Bridal Fitness: A Reconciliation With My Body (and how Paleo brought me here)

How do You Measure Up?

If you’ve been reading for a while, you may recall a post I made back in the October about trying on wedding dresses. I was notably down about it, mostly because I’d found myself in a lull between losing weight and falling off the paleo bandwagon. The first time I tried to squeeze into a dress, all I could think about was my pudgy stomach and flabby arms that stuck out like two big sore thumbs. It was a pretty disappointing thing to go through.

Two weeks later, I came back with a progress report where I’d managed to drop 6 pounds. Ah, there it was! My motivation was back! It was exhilarating!

Now, with only 35 days standing between me and my big day, I haven’t gotten down to the svelte 130 pounds I was hoping to be in my (idealistic) mind. Since that October post, I’ve managed to slowly and steadily drop 20 pounds, going from 190 to 170, and a drop in two  pant sizes.

While I may not have the kind of loss as some out there (dropping 50 pounds in three months?! for real, guys, that’s crazy), I’ve really started coming to terms with where I’m at, and I think that’s a really important part of a whole-body transformation: acceptance of yourself, your capabilities and limitations, your zones of comfort and your willingness to go beyond those zones, your physical appearance, and the inner thought processes that control your relationships with food and your environment.

There have been plenty of times in my life where I’ve taken an unhealthy approach to losing weight. In high school, I would binge, then purge, several times a day, while literally running myself ragged on the race track. In college, I took the approach of simply cutting out meals. Later on, I would drag myself to the gym 5 times a week and exhaust myself to the point of frustration and zero weight lost.

Even in my journey into eating clean, I’ve hit a few bumps in the road. Through several month-long plateaus and moments of nutritional indiscretion, I’ve continued to re-shape and re-assess my attitude about the fuel l I put in my body.

Which brings me here, to this point: I’m 5’6” and 170 pounds. Technically, still overweight, but the reason this doesn’t bother me is because the dress I bought back in December that was snug and limiting now fits me like a glove, and I feel pretty! For once, I’ve looked at myself and felt the combination of the somewhat masculine world of paleo and the feminine world of weddings collide, almost perfectly.

It’s important to always keep the big picture in mind, is what I’m really trying to say. I’ve had my fair share of moments with paleo where I want to grab the scale and throw it out the window, shake my stubborn belly and yell at it until it shrinks into itself. But then I stop, take a step back, and think about how much growing into the paleo life has helped me. A year ago, I was nearly lost without hope of ever finding a way to control my expanding waistline. My hormones were out-of-whack, my emotions went up and down consistently, I wasn’t close to Josh in the ways I desperately wanted to be, and I’d basically given up on finding a solution to any of these problems.

Which brings me to yet another exciting point: on the 25th of April, I’ll be celebrating my one-year anniversary of going grain- and sugar- free. Assuming I don’t lose another pound until then, I’ll have lost over 30 pounds total as a result of my change. Beyond straight weight loss, I’ll be proud to say that my bodily systems have successfully re-programmed themselves (hormonal, digestive, emotional, etc.) and I’m at one of my highest fitness peaks since high school.

I’ve still got a ways to go, but I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable or educational journey to take part in.

So for now dear readers, keep calm and paleo on! 

Hooray for Bacon!

Hooray for Bacon!

Bridal Fitness: A Progress Report, and Sweet Potatoes to Boot

Aaaaahh!Happy Wednesday! I’m here with a brief progress report and a featured recipe that I just can’t get enough of: oven-roasted purple sweet potatoes.

First, a progress report. As you may have seen in my last post, I finally broke through my plateau by cutting alcohol out of my diet. I was going through a nasty bout of some bug for about 3 weeks during the holidays, which stunted my exercise efforts and made me crave good ol’ comfort foods (though I had an answer to that problem).

Nevertheless, once sickness had passed and I figured out what I needed to do, I dropped several pounds and started feeling back on top of my game. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there… I’ve lost even more!

Since my post about a week ago, I dropped below the 180 line and have managed to fit comfortably into several older pairs of pants that had been too small for me for the past two years. I’ve also started running again, and managed to complete a walk-run 5k in 45 minutes.

It’s a great feeling, folks.

I’m hoping that by the time my wedding rolls around, I’ll be under 170 (I’m about 7-8 pounds away) and a lot more comfortable showing off my arms and back. Heck, maybe I’ll even be able to run a 5k without stopping. Who knows?

Oven Roasted Sweet PotatoesWell, enough blabbing about myself. Here’s a recipe that’s super simple and melt-in-your-mouth delicious:

Oven-roasted purple sweet potatoes. 

You’ll need:

  • two purple sweet potatoes, medium in size, chopped into 1-inch circles
  • 1/4 C. virgin coconut oil
  • ground cinnamon
  • tinfoil
  • an oven heated to 325
  • 1.5-2.0 hours

So, all you need to do is cut those potatoes up into circles about 1-inch wide. Melt the coconut oil and toss the potatoes with the oil in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in a tiny amount of cinnamon, just enough to get a bit on each piece. Wrap the potatoes in tinfoil, then bake in the oven for 1.5-2.0 hours. They’ll get extremely moist and lightly fragrant. Once they’re out of the oven, coat them lightly with cinnamon, serve and enjoy!

Bridal Fitness: Musings

Photo on 12-7-12 at 10.43 AM #2Well, it’s been approximately nine months since I first started my journey into a life without grains. It still amazes me every day to think about all of the positive effects this lifestyle has had in every part of my life, as well as in the lives of others who have caught the paleo bug. The baby of my efforts? A new sense of strength, something I didn’t have for most of my life.

The last time I felt this kind of strength was in 10th grade (which was, dare I say, around 2004) when I decided to join my high school track and field team on a whim. I didn’t actually stay with the team for the entire season, but boy did I run. I ran and ran and ran, and I dropped 45 pounds in the process. My former teammates who used to laugh at the fat girl huffing and puffing around the track were pretty surprised when I came back the next year as a different person, slim and athletic and carrying around a big smile. That felt strong. But not the kind of strength I have today.

Today, my strength is both measurable and conceptual. My arms and legs feel solid, and in my head, I walk around knowing and feeling that I’ve changed myself for the better. All previous battles I fought with food have become obsolete. I love food now, and I love eating! I love every aspect of a complex avocado, the hearty taste of steak dry-rubbed and grilled to perfection, the sizzle of bacon (even if it tends to spit hot grease onto my arms as I’m cooking it), the sweet, fatty texture of macadamia nuts paired with a few blueberries as a late-night snack. I love moving my body, even if it hurts, even if my arms give out mid-push up, even if I can’t breathe for a good 30 seconds after completing an intense interval of Insanity Fast&Furious. I love it–it makes me feel good, whole, strong.

Even though I’m a good 20-30 pounds from where I’d ultimately like to be, for once, I finally feel like I can like my body. Sure, it upsets me sometimes, and I wish that things could have been different (you know, body, it’d be really nice to not gain a million pounds if I decide to eat pizza, thanks), but I like it. It can do things that many people’s bodies cannot. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.

As I’ve started to slim down and tone up, a few things have crossed my mind, particularly about how I can incorporate this part of my life into something that’s useful not just for me, but for others as well. After doing a bit of research, I’ve decided I’m going to start saving my money for a chance to become a CrossFit trainer. I’ll probably be saving for a while, and it will definitely have to wait until after my wedding and the following crazy period, but it’s something that I think would help solidify this new commitment to physical and mental health that I have.

Has anyone out there taken the leap and jumped into a career in fitness? What made you make the jump?