Changes…

Changes…

I’ve posted before about the malaise I experienced after Ironman Florida and my efforts to figure out what I wanted and what was next. It’s taken some time and patience with myself, but I’ve decided on a trajectory that will ultimately make me a happier, more fulfilled person (and I’m pretty darned happy as I sit here, so YAY ME!), and I thought y’all might be interested in finding out what that decision is. During the coaching process with Deb, she kept coaxing me to explore what I REALLY wanted out of life… not what I thought I SHOULD want… or what I thought I could get… or what other people wanted for me… but what I really wanted deep down in my soul.

That’s a really difficult exercise for a person like me who is so hyper-focused on the needs of those around her.  I am a “caretaker” by nature.  I like taking care of people and making sure they are happy and that their needs are met – often at the expense of my own goals and desires.  My nature got me in deep trouble in my marriage, because I crossed way over the line of “caretaker” and into the realm of “enabler.” Things can get really bad really quickly when you constantly enable another person’s bad behavior.  I did that for 17 years. 😦

But I digress…

It took a lot of time and persistent effort to begin to discover what I really wanted. Deb has a lot of really great exercises and tools to tease this out of a person. I spent time thinking about when I was the happiest, professionally. What were the things that really lit me up? And the thing that kept bubbling up to the surface is that I just really love to help people get past the bullshit story they keep telling themselves that continually holds them back from achieving the things they want in life. And I am MOST happy, when I do that with people in the area of health and wellness.

A long time ago, I remember my sister and I used to walk around the track at the gym and talk about how great it would be if we could get paid to eat right and exercise. LOL. Of course logic would grab hold immediately and tell us all the reasons why that was a preposterous idea. Today, I look back at all the energy we put into that concept and I know that the decisions I’ve made over the past few years are a subconscious result of all those walks! Karate… Release… triathlon… Ironman… It’s all building to this…

I’ve decided to become a Health Coach.

On May 15th I’ll embark on a one year journey of education and discovery with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach.  I know that pairing the education I’ll receive along with what I already know about the mind will be a powerful combination, and that I will be able to help A LOT of people with a boatload of knowledge, passion, desire to make a difference, and “been there, done that” experience.

What exactly IS a “health coach?” A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients’ needs. I love this definition.  I have no desire to sit down and create workout plans for clients – there are so many truly GREAT athletic coaches out there who have that part nailed – rather, I want to work with people who have a true desire to change, but just need some help unraveling all the lies they have been told throughout their entire lives about health and wellness (and maybe even their capabilities). I want to help people get their mind and body in sync with one another, because when that happens, anything is possible!

In this day and age where “healthcare” is anything BUT “health” care and most people are one health crisis away from bankruptcy, I believe that more and more people are beginning to turn away from traditional medical interventions and are looking at what they can do to support their own health and wellness and get away from heading to the doctor all the time. However, when these same people start looking around, they become positively paralyzed by all the information and misinformation that is available.  Combine this with all the lies we have been told about how to be “healthy” and it becomes apparent that people will need guides to help them sift through all the crap out there.  I intend to be one of those guides!

There’s a lot of tweaking that will have to happen and somethings may have to give somewhere along the way, but I’m very excited about this new path.

Here we grow again! 🙂

The Kids Will Eat It Too!

I spend a lot of time on social media.  In fairness, I probably spend WAY more time than I should on social media, but that’s not the point.  I see a lot of my friends who are striving to change their diets and eat healthier, post things like this (not an actual post): Tonight for dinner I ate a baked sweet potato with shredded chicken, black beans, and salsa.  It was really yummy.  I made mac & cheese for the kids.

When I see a post like this I have great empathy for that mom.  I WAS that mom for the first 7 years of my son’s life.  I went through the first half of his life as a short order cook in my own home – I made 2-3 dinners every night: Something I wanted, something my husband would eat (often very different from what I wanted), and then yet a third “meal” for our son. It was exhausting, but that’s what I thought I had to do.

