Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hit my numbers + Enjoyed vacation = Success!

One of the best americanos I've had in a long time - so creamy I didn't need to add half and half!

Still my saving grace

This was an inside out Boston Cream donut that was so warm that the chocolate was melting...donuts are a staple on the island!

Well, 3 bottles in the books. Was a good run!

And...more donuts...oh and a crumb cake. I did not order my own, my compromise was "taste testing" everyone else's. Amounted to about a 1/4 of a donut, good compromise.

Last night we bought tuna steaks and enjoyed a dinner at home before heading out again today. The ability to measure your food and meet all of your needs in a healthy way is all the more reason to eat home...not to mention being AT HOME!

Today we headed home from our 1 week at LBI. Somehow it's special being on the island for a week straight. Waking up to donuts, playing rounds of mini golf at various courses, hitting the beach, sitting out on the deck as the sun sets listening to the waves. It was also filled with some great impromptu workouts and a lot of playing in the waves and beachside.

In years past I have really struggled with vacation. I always felt stressed and "guilty" over the change in food quality. I would either restrict myself from enjoying cocktails and treats OR I would throw in the towel and over indulge to the point of feeling depressed. Balance and enjoyment didn't exist.

I realize that my food issues are more extreme than most "normal people's", however I would be willing to bet that most folks struggle to strike the balance on vacation to some degree.

Returning home as lean as when I left but also feeling like I enjoyed the benefits of vacation food and drink was a win.

It did lead me to thinking about the bigger picture of the Macro approach and some of my recent experiences with people im working with.

Here's the deal: ITS NOT A FREE FOR ALL!!! It should seem self evident, but any "diet" outside of the "see-food-desire-it-eat-it-all-diet" requires some discipline and self control.

I would argue that everyone should try a few days of recording their food. If for no other reason but for personal accountability and awareness. 

If you choose to pursue the macro approach, then you should be recording EVERY day. Yes, that includes weekends and holidays. Why? Well, it's not as a punishment, but rather, if you are recording, sure you will likely go over on these days, however, you will have some awareness of how far you are choosing to go over.

To simply not count those days is not the answer. I do think the notion of a "cheat day" or weekends off is a back door that we use often when it's unnecessary. My vacation being a perfect example - I didn't need that back door of " you deserve to eat whatever bc you are on vacation". I made a decision to go over one day. But it was conscious - I thought "yup, going to enjoy more pretzels and fudge!" 

One of the big reasons the Macros works is that it creates balance and reboots your metabolism by way of that CONSISTENT balance. Going way overboard every week on a Saturday is not going to let that balance settle in.

Take 5 minutes to make a plan. Where am I going, what do i really want to enjoy, what is going to be available?

Then, PLUG IT IN and work backwards! Use the app for all of its benefits! Every day on vacation I plugged in my treats and my cocktails. From there I worked backwards to see what I had "left". Took about 5 minutes of figuring. In the end, it was well worth it to come home and feel like I hadn't lost ground.

I understand there are people rolling their eyes at the macros. The notion I've addressed before on the blog, that it's "too obsessive" etc. Yet, I would argue it's a healthier approach to life in general to find balance and to exhibit some self control and discipline while going to bed content every night versus not.

So...for those of you still with me....try to get those numbers even this week - regardless of if its a birthday party with cake or a vacation you are headed on...

You can do it 😊

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I got mad.

Breakfast this am: 1 piece of wheat toast dry + egg white omelette with goat cheese, asparagus, spinach and tomatoes. Made a detour into the donut shop while we were waiting for our table - my 2 bites of sample donuts satisfied my desire for a treat. Felt good leaving breakfast!

I love this quote - we all do so much 'comparing' as it's human nature...however, the beauty of all of us is that we are each unique - imperfections and all.

Markus is a bottomless pit. He had an inside out boston cream donut this am prior to ordering this meal: scrambled eggs, cheese, hash browns and bacon with a side of toast. I had to edit his initial order which included chocolate chip pancakes...I am curious what his macro's would look like...!

The butter tub. Nuff said.

My text exchange mid breakdown yesterday....

Yesterday, I got mad. My dilemma of macro-ing while vacation escalated to it's high point somewhere around the afternoon when I was having trouble 'fitting' it all in. Breakfast and lunch were the usual - quest bar + coffee w/ cream then for lunch measured out turkey deli meat and 7 braided twist pretzels. We then proceeded to bring mixer and rum down to the beach to enjoy our drink of choice the "Painkiller" while swimming and hanging. After careful measuring and calculating the mix I added in the drink to my diary and went about the rest of the day. 

The problem arose when at about 3pm I was STARVING. Now what....? I knew I wanted to enjoy another cocktail and had hoped to squeeze a treat (donut) in at some point in the afternoon/ evening. However, there weren't enough numbers to support it. I got pissed.

