Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Abs are made in the kitchen (and other unfortunate truths)

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People often ask me how I got started on this journey and how I keep going. To be honest, there are days when I know it would be easy to just quit, but I keep going because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a flicker/just a wee glimpse, but I am seeing myself more and more as an "After" rather than a "Before". That's incredibly exciting and keeps me motivated, but I won't say that it is easy to keep on track. I have to be focused on my goals. Below are some unfortunate truths that I'm faced with each day and how I deal with them.

Diet is the most important part of weight loss. Exercise will help you get there, but it can't do it all and it will be much more painful to exercise is you are not doing your due diligence in the kitchen. 
  • I have really started to love exercising and I wish I could exercise off every ounce of this excess body weight, but I can't. I find that if I don't stick to a clean diet, get enough protein, or eat too many sugars, my cardio/weight lifting are thrown off. I feel terrible during my workouts and then crave terrible foods afterwards. I'll go to the gym and feel ok, but then I get home and don't eat or don't it the right thing. A couple hours later, I'm wondering why I don't have gluten free cookies at my house.  It's a vicious cycle. And it's something that impacts me for multiple days. If I didn't get enough calories the day before, I pay for it the next day. I'm not able to trick diet. I have to be disciplined or I don't get the results I want. End. 
You never stop adjusting. With each tier of weight, you have to adjust your game on how to lose more. Whether it's eating less calories or changing the way/what you eat because you're bored of the same old recipes, you have to be ready to adjust (a lot).
  • I've found this to be pretty difficult for me since I am a creature of habit. I just want it to be the same the entire time. I get comfortable and can go along for months, but then I slowly start slipping back into old habits. I start making excuses as to why I can eat something that is a definite no-no. On Sunday, I spent the entire morning looking at how I could adjust my diet. After a year of paleo, I'm bored and need to figure out something new. I won't stop paleo, I'm simply adding in a few more grains (quinoa and oatmeal). I've realized as soon as I started to do more cardio that I wasn't recovering well. My body would ache after working out and I would feel so tired. My tiredness led me to craving sugars, which in turn make me crave more sugars. I realized I needed to adjust to perform. Running is something I *gasp* enjoy doing so I'm making a change to accommodate it. 
  • I'm now eating 5 small meals a day. Two of those meals are protein smoothies and the rest are small clean/paleo dishes. I have a busy schedule so I've adjusted to make this work for me. I blend up my smoothies at night and then take them to work with me in the morning. I use vanilla Sun Warrior Protein Powder and add in cocoa or other spices to change the flavor. 
This isn't a sprint, it's an effing marathon. It's about consistent changes every single day. Every single day means that you can't worry about the small stuff. You have to have the big goal in mind and not get bogged down when you have minor setbacks.
  • You have to start. You have to keep going. You have to let go. I started by changing my diet, adding in exercise, adding in more exercise, and now, changing my diet again. This is a Sisyphean journey. Every 10 lbs I lose, I feel like I'm back at the bottom starting again. It gets harder and harder.  I try cling to my routine, but that isn't helpful.  I've found that over stressing about my diet/exercise makes me less productive. Less productive leads me to be less happy and less happy makes me struggle even more. I'll have a bad week, eat a non-healthy meal, but I move on. I've let go of a lot of my stress and it's made me more productive and happy. I'm able to get more accomplished because I let go. I keep at it day in and day out and I never ever give up on myself. 
  • It's a marathon and that means it takes longer than sprinting. I see people who have faster results than me all the time, but I'm really focused on making sustainable changes in my life. My way isn't a better way than others, it's just the way I'm doing it. It's about how my life is happening (crazy/ in a blur) and I'm feeling awesome all the time so I just keep chugging along.

And with that, I'll leave you with some comparison photos from last spring to this spring. :) 


Monday, January 20, 2014

The next 40

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Exciting news on my front. I've finally hit -40lbs, which is my halfway mark. Woot milestones! The last 10 have been harder to lose than I thought and I feel like I was on this annoying cycle of losing/gaining/not getting anywhere. Churning butter is not my thing. It. Is. So. Frustrating.

This is also an important milestone because I've been here before. Oh yes, I know these numbers on the scale, but I've never really been able to get past them. Call it a mental block or just a place where I get to because it is a place I arrive pulling only the levers I'm willing to pull. The next 40 is scary unknown territory. It is going to test me more emotionally than physically. And that my friends means it is going to be a lot harder.

So what am I going to do?