My son’s diet consisted of “kid foods” – pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, PBJ, goldfish crackers, french fries, those disgusting Kid Cuisine dinners, etc.  Of course there were good foods too – he’s always loved veggies.  Anyhow, he had so many respiratory issues when he was little – asthma, allergies, pneumonia (twice) – and it seemed like he always had a cough and a runny nose. I never ever considered that his health issues and his diet could be related, and sadly our pediatrician never even asked about his nutrition because he was a normal sized kid.

Then, in 2010 everything changed.  We moved in with Deb and I had an incredible opportunity to change everything. Deb taught me that the quality of the food we put in our bodies is one of the most important things we can focus on. I still remember sitting down to dinner at Deb’s that first night.  We had roasted chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner.  Josh looked at his plate, then looked at me and asked “Where’s mine?” (assuming I had made a separate dinner for him).  Deb’s daughter’s were wide-eyed. Deb and I explained to Josh that this was a “new house with new rules” and one of those rules was that dinner was dinner. He didn’t have to eat it, but there would be nothing else until breakfast. He looked at the plate, and looked at me, and back to the plate, and said “Okay.” (such a resilient boy 🙂 ) and he ate the dinner – AND HE LOVED IT! After 2-3 days, he stopped looking at his dinner plate with skepticism and started getting very inquisitive about new foods and ingredients.

In the years that followed (he’s almost 15 now), my son has developed the most expansive palate of any child I have ever met.  He loves food!  He is proud of the fact that he will try anything. He still doesn’t care for raw tomatoes or bell peppers, but he’ll eat squashes and brussel sprouts and quinoa, so I’ll take it! And a funny thing happened when we cleaned up his diet… All the respiratory issues vanished – within DAYS! POOF!  GONE!  He has missed exactly 3 days of school in the past 6 years (he had strep throat last year that took him down for a few days) due to illness. Eat well, be well… Who knew?

So, Moms who make multiple meals every night.  I don’t judge you – I was you – but give yourselves a break and let your kids try your yummy healthy food!  They will eat it – maybe not right away, but if you persist (and take away other options) they WILL eat it – and even love it!  Here are just a few tips that worked for me.

  1. Ease into it. Kids are driven by what feels good, so if they are used to chicken nuggets and french fries and you stick a plate of broccoli and brown rice in front of them, expect some push back.  But if you just start crowding out the less healthy stuff with good, wholesome food, all of a sudden they are eating healthier and better – better is a good word.
  2. Dinner is dinner. There are no separate meals – everyone eats the same thing.
  3. Involve the kids. Involve your children in menu planning.  Ask them what they would like.  If they say “PIZZA” – perhaps you could plan a make your own pizza night with sprouted grain tortillas as the crust and lots of veggie toppings. When kids have some say-so in what they are eating, they are more likely to eat it.  Same goes for meal prep. Get the kids involved in the kitchen.  If they cook it, they will probably eat it!
  4. 2-Bite Rule. My mom used this with me and I use it with Josh.  Some foods just look gross on the plate.  It is what it is.  Lots of kids won’t eat something that looks gross.  So, we have a rule:  You have to try two bites of anything new.  If you don’t like it after two bites, you don’t have to eat it, but you have to try it. They won’t automatically LOVE it, but after a few tries, they tend to accept it.
  5. Gag Food. We let each kid choose a “gag food” that they just WILL NOT eat.  For Erin it was sweet potatoes, for Nicki it was rice, and for Josh it is raw tomatoes (I think he may have been switched at birth).  They get a pass on this food, but they only get one and they can’t change it from day to day.  It took Josh 3 years to decide that raw tomatoes was indeed his gag food.

Good luck and healthy eating!

