Body Transformation Week One

I’ll be posting for the Strong Is the New Skinny Body Transformation Challenge once a week on Sundays.

This week, after posting last Monday about my plan to stay away from sugar and eat less overall, I have to report that I ate chocolate almost every day, drank red wine on 5 out of 7 days, and overall continued to eat more than I need. I said I would clear my cubicle of snacks but the method in which I accomplished this was by eating them all week.

On the other hand, I had an *awesome* week of workouts. So overall I continued my recent trend of holding my weight steady while I suspect gaining a little muscle and losing a little fat. Since my only measuring tool is the scale right now, all I know for sure is that my weight is holding steady, but I do feel great about my workout accomplishments.

I think I worked out smarter and tougher this week than I ever have in my life, including when I was training for marathons.  I may have put in more minutes of sweat during my marathon training days, but it was a classic case of what Mark Sisson calls “Chronic Cardio,” stressing my body more than I was improving it.  There’s a reason why I gained 5 pounds before every marathon and felt like I was going to die by the end of each one.

Body image is such a tenuous, wavering thing. Something I write one moment may be true but something completely opposite can be true the next moment, or even at the same time.  For example, a few days ago I wrote “Dropping another 20 pounds wouldn’t hurt, but really, it’s feeling good and being able to do shit with my body that makes me a happy person.”  While this is true, at the same time, a different sentiment is also true for me, and it’s this:  I’m tired of being chubby.  Call it pleasantly plump, more to love, more cushion for the pushin’, or just plain big-boned, I’m tired of being it. I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life, which is freaking awesome, but I actually think I’d be more myself with 20 or so pounds less fat on me.

I am very much aware that I’m treading on unstable ground with this topic. On one hand, let’s be clear, I’m not obese. I’m not suffering from any health conditions which make losing weight or exercising challenging. I’m healthy and able-bodied, and I truly appreciate the things my body can do. It’s awesome to be alive, to climb and run, to have sex, to be tall, to move and move things with my body.

On the other hand, with some gravity I want to say that I’m aware that I am fortunate to have a wealth of foods available, both because of where we live on the planet, and because we have the money and wherewithal to purchase organic and local food of outstanding quality.  These are not trivial factors, and I’m aware that 99% of the planet is not in my situation.

Especially given the latter, it seems silly for me not to have my body be in the shape I’d love it to be in.  I have no reason not to, other than my childish compulsion to eat whatever I feel like, day in and day out. My ideal body is healthy, fit, strong, and lean (but not too lean). I have everything I need to accomplish this.

So, I’m modifying what I said last about my diet. I’m going to reset my relationship with food by eliminating inflammatory and insulin-spiking foods for 30 days, a la the Whole30. (I recommend clicking through, the Whole30 plan is well put together, and the rest of the Whole9 site has some great health resources.)  I started yesterday, so I’m sitting here now two days in, and so far so good.

This isn’t too different from how I’ve been eating for a while now, except that I’m cutting out dairy, cutting way back on nuts, and eliminating my “cheat day” on the weekend. Oh, and eliminating the almost daily cheating with chocolate, wine, and baked treats in the break room at work that I’ve been doing for weeks.

A couple points in particular for me to assist with breaking my habit of mindless snacking and to help lose some weight are that I’m going to limit my fruit to one serving a day, and limit nuts to 10 a day (it’s an easy number to count).

Another great rule for the Whole30 Plan is that you are not allowed to step on the scale for the entire 30 days, which is great for me to keep my attention on how I feel, rather than on whether I’ve lost weight or not yet.

To close out the week and start the new week off with a bang, here’s some inspiring tough love from the Whole30 folks:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.


Monday, February 21

CrossFit – Complete 4 rounds, each round consists of 6 cycles of the following: DB (dumbell) Hang Power Clean, DB Front Squat, DB Push Press, DB Lunge Right, DB Lunge Left.
Do not set the weight down during the 6 times through the cycle. Rest as needed between rounds. Go up in weight each round to perform the heaviest round possible.
Completed 12.5 – 15 – 20 – 25 lbs. (that’s in each hand)
Bouldering – completed 2 V-0s that I had done before.

Tuesday, February 22 – REST DAY

Yoga – 1.25 hours of Yin Yoga

Wednesday, February 23

CrossFit – 5 rounds for max sets
3 min set A / 1 min rest / 3 min set B/ 1 min rest.  (That’s 40 minutes total, much longer than the average CF workout.)
Set A: 1 Rope climb, 15 kettlebell swings (I subbed 7 jumping towel pull-ups for rope climb and used a 20 lb KB)
Set B: 9 KTE (Knees to Elbows), 5 Burpee Box Jumps (I’m getting my knees to about mid-chest height now on KTE, and I did knee push-ups and a small box with two 25 lb plates on it for the burpee box jumps)
Completed 11.5 sets of A, 10.5 sets of B = 21 total sets (since 1/2 sets don’t count)

Thursday, February 24

Running – Did the 3.3 mile loop at work in 29:20. That’s an 8:52 pace, yeah!
Climbing – Did 5.6s and 5.7s in the evening

Friday, February 25

CrossFit – “Fractured Fran”
Complete 5 rounds for time of: 95-pound Thruster, 9 reps (63 for women)
9 Pull-ups
Completed: 10:42. I did 50 lbs on the barbell, and jumping pull-ups.

Saturday, February 26

Climbing – Did my first two 5.8s.  Completed one long one with one rest on the harness.  The second 5.8 was my last climb of the day and I rested about 8 times and fell off the wall at least once.  Also completed a really long 5.7 without resting.

After so many tough upper body workouts and climbing twice this week, I was exhausted come Saturday night.  Until this week I had been saying that the CF workouts weren’t really making me sore any more, but this week proved me wrong, in a good way.

Sunday, February 27 – REST DAY

The first rest day in a while where I really enjoyed not doing anything hard.  What a week, it was fun!


4 thoughts on “Body Transformation Week One

  1. garyarthuryoung says:

    You. Are. My hero.

    How’s the Whole30 going? I looked at the website (or skimmed it) and thought, “Then … what is there left to eat?”

    Do you find it challenging to follow it?

    • jannamo says:

      Hey Gary, It’s going great actually. I’m going to post more about it on Sunday, but basically it’s a lot of meat and veggies which is what I’d been doing for a good while anyways. Being a perpetual fiddler I decided I think my insulin sensitivity was a bit broken, so I’ve actually cut out fruit as well, which means I’m essentially doing an extremely low carb version of the paleo diet. Day 4 was rough, but that’s apparently when you run out of stored glucose and your body hasn’t quite learned to burn fat yet, so today on day 6 I feel great. It would have been a lot harder to do Whole30 if I hadn’t already been mostly paleo-ish, though.

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