Start counting calories

This pains me beyond belief, but it's something I need to do. I cringe when I even think about it. It feels so rigid, horrible, and everything I don't want to do. I feel upset about it even just writing it out. I can be really stubborn and this is one thing I'm stubborn about. But being stubborn about something that is important to my goals is not okay. So, starting tomorrow, just as I track everything I burn, I'm going to be tracking everything I consume.

It makes perfect sense and really is the only proven way to lose weight. As long as your body is properly functioning, you have to be a caloric deficit to lose weight. Plain and simple. Boom. Science. I'll start using MyFitnessPal and track from there.

More running and more weights

Should I run a half marathon? Should I deadlift 150 lbs? I don't know. Why not? I know that I am interested in testing myself physically. I've never felt so strong and powerful when it comes to my body. That's crazy to me! I've always done sports, but never 100% enjoyed them. I just enjoyed the people. I love that I've gotten to a point where my exercise/fitness is a personal thing.

On the running side, I've been pushing myself. Oh, I'm out for a 30 minutes run? Why not make it 40 minutes and then 40 minutes turns into 50 minutes. After that, I start thinking about how 60 minutes would feel and I kick up the speed. And so it goes. Oddly enough, it's been fun. Sunday and I enjoy it so we will keep doing it. 

I also know I need weightlifting in my life to hit my goals.  I don't want to just be thin, I want to be really fit. I want to have lots of energy and feel like I can do anything. I want to be able to do a pullup and more than 10 real pushups. Weightlifting (even just bodyweight) will get me there. I'm going to start keeping a fitness journal and tracking the weights/reps so that I can see my progress.

Meditation / stress free

My sister and I have been talking a lot about quiet time. As humans, we need time carved out to let us think and breathe. I've gotten into the idea of 10 minute meditation. This is just me time. I light a candle and breathe. I try not to think about anything even though I can feel my mind zooming at 100 miles an hour. My mind is racing, racing, racing as I think about work, my friends/family and projects I want to do. To help with that, I've promised myself 10 minutes a day to just breathe and find silence. I think this is just as important as getting enough sleep, eating mindfully and getting in my weekly 5. 

Have more (but not self-destructive) fun

I need to stop equating "fun" and "letting lose" with eating things that don't go with my lifestyle. Sure every now and again, I can eat things that aren't paleo or 100% healthy, but that needs to stop being a thing I think of as pleasure. It just needs to be a thing that happens and has to have less emotion attached to it. I'm learning, but still have a ways to go. 

The idea with this goal is really finding balance and being in check with my emotions when I'm doing things. This is my life and I need to make sure I have enough space to achieve my goals and have an awesome time as a 20-something in San Francisco. I have awesome friends and great adventures in store this year, but I need to balance everything. So yes to more fun in 2014, but also most definitely yes to achieving my goals. 

So there we have it. Let's tackle the next 40! I'm off for a 4-5 mile run to get started.

January 2014 vs. September 2013

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chhhaaaannggesss (and surviving them)

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I'll one hundred percent admit that the first thing I stop paying attention to when I'm stressed or overwhelmed is my health. It's dumb, but it happens. Something comes up and I don't have time to eat the right foods or can't get to my gym classes, everything falls apart. 3 weeks after my dark spiral, I'll usually look up and try to assess the damage and feel the deep regret that I'm back at square one. Or at least, that's what used to happen.

I'm not that way any more. In fact, I think my health and fitness goals are the things that ground me when I'm having a hard time or faced with a big change. Because my fitness journey is a commitment to myself, it is the one thing in my life that is constant. No excuses, just lots of dedication and work.

Next week, I'll start a new job at work. I'm changing offices, routine and lots of things that have contributed to the infrastructure of my success. I have been really freaked out about the change to my routine. Right now, my workout schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: crossfit
  • Tuesday: kickboxing or cardio sculpt
  • Wednesday: crossfit
  • Thursday: off day
  • Friday: weights/crossfitty things/ self workout
  • Saturday/Sunday: 3-4 mile run on one day 
The problem is that my new office doesn't have crossfit. It's sad to think about, but not the end of the world. Because I don't see fitness roadblocks anymore, I figure out solutions. I've been looking at my new locations workout options. The past 6 months of doing crossfit have changed my life and I'm so glad I've had that opportunity. Going into this new role, I'll have the first few weeks where I'll need to do more of my workout at home or at the end of the day while I adjust to the new schedule. That's ok and I'm going to figure it all out. This is what I've been thinking:  
  • Monday: body pump
  • Tuesday: spin 
  • Wednesday: November project or body pump 
  • Thursday: cardio barre 
  • Friday: off day
  • Saturday/Sunday: 3-4 mile run on one day 
The main thing I've taken away from this transition is the fact that I'm planning ahead. I've never planned before for something like this. Usually change happens and I go back to my self-destructive ways. My fitness goals are so important to me that I don't think I could even go back. I'm stronger, leaner, and more mentally prepared than I've ever been. This is so exciting. I'm also super pumped for this change in my life, and instead of being a roadblock - it's going to push me forward. 
Halfway to my goal! Feeling awesome and ready for 2014. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 things I love about my sister