Coming to A Head

Coming to A Head

volcanoLife is kind of coming to a head right now.  There are so many things that are either ending or beginning in the next few days and I’m finding myself feeling a little stressed out over them, so I thought writing about them might help… :/

First, Deb’s dad has been visiting us for the past month.  He’s such a dear, sweet man and we have really enjoyed having him with us. Tomorrow he heads back to Maryland and we’ll be readjusting to a house of three again.  On one hand, I’m sorry he’s leaving – he’s a cool guy and I like him a lot!  But on the other hand, I need to get back to my routine, and eating at restaurants 3 times per week is NOT part of my routine. He doesn’t get our plant-based eating style (he doesn’t like and won’t eat vegetables), so finding things to eat here at home (when we’re not going out) that will work for all of us has been challenging to say the least.

Second, my training plan for Great Floridian Triathlon begins on Monday, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve really enjoyed my off-season.  I’ve enjoyed lifting again.  I’ve enjoyed just flying by the seat of my pants and doing what I FEEL like doing instead of being so structured. It’s very different from last year when I was chomping at the bit to get to the training.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting back in the training mindset and I’m counting on my body and my mind jumping right back into the groove.

massive-actionThird, the house is still on the market and we are getting antsy to get on with it. There’s no pressure to get it sold, but we’ve found the place we want to move and we’re just anxious to move on to the next stage of the adventure.

Fourth, Unrealogical has gone to the publisher and we’ve already gone through the first round of content review with the legal eagles and are now waiting for phase #2, and that’s a little nerve wracking.

3HUFifth, I start Round #3 of Swim Bike Fuel next week (or Round #1 of 3HU, depending on how you want to look at it) and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to really GET IT RIGHT this time.  I’ve had great results with both of the previous rounds, but I get a little loose with the rules sometimes and I really want this to be a “third time’s the charm” type of thing.

excitementSo, lots going on and I just feel stressed out.  I’ve been using all my tools, but my stomach feels all knotted up and I can’t seem to unravel it.  Right here, in this moment, I am VERY uncomfortable.  And when this happens, I get excited, because it usually means I’m on the verge of some major life shift.  Something is out there looming on the horizon – something big – I just can’t quite see it yet.

Stay tuned…

My New Favorite Breakfast

For the past several months, I’ve been eating the same breakfast – not because it’s on some diet plan or because I HAVE to, but because I want to.  It’s freaking delicious!  I got the basic method from Swim Bike Mom’s blog and then tweaked it based on my own tastes.  It’s a great pre-long workout meal or just a terrific, “sticks with you” breakfast in general.

Protein Quinoa Bowl

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 banana, smooshed up (technical culinary term)
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Vega Protein & Greens)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Sliced almonds, optional

Mix everything but the blueberries together in a saucepan and heat until boiling (careful not to let it scorch).  If using frozen blueberries, pour the hot porridge over the berries in a bowl.  If using fresh berries, just sprinkle them on top.  Sliced almonds are a nice finishing touch too.  🙂

NOTE:  This is really just a method more than a recipe.  I’ve used brown rice, steel-cut oats, and millet and the results are just as good.  Use whatever berries you like.  Drizzle with honey if it’s not sweet enough for you.  Use peanut butter (or other nut butter) instead of almond butter.  Play with it and see what you like best!  And it’s super quick if you make a big batch of quinoa in advance and then you just have to scoop it into the pan.

Hope you love it as much as I do!

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

My Review: Swim Bike Fuel

SBFOne of my triathlon friends – and one of the handful of people who inspired me to begin my triathlon journey – is Meredith Atwood (MA).  You may know her better by the name “Swim Bike Mom.”  Meredith has done a tremendous job of building a following (The Army) and a brand since she entered the triathlon world and blogosphere on August 26, 2010 with 7 simple words… “I have decided to become a Triathlete.”

What resonated with me so strongly about her was that she was just a regular person… A wife, a mom, a career woman, busy, frazzled, searching… JUST LIKE ME!  She put it all out there – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  She became an advocate for the “every woman (and man) triathlete” – and people loved her for it.  Over the years, as The Army grew, so did the Swim Bike Mom brand… Tri kits, mantra t-shirts, cycling kits, swim caps, and so much more – oh, yeah, I own them ALL and they are awesome!

