Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Joy of Jogging :: Challenge Time.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you probably know two things:
A. I'm really good at gettin crazy busy and falling off the left phalange of the blogosphere (I'M SORRY!) and TWO, I live for a good fitness challenge.

My friends know that lately I've been searching to rediscover my love for working out. While boxing has been a great and fun adventure, I've found that it doesn't hold my attention, drive, and determination like Crossfit did. Even the weekly morning workout routine fizzled out. Being almost 6 months post-surgery, I am finally starting to evaluate what exercise regimen works for me and how to take the weight loss to the next level.
Coming to terms with the fact that the community, encouragement, accountability, and constantly varied programming of Crossfit is my heart's one true fitness love...I plan to return to the Crossfit world in July. Yes, in the heat of the summer. But hey, that's when I started almost 5 years ago and it lasted almost 4 years, so BRING ON THE HEAT!

In the meantime, I've been soaking up my last couple weeks in my apartment complex, surrounded by a beautiful park and trails. Which got me to thinking...maybe it's time to revisit "running". I use air quotes, not in the way Joey does "not usin em right", but because running is to be read as "jogging" or "fast paced walking-ish" activity.

Several years ago I did some 5K Training classes with RunOn and loved it! But when I joined my second session, I experienced numbness and crazy pain in my feet no matter what shoes I wore and what pace I kept. After seeing such progress in working towards "running", I was devastated to have to stop due to Plantar Fasciitis in both my feet and bone spurs in both my heels. Yes, that's as painful as it sounds.

Sitting at my lowest weight as an adult (so far) right now, I figured I may as well see how some light jogging fares with my feet (and with my Vionic orthodic tennis seriously...I swear by their shoe support). I took to the park to see if I could just get some short little jogs in, maybe 100-200 meters at a time. And ya know what. I did. Before I noticed, I was doing 400 and even an 800 at a time on my first venture. And it felt good. Like the good that Phoebe feels when she runs. I may have even released a little Phoebe run in the back lot of the park...
A friend of mine mentioned that I should look into a jogging challenge of sorts...and you guessed it...I've jumped at that idea.

SO I set out this week to add jogging in 3 times a week. My first venture out, I just jogged to see how long I could go, and before I knew it, I was aiming to get a mile in without walking. AND I DID IT. Even when taking the running classes, there was always intermittent walking and running so this was literally the first time I had run a mile straight with no walking.
It was slow.
It felt long.
13 minutes to be exact.
But by the end, I felt like I could keep going.
And then yes, I took a sweaty selfie. A swealfie.
With the encouragement of some fit friends and their running expertise, I've decided to delve into what I'm labeling The Joy of Jogging Challenge. Putting my favorite word right there in the title can only mean good things right?

Here's the challenge: 
Weeks 1-3, Jog 1 mile straight 3 days a week. 
Weeks 4-5, jog 1 mile 2 days a week, and 2 miles 1 day a week
Weeks 6-8, jog 1 mile 3 days a week, and 2 miles 1 day a week 

Tonight, I had my second jog and my mile was 13:22. A little longer, a little hotter, a little different than the first. BUT I did it. With no walking.

I share this, like everything else I share here, to seek accountability, to encourage others to participate or get after their own challenges, and to have a place to remain open and honest about my progress with "running" and all things fit.

I'm determined to choose COURAGE to do something I wouldn't venture into for fear of failure OVER COMPLACENCY of letting the potential to do something great pass by. 
 So get to jogging and if you see me, ask me how it's goin. You're the best.

Finding the Joy in Jogging and
Finding Fit,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

So Fresh and So Clean Clean :: Shaved Cauliflower Salad.

A couple weeks ago the girls took to a fantastic dinner spot for birthday celebrations. Americano sits in the heart of downtown, adjacent to the stunning Joule hotel. And while in all honesty, our shared second courses mostly consisted of brick oven pizzas (no regrets, yall), the FIRST course was one to talk about. "Shaved Cauliflower Salad" was SO fresh, delicious and clean that I know I had to recreate this one myself.
I finally made it happen!

