122 Days – The Magic Is In The Details

“It’s too early to be this excited about life!!”  I shouted down to my puppy, who was suddenly doing hot laps around my apartment.  It was 4:45am and my alarm had just gone off.  After three full months of this, she was putting two and two together, knowing that when that sound happened, my feet hit the floor, and I was off to start the day.

But the truth is, both little Izzie and I did have a lot to be excited about.  I arrived at CrossFit that morning with the same enthusiasm she had shown towards me that morning.  I looked up at the board.  Our strength work was push ups, squats and pulls ups – yay!  I love push ups, squats and pull ups.  Then our WOD was deadlifts, squats and sprints.  Yay!  I love all those things too!

What had changed in the last few months?  Why was I not only loving my work outs, that felt like such a chore before, but being borderline annoyingly happy about so many little things, from trail runs with my friends to something as simple as the new coffee I was drinking or losing myself in a new series on Netflix?  Why did I suddenly feel like I was taking some kind of strong anti depressant - no longer stressing out about things that I once did, and why did I feel so calm and focused?

47 Days ago I decided to make a committment in my life.  I’ve always said I do ‘lifestyles’ not ‘challenges’ whenever these Paleo challenges have come up at my CrossFit.  Living with an auto immune disease, there are certain restrictions that always have to remain present in my life for me to be functional, which I considered my guideline.  I was hesitant at first when I heard about the Whole Life Challenge, not because I disagreed with the program, but because quite honestly, I don’t like to ‘compete’ in something like this if I know there is no chance that I can win.  With two ultramarathons on the horizon, staying clean with my eating through both seemed like an impossibility, and I knew there may be moments during a race of ‘sense over valor.’  Ultrarunning isn’t the healthiest of sports and sometimes unhealthy measures must be taken to reach a goal.  But the cool thing about this challenge is that it focused on a lot of aspects of health like sleep, water, training and even doing good deeds for others.  It was worth a shot.

I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to go extremist, as I do in most areas of my life (good and bad).  Along with the listed Paleo restrictions, I went all grass fed/free range with my meats to see if it made a difference and stopped eating out all together.  What I gained was this…

What I consider to be ‘the normal stuff’:

1. The return of my old lifting PRs that I had before my back injury.

2. Two very successful races, one finish on what is considered to be one of the hardest 50 mile courses in the country.

3. Energy is high, recovery is quick.

4. Decreased body fat, and the ability to look good in a bikini this summer!

Some ‘unexpecteds’:

5. I suddenly became organized.

6. I started to manage my finances better and I found myself starting to get out of credit card debt.

7. Overall memory, attention to detail and focus increased.  Less mistakes when I am busy at work.

8. Heightened sense of well being and confidence.

In 9 days the official challenge comes to an end.  I’ll go back to the view I had before and I’ll no longer be in a challenge, I’ll be in a lifestyle.  But it will be the lifestyle that this challenge taught me.  I’ve learned the true meaning of the words that I now live by:  ‘Food choices either make you healthier or unhealthier.’  There really isn’t an in between and there really isn’t any corners that can be cut – not for me at least.  That’s not to say that never in my life will I ever eat out again or veer from the program that I followed over the last two months, but when I do the decision will be a conscious one.  It is easy to forget that the magic is in the details.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mom April 5, 2013 at 1:21 am

I love this. Just hearing about your success has made me see how important this kind of lifestyle can be to anyone’s health and well-being. I promise to read my book and take a good look at what you are talking about. After all, we share the same gene pool.

I love you so much and am so very proud of you.

Love,
Mom

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