Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “nutrition”

A Healthy Dose of Gratitude

I was recently asked by Dr. Mario Trucillo of the American Recall Center  to participate in their Who Keeps You Healthy? campaign. The American Recall Center is a new website dedicated to providing information on medical device and pharmaceutical recalls and general health information.  I really like their values: Educate, Trust, Empower, Advocate, and I appreciate their vision not only to inform, but also to be informed by the community that shares their stories on the site.  Thank you, Dr. Trucillo, for considering Grackle & Sun for this campaign.  I am happy to support health advocacy in any way I can.

Who keeps me healthy?  My first thought was I do!  I am my own health hero (hear me roar)! Tru fax to be sure.  However, although I am proud of my hard work and effort, it is only a small fraction of the whole in my wholistic health journey. With closer reflection, I realized that I was experiencing a knee-jerk reaction—a defensive response after years of learning the hard way that I had to be a hardass, lookout-for-number-one advocate for my health in a system that frequently leaves patients confused, frustrated, and unhealed when they should be informed, confident, and above all, cared for.  It was this last bit that got me thinking.

Care is the heart of it all.  Healthcare. In my struggle to find solutions to illness, I often wished that health and healing could be more straightforward, more systematic: do A, B, and C and voila! Healthy! But it doesn’t work like that.  We are human, and we are more complicated than any amount of kale can fix.  We are human, and we do not need maintenance.  We need care.  It is not only our own caring that starts the healing process, it is the care that we receive from others that truly heals.  It is this caring that supports us, nurtures us, and shows us that our good health matters.

I’ve been very fortunate to have incredibly supportive family and friends—people who have not only cheered me on and even joined me as I changed my diet and started working out, but also many who, through their own actions, research, and advocacy, showed me a better way.  I am thankful for all of them.  Most of all, I am thankful to the one person who has held my hand through good times and bad, sickness and health—my husband, David.  He has been a spring of encouragement, compassion, and support.  So, in honour of the Who Keeps You Healthy campaign, I am writing a thank you letter from my heart to my heart. With gratitude and love.

Dear David,

Thank you for encouraging me to always strive to be better and healthier, and thank you for always loving me as I am no matter what. 

Thank you for being supportive of my countless hours of research and not ever rolling your eyes when I tried something new in my quest to not be sick.

Thank you for trusting me, even when the doctors didn’t, that Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism really was jacking me up that bad and that the connection between diet and auto-immune disease is for realz. 

Thank you for all the steamrolling (massages) when my migraines made me want to curl up and die.  Or hurl.  Usually all three.  

Thank you for cooking amazing food for our family, and for never, ever complaining about my crazy food intolerances.  Not even when I did the raw thing.

Thank you for getting on my ass about exercising and being patient with me even when I whined and complained and maybe even stomped my foot, not that I’d admit it.

Thank you for telling me how proud you are of me doing the whole awesome workout thing.  And for not mentioning it when I slack off.  And for happily commiserating with the pain of working out again at our age.

Thank you for doing the whole Paleo thing with me.  It has helped more than you can know.  

Thank you for being compassionate through my struggles with anxiety and depression, which have been many and terrible.  And thank you for always being there at the other end of the tunnel, smiling.

Thank you for always reading the labels to make sure our food is safe for me to eat.

Thank you for never thinking I was crazy even when I started to wonder if I was crazy trying to figure out all this crazy migraine/thyroid/allergy/IC business.  

Thank you for knowing when I need greens.  And when I need chocolate. And when I think I need chocolate but really need greens.

Thank you for being in full command of mad cooking skillz. 

Thank you for being awesome.

Thank you for being with me.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for caring.

Love, 

Wife

 

 

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Paleo(ish): Month 3

Sunday marked month 3 of my Paleo(ish) diet experiment.  If you want to know more about what the Paleo template is, I highly recommend reading this excellent article on Fitbomb.   I would put a ton of Paleo links on my post, but he’s got them all on his.  It really is a very well written article.  Why Paleo?  Very simple.  I took up Paleo because my body happens to say NO to the same foods that Paleo says no to.  Giving my dietary “choices” a catchy name makes it easier to explain to people and strangely seems to make it more acceptable to them.  Why Paleo(ish)?  Two reasons.  First, because I’m hoping to modify the diet in the next year to include foods that are not technically allowed on the Paleo diet.  The second reason is a big one—I do not believe in all the tenets of the Paleo diet.

