As a teenager and young adult, I had almost no restrictions on my diet. I somewhat understood the concept of healthy vs. unhealthy, but my wallet mostly controlled what I bought; and the cheaper the better. Like so many others, I graduated college significantly heavier than when I went in and was pretty depressed about it, but figured there wasn't much I could do. Most of my family was overweight, so I was destined to be overweight as well.
Fast forward to 2008. During that year I started running some at a local high school track after work with my then fiance. However, my diet didn't change very much, and my "results" were less than stellar. Luckily, in 2009, a mutual friend came over for a visit one day and convinced my fiance and I that we should try out this diet he had been reading about called the Paleo Diet. We were going to only eat lean meats, vegetables, some fruits, little starch, and no dairy, refined sugar or salt. I liked the idea and was very open to it, because my fiance and I were getting married later that year and I wanted to feel great about myself on my wedding day (there's nothing like upcoming nuptials to motivate a girl!). Well, to sum it up, my first experience with paleo was slightly less than horrible! Yes, I definitely dropped some weight (close to 20 pounds), but I was miserable for the most part because I was pretty limited in my cooking skills and what I liked to eat. I ate eggs and fruit for breakfast, chicken salads mostly for lunch, and more chicken (or pork chops or fish) and broccoli for dinner than I care to admit. Granted, my palate was not very refined, and at the time I couldn't stand onions or peppers, and I was not very adventuresome, so I was limited on the kinds of vegetables that I ate. Thank goodness for fruit! Plus, my activity level wasn't where it needed to be. Once the wedding was over, so was my desire to continue on the diet so strictly. I tried to keep the junk food out of my regular diet, but I added back most dairy products for a while.
Then in 2010, that same friend found out about CrossFit while he was in the military. After he got certified and built a little home gym in his carport, my husband and I became his first clients. We spent a year following the main site WODs (with plenty of scales and mods for me!) and were completely hooked on it! I was pretty horrible at it at first...box jumps, wall balls, and dubs were my worst enemies. I'll never forget the day he showed us a Turkish get-up. Ha! You want me to do WHAT?
In May of 2011, we decided it was time to take it to the next level and join a local box, CrossFit Tallahassee. If you had asked me even one year prior to workout in front of people, I would have laughed in your face and then cowered in fear at the idea. But having a general idea of most of the basic movements, plus a love for what CrossFit is all about, it really didn't take any time at all to get adjusted to working out with a group of peers. My first WOD was Diane! 21-15-9 of deadlifts and handstand push-ups. I'm sure I used all the bands that were available! But I didn't care. The trainers were amazing, the other athletes were so supportive. My box has truly become a second home for me. In July of 2013, I signed up for the L1 trainer course and earned my certification to train at our gym. You can find me there, five days a week, every afternoon.
Since joining CrossFit Tallahassee, I've participated in 4 nutritional challenges (and subsequently won them all!) and have learned how to cook delicious, healthy meals. I have learned a great deal about food portion through Dr. Sears' Zone Diet, and have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about food in general from several documentaries, including Fat Heads and Food Inc., as well as numerous Ted Talks. Most recently, I took it upon myself to complete a 21 Day Sugar Detox by myself. That has definitely been the most eye opening for me in terms of what kinds of foods I now feel comfortable consuming. Wow! There is sugar in just about everything! Today I kind of follow a combination of mostly paleo, with some primal (cheese just should be included in some dishes), and I truly do my best to avoid processed and refined sugars. I saw the best results through the detox, so I strongly believe that sugar is the enemy in our foods.
I guess what I have learned throughout my journey is it all comes out to finding a balance between what you need and want. I have learned to love such a variety of foods now and love to cook even more. This blog is kind of like my ode to my journey. I'm excited to share with everyone what has become such a big part of my world now.