Tuesday, June 30, 2015


My snack tonight - 1 scoop PB Progenex, 2 egg whites + 1 slice turkey, 1 bag kettle corn. YUM - was delicious and filling

Yay! The figs are back! I love fresh figs...amazing in salads and with prosciutto wrapped around them too!!!

So annoyed by the "minus" in front of the "0". WHY???!

Being a leader falls into the category of things that sound great but in reality are very challenging. Leadership is a lonely place and often one that requires some of the hardest decisions. The allure of leading people and all of the quotes and books about amazing leaders...that's all the romantic side. The often "ugly" side is the one that truly reflects true leadership.

Leaders eat last - literally and figuratively. A leaders' team should always be well fed and taken care of before he/she gets in line. That also means that they will sacrifice for the sake of the team and what needs to happen. Leadership is also as much about being vulnerable and honest as it is about being strong and courageous. It is humility in the face of pride. It means making the hardest decision that is least popular but doing it because it is the right one and only one for the team. Leadership is being alone. It can mean being misunderstood.

But...it is worth it.

Writing this blog as a leader in our community has been at times uncomfortable and challenging. Being vulnerable and open has been paramount because it is so important to share in the human experience. We all struggle and not a single one of us is perfect. 

Every one of us is a leader in our lives in some capacity or role. I invite you to remember to inspire by the true attributes of leadership, not just the easy ones.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Field trip for the brain

Strawberry fields post workout. I've been craving frozen yogurt for weeks...I hadn't 'allowed' myself to eat it as part of my Macros. I went with a little bit of cake batter, coffee ice cream and hazelnut. It was just the right amount - conservative but satisfying. And it fit my macros!

Dinner tonight: Stretched the lentils that were left over from last night - roasted fennel, asparagus and some tomatoes all mixed in with a little basil. Protein tonight was Pesto Chicken from Trader Joe's.

My work, my attention and emphasis on healthy living, all of it...has spurred on some good conversations with them about 'health'. The focus is always on quality food - not weight. Markus is watching Food Inc tonight and fascinated...I'm very proud that they eat fish, veggies, real foods.

Tonight I am shifting the focus tonight - personal responsibility and education.

If I haven't lost you yet based on that riveting intro...Any time you start to raise the awareness of what and how much you are putting in your body, it should spawn a series of bigger questions and thought. For me the past few weeks were a reminder about the quality of food and the responsibility we have regarding the system.

It is so easy to slip into the state of convenience and denial. If you were forced to look at the process the food went through and where it came from before you ate it, you would likely make very different choices. However, it is all to easy to be ignorant and simply enjoy what you want when you want it. The disconnect can escalate rather quickly. 

One of the things that I truly value about CrossFit and it's culture is the constant invitation for people to not simply take our word for things, but instead to go find out for themselves. We encourage people to read, educate themselves, experiment...prove us wrong! But find out for yourself.

Keeping that in mind, I would encourage you to take your desire to make some changes that affect your waistline and push beyond that into an education and true lifestyle change. Here is a short list of recommendations should be interested in taking this step...
  • Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollen)
  • Food Ince (movie)
  • Salt Sugar Fat (Michael Moss)
That is a very short list - but concise and eye opening. 

Olivia had an expression today that was perfect...we were discussing taking the initiative to educate yourself and do your own research vs. simply asking someone else...she said, these people should "take their brain on a field trip".

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's next?

Made a great meal tonight and was grateful to be cooking.: grilled wild rainbow trout with lentils from Trader Joe's (pre cooked and easy to heat up tossed with some shaved parmesan, grass fed butter and herbs), topped with avocado and mint. 

Although this is NOT my photo of what I ate, it's damn near what I had at Urban Table this morning for Tommy's birthday brunch. They had a breakfast bowl with brown rice and quinoa topped with avocado, pico de gallo, bacon and sunny side up egg. To have more control over the macros and make them work better for my needs I skipped the bacon, asked for a poached egg and then when it arrived, separated out the 'excess' grains that were beyond about 1 serving.

Unfortunately it ended up not being that much food since I was still hungry when I got home!!! Was fine though because it was delicious and I was social and ate with everyone. Then after getting home I made this snack before I got started on some work: 2 slices Ezekial bread (cinnamon raisin), 2 slices maple turkey breast from Trader Joes and 1 TB Cashew butter from Trader Joes.

It is easy to take for granted your kitchen "space" and the ability to cook at home. Typically we all look forward to meals out and restaurants become the real luxury. However, it is something to appreciate to have a home, a kitchen, a space where you can control what you are eating AND a place that you are at peace with. Tonight being back in our kitchen and with the foods I like and that are healthy was a relief. Bill is still in TN and I owe it to him to be appreciative and take time to be aware of this true 'luxury'. I am looking forward to being on track with food this week that I am making and enjoying both the process of cooking and eating.

Today marks the official end of our first G60 challenge. Going through some of the testimonials, hearing peoples' successes, seeing their smiling faces in their 'after' pictures...it's made my day.

It's not because I helped someone get leaner or fit into a skinny pair of jeans...that's great and always a bonus, but it was because they stuck it out through this process and it ended up changing their lives. It was an experiment that was about choices and commitment. For many of us there is a fear that we will fail when faced with a challenge or put ourselves in a position to achieve a goal.

This challenge, opens doors of possibility for people who completed it. There is a 'what's next?' process that follows and a pride in ourselves that can lead to more goals and more success. Success breeds success.

"When you set a goal of such distant possibility and reach it, you gain an insight into what it takes that lasts the rest of your lift" (Pat Summitt)

So...what's' next?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Left and Right limits

Ate at Adele's in Nashville for our last night together - very cool place with great home cooked awesome quality food. This was a shaved asparagus salad with some radishes and a light vinaigrette. Dinner was roasted chicken and amazing potatoes/ broccoli

Bill and I are reading this book after hearing about it from a friend...very interesting and eye opening...going on the reading list for the next G60 challenge!!

