now. in fact, i’ve come to realize that i miss the ‘habit‘ of food more than i miss the food. for example, my morning coffee can still be enjoyed without the cream & sugar. or when i walk in the door after a long days’ work i don’t have to have a granola bar!  i’m more thoroughly understanding and realizing food is fuel. fuel that helps (or hurts) my body. i’ve seen a few tweets or fb posts from friends saying “they earned this pizza, ice cream, beer… what not”.  and now i’m beginning to see how distorted that view is… food is not a reward system. i am not a dog that gets a treat for doing a trick

in a completely unrelated note: gregg has opted to follow a less stringent plan and eat more paleo (rather than whole30). i appreciate his willingness to continue to support me in this challenge and i know he’s seeing his own benefits. today at open gym, he set a hella PR on his deadlift. 355#! wowsers. in his acceptance speech, he owed it all to the bacon. 🙂  

don’t get me going on bacon. and sugar. and my never ending quest… 

with that, i’m heading up to bed. good night!

 

whole30 (day 7) Recap:

workout – nada (but i should be good to go tomorrow!)

meal 1 – italian sausage, egg, tomato

meal 2 – chicken on spinach, avocado, pomegranate seeds

snack – again… naner & almond butter (i sound like a broken record!)

meal 3 – salmon, cauli-rice, roasted brussel sprouts!

Results!

Benign. That is the best word I could have expected to hear last Friday. 

I’ve had the news for about a week… and I realized (after getting a few notes, comments, and calls) that I should post my results. I did not mean to be a drama queen by any means.

The biopsy for my mole confirmed (pathologically) the visual cues that my dermatologist observed. Although the mole is benign, there were several atypical attributes. On the molecular and cellular level. Boil it down, the mole was in the process of biologically changing. Next month, after Thanksgiving, I will return for another biopsy. The atypical cells were all the way to the edge of the biopsy and the doctor wants to make sure they go and remove further out, to get a clean cut. Remove all atypical cells in a preventative move.

That news Friday was some of the best news I could have received. It also proceeded a really great weekend that included a wedding (renewal of vows) of some friends of ours Friday night. Fire pit Saturday night. And hike Sunday morning! 

Gregg, Groom, Mother of the Groom, and grade school friends

Gregg & Friends

 

Car Ride!

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Gregg & Bella

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Me & Tucker!

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By monday I felt re-energized for the week.

Then, on Monday… I got to have dinner with one of my best friends in town from Chicago. And I got the new iPhone 5 delivered to my house!

 

So many fun & exciting things to write about!! But alas, work was hectic. And I ended up going on a spur of the moment biz trip to San Diego Thursday & Friday!

EARLY flight, watching the sunrise. And the most bizarre hotel gym. All the equipment around the pool?! 

Funny how I am always more motivated for early morning workouts in hotel rooms… 

 

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Now it’s Saturday and I have a full week of relaxing with my little family planned.

Knowing your ABCD’s

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you. In order to be successful then, you must learn how to react quickly and when you swing and miss… well, then you just get back in the box. Ready for the next pitch.

I shouldn’t be allowed to write sports analogies but I draw a blank when I try to think of another example. 

Several weeks ago I went to visit a new doctor. He’s a dermatologist. Besides being thirty-“something” and figuring it was an adult thing to do… I had been breaking out recently and wanted some topical meds stronger than what I was finding at my local Target.

While there we began talking about tanning. More specifically, tanning beds. 

Over the last 16 years (or so) of my life I have had an on again – off again love affair with the tanning bed. I knew it was bad for me. But I’d be drawn back to it. Time and time again. The ‘feel good’ state from the tan and the vitamin D kept me coming back for more. There were even times in my life that I bordered on ‘tanarexia’. I could never get tan enough. I even contemplated going tanning twice in one day in high school. Luckily, I lived in a small town (only one tanning salon) and the owner would know if I tried to pull 2x in one day. I remember joking “I have to die of something… at least I’ll look good”.  <<— such a foolish idea!

The doctor decided to have me put on a gown and do a full body exam. He looked at my arms. There’s one mole I mentioned had caused me some issues a month or so ago. He wasn’t overly concerned but took a picture to document. Then he looked at the lower half of my legs. All good. Examining my back he noted several spots to the nurse. I knew I had lots of spots but hearing about them all started to make me queasy. He moved around to my front and examined my upper chest. He told me I need to keep special eye on several spots. I thought he was done.

But he wanted to examine my stomach. I lifted the top and he immediately said “oh, we’ve got a problem here”.

My stomach sank. WHAT?!

On my left rib cage I have a mole that’s troubled him. A biopsy was required.

Doc took his time explaining all the reasons this was concerning. Following the ABCD guidelines: Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter

 

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Source

My little mole had all four symptoms. 

Doc shared a story with me… that I will not soon forget.

A coal-miner took a much needed vacation with his wife. The went on a two week cruise. On the final trip back to port and heading home he asked his wife to stop by the gas station. He was going to by some cigarettes. “Why?” she asked “You don’t smoke?!” He replied, “True, I never have. But I need to get my lungs ready to go back to work!”

Sounds awfully silly, doesn’t it? That is what we sound like when we say we need to tan before a vacation. To get the base color. Or so we don’t burn. We are just accelerating the damage to our precious skin.

Five days ago I had my mole removed. I have to wait at least 3 more days until I get results from the lab. I’ve had this mole as long as I can remember. (One year at camp, I thought it was a tick!) but I can’t say what it has always looked like. I tell myself over and over that it’s nothing.

But it is something.

It has changed my outlook. It has broken my addiction to tanning. I will always wear my SPF 30. And I will always do my monthly self-exams.