The challenge ended on Sunday. In typical fashion, I was delinquent in my blogging efforts because I was too busy telling the world I spent the last 24 days sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. I lost over 10lbs. Five inches from my waist and two inches off my hips. To celebrate, I ate the icing of the cake that had been in my freezer for three weeks and promptly threw up. That’s winning right there, folks.
Questions I got asked the most on the challenge:
1) How can you do that AND breastfeed?
Simple. I didn’t take all the supplements recommended for a non-lactating individual. No herbal supplements or extra stuff. I drank Spark because I only like coffee that tastes like candy and that’s apparently bad on a sugar detox. I also took Advocare’s Catalyst, with is an amino acid builder. Both are safe while nursing. In addition, I took the same things I always take daily. Calcium, Prenatal Vitamin, Fish oil, and Probiotic. With my diet, when I noticed a drop in production I simply added in a complex carb — I ate my weight in sweet potatoes, occassionally I had brown rice and black beans (may the paleo gods not strike me with lightning).
2) How are you going to maintain?
It takes a month to make a habit, right? So, for a month I’ve been eliminating crap from my diet. Surprisingly, I don’t crave any of the stuff I was craving the first week. Dairy literally makes me have cotton-mouth and my lips itch. So, that’s been an easy elimination. I’m essentially on week four and I’ve still been eating almost exactly the same. A little more fruit, but nothing crazy. I will have a cheat meal once a week because I’m human and hate feeling deprived, but I really like the changes I’ve made to my lifestyle and I know this is a way of eating I can maintain.
3) What about your kids? What do they eat?
This always makes me laugh. Uhhhhh- they eat what I eat? Both kids love fruits and veggies and protein. Jack won’t eat bread mostly (unless it’s in the form of pizza and then it’s like crack to him). Ellie is almost nine months old, so she eats small bites of whatever I eat and she loves it. They’re not normally picky eaters, so I’m very lucky that they both love to eat whatever I give them.
4) Would you recommend this to others?
Most definitely. It’s hard for the first 10 days, but it is great to readjust your system and fix some bad habits. Like with any challenge you can make it as easy or as hard as you want, so it’s accessible to anyone. That’s what I loved about it.
5) Where’s the picture proof?
This is pretty humbling, honestly. But good for reflection and motivation to continue to change.
Still have a ways to go, but any change is good change and continued motivation. Plus, at least my hair looks good.
(She’s the perfect CrossFit partner! She hung out for 21-15-9 of dead lifts and sit-ups RX weight of 155# and I finished in 3:29. Then 5×5 back squats at 185. My coach, Kris, carried her around like a little CrossFit princess while he coached. She loved it. )
I survived the baby shower without cake. My mom asked if I could see a difference having accomplished two weeks of no sugar, refined carbs (absolutely zero-gluten) and dairy. Can you see a difference in two weeks? My clothes fit better. I sleep like a rock (this is a bad thing sometimes). My workouts feel easier. I can’t see a difference, but I can feel one.
The cravings have subsided. I did dream about Starbursts… ew. Really, subconscious brain, that’s the best you could do? I don’t feel the need to bathe in queso. I am completely realistic that this way of eating isn’t sustainable after the 24 days. It’s completely okay to have a cheat meal. It’s acceptable to eat small amounts of dairy. It’s awesome to have raw honey and fruit. I think elimination periods are great. Temporarily. People are funny about the label “Paleo” because they think it’s a trendy, legalistic, unsustainable way of living life. For some people, that’s true. For others – it’s completely life changing. I know people who had health issue after health issue until they eliminated dairy and all grains. Friends with Crohns, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis (to name JUST a few) who feel complete freedom from their disease because of eating paleo. For others, it IS trendy. It’s cool to sip the CrossFit/Paleo Kool-Aid. However, I think the whole idea behind paleo is going back to basics. Eating close to the source. Eliminating anything refined or processed. Discovering what you can tolerate and cannot and moving forward towards a healthier life. If someone told me they were trying a new way of eating to be healthy, in no way would I criticize them for being trendy or hopping on a bandwagon. Instead, I’d rally along side them. Try to learn as much as I can about being healthy. And share knowledge with people in encouraging, uplifting ways.
Guess what? I ate brown rice last night. My breastmilk supply has TANKED this week. And do you know what was so awesome? I felt completely fine after eating that brown rice AND my supply went up. So don’t paleo-rsecute (see what I did there?) people for making adjustments to their diets where needed. I’M A NURSING ATHLETE, SON.
