No Beginners Allowed

I sit here in absolute awe of the beautiful mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It makes me take a step back, take a deep breath, and be filled with what nature provides. I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to travel and snowboard here at Mount Bohemia.

It truly is a different place up here. Their tagline is “no beginners allowed”. It is extreme back country where they do not groom any of their runs and you can ride in very fresh powder. For scale, I took a photo with snowboard next to it.

Friday night, we drove even further to the tip of the UP to Copper Harbor. We hiked about 2 miles, in snowboard boots, to have a wonderful view and out first ride of the weekend. There’s something to say for hiking that hard and far, getting up to the top and knowing you’ve made it. You have earned your ride down. As some would say, “You earn your turns”.

It was my first time riding in about two years, and I can’t really put into words the feeling that engulfed me as I laced up my snowboard boots and strapped into my board. I felt home.

An oversight of mine was not trying on my gear before riding. As I put on my snowboard pants, there was no way I could wear them without a belt. It made me take another step back and realize how far I have come on my fitness journey.

It was my first snowboard trip without drinking. To be completely honest, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by not drinking. I participated in fun events, like a limbo contest that I was very close to winning. Too bad my height is against me in limbo! Another fun event I participated in was the “Man Carries Woman” event, which is apparently super popular in Finland. My friend Kristen empowered me to participate, but participate in the sense that I would carry someone else.

Here’s a video of me trying out the typically carry of this event with my friend Jennifer:

After realizing I can complete the event, we did compete, and took 3rd place. Here’s another highlight video, and shows my cabin buddies Kristin (banana) and Brandi (Hawaiian tourist) attempting to compete piggy back style.

This was so much fun, and made me think I could maybe compete in a strong(wo)man competition someday.

I am so lucky to have such supportive and kind friends that push me to my full potential. What was even more motivating, was how understanding they were of my competition prep. They saw me pull out my Tupperware and ate lean protein, guac and rice. They commended me for doing what I was doing when I was out to eat with them, and eating my prepared food.

It was very motivating putting on a swimsuit for the hot tub and feel proud of the body I have earned.

A weekend was well spent. Mount Bohemia is such a great time and I am grateful and fortunate for my time spent up here with such amazing people.

Love and Light,

Annie

What Keeps Me, Me.

Life always takes us by surprise. Just when you think everything is going great, there is something that pulls the rug out from underneath you. It knocks you of your feet and you need to figure out how to stand back up again. I’ve noticed my life is a little bit of a rollercoaster, that somehow balances itself out. I say this because whenever something very bad happens, something equally good happens in a short time proximity.

This past week I have been dealing with a lot. I always am dealing with the hardship of my Mother, as her mind slowly gets taken away from her. Piece by piece, day by day. It’s hard to out into words how you witness such a strong beautiful woman who had it all together, decline into a form where she no longer can go to the bathroom.

Layering on that, my Grandpa has been declining rapidly on a slippery slope. And with a heavy heart, I will share he passed away on Friday night.

Grief is such a vast topic, everyone grieves differently and there’s different types of grief. With my Mom, I call this ambigious grief. I grieved her the day she got her diagnosis, and every day beyond that.

I had shocking, sideswiping, rug pulled out from underneath me grief, when my oldest brother passed away. I couldn’t believe it, and went through a longer denial stage of grief.

With my Grandpa, I’m not saying it was any easier, but he was 95 years old, and his last week was in the hospital. We knew his time has come.

If you search grief in Google, you’ll maybe discover the K├╝bler-Ross model, otherwise known as the 5 stages of grief. They are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These are general stages, I do not believe everyone grieves in this perfect order. I do firmly agree with the model on the last stage of grief is acceptance.

With my Grandpa, it was much easier to get to acceptance. I think what made this easy, is the night of his passing, he visited me in my dreams. This was so very special and I absolutely cherish it.

Thinking about my brother, it took a long time for me to get to acceptance. Even when you may think you’re at acceptance, that doesn’t mean you will never have a STUG: Subsequent Temporary Upsurge of Grief.

