Thursday, May 15, 2014

My journey to health...

I've been wanting to do a post on my fitness journey for awhile now but didn't feel like I had achieved all of my goals yet or that I had any business giving health advice because who am I kidding, I'm still a newbie in the fitness world. But then I realized that I'm never going to achieve all of my goals and always going to be learning new things. I'm going to always be pushing myself to be better. So why not show my progression over the last few months?

A few months ago I started crossfit. Some of those that follow me on facebook probably are thinking, "WE KNOW ALREADY!!!" I know...I know... I'm just a TINGE obsessed with crossfit. If I can't make it to crossfit even one day in the week it literally ruins my day. I love it so much and have seen great results. I still have a ways to go but here are my results so far:

The first picture was taken a few months ago. I was not happy with my body but was able to accept I wasn't ready to start my journey yet. And I was really ok with that. I don't think you can really begin your journey unless you are completely ready. Nobody can make that decision but you. I gave myself plenty of time to recover from having my last baby and knew that it was time. And I don't regret giving myself that time, but man am I glad I got started when I did! The second picture was taken yesterday.

These show more of a progression of my stomach. It's amazing what clean eating and exercising does in just a few short months! What is funny is the first and second picture I didn't lose ONE POUND according to the scale.

When I first started my journey at crossfit I was very frustrated because I didn't see results right away according to the scale. In fact in three weeks of eating good, doing crossfit 5 times a week, and even working out most days at home on top of crossfit I didn't lose ONE pound. I would lose a couple of pounds and then the next day gain it right back. It was affecting my mood and I would just wonder what I was killing myself over if nothing was changing anyways. I felt my clothes fitting a little better but I wanted faster results.

So I called my sister Becky who is pretty fit herself for some advice. She told me to STOP weighing myself. It seemed so outlandish because I am totally a scale watcher. I mean how else are you supposed to gauge your sucess or whether you need to switch things up? I was reluctant to try it but I decided I would hide my scale in the back on my closet. My sister made some great points. One was even if I got to my goal weight what would that change? Would I suddenly love my body? What if I was the weight I was now but just very fit? Would that matter to me? Second was even if I got to my goal weight would I stop doing what I was doing? Wouldn't I just go right back to where I started? This was about a lifestyle change and the results come when they come.

As much as it was scary for me I decided to try it. I tried to forget about it and even when I had the urge to see if anything had changed I resisted. And what was amazing was that I found I was A LOT more consistent in my diet when I didn't weigh myself. Instead of feeling defeat and having the "who cares what I eat anyways since its not even working" mentality, I had the man I feel a lot better eating this way! I'm going to keep on going with this!

Also I haven't done any special diets, wraps, detoxes, juicing, etc. I started doing herbalife for a couple of weeks but it just wasn't working for me. It works well for some people and I'm sure if I switched up my plan I couldn've made it work but I just realized I wanted to learn healthy eating habits in general. One thing that was great about herbalife was that it gave me TONS of energy! And their cafe latte mixed with the dulce letche...ummm delicious! It's like a healthy latte that gives you tons of energy!

I also didn't do the zone diet or the paleo like a lot of crossfitters do. I decided that I needed to do this the realistic way and not something that was only temporary. So this is what I do basically:

I wake up in the morning and first thing I do is make breakfast. I try to make breakfast my biggest meal of the day. A lot of people want to skip breakfast but its a BIG mistake. You need the energy to get you through your day and your workouts! Usually I have something packed with carbs and protein.

Example: Plain oatmeal mixed with fruit (no added sweetners besides fruit) and a whole wheat english muffin with PB or honey. Another favorite is 2 egg whites mixed with spinach and cottage cheese, side of fruit, and a whole wheat english muffin. Sometimes I even make a little egg mcmuffin with the english muffin, an egg white, avocado, spinach, and a slice of turkey bacon.

After breakfast I will usually do a workout. Either at crossfit or if I can't make it in the morning I'll wait til Havey is asleep and do a workout. I'll take a home crossfit workout that I've pinned on pinterest, write it out in big print on a sheet of paper and then tape it to the tv stand and do my workout while I watch my favorite shows I want to catch up on. Killing two birds with one stone since I will admit I LOVE my shows!

After I workout I'll grab some water and shortly after grab a snack.

Example: I usually do fruit with a spoonful of cottage cheese (watermelon or oranges are the best). Or carrots with hummus.

In between workouts and snacks I try to keep active during the day. Either with the kids or doing chores around the house. I also try to pound down the water.

Lunch is my next biggest meal of the day but it's not as big as breakfast. This is the last time I try to have any starches or breads.

Example: Instead of plain whole wheat bread I like to get little whole wheat rounds (you can get them at costco). They are pretty thin and a lot less filling than bread. I will either take half of a round and toast it or if I'm really hungry I'll just use both halves. Instead of mayo I LOVE just plain avocado to keep my sandwich/burger nice and moist. Then I'll grill some onions, bell peppers, garlic and a lean turkey burger. I'll top it with dijon mustard and either spinach or romaine lettuce. Or I'll make a sandwich. I use low sodium deli meat FROM THE DELI! No packaged meats at all!

I like to incorporate garlic and onions into a lot of my meals. Jayda and Chase HATE the smell of it and that I am constantly adding it to meals but they are so great for you! They act as natural detoxers and are great for flavoring without all the salt.