Now before I go any further, lemme get real with you. I hardly EVER buy cauliflower heads because I HATE cutting it. I may have mentioned this before...I know. I know. It's not difficult. And it's not. HOWEVER, my OCD, clean freak, texture paranoid self is on steroids around the vegetable. It taunts me with gritty, piece-y, crumbling mess that sticks to any and every surface. SO I stick to pre-chopped.
All that vulnerable honesty to tell you this salad was THAT good that I put aside my personal preferences to buy heads of chop myself.

So here's what I used:
  • Cauliflower (I used white and yellow but would have added purple if they had it...for looks. duh)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 4 Table spoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Pistachios (shelled, unsalted)
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins
  • Chives for garnish

(And yes, that's bottled lemon juice because I forgot to buy lemons!)

Then what happened:
  1. Wash heads of Cauliflower
  2. Cut out leaves and stem (be prepared for aforementioned crumblies...not to be confused with crummies...) 
  3. In sections, slice the cauliflower into thinly sliced "shavings". I ended up using about 1/3 of each head for the proportions of everything else here. 
  4. Mix the oil and lemon juice together and then dump over the cauliflower
  5. Add in the pistachios, raisins, and chives...annnnd mix.
  6. Yep that easy. Serve on the side of any protein...but know that it will be difficult to not just eat the whole bowl of this!

    While most my life is chop, chop, chop, saute, saute, saute....this chop, chop, mix was quite a welcomed and easy change of pace. 

    And hey what a way to welcome Spring/Summer or whatever season your corner of this moodswingin-weathered-earth is currently experiencing. 

    (Posted while golf-ball hail is pelting my windows. Thanks Texas weather)

    Finding Fit and Conquering Cauliflower Chopping, 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Breakfast Gathering :: The Ziploc Omelets.

A couple weeks ago, our Home Group (Bible study, small group, church gals, Pilgrims & Victors...) took to horse country for our annual retreat weekend. With a slew of ladies and their eating preferences, keepin it clean and "paleo" has generally been our safest bet. Our own Erin steer-headed the planning and grocery shopping and she sure did knock it out of the park!

Saturday morning, after gettin up to see the sunrise...which was so bashfully hidden behind a draping of clouds and overcast morning dew EVEN though we got up at the buttcrack of dawn to see its colors...we took to the kitchen to prep: The Omelet Bar.
While this looks like a simple matter of eggs and veggies for days (in a flawlessly rustic Anthro-esque stylized pic), I have come to share exactly HOW this omelet bar happened...because that's the real blog-worthy moment.

Erin's mom had tried this method for preparing omelets in a group setting and raved about it, so she decided we should try it for our group. Let me tell you. I was SKEP.TI.CAL.

Here's what we used:
  • Eggs
  • Coconut milk (or other milk of choice)
  • all the veggies...
    • Bell peppers
    • Zucchini 
    • Mushrooms
    • Onions
    • Brocolli
    • Tomatos
    • whatever suits your fancy but that's what we have here. 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ziploc really.

Here's what we did:
  1. Boil a big ole pot of water
  2. Grab a Ziploc quart freezer baggie and put your name on it in sharpie
  3. Crack two eggs (or however many you fancy in your omelet) into your baggie...SO strange. And may require a friend.
  4. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of coconut milk
  5. Throw in any and all veggies desired
  6. Add some salt and pepper to your baggie
  7. Close the baggie and squish it all together so it's all nice and mixed like this...
  8. Drop the bags in the boiling water and let them sit in it for about 15 minutes. No, I'm still not kidding. We did groupings of 4-5 baggies at a time but multiple pots could up the multi-tasking ante.
    9. You'll be able to tell that everything is cooked, once the substance is sort of solid...Here's what mine looked like when it was done:
    10. Slip it on out of the bag and enjoy!
    I mean, I could only eat about half of what's on my plate here on account of my surgery, but it was still seriously delicious and so easy!
    For anyone looking to mass produce a healthy and still personalized breakfast for your next gathering, THIS is your solution! So get to makin some Ziploc Omelets! And I leave you with a fresh make-up-less faced pic of the ladies who got their rise and shine on to prep for everyone! You're welcome!
Finding Fit, 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bubblin Over :: Paleo Pizza Spaghetti Pie