Had a delicious glass of wine with dinner. Very enjoyable and didn't really have a need for more than one!

This is from an autobiography about a coach, Pat Summitt, that Sharon often references when we discuss coaching, being an athlete, etc.  This resonates with me because the notion of high expectations and the idea of 'never being satisfied'. It's something that I am working on in terms of the "left and right limits"...not just for others, but for myself even more.

And the Macro journey continues...one of the areas I have shared I struggle with is the ability to not be 'all or nothing'. I am working on setting what Bill refers to as "left and right limits' to help guide me along in all things that I have the tendency to take severely sharp turns with.

The Macros is no different and is proving I still need work. 

Currently I have two roles in this journey - as a student and as a coach. For me, being the student and allowing myself the middle of the road approach is proving to be the biggest challenge. Bill and I had a long and grueling day yesterday with work that ended much later than anticipated. As a result our food for the day had been 2 quest bars each and we headed back to Nashville feeling pretty beat up.

Heading to try a new spot for dinner on a Friday night, the question was whether we just saw 'whatever' about the food we were going to consume or if we made the effort to look it up. Now, in our defense, had we been home all week and had been in 'control' of what we were making and consuming, one night of guestimating wouldn't seem problematic to me. However, it's been a week of living away from home and eating every dinner out.

So, the notion of how dinner would go was somewhat unnerving to me.

During dinner and pulling out our phones multiple times to look up food items etc., I knew we were in trouble. Finally, the discussion arose - we need left and right limits. While Bill has been enjoying and aware of the journey to ensuring he is eating enough using the app and making a solid effort to hit his numbers, he has not been consumed. I can't always say the same for me. 

For me, the best way to explain the trap I enter into is that my ceiling quickly becomes my floor. That way of describing it that Bill said so matter of fact, was spot on. Looking at my 'before' and 'after' pics from the last few weeks of doing macros, I realize that the 'after' which was my ceiling at one point before beginning this, has now become my 'floor'. It's a "never enough" notion.

Arguable, this is a good quality to have in life relative to many things - always looking to self improve and reach new heights - to have high expectations. However, it can also become very frustrating in that there is never peace and there is never satisfaction. 

As a coach I tell athletes and clients that it's the big picture. It's the string of weeks and months of heading in the right direction or an improved direction...not a singular snapshot of a day or two. The ultimate goal is happiness and peace in life. And yes, working hard for things that are worth it. But, knowing the left and right limits to keep this in check...that's my goal.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quality and IIFYM

This is stenciled on the wall at CrossFit Clarksville in TN...what a great reminder. I read it right before doing Nasty Girls there today. Had some anxiety about doing that workout since I would be comparing it to last year's score when I was in full training mode. This was the perfect reminder that to stop listening to "that" voice.

Dinner tonight. Reagan, owner of CF Clarksville was nice enough to let me use her kitchen today to cook up some Trader Joe's chicken we had bought and some veggies. 4 oz chicken, 1 cup broccoli, fennel and asparagus I roasted with a sprinkle of olive oil and 1 piece cinnamon raisin ezekial bread topped with 1/2 TB Kerrigold butter. Somewhat of a strange combo, but as we close in on our trip here in Nashville, we are using up our groceries!

Months ago, before delving deeper into the world of IIFYM (If it fits your macros), I only knew this nutritional approach as the excuse people used to eat crap. Facebook posts of boxes of donuts, fast food chains etc with the 'hashtag' IIFYM would frustrate me. It turned me off from even considering digging deeper. Had it not been for someone I know, like and trust having success with the Macros, I likely wouldn't have given it any more attention. Fortunately, I did. 

However, the question often comes up about the association between the Macros and eating poorly. Here's the deal...you can essentially do any 'diet' with quality foods or not:
  • Zone: You can zone oreo cookies and ding dongs. Poor quality proteins and fats can be blocked out and blugged in as well
  • Paleo: "Paleo" brownies, cookies...massive amounts of nut butters and nut flours (while 'healthy' in reasonable quantities, NOT great in that they have a high Omega 6 count). Additionally, Paleo dieters can rationalize grassfed butters and the likes
  • Undereating: Even folks cutting back and truly 'dieting'/ following a low-cal plan can choose poor quality foods like pre-packaged 'weigh watchers' etc. over real foods to comprise their limited calories allotted
  • Vegetarians: Boxed and fake meats, processed tofus, highly processed noodles etc. are a poor quality version of the avoidance of eating meat products.
So...the same can be said for Macros. Every person has the ability to skew each of these approaches to food in a way that is quality based on not. Aesthetically, poor quality can still produce results. Doing the Macro diet around pizza, processed food and sweets can work and you can achieve weight loss and leaning out.

However, we all know that there are 3 pillars on which we base the food/ nutrition pyramid on: 
  1. Looking good naked. 
  2. Performance and feeling great/ making progress in athletic endeavors
  3. Health markers
Our goal is always to encourage your nutrition plan to check all of the boxes above. As per the post yesterday with the bloodwork BFA mention, we will be offering that (thanks to our friends at Quest that Bill and I have been working with) to ALL members to track that their food choices are achieving progress relative to health. 

Eating quality foods also means getting micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) not just macro nutrients. All of which are crucial.

So....what about donuts, ice cream and the occasional pizza. YES, that is why we love the 'flexibility' part of this plan. We all enjoy these indulgences and they are part of life. The key is that they are only part of your daily/ weekly account, not the large majority.

