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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I just finished listening to one of my favorite books, a truly inspiring book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.
It’s about the author’s project of living an entire year from food grown or raised themselves or from local sources. They raised chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat and grew, well, just about everything. She made her own cheese and pizza dough from items purchased at farmers markets or her neighboring farms. She even canned and froze her produce so they could survive on the fruits of their labor throughout winter.
It’s inspiring to say the least. She really did her part to reduce her carbon footprint and eat sustainably. She supported local farmers and encouraged others to do their part as well.
However you have to keep in mind that the author did this project knowing full well she was expected to write a book from her experience. So she was a little more than motivated to make it work. In fact, that was her JOB for the year. It’s like an actor saying it’s easy to stay in shape- of course if it’s your JOB!
For the rest of us that live in areas that can’t grow everything we need all year round and work and have tons of other obligations, it’s a little more difficult.
But it did inspire me to look at my habits and make some changes for a better world.
I’ve already started Meatless Mondays, which as I understand, can help save about a million barrels of oil a year or something like that. Which is insane. But Meatless Monday doesn’t guarantee that my food is not traveling a great distance to feed me. Are there other ways Chris and I can inspire folks to eat local, sustainable, and green?
Enter my new challenge idea-
Washington Wednesdays and Farm Fresh Fridays.
Washington Wednesday will be the day out of the week where everything we eat comes from Washington. So as local as we can get. I like the idea of finding new and exciting entrees right in our own backyard, so this seems like it’ll be almost enjoyable. Salmon is almost a given, but I look forward to exploring my vegetable options too and even some special treats (Theo’s chocolate anyone?). The true challenge will lie in ensuring not only in eating clean and local, but healthy as well (did I say Theo’s, I meant Growing Washington CSA).
Farm Fresh Friday- well I don’t think we’ll have an issue with healthy or clean eating but the true challenge is to ensure its FRESH, so again, locally sourced. I feel this will take a bit of detective work to ensure our meat is as sustainable, organic, and local but I’m definitely up for this challenge as well!
I need to do some more preparing, which is fine bc even Ms. Kingsolver took three or four months before starting her project. I hope to be ready to start in late March or early April. Only question is, who’s with me?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 23

“Fitness is like climate change”

I told Chris I was stealing this lovely nugget of a gem that he came up with, and while he said it was fine, I’m backtracking and giving him credit where credit’s due.

I was in a fairly good mood during the day. I got to sleep in a little, had a good laugh at a comedy routine on Netflix, had a great personal training session at Experience Momentum. Even enjoyed the WOD. In fact I more than enjoyed it- it was super-mondo fun with Kate Stein, Marie and Chrissie and I competing against Chris, Brent Kuester, Danny, and Giancarlos. We lost, but just barely (it ended up being 7 rounds for the boys and just 10 reps short of 7 rounds for the girls- soooo close!). And then a few of us joined in with Bob Park‘s 5:30 class warmup, with his special ladder of coordination exercises. So all that should have easily trumped the “devastation” that followed. But if you know me…..

I decided to measure my body fat. And so begins my ultra long digressive saga about my fracking body fat.
In September of last year I started a Thanksgiving Shred so I would feel confident and smoking hot in a bikini while vacationing in Hawaii for thanksgiving. I had hoped to get down to about 18-19% body fat. I started at 21% so while I knew it’d be hard, I thought it was doable. I busted ass, performed a different exercise challenge and killed that, tried paleo for a month, and ended up on the week I was leaving at 22%.
Meh. I wasn’t all that upset. I still rocked out in my bikini and skimpy dresses. And felt damn good! I knew I’d get my ass in gear when I got home and make 18% fat my goal for 2015.

I don’t know if December was just unkind to me or if I ate candy canes and fruit cake in my sleep, but it was rougher than I’d like to admit. My willpower to resist temptations, especially at work, has seemed to plummet. But I accounted for these splurges and entered them and even with the added treats, I was hitting or even going under my caloric goal. So, I shouldn’t worry? Right?

Well I worry because it seems the second I STOP worrying is when my fat comes back with a vengeance.
So I measured myself. And got 25%. TWENTY-FIVE!?!?!

When I started Biggest Loser last year, I was around 28%. By the end of April I was at 22% and for a quick moment during the summer I was actually down to just below 20%. It probably had to do something with me giving up breads, cereals, and artificial sweeteners (which I still avoid to this day). But now I’m all the way back up to 25?!?! What kind of bullshit is this?!?!