Josh gets migraines with gluten. I get GI issues with dairy (and really fat with bread). It’s been really enlightening to look at the food in our lives and how we function without things we LOVE to eat. I jokingly (kinda) say that Josh eats to live and I live to eat. Week two has really helped me view food as fuel – hitting some nice heavy weight in CrossFit has also helped motivate me. If I don’t eat small meals throughout the day, I will chew the tire off my car. It’s been fun doing this with friends. Laughing about how silly it is to be angry about not being able to eat cake (first world probs, am I right?).
So, here I go into week three! With a much better attitude, perspective and freedom about the food I eat. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
I am constantly looking for ways to improve my nutrition and eating habits. I read frequently. I have many leather-bound books and my house smells of rich mahogany. (Ron Burgundy, anyone?) Anyways, one of the things I tend to be horrible at is eating consistently clean. I will do wonderful for about a week. But then, a cheat meal here, a cheat meal there. Here a cheat, there a cheat. Everywhere… You get the point – it’s all gone to hell in a hand basket. I’ve come to the realization I’d be morbidly obese if I didn’t love to workout. This is a problem. I want abs, damnit. Like, legit “run-in-a-sports-bra” abdominal muscles. The kind that make people go, “She had two babies? 19 months apart? GET OUT.”
I have 10-15 vanity pounds I’d like to lose and my child is almost a year old. I have some bad habits that need breaking. I have zero mental stamina. I needed a kick in the trash to get started. Luckily, competition is one of the best ways to get me motivated. Our gym combined the Advocare 24 Day Challenge with paleo eating (I’m modifying some of the Advocare products because I’m breastfeeding). While I’m not crazy about supplementation, I am more disciplined when I think I have things aiding my progress. “Oh, this will make me 120lbs and 5’10” by tomorrow? I’LL TAKE IT! It’s going to give me cancer? Don’t care. I’M GOING TO LOOK AND FEEL SO FABULOUS.” Please note, Advocare supplements don’t give you cancer and I am dramatic.
Last friday I went to my CrossFit box to take before photos and do the entry WOD. The two owners officiating the challenge made me take my shirt off while they took measurements of my post-pregnant belly and then shoved me towards a tripod with HUGE lights surrounding it. Under the glaring lights, I blindly stumbled for the tape line to stand on as they made me face forward and “ACT NORMAL” while they took my half-naked photos. “ACT NORMAL?!” I screamed in my head, “How is that even remotely possible when I’m trying to suck it in so you don’t realize how much pudge I actually have around my middle, while not sucking in too much so I can make my after-photos look awesome. Also, I feel like I’m a convicted felon right now.” As I was being told to “TURN TO THE LEFT” I realized my crime was my lack of discipline and my well-deserved punishment was 3+ weeks of mental bootcamp (along with humiliating photos of myself).
Well, so far I have not turned into a fire-breathing monster or put my face into a giant bowl of queso. It’s been SEVEN full days and I’ve been 99.9% paleo. I’m really proud of myself. I realize that every year since having my first baby, that my nutrition has gradually significantly improved. After Jack we began dabbling in the paleo diet, eliminating (most) fast food and cutting out soda. With Ellie, we’d almost completely removed all gluten from our diet and working on dairy. Now, I’m completely dairy-free (with the exception of the rare occasion of cheese) and gluten-free. This 24 day challenge has made me step it up even more and really eat whole foods – veggies, fruit, lean proteins. Since I’m continuing to breast-feed I’m trying to eat small meals throughout the day and chug water. I’m averaging about 64-80 oz of water a day and working out with my CrossFit Box 4x a week in addition to teaching five fitness classes a week.
The punishment for failing?
I hear they whip people with cat-o-nines while making you run continuous sprints with weighted burpee box jumps every 400 meters. That’s hell for me, at least. I’m trying to challenge myself to be more disciplined with my diet. I think that it’s incredibly important to be aware of what you put into your body; using food as fuel and power instead of comfort and celebration. I’m also deathly afraid of wasting money. So, that’s also punishment.
A cheat meal. Just kidding! But seriously I will list out the things I am currently craving (and will eventually eat one at a time):
- Bob Armstrong dip (if you’re not from Dallas it’s beef, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo mixed in queso – it’s freaking amazing).
- frosted cookies from Pokie O’s.
- a hamburger with french fries (the greasier the better)
- a diet coke (oh yeah, the cravings are bad, baby)
- a vanilla latte from Whole Foods (the BEST)
Also, I am hosting a baby shower this weekend AND DON’T EVEN GET TO EAT ANY CAKE. NONE OF IT. NOT EVEN THE FROSTING. Send prayers.
I am the worst blogger on the planet. I said it. I’m trying to be better.