Understood that for those of us who have deprived ourselves of 'off limit' foods for years and decades, there may be an uptick in eating them at first because we have been restricted for so long...but ultimately finding a balance is key. 

The other piece that is critical here is that straying from quality or 'perfect' choices at a given point in a day doesn't mean you throw in the towel and the day is ruined. Instead, you can make an adjustment and still come out at the desired end state and "hit your numbers".

For me I am still battling with building in the less quality food...Tonight I blocked out this cookie that I keep saying I will eat, however, I'm not sure I'll actually pull the trigger on it...To be determined. But, somehow knowing I can if I chose to and not be derailed, that's reassuring.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why I care

Such a perfect post from BluePrint for Athletes. More about the BFA coming soon....We are going to be making bloodwork for athletes available in conjunction with the next round of G60 (9/12). Get some concrete data and health markers to go along with your aesthetic and performance progress.

And...this is why we track food...This was the fat that remained from a total of 9lbs of pork shoulder...yup. If you are not aware of the quantities of what you are eating, it can be a real wake up.

I caved and sent this pic to Baby Jesus aka Jason Ackerman today (ignore the bizarre message to the Soldiers on the mirror...on base!) I have been a tough and critical client questioning everything, so I finally threw him a bone to report that I feel great and lean.

I decided today to share some more of my history with food. Before that, let me preface it by saying that caring about people's food and nutrition and success isn't something you can fake. Regardless of whether you are being paid for your time/ and charging folks to hold them more accountable, or if you are providing some free support, you have to truly care.

Additionally, you can't MAKE people care. If you care more about someones progress with food, or you won't get anywhere coaching them. Likewise, if a Coach truly doesn't understand a deep desire to change lives, it will become very apparent. You can't fake it. The integrity of truly caring and being invested in others is something transparent. It's authentic, real and palpable.

For the sake of caring, I felt it was good to share some of my story and part of why I feel driven to experiment and continue the quest for 'balance' when it comes to food.

To make a long story abbreviated, I will start in the middle with the fact that around the age of 19 I fell into a long relationship with an eating disorder. I still have food journals from that time and can recall what a typical day looked like: 1 cup of Cheerios w/ skim milk in the am. 1 non fat Chai latte. Grapes or carrots. I was hovering around 500 calories per day and part of my daily ritual was a 3 mile run. Regardless of rain, shine, snow, heat...it had to happen.

As it typically goes, I was not one disorder only, I was primarily anorexic but would also have occasional binging and purging episodes if I ate beyond the allotted food for the day. Although there were many attempts to break out of this life, they were not successful. I would wander the supermarket aisles in a fog with an empty cart and finally leave without purchasing anything.

At some point I finally surrendered and decided that I couldn't live like this anymore - a prisoner to myself. Every social event and feeling of 'normalcy' was impossible. It was misery. I started seeing a nutritionist who was more of my council and therapist than anything. I truly owe my success in starting the path to recovery to this woman.

The good news is that 15 years later, I feel like I am a very healthy individual who has fought through the cunning and manipulative lure of an eating disorder. However, it is never truly gone and you are never 100% cured. Food is always something that is considered.

Embarking on the CrossFit journey has helped a tremendous amount in my desire to be healthy and strong and capable. 

So for me caring about this and understanding the issues people have surrounding food - regardless of whether it is as severe as over/ under eating or simply not feeling like you can ever be "normal" and enjoy life in balance - that caring is innate. 

I'm sure my story is not unique and many people have had a similar experience. The battle between the ears and the physical is one that we all share.

So, to tie it all together, it truly comes back to caring and acceptance. Amazingly, not about protein or carbohydrates or fat.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Point of no return

Decided on this spot in Nashville tonight for dinner over the Thai restaurant - decision was in part based on the ability to have a sense of what we were eating. Let me preface this by saying that if we were home and had been eating home every night, we wouldn't be so critical of one night out. However, because we are eating a meal out every day this week down here, we felt we needed to be more conscious.

This was my post dinner snack to get me close to my numbers tonight. It was 1 scoop PB Smash progenex and 3/4 cup raspberries
In aviation, "The Point of no return" is referred to as : The term PNR—"point of no return," more often referred to by pilots as the "Radius of Action formula" — originated, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, as a technical term in air navigation to refer to the point on a flight at which, due to fuel consumption, a plane is no longer capable of returning to the airfield from which it took off.

Well...I'm there...and I think I'm bringing people along for the ride.

Now, I realize that many people might be reading this and shaking their heads mumbling that 'this is ridiculous'. It may seem that this is compulsive or that getting so deep into the Macros or any way of eating 'to the point of no return' is absurd. 

However, I beg to differ. There are a few folks that have emailed me who I have been helping to EAT MORE. The more I research and experience this for myself, the more it makes sense that ultimately it's the balance and consistency that makes the difference (as per yesterday's blog). Think about it, many of us may under eat on a daily basis but then on the weekends we smash food due to social settings, no work, etc. Then we wonder why we aren't seeing progress with our body comp or metabolic state. 

There's a hum that happens in balance. And we all say how elusive it is. But what if it's not. Tonight we read a quote on the wall that 'the moment you decide to do something you either start doing it or start making excuses for NOT doing it'. 

The reality is that any kind of food tracking is hard. What is easy is eating whatever you want, whenever you want and is as much quantity as you want. But which is going to get you balance, which will teach you about being satiated physically vs emotionally?

Today we made choices to support the commitment we made to the macros and 'hitting our numbers'. We both feel better than ever - I am somewhat confused that I am still the same size and leanness and have eaten more food than I have in years. That is progress. That is enjoying life. 

