Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Y’all!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday!  I absolutely LOVE the holiday’s, especially when we get to see our close family.  This year we hosted our second Thanksgiving.  It was quite an interesting experience for several reasons.  A) We have a REALLY small kitchen so it takes some planning and B) I wanted to have a paleo friendly meal which means that most of the ingredients were bought fresh only a few days in advance of the big day.  I shared the menu with you in this post and only hinted at the planning portion of it.  Well hang on for this one because it’s going to be loaded with planning tips, recipes, and the post meal workouts!!!

I had been so excited about this meal.  I was bound and determined to make it as paleo friendly as possible because I wanted my family to experience just how wonderful food can taste when it’s real and I did not want to spend another Thanksgiving suffering from the dreaded overstuffed, bloated, gassy feeling that we ALL get.  I started with the cooking plan on Tuesday, intially I wanted to get at least one of the casseroles cooked on Tuesday but between a chiropractor appointment and CrossFit I had to make some adjustments because there weren’t enough hours in the day.  So here is how the cooking panned out:

Monday
1.  Dry Brined Bird Preparation

Tuesday
1. Rotate bird in fridge

Wednesday
1. Sweet Potato Casserole


2. Tart Cran-apple Sauce (this dish makes a few special appearances of some of the other pictures, just look for the red stuff in a metal bowl)
3. Chocolate Pudding
4. Green Bean Casserole

I cooked the Sweet Potato Casserole first and popped that in the oven and then started to work on the cran-apple sauce (super easy by the way).  Once the cran-apple sauce was done it was about time to take out the sweet potatoe casserole, so I moved both of them off to the side and started on the chocolate pudding (super easy, again).  It took me about 1-1.5 hours from start to finish (aka cleaned dished and put them away) to make these three dishes.  I left the green bean casserole up to the hubs but it was done and ready to go come Thursday morning.

Thursday
1. Paleo Cornbread Stuffing


2. Cauliflower


3. Corn
4. Mashed Potatoes
5. Banana Pudding
6. Collard Greens


7. Sauteed Apples


8. Turkey


9. Paleo Biscuits
10. Sawmill Gravy
11. Scrambled Eggs
12. Turkey Gravy

Thursday took a bit of perseverance.  I woke up at 6 am to begin cooking and man am I thankful that I did.  I found this awesome recipe for paleo cornbread stuffing over at the preppy paleo.  Man talk about to die for.  I modified it slightly, leaving out the apples and the cranberries/raisins.  I also decided to use my recipe for breakfast sausage from Old Faithful (Paleo Comfort Foods), I figured since I was cooking it anyway (for the Sawmill Gravy), then why not use it for the stuffing??  So after getting the stuffing going, I started on prepping the spices, onions, and apples for the turkey.  Once I got the bird rubbed down and stuffed, I threw together the biscuits to pop into the oven (still hot) and put the hubs to work on the gravy.  The gravy finished slightly before the biscuits which was no big deal and actually gave us some time to scramble some eggs up really quickly.  Before sitting down for breakfast we were able to get the star of the show into the oven.  Once we cleaned up breakfast things slowed down a little (but not too much) and my dad and I made the Banana Pudding.  We can only fit four things on our stove top to cook at one time so the plan was to throw the corn in the microwave to cook, leaving burners available for the potatoes, the greens, the cauliflower, and the apples.  Once everything was done the last thing to make was the turkey gravy!  Our timing was a little off with the completely cooked turkey, probably because we don’t have a meat thermometer and can’t accurately gauge how much time there was remaining for the turkey to cook.   As a result the stove top stuff finished a bit earlier than the turkey, not a huge deal but it made me a bit sad.  Next time, a meat thermometer will be a part of the meal prep ;).
So here’s the final spread 🙂

I’m a little sad that I didn’t get a picture of the gorgeous biscuits and gravy meal we had for breakfast, or of the puddings, but maybe next time!

So what was my favorite part of this entire meal?  Hands down it was the cornbread stuffing.  Stuffing is my favorite part of any holiday meal (by a long shot) and to have a Paleo version that is better than almost any non-paleo version I’ve had just tickles me to death.  I had planned on doing roasted broccoli as my featured recipe for the week BUT since the stuffing stole my heart I just have to use it as the featured recipe!  So be sure to check out the link to the preppy paleo post for the recipe.  By the way, I doubled the recipe…here are the modifications I made to it:

1. Leave out apples (although I may leave them in next time because I did have a bite of the stuffing with my sauteed apples and it added a whole new dimension of flavor)
2. Leave out cranberries/raisins
3. Substitute in the Paleo Comfort Foods Homemade Breakfast Sausage when the preppy paleo recipe calls for the sausage

Homemade Breakfast Sausage
2 lbs ground turkey
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 heaping tbs (each) dried sage, parsley, and thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and then sautee until turkey is cooked

Easy. Peasy.

