My very first blog ever, about a year ago, was inspired by a comment about my body; I was told I didn’t look like I did CrossFit.
Anybody who does CrossFit knows that the number one rule of CrossFit is to always talk about CrossFit, and Heaven forbid anybody tells you that you don’t look like you do it, because you totally do, and know how many burpees you have done, how many hero workouts you have endured, how many PR’s you have hit, how many brutal, crazy physical tests you have completely expended all of your energy to complete and how many days you realized you might come face-to-face with the porcelain god because yes, the workout was truly that utterly nasty and gut-wrenching. And you absolutely LOVE it…all of it! Besides, CrossFit is for anybody and everybody; there is not just ONE body for it (although yes, there are absolutely some hot, amazing, chiseled individuals out there who do it).
So, ultimately that one little snarky statement ignited a fire in me to write and expunge all the negative energy that was infiltrating my body.
But, undoubtedly, I wouldn’t take it back.
Here I am now, many, many blogs later, reflecting on that comment and that particular, insanely therapeutic piece of writing. Ultimately, I am SO grateful the statement
(which deeply hurt me at the time) was made because it inspired and paved the way for two things to flourish: 1) My blog writing 2) Changes in my nutrition.
Not that I needed to change my body for anybody but myself; but I felt a need to work on being less self-conscious, more comfortable in my own skin and less concerned about what others thought. I also wanted to model for my son healthy habits and a positive self-esteem.
I worked out all the time, so I knew that I was good in that department. I realized that if my body was going to change, it had to be through what I was putting into it. So, I swallowed my pride (because for so long I foolishly thought I could eat whatever I wanted because I worked out all the time; totally not true), I acquired a macros coach (macros are protein, fat and carbohydrates) and I tried to prepare myself for a total shift in my mindset about food.
I quickly learned that “macros land” was talked about just as much as CrossFit; the two became synonymous. The number one rule about CrossFit was now to talk about CrossFit and macros! Woo hoo!
BUT…I didn’t want to have make spaghetti out of squash or drink almond milk or coconut soy milk or constantly have to make a bunch of homemade peanut butter ball shiz (not that there is anything wrong with people who do that; it’s just not for me). I just wanted to eat yummy food, but without so much emphasis on food, if that makes sense. I didn’t want to be “that” person who painstakingly scours a menu every time at a restaurant or acts like it’s a big debacle at every meal time.
What truly helped is that I have phenomenal CrossFit coaches, as well as an absolutely awesome macros/nutrition coach; he was so patient, constantly putting up with all of my questions, and always there for me with advice and feedback. And most importantly, he truly taught me how to be responsible for my nutrition. He taught me how to log my macros, how to track progress, how to look at food as a fuel and how to always be mindful of and accountable for what I was putting into my body.
The way my macros coach taught me about nutrition reminds me of a quote I told all of my high school students on the first day of school every year: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”
He gave me the tools I needed to do this on my own every day; it was so thrilling that I was able to take what he taught me and continue to do it all by myself. (And then I didn’t have to pay him $100 a month anymore…which was good because as my body changed, I needed that money to buy new workout clothes. Tee hee.)
I’m not going to say it was always easy, especially at first; I learned I was undereating, and that I wasn’t eating enough protein. Those were two things working against me, to my surprise (Say what?! I could eat more AND in turn lose more weight?!). So to make that shift in my eating habits was definitely different and challenging.
I remember sending my coach my food logs one evening, and even though it was close to 9 p.m., he told me to go eat another piece of chicken.
Huh?! I thought. Another piece of chicken?! At 9 p.m.?!
Yes, he insisted to my dismay, because I was low on protein for the day.
So I did it. I slapped a boneless chicken breast on my handy George Foreman grill, cooked it real nice-like (tee hee) and slowly ate that piece of delectable chicken despite the look of horror in my hubby’s eyes (I eat chicken so often that he truly believes I’m going to turn into a chicken).
And, from there I learned to adjust my macros and eat more protein throughout the day so I didn’t have a gap to fill at 9 p.m.
I also stopped eating my toddler’s leftovers; I remember my nutrition coach freaking out once when he saw a lone pizza roll on my daily food log.