If you happen to follow me on good ole SnappyChat (designerlisa), you may have seen some bubbling goodness last night.
Well that goodness has become a staple for me in the past few years, especially when it comes to meal prep. It's easy to prepare while prepping other dishes, and it reheats like a dream!

This Paleo Pizza Spaghetti Pie is full of flavor, yummy ingredients, and feels decadent when squeaky clean!
The original recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, PaleOMG, and I've just adapted to how my taste buds crave this concoction. 

What I use:
  • one spaghetti squash
  • one pound ground meat (grassfed beef or buffalo is my favorite, but turkey works great too)
  • one full jar marinara or pizza sauce (be sure to pick a compliant sauce. Trader Joe's and Sprouts have great tomato basil sauces with no sugar)
  • one package or jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil to flavor
  • you can play with other veggies or "pizza" ingredients to add into the mixture as well!
 Then What:
  1.  Cook the spaghetti squash...there are a lot of methods for this but here's what I did this time:
    1. Microwave the whole squash for about 4-5 minutes to get some give from the skin to make slicing open easier. Slice length-wise
    2. Scoop out all seeds from each long half. I generally use a paring knife along the edges then a spoon to dig it all out.
    3. Microwave each half turned upside down in half inch of water for about 8-9 minutes depending on the size of your squash...until the skin has some give. The other option would be to bake the two halves open side down for about 25 minutes at 415*
    4. Use a fork to shred out all the "noodles" from the squash halves.
  2. While the squash is prepping, brown the meat in a fry pan and coat with garlic powder and some dried basil as it cooks
  3. Once browned, throw in the sun-dried tomatoes, and whole jar of sauce. 
  4. In a 9x13 pyrex, mix the noodles and meat sauce mixture all together. 
  5. Whisk the 3 eggs and pour into your spaghetti mixture and integrate completely using a fork. (the eggs serve as a cheese-like bonding agent)
  6. Add some salt and pepper and more basil, then bake in the oven at 415* for about 25 minutes
  7. I like to broil for about 5-7 minutes at the end to get the top nice, crispy, and bubbly.
  8. Let sit and then divvy up for the week or enjoy hot!
The number of servings depends on the size of your squash...and the appetite...
When prepping for guys, this stretched about 4 meals, while when serving females, it goes at least 6 servings. And, of course, now that my stomach has a much smaller storage space, I got about 9 containers worth out of it....sooo this week is pretty much covered...

I love serving this up for meal preps or when having people over. The ingredients are simple and clean, but the flavor is good and dirty. 
Finding Fit, 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut :: Hitting the Bag...and the Floor.

Tonight we tried something totally new. Boxing!
Sitting at just over 6 weeks post-op here (if you missed my big ole 2016 announcement on that surgery...snuggle in here), I am DYING to get back into working out. I still have a good 3-4 weeks (give or take) until I'm cleared to do pretty much any exercise my body, specifically my abdomen, can take. But I am SO ready to get into some routine again, so I have waited, with baited breath, for 6 weeks to pass to be able to dive into something.

I'm not cleared to use weights or do any core specific workouts yet, so my brain kept going back to boxing!
While I know there are tons of great ways to get workouts in at home, or the athletic club or what not, I've realized the community and the consistency of showing up somewhere are best...err necessary...for me. So since boxing kept coming to mind, Becca and I decided to take on a lil free trial and see what it's all about!

