October 3, 2013

Unmanageability – Why I left Crossfit for Equinox



I have come to accept that I am a person who needs a schedule.  Just like my nephew….if he does not get his bath on time then bedtime is too late and he is inconsolable.  Babies need routine.  I, yes a fully fledged grown up, need routine.  I don’t WANT to need routine.  I really want to be a fly by the seat of my pants, go where the wind takes me, kind of person.  But I am not.  One of my essential truths is that I need my bedtime, on time, or I too am inconsolable.  I need my daily routine. 

How does this relate to Crossfit and my decision to move back to a regular “gym”?  Since I moved to Brooklyn I have been struggling with the unmanageability of my schedule.  It used to be so easy, my commute was about 25-30 minutes.  Crossfit was only a 2 minute bike ride from my apartment.  I could easily go home, change, bike to class and be home in time for dinner and my precious bedtime.  Now my commute is more like an hour.  Crossfit is two trains away.  I only made it there 8 times between the time I moved and the end of September.  Not enough.  I was always rushing, feeling stressed, worried I would not make it to class on time.  And let’s not get into the tiny bathroom and how unmanageable it was to have 20 girls in a space made for like 7.  (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my new apartment, sometimes I open my closet and just stare at all the space in there.)

Enter Equinox.  Located right next to my office and offering all KINDS of classes.  Crossfit-type classes.  Yoga!  Spin.  All under one roof.  And most of all, CONVENIENT.  I am not a natural exerciser.  If its not convenient, I am not going.  That is another one of my essential truths.   I am not a person who will go way out of my way for a workout. 

A bonus – Equinox has beautiful bathrooms. In fact, I would rather shower there than my own home, the water pressure is out of this world and they have Kiehls products in there.  I have Dove and Head & Shoulders in my own shower.  AND it is 50 dollars a month CHEAPER thank Crossfit.  UMMMM NO BRAINER. 

It does not matter what kind of exercise we do, as long as we do it consistently and we like it.  I LOVE the classes i have been taking at Equinox.  I LOVE being able to walk 2 minutes from my office and be in downward dog.  That is solving some major unmanageability.

August 30, 2013




We leave this weekend for vacation.  Two whole weeks in Maine in the Moosehead Lake region.  I cannot wait.  No cell phone service.  No broadband internet.  Just us, my husband’s parents, two really good friends, our beloved Sadie Lou, and a lot of nature.  A lot of nature.  Hiking.  Kyaking.  Campfires.  Maybe I will finally see a moose in real life.  After 11 years of going to Maine to see my husband’s family I have yet to see one.   Just as long as we don’t hit one with my dad’s car, which we borrowed for the trip. (Thanks Dad!)

The other thing I will be doing a lot of is running.  I have six weeks to get ready for the Firefly Run 5K on October 5th.  Who knows, maybe I will finally make the 100lb mark while I am up there.  4 lbs to go!

So ciao for now, the lack of broadband means no posts for a while.  See you in September!

August 5, 2013

What I’m Reading Now

Dr. F


Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!  We are still unpacking boxes but it is slowly coming together and starting to feel more like home in the BK.  Since my commute is just a smidge longer, I have started reading a lot more.  My mom turned me onto this book, Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Furhman, who coincidentally created the ANDI score.  If you have ever shopped at Whole Foods, you have seen ANDI scores all over the place.  Now, you know how I feel about the D word.  Diets = NO!  Bad!  Run away, Run away!  But the good doctor lays out a plan of eating that I like the sound of…though it is a bit different from Paleo.    Here are some of the similarities and differences.

Dr. F advises, similar to Paleo, tons of fruit and veggies.  In fact, he says 1 pound of raw  and 1 pound of cooked a day should be the goal, primarily leafy greens.  Holy schniekys that is a lot of food.  (Yes, schniekys, bringing it back y’all).   Dr. F also advises no dairy which is down with Paleo.  The major differences – Paleo suggests no beans/legumes and is high on animal protein.  This guy says please eat your legumes and go easy on les animaux as science shows les animaux cause cancer and heart attacks.  Oh and he is also cool with whole grains….NOT the crappy “whole grain” bread or crackers or whatever that are actually white flour with food coloring added in to make them look whole grainy (OH YEAH they totally do that) but like quinoa and amaranth and hemp hearts. 

Not sure I am ready to give up my steaks completely, but the science in this book sure does make a compelling argument to keep the meat in check in favor of beans and alternative protein sources.  In fact, did you know that a lot of vegetables have protein in them?  Like Kale?  Who knew?  And I mean, if Whole Foods works with Dr. F, he must be the shiz when it comes to nutrition…right?  I am still reading the book but I will keep you posted on my plans.  I am always up for a tweak in my food plan.