I bet you are wondering how I felt after an epic meal such as this?  Let me rephrase how I put it my friend Courtney…”I have never felt better knowing that I just enjoyed a wonderful meal and feel great after eating it.  No bloated feeling, no indigestion, no turkey coma, none of that.  Who would have though that eating this way could feel so luxurious but yet so guilt-free!  After pulling this off – I have all the confidence in the world in eating paleo.  Not only did the food taste better than ANYTHING I could ever get at a store but it made me feel good to know that I was nurturing my body and enjoying time well spent.  This meal proved to me that I don’t have to sacrifice anything (taste, quality, satisfaction) to eat paleo.”  And as far as the post thanksgiving workout, it was challenging but then again waht CF workout isn’t?  After having eaten so well throughout the holiday, I felt strong and confident going into the box today.

So I know what you are thinking…man this chick is a superwoman.  Let me tell you, it took a lot of help to prepare this meal.  I have to give thanks to all of the resources I utilized in preparing.  My husband for helping cook some of the dishes and finishing up the grocery shopping; my dad for helping with the clean-up, the banana pudding, and all other meals we ate during their stay; my dad’s wife for helping with clean-up, and quality conversation; and my grandmother for providing us with plenty of laughs.  I also can’t forget the creators of the Paleo Comfort Foods Cookbook where most of the recipes were derived from and the blogger(s) over at the preppy paleo for the wonderful cornbread stuffing recipe.  Thanks to all of you for making this Thanksgiving a HUGE success!!!!

Resource Round-up Week 2

Hey Everyone!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend :).  We had a wonderful weekend, celebrating my grandmothers 87th birthday!  She is pretty worn out from all of the celebrating but she had a blast.

Have you ever sat down and thought about how awesome home-cooked meals are?  I was eating my dinner tonight (Turkey Loaf and Green Beans) and thinking about how yummy home-cooked meals truly are.  There is just something about eating the food you prepare (and knowing everything in it) that makes it far superior to anything you’d find in a restaurant.  Man thinking about this makes me REALLY excited for our Thanksgiving feast!!!

So it’s Monday and that means it is time for me to share a favorite resource of mine.  Super exciting, I know!  This week’s featured resource goes to *drumroll* Balanced Bites (check out the link on the blogroll).  Holy cow, I don’t even know where to start with this gem.  The website is maintained by Diane Sanfilippo and her team and contains all kinds of resources including links to her book, the 21-day sugar detox, the balanced bites blog, and podcast (to name a few).  The best thing about this website is that the majority (if not all) of the information contained within the website is free.  I have been listening to the podcast for the past few weeks and not only does it contain a lot of information BUT it is really entertaining as well!  If you have an interest in the paleo/primal lifestyle, this is a must see.

That being said…what are y’all waiting for!  Head on over and check the site out!!

Talk to you all soon!

Ash

Meal Plan Week 2 – Thanksgiving Special

Hey Ya’ll!  So the end of this week has gotten pretty insane.  In fact, I have to be honest, I missed one of my new blog updates!!  So this post is going to be a super special one!

Just for future reference (and accountability purposes), Friday’s featured posts are going to be all about fitness fun!  So I suppose I’ll start with this past week at the box.  There has been a lot going on at CFA lately 🙂 We just moved into a new location, it’s the two year anniversary AND the Christmas party is coming up.  I’m finally starting to feel 100% again and I can tell you my progress lately is showing that :).  I had three WODs this week and set PR’s on my snatch, front squat, and back squat.  Today’s WOD was particularly intense for me let me show you:

It was a birthday WOD for a coach and one of our athletes.  I attempted the Rx but didn’t quite make it as my snatches still need some work (everything else was Rx though 🙂 ).  As I mentioned it was intense but man was it a good workout.  I’m still struggling a little bit with my double unders (DU) so when I finished my arms had tiger stripes…


So lets take a left turn into Thanksgiving-ville.  I hinted in a previous post that I have been spending a lot of time planning the meal and the grocery list since we are hosting this year and I think I can safely say that this week has officially been planned.  Check out the meal plan for week 2 below:

Thursday is going to be a feast but the majority of it is Paleo/Whole Life friendly.  I am going to be using a TON of recipes from Ol’ Faithful (Paleo Comfort Foods) so I’ll be sure to report on how they turn out (and how the family likes them).  I’m hoping that I can report back that I/we enjoyed everything I/we ate even if is isn’t the traditional holiday meal :).  To be honest, we really didn’t spend that much money on the meal either – so for all of you out there that say eating healthy isn’t possible on a budget, it totally is!