“What, are you in college again?!” he asked incredulously.
All the giggles.
Yet, the way I grew up, we never wasted anything. Anything! So when my toddler didn’t finish a pizza roll here or a chicken nugget there, I just quickly popped it in my mouth thinking, “Yay! No waste!”
Now I definitely don’t do that and I’m like, “Yay! A smaller waist!”
Inevitably, it ALL adds up over time, even though we may not think it does. Every little Hershey kiss or bagel or smoothie or cookie…even if we ate it quickly, or we forgot that we even ate it, it still counts! That’s why logging food, at least for a while, is so important. It teaches accountability.
Yet, what I found out about these nutrition adjustments is that there is nothing we can’t eat; there are no foods necessarily “off limits.” However, it’s about balancing what foods are eaten each day, and making choices. If you feel like you are somewhat splurging on one meal, then you know there should be some healthier choices earlier or later in the day. Plus, over time once results are visible, and your body changes, you do not crave some of the things you perhaps you used to eat. You have worked hard to transform, and you want to maintain the positive improvements instead of derailing them. It comes down to keeping the train on the tracks, y’all.
Over time, tracking my macros and paying attention to my nutrition became easier and more, well, normal; I transitioned from being super meticulous and weighing food to just knowing how many ounces of lunch meat I was having or what a cup of cottage cheese looked like because I had already done it so much.
Being conscious of macros was not and will never be a “diet” or quick-fix solution; it’s a lifestyle. And it’s one that does not consume me (no pun intended). It’s simply about being conscious of nutritional choices and how I am going to fill/meet each of my macros components each day. It is about eating real food and nutrient-rich food; trying to eliminate junk and fillers.
What became crazy to me is how I didn’t feel deprived; I was actually eating more than I ever did. It was really hard at first to meet my macros numbers.
Besides losing weight, which obviously makes me happy, ultimately I have more energy (perfect for life with a toddler!) and I just feel better. My clothes fit better; some are way too big now; it’s a good problem to have, right?! (Although the hubby is like, “Can’t you still wear those old shorts?” to which I reply, “Not unless you want them falling down in the middle of my CrossFit class.” Ha ha ha).
Down 43 pounds from a year ago, my confidence has somewhat grown because I know I am treating my body better and am physically performing better with less weight. Pull-ups and gymnastics movements are easier, my running is faster and my overall endurance has significantly improved. No, I won’t ever look like those insanely fit, abs of steel CrossFit women on TV who only wear sports bras and cute little booty shorts, but I will look like the healthiest possible version of me, and I’ll take that!
I look at my pictures from the past few years with a hint of embarrassment; I just looked, um, perhaps a little puffier (or fluffier?) than I do now. Yet, at the time I guess I thought I looked fine; I never knew the body I could have just by making some small positive changes in my habits and nutrition. I do realize that no matter what my size, I am always there for my son, but it makes me feel good that he has a fit mom modeling good exercise and nutrition habits.
Sometimes people ask, “How do you get up and work out each day?”
My response is always the same. It’s such a huge part of my day; it feels weird if I don’t work out. I exhaust myself physically every day because it is one of the best parts of my day.
To kindly turn the tables for a second, and absolutely no judgment at all…I don’t know how people don’t get up and go work out at some point in their day.
The same goes for nutrition; I don’t know how not to be conscious of what I am putting into my body, each and every day. It just becomes a part of you, like showering or driving to work or smiling. Which, by the way, I have a lot to smile about these days!
This personal macros/nutrition journey has certainly involved a transformation of both body and mind, as I realize hard work truly does pay off in so many ways. I am proud. I am happy. I also love helping others when they ask me questions about how to track macros or get healthier.
And, I am unbelievably grateful for the abundance of kind comments and encouragement I have received from everyone in my life; at the gym, in my neighborhood, at family events, from co-workers and when bumping into old friends and former students at concerts. It makes me blush to hear the gasps and comments like, “Oh my gosh Andee, have you lost weight? You look great!” Obviously I didn’t make these changes to solicit such sweet comments, but they sure are incredible to hear.
And in the end, my dog is happier getting my toddler’s leftover chicken nuggets…it’s a win-win here in mommy life and macros land!