There comes a time in a girl's life when she needs to stop overthinking things.
Let me tell you a little story about this girl, we'll call Emily. She competed in a fitness competition and had soooo much fun. She was energized and loved seeing her body transform. She messed up her reverse diet when she went on vacation soon after, but was ready to get back into her routine until...
Adrenal fatigue happened. After a couple of weeks of that, this girl was ready to get back into a routine. But then...
This girl, oh heck, let me just write in the first person...I found out I have leaky gut and a gillion foods (give or take a few) on my avoids list. Almost everything that I've eaten for the last six months is now no longer permitted. There was an intense detox week where I basically ate vegetables and six ounces of chicken each day. That week sucked ass but I got through (and will never do it again...I felt like a drunk, stumbling over my words). The following weeks made me realize that I can't do intuitive eating after such an extreme detox. I think because my body felt like I was going to starve it again. But what does that have to do with the here and now?
I feel restricted with all of the foods on my avoids list. Most notably...eggs. I love eggs and have eaten them since I was a young wannabe awesome girl.
What the ever-loving fuck am I supposed to eat? Oh and as part of this GI Repair protocol, my nutritionist wants me to eat a diet that's 75% vegetables (which I pretty much overdosed on during detox week) and to limit my animal proteins. Side note: This will make it extremely difficult to build muscle. Like any girl these days, I took to pinterest to figure out breakfast options for eggless, gluten-free dairy-free deliciousness.
But you know what I learned this week? These things aren't filling or satisfying to me. Even when I add an organic chicken sausage link. Pinterest is great for ideas. But as some point, there's too much information, too many options. And I'm trying to make this work with my macros (because I need that structure in my life). This stuff is not low carb, which is what my body needs to meet my every day fit (and competition/photo shoot prep) goals. So I came to a realization this afternoon on a four hour drive home.
I'm trying to find these solutions to this problem I have when instead...I just just go back to basics. As I mentioned in my snapchat...
I'd be having about the same amount of carbs as those vegan pumpkin chocolate cookies and I can still have my organic chicken sausage and feel full. Not having eggs is tough...not gonna lie. I don't need fancy egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, almond-free recipes. I just need to get back to basics and keep it clean and simple until I can incorporate eggs (or whey protein) in my diet again. Until we meet again, eggs... Cinderella sang all my feels for you.
If it's the end of July, then it's time for Camp. Camp GORGO is a place where fitnessy women get together and do fitnessy things and have fun!
As I wait for my plane to return home, I have mixed emotions. I wish I had more time at camp. I arrived mid-Saturday morning though camp started on Friday afternoon. I had to work but kept thinking some camp is better than no camp. And that's true.
Even though I missed out on a couple of sessions and the connections made at the beginning of camp, I soaked everything in as much as I could while I was there. I took a session on improving the core through breath facilitated by Ericka Willick. I needed that so much. I bought the Busy Mom Gets Fit program on improving the tummy, but I haven't really stuck with it. So I appreciate having the in person session to really get it.
My next session was with Crystal Seaver who taught us ways to use a Wreckbag in our workouts. At first I was like, “I don't need this.” Then as we went through how we could do a total body workout with it, I realized that a Wreckbag could come in handy when I go on a travel assignment at the end of the summer. Now I want one!!
This year, we had a group session facilitated by Roz Fung about holistic body love. I thought it was pretty good, but at that point in the day, I was getting super tired (but I guess running on 3.5 hours of sleep will do that).
This year's theme was Grit Goes Glitz. It was definitely fun to see how everyone sparkled.
The camp banquet was fun and I got to spend time with Katharine and other women, dance, and take fun pictures! It was so fun and pretty funny that we didn't even recognize each other when we were all cleaned up.
I also tried my hand at archery and I really enjoyed it! It would be neat to continue to practice it. I imagine the strength in my back and arms helping me propel the arrow. I hit the hay bale once and I was pretty happy with that!
So many people leave camp with a feeling of empowerment. I recall feeling that way last year. This year, I feel a bit lost. Like I didn't get to soak up enough camp to feel great. I don't feel recharged; I feel tired. I think the culmination of the last six weeks and everything that has gone on (another post for another time), has caught up with me. I'm frustrated with where I'm at, like I'm going through the motions; trying hard most of the time and giving up sometimes.
This year's overall theme was symbolized by an arrow. Here's my takeaway from Ericka Willick's speech at the banquet:
An arrow just lies there. It's our power and strength that gives it the momentum to move.
And from my takeaway from my archery lesson is that practice and consistency helps the arrow hit the target.
