Success Is Paleo

It’s the beginning of my 4th week as an Iron Tribe Fitness “athlete”. I’m putting that in parentheses because they actually do call us athletes, and though I know they’re trying to make us feel strong and capable, I’m not really feeling it yet. But that’s not their fault – I’m loving being a member of the gym. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time. I really just needed somewhere that would tell me exactly what to do, show me how to do it (probably multiple times, because I don’t pick up physical movements really well the first few times around), then give me specific goals to reach and times in which to get those goals accomplished. So far they’ve done all of this, while being amazingly kind, patient, and accepting of my flaws. I love working out there, and can’t wait to finish up with the 101 program and move into taking regular classes four days a week.

Even though I’m not yet working out at full power, I did start something new today at Iron Tribe – eating meals from the Inner Fire Grill. I should have taken some snapshots today to show you what I was eating, but I forgot and gobbled it all up. Maybe I’ll start showing you a weekly roundup of eats – today’s meals were amazing. I think I’m really going to like not having to think about what to eat anymore. I can just open my fridge and pick the thing that strikes my fancy that day.

From now on, each Wednesday I’ll place an order for my meals for the following week. On Monday, I’ll pick up lunch & dinner for Monday/Tuesday, and on Wednesday I’ll receive lunch & dinner for Wednesday through Friday. The meals last a few days in the fridge, so if it turns out that I have dinner plans or a lunch meeting, I can always just save that meal for a later date. Minimum effort, but surprisingly delicious and filling meals. Today’s lunch was a half of a sweet potato filled with braised beef ribs and onions, served with this amazing paleo chive mayo. Dinner was chicken salad (who knew I could enjoy a non-mayo-based chicken salad?) and a side of mixed fruit.

This Saturday marks my last day of drinking until Thanksgiving, so between getting strict with my meals, not taking in any of that extra sugar, and working out 3 to 4 days a week at the gym, I’m planning on starting to drop some serious weight over the next month. Thinking about seeing if anyone at the gym wants to put together a running group to start training for some distance runs. I’m really excited about feeling like success is actually attainable. I haven’t felt this sure about my health journey for a long time, now.

Rethinking My Methods

The facts:

I’m anxious, and regularly experience pretty drastic mood swings. My back, hips, and knees often feel inflamed, swollen, and extremely painful. Most mornings, my hips hurt so much that I have a hard time getting out of bed. I’ve outgrown almost all of my dresses and pants – I’ve gone up two sizes in the last year, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop of its own accord. It’s not like I’m a blimp or anything – I’m being rational about this, and I’m still a good looking woman. Nevertheless, I don’t look like “me” to myself anymore. I remember being in decent shape, and knowing that I was just being nit-picky when I was critiquing my cellulite, or a slightly less than firm tummy. That’s no longer the case. I’ve expanded to the point where I’m giving up and wearing yoga pants to work. That is not OK. Most people don’t think that I’ve gained weight, because I’m tall, and the new fat is all in my hips and thighs. However, over the past year I’ve gained over 40 lbs.

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The moment of truth (also known here in the South as a “come to Jesus” moment):

I took a look at my finance trends today using Mint.com, and realized that this past month, roughly 30% of my spending went to food and alcohol purchases. I’m not going to tell you how much money that was, but let it suffice to say that I could have substantially updated my wardrobe with the amount of money I just threw away on food that I know I shouldn’t have been eating in the first place. So…

The decision (Part 1):

My gym offers a service where they make all of your meals for you, five days a week. Everything’s paleo, and all you have to do is swing by the gym and pick it up each day. I just did the math, and even though it’s expensive based on what I *should* be spending on food each week, it’s a massive savings if I compare it to what I actually *am* spending on food each week. It would leave me with two days a week where I’d be forced to fend for myself, but maybe I can start using my weekends to actually learn how to cook, and wean myself off of pre-packaged meals.

