Alena’s Measurements and Nutrition

6 05 2011

So – the last post of Project Restore Me has arrived… That doesn’t mean that Project Restore Me is over, it continues, but I feel like I am past the part where I needed so much accountability… and my goals, although not all reached, are well on their way to becoming reality.

I have been slacking a little bit over the last month or so, which is evident to me in how I have been feeling and in my measurements. They are all up a little bit from my lowest numbers, but I am okay with that, because I am back on track and figuring out the rest of what is going on in my body.

Over the last 11 months, I have figured out that I am gluten intolerant, and that I also react to dairy, soy, corn and sugar. I am 100% gluten free, and know that I will stay that way for the rest of my life. I feel too good, and too many of my symptoms have gone away to even contemplate going back to eating that way. The best part though, is that I don’t even crave or miss the typical gluten-ous foods anymore. It has become easy to cook and live gluten-free. Now – the other foods I struggle with – especially sugar, and dairy when I visit family.

So, along with the desire to once and for all get rid of the sugar and dairy cravings, and because of some other symptoms that have popped up, I started an anti-candida diet yesterday along with a full-on liver, bile, intestinal and lymph cleanse. Along with massive amounts of supplements and herbs that I am taking on a daily basis, it also means no sugars (up to one piece of fruit per day), no grains, minimal starchy vegetables, and no processed foods. For 4-6 weeks. Feeling great so far, but it has only been one day! I can already tell that some of the detox has started, and it is a great feeling to be freeing myself of food addictions and sensitivities!

So – on to the numbers… I am just posting my first and last… If you want to see any of the other numbers, there are some earlier postings that show most of the measurements.

  June 6, 2010 May 5, 2011 Difference
Height: 5’9”      
Weight 167 144 -23
BMI (body mass index) 24.7 21.3 -3.4
Waist (at belly button) 33” 27.75” -5.25”
Hips (at ASIS) 37.5” 32.75” -4.75”
Thighs (at widest point) 26.5” 23.5” -3”
Biceps (at widest point) 12.5” 11.5” -1”
Bust (nipple-line) 39” 35.25” -3.75”
Bra-line 33” 30.25” -2.75”
Hips/Thighs/Butt (at widest point) 44” 39.25” -4.75”

So – I’ve noticed that I trim up well in my middle, but my extremities take their time… My arms and legs are the last ones to react to the weight loss and fitness… They’ve improved, but there is still a long way to go until I am fully comfortable with myself. Hoping this happens a little more quickly now… it is what I am feeling most self-conscious about!

I am amazed at how wonderful it has felt to make all of these changes. It is not just losing weight, it is changing my attitude and making my health a priority. Don’t get me wrong, the losing weight and looking good part is great, but to truly make those mental changes and attitude shifts has been the true reward.

Having said that… here’s the pictures.

Top photos are from 5/5/11, bottom photos are from Day 1 - 6/4/11. Sorry the quality is so bad, I had to take them with a timer in the bathroom! Oops:)

Thanks so much for following my progress over the last year and helping to hold me accountable, even if you didn’t know that is what you were doing. I really needed to have this vehicle to do that for me. Thank you for helping me figure out how to have a positive, healthy attitude, and to want to lead a healthy, productive, vibrant life!

Alena’s Fitness Progress

4 05 2011

Wow! I can’t believe that 11 months has gone by since I started Project Restore Me! It has been a whirlwind 11 months of ups and downs in all aspects of my life, mostly ups!!! Today I am going to give you my report on how I have progressed fitness-wise over the last 11 months. Tomorrow you’ll get some of the nutrition stuff, updated pictures and weight and measurements!

Over the course of the last 2 days I have been testing myself on all of my fitness goals and comparing to the first couple days of Project Restore Me. I am amazed. I am only disappointed by one of the numbers, and Jeremy likes to remind me that if I am being a little too hard on myself, but I wasn’t anywhere near my goal on that one, so… for me, it is disappointing, even though I did improve massively.

The best thing for me though, is that this has become a habit. Not only that, it has become a need. I need to exercise. I crave it. I took 6 days off this last week to give myself a break and to prepare myself for these couple days of testing, and I was going insane. I just wanted to exercise – to run, do burpees, anything! And those who know me well know that I hate to run even more than I hate burpees!