We got all mummified up the arms with our wraps...seriously they are like 3 miles long.
Mummy hands in our fancy new wraps!
Then jumped into the "15 minute warm-up". Let me tell you. This was NOT just a warm up. My arms and legs were already giving out mid warm-up to the point of me laughing hysterically at myself.
Picture it. Get down for a burpee. Go to scale it by walking yourself up. Can't even use arms to push chest off ground. I. Am. Stuck. And I'm supposed to do another one.

As we tried to catch on to each set and combo, when to jab, when to hook and when to duck, I noticed the room around us. Everyone was in their own punching bag world. Doing their own version. Pushing however they could. Yet, we were still doing it all together. Not the same, but a taste of my beloved Crossfit world. PLUS there were some excellent jams that I did NOT mind doing high knees and upper cuts to. Let's be honest.

While there were a lot of things I couldn't quite do yet, and a lot of things that my scaling looked more laying on the floor... I could feel the rush of endorphins and soreness rush over my body all at once. And, MAN, did I miss that feeling.
We had "15 minute Core" time at the end...which again...looked more like me on the floor hugging a medicine ball. But laying there, I just knew this could be good for me.  
Drenched in sweat but we look GOOD in giant boxing gloves!
Also. An excellent release of tension...if you ever have any...
Becca and I left agreeing that this is a wise next step for me and something I can stick to in order to see the next results on this crazy ride!
Now don't you fret my Crossfit fam, you can't keep me out much longer. I hope to be cleared and back at it in a few months because my heart longs for it, and my dead lift and push press PR's have probably halved themselves at this point. But I digress...

I'm one happy girl to have tried something new, mostly sucked at it, and be ready to go back for more. Now excuse my t-rex arms for the next few days...

Finding Fit,

Sunday, January 3, 2016

All The Things :: Making 2016 My Own.

August 3rd. That's the last time I shared anything here about my journey to Finding Fit. I'm constantly reminded that when I visit the blog of one of my besties and see the link to my "Boat Season" post still hangin out there all sad and abandoned...
That's a big long time people and it is certainly not boating weather anymore. 

As we've just welcomed 2016, I have to admit, I'm excited to put 2015 in the books and keep movin forward. But I want my community to take those steps forward with me.
There were a lot of ups and downs this past year, as I think a lot of us end up feeling at the end of each December.
It's just. This time, 2015 seemed to serve up a giant helping of those downs. Back in May I posted about my PIVOT to adjust my year, my attitude, my approach and my goals. Well, within a few months of that post, right about the time I last shared my kitchen follies, I felt the Lord open doors for a SIGNIFICANT pivot in my life. And I walked right on through that door, yall.

Because a lot of my closest friends are aware of this change, I'm just going cut to the chase. On Tuesday, November 24th, I had a permanent, life-altering surgery. The VSG, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, better known as the Gastric Sleeve. This is a laparoscopic procedure where they permanently remove up to 80% of your stomach, without rerouting any intestines or messing with digestion or nutrient absorption, leaving a small 2-4 ounce pouch or "sleeve" shaped stomach.

So if you've been following my journey or read my story here, you may be asking why? Why now? How did we get here?
Friend, that is a GREAT question.

