The road was NOT easy. The elimination diet I had to undergo to find the foods that were wrecking my body (yes, even the healthy ones), was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Eliminating all starch AND caffeine at the same time damn near brought me to my knees. But after a few weeks, I really started to see changes; not only in how I felt, but how I looked. During this time I also went through several steroid injections to take care of a torn labrum in my left hip and (what we know now) torn bicep tendon in my left shoulder. I didn't workout AT ALL for nearly 8 weeks. I couldn't! On this elimination diet I had NO energy, at least not at first. Within a few weeks, I started dropping weight and started looking less puffy. Even my close friends who see me every day were noticing that I wasn't as puffy. I eventually went from nearly 130 to 119 lbs in a matter of 7 weeks. And I can't forget that we were preparing to promote our first show ever (a raging success if I do say so myself). A lot was going on, but I stayed the course. I found that the following foods were the absolute devil for me: Onion, sweet potatoes, garlic, peppers, artificial anything, and many more. I ate very paleo and nearly keto with next to no starches in my diet at all. I started to feel AMAZING!!!! The super high fats, proteins and veggies with small servings of fruit really changed my life!
So all of this was back in the April/May timeframe. Since then, I have started to bring some foods back into my diet and not live so rigidly. I have the occasional adult beverage (in moderation and ONLY with spirits I know don't give me issues). I stay clearly away from the foods I know will make me suffer, but still occasionally allow myself to enjoy some treats, even a starch here and there. As long as I don't have TOO much of anything that could cause me issues I'm ok (except onions...can't touch those ever along with a few other things).
I've also finally gotten my GROOVE back with my workouts! I stopped forcing myself to go to the gym after work. And when I say forcing myself, I was FORCING myself. I didn't enjoy it ever. I didn't enjoy lifting weights anymore, at least not in the traditional sense. I was exhausted after work and usually had to decide if I was going to get my CSFP work done or a workout and CSFP usually won...so I was next to never workout out and I hated that. So, I made a dramatic (for me) change to my workout schedule. I used to get up at 3:30 am every morning to get to work by 5:30 so I could leave early and get to the gym...except I was never going to the gym. So one day, I decided to get up at 4:00 am (I am a very OCD person, this was difficult for me because it meant I had to park somewhere else at work and walk further...OCD!). So I set my alarm for 4 am, rolled out of bed, had a cup of coffee for pre-workout (yes, I went back to coffee after the elimination diet), and was in my garage for my workout by 4:30 am. I finished my workout by 5 am and was at work by 7 am! My 30 min workouts are INTENSE! i have to work smarter, not harder (well actually I'm working smart and hard), but I have found that I absolutely LOVE getting that extra 30 min of sleep and getting my interval training done in the morning. After about a week of doing it regularly, I found that my body was craving it. It was never difficult to get it in because I WANTED to do it (I also wanted to catch up on Orange is the New Black while running on the treadmill LOL). But I finally found that workout groove again and was loving it.
The injuries have persisted, but I've modified the workouts to accommodate and work around them. I have surgery scheduled in December to take care of the torn bicep tendon in my shoulder, but for now a 2nd steroid injection has at least taken the edge off so I can continue my workouts! I also finally gave into my anxiety and asked for help in the form of medication. My schedule super hectic right now managing my full-time job, my family commitments and my CSFP work (writing the WTE When You're Expecting book, planning the WTE 2016 Seminar and planning for 2 competitions we are promoting next year); I was prescribed a low dose of Welbutrin. And while it's not the be all end all, it has helped tremendously with the stress and anxiety that I simply couldn't control with exercise, yoga, etc. Like the steroid injections, it's temporary as I get through this phase of my journey.
"Through pain I gain strength"
What will that next phase be??? Stay tuned...there is so much to come in the next year!
And don't forget to check out all the amazing things we have planned coming up in 2016!
- What to Expect When You're Competing 2016 Seminar - January 30th, 2016 - Annapolis, MD (On Sale Now for 1/2 Price)
- What to Expect When You're Competing Book Launch - January 2016
- ANBF Old Glory Natural Classic II - April 30th, 2016 - Alexandria, VA
- ANBF Patriot Challenge I - September 10th, 2016 - MD/DC/VA Metro Area