August 2, 2013

Happy Bi-Product of the Move



One good thing about the move and the insanity it brought to my life – I haven’t gotten on the scale in a good few weeks.  I have no idea what I weigh today.  For a while there pre-move, I was getting on that thing every morning.  Every.  Single.  Morning.  Celebrating any little loss and getting really bummed with any small movement upwards.  It was a total mind game.  I have talked before about my struggle with the scale and not wanting to weigh in as often.  Once a week or once a month being ideal.  My attitude towards that beast in my linen closet (OMG I HAVE A LINEN CLOSET!!!!) is ever-changing.  Right now, I am totally cool with staying off it.  Eating tons of take out?  Why would I get on the scale when I may have gained weight?  I just don’t want to know.  My clothes fit the same.  I think I look the same.  Why torture myself?  Maybe in a few more weeks after some good clean eating and crossfit I will be ready to see the number again.  I am in no hurry.  And you know what?  It is really peaceful.  Like a total huge relief right now.  I can practice loving myself not knowing how much I weigh.  If I gained two or three pounds over the move, it does not make me a bad person or even a failure.  It makes me human.  If I stayed the same, well booya!!!  Either way, I am totally cool being in the dark. 

June 13, 2013

Easy Does it and Start Your Day Over Anytime



Lately I have been asked how I handle slip ups.  And there definitely have been learning experiences along the way.  I am so not perfect.  From time to time I have definitely caved in and eaten ummmmm ALL the chicken tikka masala instead of just what I initially put on my plate.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself when there are fried plantains and dip on at lunch on Fridays and have seconds when I only plan on one portion.  But I don’t give up.  These experiences have not defined me.  In the past, pre-blog, pre-crossfit, pre-paleo, pre-this-whole-almost-two-year-experience, I would have said “oh well, I just totally blew it, might as well just eat whatever for the rest of the day.”  And then that would have turned into a few days, a week, a month, many months…

But now, now, I have tools to help me with these experiences.  Notice I am purposefully NOT using the word failure here.  There is no failure, only learning experiences.  Little slip ups to teach me lessons.  Failure implies I have totally F&*$%! it up and cannot recover.  And I say BOO to that! 

So what do I do to make sure that these slips don’t become full on blow ups?  I have two key phrases that I say to myself, and I talk to myself A LOT.  1) Easy Does It.  I talk to myself like a small child, to the little wounded soldier inside me who is crying out for comfort – because I mean, that is probably why I ate more in the first place, for some kind of comfort.    So I say something like, “Easy does it little Emma.  It’s OK that you ate all the chicken tikka masala.  You won’t gain 10 pounds. You aren’t a bad preson.  You didn’t commit a crime.  Take it easy.   No beating yourself up, no yelling at yourself, or anyone else for that matter.  It is really OK.”



And then 2) You can start your day over at any time.  After all that gentle speak, I remind myself, I can start the day over.  I remind my little wounded soldier to start over at the next meal or snack.  “Yes little Emma, you can have something really healthy and delicious at the next meal or snack, like some beautiful veggies and some nice fish.  Just wait until you are hungry.  But no starving.  You are allowed to eat today.  Not like before when you’d just go hungry to make up for a slip.  And no tossing all the hard work you’ve done by throwing the day away just because you ate more than you planned.  It really is OK.  You are safe.” 

That is what works for me.  What works for you?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!


May 9, 2013

Scale Stalker



I am a self-professed scale stalker.  Especially lately with my new crossfit classes and Paleo lifestyle.  Every morning, I ask myself, is it working?  Has my weight changed and has it gone in the right direction.  You know, DOWN?! 

It is really, really hard for me not to get on the scale every single day.  Ideally, I would just get on once a week, or even once a month.  Right now, not knowing my weight would be like if someone put a brand new beautiful Louis Vuitton Alma bag on a table in front of me and then told me I can’t touch it or try to see if my stuff fits in it or how heavy it would be or try it on and then look in the mirror and see if the bag is “me.”  UMMMM  TORTURE!!!!  Le Sigh.  Louis.  How I love you.

baby vuitton


OK a bit off topic there.   Seriously though.  Scale stalking is not always the best thing.  It can mess up your mind, especially when you factor in the monthly business.  So annoying! 

So how can I stay off the scale?  Make up my mind, take the Nike approach and Just Do It?  Or Just NOT Do It in this case?  Ask the Mr. to please hide the scale except on Saturday mornings?  (We did actually try that a few years ago.  He gave up.  Apparently, I can get mean.)  Once I just threw my scale away, only to go back to Bed Bath & Beyond a few months later and buy a new one.  Not doing that again.  I guess if I can just not eat cupcakes, I can just not get on the scale.  Or at least try… 




July 11, 2012

How It Works Part 4 – Spirituality

Final part of How it Works.  Spirituality.  This is no means meant to be a blog about God or dedicated to God’s message.  I am not here to preach or convert or attempt to convert anyone.  I am just telling you how my experience and what has worked for me. 