Anyways, well, 2013 ended very quickly and unexpectedly. It seems that the first half of 2013 dragged along at a turtle pace and then once baby #2 arrived everything went into hyper speed. Now I have a 7 month-old and a 2 year old starting his first Mother’s Day Out program (he LOVES it, by the way).
Our family experienced an over abundance of amazing things this year, let me quickly recap for you my year (however, if you follow me on Instagram these are no shocker).
JANUARY – We were currently living in an apartment with a toddler and trying to decide if we should buy another house or not. We were close to the ER where I work, our CrossFit box and lots of toddler-friendly places. On the other hand, our downstairs neighbor was a child-hating jerk and I daily wanted to push him out a window.
FEBRUARY – we traveled to Disney Land to celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday. This trip coincided with a work trip in San Diego for Josh, so Jack and I went for the whole week and explored together. We went to Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo (where I tormented him with a leash backpack), old town San Diego and the USS Midway with an old family friend! I was proud I explored a city by myself with a 15 month old and survived.
MARCH – We began house hunting fervently. Our neighbor downstairs continued to be a total a-hole (I plotted creative ways to kill him frequently) and we knew that it was going to be impossible to live there with two children under two years of age. Our realtor, Alan, was fantastic. He scrambled to find us houses when he knew the market was bare and sellers had control of everything. He even bravely went to houses with me and Jack while Josh was out of town – we even found THE house and made an offer the same day (my one contingency was I wanted the mini-trampoline in the backyard. Josh said I’m never allowed to make an offer on a house by myself again).
APRIL – Found out Ellie was breech. Did everything in my power to flip her, including headstands, hippy chiropractors, lots of stretching and inversions and even slowing down on working out to give her some room. She flipped. We bought a house. We packed up an apartment. We got a new dog (Zip). We are either masochistic or certifiably insane.
MAY- We moved in and had a baby within two weeks of each other. That was intense. Luckily, we are blessed to have amazing friends and family who dropped everything to move us, unpack boxes and feed us.
JUNE – DECEMBER – some stuff happened. I can’t remember specifics because I haven’t slept a full night since then, so I apologize if I leave almond milk in the cupboard and put my shoes in the fridge from time to time. I’m pretty sure I’ve called my son by our dog’s name and more than once fell asleep in Jack’s bed and woke up covered in drool. I probably have unanswered emails and texts from May, so many apologies to anyone trying to communicate with me.
I had a birthday, I think.
Jack turned 2.
My sister had a baby! After a very dramatic and stressful pregnancy, she now has a sweet baby boy named Wyatt.
We took our first plane trip with two kids (no one died).
The ER is crazy (much more to blog about later on this topic).
Josh turns 30 this year (we’ve been planning his birthday for a long time).
Dr. Doubter is still single.
We have a pretty awesome community of friends and I’ve never been more thankful to live close to my mom than this year.
Just a tip from new moms to friends without kids, if you’re afraid to text and bother us about hanging out or catching up on life, don’t be. We’d rather you be up in our chili, knowing that you care, then wondering why you fell off the face of the earth. We don’t have time to go to the bathroom in peace, let alone to call you. Not using this as excuses, just as a reminder that it’s okay to be a persistent friend. It’s even better to be the friend who brings wine over and helps fold laundry or holds kids while you go to the bathroom (CARALYN).
Our goals for 2014 -
- Live a life of simple abundance: If something comes in to our house, we need to give something away. Trying to live a life of contentment with what we have and learning to be creative with our resources.
- Put away our phones. Connect with people outside of social media. Our kids rooms are “no phone zones” but we want to extend this to other areas of the house.
- Connect with our community. We have church in our neighborhood. We are getting to know our neighbors. We are at a CrossFit box down the street. We want our home to be a place where people come and hang out, eat a good meal and are able to relax.
Photos by the amazing Amanda Geier
Happy 2014 from the Ramsey Family! Here’s to more blogging about our crazy life this year. Cheers! (I drank a whole Ace Pear Cider while blogging this – just for you)
I’m the worst blogger on the planet. I feel like Garth from Wayne’s World when he’s testing out the “Suck and Cut.” When he tests out the appliance, hilarity follows as the experiment goes awry and he screams, “MAKE IT STOP! IT’S SUCKING MY WILL TO LIVE.”
ellie turns SIX months this month. What? Where have the last six months gone? I know I haven’t slept much, so it really does feel like one long day.
He talks up a storm. He runs around like a tornado. He jumps and climbs on everything. You can find him in the most impossibly high and dangerous places possible. He’s incredibly smart and very stubborn. I wouldn’t say he’s in the “terrible two’s,” but he definitely challenges us and is constantly trying to disobey. It’s like having a little angry terrorist in your house who is trying to hold you hostage.