So yes, we have hit the point of no return - not because we've become crazy obsessed people, but because we have committed and realize that we've come far enough that to go back now is a waste of the fuel we put forth to get where we are. In short, back on track here and enjoying the ride.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Changing Lives

Ralph's in Cookeville - everytime we visit Mayhem/ Froning it's a must stop. Classic Glazed is the way to go but here's a peak at some of the options. Logged it of course and it's in the books with carbs, fat and all.

Edley's BBQ on the way home, long day and made this meal work for my remaining macros (maybe should have only had half the cornbread, but...)

Last night we linked up with some of the L1 seminar staff in Nashville after they had worked a seminar at CF Mayhem. We of course got chatting about the Macros and shared some thoughts. This is a group of people who love to explore fitness, nutrition and most importantly, change lives.

Mr. Chuck Carswell, long time flow master and OG of CF, chimed in and we discussed why and why not this approach works. The biggest take away to share is that when you commit to any program - be it zone, macros, intermittent fasting etc., and you are all in, you will get results. It's about the consistency and the commitment. Very simple. And so true. And honestly, when you 'retire' from one approach or you've been at it a long time, maybe switch to something else and get committed that that. The falling off the wagon and lack of adherence is what's the enemy.

Today I chatted with Jason Ackerman, the man behind this movement...and challenged him with a few of my questions regarding the Macros. He had a very similar answer - consistency. Tracking and logging food and the balance of macro nutrients (not just calories!) is the resource to maintain this consistency. Whether you have set your numbers to 40% carbs or 35% carbs is not as important as the notion that you meet that goal every day. 

He has lost a tremendous amount of weight and mostly body fat. However, he also feels great metabolically AND after a history of struggling with food, he feels like he is free from the "that food is bad" mentality.

For me, I am trusting in this process and really making an effort to stick it out because that is ultimately what I would like. To not feel like I'm not "allowed" to eat a donut or that on a Monday I "can't" have a meal I didn't cook at home. To free myself from the rules a little. So today I did it. I had the donut. We shall see.... (I did however, come in 6grams of carbs over due to a little too much cornbread at dinner but...)

Jason said something today that was so on point. Bill and I had just been discussing how amazing it is to work in a setting where our daily goal is to help improve lives. To literally change lives for the better. Fitness is certainly a massive part of that, but nutrition is the foundation. Weight and food is something that can cripple people and dictate how they feel about themselves, what they are able to experience in life and what decisions they make.

Ironically, Jason said something similar when I spoke with him a few minutes later. He was reminiscing about when Coach Glassman made a statement years ago that he "wouldn't cross the street to watch a 2 minute Fran, but (he) would cross the street to help someone squat better". Jason said at the time he first heard this he didn't fully get it. But now, years later, being part of transformations and truly changing the course of lives, it makes sense.

The business of changing lives. For those of you who are reading and on the fence or wondering if tomorrow you should give something a try to start this journey, or to continue it, why not. It's my job. Email, text me, reach out. Would love to help you.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Barista Parlor in Nashville post early dinner...lots of chocolate to choose from

Our choice to split. Smaller than my phone...$6

A perfect cappacino - asked the Barista about how many oz milk and he laughed and said he and his wife record food on My Fitness Pal too...we felt like total losers!

Last night's cocktails at Holland House. No messing around at this place. These were amazing.

I'm down in Nashville for the week since the kids are away and I can keep Bill company near his work. For those of you who don't know me...I don't do well with change and I rely on routine and don't adapt well. Essentially I don't do a great job of accepting anything I'm not 100% comfortable. Something I'm certainly working on...

However, this Macro business is challenging me on this exact personality trait. The notion of being flexible but also not really a plan that supports alcohol...couple that with the fact that I'm not entirely sure at restaurants the exact numbers on everything I'm eating...it sent me into a tail spin. So, my goal for this week is to accept experimentation. This week I will share with all of you my successes and failures with the flexible dieting plan. Adaptation is going to be step one.

On a separate note, while I am spending all of this time laboring over how much protein was in the meal I ate and if my calculations were accurate, what seems to be 90% of the world around us could care less about their health and what goes into their mouths.

We were on a strip in Nashville this morning with a multitude of restaurants on it - more along the lines of chain restaurants, but a pretty big variety. We could not find anything that was truly healthy and that would fuel us appropriately for the workout we were heading to do. It made us realize how many people just see food as an immediate satisfaction when they taste it and have no standard for themselves. Ironically, we happened to be in this area because we were buying a book "Salt, Sugar, Fat" which is about the 'food giants' and the measures they go to in an effort to create addictive ingredients in their products. (Synopsis and take aways from this will surely be coming soon on this blog!)

We finished the afternoon at our favorite spot, Burger Up. We were sat next to a table with a couple. They were morbidly obese. They ordered a pimento cheese spread, each ordered massive burgers complete with fries and then to top it off had the Krispy creme bread pudding for dessert. The woman had 2 margaritas and the gentleman appeared to be drinking Coke - likely diet.

As we sat there plugging in our macros and laughing about what we had remaining and what choices we could make, we were in awe of the contrast. We ordered salads with chicken to be responsible. Would we have like to have tasted the burgers, fries, sweets as well? Of course, but everything in life isn't an endless opportunity to indulge. We left perfectly happy - enjoyed our conversation and time together - irrelevant of having a burger or not.

For this last week, experiment a little. Appreciate your commitment to your health. Give yourself a pat on the back for finding a balance between enjoying life and also taking care of yourself. I'll be trying to do the same. I will leave you with this...

"Happiness is.....when the last thing you worry about is your abs."

The Stones

New Quest bar flavor....can't wait to test it!!
Pre Rolling Stones tequila drinks
The peaches here - pretty amazing...delivered fresh on this truck!