So – here are the numbers: (the first number is from June 6/7, 2010/the second number is from May 3/4 2011)

  • 1 mile run: 9:30/7:47 (my goal was sub-7 minutes… this is the one I am the most disappointed with, even though there was a great decrease in time, I was hoping for better!)
  • Push-ups: 8/30
  • pull-ups: 4 (with green band)/1 strict + 2 kipping (for explanation, I have 3 bands that have assisted me with pull-ups over the last year. The green band takes the most weight off, therefore assisting the most… I have slowly worked my way through the 3 different bands, and am proud to say that I can finally do a pull-up on my own!)
  • Handstand hold: 26 seconds/66 seconds
  • Thrusters (w/45 lb. bar): 7/23
  • CF Baseline (40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 10 pull-ups): 6:14/2:39
  • Deadlift – 1 rep max: 160 lbs./205 lbs.

Okay, so I am super proud of that last one! My goal was to be able to deadlift 1.5 times my body-weight, while I didn’t make it there, I am really proud that I made it over 200lbs! And, that puts me at about 1.4 times my bodyweight, which is damn close! I am so proud in fact, that I am going to show a lovely picture of the bar right after I lifted my 1RM!

May Day is here!

1 05 2011

Which also means it is my 32nd birthday, and the last day of Project Restore Me – kind-of…

As I am currently not at home, and won’t have a chance to start testing myself on my goals until the 3rd, the Project really isn’t over until I post my progress on the 4th! And, although I have reached the goal date that I had set, I also know that I am not just going to go back to the way I was before this project started. That just seems foolish to me. When I first started this, people kept asking me how long I was going to do it for, like it was a temporary diet, a quick fix. Well, let me tell you – if you are counting on having a quick fix and a temporary diet to “make things better” with the intention of continuing your life “as normal” afterwards, it will never work. You will go back to the way you were. It may take a year or two, or it may take a couple weeks, but you will gain back the weight, you will lose the fitness, and worst of all, you will lose that self-respect and love that you gained during the process.

I think we need to revolutionize the word diet, and change it from the current way of thinking of a temporary thing, to more of a lifestyle, because that is what it is! When you change your diet for good, you change your life for good, and usually that means that not only you get healthier, but your family does as well.  I know it has meant that for me and my family – and not just my husband, who is the only one I cook for, but my Mom, my sister, and lots of other friends that have learned right along with me and have decided to start slowly changing their diets as well.

It is so refreshing to see people taking control of their own lives, their eating, their health. In this whole 11 month process that I have been through, I think that is the biggest reward – to see those around me working to better themselves as well. I am so grateful to be able to work on myself and to serve as an example on how wonderful it is to make ourselves healthier, happier, sexier!

Although May Day has arrived, Project Restore Me will continue. I don’t know if I will keep posting (besides the final write-up on my goals in a couple days), but I will definitely continue working on improving my health, my life, my attitude, me! For it is truly a lifelong process, one that must change as I change, one that must  evolve!
Here’s to personal evolution!

314 – Goals Revisited

13 04 2011

I was surprised to realize that Project Restore Me is reaching the deadline for all my goals… My 32nd birthday is less than 3 weeks away, and I have no idea how I am doing on my goals to tell you the truth. I know on a few of them, but to be completely honest, I haven’t really paid that close of attention to them.

So – my objective for today was to sit down and take an honest look at my goals and how I think I am doing on them – objectively… No numbers, no scales… just my thoughts on where I am at, if I think I will reach all or some of my goals, and how I am doing. So – here goes!

Looking back on my first post over 10 months ago, I am excited to see that I will at the very least reach my main goal! The little goals – maybe not quite there yet! I have highlighted from the previous post in bold, with my comments following:

So – the first step – is to set my goals. I have one main goal: I will to be in the best shape of my life by the time I hit my 32nd birthday. That’s May 1 of 2011! Well – I think I can honestly say that I will have reached this goal. I am not as far past previous states of being as I would like, but I have definitely surpassed any previous level of fitness that I reached, the best previous ones being when I worked in fire (2002-2004) and when we lived in Lebanon (2008).

Fitness • I will be able to run a mile in sub-7 minutes – well, I am pretty sure that I have not met this one… I might be able to do it in 7:30. Which is still 2 minutes faster per mile than 10 months ago, so overall, maybe a B+ on this one…

• I will be able to do 30 push-ups in a row – If I am fresh, I’m guessing I can hit this one. My push-ups have definitely improved, but I have been doing so much upper body stuff lately that I don’t know if I could do that at this exact moment just because of fatigue. I might have to take a couple day break before I test myself just to make sure that I’m fresh!!!