His favorite things to say and do are:
- “Now wait a minute!”
- Still calls Josh “Josh” (not “Dad” or “Dada”)
- Favorite foods are: pomegranate seeds and Pirate Booty
- Favorite movie is: Despicable Me (“Pickle Me”)
- Loves CrossFit. Seriously. Kid is sipping the Kool-Aid.
- She can roll over both ways and scoot.
- Is happy 99% of the time unless she’s not being held or talked to.
- Makes the LOUDEST happy noises on the planet. We jokingly say she “chirps.” Really, it’s more of a screech.
- She wants to put everything in her mouth and is desperate to eat solid food. We did baby-led weaning with Jack and it worked great, so we’ll try that with Ellie and see if it is also successful.
- Still nursing around the clock, including waking up every 3-4 hours at night to nurse. Longest stretch we can get has been 6 hours, but after that she’s hard to get back to sleep. That’s killing me, but we’re powering through.
- She dresses better than I do.
She has such great taste.
Anyways, once life starts slowing down and we eventually find our rhythm I will blog more. Yes, I still religiously go to CrossFit. Yes, I’m still working in the ER as a nurse. Yes, the kids stay home with me. Yes, we’re all still sane (barely). Life is busy and crazy, but we love it and wouldn’t trade this for the world.
Disclaimer: I’m writing a personal blog about my own education and experiences of exercising during pregnancy. In no way am I trying to tell anyone what to do during their own pregnancy or claiming to be an expert on fitness during pregnancy. While I am a personal trainer and fitness instructor, any exercise done during pregnancy should be under the supervision of your OBGYN/Midwife. No new exercise programs should be started during your pregnancy. In addition, modifications should be performed (and were DEFINITELY performed in my case) as your pregnancy progresses to ensure the safety of both you and baby. The goal is to share my passion for health and wellness through allowing you glimpses of my personal fitness journey.
Before pregnancy: As I’ve posted in a previous blog, I’m part of the cult of CrossFit. That being said, once I found out I was pregnant I wasn’t prepared to give up everything I’d worked so hard to achieve in the past year. Luckily, my OBGYN knew that I loved to work out and let me continue doing so (I modified when I got later in my pregnancy). If anything, she encouraged me to be active and do what kept me most sane! My coaches at CrossFit also were familiar with my level of fitness (and insanity) and kept a close eye on me my entire pregnancy. When they heard about my easy labor and delivery they took personal credit for the success as if they’d delivered that baby themselves. I also continued to teach fitness classes and taught my last spin class at 38 weeks (only reason I stopped was because we moved 2 weeks before Ellie was born).
During pregnancy: I started modifying exercise moves about half way through my pregnancy. I really didn’t decrease my weightlifting at all, having thoroughly researched why squats were better than Kegel exercises for strengthening pelvic floor muscles. Running was difficult about 5 months in, so I swapped that out for the rowing machine or Aero-Dyne. Around 8 1/2 months, pull-ups became impossible, so I modified with ring rows. Sprints became power-walks. Headstand push-ups became seated press. Cleans, snatches and anything I couldn’t do from a rack position became step-ups. I think some of my coaches especially got a big kick out of making me do weighted step-ups several times a week.
Me: “So, can’t do that move. What’s my modification?”
Me: “But, the move you’re modifying isn’t even remotely close to step-ups.”
Spencer/Josh: “Doesn’t matter. Do it.”
I didn’t watch the numbers on the scale obsessively. I knew I didn’t need or want to go over a certain number, but I really made it a goal to eat as clean as possible and focus on being as strong as I could be for me and Ellie. It was really pleasantly surprising to see numbers stay a consistently low gain, that still resulted in a 8 1/2 lb baby and super healthy mama. My blood pressure was always low 100s/60s, heart rate mid 60s-70s and glucose tolerance test was also a breeze.
The point being: you can maintain a level of moderately intense physical activity being pregnant and still carry a healthy, term baby. I am not super woman. I tend to be whiney and dramatic. But I love the community and accountability that comes with being part of such a special group like CrossFit, so I was determined to keep going to be the best pregnant version of myself I could be.
Delivery: (read my whole blog about it here.) I labored naturally until 7 cm, when they broke my water. After that, from epidural to baby went by verrrry quickly. My OB was putting her gloves on and yelling, “DON’T PUSH” as Ellie came into the world in less than 1 push. No tearing, no pooping on myself, and I could still move my legs with the epidural. It was an incredibly easy delivery. All those squats paid off!