The last bit I have to do for the Thanksgiving planning and preparation is determine which recipes I’ll be cooking ahead of time and which will be cooked on the day of.  Right now, I’m thinking that most of the casseroles, the stuffing, and the two puddings can be cooked in advance and the rest can wait until the day of.  In all honesty, I’ll probably start with cooking a few of them on Tuesday and the rest on Wednesday.

Well I hope everyone enjoys the Holidays.  I can’t wait to share how it turned out with you all!

Until next time, take care 🙂

Ash

Wacky Wednesday!

I just love when life sends you little signs that you are on the correct path.  I’m a huge believer in signs, especially when they correspond with significant events in your life.  Take today for example, today is the 19th anniversary of the passing of my mom.  Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about her today but I’ve also spent a lot of time lately thinking about future plans and goals of mine.  Well today she made it very clear to me that things are moving in the right direction through a simple Facebook post from my box (CF term for gym) letting me know they are thankful for my hard work.  I have really been putting in a lot of time working out some goals and what not and this was just a reminder to keep on chugging, its all about the journey.

Anyway, enough about me already!  I have exciting news to roll out to y’all!  Please lets give a warm welcome to yet another phase in the blog update process….the weekly featured recipe!  This one comes to us from my trust ol’ cookbook Paleo Comfort Foods.  I had been dying to try it since I got the book and FINALLY found a perfect opportunity.  Needless to say, this will definitely be made again :).  So, without further ado – I bring to you:

Squash Casserole

Ingredients
2 lbs yellow squash, diced
1 onion, sliced
3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 c almond meal
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 c chopped
pecans

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Boil onion and squash until softened
3. Drain vegetables and return to pot
4. Mix coconut milk, almond meal, and paprika with the vegetables, stir well
5. Place mixture in casserole dish, top with pecans
6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and thickened and pecans are golden brown

YUM-O!

I have to tell y’all, this cookbook has been one of the best purchases I have ever made.  I haven’t had it but four months and I’ve already worn it out.

Speaking of recipes, one of the biggest holiday’s of the year is right around the corner!  We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and can you guess how excited I am to try out some new recipes :)?  We are going to be making some traditional family favorites along with some new Paleo style dishes.  I’ve really been working to get together a plan of attack for the big day and it’s pretty much all in place with the exception of the cooking schedule and purchasing all the ingredients.  We are even getting a fresh organic turkey this year 🙂 reserved it today when I was at Earth Fare!  Better not lose this bad boy…

Check out a little snippet of the Paleo portion of the Thanksgiving menu:

Thanksgiving Meal
Dry Brined Turkey
Paleo Stuffing
Mashed Cauliflower
Collard Greens
Sweet Potato Casserole
Tart Cranapple Sauce
Sauteed Apples

I also have to share my shopping list – which, along with my Thanksgiving meal spreadsheet, is the star of the show:

love me some Earth Fare 🙂

Well everyone – that’s all I have for you this evening.  I will certainly have more to come on the Thanksgiving front as we get closer to the big day 🙂  Until then stay happy my friends 🙂

Ash

And the winner is….

Hey y’all!  I have to warn you today is going to be a loaded post.  There have been so many things going on that I have been dying to share with everyone.  So grab a yummy glass of green tea and pull up a chair for this one 🙂 lets chat!

I guess I’ll first start by telling you a conversation that I just had.  Let me set the scene…so I get a text from a good friend of mine saying that she met with one of our coaches, they had a really good talk and she was curious about the possibility of continuing our own little whole life challenge of sorts to keep on track and remain accountable.  My response was: HECK YEA (clearly)!!!  So we went into this lengthy discussion about how we were going to remain accountable and continue to make healthy decisions but to make it realistic.  Let me take a little side bar here – to me, keeping it realistic is striving to make the best possible decision that you can but also acknowledging that it is okay to allow yourself indulgences every now and then.  That being said, I’m not talking about an eat the entire pizza in one sitting or a WHOLE carton of ice cream loaded with fake ingredients that you can’t pronounce BUT allowing yourself to have a square of 72% cocoa dark chocolate every now and then.  End side bar.