In April, 2015, Meredith was looking to make some changes.  She was strong as a bull and a fine triathlete in her own right with 2 full Ironman triathlons under her belt, but she was stuck weight wise, and she knew she was not reaching her racing potential.  Enter Meredith Vieceli… MV is a nutritionist, a triathlon and running coach, and a metabolic specialist – and an Ironman in her own right.  MV started coaching MA in April and the results were both immediate and drastic!  A 70.3 PR at Gulf Coast in May, followed by IM Lake Placid and her “best race ever” at IM Louisville.  The ever-shrinking Meredith Atwood was getting a lot of attention.  People wanted to know what she was doing?  What diet plan? What? Where? Who?  How?

I think ole Swim Bike Mom must follow the same philosophy as one of our business coaches:  Look at the things you say “No” to on a daily basis and find a way to say “Yes.”

And Swim Bike Fuel was born.  SBF is a one month program that reveals truths about nutrition that are not necessarily common knowledge – one lesson at a time, one day at a time.  It’s delivered in a way that is easy to digest and implement in your life.

I’ll be honest, when Swim Bike Fuel was rolled out late last year, I wasn’t really interested.  I thought it was a cool concept, but I had a really good base in sports nutrition and I couldn’t imagine what I could possibly learn from it (talk about arrogant thinking!).  Two cycles of SBF passed before I started looking at the changes in MA’s body and performance and took a long hard look at my own situation and realized that MV and MA must have some missing piece of the weight loss/performance puzzle that was eluding me.

I mean seriously, check out the difference in just ONE YEAR!!

Capture

So, I enrolled in the April, 2016 class.

Holy Cow! It was amazing!

The SBF folks set up a secret Facebook page for our SBF class.  I honestly don’t know exactly how many ladies were in the April group, but there were a lot, and yet the interaction was very smooth.  The lessons were delivered each day by email and the questions that were submitted for each lesson were compiled into an FAQ and posted.  There were 2 scheduled Q&A conference calls, although our group didn’t send in any questions for the first call, so we didn’t actually have that one.  The 2nd Q&A call went almost 2 hours and was jam packed with great information.

Meredith Vieceli was absolutely available to us when we needed her and Meredith Atwood chimed in daily with how the lesson du jour impacted her journey.  If we posted a question or asked for clarification on a lesson MV usually answered within an hour or so – and she lives in Utah, so the time zone thing was in play.

I found that most of the lessons focused on concepts I was already aware of, but that maybe I just wasn’t being consistent with or had forgotten or needed to tweak.  Over the month I had a number of “Ah-Ha” moments that really made a huge difference.  I loved that there was no prescribed “diet plan.” Never once was I told that I had to “eat this” or “workout like this” or “drink that.”  There were no pills, no powders, no restriction.  Just good old fashioned common sense, combined with the very best up-to-date nutritional information- a very holistic program.

I’m not quite ready to go posting my before/after pics yet, but after 1 month I dropped 4+ pounds, and shed 5-1/2 inches and I know more has come off since then.  But beyond that, I feel terrific!  I have so much more energy, I’m sleeping better, my skin is clearer, I’m healthy (all the old aches and pains are gone), I’m catching those old self-sabotage triggers that would normally send me running for the bag of chips or ice cream before any damage is done, I’m recovering faster between my workouts, and I had one of my best races ever at St. Anthony’s on 4/24.  It’s been really great!

So, if – like me – you’ve been diligently following your training program and have been eating what you consider to be a healthy diet (maybe with a few more treats than you planned, because hey, you just killed that brick workout), but you’re not seeing the results you expected manifesting on your body, I encourage you to give Swim Bike Fuel some serious consideration.

Sure, there’s an investment – that made me think twice too – but it was totally worth it – EVERY . PENNY!