So...the Rolling Stones are the band I grew up listening to. When they come around, it's not something that is optional. By whatever means neccessary I need to see them. Nostalgia.

Unfortunately they didn't consult me about the fact that ALL of their concert dates were on Wednesdays. And, as we all know...wednesdays are not a day to cheat...Saturday for sure and Friday doable..but Wednesday???

Not only is it the Stones but it's the Stones plus Bill. Oh and plus Nashville. This is one of those scenarios I have to realize that I may need to loosen my grip. Having a couple drinks and keeping on track with food and workouts is a good balance.

The big picture, that's where I need to look. To step back and see the progress that's been made for the past month. The awareness and the successes. 

It's not always about coloring inside the lines. Last night Bill was honest with me and we chatted about my constant need for comparison. 

He said something that seems simple but very profound....all we have is this moment. And to compare to what was or what will be is absurd. It's irrelevant and exhausting and has zero impact on the now. And guess what? We probably always remember things or ourselves as better, leaner, faster than we actually were. It becomes an exercise in self deprication.

So, next week when I come back down it will not be drinking every night. Tonight's drinks do not equate to throwing in the towel and a slippery slope into failure.

It just means enjoying the moment. It means reveling in life. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

How flexible is flexible?

Yesterday the discussion of Macros and 'flexible dieting' came up on our ride home from the airport. The debate was regarding the flexible nature of the Macro 'diet'.  As the name suggests the intention is to be less rigid with timing of food, quality and quantity. But when does this become simply an excuse to eat poorly and claim you are on track?

I have my own personal opinions regarding nutrition and the values of your diet. The first is that for me, the macros DO allow me to not feel like I can't have a single infraction. The notion that on a day here and there I can have a little leeway with my food is relieving. The alternative, for me personally, is that I find myself fearing any food that is on the 'no list' and my food schedule becomes too militant.

That being said, I do also have a very strong opinion regarding quality of food. It matters. Pizza and twizzlers do not make you feel the same as fresh fruits and vegetables. The fuel might add up to the same numbers but it's not serving your body the same. Additionally, part of the purpose of adhering to a plan/ diet etc is to encourage you to be MORE aware of what you are putting in your mouth. It is to motivate folks to value themselves enough that they take time to cook or plan so that they are ensuring a healthy option, not just a convenient one.

Thinking about this with regard to the Macros made me realize that part of this is the nature of all diets (and human nature): pushing the limits. "How much can I get away with?" (Pause for a life lesson) NOT the way to approach anything whether that be work, relationships etc. and not diet either.

The next question then becomes which infraction is better/ worse. I haven't had pizza, chinese or donuts in over a year but I have had 2-4 drinks per week regularly. That's my choice and balance. In my humble opinion, you can't pick and choose what is worse and better if it's a generally unhealthy choice. It becomes a personal decision as to where you will be flexible and what would serve you most to keep you 85% on track.

So, in our final week of the challenge, take inventory once again and see where the flexibility can best fit for you. Assess and learn so that you can have continued success moving through beyond the first G60.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes you have it. And sometimes you don't.

Sometimes you go through phases where you are on. You are highly motivated, you don't waiver in your convictions and you are just crushing everything in your path. It's days like these where I feel super productive from the moment I open my eyes and feel ready for the day. Get everyone fed, lunches packed, dishes put away and leave the kitchen clean and on time -  efficient enough to even have my own lunch packed.

After dropping the kids off, at the front of carline of course, I head to a workout and don't even think twice about not wanting to do it. There is no option, I just go. Then typically it's followed by a day of work and getting shit done. The rest of the day ends in bliss with kid pick up, quality time, a home-cooked dinner and bedtimes.

There is a hum in life on those days.

And then there are the other days. Where things couldn't go worse. Nothing feels right, I am scrapping the bottom of the barrel for motivation and coming up with every reason to not do a workout or to procrastinate on my to-do list. I'm usually easily annoyed on these days and definitely not on time.

The reality is that this is life. There are the days you have 'it' and those that you just don't. The key is that you can't bring your life to a stand still on the days that you 'don't'. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and going through the motions. You have to continue to move forward. Maybe you sit down a few more times than on those 'humming' days. But you certainly aren't going to turn around and go back from where you came from.

The real thing to consider is what if you could take that pause, and see how you can make the rut days into the great days. Could you do it...if you had to? I think so. I know so. Try it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Split pose.

Saving grace at movie theater - Dasani lime sparkling water - tastes so good! (it better for $5!)

Breakfast of champs, I could (and do) eat this every day!

My exchange with Jason Ackerman, Macro King, talking me off the ledge...
While I am still unsure if this blog is useful, interesting or at least a source of entertainment for those who ready it...I will continue to post my thoughts, struggles and experiences of life as they relate to nutrition and other areas of it we have in common.

As of yesterday morning I had been going 6 days strong on the Macros. Every night within 2 grams of protein, carbs and fat. No alcohol, no sweets, kept it clean and ate home for almost every meal. Then Saturday started looming. I truly enjoy going out to dinner and having a cocktail or a glass of wine (or both). I enjoy being social with friends and it's part of my life. Based on this I decided to follow through with this plan and enjoy a dinner out. 

Easier said than done. I've written about this topic before, but the notion of doing something perfectly or constantly challenging oneself can go too far. For me I had to face that yesterday - I felt a lot of guilt and like a failure for having a cocktail, a glass of wine and then a serving of some Trader Joe's yogurt covered pretzels when I got home. My dinner was great - a salad with Chicken - no issue there and said no to the bread. But knowing I wasn't within the guidelines and that my diary was tarnished made me crazy. 