I’ve noticed my weight has also been creeping up. But one things I’ve been really trying to do is stop worrying about the stupid scale, so I’ve been weaning myself from weighing myself daily to every three days and hoping to stretch it out to once a week. But when I saw the scale read 165 lbs, I freaked the F out and my anxiety has started me weighing every morning again. Wasn’t I JUST 155 last month? I mean, I know I’m trying to gain muscle but I am seriously seriously doubting that I gained that much in 4 weeks!

So I looked at MyFitnessPal to see where I’ve been going wrong. And as far as staying on target for calories, I’m not going wrong. I have consistently been meeting my caloric goal everyday for the past month. Even when I sneaked goodies, like pie. I did see two things that sent red flags: 1) I’ve increased my intake of red meat. I have allowed myself this “luxury” because I discovered a place that provides locally sourced, grass fed pasture raised beef and bison. But it has increased my intake significantly and that’s a good amount of fat. And 2) I’m not being anal retentive about logging my meals and (I guess this is 2.5) my macros have been pretty wonky.

But I am eating better. I AM working hard! So why am I not just not seeing results, but feel like I’m regressing?

So Chris was pissing me off with all his positivity. But he did say something that struck a chord with me. He made a connection to fitness and conservation.

“Isn’t looking at the scale and calibrator and basing your entire outlook on what it says each day a lot like saying climate change isn’t real because it’s cold. Today. Where I live?”

I stared at him.

“What?” He asks.

“Yes. Fine! Yes, it’s exactly like that!”

Yup. Our fitness journey is like climate change. One day’s reading is not the finality of where you are or where you are going.

And like climate change, one should look at all the information and find underlying trends:

  • My size 6 pants still fit
  • I am definitely getting stronger
  • Weight is up
  • Body fat is up
  • Trying to balance budget on groceries and eating clean, lean, and Green. Each month I get better at it, but it is REALLY hard!
  • Work has added stressors
  • I am eating more red meat
  • I am not measuring precisely every minute item I put in my mouth
  • I have weaker resistance to temptation
  • I am snacking (even though lightly) later at night
  • I am averaging only about 75 oz of water a day
  • I am sleeping on average 5 hours a night
  • I spend more than 3 hours a day on Facebook or Netflix.
  • I am not taking weight loss supplements anymore (I see this as a positive though)
  • I don’t have a specific challenge participating in like Biggest Loser

I know it’s a pretty exhaustive list. I also know I can’t change EVERYTHING on that list overnight. And frankly, that’s a lot like climate change also. We will not fix all of those issues at once either. But if we take a couple issues at a time and just like fitness, healthy lifestyle, and the idea of 100 Ways of Fitness, create better long-lasting habits, we will see progress and we can make this a much better world.

….I hate it when Chris is right….

Drink up, Me Hearties (Your Water, That is)

I’ll admit, water consumption is not my strong suit!
So any help on this endeavor to keep myself hydrated and reap all the benefits of drinking water I’m all ears! Or eyes. Or whatever.
But some of these muddled infusions sound downright tasty!
I have one that I use that I really like too- cucumber, lemon, ginger, mint, and strawberries. I’ve also tried a lime and cilantro infusion that wasn’t too shabby either.
Do you have a favorite water infusion? Let us know!

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Having trouble drinking your daily water requirements?
Each of these recipes make 2 quarts.

10. ALL CITRUS – Slice 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 lemon into rounds, then cut the rounds in half. Add to jar and proceed with muddling, add ice & water….

9. RASPBERRY LIME – Quarter 2 limes; with your hands, squeeze the juice into the jar, then throw in the squeezed lime quarters. Add 2 cups raspberries. Muddle, add ice & water.

8. PINEAPPLE MINT — Add a sprig of mint to the jar (you can throw in the whole sprig; or, remove the leaves from the sprig, if you prefer to have the mint swimming around and distributing in the jar). Muddle the mint. Add 2 cups pineapple pieces, muddle, add ice & water.

7. BLACKBERRY SAGE — Add sage sprig to jar and muddle. Add 2 cups blackberries; muddle, add ice & water.

6. WATERMELON ROSEMARY — Add rosemary sprig to jar & muddle. Add 2 cups watermelon cubes; muddle, add ice and water.

5. CUCUMBER, LEMON & MINT — Add a sprig of mint to the jar and muddle. Add 1/2 sliced cucumber & 1 sliced lemon; muddle, add ice & water.