Is it nutritionally sound?  Yes, it absolutely can be if you eat a variety of nutritious whole foods and not just meat (as some people think you’re supposed to).  Is it scientifically sound?  Sometimes.  Depends on what author you read.  I’ve read some great, balanced and well researched articles and books, and I’ve also read some works where the author clearly has no understanding of human physiology.   It’s important to keep your critical thinking cap on when reading diet information.  There’s a lot of BS out there.   Is it historically sound?  No, I seriously doubt it.  Paleo is based on the belief (note, I didn’t say knowledge) that we are genetically adapted to eat a certain way because for millennia our Paleolithic ancestors did so.   Proponents believe that humans have not been able to evolve over the last 10,000 years (the Neolithic period after the advent of agriculture) to eat other types of foods such as grains and dairy.  Here are a few reasons why I take issue with these ideas:

1.  People ate the food that was available in their geographic location.  As you can imagine, this would lead to incredibly variable diets all over the world.  There cannot be one perfect way to eat for everybody.  Also, seasonal diets would require people to eat a diet which potentially varied widely in its macronutrient balance from season to season—sometimes being very protein or fat heavy, and sometimes very starch, veg, and carb heavy.  Humans, we’re adaptable.

2.  People who know about Paleolithic man, ie  anthropologists and archeologists, widely dispute the idea that Paleolithic man didn’t eat grains or starches.  There is evidence that goes back well before the 10,000 year mark of Neolithic man.  So that kind of chucks that whole grain-free, starch-free theory out the window…

3.  If Paleolithic man didn’t eat grain, then why on earth, when people settled down and started farming, did they say, “Hey, I know what we should grow—this stuff that we’ve never eaten before!”  That just doesn’t make any kind of sense.  Of course they would grow something that was at least somewhat familiar in their diet.

4.  Some Paleo diet proponents say that salt should not be used in the diet either, because Paleolithic man most likely did not harvest or mine salt.  This might be true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad for you.  There are a lot of studies done to show that it’s not that big a deal if your eating moderate amounts of good salts.  Chris Kresser has a great write-up on this.

5.  While we can derive some amount of data from looking to the past to see what Paleolithic man ate, we cannot assume that this diet would be our optimal diet.  Yes, there are all kinds of lifespan charts and such being used to prove that Paleo man was healthier than the peoples that came in the following agricultural societies, but there are SO MANY factors at play that make oversimplifying this data dangerous—-the effects of living in massively larger population groups, living with animals, more sedentary lifestyles, diet limited by growing conditions… you see my point.  Do I think that eating a grain-based diet changed the health of people?  Yes.  But not necessarily as much initially as in the last 100 years—new research is showing that the grains we’re growing now bear little resemblance to the grains grown even 100 years ago—they now contain more gluten proteins than ever before.   Some scientists think this may be the reason for the increasing rates of Celiacs disease and people with gluten intolerances and autoimmune related diseases.   The point is, unless someone can prove that Paleolithic man had perfect health, free from disease, and that this can be chiefly attributed to their diet only, I’m not going to romanticize the way people ate 30,000 years ago.  They ate that way because that’s what there was to eat.  That does not translate into “we’re designed to eat that way”.

I don’t need my dietary lifestyle to have an agenda, and I certainly don’t need it to take on any dogmatic religious zealotry.  It’s food.  It’s fuel.  It should make us feel better, not worse.  It would be nice if it were simple, but interaction with other living organisms (ie, eating food) is complex.  While it’s tempting to get all earth goddess on this and think that all of Mother Nature’s bounty is wholesome and nourishing, it’s just not true.  Just about everything that you eat has both nutrients and toxins.  We have livers for a reason.  We cook, ferment, cure, and sprout foods for a reason.  No food is 100% perfect for us all the time.

So enough of the downside.  Here’s why I think Paleo(ish) is a good way to eat:

1.  It emphasizes eating fresh, whole, unprocessed foods.  On Paleo, there are no junk foods.  Not even pretend-healthy junk foods.   But a healthy diet is not just taking out the bad stuff.  In fact, I would argue that what is added into the diet is even more important that what is taken out of it.  There is a lot of evidence to show that many health issues are due to nutrient deficits.   Western diets are full of empty calories.  On Paleo, you eat very nutrient dense foods.  You give your body vitamins and minerals that are often severely lacking in a typical Western diet.  Of course you’re going to feel better eating this way!