I ended up getting on my bike today and doing some training (probably wise in prep for the 62 mile Gran Fondo I signed up to do...no biking since last summer oops), and went out alone. I was thinking about this frustration and rut I was in. To only accept myself when I'm 'perfect' is absurd. And it's certainly not productive.

I thought a lot about being a leader and representative for this challenge. I would never want anyone else doing this to feel so 'challenged' that they got down on themselves to the degree I was due to an infraction. It was a good lesson. It also made me take some inventory and ask myself if it was overkill that EVERYTHING becomes a challenge in my life. It reminded me that although I am highly motivated and will challenge myself to do things even when I don't 'feel like it', sometimes it's ok to give in. To give myself a break, to be unconditional with myself.

In yoga often we do a split as a pose. Yes the most uncomfortable, frustrating and seemingly impossible thing to do. And I suck at them. I can't get my hips to face forward, I can't get my front leg to even straighten out, and can't get close to the floor. I end up looking like a very challenged individual propped up on as many blocks as I can get my hands on. Usually surrounded by ladies who are not only in a full split but are also doing a back bend and resting their head on their thigh...yeah.

Ironically...in yoga, this pose is the pose of "Unconditional Love". Yes, of course. The hardest pose (for me especially, but definitely hard for many) is connected to this act. It's painful, it's hard, and it doesn't always come easily. But you have to stay in it. The reason I bring this up is that unconditional love isn't just about loving others in that way. Arguably what's harder is to love ourselves like this.

Give yourself some credit wherever you are at right now with this challenge. Maybe the farthest you are right now is reading this blog. That's great. But have some unconditional love for yourself - even if it's really really hard.

We have about 2 weeks left to see this little experiment through. The purpose of these 60 days was not to be short term and a 'diet', however, we did cap it at 60 because going 100% for that duration (even if it's only the 100% awareness that you are in the challenge) is a lot. When the time is up, take a little break. Adhere to as much as you would like that still feels supportive and positive for yourself. Many things you've adopted will be permanent and some may fall to the wayside. But, give yourself a break from the 'challenge'. Be flexible and work on that ease of unconditional love...and splits.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday, mood revival and control

Two weeks of Macros, and today was 6 days solid with being on track (+/- a few grams on each Macro every day) and no alcohol.

Today was somewhat of a continuation of yesterday where I was a bit of a zombie, but patience and staying the course revived my mood. Today's macro's were comprised of: Two quest bars, an americano with heavy cream, Whole Foods herb roasted turkey breast weighed at deli and a pre packaged container of the southwest sweet potato/ bean salad. That food carried me through until after Jurassic World into dinner which was 2 egg whites + 1 egg and 3/4 cup cooked coconut rice (fresh batch!). I ended up with 7g carbs and 12 grams fat left. Had 1/2 a piece of cinnamon raisin ezekial bread w/ 1 tsp organic butter on it along with an americano and another TB heavy cream.
Very satisfied.

A quote that resonated with me today, and challenged my state of nutrition right now was "the key to a happy life is to accept that you are not in control". That one hit me like a truck today. Now, that doesn't mean that we can't be in control of what we put in our mouths and the choices we make as advocates for ourselves. But, it's also a good reminder to not force things and death grip the world you are living in.

Let up on the grip a bit. If the nutrition is going great, maybe that's not the area to let up on. Or perhaps you need to take some inventory at this point in the challenge. Many of you are on 6 weeks of 'controlled' eating in some way, shape or form. Make sure that you are still in the healthy territory. I need to remind myself of this from time to time. Today I am happy and content that I 'controlled' my week and adhered to no alcohol and all of my numbers. Tomorrow I will have a cocktail or glass of wine because I would like to. Control is an illusion, make sure you know what the mirage is and what's real.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Photo and this from Jeremy Nazario: "Food prep: been doing zone for a year now. Sometimes I fall off but it's def an easy enough map for me to get on track. I remember first time cooking for the week took me 6 hours now it takes about two. My recipes weren't always edible but my skill has deff improved. using the g60 to get back on track I'm at and 85% - 95% zone most of the time. Some tips extra measuring cups and spoons so u always have a clean measurement. I recommend a lunch box to bring foods for the day as well as a pocket scale I recommend the American Weight Scales.  Def looking to check out flexible dieting but for now really love zone."

My friend Bob has been on a Paleo kick now since last winter when he did a Whole30 challenge

Tonight I have been sitting and staring at the blank blog page, opening and closing it, typing and erasing. I have nothing. In an effort to be 100% honest and open, I am sharing this here. 

It's interesting that over the course of a day one can experience an array of emotions - today I had moments of feeling super productive, inspired, inspiring, happy and motivated. Yet I also felt sad, alone, anxious and hopeless. How does that happen in 12 hours?

Tonight I am searching for that something. There's nothing terribly wrong or right, just a general blah. Had I not been on this challenge, would I have attempted to self-correct this with a glass of wine? Or a dinner out with comfort foods? Probably. But, without those I am forced to be aware of this space I'm in. Kind of an interesting notion...

That begs the question, "how often do I fill the nothing with 'anything'?" It's a thought to consider...As I'm writing this I'm realizing that this isn't such a bad place to be. Sometimes the nothing is all that we have. And it could be worse.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm obsessed with seltzer, tonight I made a separate stop JUST for 3 of these...They are a great sub when you are a little tired of just water
Tonight I couldn't wait and ate all of my protein before I served dinner...so this was what I was left with. A lot of sweet potatoes and some asparagus. Markus asked what the heck I was doing and why I was crazy. Good question....

Markus makes everything a sandwich if possible.

A little humor to lighten the mood...

Today I went to my weekly Wednesday yoga class. Every week there is always some message I walk away with about my approach to life. It's usually very subtle, but effective. The reality is that it could be CrossFit, running, Soulcycle...the list goes on. The real impact is in taking the time to have some clarity and absorb what you are doing versus just going through the motions.

