New Year, New Goals! Time to dial it in!: Coach Jenn

 

Coaches Corner: Coach Jenn

I’ll never forget the November morning in 2012 as I walked out of the doctors office and resolved that, from that day forward, my life had to change. I had been to the doctor for a routine checkup. During the appointment, my doctor told me that my digestive issues, chronic fatigue, high cholesterol, and overall poor health was mostly due to my sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of exercise. The doctor also told me that if I didn’t do something about my cholesterol, I would be on medication by the time I turned 30. I left thinking that I knew I had gained weight but I didn’t realize or think about how the decisions I was currently making about my health  would effect me for the rest of my life. I decided that day that I wouldn’t allow my diet and lack of exercise to take my life from me. I decided that I was tired of being a “big boned” girl. I decided that I was going to finally do something about the problem that had plagued me throughout my entire life. I decided that I was going to quit living to eat and try to simply eat to live. Here are some photos of me at some of my heavier times. I don’t have pictures of my heaviest because I didn’t like taking pictures when I reached my biggest.

In the beginning, I didn’t realize that all of my decisions would become a 4-5 year journey. I knew I wanted to make an entire lifestyle change so I needed to take it slow. I had tried all the popular diets at that time and nothing had consistently worked. The first thing I realized was that I was completely unknowledgeable about nutrition and what my body actually needed to function properly. I began to research and educate myself about what I was currently eating and what I needed to change. I realized that most of what I believed about my nutrition was completely false. I realized that things like “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” Splenda, deli meat, fruit cups, juice, fast food salads, reduced fat dressing, kettle cooked chips, and so many other things were not good for me. After this, I tried to lay out some simple steps to follow. I tried to make these manageable and attainable. The steps that I took after educating myself went something like this.

  1. I began keeping a good journal for about a month. I recorded everything I ate. I didn’t realize how much I was actually consuming when I considered snacks, soft drinks, and side items
  2. I began trying to limit the things I knew were bad for me. For example, I cut back my usual morning McDonald’s sweet tea to two-three times per week. I continued to cut this back until it was eliminated. I also taught myself to like coffee with almond milk as a way to replace my morning tea. I also cut back on snacking on chip or cookies. I began by cutting back my portions until I eventually cut them out and replaced them with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. I tried to balance my plate and lifestyle. I tried to make my plates and lifestyle look something like this:
  1. I also began to weigh myself weekly to keep track of my progress.
  2. I used my faith in God to help me. I would be lying if I pretended to be strong enough to go through all of this on my own. Throughout my entire journey I relied heavily on my savior, Jesus Christ to daily help me and give me strength to honor Him by honoring and taking care of the body He gave me. I used bible studies like this one to help me.

Here is a link that summarizes many of the tips that helped me:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/

I continued to try to eat healthier for about a year. I was stubborn and had yet to really try exercising. Over the years I had become sedentary and didn’t really want to change that aspect of my life. I hit a plateau at around 145-150# and decided that I had to learn to be more active. My brother in law had just started “this awesome new workout program” called crossfit. He talked about it all the time!  Finally, I took him up on his offer to go and do one workout with him. This was in December 2013 and I have done crossfit almost every day of my life since. Crossfit became my true love. Crossfit changed my life!  It consumed all of my free time. The changes I saw in my body was incredible over the next year and a half. It was one of the best things that happened to me in my life. I’m so thankful for crossfit and how it changed me. I’m also thankful for the people God allowed to teach me and show me how to correctly workout.

I loved CrossFit so much that I decided to get my certification and begin teaching others the sport that I loved.

It was at my CrossFit certification that I learned of paleo and zone diets. I was eating pretty clean at this point but when I learned of these new ways of eating I was excited to try a new challenge. At its most basic, the paleo diet suggests that we should only eat foods that could be hunted or gathered. This pretty much includes lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. This eliminates all processed foods. Here is a good photo and link with more details about the paleo diet.

https://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/

https://www.healthambition.com/the-paleo-diet-for-weight-loss/

Paleo told me how to eat and what to eat. It wasn’t until I began the zone diet that I realized the correct portions I should eat. When I began eating paleo foods in zone portion sizes, my level of performance and overall quality of life soared to levels I could have never imagined. I slept better, I felt better, I got sick less, it was amazing. Here are some basics about zone diet. I eat 10-11 blocks per day. One block is 9 g of carbs, 7 g of protein, and 1.5 g of fat.

For more information about the zone diet, here are some very good links:

https://www.zonediet.com/resources/food-blocks/

http://www.mountainstrongdenver.com/10-tips-for-converting-to-the-zone-diet/

It’s the beginning of a brand new year!  If one of your goals is to get healthier, get in better shape, and improve your quality of life, YOU CAN DO IT!  If I can make these changes, I know you can as well!  I encourage you to evaluate where you are along your journey. Are you at the stage of just cutting back your McDonald’s teas?  Are you ready to challenge yourself with paleo, zone, or counting macros?  Wherever you are, I hope my story and these few tips help you in some small way with accomplishing your goals! Please feel free to ask questions or talk to any of us at Black Bolt for additional help!  Happy New Year Black Bolt Family!