"Why am I doing this?"
"Who measures food and restricts themselves to these numbers on vacation?"
"I don't have enough calories to ENJOY MY VACATION" 
and last but not least...
" I hate Jason Ackerman".

So of course the next course of action was to text Jason. I needed someone to let me off the hook, to say it was ok and my world wouldn't implode should I decide to go over on vacation. And... he did. 

The funny thing is that once I saw that, I ended up staying inside my numbers (0 carbs/ -3 fat/ 0 protein) for the day. Overall I enjoyed a few bites of everyone else's donuts for dessert (and recorded it) and had room for one more tequila cocktail, a glass of wine and a few pretzels after dinner to snack on. What I realized was that I didn't "need" to eat to eat. Of course I wanted to eat a sundae and wanted to drink a few more cocktails with zero 'guilt' or thought. But don't we all?

It's so obvious and I have said it myself on this blog that the Flexible part doesn't mean you can simply eat whatever you want. So, while on vacation you may be making less quality choices than normal, there is still a balance and a left and right limit. Today I have a better perspective on realizing that I don't need to take full advantage of every 'cheat' and 'treat' every day. If today I choose to enjoy a few more drinks then I can't likely ALSO have the sundae. If I want to save up for that ice cream sundae, I might need to be a little more stingy with the rest of the food throughout the day. 

And ultimately, I'm the one choosing to do this and wanting results. No one else can tell me to 'eat more', 'don't worry about it', 'take a day off'...I know the 'rules' and I signed up for it. And I will be the one who is pumped that I enjoyed some treats on vacation while being able to return home in relatively the same state. Even if part of that state is simply mental. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Enjoy the view

Yesterday I enjoyed an omelette and 2 pancakes at Uncle Will's - first time pancakes in disappointment!

#truth - great reminder.

Yesterday was my first day of 'burning it down' on Macros where I ventured beyond one deviation in my quality. I started the morning with an egg white omelette and 2 buttermilk pancakes at Uncle Will's, our traditional breakfast spot in LBI. Then we enjoyed a few "painkiller" drinks at the beach throughout the day. The rest of my 'food' was lean meats (lunch meat and Turkey London broil) and a salad of fresh mozzerella/ basil/ tomatoes. A few bites of Markus warm Donut/ ice cream sundae (yes, donut + ice cream...) and then had half a hershey's bar to satisfy my sweet tooth. Although I didn't come up "0's", I didn't go totally off the rails and stayed +/- 5 on each of the macros. 

Sometimes writing this blog feels more like my own therapy than it seems I'm helping others - and today is a great example of that. I had just written yesterday about 'guilt' and giving ourselves slack and today I find myself needing to take a dose of my own medicine. The quote above was exactly what I needed to remember and keep in perspective as I continue on our 1-week of vacation.

There is an extension of this notion of becoming fixated and defined by numbers, is that we are also not 'degrees' of leanness. The people in our lives don't love us more or less if they can see 1 set of abs or 4. I would even venture to say they don't even notice it more likely than not. What they do notice is the smiles and the enjoying in a donut or an ice cream. None of us look back on vacations and say, "remember when I resisted enjoying every treat and special food on that trip?" That 'control' is an illusion. 

Everything in our life is not a constant 'betterment'. We go through periods whether they be days, weeks and even years, where we take a few steps back. The idea is overall progress. It's the big journey and the distance traveled, not the individual steps. Don't get hung up on slipping or tripping a few times. You will get up when you are ready and continue on. The more important thing to consider is who you are showing up as along the way. Are you grumbling and always one step behind where you feel you should be? Or are you taking the time to sit down and enjoy the view from where you are.

Use the macros or whatever your 'method' is to know you have the skills to get back up and keep going and get back 'on pace'. Today is another day of travel, I will likely take a few steps but do a lot of enjoying the view...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crazy factor...

Back to blogging...had a few days hiatus but enjoying being able to sit with the computer and write at the beach
Our drink of choice for this beach season: "The Painkiller"...Rum, pineapple juice, Cream of coconut, OJ and a little nutmeg on top. A-mazing.

These two amazing munchkins post dinner at The Boathouse

Not having blogged in a while has my head spinning with topics to touch on. However, over the past few days and events I had been mulling around the notion of whether being so focused on food, what, when, how much, was an 'issue' and it's "Crazy Factor".

Recently at a party (with CrossFit folks) there was quite a bit of chatter about macros - logging - etc. I became hyper aware that this was the topic we were discussing at a social event and wondered if I had created a monster. 

