This past week we had another Cross Fit Assessment test in which we do 4 different exercises using the Tabata method. The Tabata method is 20 seconds hard as you can and 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes. The first exercise was pull downs using the machines. Last time I did this was 6 weeks ago and completed 54 pull downs in the 4 minute allotted time. This time I did 91 pull downs using the same weight, which means I need to increase my weight. The next exercise we did was push-ups and 6 weeks ago I was so over joyed because I did 101 push-ups from not being able to do any back in June. This time I did 130 push-ups in the 4 minutes and felt like a rock star. Unfortunately after this exercise though I was toast and the next 2 were tougher. Third in line is sit-ups, 6 weeks ago I did 81 this time 84. Even though there wasn’t much improvement I realize that I didn’t leave much after my pull downs and push-ups to really make a big impact on the last 2 exercises.
This brings me to the last exercise which was squats. Butt to the bench or they don’t count is how we do them and 6 weeks ago I did 148 squats. This time around I only got 137 done. I didn’t have any that weren’t counted but I certainly didn’t do them as fast as my first assessment test. I think that fatigue had set in and I just couldn’t get my legs to move very fast. It would be interesting to do the test again and mix up the order. My shoulders were sore the next day but I still was in shock I did so many push-ups. It does show that I’m getting stronger and that makes this all worth it.
I have no figured out the routine of our trainer and therefore the next session will be more cardio related. I’m not sure I have a favorite routine yet with my sessions but I do like a mix of cardio and weight training although there is a lot of wasted time in between transitions when weights are involved. It all works and it all helps and honestly I just feel great knowing my workout is over in 30 minutes.
Going back a week ago seems like an incredibly long time but since I do Bikram yoga virtually every day by myself it is so much fun when I practice with my sister. When she first asked me to meet her at the studio on Thanksgiving morning for a Bikram practice my first reaction was that I had way too much to do and couldn’t get it all done and be where we needed to be in time. My extremely level headed sister reminded that all would be fine no matter what time we started our Thanksgiving festivities and that was a special moment for us. We went and had a wonderful practice.
I was not surprised to see the room fill up fast with people but I was surprised that it was filling up with faces that were not familiar to me. I don’t pretend to know everyone that goes to that studio but I am there enough to have real sense of who practices in the mornings who practices at night and who are the weekend warriors. This particular day was all new people and brand new practices. Some had fluid practices therefore I knew they were practitioners and not newbies even though they were new to me.
My sister has been practicing and has a very nice practice. She is focused and stable during to the standing postures and pushes herself with a gentle hand and takes care of herself when she needs. These are important aspects of this practice. Many people have one of the aspects I listed above but she has them all and it shows in her practice. We were so energized and ready to eat when we left there.
It wasn’t a hot practice but once all the bodies got in and our mats were close the humidity went up quickly and I rather enjoy practicing with higher humidity then higher heat. I don’t mind a hot and humid room but if I had to choose I would choose humidity every time. My lungs particularly like the humidity versus the dry heat and I feel as though I can take deep long breaths during the entire practice. They say that Bikram is a 90 minute meditation using breath and I use mine. Even in the postures designed to make it difficult to breath there is a certain practice to knowing how to breathe in those difficult postures and keeping the mediation steady.
Mediation for me in this form is exactly what I need. I find myself falling asleep every time I do a sitting type of meditation and did it quite often at Kripalu. Matthew would mention that he could tell the moment I fell asleep since my breathing changed. In Bikram there is no way I’m going to fall asleep but I have to stay so incredibly focused and use my breath to keep me going for the entire 90 minutes. Since the Bikram practice is always the same my body and mind do become familiar with the postures and therefore the focus becomes even more important. Breath becomes even more important to ensure that I’m focusing on my breath and not letting my mind wander in the postures that my body has become accustomed too. The postures are the same but the practice is different every time and I rather enjoy my practices the most with my sister next to me sweating her stresses out right alongside of me sweating out mine. It was a wonderful day and I look forward to her coming home and us doing it again soon.
Our first morning waking up at Kripalu it is dark. Granted it is 6am and I’m off to my first yoga class. Matthew as sweet as can be says, “see you when I see you” back to sleep he went. I look out the window and darkness is looking back at me. Although, I’m certain it must be cold out there I’m tucked safely and warmly inside the walls of Kripalu getting ready to stretch my morning achy bones.
Yesterday our yoga sessions were all about being gentle and easing Matthew into the yoga as well as stretching our hips and lower back from sitting in a car for hours. Today however, is all about me really working my yoga practice and getting deep into my practice and my postures. The instructor this morning was one of my favorites so I was expecting a great class that was going to have me work. Unfortunately, it didn’t get any fluid off my joints but it did open up my hips and lower back as well as loosen up
my knees and ankles and I’m already feeling like a new women.