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My sister, Courtney, turned 30 today. She wasn't very excited about it, but I think she often forgets how special and awesome she is. Here are 30 things to remind her of how important and great she is: 

  1. When I adopted Sunday, she helped me train, take care of and love on her without ever questioning my decision or asking for a thank you. 
  2. She spent her 30th birthday riding horses and wrangling cattle out in the Texas hill country. 
  3. She's not afraid to cry or laugh about the things that move her. 
  4. She's braver than she thinks. 
  5. People often think I'm older, but that's because my sister is much more whimsical and open than I am. I envy that. 
  6. She doesn't always tell me to shut up when I say outrageous things. 
  7. She tells me to shut up when I say outrageous things. 
  8. When someone asks who the "nice" Blackmon sister is, we don't even have to think twice about it. 
  9. She likes to pin inspirational quotes on her Facebook, and even when they make me physically cringe from the cheesiness, I like reading them. 
  10. She's selfless - ask her 4 cats, 7 foster dogs, a squirrel named, Momo, and her horse about it. 
  11. She'll admit she's having a hard time and is learning to ask for help. 
  12. She is the easiest person to shop for because she loves and hates things so passionately. 
  13. Unicorns. 
  14. We lived together for 2 years and would do it again in a second. 
  15. Not even our dad can tell our voices apart. 
  16. She will like this list more than the average person would. 
  17. How excited she is when people tell her she looks like Connie Britton.
  18. She likes all of my Instagram photos and nearly every post on Facebook. 
  19. She is the sister we all go to to talk about our problems. She listens. 
  20. She hiked the Inca trail with me. 
  21. Her vice is eating tubs of icing. 
  22. She bought a house for her 4 cats, and while it was a scary decision for her, she did it. 
  23. At 30, she owns her own home.
  24. We changed our lives eating Paleo
  25. On her birthday for the last two years, we've attempted to find the best vegan and gluten-free birthday cake. So far, we've failed twice. We've laughed about it both times. 
  26. She's about to follow her dreams. That's inspiring. 
  27. The fact that her dreams and aspirations are so different than mine make me so happy and glad to be her sister. 
  28. She admitted (finally) that she is the crazy cat lady. We wouldn't have her any other way. 
  29. When others think absolutely not, Courtney says ok without questioning. 
  30. We talk every day. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My stake in the ground

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October has been a harder month than planned. This weightloss journey is about changing my life, adding in structure, and planning for things that I used to let go before. I had two events planned for October: a wedding (week in Austin) and a 5 days in New York. Both were exciting because I was going to spend time with my sisters. I knew that my workout schedule/diet were going to be disrupted. It seemed terrifying, but it was planned and that is what matters. For the most part it wasn't too crazy. Past-Brittany would have been eating tacos, migas and cupcakes in a feral I've-been-on-a-desert-island-for-three-years manner, which is something current-Brittany can't even relate to anymore. In New York and Austin, I "cheated" and ate some dairy, had a cupcake, and drank beers without falling back into past-Brittany ways. It was fine.
Alice in Wonderland
And then something unexpected happened.

I received a call on October 14th that my grandmother wasn't doing well. I'll have to admit that I've never cried so hard as I sat down and thought about her not being there anymore. My grandmother was a constant in my life growing up in Ohio. She taught me to love animals, how to find value in everything and everyone, and from her, I inherited my sweet tooth. I spent my childhood working at her barn (golf range), attending craft fairs, and countless other adventures. Staying at Nana's had always been a treat. With my sisters, I booked a ticket to Ohio for the next day and immediately ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Even the best self-resolve can break in a moment of stress.

