Sunday, February 24, 2013


Chennelle, owner and coach at Raleigh CrossFit, has a knack for writing the best blog posts at just the right time for me. When I see them pop up on the Facebook page, I get a little bit weirded out because it's like she's been in my head ;-)
Today was no different:
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies, for the hardest victory is victory over self.” – Aristotle

"Competition. Is the competition against others or within yourself? Or is it both? The goal should be to be the best you can be. For each athlete, their best is up to them. The best could be entering a competition. The best could be getting the bar into a good overhead position. The best could be continuing to work on pull-ups, push-ups or muscle-ups. The best could be winning a local competition or completing a workout in the time you decided you would finish in."
It's no secret to most people that know me that I am not super competitive, well, at least not with anyone else. I grew up as an only child, so I didn't have siblings with which to compete. This was an advantage and disadvantage because all it did was fuel my competition with myself.
At times this innate desire to compete with myself causes issues, as it has the past few weeks (or months). I guess it started right after surgery - I wanted so badly to get back out there and go for a run or to CrossFit and I couldn't. I knew better than to try and F things up that I had worked so hard for. When it was finally time for me to get back to working out, my competitive streak was in overdrive. Needless to say, my body didn't cooperate with my brain and all I did was get more and more frustrated with myself. But...

That competition with myself has kept me moving in the right direction. I could have very easily just stopped going to CrossFit, or skipped out on every single run. I didn't though. Each time I did a workout, I set a goal - run 3 minutes without stopping, use XX pounds of weight, do XX pull-ups, etc. The runs were shitty not so great. The CrossFit WODs weren't at the heaviest weight. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter than I wasn't the quickest runner on the greenway or one of the first to finish the WOD. Each time I was out doing a run or going to CrossFit, I was beating a goal I had set in my head and that is pure victory.

{Weekly Menu - last week and this week}

Not sure what has been going on in my head for the last 11 days, but I haven't really felt like writing. I blog simply to have a place to express my feelings and I guess I haven't really wanted to deal with the crap in my head. So, here's to trying to deal with some of the BS...

Thought I'd start with a relatively benign post - the weekly menus. We only plan meals for Sunday through Thursday on a regular basis. Most of the time we end up out to eat on the weekend and/or figuring out a meal with ingredients we have on hand.

Week of February 17 to 21:
Sunday: Garlic-y Chicken; Quinoa Pilaf; Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (We were out of town for the weekend. My in-laws invited us over to dinner as "payment" for teaching them how to use their new iPhones.)
Monday: Swordfish; Roasted Butternut Squash Slices; Sauteed Broccolini
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken; Quinoa Pilaf; Steamed Veggie
Wednesday: Pork Stir-Fry
Thursday: Easy Chicken and Spinach (adapted from PaleoOnABudget)

Week of February 24 to 28:
Sunday: Pepperoni Pizza Casserole (from Tessa - The Domestic Diva)
Monday: Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps (from PaleoTable, adapted from Skinny Taste); Roasted Sweet Potato; Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
Tuesday: Sauteed Shrimp; Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Wednesday: Grilled Pork; Roasted Sweet Potatoes; Sauteed Spinach
Thursday: The hubs is on his own! I'm going with some girlfriends to look at wedding dresses with Mary!! Yay!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{Review - Backyard Produce}

One of my goals this year is to reduce our grocery bill slightly, while also incorporating higher quality foods into our meals. At first, I thought I could depend solely on the Farmer's Market, but realized getting out there every week might be more "trouble" than it was worth. During the summer, I don't mind going out to the Farmer's Market during lunch, but going in the winter and perusing all the produce isn't my idea of a fun way to spend my lunch hour (it's too dang cold!).

I attended a Paleo Cooking Seminar at my box a few weeks ago. Raleigh CrossFit had arranged for Food Simply Fresh and Backyard Produce to provide information on recipes and their services in an effort to make our healthy eating choices easier and more accessible. As I listened to the presentation, I realized that Backyard Produce could help me achieve my goal.

What's Backyard Produce? 
Backyard Produce is pretty much an online Farmer's Market. They offer (mostly) locally grown, farm fresh produce delivery to a large part of North Carolina, from Charlotte to the coast. The biggest difference between Backyard Produce and other vendors is that I have choices and it is year-round. Other vendors charge a fee and you get what you get, during summer months only.

So, how does it really work?
When signing up, you are asked to select the amount of produce you want delivered based on the needs of your family. Based on the type of basket you choose, you are allotted a certain number of points. Each week when the order page/"marketplace" opens online and you simply log-in and select the items you want. Your order must be placed by Saturday night and all then all you have to do is wait on your delivery.

Thoughts on my first order...
I placed our first order late last week, to be delivered yesterday. I selected the "Family of Four" basket because of the amount of produce we consume in a week. The staff at Backyard Produce assured me that if this was too much, I could email to downgrade.

Upon placing my order, I received a confirmation email, with an order number. My order was correct, but I assume that if there had been an error or if I needed to change it, I could have so long as I made the Saturday night deadline.

Our delivery arrived sometime yesterday while we were at work. Since we live in a condo, I asked that they leave the box in the foyer/mailroom area. I was pleasantly surprised to see it by our door when I got home - not sure if a neighbor let the delivery person in or if a neighbor brought it to our door... Either way, I was excited to open the box.

