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This picture is the “After Photo” from the Murph Challenge I participated in this weekend at our relatively new Absolution CrossFit Gym. (I’m in the middle with the green headband) It was my first CrossFit workout since I found out I was carrying twins. It felt great to be back in the swing of CrossFit. Even though this is a new community to me, the familiarity of the workout and the support and encouragement from all our coaches and other participants made me feel like I was back where I belonged. This picture says it all right? All smiles after completing one of the hardest workouts the devious minds at Crossfit have ever designed. The Murph Challenge consists of running 1 mile, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats then running another mile. Since this was my very first work out back I decided not to go too crazy and do a “Half Murph”  which is: you guessed it,  1/2 mile (which I rowed instead on ran due to doctors orders) then 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 air squats then another 1/2 mile. This was against the advice of my husband and head trainer to do a 1/4 Murph. Not having done more than walk for exercise over the last 9-10 months, this was of course sound advice, but I felt the half was the least I could do to honor our fallen soldiers.

 

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Cranking out some assisted (of course) pull ups.

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Then taking a breather before jumping back up there.

 

I’m not gonna lie, at one point I felt dizzy and little nauseous. But nonetheless. I finished the Half Murph. Thus, the smiling photo above. Jump forward to the next day…..holy soreness! I wandered back into the gym to stay loose. My husband Brad and I did a tabata together and afterwards I felt pretty good. Jump forward to the next 2 days, bending my elbows and lifting my little baby girls was REALLY painful. My poor triceps!!

So lessons learned:

  1. Take it easy! Jumping right in won’t hurt me in the long run but in the short term it makes staying consistent early on pretty tough. I did it, but I didn’t enjoy it. If I weren’t experienced enough to know the soreness really does get better the more often you go,I might have made the mistake I made when I first started CrossFit. That mistake was letting the soreness keep me from the gym. When you do that it takes a lot longer for your body to get accustomed to the work and thus a lot longer for you to feel less sore after each workout and less often.  I should have let my body ease into the work. I just had major abdominal surgery! And  after carrying 2 babies around in my tummy for 9 months! Yeesh!! 
  2. Get ready for the increased appetite! This should seem like common sense but for some reason it caught me by surprise. When you are more active, your body will crave more food! In my effort to continue my post baby weight loss naturally and easily, I neglected to prepare myself for the sudden increase in appetite and the cravings for carbohydrates.  This is why the “whole calories in/calories out” mind set doesn’t work. The more calories you expend, the more calories you crave. At some point you will hit a bottom line and you will stop losing or even begin to gain weight back. Which leads me to lesson number 3.
  3. I need to become fat adapted again. While I was pregnant I increased my carb intake. I felt I needed it and I felt better with the increase. However, now I need to take the time to let my body and my brain become fat adapted again. This takes a little bit of time. When your body and your brain are accustomed to tapping into to carbs for fuel, it can take up to 3 weeks for fat to become the preferred source of fuel again. An increase in calories when I am taking on a heavier exercise load is normal but the source of those calories will make a difference if I want to lean out. This can be a tough transition so for those of you trying a low/lower carb diet on for size and find you lack energy for a period of time. I promise it does get better and you will find you have energy to spare once you become fat adapted, Solution? Have lots of healthy fats around to munch on. Like eggs, olive, avocados, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil, coconut butter, butter, fattier cuts of well raised meats. If you are eating enough healthy fats the transition will be much easier.
  4. Get enough sleep! This is of course tough for a mom of newborn twins, but with the increase in high intensity exercise comes the need for enough sleep for my body to recover. I am working on this one and am napping and sleeping as much as I can but it is not enough….yet. Once the little stinkers are sleeping through the night this will get a lot easier. For those of you taking on CrossFit or any other high-output exercise regimen and not adjusting your lifestyle to include more sleep are not doing yourselves any good in the long run. I promise you. THE EVENTUAL IMBALANCE OF ENERGY EXPENDED VS.ENERGY RESTORED WILL CATCH UP WITH YOU!

Stay tuned for more lessons learned on this adventure. Getting back in shape is challenge for anyone. I hope some of these lessons can be helpful for those of you taking this adventure on with me. Stay with it! Get Strong! Stronger people are harder to kill!!

Until Next Time,

~ Laura, MGP

 

 


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As some of you may know from my last few (few being the operative word) I was pregnant with twin girls and struggling through being 42 (now 43 thanks!) and all the side effects that come with higher hormone levels and carrying all the extra weight around. Finding the energy to post anything was a huge challenge. I am now 1 month postpartum and from a fatigue point of view I have good days and bad days. Handling two is much harder than one; that is for sure! But we are learning as we go and it gets a little easier every day for the most part. Here is a quick shameless plug for just how cute they are!