I myself am Catholic and a student of A Course in Miracles, which can be explained as the law of attraction/metaphysics (if you are interested, check out Gabby Bernstein’s site here http://gabbyb.tv/) I always did believe in God or a power greater than myself or Higher Power or HP, call it whatever you like.  It just never EVER occurred to me to ask God/my HP for help with this area.  I was like, isn’t the Big Guy too busy to care about my food and exercise problems?  But then again, isn’t that what He is up there for?  To help the humans with stuff they can’t figure out?  So out of sheer desperation, I started asking for help.  And I started to notice, little by little, that it kind of worked.  I started to feel better after I asked for things.  Just because I wanted to stop eating over my emotions does not mean that the desire has gone away.  It is totally still with me a lot of the time.  I need a power greater than myself to take it away.  When I feel like I want to binge, I beg my HP for help and I use the tools I have picked up along the way.  I am not about to abandon this new life that I am building for a Cadburry bar, you know what I’m sayin’?

July 10, 2012

How It Works – Part 3 I Like to Move It Move It


First, thanks to everyone who posted such awesome comments to the blog, sent me personal emails or contacted me on facebook!  I feel the love and believe me, I couldn’t do this without all of you!

I love this song, it’s my jam! (Did you see the old lady around minute 1:30?!)  Because you know, I used to HATE movin’ it.  And now I LOVE IT!  I was the stereotypical couch potato.  I would come home from work, sit down on the sofa remote in hand and stay there until bed time.  Not cute.  I did belong to 24Hour Fitness.  I joined in a mad rush sometime in 2011 – because that’s another thing I do. I get a great idea, I do it for a day or two, get bored, then move on.  Anyone else do that?  And I actually went. Once.  Yep.  Once. Not very effective.

Cut to January 2012, my best friend Nicole started seeing a trainer. And naturally, whatever Nicole does, I want to do.  That’s how we roll.  I figured, my food was in a good place, emotionally I was feeling stable, so what the heck!  It just so happened that I got 3 sessions with a trainer when I joined, but since I went to this gym exactly one time, I never used them.  Not to be outdone by Nicole, I called up and booked myself a trainer, I will call him Bob.  I figured, hell if after 3 sessions I hate it, I can go back to the couch and it will be all good.  In fact, I had every intention of just doing the 3 sessions because, who can afford a trainer on the regular?  NOT ME!  

The first session hurt like hell.  I wanted to stop after every exercise.  The next day I was in so much pain I could barely focus at work.  And it was AWESOME.  I was hooked!  We did the next two sessions and I saw Bob twice a week through April.  Financially, my husband and I just made it work.  There was no option.  I needed this more than cable TV, more than just about anything.   

Then my work situation changed and after a lot of thought, I decided the only way I could keep working out was to do it (insert big gulp here) at 7am.  Bob was not available at 7am but Tim was.  Tim the Toolman Trainer.  Tim has been happily putting me through my paces Monday and Wednesday at 7am ever since.

Bob could never convince me to do cardio in between our sessions, I just wasn’t ready.  Tim got me doing 20 minutes of cardio after our weight training and 2-3 other 1 hour cardio sessions a week IN ADDITION to our training.  Say Whaaaaat?!  Maybe it’s because he is easy on the eyes or because he winks at me sometimes or tells me he is proud of me.  What can I say, I’m pickin’ up whatever secret motivation sauce he is puttin’ down.  And it WORKS!  Lots more to come about what I ACTUALLY do in the gym so just keep reading!!!

July 8, 2012

How It Works – Part 2 Diet Has The Word DIE In It!

FOOD!  I love FOOD!  The type of food I love has changed.  I am not on a DIE-T.  The first three letters of the word DIE-T are DIE.  To me, being on a DIE-T, which has an end and a beginning, makes me feel like death on toast.  Instead of going on a DIE-T, I changed my lifestyle.  See, I am not one of those people who can have just a little.  If I have even one bite of chocolate or ice cream, I want the whole bar or container.  I am a total food addict.  I used to be a person who could eat an entire meal and then an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and then most of a can of frosting.  Anyone out there relate?

Let me rewind a few steps.  My weight has fluctuated my entire life. I have tried everything from Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers to the Cabbage Soup diet to the Mayo Clinic plan.  That Mayo Clinic one was really painful for me because I HATE tuna.  Yuck.  I would be able to keep weight off for a little while but then my binge monster would always take over. I could never shut this beast up!  I am an emotional eater.  Happy?  Eat.  Sad?  Eat.  Mad?  You guessed it.  Therapy helped me figure this out but WHAT I eat is also helping quiet the beast.