Since then I have been giving some thought to my own relationship with food and this new approach to measuring and 'flexibility'. Yesterday heading to the beach I didn't hesitate or hem and haw over the fresh cinnamon raisin bagel that we had bought for the ride down. I had started with my usual Quest bar and then was starving en route to LBI. Previously I would have not eaten it or eaten it and had remorse/ guilt over it. But it felt great to eat a modest amount (half a cinnamon raisin bagel) and truly enjoy it and not think about it again.

I received an email this am from a friend doing the Macros who 'blew up' her numbers yesterday and felt that same sense of guilt. She has been eating clean and adhering to her numbers like a pro for over a week now and had a 'bad night'. My advice to her is to use maximize the 'flexibility piece' by incorporating some 'not perfect' foods into her diet more regularly so that she doesn't go crazy when exposed to them. Leaving that pendulum approach behind.

The Macros aren't a catch all and a perfect solution to everything. However, the idea is to have some flexibility. It's finding the line between not feeling guilty while also being responsible and accountable. As per previous posts, it's the awareness that is an important part of any process.

For me I know that I'm going to have 'food issues' either, I would rather have them while enjoying food and not having the guilt associated as well as the perk of feeling like my body comp benefits from it.

More to come on this, but it's a start to gain the awareness in tracking your food, regardless of how you are doing it. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Give of yourself

"There are 3 things you should do everyday and if you do these things everyday of our lives we're going to have a wonderful life. Number 1 is should laugh every day, Number 2 is should spend some time in thought. And Number 3 is that you should have your emotions moved to tears. If you laugh, you think and you cry then that's a full day. If you do that 7 days a week, you're going to have something special."

There are many times in a week and sometimes in a day that I question myself. Many times it is over less significant things like whether or not I'm putting too much thought into my food or letting the Macros take over my life. But mostly it is about bigger and more critical issues - am I making the right choices, am I holding a standard that is important, am I doing right by people.

These answers aren't always self evident and various situations can certainly take me down a road of considerations. However, I was reminded today about a mantra I often forget about that has a blanket 'resolve' to most of them: Give of yourself.

What does that mean? Giving of yourself doesn't mean sacrificing everything all the time and leaving nothing remaining for you or your family. But, it does mean that you need to keep going. Often in these trying conundrums you need to give more than you thought it required. Keep going, keep moving...the reward takes some work and effort.

With any challenge you face, be it your nutritional goals and trying to hit your numbers or be it work or a personal goal, or maybe it's a workout that is breaking you....the reward is often a little more out of reach than we think. We get into situations thinking our reward is within sight and that it 'won't be that bad'. But, when it's harder than we thought, or the workout is longer than expected, heavier than anticipated...what's the answer?

Give of yourself and keep going. There is no turning back, the answer lays ahead. Put that foot in front of the other and keep making progress. The job, whatever it may be, if it's worth anything, requires it.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Love this quote. Awareness...seems to be an endangered trait these days. Thankful for my safety net. It reminds me that doing the right thing, although not always easy, is still the right thing.

My girl Karen!!!! So proud of her for coming back from vacation, day one home and hits this! Great work - she's determined!!!

Received these amazing chocolate covered strawberries from our buddy Ben as a thank you for hosting him this weekend for the L2. Turns out Edible arrangements are in the App!

I learned one of the best secrets in life and business from Greg Glassman. I've been to more of Greg's presentations than I can count where Greg executes this simple exercise for the crowd. He draws on a blank whiteboard a dollar sign. Then opposite that he writes one word: "excellence". He then proceeds to describe that when you shoot for the money, you will always fail and fall short. However, when you shoot for excellence you will succeed. Then comes the bonus: money chases excellence.


What's fascinating about this is that while it certainly is most appropriate for business and work related endeavors, it applies to everything you do. Chase excellence and you will have success. Be honest, have character and integrity and DO THE RIGHT THING, and you will be fine. You can line up any decision and go through this exercise - chase the excellence and you can't go wrong. You will sleep at night knowing that you chose the 'right thing'.

As far as food goes, one might think this is a stretch. However, it's not. Choose excellence for yourself too. Treat yourself right and choose quality for your body and it will serve you. Don't choose the cheap or fast or easy route. With that approach you will always fall short.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What about weekends and holidays and birthdays and...?

Today for the first time in years I had 3/4 of a Cinnamon burst bagel (yes, 3/4...) It hit the spot and I didn't feel like burying my face in the rest of the bag, but truly enjoyed that single bagel and adjusted accordingly for the rest of day.

Strawberry fields went down 3 or 4x last week...this trip was with Meag, Tom and Bill. Mine was the one in the front, 6 oz that was perfect amount and made me very happy!

Tonight this is what I'm left with after today. Solution looks like a piece of Ezekial bread with an egg white on top and a scoop of progenex on the side. 

This weekend was a holiday weekend. The 4th of July is synonymous with BBQs, drinks and hanging with friends. While I have never used the excuse of holidays to 'burn it down', I have been more lax on those days in the past whether that be by quantity and/ or quality...and often both.