For example, whenever I hear the band Green Day I think of him. Funny enough, when I hear someone say the word “moron” I think of him. There are other things I could list out, but I believe you get the point.

Grieving my Mom is very hard to explain. Her physical body is still here, and I am her legal guardian. I don’t have a Mother I can go shopping with, or talk about boys, get pedicures, etc. I do have my Mother’s physical body here on Earth, and I’m not sure where her mind and spirit have gone.

This is why I call her grief ambigious, it truly is hard to explain. I’m at acceptance in the sense that I know Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death, there’s no cure, no treatment, and we know little about the disease in general. What is interesting is how I am grieving her soul and spirit, and I will have a different experience when her time comes.

To wrap all of this together, I want to bring up the concept of a Mind-Body link. Your mind is 100% linked to your body, and will affect your output if your mind isn’t in a good stage. For me, there’s also an inverse relationship of this. It helps keep my mind at ease, if I push my body. I cope by keeping up with my workouts, meditating, and nourishing my body with foods that make it happy.

I let my coach know what happened Friday evening, and she was surprised I was at Sunday Conditioning. Without hesitation, I said, “This is what keeps me, me”. I know who I am, and I need to workout to keep my mind right. I have two short videos to share of the workout I did Saturday morning.

This was a special workout since I was working out not just to get stronger, but to focus my mind, and to cope. I video-ed some Step-Ups and Glute Abduction.

I also have good metrics to report on my check-in. This is Check In #3, and while I have lost a total of 2 inches, and the number on the scale went down short of two pounds, I will post my pictures because that’s where I do see the true body composition change.
Weight: 142.5 lbs

  • Chest: 36″
  • Waist: 27.5″
  • Butt: 37.5″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Bicep: 11″

Again, I’d like to close with gratitude. My last post about fear preformed really well. I am honored and grateful you have read this. Thank you.

Check In #2

Day 15 Whole30, and I am half way there!

Every Tuesday I provide check-in stats to my coach, and below are my metrics:

Weight: 144.3 lbs

Measurements:

  • Chest: 36″
  • Waist: 27.5″
  • Butt: 38″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Bicep: 11″

I’ve decided to not upload my progress pictures because there isn’t a noticeable difference between last week. There isn’t a huge noticeable difference in my weight either, in one week it went down 1.3lbs.

What is something to note, is my difference of inches compared to last week. I am down a full inch in my waist, a 1/2 inch in my thigh, and a half inch in my butt.

This goes to show, that the number on the scale does not reflect the full and true result of your body composition change.

I am happy to see that I am thriving with my workouts and eating Whole30. I don’t feel the full effects of tiger blood, but here are a few of my “non-scale victories” I’ve felt already:

  • Falling asleep faster
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Whiter eyes
  • Waking up easier
  • Going to the tightest loop on my belt
  • My once tight work pants now fit well

I am excited to see what next week will bring, and my full metrics from Whole30. I am half way there, and I’ve said this almost every day I’ve talked about Whole30, it’s not that bad.

I think a huge game changer for me has been meditation. My coach suggested downloading headspace, and I can’t put into words how much more at ease I feel. I love the image below, it changed my view of meditation. I thought when I meditate, my mind should be clear and I should squash all thoughts that circle my mind. But in reality, I should just acknowledge that was a thought, and be at ease with it and let it go.

I will now sign of with gratitude. I truly appreciate if you are reading this and welcome all comments. I am honored you are reading what I write. Thank you.

Eating Out on Whole30

Day 9 Whole30 for me, and first meal I ate at a restaurant today. I have a few tips on how to manage eating at a restaurant while on Whole30.

  • Look at their menu online. Check to see if they have a gluten free menu.
  • See if there is anything available that you could easily remove grain and dairy from.
  • Be very polite to the server and ask for their help and suggestions.
  • Come up with a plan of attack for the meal and with at least two options.
  • Be very appreciative of the server if they speak to the chef and ensure your order is made correctly.