In this discussion our conversation started taking the direction of:

A- We should probably define what are allowed vs. not allowed ingredients because saying “cheat” is vague.  For example, does
“cheat” mean drinking coconut milk with guar gum in it?

C- Here is where it is tricky.  I’m all for making the effort to find products without additives HOWEVER in the grand scheme of things, a little guar in my coconut milk is not the root cause of my dilemma.

A- You know what the funny thing is…two months ago we wouldn’t be having the discussion about whether or not to allow guar gum in our coconut milk…

C- No kidding!! Oh how we’ve changed and grown

See that right there is a great example of progress we all have made, and one of the many reasons I am so thankful for having been a part of this challenge!  To that extent, Cara and I have starting putting some plans in motion to keep our WLC experience going.  Some of them involve even more additions to the blog so be sure to stay tuned!

                                                                                                                                               

Well, I guess it’s time to get on to the intended topic of the day.  As a part of the updates to the blog I am planning a weekly featured resource post.  I want to share some of my favorite health and wellness resources with everyone and I hope to gain some in return.  That being said, it’s time to announce the FIRST featured resource *drumroll*

Cookin’ Up Life

I have talked about this blog on several occasions and it truly is an awesome resource for healthy real food recipes.  Courtney over there at Cookin’ Up Life does a fantastic job of creating a picture guided tour of some wonderful recipes.  She is also putting together weekly meal plans on a budget which is great for people who are trying to make healthy food choices but are limited financially.  In fact, I believe she aims for planning a weeks worth of meals for two on a budget of $100 dollars.  She and her husband (they are newlyweds hence the emphasis on husband 🙂 ) are avid crossfitters and both has a real passion for eating well and taking care of themselves among other things (I don’t want to get too personal – because then you won’t have any reason to check out her story on her blog).  So, without further ado…head on over and check out her recipes!! I will post a link to her website on the front page of my blog so that you can easily find it.

                                                                                                                                               

So I guess I won’t give out too much information tonight in regards to the plans that Cara and I have.  I promise you’ll be seeing those real soon!

So until next time, smile and enjoy life – you only get one!

Ash

Meal Planning

Hey Everyone!  Happy Sunday 🙂

You know this weekend was just fabulous in Northeast Ohio.  The weather was out-of-this-world, and I just had a feeling all weekend that it was going to be great.  In fact, I woke up on Saturday morning at 630am and was just so excited for all of the opportunities I would be facing throughout the day.  We didn’t even have anything going on, I was just that excited to be alive.

I finally finished “Unlimited: How to Build and Exceptional Life” (it’s by Jillian Michaels, FYI).

Man what an amazing read.  I can’t thank my friend Kirsten enough for suggesting this one.  I have to share the last paragraph from the book, it has so much meaning to me.  In fact, it is probably going to be my new mantra.

“Be brave and be patient.  Have faith in yourself; trust in the significance and purpose of your life and your passion.  You are strong enough to weather this journey.  Not matter what, keep looking, keep listening, keep learning.  Stay open.  At every moment, your destiny is awaiting you.”

Do you have a mantra?  If not, I highly recommend starting out with this one.  The beauty of life lies in the fact that every opportunity we have to make a decision, is an opportunity to redefine ourselves.  Life has its ups and downs, it is a journey after all.  Just because you may “fail” at one point it time doesn’t mean that you are a failure.  Be brave and patient and have faith in yourself, you’ll make it through…I promise.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering WTH does all of that have to do with meal planning?  WELL, I’m glad you asked.  Let me tell you.  One of the things I learned from the whole life challenge was the importance of planning.  I have really applied planning to all aspects of my life so that way I limit how often I have to tempt my will power.  Planning allows for more structure in my environment, which enables me to make better/healthier decisions.  One of the other things I learned from whole life challenge was accountability and holding myself responsible for my decisions.  Put the two together, planning and accountability, and you have the inspiration for my weekly meal planning post.

Whats on the menu this week?  Glad you asked that one too 🙂

Breakfast and lunch during the work week lack a bit of variety (although this week I bought a couple different kinds of fruit so I can switch it up) BUT it makes shopping easier.  I get my variety from dinner 🙂

Speaking of shopping, let me show you a sample of the groceries from this week.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  I’m really excited about rolling out the rest of the blog changes this week be sure to stay tuned for Monday’s post, I’ll be putting together another featured post 🙂

Smile, it’s a great day to be alive 🙂

Ashley

 

 

Game Day

Well today was the closing ceremony for the WLC.  It sure has been an amazing 8-weeks!  It truly was an amazing experience and I have learned so much from participating.  I can honestly say I will never look at food the same way again.  Congrats to all of the participants and the winners!!  Can’t wait until the challenge rolls around again next year!