• I will be able to do one strict pull-up (I have never been able to do a pull-up in my life!) – Well, this one I am still working on… I have done a couple kipping pull-ups, I have done a couple “little hop” pull-ups as I call them, but I still have one little sticking point near the bottom that I can’t get over… But – I am working on this every day right now with the hope that I will be able to do this in the next 3 weeks! Overall grade right now… A-

• I will be able to dead-lift 1½ times my bodyweight. – hmmm… that would mean if I am around 145lbs in bodyweight, I should be able to deadlift at least 215lbs… Well – I’m not there yet. I’m guessing I’m closer to 190-200 range right now… this is just speculation as I haven’t tested myself in awhile – my form has gotten a ton better over the last year, especially at the lower weights, but I haven’t done a lot of heavy lifting. That being said, I have done a couple workouts recently where I did 45 reps of 135lb. deadlift, which is a lot more than I could rep before, so I am definitely improving!

• I will weigh 145lbs. or less – This one I know I’ve got! My last weight in, I was at 142! I am guessing that I’ve gained a couple pounds since then, but I am also guessing that my weight gain was muscle, not fat, so I am totally okay with that. I have definitely reached this goal! Which is less than I weighed in high school, but almost 10 pounds!

Overall for fitness, I think I have done amazingly well! My methodology of doing the CrossFit MainSite WODs has been great, and I finally got my husband working out with me again, which has helped to keep me motivated and on top of it! The results I have seen have kept me going as well!

Nutrition • I will stop overeating – Well, I am getting better on this one. Can’t really measure this one, but I am much more aware of this, and pay a lot better attention to my body and the signals that it is giving me. Not there 100%, but probably about 85%!

• I will get over my addiction to sugar – This one goes in waves – I am really good about this about 80% of the time, the rest of the time, I am really bad at this! Still gotta keep working on this!

• I will figure out what my food sensitivities are, and limit my consumption of those foods – This I have done really well at. I think I still have a couple things that I am eating that don’t treat me the best, but for the most part, this has been amazing for me! I will write quite a bit about this in my last post, so I’ll save that for then!

• I will stop my cravings for foods that are not good for me – this one kind of goes hand in hand with the sugar cravings – as those are currently the only foods I crave (besides kale, which is really good for me, so that’s okay!)… so – I have stopped most of my cravings, but sugar still gets me. Again – I’m still working on it, and I’m hoping that after I do my anti-candida detox in a couple weeks, that I will be that much closer to getting rid of the sugar cravings, and those yeasty beasties!

My nutrition methodology changed massively from when I first started this project. My plan was to do the Zone Diet, and while my diet does follow the zone principles to some extent, it is much more flexible, and works much better for me. I am starting to lean more toward trying out the Paleo diet, and I feel like that will work wonders for me… I just have to be ready when I start. Right now, my style is just to eat whole, fresh foods – focusing on vegetables, minimal fruits, lean meats, and some nuts and seeds. The occasional grains are thrown in, but very minimal amounts. It seems to be working, and I think if I could cut out the grains completely and minimize my intake to only fresh, organic fruits, and occasional organic, non-sulphured dried fruits, honey and maple syrup, I would be golden… Those are the next steps!

So – those were my goals, and how I feel like I have been doing on them. I will actually be testing these in a few weeks. On that subject, I am not actually going to be testing these on my birthday, which was the plan, but will be testing them on the 3rd, so you’ll have to wait til then to hear how I’ve done! I have too much going on the 1st and 2nd, so will be doing it first thing on the 3rd! More soon!

299 – Support

30 03 2011

It is so important to have support when you are trying to change your life. You can’t do it alone. I feel so thankful that I have the support of all my friends and family, but specifically for husband, for pushing me in my workouts and helping me want to be healthy, sexy and vibrant; and also to my sister, for keeping me on track, and helping me when I get off track. She has given me so much advice, direction and love to keep going.

And now, I am needing it again. I am in a rut. It isn’t a bad rut, but it is still a rut, and as I am coming to the point where I have one more month to my birthday, and I am still far from reaching some of my goals, I am really needing support. She is going to help me move out of this rut, and the last two days have been great for that. We have finally reconnected on this whole project thing – helping each other stay motivated and focused; and today, sharing our fears, and loves, and motivations… helped so much.