And my main question was this:  Well, what happens after the month?  A month of hand-holding is great, but what happens when it’s all over?  The great news is that the Facebook page remains and each group can decide how they want to proceed.  In our case, we are going back through each lesson – day-by-day.  We post a thread each day discussing our victories and our struggles – we are each other’s cheerleaders and support system.  We hold each other accountable, and that’s what gives the program it’s staying power.

This is not a fad diet – it’s a lifestyle program – and it is awesome!  There’s a new class forming for July.  Check it out!

 

This is my unsolicited testimonial based on my experiences with the Swim Bike Fuel program.  Your mileage may vary.

Here We Grow!

13119690_mIt’s been a while since I last posted.  To say it’s been busy around here is the understatement of the century.  Deb and I spent the month of March on the road with a terrific group of folks from Ambit Energy, traveling around the country training their team.  It was great fun and we met some amazing people, but WOW, was it exhausting!  And the piles that we returned home to – OMG!  I am happy to say that I have just about caught up with everything… Finally… Mostly…

See me fly?

See me fly?

So, when we last met, I had just returned from our awesome (but unseasonably chilly and rainy) trip to Key West.  We had a really good time.  And for the most part, I achieved my goal of not eating my way across the island.  There was one slight mishap on the exercise front though.  On the first day of our trip I woke up bright and early to head our for a 1 hour run.  I had mapped out a beautiful route along the water before we left home and all was well until about 30 minutes in I found myself face down on the pavement out of nowhere.  My first thought – as I was falling – was that I had tripped on something, but no, that wasn’t quite right because I was flying through the air…  In actuality I had been plowed into from behind by a kid (maybe 12-13 years old) on a bike who was trying to avoid a puddle on the sidewalk on his way to school and he just didn’t see me.  I came down hard on my left hand and knee (one would think after doing all those front falls in karate over the years, that would have been my default, but notsomuch 😦 ).

After making sure we were both okay, the boy and I parted ways and I did what any sane, normal person would do.  I turned my bloody, sore self around and ran the other half of my workout back to our condo.  My knee was fine – just a nasty scrape.  My wrist was not so fine.  Any lateral or backward bending hurt – a lot.  We went to Walgreens and I bought a wrist support and then I texted my chiropractor friend, Malachi, and asked for his advice.  He recommended a trip to urgent care for an x-ray.  So, the next morning – on Deb’s birthday – we spent several hours at Advanced Urgent Care.  The x-ray did not show a break and I got another super-cool wrist splint and was told not to use it for a week).

Anyhow, that was my excitement.  To be honest, it’s just now (over 2 months later) that my wrist doesn’t hurt.  I’m not so sure the x-rays weren’t wrong, but it’s all good now.

Pics from the trip (yep, mostly food…):

KW-collage

Did more treats slip in than I would have liked?  Yes, of course (case in point, the frozen slice of key lime pie dipped in dark chocolate that I conveniently forgot to snap a picture of… 😉  If you haven’t tried this, you must – it was AH-MAZING!!!).  But all in all, I was pretty pleased with the decisions I made.

Then we launched into March with travel to Stockton, CA; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; and Erie, PA.  Crazy busy, but so, so fun!

SBF        M-and-M

Fun and games came to a screeching halt on April 1st!  I signed up for “Swim-Bike-Fuel” – a one month nutritional training program for triathletes presented by USAT Triathlon Coach, Meredith Atwood (aka SwimBikeMom) and Sports Nutritionist, Meredith Vieceli.  We’re not even half way through the month and I have learned so much terrific information.  Some of it is new.  Most of it supports what I already knew, but had forgotten, or just wasn’t being consistent with.  I need to be very intentional, not just with my training, but also with my fueling to get me to the finish line at Ironman Florida in 205 days (but who’s counting… 😮 ) and I will do whatever I have to do to show up as my very best self on race day.