I've thought for the past month how I wanted to go about sharing this part of my fitness journey, so while not being prepared to share with the interwebs, I started journaling. Yes. Like old school. Pen to Paper. Journaling. Perhaps not-so-ironically, I had this beauty of a journal I'd been waiting for the perfect topic to fill its pages with. And THIS was it. All The Things.
So at the risk of being long-winded, which let's face it, is pretty much always my game, I'm going to share exerts from this journal. The hope is to communicate why and how I got to this point...and also why I'm so excited about moving forward into 2016.
I guess it all started when my oldest sister, Jen, called me back in August and told me she decided to have gastric sleeve surgery. I was somehow not surprised. She poured over all the details of her research, accumulated documents, her Q&A sessions and the many people she called for reference points. I had no question. This was the right thing for her to do; and, for the first time, I thought it may be the right thing for me. Jen emailed me a bunch of her documents she had organized all her research into. Well, they may as well have been medical research documents. Charts, graphs, comparative data of percentages and complications all leading any reasonable person to the sleeve making the most sense.
Suddenly, I was obsessed with researching all the weight loss surgeries out there and anyone and everyone's results and experiences. It started to consume my thoughts. The idea of something being able to step in and help me for sure actually get to that light at the end of the tunnel I've been chasing for 5 years...errr...27 years. How could that not appeal to me??
Of course, I had thought of surgery options before but was just never at that point...I even had a conversation with the ole roomie at one point. I value her opinion on all of my health journey so much, and at that time, we both knew there was more for me to try do on my own. Becca said "what if you did everything you know to do and can already do for a year straight?" and that seemed ideal to both of us at the time. We both knew that I could take off what I had regained, and break through that stupid plateau. But would it be enough? I mean, I had taken off 130 pounds on my own so why couldn't I do the rest on my own? There was still a genetically slow metabolism and a body carrying a steady number of fat cells guaranteed to fight me and my efforts. So what would it take? Would it take another 5 years?
More than a year after that conversation with Becca, this idea of permanent alteration was coming up again. In the past my pride could only fathom following through with this whole "Finding Fit" on my own. My. Own.
But this time was different.

When I started pouring over all the research and talking more with my sister, I realized I was so exhausted and broken down.
The past 5 years of fighting my weight had been some of the sweetest victories and some of the hardest heart breaks. And I was just tired.

I had been doing what I needed to do. I was seeing results but I was searching for my limit...
And I finally found it.

The research made sense. The push to use this as a TOOL to aid in the healthy lifestyle I was already passionate about started to grow stronger. I finally saw the surgery option as just that. A tool. Not a fix. Not a cure. Not a solution or a cop-out. A tool that my poor struggling body needed, paired with exercise and smart eating, to find consistency in results and finality in these changes and physical victories.

Conversations with a couple close friends, and again with Becca this time, confirmed that I was indeed a great candidate for this! I already love cooking and eating clean, nutritious foods, and I certainly love working out. With this in my arsenal, I could take on all the things I longed to do and achieve physically, growing in Crossfit, becoming a runner (maybe), outdoor adventures and so much more. Having gained the support and encouragement of sweet friends, I knew this was to be my next step and I set out to make it happen.
Of course once I wanted to have the surgery, I wanted it like...yesterday.
The waiting period for my surgery was drawn out with many-a insurance hoop to jump through. I guess I could only look at it as God refining me and preparing my story for this rather weighty alteration.

Wading through the two week pre-op and the Christmas Eve feeling the night before my 5:00am check-in time, and even through a very difficult recovery after, one Psalm has stood out to me:

|| Psalm 46 ||
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fail; God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fail; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I won't pretend this has been an easy process, a simple decision, or a fix-it-all solution. However, the God of Jacob has been my ever present help and reassurance that this was indeed HIS plan for wrapping up my 2015.
Yes, there's so much more to it. Yes, I've had to make a lot of changes. No, I don't won't be drinking for the year. No, I cannot have La Croix (there's already been a mourning period). Yes, my meal is great...but the majority of it will be coming to-go with me...for 8 more meals. Yes, I'm already seeing great results. Yes, I'm so thankful to have my sister 3 months ahead of me, to walk through this together. No, it doesn't bother me to answer questions or talk about it.

YES, 2016 is going to be a record year for me.

I'm so thankful for the unending support of family and friends who have supported me through making this decision, crazy pre and post-op diets, and walking through recovery, into a whole new life.

Here's to making 2016 my own...and finally revitalizing my little piece of the blogosphere...

More to Come in Finding Fit,