2.  Paleo done right is not a diet.  It is a template for a lifelong way to eat healthy.

That’s it!  We could go into the whole need for healthy fats, and we could go round and round in circles about animal proteins, but I don’t want to.  The reason why I talk about the Paleo template (rather than diet) is because it is incredibly adaptable to your needs.  It can be higher protein or higher carb.  It can be mostly meat-based or mostly veg-based.  There is a lot of room for variations and tweaking to find what makes you feel best.   And while a lot of people have done a great job to make it super trendy, complicated, and to make money off of it, at it’s core it is pretty simple.   What it really is, is a springboard to better health.  At least that’s how I’m choosing to look at it.

The results?  I believe that it takes a few months to really start feeling the difference dietary changes can make, good or bad.  You can’t know in just a couple weeks if something is working for you or not.  Your body needs time to adjust.   Here’s my 3 month Paleo low-down:

For the first 2 months on Paleo, I felt mostly better, but I had a lot of digestive issues.  It was… disconcerting.  I mean, I hadn’t actually changed my diet that much.  So I thought.  My gut disagreed with this notion.  Also, my skin and sinuses got really, really dry.  Aside from these two issues, I felt great, so I decided to start reading up on trouble-shooting Paleo issues.  Turns out, I was dehydrated and in need of some probiotics.

I’m horrible at drinking enough water.  Horrible at it.  On my own, I might drink a couple glasses a day.  I just rarely feel thirsty.  What I’ve learned is that feeling thirsty in your mouth is one of the last signs of thirst that the body has.  When I ate a normal diet, my symptoms of dehydration were masked by all my other crappy diet symptoms.   Dry skin, dry sinuses, wheeziness and other bronchial symptoms, headaches, stiff muscles, sluggish digestion—all have to do with hydration.  On Paleo, I felt good enough to realize that something else was going on.  My water intake was too low.  As soon as I bumped it up, those symptoms went away.  But I really have to drink a lot—a minimum of 2 liters a day (which is a lot to me) to feel good.

The gut issues were related both to the water intake and to a need for beneficial bacteria.  I started eating kimchee and sauerkraut and drinking the occasional Good Belly juice, kombucha or KeVita, and all became right in the world.  Gut flora, it’s important.  Fermented foods are your friend.

I’ve continued dropping weight—I’m down to around 133 lbs now.   It’s important to note that I am not restricting my calories at all.  I don’t count them, I don’t think about it.  I just eat until I’m satisfied.   One of the great things about eating Paleo is that the foods you eat tend to be very filling and very satisfying.

Most importantly, I feel great.  My energy levels are very stable throughout the day.   I feel balanced.  I have very few cravings.  My autoimmune symptoms are super under control, and I’ve had only 2 mild migraines this whole time, both due to not drinking enough water.  This is a big huge deal and goes a long, long way to confirm my suspicions about the links between food intolerances and my health issues.   I am still avoiding caffeine almost entirely (a bit of chocolate being the only exception).  I’m also avoiding foods high in tyramines, although my worst offenders are knocked off the list by virtue of being Paleo(ish)—aged cheeses, aged and cured meats, soy products, breads, and red wine.  Some fruits and vegetables contain tyramine (olives, avocado, pineapple) but they haven’t caused any problems yet.   Caffeine and tyramines are major triggers for me.

What’s the plan now?  Well, I’ve been hardcore Paleo for 3 months now, and I want to give this another 3 months to establish a firm baseline before I start introducing any foods back into my diet.  Based on what I now know of gluten issues and autoimmune disease, I will never eat wheat again.  I’m cool with that.  But I’d like to be able to reintroduce occasional rice, buckwheat, and oats back into my diet.  I’m hesitant, however, because my blood sugar gets all jacked up when I eat grains.  Like a rollercoaster.  We’ll see.  I’d also like to add butter and eventually homemade raw milk yogurt or kefir back into my diet.  I think raw milk is good for a body.  We’ll wait and see if my body agrees.  Finally, I’d like to find out if I really have any issues with lectins or not.  It will be interesting to see what happens when I try lentils or chickpeas again.  It’s all a big experiment.  As long as it keeps working, I’ll keep eating this way.   If it stops working, I’ll reassess and tweak.