Speaking of food, today is game day in the college football world.  Game-day is one of my favorite days of the week, especially when State (Mississippi) comes out on top.  We are playing LSU this weekend so it’s going to be a tough battle.  Game-day in the south means tons of tailgating snacks, meat smokers, tents, and in Starkville it means cowbells.  We are watching the game with some of our LSU friends today and I wanted to keep the menu as Paleo friendly as possible.  I didn’t really have a plan prior to this morning but nothing screams “deep south” more than pulled pork.  So I pulled out the pulled pork recipe from my favorite cook book (Paleo Comfort Foods) and put the hubby to work.  I also decided to plan a side dish to go with the pork and finally settled on a squash casserole from the same cookbook, after about 10 minutes of flipping pages.  So squash casserole doesn’t exactly scream game day BUT I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while and there will be plenty of people to eat on it for a while and give feedback!

I have a couple more updates on blog changes 🙂 I’m planning to do some themed posts throughout the week.  I’m going to start with having a weekly blog/website spot light, I’d also like to have a day with a featured recipe (a new one that we try every week), and then I’m dabbling with the idea of posting my weekly meal plans.  That being said, if you have any paleo/whole-living websites that you just absolutely love send them my way and they may be the following week’s spotlight!  Also, if you have any suggestions for themed posts send them along as well!

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Saturday!  GO DAWGS!

 

And so it begins…

Have you ever had roasted broccoli and/or roasted cauliflower?  If you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend you try it, it’s so simple and so amazingly delicious.  No seriously, all it takes (literally) is cutting some up, throwing it on a cookie sheet, splashing on some olive oil and whatever seasonings you would like, then popping it into a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy ;).

So if you read my last post you should know that the blog is going to be undergoing some changes.  If you didn’t read it but you are reading this one then hopefully you were keen enough to observe that the blog looks a bit different than the last time you were here.  One of the goals I set as a part of the final days participating in the Whole Life Challenge was to put the blog through a little bit of a face lift.  I’m going to be narrowing the focus a bit more and taking things in the direction of my spin on health and wellness.  Time for a disclaimer – I am BY NO MEANS a professional, I am just sharing tips and tricks on how I achieve health and wellness.

I have spent several years researching climate and health outcomes and it has been through this research that I have really developed an appreciation for making healthy life choices while I am young so that I don’t become victim to one of the various diseases I have studied.  My research has always taken a systems approach (for various reasons that I’m not going to get into now) and my take on health and wellness tends to follow suit.  In doing my research, I have really become interested in nutrition and physical activity as key components of the health and wellness system.  I realize that these aren’t the only components but I’m using them as a starting point to share my knowledge and to share how I put the information I’ve learned through time into practice.  I guess the point that I am getting at is to plan on reading a lot about my nutritional choices and physical activity endeavors at first.

Keep in mind that I am re-creating this blog to share my story and I am by no means trying to impose my values and beliefs on anyone, I am simply sharing with you all what has worked for me.  I have been up and down and around the corner following different “diets”, if you will (I hate the term “diet”, BTW) and I just hope that my ramblings can help give someone else direction.  To that extent – please feel free to share any tips/tricks/recipes/insight or what have you with me as well, I am always open to learning new things!

So, with that – I hope you all enjoy the new blog.  As I keep saying, I am super excited about the direction that things are going and I can’t wait to share all of it with you :D!

Happy Wednesday!

Just as promised, I’m doing some more reflecting over the Whole Life Challenge that we are wrapping up.  Our final weekly challenge for WLC involves putting together some goals that we can accomplish by this time next year.  Well, I do love me a good goal setting session and I have really been putting in some thought to this weekly challenge…I have a couple things swirling around in my head but I’m trying to think outside of the box with this one.  I have some short term goals set that are unrelated to the WLC challenge and I don’t want to repeat those just to get the bonus points so I’m really trying to look at aspects of my life I never really thought to change.