So, here's what we got for ~$45:
(1 bunch) NC Rainbow Chard; (2) Baby Broccoli/Broccolini; 
(1 lb.) Green Beans

(2 lbs.) NC Sweet Potatoes; (1-2 lb.) Butternut Squash; (1 lb.) Carrots; 
(6) Navel Oranges; (6) Apples (Fuji/Pink Lady/Granny Smith); (2) Limes

I was excited to get the box open last night. I was slightly disappointed with the broccoli. It was totally my fault - I thought I was ordering "regular" broccoli. But, as any foodie would do, I figured out a way to prepare the broccolini and we'll be having it for dinner tonight. 

All-in-all, this looks like it's going to be a good thing for us. We had the chard last night and I had an apple with my breakfast this morning. So far so good! Looking forward to seeing what's available next week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{Weekly Menu}

Seems like I keep posting my weekly menu late... Guess posting it eventually is better than not at all!

Sunday: Hearty Beef Stew
Monday: Speedy Weeknight Shrimp and Broccoli with Quinoa
Tuesday: Baked Mustard Lime Chicken; Cauliflower Mash; Sauteed Chard
Wednesday: Grilled Pork; Sauteed Spinach; Rice or Quinoa
Thursday: Spaghetti (from freezer) over Noodles/Spaghetti Squash

We are heading to Beaufort for the weekend. I didn't realized until this morning that it has been almost a year since we have been "home" to visit. We weren't able to go over the summer because I was leading the NCRC Women's Beginner Running Program. Once that ended, it was fall and then it was time for my surgery...  I am looking forward to heading that way on Friday!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{Metabolic Testing}

Over the past few months (before surgery and after resuming exercise), I have been at a plateau with my weight loss. Something didn't seem right about this... I mean, seriously, how could I not be losing weight? Each day I'm eating 1390 calories (as prescribed by MyFitnessPal), doing a 30-minute walking video at least 4 days a week, training at Raleigh CrossFit at least three days a week, and occasional runs with my girlfriends (I still haven't gotten back into running since surgery). On top of all of this, my caloric intake is coming from whole foods - lean meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, and occasional dairy. This led me to start thinking more about how my body operates and maybe I needed to calculate things a little differently.

I knew from discussions with others that a person's resting metabolic rate was an important factor in weight loss. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy required to perform basic bodily functions such as respiration and heart rate while the body is at rest (source). No two bodies are alike - we all know that. So, each of our caloric needs are completely different....

I found a RMR calculator online. This particular calculator asked for gender, weight, height, age, and body fat (optional). I entered my information (including body fat, as result of body composition testing last week) and this is what came up... 

According to the calculator and equations on this site, my average RMR is 1694 calories per day. However, this is based on five different formulas that have the possibility of not being that accurate. Some may ask, how could they not be accurate - it's based on a scientific formula. At the same time, I would ask - what exactly is being measured?

I did this leading up to my appointment for metabolic testing and nutrition consultation at Rex Wellness Center. When I made my appointment, I was given instructions to not eat or exercise for 12-hours prior to the test and to not consume any caffeine the morning of the test.

When I arrived at Rex, I was immediately shown to Sherry's (nutritionist) office. She explained that various online calculators are very helpful, but they aren't quite right and how the use of the MedGem would provide a more accurate resting metabolic rate. The MedGem test requires that you put a clip on your nose and breathe in/out through a special mouthpiece attached to a hand-held device. Somehow, this little machine is able to measure your oxygen usage and carbon dioxide output.

I have to say that the 8-10 minutes that I had to breathe into the mouthpiece may have been the longest 8-10 minutes in my life! I couldn't play on my phone, read a magazine or do anything, except sit. Anyone that knows me can probably attest to this being extremely difficulty for me.

Once the test was completed, the MedGem provides the RMR. That number is then multiplied by an "activity factor" based on my lifestyle, to determine calorie needs. The long and short of it is this... My resting metabolic rate is 1530 calories. In order to maintain my current weight, I need to consume ~2065 calories per day. Sherry said she was a little surprised by this number, given that I had bariatric surgery ~13 years ago (normally their numbers are lower). She then said that the higher number was likely attributed to my healthy eating habits, running and training at CrossFit.

We next discussed how many calories I have been eating... Needless to say, the 1390 calories given to me by MyFitnessPal were causing me to short my body ~140 calories per day...and that's the calories just to survive. That calculation wasn't taking into account normal daily activity, exercise, etc. Basically, my body thinks it is being starved.

We talked about my needing to hit ~1530 calories per day on days that I do not exercise. She also encouraged me to get a heart rate monitor because of CrossFit. According to her "research" (other patients), it looks like someone participating in CrossFit can burn anywhere from 300 to 800+ calories in a single workout. (Holy crap! That's a lot of calories!)

We reviewed by food diary on MyFitnessPal and discussed the need for some adjustments to my fat and protein intake. She helped me adjust my goals on the website so that it will make tracking daily a lot easier. So, here's what it looks like...

In the next week or so, I will be purchasing a heart rate monitor and adjusting to my new goals. Hoping these changes help with my daily energy level and my training!

Monday, February 4, 2013

{Weekly Menu}

I love planning our weekly menu. Some weeks it is a bit of a challenge and sometimes the hubs isn't terribly interested in providing feedback, but we always plan a good set of meals.

Here's how this week is shaping up:

Friday: Out with friends at Flying Saucer
Saturday: Asian Hot "Wings" (we used thin chicken breasts); Baked Crinkle Cut Fries
Sunday: Buffalo Chicken Cutlets; Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday: Chipotle Lime Salmon; Sauteed Spinach; Parmesan Orzo (for the hubs)

Now that I am looking back at what we had on Saturday and Sunday...Well, it was boring and neither dinner contained any green veggies. Must do better....