Another thing I’ve been reading up on is the GAPS diet, and think that this might be in my future at some point, specifically because of my autoimmune issues.   The GAPS diet is a very specific temporary diet that is based on the premise that many illnesses stem from gut issues resulting in poor nutrient absorption, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune issues, and food allergies and intolerances.  The point of the diet then is to heal the gut so that eventually a normal healthy diet can be resumed.  This is done primarily by removing foods that digest into disaccharides which then feed harmful gut flora.  By starving the bad gut flora and also bolstering the good gut flora by taking serious probiotics, you create an environment which allows the gut lining to heal.     When the gut lining is healed (which takes a period of 1-2 years), then slowly foods can be reintroduced and digested properly.  A lot about this diet makes sense to me.  I love that it focuses on nutrient-dense foods.  But it is very labor intensive and expensive.  We’ll see where I am at the 6 month Paleo mark.  If GAPS still seems right then, I think I’ll give it a go.

Getting Fit in 2495 Words

Goal:  Husband and I have decided to race the MR340 next year.

This is a crazy race:  paddle 340 miles of the Missouri River, from Kansas City to St. Charles, in 88 hours or less.  It’s really hard, and people who are serious about it train really hard.  Everyone else just hopes to finish at all.  Time to start training.  For realz.

The Klepper.

Hurdle #1:  I am the antithesis of athletic.

Hi, my name is dre, and I’m a 38 year old mother of 2.  I homeschool my kids and work nights as a waiter.  I knit, dye yarn, garden, and watch old British tv shows.  When I grow up, I want to be Felicity Kendal in Rosemary & Thyme.  I’ve never done anything like this before.   I have no athletic abilities.  My sports experience includes swim team and volleyball… in middle school.  I did train horses for a long time in high school and college, but that’s really a different animal altogether, what with the horse doing most of the work and all.  Aside from a tiny little bit of fencing I did with Husband in my early twenties, the closest I’ve come to anything remotely athletic was chasing and hoisting toddlers a decade ago.  I am not kinesthetically gifted like my husband is, and my awareness of my body in space is non-existent.  I am frequently clumsy and occasionally asthmatic.  I lack self-discipline.  I get distracted easily (I forgot I was making the kids lunch while typing this paragraph and almost burned the rice).   I have always been fairly strong—growing up on a farm will do that to you, but I’ve never been super fit.   In my thirties I haven’t even approached kinda fit.

Baseball, basketball, football, volleyball… No. Yarn balls? YES!

Hurdle #2:  I’ve had a lot of health issues over the last decade that have taken way too much of my time and energy.

For ages, Husband has been trying to get me to be more physically active.  In his wise way, he knew that it would help me feel better.  See, I’ve not been well for quite a while.  That’s a long ass post for another day, but suffice it to say that when you don’t feel well, exercising is the furthest thing from your mind—even if it’s one of the things that will feel you better.  So much energy went into my illness(es) and into trying to fix me, that I convinced myself I had none to spare for something as seemingly frivolous as working out.  Sometimes I haz a stupid.

Solution #1:   Healing the body, even a little bit, frees up energy for action.

In December, a major piece of the puzzle concerning a longstanding illness fell into place, and by January, I was feeling like a new person.   One day while driving to work, I passed a billboard that advertised a membership to a nearby gym for only $20 a month.  One of those “New Year’s resolution” memberships.   I thought about it that whole night at work, and realized that it was time to start taking care of my body in a new way.

Solution #2:  A body active is a body healthier. 

I signed up.   That was the beginning of a whole new journey for me, a new process to learn.  One that I want to keep track of here.   My first day at the gym was with a complimentary training session with a personal trainer.  I’m going to post the numbers here in all their glory, not only because I’m proud of how well I’m doing, but also because I think it is incredibly important for all of you to understand that if I can change my eating habits, start challenging my body and become more fit, you absolutely can, too.   Here are the numbers from when I started out:

Height:  5’3″     Weight:  165     Shoulders:  45.5″     Chest:  38″     Waist:  33.75″     Hips:  42.75″     Thigh:  20.5″     Arm:  10.5″    BF%:  35.9

Pre-pregnancy, I weighed 120 lbs no matter what I ate.  Post pregnancy averaged around 145 lbs.  This was the highest I’d been since right after I gave birth.  Twelve years ago.  Ouch.

Hurdle #3: Bumpy starts are bumpy.

The trainer showed me how to use all the equipment, namely all the weight machines.  I’ve since learned that this is standard cookie cutter gym protocol, so watch out for it.  It became apparent very quickly that those machines are not designed for short people.   The pivot points are all in the wrong places, and there was no way to adjust the machine enough to correct this issue.  This discrepancy in sizing meant that a stupid amount of torque was placed on joints, and it hurt.  Not in a “feel the burn” kind of way, either.  It was frustrating and discouraging.  I already felt super out of place in the gym.  This wasn’t helping.

Solution #3:  When something doesn’t work, don’t quit— fix it!