Here’s how I managed my lunch today. I viewed the restaurant’s menu online and was pleasantly surprised to see a gluten free menu. I also saw a dish that didn’t include cheese in it! It was a grilled salmon fillet, brushed with lemon butter, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Knowing I couldn’t eat butter, I had to ask for the salmon to be cooked in oil instead. Assuming the mashed potatoes were made in bulk with butter and sour cream, I scoured the menu to see if there was a different potato I could eat. I was pleasantly surprised to see the offered roasted fingerling potatoes. However, there’s a chance butter could be in that recipe as well. So I decided if that wasn’t possible, sub more asparagus. When the server came over I was very polite, and told her my dietary restrictions. I asked politely if the salmon could be brushed with oil instead of butter, and requested for the mashed potatoes to be subbed with roasted fingerling potatoes if they could be cooked with oil instead of butter. I also gave the option if the kitchen couldn’t accommodate that, to please sub extra asparagus. Lastly, I requested for the asparagus to be steamed or cooked in oil.

I’m happy to report everything came out perfect at the restaurant. It is about adapting and know what is and isn’t possible. I was a little sad to not see a potato on my plate, but I am happy the kitchen was willing to work around Whole30 rules.

I’m learning that adapting is really helpful during a Whole30. When I come home from work, I put my lunch containers in the dishwasher and pack my next day’s breakfast and lunch. Monday night I had a dilemma. I was out of my egg bake! Oh no! Could I prep more of that and get to my volunteer meeting by 6:30pm? I think I can… I think I can… So I did! Then another road block, my 9×13 pan was dirty. I also noticed I only had 6 eggs left over. What was a girl supposed to do?

ADAPT.

I had a glass 8×8 baking dish clean and made a smaller egg bake with 6 eggs and made 4 servings. Ahhh, at last, breakfast is taken care of.

Then Tuesday night comes, I realize I ate my last portion of my sloppy joe in a bowl for dinner! Whatever am I supposed to do? Benji has puppy class tonight, I don’t have time to make anything!

Low and behold…trusty Walmart has frozen Whole30 meals now available. In my previous Whole30’s, this was never an option for me! Check out my findings:

Three different options available! The first two have the whole30 approved sticker on them. The last one doesn’t have the sticker, but it is Paleo certified and when you check the ingredients, it is squeaky clean!

You may be thinking, Annie, you just had lunch at a restaurant, why did you have to buy a frozen meal for lunch? Great question, and this is something that will stop you from derailing your Whole30. What if my lunch date cancelled last minute? What was I supposed to eat? I’m very fortunate I have a cafeteria at my work I could make a compliant salad from, but that is the least exciting thing I could get downstairs. Whole30 isn’t just about adaptation, but it is about preparation and knowing yourself and boundaries. I knew if I had the option to get something compliant from the cafeteria, I still would, but I would be tempted from all the other non-compliant meals available. I would also think of my meal as lack-luster and would be jealous of everyone else eating all the sugar, carbs and dairy.

Day 9 is almost done, and I am almost 1/3rd of the way through Whole30. It’s not so bad. I will be having one of the frozen meals tonight and will update on what I think about them! That’s all for now.

We All Start Somewhere

Well it is Day 7 of my Whole30 and I apologize for being quiet on my site. To be honest, the last few days have felt exhausting due to the change my body is going through. My body now is forced to find other sources of energy than sugar and simple carbs. This process depletes your energy levels in the beginning, but in about a week, I will start to feel phenomenal.

I wanted to post some metrics from my InBody scan I had done on New Year’s Eve. Please see below:

As you can note from above, I am starting off strong. I have a significant amount of muscle to start with, but I have a decent amount of fat as well. 23.3% is where I’m starting, and many bikini competitors get their body fat lower than 15%. I have a lot of work to do!

Sunday I had an amazing conditioning class with my coach and I am so honored to be surrounded by so many motivating women!

And that class was no joke, check my Fitbit stats:

I think that is all for now. Just wanted to give a baseline of where I’m starting. I’ll have pictures and measurements taken tomorrow and I may just update my post here.

I’m drinking Bigelow benefits tea right now, it has tumeric, chili, and matcha in it. I was pleasantly surprised to see what it said on the tag:

Calm, well rested, balanced, happy, these are all words we aim to be. But we must remember, we all start somewhere.