I mentioned in the About Me post that my dear cousin Pam sparked this particular journey with a Biggest Loser competition in September 2011.  At this point I had been sitting on my therapist’s couch consistently, emptying my emotional backpack.  I felt strong enough to try eating differently.  I started small.  I had oatmeal with a banana at breakfast instead of cookies and a MilkyWay.  I ate salad a few times a week instead of pasta or a sandwich with mayo and chips.  At dinner, instead of ordering hamburgers and fries every night, we cooked.  The weight starting dropping off.  I had a lot to loose and my body was responding quickly.  I called my food in every day to my wonderful Uncle Joe.  It helped tremendously to have a support system in place.  But it felt like a DIE-T

My employer sets out a cookie jar every morning with freshly baked cookies. These cookies are the devil.  Around the end of October I starting eating a few for snack.  That lead me to want more and more.  I starting binging again here and there.  I would catch myself, start fresh, and the weight would come back off.  Finally, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had the binge to end all binges.  And I had had enough.  I knew I had to do something.  I ate so much Saturday night, my stomach was so full that I couldn’t sleep.  I had to do with my binge foods what an alcoholic does with alcohol.  So that Sunday I put it all down. I put down sugar.  I put down flour – yep no white, no whole wheat.  I put down soda.  I put down wheat – so no couscous.  And I got sick.  Out of work on Monday sick.  A migraine so bad, I thought I needed to go to the hospital.  A stomach upset so horrific, I was embarrassed in front of my husband. 

image courtesy of Nurse Ratched’s Place

But it didn’t last long and by Tuesday, I felt better.  A LOT better.  And I haven’t looked back.  These foods are not a part of my life anymore.  I eat a LOT of other things.  DELICIOUS things, like these babies:

I sought the help of a nutritionist to get a food plan because I refused to DIE-T.  Changing my lifestyle and releasing my binge foods was one thing.  Being on a DIE-T, counting calories or points was another.  Counting things makes me CRAZY and my track record on these plans is not so hot.  I can’t sustain it.  I can’t even commit to logging my food consistently on myfitnesspal.com. What I could do is weigh and measure my food and stick to a food plan if it had a lot of yummy food on it.  I could do that.  And I HAVE been doing it every day since that week after Thanksgiving.  It is NOT always easy, but it IS always worth it. 

July 7, 2012

How it Works – Part One

Hey Friday Everyone!  Friday is my favorite day, knowing I can sleep in a few extra hours tomorrow morning is wonderful.  But I can’t sleep too late, my baby girl Sadie Lou likes a weekend run in the park with my husband, John, and me around 7:30am.  Isn’t she cute?!The next few posts get into the nitty gritty of how I actually lost the 50 pounds.  I didn’t just wake up one day and say “Hey Em, come on!  Let’s get all this weight off!” and then just start spending hours at the gym and eating kale chips as a snack.  Side bar – I haven’t ever actually eaten kale chips, but I hear they are delicious.  I had to address three aspects of myself in order to get this far: Emotional.  Physical.  Spiritual.   And the work has been slow.

Emotions.  For me, the weight gain and eventual weight loss started here.  Does depression cause weight gain?  Does weight gain cause depression?  According to WebMD, “People who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are more likely to gain weight over time and become obese than people who don’t.”  So medically speaking, if you have depression you’re likely to get screwed in the waistline department.  I can speak from experience, this is true.  I ate because I felt like crap.  I felt like crap and so I ate.  And the stuff I was eating was crap.  For years, I lived on MilkyWay bars, Ben & Jerry’s, Cadbury, and Diet Dr. Pepper – with some chicken and veggies thrown in when I had to eat in front of other people.  Clearly from the picture in my first post, this food plan did not work out for me. 

I needed help and fast because I was on a one way flight to diabetes-ville.  I couldn’t figure out how to stop eating.  There was no way I could go to a gym, I was petrified.  Work out in front of other people?  The thought of that was scarier than those rats from the Secret of NIMH.I had been to therapy before, it seemed to help a little.  I gave it up after I lost some weight and started to feel better, I thought I was cured.  NOT!  I gained it all back and then some.  So in July 2011, back into a therapist’s office I went.  Twice a week.  Thank God for flexible spending because good therapy does not come cheap in this town.

My journey to health really started in that office, unloading the emotional backpack I had been carrying around and binging over for three decades.  Oops! I gave away my age, yes I am 32.  After a few months and some really hard work, we shifted gears and now, I see the therapist once a week.  She is amazing.  I get to tell her all my dirty little secrets without judgement and figure out how to deal with life on life’s terms.  She gave me a safe place to talk about why I was feeling like crap and figure out ways to start feeling better.   Feeling better inside was my first step to feeling AND looking better outside.  Feeling better outside is the topic of the next post so stay tuned!