So when I met with the trainer for a follow up appointment a couple weeks later, I asked her to show me exercises that did not involve the machines, and this is when she lit up.  Want to know what she showed me?  KETTLEBELLS.  All caps.  Kettlebells rocked my world!  Finally, here was something that I could get into.  Kari Syme at Eclectic Kettlebell has a great post on why you should train with kettlebells.  Kettlebells immediately challenged me—but in a way that I could build up to.  I appreciated the functionality of the exercises, and the fact that it required me to use my whole body, not just isolated muscles.  Kettlebell training makes you stronger for the real world, for daily life.  And I saw my strength, balance, and flexibility grow quickly.

This new-found, first-in-a-lifetime excitement for exercise got me researching more types of functional exercises.  I found a few great sites that have become my go-to sources for all information regarding fitness.  Two of them are  Angry Trainer Fitness and FitStudio.  Alfonso Moretti, the Angry Trainer, tells it like it is.  He is a personal trainer and body builder and has made it his life’s work to know all the ins and outs of nutrition and fitness.  His site is loaded with interesting articles on all kinds of fitness topics, but my favorites are his how-to videos where he teaches proper form on common exercises and his exercise videos where he shows you exercises that will kick your butt and keep you from getting bored.  Srsly.  Find the “10 ways to do burpees” video and the one where he shows you how to do bird dogs.  Bird dogs changed my life.  Six months ago, I would have laughed if somebody said I would be typing that now.   I used FitStudio’s free video glossary of exercises to learn a bunch of new moves to try.  These clips are all about 30 seconds long, and are a great way to cross-reference exercises when you read other websites and have no idea what the trainer is talking about.  Hey, not everybody knows what a rear delt row is.  (raises hand)  

Two other websites that really helped me out were Bodyrock TV and Zuzana Light’s Youtube channel.   Now, a fair warning—both of these are very… boobcentric.  By which I mean, they really use “visuals” (wink, wink) to get people to watch.  It’s pretty off-putting, because on the surface it’s more about T & A than workouts.  However, if you have it in you to look past that, the workouts are good with lots of creative circuit sets.   I no longer have the time or energy to wade through the all that to get to the workouts, so I’ve stopped using both sites.   I think it’s unfortunate.   I learned a lot about bodyweight exercise by watching Lisa Marie on Bodyrock.  She is infectiously cheerful and encouraging—which just doesn’t fit with the rest of the image the website is using which is pretty bow-chicka-wocka-bow, if you know what I mean.  So in the end, I feel like I don’t know what they’re actually trying to be about.  But despite all that,  it was Bodyrock that got me into using bodyweight exercises, and for that I’m thankful.  I just wish I didn’t have to turn it off when the kids come in the room.  :/  Zuzana was the original host (and part-founder) of Bodyrock TV, but has since left to host her own Youtube channel called ZWOW.  She is awesome—friendly, engaging, and encouraging.  And her form kicks ass.  When she started ZWOW, I thought it was going to be something new and different, but it seems that she’s going to keep doing the whole Bodyrock type thing, too.   Whatevs.   You can still learn some fantastic exercises that require very little equipment.  And with both of these you have the advantage of getting new workouts daily for free and being able to pause and rewind them as many times as you need to.  Totally do-able.   The lesson here is to be able to take what you need and walk away from the rest.

So, armed with an arsenal of bodyweight and kettlebell exercises, I started working out 5 days a week.  Because of my schedule, I could only go after work—usually around 11pm.  I also started adding in some HIIT training.  High Intensity Interval Training is a method used typically with running that involves walking or jogging at an easy pace for a specified period of time, and then running balls out for that same period of time, all for maximum total time of 20-30 minutes.  HIIT training helps achieve conditioning much more effectively and in less time than longer, slower paced runs.  I started this method because I heard that it was particularly good at helping to build lung strength.  As an occasional asthmatic (chief triggers are cats and exercise), I really needed help in this department.  So, I started by walking for a minute and then running for a minute, for 20 minutes.  I did this 3 times a week.  Very quickly I was able to increase my speed until I jogged at 4mph and then ran at 7 mph for the intervals.   Dude, this was a major achievement.  Until this point, I was of the steadfast opinion that running is something you do to save your life.  It is not done voluntarily.  HIIT training taught me to love running.  Mostly.  And my lungs loved it, too.  I saw significant improvements in my tolerance and capacity.