Unfortunately many times at CrossFit we all finish the workout, do a stretch or two and then either race off to our busy lives or immediately start chatting about them with a friend. None of this is a 'bad thing', however, it short changes the impact of what you just did on your 'being'. Your body and physical state got the workout and definitely feel the impact...but what about the ethereal side of you?

The real benefit and purpose of yoga, we were reminded today, comes when you have completed the practice. It is after chavasana when all the sweating and hard breathing is over and you are just sitting and absorbing. It is in that state that you can have some clarity.

What's very interesting is that I am finding that I am experiencing this with food as well in this challenge. The fact is that I am now doing a lot more cooking and preparing of my food. There is a process. It is a very different feeling than when I would go out to eat and mindlessly putting food in my mouth or throw something together quickly not considering how much of it I really 'need''. There is a clarity and a calm that is coming as a result of going through the 'work' and the effort of being involved in what I am planning/ preparing/ eating

When you stop and think about it...we can make that argument for everything in our lives - that mindlessly moving through things without stopping to have an experience results in a very cloudy state. The clarity comes from participating and being present in the effort AND THEN taking the time to absorb it and to simply "notice".

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The conversations in our heads

Dinner on the patio with the munchkins - Just missing Bill!

Close up of dinner - Pollo asada chicken, coconut rice and a avocado/ mango/ cilantro mix

Most of us have a conversation that goes on in our head: "I'm too (blank) to....". Maybe it's "I'm to old to ..." or "I'm to fat to ..." or "It's too late to...." Sometimes it's simply "I'll never change (blank) about myself". 

How many time does that conversation stop you dead in your tracks. When you start to pay attention to those conversations you realize how many of them there are and how often they pop up. The most common might just be: "I can't". 

You're not too old, it's not too late, you're not to big, you're not too small....you are everything and can be everything you want to be. But you have to start saying it to yourself. Go after what you want - If you aren't 'who' you want to be right now or acting 'how' you want to - change that conversation and be that person you DO want to be.

I know that these alternate versions of the conversations do not come easy. They feel forced and even fake. But just like any challenge, you have to keep at it. The first step is to catch what they are and recognize their frequency. Then start to gently offer up the alternatives. 

Figure out who and how you do want to be? If you could be more patient, more calm, more ambitious, more adventurous...less of a risk taker, more of a risk taker....the list goes on. What have you told yourself that is not an absolute that you can change?

"If you can find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn't lead anywhere"

Monday, June 8, 2015

What's the point?

The map of Midway airport and the restaurant I tracked down for Bill after some reconnaissance - he is stuck there, delayed for almost 3 hours trying to get back to Nashville. When he finally found the place it was not that great...ugh

There are days where you might think, 'what's the point?' or 'this is too hard and complicated'. I've certainly had a few of those recently. Tonight I'm sure Bill is ready to lose his mind and just eat any sort of food he can get his hands on. He is delayed, not happy to have left home again and is stuck in Chicago. The list of priorities is definitely not finding a meal that fits his Macro needs at the moment. However, is it really going to help to throw the baby out with the bath water? I know that it's too easy and tempting to convince yourself that it's ridiculous or not worth the effort.

I realize in writing this blog that my comparisons to real life from nutrition may seem like a stretch...however, food is such a tangible and obvious place that these tendencies show up. So, take a second to think about how powerful it is to decide that you are going to stick with something regardless of how complicated or challenging it seems.

The truth is that we don't have a problem staying the course when it's easy and when everything goes as planned. But, when the unexpected hits us - that's when we go off the rails. Imagine though if you could stay the course with other things in your life, not just nutrition when things didn't go in the manner you anticipated. Being able to stay steady, have a compass.

Food is fuel, and arguably, when there is other chaos around us, it's even more important to keep that balance. Remember to think of it in that way as fuel for your body and the ability to stay nourished. There are times where it certainly feeds the soul and is nostalgic etc., but find that time and place and don't abuse it.

So...find the 'point'. Even if you really have to search for it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Try and try again

Tom Costigan does his meal prep for the week ahead on Sunday nights. Dedication and commitment...and planning...it's possible!

Look at these amazing mini avocados from Trader Joe's!

This weekend we had over 25 people show up between the two gyms to chat more about Nutrition. It was nothing short of impressive. While it's always great to see people take that first step and want to learn or start a challenge, it's awesome to see people still there 30 days later.

What was great about many of these folks who attended this 'half way point' meeting was that they weren't perfect - they weren't showing up because it had been so great and easy. They were showing up because while they may have fallen off here and there with initial goals they set out, they were still willing to try.

It is hard to continue to fight the fight - whether that's at CF, nutrition, or more importantly, life. But making that commitment to continue to move toward your goal, regardless of how many times you may have to stop to rest, or maybe take the wrong turn or even start moving backwards. To continue to TRY. That is far better than simply just not doing anything and giving up.

There is a certain amount of discipline that comes with that trying. CrossFit, running, yoga, biking, Zone, Paleo, Macros...they all require an amount of discipline. Practicing that discipline and that unwaivering ability to continue to try and try again...that will show up in your life in more ways than you can imagine. Training and flexing that muscle so that it is ready and available to use when you truly need it.

Great job to all - here's to another 30 days of trying.

Friday, June 5, 2015

"I eat pretty well..."

This was Bill's breakfast this am: 2 pieces Ezekial cinnamon raisin toast + 8 oz Trader Joe's OJ + 4 Organic eggs + 3 pieces Trader Joe's bacon + 1 TB butter (1/2 to cook eggs and 1/2 to spread on toast) + black americano (that's not cream - it's the foam!)