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My husband and I recently opened a CrossFit Gym with a couple of partners a couple of months ago. So far things are going great, however everything is very hectic around here as you can imagine….new twin babies and a new business while still juggling the 2 teenagers I have and their schedules. I haven’t even gone back to my “real job” yet! Hey! GO BIG OR GO HOME, right?! We had our official Grand Opening event this weekend at which I gave an Intro to Paleo talk.  I want to share with you a few new observations about the Paleo Diet I learned while being pregnant and being Paleo that are relatable to just about anyone. But first a few photos of my pregnancy progression and just how big this belly got. Bear in mind, I am 5’2″ on a good day when I’m not slouching!

 

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I’m not a trained photographer, these were all taken with my iPhone, I apologize for the less than professional quality! Anyway, As I grew bigger and bigger I thought more and more how it may be impossible to get my “pre-babies” body back especially at my age. I hope to chronicle my successes and failures for you all in blog posts so you can all learn from my mistakes along with me. A couple of lessons already learned relevant to everyone.

  1. 80/20 or maybe 70/30% Paleo is better than 0% Paleo. I already knew this but it became even more obvious as I lived it. In an effort to add calories and carbohydrate to my pregnancy diet as required especially with twins. I can only eat so many sweet potatoes and started adding in white rice, white potatoes and oatmeal on occasion to add some variety. None of those are Paleo, but I tolerated it just fine and I still managed to keep my weight on track. When I compare pictures of myself from this pregnancy to my first 2 pregnancies (when I was 15 and 13 years younger) I gained less excess weight, retained less water, and added fewer inches to areas other than my belly. 
  2. Diet is 70% to 80% of the solution! (Depending on your metabolism) It’s true! This I also knew before I was pregnant but again, this experience brought this concept to life. The picture in the beginning of this post showing me at 37 weeks gestation and then me 4 weeks postpartum is evidence that diet alone can do wonders. Keep in mind I am not allowed to workout until I am 6-8 weeks postpartum.  My theory here is that diet helps you lose and/or maintain an ideal weight and make you look really great in clothes as well as provide a healing and healthy environment for  your body. Exercise is what helps you look good naked! It also provides a stronger body, muscle tone, better mobility, better flexibility, stress relief, cardio vascular health…..I can go on and on. But for the purpose of just losing weight, exercise alone won’t cut it. As the saying goes,”You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet”
  3. Sleep is completely underrated! I firmly believe that many of us think we can get by with 6 hours of sleep a night and function well. I knew this was untrue from personal experience but still managed to give it a try in order to accomplish more or watch that one show I DVR’d last week. Look, under the best of physical circumstances a 6 hours sleep session occasionally is fine. String too many together and you begin to function far less optimally, you get sick easier, your mood becomes irritable, YOU CRAVE CRAPPY FOOD…. When you body is under stress, any stress, not just pregnancy, sleep is even more important. Twin newborns are posing a challenge in this department but with the help of my fabulous mother during the day and mother-in-law at night, I’m getting far more than I would otherwise. Get your Z’s!

More to come as my body recovers from one of the most stressful experiences I’ve put it through. Any advice or observations are welcome but remember, Diet matters! Treat your body with love and it will love you back!

 

P.S. please excuse typos. I’m typing with one hand while I’m holding a baby. ;-)

 

Until Next Time,

~ Laura, MGP


 

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I know this post won’t be of interest to everyone but I feel the need to share it. As some of you may know from a previous post, “Pregnancy, Paleo and Pickles”, I am pregnant with twins and maintaining my Paleo diet as best I can. As my first trimester came to an end so did most of the nausea, and cravings for carbohydrates that I battled semi-successfully, meaning I incorporated a few more carbohydrates than I ate pre-pregnancy. I was able to keep it all organic, gluten-free and unprocessed. Toward the end of my second trimester, like with my first two pregnancies along came my least favorite test. The OGTT or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to test for Gestational Diabetes. I assumed that due to my Paleo diet any kind of diabetes would not be a concern for me. You can imagine my surprise when I received the call from my doctor’s office that I failed the 1 hour OGTT by one measly point and that they needed me to come in to take the 3 hour test. How could this happen?!!!! Must have been a total fluke. There is no way! I know I am not diabetic, maybe I should just refuse to take it. After all, there is no way ingesting a concentrated form of processed liquid sugar in 5 minutes was good for me or my babies in any way. However, what has been drilled into my head is that I am 42 and having twins. These 2 facts catapult me into the high risk pregnancy category. I sucked it up and went in for the 3 hour test which I dreaded. It meant fasting from dinner time the night before, chugging down an even more concentrated processed bottle of liquid sugar and having my blood drawn 3 times over the next 3 hours. NOT FUN!