Finally, as an experiment I also started monitoring my diet on Fitday, a free dietary system that helps you keep track of caloric and nutritional intake as well as weight goals.  It is highly customizable, and I found it incredibly helpful in educating me about my daily intake values and my portion sizes.  A real eye-opener.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a pain to keep track of every bite you eat—even with a computer program, but I approached it as an experiment.  I really wanted to see if my caloric intake was way off or not.  So I limited my calories to between 1300-1500 calories a day.  I ate foods that would get me to 100% or over of my daily RDA values for vitamins and minerals.  That was the hardest part.  But I really worked at this.

The results?  After 3 months, I was stronger, more flexible, and more comfortable in my body.  I was more knowledgeable about nutrient dense foods and how to eat in appropriate portions.  But after 3 months of working out 5 days a week and eating a restricted caloric intake, I’d only lost 10 pounds.  I was happy for that 10 pounds, but still, it pointed to something in the equation being off.

Not so much a hurdle as a brick wall:   When your body talks, listen or pay the price.

And then I hit a super stressful couple weeks in May.  Isn’t it crazy how a little bit of stress will derail you?  I ate all the wrong things for me:  wheat, dairy, sugar…  These foods have been on my verboten list for years.  It was stupid, and I paid the price.  I got really, really sick.  Like, my body threw in the towel.  So I said, that’s it.  No more playing around with my diet.  It was time to listen to my body.

Solution to brick walls:  Sometimes you’ve got to turn in a whole new direction.

I’ve known for a long time that a number of my health issues either start with or are exacerbated by food intolerances.  I’ve researched and experimented with this for years, with many frustrations and a few successes.  But it’s hard changing your diet, especially when you seem to have a bit of a threshold.  Well, my threshold went down the tube in May.  It was time to take things seriously and to do what my doctor advised several years ago.  So I went Paleo-ish.  I cut out all grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar.  Now I eat lean meats, healthy fats, tons of greens and veg, and a healthy amount of fruit, nuts, and seeds.  And I started feeling better.  I stopped counting calories, which is awesome, because as informative as that was, it was also unpleasant.  It’s not healthy to obsess over every bite you put in your mouth.  Now, I eat like a hoss—as much of these whole foods as it takes to satisfy my hunger.  It’s wonderful.  I feel good.

A little over a month later, in June, I met with the trainer again for a follow up, and here were the results:

Weight:  145 lbs     Shoulders:  41″     Chest:  36″     Waist:  30.5″     Hips:  41″     Arms”  10″     Thigh:  19.5″     BF%:  32

That’s 20 lbs down, and 10 of it after I went Paleo!  And a bunch of inches!

Then, I quit the gym.

Hurdle #4:  Timing.

Turns out that training late at night sucks for me.  It was jacking up my sleep and taking away family time that I wasn’t willing to part with any longer.  It would have been easy to quit at this point.  But I’d developed some self-discipline with all this working out.  Bonus!

Solution #4:  Location, location, location.

I started working out at home.  That’s right, in the comfort of my own living room!  Lol.  But it turns out that when you’re doing functional and bodyweight exercises, you don’t need a lot of room or equipment.  You just need a floor and your body.  That’s it.  No excuses.  I’ll prove it.  Here’s where I work out now:

The living room, aka my home gym. No contract, no membership fees.

All caught up to speed.

My measurements as of this morning:

Weight:  138 lbs     Shoulders:  40″     Chest:  36″     Waist:  30″     Hips:  39.5″     Thigh:  19″     Arms:  Hard to measure by yourself  BF%:  couldn’t measure

I think this is proof that the Paleo helping.  There have been challenges, which I’ll talk about specifically later, but overall I’ve seen major improvements over the last 2.5 months.  I’ll admit, over the last month or so, I slacked off in working out.  Which is to say, I didn’t work out.  This happens.  But I’m back on track, and now that I have the goal of paddling the MR340, I am more dedicated than ever to getting in shape. When the burpee squats are kicking my ass, and I want to quit, I look up and remember what I’m doing this for now:

Motivation.

For most of my life, I’ve been unhappy with my body, unhappy with my level of fitness.  But I always had excuses.  Not enough time, not enough money for a gym, not the right equipment, too stressed out, too fat to work out, exercise is boring… I justified my inactivity any way I could.  The thing is, that the only way to get fit is to do it.  One burpee at a time.  One sit-up at a time.  One jumping jack at a time.  Whatever you can do, DO IT!  That’s how you get in shape.  You start by walking, you end by running.  And your body will thank you with every step, with every heartbeat, with every breath.

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