4. ORANGE PINEAPPLE — Add 1 sliced orange and 2 cups of pineapple chunks to the jar; muddle, add ice and water.

3. LEMON LAVENDER — Add 1 sprig of lavender to the jar, muddle. Add 1 sliced lemon, muddle, add ice and water.

2. STRAWBERRY MINT – Add a sprig of mint to the jar and muddle. Add 2 cups sliced strawberries, muddle, add ice and water.

1. GOOD OL’ FASHIONED LEMON WATER – Add 2-3 sliced lemons to a jar. Muddle, then add ice and water.

I hope these recipes inspire you to keep up that water intake, it’s one of the most basic things you can do to improve your health!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 19.5

Day 19.5
Wellness isn’t just doing good for your body
I have a confession to make. While I work hard to take care of my body, I do a horrible job of taking care of something I am actually deeply concerned about- my smile.
Today I had a dentist appointment to fix a cracked tooth I received last month. I really don’t like the dentist. I mean my dentist is really nice and awesome, but I’d rather visit my gynecologist for my yearly exam than have someone prodding around in my mouth for over an hour. Siriusly.
But I don’t take care of my teeth good enough. I brush them twice a day but God knows how long it’s been since I’ve flossed. I only use mouth wash when I’m about to kiss chris or after eating garlic or onions.
I have created such horrible dental hygiene habits and gotten away with them for so long that it’s hitting our finances hard now that I’ve had to have 5 root canals in four years. And it STILL hasn’t changed my habits. Something has to change here, folks. And you are the perfect group to help me do it!
I wasn’t going to pass on writing about tooth health bc I don’t do it well, but then I realized if I post this and write about this as something I need to work on, then I’ll have 20-30 folks reading this that will expect me to improve on this habit. And that will motivates to DO SOMETHING!
Damn accountability group!
I go back in two weeks for the crown and then I set up my cleaning for mid April. Yes our challenge will be done but my goal is for them to say they can tell a difference between my visit today and three months from now.
Challenge accepted!

100 Ways of Fitness day 9

Day 9:
100 things I want
No, don’t worry, I’m not going to post my entire list of 100 things I want. But this list was an assignment from my mentor, Karen Petersen through her Army of 100 group. I’m honored to have been invited and I like the challenge of thinking about what I want right now and in my life.
My list is kind of sporadic. It took me over a week to finish it. Some of my goals are life dreams- ambitions for a better me. Job in England or Ireland is at the tippy top. But I also have smaller ambitious dreams- I’d love to win an AAZK award in conservation, or enrichment, or hell, let’s go for gold and say Zookeeper of the Year!
I’d like to accomplish some new experiences also. Gretchen Suzanne has really inspired me to want to try pole dancing. I’d like to work towards conquering my fear of heights, and Raina ‘s regime of trapeze aerials looks fun and terrifying. I want to try! Climb Mt. Rainier. Hike the Stehekin trail. Tough Mudder.
I’ve created some goals to increase my fitness- handstand push-ups, mile swim under 32:00. Finish all the “girl” WODS. Bench my body weight. Deadlift over 200 lbs.
Some of my goals are to get healthier not just physically but psychologically as well. I wish I could see myself the way Chris Topher sees me. He sees this amazing and beautiful woman. I’d love to see that in myself as well. One of my greatest ambitions is how I’d like others to remember me. I want to be known as the person “who truly lived”. And the greatest compliment I’d love to hear is that I am an inspiration to everyone I meet.
I actually have 100 goals. It may take me years to fully complete the entire list, but I wrote it all down. And I have some serious work ahead of me.
I’ll leave you with my #1 top goal. It’s my dream and ambition. It’s what I want to do each and every day.
#1- to be the absolute best version of myself each and every day!
What are some of your dreams? Are you brave enough to write your list of 100?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 6

Day 6:
Wake up early and workout before your brain realizes what you’re doing.
I am strangely a morning person. But I do like to not that snooze button! Like, a LOT! But in light of yesterday’s post about positive reinforcement, there is NOTHING more rewarding or energizing than kicking ASS first thing in the morning!
In fact it’s very difficult for me to be in a bad mood after a morning WOD. It happens, but it’s extremely rare.
Plus, I get to work early and all ready to face the day full force!
Today’s was a great example. Didn’t Rx, but I did push myself at 65 lbs for push press and sumo deadlift high pulls. And I feel I rocked the AMRAP with 3 rounds + 4 reps (100 m and 3 burpees).
It was a great feeling to finish and be alert and awake for the day.
What wakes you up in the morning?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 5