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Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Um, um, um. What a warm comfort food for a cold blustery day. This Paleo version is Grain-free and Dairy-free (if you opt to not use parmesan cheese) and is always a crowd pleaser. For the side of mashed potatoes, see my mashed Cauliflower recipe.  This recipe makes a big loaf and should easily feed 6 people. I like to make it big so we have leftovers!

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  • Chronic headaches.
  • Chronic fatigue or lack of energy
  • Chronic nasal congestion.
  • Depression/Anxiety.
  • Chronic abdominal discomfort (including ulcers, constipation or diarrhea)
  • Chronic bloating and/or gas
  • Chronic pains in the body (joints, muscles)
  • Persistent allergies or asthma
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Skin problems (acne, rashes, redness, bumps)
  • Repeated or reoccurring bacterial or viral infections.
  • An inability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight no matter how hard you try. (Especially in your abdomen)

 

Do any of the symptoms above sound familiar to you or someone you know? Chances are the driving force behind these symptoms is inflammation, specifically, chronic inflammation.  Over the past 5 years I have become convinced the source of 90% of what ails us is caused at least in part if not entirely by the inflammatory diets we eat and lifestyles we lead. This is of course my opinion. It’s an opinion rooted in my own experience and my observations of those around me.

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One of the principal tenets of the Paleo lifestyle is to eliminate toxins from your food and your environment in general.  When stated simply like this, makes a lot of sense right? Who wants to live with exposure to toxins? What many find out when they endeavor to remove toxins from their lives is that it is a lot harder than it sounds. Part of the reason is that food and environmental toxins are numerous, hidden and in many cases unknown. The obvious ones like gluten, simple sugars, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, PCBs, etc. are known and relatively easy to avoid. Others are not so easy. This is particularly true when those toxins come in the form of relationships.

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Please forgive me. It has been a while since my last thoughtful post. Recently I wrote how life sometimes gets in the way of pursuing we want to do in order to accomplish what we must do. In the past 7 months I have moved twice, planned and celebrated my wedding and miraculously managed to get pregnant at the ripe old age of 42! Phew! I truly am exhausted…..and nauseous and craving pickles, among other things. :-)

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Paleo Cole Slaw

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Nothing says BBQ like cole slaw. I love cole slaw. The problem is the store bought stuff is made with all sorts of crap I don’t want put into my body. Namely soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup. This is my go-to, super easy recipe that wins rave review every time. The best part is, once you make the Paleo Mayo (which I try to make and keep on hand) this is super quick.

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Sometimes I wish the Paleo Diet was called something else. I for one identify with the term. I understand its relevance and appreciate the spirit in which it is named. But many naysayers use the name itself as a reason to bash it, ridicule it and dismiss it as a fad without ever understanding it for the lifestyle that it really is. Some of the common criticisms I hear are:

1. It’s just a new version of the Atkins Diet – This is categorically untrue, I’ll explain in a moment.

2. There’s no way we can know with 100% certainty what our Paleolithic ancestors ate so how can you build a diet around it. -No kidding?

3. The fruits, veggies and animals we eat today are different from what was available back then, so it’s impossible to really eat like a caveman.  – This is true to a degree but not all that relevant when you understand the spirit behind the lifestyle.

4. Our Paleolithic ancestors died very young. They never lived long enough to develop heart disease or diabetes. How do you know their diet would have prevented these diseases or not? – A lot of archeological evidence and current day isolated populations provides plenty of evidence to base a solid dietary theory on.

5. Eating all that meat is an unsustainable lifestyle and is bad for our planet. – A common vegan argument and no more unsustainable than their own diet.

6. Eating all that meat and fat is bad for you. – This is especially common among those concerned with high cholesterol issues.

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So I have this small love affair with Hail Merry’s Raw Vegan Tarts and Raw Coconut Macaroons. My absolute favorite tart flavor is the lemon.  YUM YUM YUM!! The only problem with this relationship is that each sweet, rich, tart little temptress  is $5. And they are not big. I have to force myself to ration these babies out or I will go broke. So I decided to surf around on the internet looking for a decent tart recipe I could Paleofy. And I found this little gem from Tessa who tackled the hard part. I made a few tweaks to my own liking and they came out DELICIOUS!!! Give them a try.

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