Since I'm at this point in my life where I'm actively working towards making a shift, my grandmother's death hit me even harder. I kept thinking about my grandmother and wondering what she would have changed in her life. This weightloss journey was my stake in the ground where I decided that if died the next day, this wouldn't be the body and mindset I wanted to end in. I know that's morbid, but if we don't live every day like our last then what's the point?
the tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live. michaelaevanow.com
I often worry about failing. I worry about the fact that I've been writing this blog and want to produce results. I worry that I'm not disciplined to stick to the changes that have been helping me succeed. I worry about how I would feel if I let myself down in this way. Because this is a longterm goal with short-term wins in between, sometimes the day-to-day can feel a little daunting. I have this desire to be "finished" but I know that my physical health is something I'll never be finished perfecting. What helps get me through this? Knowing that my stake in the ground wasn't just about changing my body - it was about not taking my current state as final. It was about not giving up and actively changing my life. Today, I see myself in a whole different light and it's that self-awareness that drives me each and every day to live my life to the best of my ability. I believe I'm turning into someone my grandmother would be proud of.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

September: running, water and weddings

Another month that flew by with a lot going on. Work intensified as we headed to the end of a busy quarter and I kept plugging away at eating right and working out. I refused to let stress or travel set me back. I lost 5 lbs during the month, but continue to feel smaller in my clothes so I'm not too worried about the scale's progress. I can tell I'm gaining a lot of muscle and I generally feel awesome. I refuse to be discouraged because that means 5/50!

First 5K
Ran my first 5k in ages and clocked in at 33 minutes! That was really exciting. I ran a pretty steady pace and could feel myself naturally taking on those miles. It made me feel so much stronger. I only run once a week (with my dog) and so it is proof that my xfit and cardio sculpt classes are doing their job. The goal for the next one will be to be under 30 minutes! I love having fitness goals.

Drinking water
For my birthday, my friends, Dasha and Aron, gifted me with a with a new water bottle. I'll confess that I am terrible about drinking water and even worse only like to drink bottled water. So not only am I actively killing the environment, but I'm also dehydrated all the time. I've decided that October is going to be a gallon a day challenge. I anticipate that this challenge is going to be hard (but doable) and I'll be excited to report back in on my progress at the end of the month.

On being a sugar monster
Sugar is a big problem for me. Just having a bit makes me feel like a crazy person and the next day I immediately want more. It is literally all I can think about. I went to a wedding over the weekend that I knew wasn't going to be totally paleo friendly. I had cake and dairy and felt terrible for the entire next day. I didn't have a drop of alcohol but felt insanely hungover. Sugar, gluten and dairy are just no-nos for me. This cheat was planned but these cheats feel less and less worth it each time. The annoying part is that I know it isn't worth it physically, but the emotional part of me wants to celebrate and eat cake. I just have to be aware and take things one step at a time. Sometimes I wish it was easier, but it just isn't and that is what I have to be honest with myself about.

Weddings and progress pics
The wedding was exciting because it was a chance to dress up. This was also a cool turning point because the last wedding I attended (in Peru in December) I looked so swollen and big. That was even after having done Paleo for 2 months. In the picture below you can see a big change. I feel so much better and that is the best feeling. My sister has been doing Paleo as well (with less crazy exercise) and seeing big changes. It goes to show that everybody gets there in their own way. It's about making the right changes for you and not worrying about what other people are doing. Such a proud and inspiring moment for both of us. It's been a year of great changes for sure!


Monday, September 23, 2013


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26 has been a hell of a ride. It was perfect in every way. Here's a list of the greatest hits:
  • Went to Austin (a million times),  Lima, Cusco, Tahoe, Detroit, Las Vegas, Carmel, Paris, Dublin, Seattle and Forks. 
  • Started on a health journey and changed the way I eat and exercise changed my life. 
  • Had the honor of being in my best friend Misha's wedding in Austin.
  • Hosted a ton of great visitors at my apartment. 
  • Celebrated the nuptials of Shannon and Ivan in Peru! 
  • Hiked the Inca Trail with my sister and experienced 4 days of awesome with a great group of friends. 
  • Completed circus training with Sunday and made the call that we were done with training. 
  • Moved to Alamo Square park in San Francisco and bought a purple couch. 
  • Got promoted at work. 
  • Went blond.
  • Did a roadtrip to Forks, WA to check out Twilight highlights. 
  • Bought a matte black and magenta road bike and have clocked nearly 100 miles. 
  • Went to OutsideLands and saw a Beatle, Chic and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 
  • Celebrated the end of 26 by hosting a purple potluck at my house. My awesome friends all wore purple, brought purple food, and generally made it an amazing success. I love them. 
Excited for 27. Carpe-fucking-diem.