So while I'm not feeling super jazzed and empowered, I am reminded that I need continue my practice and be consistent, create momentum, and then I'll hit my target.
I work in DC but I live about 25 miles out (up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway). For those who have driven through or live in the area, you know that the parkway is pretty but can be painful. Crawling along at 5mph, just wanting to get to work on time, or get home at a reasonable time. I live in one of the worst traffic areas in the US (major ugh and sometimes tears).
So why do I drive back to run in DC?
Every month or so, I drive back into town after an exhausting week of commutes to run with the City Fit Girls Run Club. But why do I drive about 1.5 hours round trip for about a 45 minute group run?
I drive in, I work, I drive home. Rinse and repeat. Even when I'm stuck in traffic, I can't focus on the scenery. So being able to take a Saturday morning to see the monuments, the cherry blossoms (when in season), or just the beauty of the streets is a treat.
Ok, admittedly I could get 3-4 miles in anywhere. But I like my built in recovery breaks aka stoplights and the slight elevation around the monuments.
I'm not really a group runner. Well, maybe I'm a little bit of one. I like chatting with other run club girls. I learn something or they learn something. I'm definitely the much older sister of the group but I'm totally cool with it. No one is judgey. Plus, I don't let the little fact that I'm in the last year of my 30s wreck a little fun. Plus, I do love jump shots (and really, is there a better reason to have fun and run?).
Girl, join me!! We meet at Independence & 12th at the Smithsonian metro station. Check out the deets here.
I won the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler!! Not by the official stats, but by finishing it. I've finished other races and there was only one other that was comparable...my first half marathon. So why was this one so important where I'm now a self-proclaimed victor? Let me count the ways. Actually, I'm into data viz, so let me show you.
I had been sidelined with a foot injury (soft tissue swelling that's apparently the result of my foot's mechanics. As a result, I had a DNS at the Rock n Roll Half in DC. A complete bummer. Then once I was finally able to start running and training again (cleared by my doc), I got sick with some weird cold/sinus/allergy thing. Which is why the graph above has so much white space. Up until last week, I thought I was going to downgrade to the 5k.
Then something magical happened.
Chicago happened. I always have a good pace in Chicago. Maybe it's stopping for lights or whatever, but I actually went out for a 2.5-3 mile run which turned into a 3.84 mile jaunt at a 9:04 pace. I ran to Museum Park and then ran along the lake and by the Art Institute on my way back to my hotel. Perfection.
Once I knocked out that run, I questioned maybe I could run the 10 miler. I asked a bunch of friends who all basically where super supportive, so I decided to go for it.
Gone with the Wind
I started questioning my decision the night before when I received an email from the organizers that they were going minimalist for this race because of the wind gust. They were urging everyone to head home after getting food and their bags. Crud. What did I mentally just commit to? I'm just getting over being sick. I cannot afford significant time away from running or the gym between now and June 11th. I decided to just go with it and if I needed to, I could've switched to the 5k at the last minute.
But I didn't switch. I was mentally ready for this race. As shown in the graphs below (from Wundergound), race time temps were around 37* with wind gusts of around 35-40 mph. No me gusto! Ba dum dum :)
I happened to observe that the water had little white caps on it. And that when you run by water, there are no buildings to shield you from the wind. During the run, I'm sure it looked like I was crying...but it was the wind making me tear up.
Runner's math to the rescue!
I was actually scheduled to run seven miles for my St. Michaels Half Marathon training. I kept that in mind during most of my run. For some reason, I felt like I could do seven, so then I basically needed to tack on a 5k. And I could run a 5k. Once I hit seven, I felt like I was in the bonus round. After seven, all my math was based on the remaining miles.
"Oh, I'm at 8.06 (when I looked down at my phone)? Cool, just under two miles to go."
My phone died at 8.84 so I had to guess when to do my walk intervals. But the last thing I remember was thinking:
"Just a little over a mile. I can do this!"
That last mile was on an incline which I had to laugh at. Of course it would be a tough finish.
I never could get into a really great rhythm (even though my pace was pretty consistent). Even at 15,000 people, the race felt packed. I think it's due to the time limit (2:20) and that there were only six corrals.
But at the end, I welled up, errrr I mean, the wind made me tear up. Obviously. I felt extremely proud. I've run half marathons and a ten miler before, but this was special for me. It wasn't about the pace. It was the fact that I overcame some challenges.
The body achieves what the mind believes
While it may be cliche', visualizing success is such a big part of who I am. Because I felt like I could, because I visualized myself running the 10 miles, it put me in the right mindset to finish the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. And for that, I am supremely proud.