Day 5:
Positive Reinforcement
The other day I had a dream where I witnessed a man being tortured so he would help his torturers with something. When given the chance to talk to some authority figures, I asked them how well punishment was working for them and then talked to them about positive reinforcement and how much more effective it is in changing behavior, teaching, and for getting what you want. That was the basic gist of the dream although there were tons of details I’m leaving out right now.
In fitness and creating healthy habits, it’s important for you to reinforce yourself. And more important not to punish yourself. Why would you repeatedly do exercise if you loathe the activity? What would motivate you to keep going? Nothing, that’s what.
Reinforcement is incredibly individualized too. What is reinforcing for me might not get results with someone else.
What I find reinforcing and encouraging to me is actually quite interesting. A really challenging workout is incredibly reinforcing for me, especially when I finish, and most especially when I do it well. Nothing gets me more pumped and energized!
During a workout, I don’t find people watching me very reinforcing. But having someone NOTICE that I just lifted a heavy weight or hit a milestone and saying “good job” is extremely motivating.
Fist bumps sound lame, but when my coach gives me one, I feel on top of the world!
I’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum before as well. Where you are penalized with burpees for being late to a workout, or you weren’t doing an exercise quite right and the trainer called you out in front of everyone. I’ve been shamed and guilted into exercising, but as you can imagine, that usually doesn’t work out so well. I lose momentum quickly and motivation goes out the window.
I don’t expect everyone to love working out quite like I do. But you’ll find certain ways in these routines that are very satisfying and you’ll start craving them as much as any other treat.
Go ahead and reward yourself with a great big cup of “YOU’RE AWESOME”!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 4

Day 4:
Just keep swimming!
Today I swam. I got my base time for a mile, and I’m pretty satisfied with myself- 37:08.97. That’s a very decent base time and it’s not going to be easy to shave off a lot of time, so I’m going to have to work extra hard if I want to meet my goal.
Swimming is an interesting subject for me. I absolutely love doing it. I sometimes think I’m more at ease and more natural in the water. I jokingly say my middle name isn’t Grace because I’m such a klutz, but in the water it’s a completely different story.
I’ve always been drawn to water. I knew as early as five years old I was going to work with marine mammals. I became a swimmer and I was damn good!
So why don’t I swim more often? I give myself the excuse it takes so long- to get ready and afterward to get dressed again. And sharing lanes is not my forte. But the real reason is so much dumber. My subconscious doesn’t like remembering how good I used to be and how natural it is for me to be in the water because I don’t have those things. I quit swimming in high school and I regret it almost every time I enter the water. I could have gone to the Olympics. I don’t swim with dolphins or belugas anymore. I haven’t dove in over six years.
These things do race throughs mind when I’m swimming. I won’t lie. But today I pushed through the negativity, finished my mile, and felt good. As soon as I got home I filled out a volunteer form for Seattle Aquarium. Chris proved he was the love of my life by getting my refresher for scuba diving course taken care of for my birthday. And I swam a mile in under 40 minutes. This is bliss. This is my happy place. My subconscious can suck a big fat one because I love being in the water. I’m going to start diving again and I’m going to be around marine life again, even if it’s just as a volunteer.
All I need to do is just keep swimming!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 3

Day 3:
I think I’m already starting to look at every moment in my day to help motivate and encourage me to increase my fitness and healthy lifestyle. I even related my dream this morning to fitness, and maybe I’ll write about it soon, or even tonight, but what I want to talk about are my NEW TOYS! That I MADE MYSELF!!!! Aren’t they beautiful?
When you look for medicine balls for performing wall balls or medicine ball cleans, you’ll find that most of them cost around $50-60. These two that I just made cost me a total of $25. The most expensive part was the pretty duct tape!
I bought a couple of basketballs from a thrift store, cut holes in them large enough to fit a funnel into, and filled them with sand. I weighed them out to 15 lbs, and then covered the hole with tape and then wrapped them completely with the decorative duct tape.
And Bob’s your uncle- homemade medicine balls.
Now, I won’t be able to do any ball slams with these, or try to throw it overhead, but it’ll be perfect for Russian twists, partner passes, or a stabilizer for floor wipers. I’m sure I can think of a few other fascinatingly wonderful exercises to use with these also!
Can’t wait for Monday’s zoo Bootcamp!

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