From there we headed to breakfast. The philosophy at Kripalu is every morning you start with a silent breakfast. It is time to reflect and keep quiet and just be with your food and your thoughts. I had forgotten how nice this ritual is and how much I really enjoy eating in a quiet atmosphere. During my silent breakfast I splurged on some yummy home-made banana bread and ate it completely guilt free. Back at home I will forgo these types of indulgences but they are made with love at Kripalu so yes I indulge.
Since we did the R&R program we are kind of on our own. This is the first time I have done this so we basically looked at the schedule and decided what we wanted to do throughout the day. There are lots of workshops and meditation classes as well as yoga all day long. I did everything I possibly could and this was the day Matthew headed to the spa so dance yoga was all mine. It is type of yoga made up of all dance and yes the first time you step in the class many are self-conscience, I know I was but now after doing it so much I just find it incredibly liberating. No one cares what I’m doing and just let the music move me. This hour is great fun.
The day wasn’t over by a long shot and there was plenty of workshops and yoga to be done and I did it all. However, after dinner we were totally exhausted and didn’t go to the music show but headed to bed early to get a good night’s sleep and start again on Sunday.
On Thursday I spent an incredible day cooking and preparing and then relaxing with my family. They are truly the most important people in my life and cherish the time I have with each of them. The day went by fast with a lot of laughing and some serious horse-play that can show up from time to time when the day is winding down. This can be my favorite time with my family when everyone is so relaxed that the just the silliness of who we are comes out and shines.
We ate way too much and yes my husband and I kept it fairly Paleo. If we were going by the 80/20 rule we were definitely right there. The entire meal was Paleo so there is the 80 but dessert got a bit off track in the 20 range. I did bring gluten-free pumpkin pie but it wasn’t sugar free and I did have a bite of my mother’s layered pumpkin pie that is not gluten-free or sugar free and while I was at it topped it with a bit of vanilla ice cream. Not very Paleo in the form the dessert but it was so scrumptious.
Now that our bellies are full and our minds are relaxed we headed to Kripalu in the Berkshires to work some of this food off and find some nice quiet couple time. Kripalu is an amazing yoga retreat center that I absolutely love. I arrive and immediately find relaxation. The people are all smiling and just incredibly happy to be there. Once we got checked in we changed our clothes and hit our first yoga session. You can do as much or as little as you want but my time there is short and as I my husband likes to remind me often I can get a lot done in a 12 hour period of time. This was no exception. I plan what I want and he does what he wants and many things wind up together but I don’t want him to feel pressure from my need to do it all and I don’t want to miss something because he needs to rest. I actually booked him some time in the spa so I could go off and yoga to my hearts content.
After our yoga session we had a wonderful dinner but I’ll tell you right now it is hard to be at a yoga retreat and eat Paleo. Often there is very little meat if any and lots of soy which we are completely avoiding other than the soy we just went with the flow and enjoyed the wonderful foods. There are so many vegetables which is totally Paleo and just worked around it. We certainly didn’t go hungry. We ate light since we had another yoga session after dinner and than headed to bed to sleep like babies and do it all over again. I love this place, all it has to offer and how I feel when I’m there. I was still swollen so doing yoga and putting pressure on my wrists and hands was hard but it is all part of my journey.
Happy Thanksgiving, yes I’m a few days late but for good reason. I will write about it in the next blogs but my husband and I skipped off to Kripalu for the a little Thanksgiving detox and decompress. However, before I write about all our experiences there I first must write about an experience that I’m less than thrilled about but it is part of MCTD.
I wrote about sitting in the cold on Sunday and having my legs seize up on me as I was leaving. I was having trouble breathing and my entire body hurt. My husband didn’t want to bring it my attention then but he brought it up to me on Tuesday and gently mentioned that I was living in denial and as much as he wanted me to continue with my flare up free days I had to start back at zero. I had a flare on Sunday in all aspects other than having a fever but I woke up with a fever on Tuesday morning and he said if I was being fair to myself and living mindful of this disease I had to come clean with myself that I had a flare and have to start over.
He is right on all levels but I think I wasn’t initially counting it as a flare because it was gone as soon as I was warm and we both thought this time the flare was so incredibly quick because I am stronger and healthy and taking better care of myself. I wanted so badly to reach 200 days and came so close but just counting days isn’t the reason I do this. I do it because I want a real assessment of how I’m doing, what is working and what isn’t working. I wasn’t being true about my self assessment by not admitting that I had a true flare up and now I need to work every day to achieve multiple days in a row without another flare.
Due to the holiday and our traveling my Bikram practices have been almost non-existent except for a wonderful practice with my sister on thanksgiving day which I’ll also write about later. However, getting into the Bikram studio on these cold days is what keeps the fluid off my joints and especially out of my hands. While at Kripalu doing our yoga classes there was so much fluid in my joints that I was stiff in postures and downward facing dog was really hurting my fluid filled wrists. Tomorrow I can get back into Bikram for regular practices, getting some of this fluid off and hopefully start feeling like my normal self. In winter I typically have more flare-ups do to the cold and the fatigue that comes with lack of sunshine and just running around during the holidays. This season will be about keeping stress down, positive thoughts up, Bikram practices regular, cross fit sessions strong, and walking every chance I get to stay limber and loose while I maneuver through another cold winter season.