This weekend was an interesting experiment having that allowance of less quality but still hitting the numbers with the macros. Friday night we had dinner at a great restaurant with friends and enjoyed a glass of champagne and wine. Stayed right on target and had looked up what I was going to eat there earlier in the day so I could plan. Obviously not as accurate as if I was making food at home, but that is part of the deal with going out and part of being able to have the flexibility of this plan. Yesterday and today were both fairly dialed in but not exact. So...what about these weekends and holidays and birthdays and celebrations and...the list goes on - do you throw in the towel on these days? No!

The point of the "flexible" piece is just that. But I would also argue that it's an opportunity to understand that there is always a 'special event'. And if you are looking for an excuse to eat whatever and as much of it as you want...the excuses are there for the taking. In anything you do in life, if you are looking for a back door and a way out, you will find it. 

My answer to the 4th of July and pretty much any weekend or deviation from a 100% homemade and 'normal' days' meal is to get the 90% solution. I found that I slacked on the quality more this weekend while still trying to hit the numbers. I also might have left a macro or two on the table vs going over in the app. I also may have gone over on one macro and not let it bother me. 

One day, one weekend with some deviation and not doing 'as well' as you may during the other 5 days of the week - it is still better than having zero awareness and throwing in the towel. Still maintaining some accountability for myself was great.

Don't look for an excuse, look for a solution. Enjoy a birthday, a weekend and a holiday, but it doesn't need to mean abandoning any sort of awareness. Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Apropos yesterdays post about CrossFit and our identities...This video takes you through the ranges of every emotion. It's not just CrossFit, it's life. Amazing journey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Two 'non-real' foods that I need to have on hand at all times: Chocolate chip Quest bars and Peanut Butter smash Progenex...not in excess, but a daily dose.

Got hooked on this stuff by Paul Farmiga, amazing member at Montclair and Social Media extraordinaire! This cold brew over ice with a serving of Whole Foods whipped cream on top is a perfect summer drink

Olivia's Elementary school has an incredible garden in what once was 'dead space' in the center courtyard of the school. This was at the end of the year when we had a picnic lunch outside in it - one of the things on my list is to get a garden started at home...

Food for the brain: Here is the pile of books next to my side of the bed. It's an impressive pile...however, the fact that I have made VERY little progress to get through it is an issue...Along with the garden, this is also on my list. One week in LBI should help this along. Some great reads in here: The Alchemist is my all time favorite...and any Michael Pollen book is awesome...The Hard Call book...apropos leadership blog yesterday - an important one for me to finish. 

Identity is defined as: "the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others." For such a succinct and simple definition it is a very elusive notion. Since we've started this challenge and I've been discussing nutrition at length with people and have shared a lot of my own experiences with food and fitness, it has made me think about my own identity. For many who haven't otherwise known me, I have become the nutrition guru (or that crazy person who knows the calorie count of every food...). That made me think about identity in general and how challenging it can be to retain at all times.

It is a natural thing for us to pigeon hole people into who we believe they are. In fact, I would argue we even do that to ourselves. I'm obsessed CF person. I'm a workaholic. I'm a mother. I'm a (fill in the blank). But, in reality, we are none of these singular labels. Our identity, even by definition, is what makes us different from each other. By that statement alone, we are unique and far more complicated than one simple label.

What truly makes our identity so complicated is that even when we have the awareness of who were truly are and what makes us unique, it is easy to lose sight of it. When life is going well and we are content with things, it is simple. Simple to stand by who we are, what we represent and see our identity as a positive foundation.

However, for most of us, this foundation is shaken from time to time, for some more often than others. The true test of character and an enduring quality of an individual is the ability to not lose sight of our identity when we are stripped of all the positive reinforcements. 

What are positive reinforcements? The support of friends and family, the job we love, the ability to enjoy the small pleasures in life. When life gets hard and the situation we find ourselves in is fighting against us, can we still stand firm in who we are and our identity?

That is the test. 

Tonight I was fortunate to applaud another group of participants who were committed through 60 days of revamping their habits, addictions and desires to make tremendous progress in the nutrition challenge. Perhaps the biggest take away and reason I felt this was an important blog to write is the fact that our identity is not "CrossFitter" or "Nutrition nut". Instead, we participate in and challenge ourselves by way of those things because of who were are. We are drawn to activities that push us and that remind us about drive, commitment, appreciation, and the connection to something beyond the physical. THAT is your identity. 

Understanding that has helped me be grounded in the things I do and why. It has helped me remember the fiber of my identity that is so tightly woven and not simplify my existence to activities or labels. It has held me up on days where nothing around me feels familiar and steady. It is a reminder to 'know thyself'.