Whether it's in a challenge or just casually at the gym, people often ask for advice on their food and why they are not making progress. Typically the conversation is that they want help or have reached a plateau and are wondering what to do next. My question to them is 'How are you eating now?" More times than not, their answer: "I eat pretty well" (or something to that affect). 

Hmmm...that tells me absolutely NOTHING! Ha. Perception is not reality. Someone thinking they eat well could be so far from the 'well' they need to make progress, be healthier, get fitter, lean out. The real details are crucial: what exactly and how much are you eating.

I posted this photo of Bill's breakfast because as we scanned in barcodes and calculated all of the food in My Fitness Pal we came up with 780 calories. Yes, that meal above is 780 calories. For him, that's great because he needs to eat more! So making sure he is getting enough food is his goal.

However, what we were discussing was how easily someone could eat a breakfast like this and have no idea how much they are actually consuming. "Guestimating" is not reality.

Tomorrow at the Nutrition chat we will be walking through this app for those of you who are interested in taking a look at what 'eating pretty well' truly means. It's a fantastic experiment whether you are looking to gain/ lose or simply maintain and be healthy.

See you manana!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

When no one is looking

Had somewhat of a melt down today looking for food - I went way too long without eating and then was unable to think straight. I ended up at WF with about 4.5 oz of chicken curry salad and 4 oz brown rice. Saved the eggs and then never ate them. Definitely less desirable to NOT plan your day in advance. This meal was so not work the carbs and fat.

 And then  you end up with this. Which annoys me...yes, I am a complete nut job...!

Recently I took the kids to the movies and they each selected their treat of choice. Always popcorn for Markus while Olivia is a wildcard - it was snow caps for a while and now it's sour patch kids (which is great bc they are gross and I have zero interested in stealing any!). 

Markus LOVES food. He is a total foodie (for good quality food aaaaand also not so good quality - not too discerning). So, he finished his popcorn and proceeded to ask to 'try' the sour patch kids. Let me say that the word 'try' relative to food would mean that you have in fact never had said food. So I say 'no' and that the popcorn was it. Some time later I left to use the bathroom, upon returning I immediately recognized a guilty and somewhat panicked look on his face.

Me: "What's in your mouth" I blurt out.
Markus: "A sour patch kid."
Me: "Spit it out." 

And right into my hand it went, lovely. 

After the movie we had a discussion about 'what you do when no one is looking'. You should always do what you know is right even when no one is looking. And that my children, is called Integrity.

Now, I know it's a stretch to relate this to food or nutrition and potentially a dangerous connection to make. But the point and relative thing here is really who are you doing this for? Is it about sharing your numbers and calories and telling people you are eating clean or haven't cheated blah blah? Or is it just being true to yourself and doing what's 'right' for you regardless if anyone is looking.

I like to think that I have integrity and in fact, that's what our gym has been built on. I strive for that every day - whether it's in the movements and standards we teach or in the picking up the paper towels on the floor of the bathroom instead of leaving them for someone else to throw away. 

We are all guilty of the 'when no one is looking' moments. But ask yourself in this challenge or wherever you may be with your nutrition, why and who it's about. Make it about being true to yourself. Have integrity for your emotions and for your goals. Do it even when no one is looking.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


No photos tonight.

I have been very grateful for every text and email I've gotten over the past few days. Members and friends replying with updates on how this challenge has been for them. It's this reason that finding CF and the outlet to change lives was it for me.

I truly hope each of you know how passionate I am about you. That I wish I could be there for every workout you do and coach you through every moment of doubt. That I could cook your meals and clean out your pantry and make sure you succeed at your goals.

I am grateful for this challenge and for getting to share that passion with each of you.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015


This is what happens when you are short on fat at the end of the night...Avocado with nuts, olive oil and squeeze of lime. Was tasty. Last night I finished the day with this to complete my Macros after a call with Jason Ackerman

Today's lunch. Was starving and ended up with Ezekial bread, cinnamon raisin of course, turkey breast, lite brie from Trader Joe's all in the grilled cheese fashion!

Want to make this recipe! Cauliflower risotto with asparagus and mushrooms..yum. I've started screen shot'ing stuff I come across that looks good to use as resource when I'm out of ideas

Got a lot of responses today when I sent that email, thank you! Was good to hear some feedback and know you were still hanging in there. I'm excited for Saturday because for many of you who are interested and willing, we will be experimenting with the Macros together. 

I had a great conversation with Jason last night and today I had a fantastic official day 1 of macro recording. For me there were two things that I realized immediately - I too need someone to be held accountable too. I love to hold others accountable and be their support, but often I don't acknowledge that I need the same for myself. 

The second thing was that I could eat a lot of food, and still fit it in the goal for the day. I was less panicked about if I ate bread or sweet potatoes (good quality bread of course) and I was focused on a goal of eating instead of not eating. The theory of Macros is to actually hit those numbers for Protein, Carbs and Fats every day. For me, it is a good thing to have the success be in hitting them vs. depriving myself of food and coming in 'under'. 

I'm finding that even in the past two days I have less of the sweets cravings. Perhaps it's because they aren't completely banned  and if I were to choose to use my remaining needs for the day to be fulfilled by a few pieces of chocolate, it's ok. But I think it's more so the knowledge of fueling myself well and shifting the physiological needs of my body. Tonight instead of a Quest bar or Progenex, I had an egg white omelette with bacon. Totally satisfied.

There is no magic diet or magical way to lean out/ lose weight/ perform better. Any way you cut it you will have to work. But choosing which work is rewarding to you and worth doing, that's something you have to personally figure out.

And yes, I know how to account for the alcohol in the Macros...

See you Saturday!