After pregnancy: With my OB’s permission, I went back to CrossFit 10 days post-partum. I modified SIGNIFICANTLY for the first 6-8 weeks. I eased myself back into things, especially knowing that my joints were still loose (thanks, Relaxin) and my body still healing. My coaches, once again, have supported me unconditionally as I’ve slowly began to rebuild my endurance and strength. But, no surprise here, it’s been relatively painless (other than running, which sucks no matter how in shape I am). I’m lifting heavier weights than ever, I can do some skills I could NOT do pre-pregnancy and lost the baby weight. I’m still soft in areas I’d rather not be soft in, but I know I’m a steady work in progress and I’m ever so thankful for a strong body that carries and sustains life.
Being pregnant is not an excuse to be sedentary. It’s a chance for you to get creative with workouts and find what works best for you. For some it’s walking and water aerobics. That’s GREAT! I’ve taught fitness water classes for pregnant women. It feels INCREDIBLE to be weightless for an hour when you’re 7+months pregnant. For me, it was CrossFit. I love how it made me feel strong and powerful during a period of my life that is normally not a confidence-boosting one. I also learned to appreciate my body no matter how it looks and hopefully will be able to teach my precious daughter that strong is beautiful and numbers on a scale don’t matter.
We’re 1 month in to a new life with two kids under the age of two. For the most part, it’s wonderful. Hectic and chaotic, but wonderful. Jack loves his little sister, Ellie, especially her “feets” and toes. We’re working really hard on “GENTLE.” I always feel like I’m back training my Great Dane, Frankenstein, when we work on the act of gentleness with Jack. It’s goes like this:
He’s patting her feet and touching her toes. “Hey bud, let’s be gentle. Gentle. Soft touches with baby Ellie.”
Not quite getting the reaction he want so he’ll move on to poking her pacifier in her mouth and pinching her feet. “Jack, I said “Be gentle.” Hugs and kisses. No pinching.”
Now he’s trying to shove her paci in her mouth since he’s starting to get some sort of reaction. “JACK. GENTLE.”
Screw the paci. He’s going straight for the good stuff. One final war cry for curious boys everywhere, “EYEEEEEEEEEES.” “GENTLE, JACK! GENTLE, JACK! NOT HER EYEBALLS. DON’T POKE OUT HER EYEBALLS!”
So far, his sister is unscathed by big brother Jack. Although Dr. Doubter was really worried that he had given her a black eye when he was here gracing us with his presence (and making some absolutely amazing food).
However, in the midst of dealing with a new born, I’m in the throes of toddler hood. So, I’m nursing around the clock while trying to keep him from killing himself. Then it dawned on me:
I’m being held hostage by a Kamikaze pilot. In addition to trying to kill himself he’s making it his mission to take me out with him.
DISCLAIMER: any events happened are true stories and medical advice was consulted when necessary.
Exhibit A: When Ellie was 2 weeks old she decided to kick her umbilical cord off prematurely. Naturally, she bled a little bit which sent my husband in a panic. He asked me a dozen times if her guts were going to spill out (no, they weren’t), or if she was going to have an outie (no, she doesn’t). After the belly button drama we all start calming down. Josh goes into the living room to get something and I start to nurse Ellie to sleep. While Jack is quietly playing in our room I hear him say, “Water, mama.” And I look up as he’s takes a swig of the rubbing alcohol he swiped from off my dresser on which he has climbed. Immediately I yell for Josh, because OBVIOUSLY this is his fault, and he sprints into our room thinking the world is ending. I knew one swig wouldn’t hurt him, but I called Dr. Doubter in a panic to verify. This drinking binge was in addition to him climbing on our dining room table and taking a sip of Josh’s pale ale.
Clearly my son has a drinking problem.
Exhibit B: My friend, Amanda, graciously brought us an amazing meal after Ellie was born. While she was admiring my beautiful baby, Jack walks up to give me a big hug from behind. I then said, “AwwwwwwwwSONOFAB*TCH!!!!” as my son proceeded to bite my butt as hard as he can. My son who never bites. My son who is so sweet and loving. My son just bit my ass.
Clearly my son is an angry drunk.
Exhibit C: Any chance he gets, Jack climbs to the highest point on the tallest piece of furniture in our house. Counter tops, piano tops, sinks, etc. The week Ellie was born he learned to climb out of his crib. He has no fear. Of me or gravity.
Clearly my son has a death wish and he’s trying to kill me by ways of panic attacks and/or heart attacks.
Also, P-Kiddy (or “Teow” as Jack calls him) is missing, We’re praying he comes home soon. Tear.
Pray also for my sanity. And the longevity of my son’s life. God have mercy.