I wanted to share one of my favorite, easiest recipes with you...the complete breakfast pancake aka CBP. Why is it compete? Because it's got just the right amount of protein, carbs, & fats to be filling and super tasty. I also like that you can adjust the ingredients down to fit your needs and it still works well. It gives me the proper fuel to run, strength train, or just get through til lunch! So give the CBP a try and let me know what you think. Here's a handy dandy recipe card for you.
Twelve weeks out??? How did that happen? It just seemed like I was starting my prep! So here are my random musings from this time.
Posing and Walking
I was super fortunate to meet up with a local Sisters in Shape coach, Val Solomon. She's a Pro Figure athlete with UFE, the creator of Busy Mom Gets Fit, and Editor-in-Chief of GORGO Fitness Magazine (and she was recently on Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge--badass!). I was really grateful for her help. I'm so clueless in so many aspects when it comes to this competition. I messed up at the end (in addition to the things we identified that I need to focus on).
Some of the things I need to focus on:
I don't really care that I have a lot to work on. The point of this exercise was to find out what I needed to work on. And I did just that. Now it's time to focus and practice, practice, practice. As I told Val, I've been overweight basically all of my life and I don't know what my body is going to look like in 12 weeks, but I can do my part to at least look good coming and going!
Time for Tweakin'
My coach spiked my macros the week after my photo shoot and then brought them back down to pre-photo shoot levels. The mentally challenging part is my weight and measurements haven't come back down. This has been really difficult for me because I need validation of progress. I had a text rant with my coach the other day (she took it really well that I was blowin' up her phone). I don't usually do things like that and doubted my ability to actually do this. There are so many changes that need to occur in the next 12 weeks. By my estimation, I need to drop about 12% body fat and lose at least 15 pounds. For someone whose resting caloric rate is around 1530 (and who likes food), that's not an easy task. I also had a major calorie vs. macros discrepancy the other day, which is caused the text event. I had gone over my calories by A LOT but still had a ton of macros leftover. I had to eat unplanned foods because I hadn't prepped an was running late that morning. This was the cause of a lot of worry. Counting calories is easy and when those calories go above my current goal and my resting caloric rate, I get nervous...especially since I hadn't seen a loss last week. In the end, my coach told me to focus on the macros. Tough to do, but okay, I can do it.
So, here are my photos 12 weeks out. I'm not posing, just taking the standard, front, side, back, side photos. I'm pretty objective about my body. I see the areas that are lagging (back, glutes, and abs).
However, I also see progress. Sagi Kalev once said something that stuck with me (I'm paraphrasing here). Don't look at it as a trouble spot, look at it as though that area of your body hasn't caught up with the rest. My back has always been one of those areas. But when I look at this picture, I see a little progress, so that's encouraging.
I also see some good things. Though there's a lot of weirdness with this photo, 1) I felt like Bey because I had a fan blowing my hair (totally unintentional) and 2) look at those calves coming in!!! Moo, baby, moo!
In my head, 12 weeks out has been a big deal. I'm closer to competition (I also got my competitor email from UFE too!), and I'm close to single digits weeks. There is a lot of work to do, but I'm up for the challenge. This is my big, scary goal, and I just need to trust the process and give it my all. As a result, some things I'll be working on tweaking my nutrition by getting cleaner and reducing/eliminating dairy (unless it's a cheat meal), eliminating my protein bars/brownies, and eliminating my beloved Jif Whips. This caused a major sad face. Almond butter just doesn't taste as good. This morning as I fixed my breakfast, I thought about how I'd really love my Jif whips and half and half. But, I had the following thoughts.
Nothing is permanent
Don't look back, knowing you didn't give it your best effort.
And I think those are some good thoughts to carry me through.
If you follow my personal/fitness Instagram account, you know that I post A LOT of food pics.
I love food. I love the taste, the memories, the energy it provides. There have been a lot of posts lately, like this one from Nia Shanks-Lift Like a Girl and Kim Miller of Fit Mom Diet talking about food. There are folks like Jessica Procini, Camy Kennedy, and Sarah Vance that say to enjoy food freedom. And there are folks on the other end of the spectrum telling us not to eat certain foods for gut health. It's enough to make you say...