Anywho – one of the WLC goals that I have been working through is my blogging.  I REALLY enjoy sharing my thoughts with everyone and I seem to have a pretty good response from my audience, but I really want to kick it up a notch.  There are times when I am writing a post and to me, it’s somewhat boring.  I know that if I’m bored writing it, then my readers are going to be bored reading it and that doesn’t bode so well for building an audience.  So I’m working on finding a purpose for my blogging.  I think a purpose will give my writing more direction and obviously if I am passionate about what I am writing about that will carry over into my audience.

I have some ideas that I have been tossing around with one of my all time favorite bloggers, Courtney over at http://www.cookinuplife.com, she’s helping me come up with some great ideas!  In fact, part of the inspiration for giving my blog a purpose came from an AWESOME turn she just took with her blog.  I’ve been following her for a few years now and it has been awesome to watch her blog evolve.  I am going to have to keep you all in suspense though as I finish working through my re-vamp.  I can’t tell you much but what I can tell you is that I’m using it as a platform to continue the WLC beyond the challenge, I am super excited about it, and I think the change will allow for a lot of growing room!

It’s a short one tonight folks but I have to get back to planning, or should I call it bl-anning (hehe, I know, I know…I don’t have a career in comedy, obviously).  Have a great evening and don’t forget to challenge yourself everyday!

The first of many WLC reflections…

Did you know that today was Election Day?  If you didn’t you must have been hiding under a rock somewhere.  Now the real question, did you go out and vote?  If you didn’t, you should have.  A lot of people died for our right to be able to vote and it is your future we are talking about here people.  One final point to make then I will end my political rant…if you didn’t vote today, please don’t waste my time with  complaining about the results of the election.

So, now on to the real post.  Today was one of those weird days, where you feel like you are kind of stuck in limbo.  I mean I was physically going through the motions of the day but mentally I wasn’t all there.  I have been working on this project at work that doesn’t really take a lot of brain power though, so I suppose it’s okay that I wasn’t mentally there 100% today.  I did spend a lot of time thinking about nutrition today though.  You see, over the past 8 weeks I have been participating in the Whole Life Challenge through my CF Affiliate, CrossFit Akron.  One of the BIGGEST things I’ve taken away from this challenge is the importance of taking care of yourself.  I mean, I always tried to take good care of myself, but there was definitely a lot of room for improvement (and believe me there still is a lot more room for improvement – you should always strive to keep growing personally, but that’s a topic for another day)  but it wasn’t until I participated in the challenge that I was actually able to SEE how much of a difference a few relatively small steps can make in your overall well-being.

Let me give you a specific example.  About 3-4 weeks ago I hurt my back, actually I aggravated an old injury.  Typically when this happens, my entire life spirals out of control and the whole self-destructive train comes rolling into town and it can take MONTHS before I finally get my life back on track.  Basically, in the past whenever my back would go out, I would stop exercising and then stop eating well and pack on pounds, and then feel bad about it and well you know how that goes…
the key difference this time though was the challenge.  Since I was doing WLC, I didn’t let myself hop on board the self-destructive train *choo choo*.  Was it hard, HECK YES, because I was mentally struggling with the fact that my body couldn’t physically do what it had been doing a few days prior to the injury.  In fact, it really didn’t occur to me until reflecting on this tonight that I’m really starting to realize how absurd that sounds because even though I wasn’t lifting heavy things, I was still lifting and still exercising.  In the past, I would have completely stopped – but because of the WLC I kept going.

Flash forward to this point in time tonight…I’m 3-4 weeks post-injury and I managed 3 PRs tonight – as in the HEAVIEST and FASTEST I have lifted weights since pre-injury.  I’m convinced this is 100% due to the fact that I have been eating better, sleeping better, and exercising regularly.  Not only was I able to safely work through the aggravated injury but I came out stronger than before my back flared up again (and I have to tell you that today was the first day since injury that I went to class without a sore back so I really gave it my all).  If I had ceased all activity and rode the train for a few months, I would have had to basically “start over” again at CF (and let me tell you – that would have been awful).

The WLC is coming to a close and we have out post-challenge workout this weekend.  I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time reflecting on the challenge this week.  I’m looking forward to implementing the lessons I’ve learned into my non-WLC life and continuing to see the improvements in my althletic performance as well as my overall health and well-being.  If any of you ever have the chance to participate in a challenge similar to this, I encourage all of you to try it.  You will be amazed at how different you look and feel.  You’ll also be surprised at your ability to overcome some of the challenges that WLC presents.
Even though the past two months has been really challenging at times, I wouldn’t change my decision to participate in this challenge and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take part in it.  I have learned so many things about myself and how to take care of my body and I can’t wait for what the future holds!