The major plus side is that it would mean that for the majority of the week, I’d be eating exactly what I’m supposed to be putting into my body to achieve optimum health. I wouldn’t have to stress about what I’m going to eat prior to finding whatever that thing is, and more importantly, I wouldn’t have to stress about I’ve already eaten after I eat the thing that I shouldn’t have (which is pretty much everything that gets poured down my gullet as of late). It’s not rabbit food, and from what I’ve heard, the options are pretty tasty. Best of all, a paleo diet, combined with four good workouts each week, would mean that the weight will start to drop off. I’d really like to be down by a pants size by the time I go home to see my family for the holidays.

The decision (Part 2):

I’m going to officially wean myself off of coffee and alcohol, and move into a phase in my life where drinking is for holidays and special occasions only. I love coffee, whiskey and wine so much, but that’s the problem. Mornings can’t = cup after cup of coffee anymore, especially with my anxiety issues. Likewise, evenings after work can’t = a few glasses of wine on the couch. I like drinking, and I like that it helps me through tough social situations, but I don’t like the way that it makes me feel the next day, and I definitely don’t like the thought that I’m adding even more sugar into a body that is crying out for help. Back to tea, water, and watching the weight fall off.

The decision (Part 3):

Yoga & meditation are a must. As I start getting my act together on the food & workout fronts, I need to figure out how to fit a weekly yoga practice back into my life. It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Along with helping with weight loss, it will definitely help create a positive self image, as I see how graceful and strong my body can be if I let it. I love Anna the yogini. I miss her. If finding my heart self means giving up on something else – work, social life – then so be it. This is my journey. I can’t afford to skimp on the most important parts.

The bottom line:

I need to stop poisoning myself. It would be a little different, maybe, if I honestly enjoyed half of the food that I ate. But I eat absolute crap, and I feel like I’m doing it out of some perverse need to punish myself. That needs to stop.

As I start getting my body under control with food and exercise, the next step will be to find a doctor and see if I can get the thyroid stuff figured out, too. Hopefully this time the tests will cooperate, but it’s so hard getting a diagnosis, so I’m not holding my breath. While I’m doing that, I’m also going to find a therapist to help me get my head wrapped around loving myself. I’m too damned old not to. I deserve more from myself.

The Fine Art Of Buckling Down

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I’m starting something new tomorrow, and I’m a little scared. After years of repeated (failed) attempts to eat the right foods and exercise on a regular schedule, I’ve decided it’s time to make the changes I’ve known I should make all along. A few days ago, I took the leap and joined up with a chain gym called Iron Tribe. Those of you who know me well will know that the name doesn’t thrill me, and that the thought of being a person connected to a close-knit team of fitness nuts (as the words “iron tribe” suggest to me, anyway) would have, up until now at least, made me want to puke a little. But I’ve got a friend who’s in the program and making incredible progress, and since our personality types are pretty similar – anxious workaholics with a taste for booze and Italian food – I figured I’d give it a shot.

The first month is a 101 program. My class will always be the same group of people, all newbies, all learning how to lift weights and do exercises and follow a Paleo diet plan. We’ll meet three days a week, and I should (hopefully) “graduate” on the day before my birthday. From what I’ve read, it’s realistic to think that I could be around 10 lbs. lighter by then, and from what I’ve seen in my friend who’s in the course, I’ll also be much calmer, which would be lovely.

After the 101 class, I’ll move into a four day a week program with the people I’m calling “gen pop” – everyone who’s passed 101 in the past. It’s a little like the kind of thing that people generally do in crossfit gyms – weight training and endurance exercises – but with a much stronger relationship between the trainers and members, and very small groups, so there’s lots of one-on-one with the trainers. Best of all, they promise results as long as you work out at least three days a week and stick to their recommended diet. If you haven’t shown improvement in a few months, they’ll let you out of your contract and refund your fees.

So. There we are. As of 7:30 in the morning (so damn early!), I’ll be sweating my butt off at the gym. Man, I really hope this sticks. Wish me luck at this, guys. I need it.