So, am I writing this to agree or disagree? Nope. One of the things that stuck with me about Nia's Exercise is not Punishment, Food is not Earned post was that it's hard to get out of mitigation mode (I'll mitigate the food/drinks by working out). Take for example a Saturday a couple of weeks ago. I ran five miles, went to the gym and did strength training for about and hour, got a light lunch, and then went to a zumba fundraiser where I lasted 1.5 hours. When I was telling someone about my morning, I kind of apologized-or maybe discounted is a better way to put it-that I wanted to do all of those things that day. Partly to just exhaust my body, partly because of each of those things were important...and I wanted a complete rest day (as restful as I can be with two kids) that Sunday. Instead though, what I said was, "I'm offsetting the yummy food I'll have at a birthday party later tonight," Oh snap, I just earned my food.
Kim Miller of Fit Mom Diet also wrote a post recently about eating for health and not eating for a certain look in her post Because Health Doesn't Always Crave Chicken. Kim's post made me say amen a couple of times. Essentially, Kim provided insight into what she ate to have a bangin' body for a fitness competition and what she eats for long-term health. I LOVE this!! The bodies you see in fitness competition are the result of a training program to achieve a very short-term result. Since I'm training for a fitness competition, I did wonder if Kim followed IIFYM, would her perspective have been different. We'll never know (unless Kim competes again and actually follows IIFYM). But, one of my friends shared a post that compares a typical bro diet to IIFYM. It makes me glad my trainer has me on IIFYM.
Finding Freedom From Food
Then we have the folks like Sarah Vance, Jessica Procini, and Camy Kennedy who are showing us that we can have freedom from food. I like their messages too...don't feel guilty about food, have a good relationship with it. Enjoy the cupcake. All good stuff.
All of this leaves me a little perplexed. I have specific goals...I want to lose some fat because all else equal, I learned when I get above a certain weight, my knees and my back start to hurt and I start feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. So how do I reconcile eating pizza, donuts, cupcakes, with trying to achieve my goals. To make sense of it, I go back to a concept I learned during a Whole 30 (which by the way, I like for some reasons and don't like for others).
Important note: This is my definition of nutritional off-roading. I have provided the flowchart below from the Whole 30 folks here so you can be informed. In nutrition off-roading, you make a deliberate decision to eat something that's not healthy for a variety of reasons. But it's a well thought out decision. It's like if you follow a paleo lifestyle and you go to your grandmother's house and have a piece of her creamy, fatty, oh so tasty coconut cake that you get once a year.
I mean, all calories/energy are not the same. They just aren't. If they were, then we wouldn't have categories (like carbs or protein) and we wouldn't have recommendations like eating protein after strength training for muscle recovery.
So Em, What's Your Point?
So why am I writing this? Okay, so I need #foodfreedom, I can't have a #cheatmeal (because that implies food is bad), I can't say #foodisfuel, so what the eff do I say?
Whatever I Want
Look, I know we live in a time where we are all socializing (and I love that, mostly). I also believe we have become a little more judgmental...we are quick to provide our perspective to an IG post, a Facebook post, a Twitter post, or whatever else this 38 year old mama is behind on. But the thing is, I shouldn't be concerned if someone doesn't think I have freedom from food. And I do consider food as fuel...it's comprised of calories which give us energy, which makes us able to function. And yes, I have cheat meals. I am trying to transform my body but building muscle, losing fat, and in order to do that, I can't eat whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want, as much as I want. So what does it come down to?
Critical Thinking and Knowing Yourself
Some people need to have a better relationship with food because it is mentally and physically unhealthy (disordered eating). I say, take all of the things we see on the interweb to form a stance that we are individually comfortable with. I like the idea of balance, which may or may not take the form of eating a cheat meal. Because that's where I am currently. I know the impact of eating (even healthy) carbs. I know what happens if I don't have a cheat meal (I go over my calories). I know how many calories I need to maintain my weight. I use this information to determine how and what I eat. Right now, I'm eating a certain way to try to achieve a specific goal. When I'm no longer pursuing that goal? Then I'll reassess what I do.
So why am I writing this post? Because I needed to. The relationship we have with food is our own.
Because food is...food.
It's been awhile since I've blogged about fitnessy stuff. That's because I've been busy being a life coach! Shameless plug: check out my life coaching site www.emilykund.com for all kinds of awesomesauce.
So I officially began prep 3 weeks ago. And it's been good. I also had a photo shoot do I feel like I got a little taste of what prep will be like later on. And because my coach adjusted my macros down, I leaned out some. I was feeling totally empowered after that shoot. I've made some good progress over these last few months. I can definitely see more muscle even though the scale hasn't changed that much.
Every week I need to do progress pictures and I usually take them Saturday mornings when I wake up. After getting some feedback that I need to stand taller and smile, I decided that I needed a whole routine to get me to smile. It involves self-tanning, brushing my hair/curling it a little, applying a little makeup, & wearing heels. Because I'm in a bikini in my landing and I still have a waaayyyys to go, I need all the help I can get in putting a smile on.