Today is 7 days without a flare-up and getting back on track with a new game plan that will incorporate some cold weather therapy to get this body accustomed to being in the cold and having it adapt not shock it into flare.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I took caveman crunch to the game to snack on and wanted to leave it as a separate post to explain it. In the Paleo diet we eat nuts, seeds and use honey or maple syrup as sweeteners. A while back my husband said to me that he did not want to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast every day and what could we do instead. I did what I do best and started researching. I found a way to make cereal at home that he could eat but what we learned is that depending on how we make it, it can be a cereal with milk or a snack like granola and either way it is fabulous. We started with this recipe and use this website a lot but we have tweaked it to our liking over the last several weeks and I think we came up with our favorite version. This is now a weekly staple in our house-hold and it makes it easy to grab and go.
Original recipe is http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/grain-free-goodies/caveman-crunch/
This is how we have tweaked it and this is our favorite combination now.
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ sesame seeds
1 cup almond meal
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup walnut oil or butter is our favorites but coconut is a mean 3rd choice
¼ cup hemp protein powder
¼ flax seed meal
½ cup raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all the wet ingredients in small bowl and add the flax seed to sit for a moment. In a separate bowl add all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry and coat thoroughly. On a cookie add foil shiny side up and place the mixture on the cookie sheet. Place in an oven at 325 and cook for 20-25 minutes. Stir once or twice to make sure it is not burning or sticking to the foil. You can grease the foil first if you prefer.
Once it is golden brown take out of oven and let cool completely. Put in airtight container and enjoy as you want. We find that we have some nice big chunks for snacking and use the loose parts for cereal. We will also add raisins to the cereal or berries and I like almond milk with this cereal instead of coconut milk. You will also notice there is no cocoa or cinnamon in our mixture. Both are good but we found that no spice is the best for us. This recipe makes a lot but it lasts a long time too. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Several weeks back I wrote about intermittent fasting I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not as part of a planned routine. I described that I normal go several hours between Friday night and Saturday afternoon between eating due to my Bikram practice but that the time wasn’t long enough to really be considered fastening. I actually planned a day to intermittent fast and here is how it went.
This past Friday night I got home from work and told my husband that I was going to fast on Sunday instead of trying to find food at the football game that I could eat and probably wouldn’t like much anyways. He isn’t that crazy about the whole idea of fasting and especially with my level of works out he thinks it is too much. We listen to lots of people talk about if you have your sleep under control, very little stress and your food is good then fasting may be ok and even working out in a fasted state can be ok once you hit ketosis. The literature is all there but many things are not working for me, my sleep is not consistently great, my stress can be high, my body is already turning on itself in an autoimmune reaction, my inflammation is still high and I’m working out harder than ever before. These are not the best combinations to now throw in fasting. With that said, my husband also understood that when I got to the game I would not eat a pretzel just to eat a pretzel and although I could have a hotdog or sausage without the bun that didn’t sound so pleasing either. So, we agreed, we were fasting together.
We ate light on Saturday and stopped right after dinner. On Sunday morning my husband did eat his breakfast, I went to work out. We didn’t all day Saturday but I did pack some caveman crunch and almonds knowing that if we got searched they would have to be thrown away. Right before we entered the stadium I had a few almonds and they did not check my belongings so we were good to go. I actually thought I could break the fast and eat my snacks until I realized I had to take gloves and mittens off in order to do so. I left the food where it was and drank coffee with cream.
After the game I was so cold and exhausted that we headed home and I ate Monday morning when I got up. The fasting was fine and I didn’t have any shaking, light headiness or headaches. I didn’t feel like I was starving and I didn’t feel weak. I did think about food the entire time and had a brief moment of panic Sunday morning when I realized I was not eating. I did consume food so it wasn’t a true fast but enough of one for me to realize that I can do it but I don’t need to do it. For me right now there is no real benefit to it. Some people like doing it because they say they don’t have to think about food but for me I always think about food. If I’m not eating it, I’m thinking about it. I love it, I love making it, I love eating, and yes I even like thinking about it.
It is nice to know that if I need to fast again because I’m traveling and don’t want to eat in airports or somewhere else that won’t have the type of food I need then I can forgo food and not feel sick. That is huge for me considering before I started this I was eating every couple of hours or getting the low blood sugar shakes. I like the freedom of eating when I want to eat not when I have to eat. My husband fasted the entire time from breakfast to breakfast and didn’t miss a beat. He had no issues, didn’t even think about it, and just enjoyed the game. I don’t know if he will do it again but it is great to know he too can go many hours without food and not become ill. I use to keep granola bars in my purse for him in case we were somewhere and he got light headed. There is a real difference between being a sugar burner and a fat burner. I think we both realized we are in a fat burning state.