On April 11th, my 30 week Ironman training program started and next Sunday (4/24) I have my first triathlon of the season at St. Anthony’s in St. Pete Beach, FL.  It’s been a stout training week and I just finished a 9 mile run that my body just didn’t want to do.  I told my friends that it was like a toddler in Target who didn’t get the toy they wanted – every part of me was bitching and whining and crying to stop, but I just kept moving forward… slowly, but forward nonetheless, and soon enough it was over.  I kinda want to curl up into the fetal position when I think about having to do that run 2 more times after more than 100 miles on a bike and more than 2 miles of swimming.  It seems impossible in the present moment, but every worthy goal always does until you grow into the person who achieves those goals.  I have 205 days to grow baby, GROW!!

grow

The First Big Test…

No excuses conceptSo, I started off 2016 with this great post about it being the Year of #NoExcuses and, truth be told, January went pretty great.  I hit my workouts, I found an awesome new chiropractor (who is also an Ironman triathlete), I dug into work and made huge headway on a number of projects, my nutrition was on point…  Great month!   I dropped 8 pounds in January and I swam 11.6 miles, biked 132.5 miles, and ran 40.4 miles.  Plus, I did strength training and karate classes twice per week.

All and all a successful base building month in my book.

As we launch into February, I am a little bit nervous.  Actually, I’m a whole lot nervous.  You see, this coming weekend 5 friends and I were supposed to run Ragnar Florida Keys – a 196 mile relay from Miami to Key West.  Only the Ragnar folks were denied their event permit and had to cancel the whole race.  But, we were planning to go anyhow so Deb and I are seizing the opportunity and heading to Key West for 11 days of vacation with her Dad.  11 days… no computer (except for my phone)… no work… no routine… And that’s where I tend to get into trouble.  I think that’s where a whole lot of people get into trouble.  It’s one thing to stay on track when we’re at our home base – in a controllable environment, but it’s something else when we take away all of the systems and structure that we’re used to.  It’s all fun and games until you throw vacation in the mix – with all it’s conditioned responses… the siren song of an unset alarm… the excuse of being in a strange town and not knowing where to go to work out…

The old me would take the 11 days off and enjoy myself.  I’d sleep in, relax, drink lots of beer, eat plenty of good (aka fattening) food, and just “vacation!”  But taking 11 days off from my training and nutrition plan and coming home with an extra 10 pounds on my body will not serve me or my goals in any way, shape, or form.  So, I have decided to do what I have to do to keep my eye on the prize… Ironman Florida… in NINE MONTHS!

However, here’s what the next 11 days look like… Duval Street… Bar, bar, bar, restaurant, boat, bar……

7702297066_6b9a9bc895_b

But lo, I see a road – that means I can run.  And although my bike isn’t accompanying me because we’re driving the convertible, I found a gym that has a weekly membership option… And a pool where I can swim at 5:30am (with a coach even) at the local Community College for only $5/day.

Mapped out the route between the condo and the pool and the gym... #noexcuses

I’ve already mapped out the route between the condo and the pool and the gym… #noexcuses

fail-to-planThere are #noexcuses for skipping my workouts – even if I may have to move things around and change things a bit – I have options to swim, bike, and run before anyone else in the condo is even awake – every single day.

And, of course, it’s Key West, so my wetsuit is coming along and I have every intention of getting in a few open water swims as well!

Food and drinking are a whole other issue, which scare me a bit, but I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, which keeps me pretty honest because I HATE having to log the bad stuff.  Drinking… My nemesis…  I’m going to allow myself 2 beers per day… period…  It IS vacation, afterall.  I will Instagram photos of my meals while I’m gone.  Not that anyone really gives a hoot what I’m eating, but I won’t want to post a picture of the fried conch platter, so I’ll be a hell of a lot more likely to order a bowl of soup and a salad.

I’m building in layer upon layer of accountability!  And, of course, at the end of the day, DEB will be there – the QUEEN OF ACCOUNTABILITY!  She will hold me to whatever I ask her to (so, I’d best be careful with what I commit to!)