A couple hours after lunch I'll have another snack.

Example: An apple and a small handful of almonds. I also love strawberry and honey greek yogurt mixed with half a banana and blueberries. I try to have an apple and blueberries everday. They are my favorite and they are so great for you! You might be tempted to stay away from greek yogurt because it has A LOT of calories and sugar. But if you look at the ingredient list it's got far less crap than "low calorie" or "no sugar added" yogurts. Plain greek yogurt is the best because it doesn't have the amount of sugar the flavored kind has but I only take a little scoop of it to flavor fruit or to make a green smoothie. Everything in moderation.

In general I try to look at the ingredients list of my foods and not so much the calories. If there is a large list of ingredients I stay away from them even if the calories are lower than something that has less ingredients. Also if I can't buy the ingredient as a whole food then I stay away from it. What is sodium erythorbate for example? Where do I go buy that? The answer is no where! Stay away from things like that!

I try to keep it simple for dinner. I ususally just have veggies and a protein of some sort or a salad. It's usually chicken because I'm not a big red meat eater. I don't eat pork at all (stay away from it!!) and I don't eat seafood of any kind. I sometimes wish I did because fish is so great for you but I just can't bring myself to eat any of it. Maybe one day!

After dinner I will either go to crossfit or do a home workout.

After my workout I'll come home and have a bowl of fruit and some herbal tea. I try not to have anything after about 7-7:30 but water or tea that way my body has a chance to burn off my food before I go to bed.

The first few days you'll probably feel a little hungry and you might get a headache. It's totally normal but it will go away after a couple days. After that you'll have so much energy! And before doing this plan I couldn't go to sleep earlier than 11pm. Sometimes it wasn't until 12 or 1. And when you have kids that wake up at 6-6:30am that can make you very tired and groggy throughout the day and starts a vicious cycle of tiredness. Now I have tons of energy and my circadium rhythum is stabalized!

After about a month I decided to weigh myself! Gasp! What is funny is I only lost about 10lbs from the before and after pictures. That's why watching the scale means nothing. I would've never thought that only a 10lb weight loss I would look so different. The number means NOTHING! How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Pay attention to that and throw your scale away!!

I still have plenty of goals....bikini anyone? I'm so not there yet but I will be one day! And I have goals besides how my body looks. Some of those include: doing a pull up without assistance of a band, doing ring dips without assistance, doing a muscle up (LONG ways away!), handstand push-ups and lifting with the big 45lb bar. So in other words I just want to be stronger...not skinnier. The important thing to remember is to stay consistent but remember to reward yourself too. If I want a small treat I will have one and honestly I do every 3-5 days depending on the week. What I don't do that I used to is get down on myself if I do treat myself. I would have the mentality that I failed if I had one bad thing and so my whole day was therefore shot. But that's not true. So what I had a piece of chocolate? Now I'll do a little workout instead of gorging myself when I "failed". Luckily eating healthy you start to not even want your treats as much.

There will be hard days and some days where you just don't want to work out. Can anyone say box jump gone bad anyone...

But there will also be good days where you achieve your goals and see tremendous progress...

This is my first handstand hold! It took 3 months to get the guts (and strength) to do it unassisted. I felt so much pride achieving my goal! My next goal...banging out handstand push-ups without the backpack to assist me. It's not too far off!

If I know I'm not going to have the option of eating healthy for a meal then I will plan my day accordingly. Instead of having a full out meal for breakfast or for lunch I'll replace it with a green smoothie or just have something really small. I realize that by not going 110% with my diet its going to take longer than if I was very strict. But by doing it the realistic way I'm going to form good habits and have more long term results even when life gets in the way.

It's so easy to get intimidated when you are first starting out. I by no means consider myself a health expert and even one that knows a whole lot about nutrition. I do consider myself someone that loves to learn more about health and nutrition and take critism and put it to use. No one is perfect and you shouldn't hold yourself to those standards.

The first day I started crossfit I couldn't even do a full crunch. It was embarassing that I couldn't even do one unassisted. I had to use a weight to get up to my feet. Now I'm doing get-up sit-ups with no problem. It just takes time for your body to get stronger. There is no shame in that.

Lastly find someone to do your plan with. Having friends or a support network is essential! I love going to crossfit because of the people I work out with. I love having my trainers push me. I could do the workout at home and still find results but having people motivate me everyday pushes me that much further. And in crossfit there is healthy competition. If I see a girl who has the same althetic ability as me I try to push myself to keep up with her or pass her in my workout. And chances are she's doing the same. But even though there are all kinds of people there with different levels of atheletic ability I haven't come across one who is snoody or has a huge ego. Everyone is so nice especially if you are new! That's definetely a refresher from some gyms I've been to.

And this is not to say this would plan work for everyone. I have a lot of friends who are super fit and healthy who do things like herbalife. I think its awesome when people find something that works long term for them. My advice is to be completely ready when you start and find something long term that will work. Also be good to yourself! Don't expect to be perfect because you will be so disappointed! Plus NO ONE is even if they say they are! They are lying to you! :)


  1. I love this, Ash! Love that you posted your diet AND your exercise stuff -- so helpful! You look amazing and I can tell just by the way that you write now that you're feeling pretty damn good, too :)

  2. Diet is more than half the battl, girl, that's definitely what I struggle with. Like you, I'm crossfit obsessed! haha. Loved this, I'll definitely read more often!