So – be sure to thank those people who have been your support. They may not know how much you mean to them and what they do for you! A thank you is always appreciated, and is such a wonderful thing to share…

293 – Rest Days

24 03 2011

Oh how I love rest days! Especially after I have had a particularly torturous few workouts – to the point that I can’t even walk normal! My calves feel like massive rubberbands that are about ready to burst… up until last night, my IT bands felt like they were about to snap, and also like they were balloons filled past their capacity. Wow! And all from running 10K.

Now – I’ve run 10K before, but the last time I did was when we lived in Lebanon, which was pretty much back in 2008… so about 3 years ago! I’ve run a couple 5Ks since then, but most of my runs are less than 1 mile. And I haven’t run more than about 3 miles in a week since I started this project. So – my legs are not so happy with me!

That is why I love rest days. I still worked out yesterday, even with all my pain! I was thankful that there were no squats or lunges involved, cause I may not have been able to! The 70 burpees were torture enough!

So, why are rest days important? Because our bodies need breaks… even when you aren’t doing CrossFit style workouts! Our bodies need rest and sleep in order to recover from the continual stress that we put them under, and when we do a lot of working out, it is even more important. When I have super stressful workouts, I could easily (and sometimes do!) sleep 10 hours a night, because my body needs that time to focus on recovery and repair.

A good diet helps as well, because then you are getting the nutrients that you need – especially all of those lovely amino acids that help to run our bodies – protein, protein, protein!!! And water! We seem to forget how important it is that we drink a lot of water everyday. Yes, we do get some water from the food we eat, and a little more in the breakdown of that food, but depending on what kinds of food you eat, maximum that equals about 4 cups per day. And we need about 12 cups (yes, this varies, I’m being very very general here!). And no – that cup of coffee, tea or soda does not count. It actually takes away from the amount – yes you are taking in fluid, but because they are diuretic, you actually lose more liquid than you are taking in (hence the need to pee so often after drinking these fluids!)

Wow – I got side tracked there. What I meant to say, is schedule time for your body to rest… get 8 hours of sleep per night. Make it a priority. You will be amazed at how wonderful you feel, and how much your health improves!

287 – Feeling pretty… oh so pretty…

19 03 2011

Or – insert your positive word of choice here.

I have noticed that I tend to feel pretty, or sexy, or slim, or just plain ol’ good about myself when I treat myself with the love and respect that I deserve. That means when I eat healthy, vibrant foods; when I exercise; when I give myself time to relax; to rest; to sleep. When I give myself those things I love – time with my husband; time in the kitchen; time with friends; when I follow my passion.

When I do that, I feel good about myself. I feel pretty. I feel happy – not only with where I am in life, but also with how I look. If I am not happy with where I am in my life, I tend not to be happy with how I look either. And I also tend to feel cruddy as well. I get sick more often, I overeat more, I eat and crave foods that are not good for my body – that upset my stomach and make me bloated. And it is a vicious cycle. It is hard to step out of.

So – what is the first step to getting out of that cycle? Realizing that you are in it. Acknowledging it. Feeling it. And then stepping back and learning about what makes you feel good – about yourself, about your life, about your body.

I know that what makes me feel good is good food, exercise, proper rest, being able to support and care for my husband, sharing with others. So – what do I do to get that. I make it happen. I clean out my pantry of food that isn’t good for me (believe me, this is really hard to do!), I find new recipes to play with, I buy lots of green (and other colors!) vegies (and I actually use them), I plan a dinner at my house with friends, I surprise my husband with a wonderful meal, or I just sit and read a book. There are so many things that we can do to make ourselves feel better that do not include nasty processed foods.

These foods may taste good as we are eating them, but what about afterwards? How do you feel after you eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s? How do you feel after you snuck another cookie (without anyone noticing…)? I usually really enjoy the moment – then I start to get mad at myself, feel guilty, I get an upset stomach, I get depressed, I realize why I am so fat, and then all I can think about is how fat I am, how ugly I am, how I don’t deserve anything. And I usually grab another cookie. And I enjoy the cookie, but the pleasure only lasts while I eat it. Then those negative feelings come back. I can’t drown them with food. I’ve tried. They just keep resurfacing. They are like those little rubber duckies that just keep floating. You can’t bury them in the water, just like we can’t bury those feelings with food.

So – lets try to find another way to deal with those feelings – lets do something good for ourselves, for our families, for others! And then see how you feel about yourself!


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