While I hadn't seen a lot of movement (or maybe as much as I liked), the timing of the beginning of my competition prep and photo shoot, was enough to put me In a great mental state. I owned being a bikini competitor. Which side note: after consultation with my coach, I think I'm going to switch to bikini. Oh and in January, I registered for my competition, UFE Liberty.
Circling back to my original thought, because I mentally owned being a competitor, I acted like one. I also found ways to drink a gallon of water each day! This is something I'm really proud of!
This week, my coach upped my macros. I'm not gonna lie, I was scared. I wrote the following to her:
Can we adjust these down...maybe to 1375 or 1400? The new macros are more than where I was at prior to competition prep. I'm afraid I'm going to lose the definition I'm starting to see. My resting caloric rate is 1535, so this would be gaining. I didn't see any movement at 1640 before and even at 1542 there wasn't that much. I really felt like at 1440 I started to see some progress and at 1330, saw even more. I have so much work to do in 15 weeks that I'm scared this will set me back.
She was super helpful in her response indicating this was a short term increase (1-2 weeks) and then I'll go back down. I might be the only person who is happy about going down in macros.
So for now, I'll enjoy my increased nutrition, drink my water, do my workouts. I really want to rock March as I start going on work travel in April, and will need to plan accordingly (my guess: tuna in a pick will make an appearance).
I know it's tough. But what prepping for the photo shoot taught me is that I can trust the process and that's huge!!
It's been awhile but, I'm back to writing. I've been sidelined with a case of pneumonia (wah!) and could not run my last scheduled run in 2015. So, what's a girl to do? She takes advantage of early bird discounts for races in 2016. If you're in the neighborhood of any of these races, let's meet up! Without further ado, here's what I have scheduled. Click each of the pictures to learn more about the race (and register)!
Wish me luck (and health)! Let's run 2016 together and let me know what races you've signed up for!
Time totally got away from me last week/end, so I had to skip last week's blogpost. But that just means it's a birthday bonus blogpost! I turned 38 today so last night we went to one of my favorite restaurants that we visit every few years, The Melting Pot. It was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I planned this as my cheat a few weeks ago and it lived up to my expectations. I had three pretty interesting observations.
Slow and Strong Wins the Race?
Last week, one of my sisters at Sisters in Shape competed in her first competition. It was really inspiring. Will I ever look like her? Nope. But I know her and it gives me hope that if I stick with it, I can look and feel a hell of a lot better. It took her more than a month to train her body for competition and it will take me longer, but if she gave up when she didn't see a change in her progress pictures, she would have never walked on stage and won two awards.
My training has been tough lately. I've felt really sluggish on my runs. This past Saturday though, I did my last long run before the Divas Half Marathon in Northern VA and my pace was pretty good, especially with a killer hill. There have been a couple of nights over the last two weeks where I've gotten out of the house later than usual, got in my car on the way to the gym, and then turned right back around. I've felt tired and thought it was better to rest than push myself. Today I'd love to workout but my muscles are telling me no, so I need to respect that. And even though I've skipped the gym at night, doesn't mean I wasn't active that day. I also started my fall prep program designed by my coach and I can already tell it's gonna be a good one. I'm really hoping I see more definition happening over this coming month. Which reminds me, last week when I took my progress pictures, I couldn't see much difference from the week before. This week, I saw a little more definition. It's a great reminder (for me) not to give up and to trust the process (as cliche' as it sounds).
I Got my Mind on my Macros and my Macros on my Mind
Social media totally helps me. I find motivation in looking at the pictures and following along in Facebook groups. In one group, they are doing a monthly IIFYM challenge, so I decided to participate. Every week, I declare my goals. One is nutrition-based, one is workout focused, while the other is hydration related. Here are my two weekly goal declarations. They're similar and that's okay by me...they're focusing on what's important.
For me, this group is providing good support. Like on the day I broke down and had three cookies that a co-worker brought in. In the past, I might have just accepted that I was going to be over. However, after posting and having a couple of people respond, I modified what I ate for the rest of the day and was pretty close to my macro goals. It also made me not feel so guilty about having some cookies. And that's really one of the biggest benefits of flexible dieting aka if it fits your macros.
So let's see if I figure it out next week! 38 more weeks until UFE Liberty (my goal show).
I firmly believe that fitness and well being is a journey. I love strength training and running. I tend to eat clean, and I'm currently practicing flexible dieting (IIFYM)!