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08

Jul

So, uh, I’ve got a hypertonic pelvic floor and I want to tell you about it.

I am here to talk about my pelvic floor. My hypertonic pelvic floor to be precise. I would like to unload some of the information I have learned over the past few weeks of research and physical therapy for a variety of reasons – not least of all because I am convinced that more than a few of you are also living with a less than ideal pelvic floor. Heck, the superhuman Paul Buono has one (http://paulbuonochronicles.com/2013/07/06/hypertonic-pelvic-floor/)!

So, first, what is a hypertonic pelvic floor and how do I know that I have one?
According to the Institute for Sexual Medicine, the condition is when the muscles surrounding the vagina (in women – I am talking about me in this post, but YES men can and certainly do have hypertonic pelvic floors!), bladder, and anus are in spasm. A 10% increase in muscle tone of the pelvic floor muscles causes a 50% decrease in blood flow and oxygen. Holy moly! This leads to a build up of lactic acid in these muscles which cases the muscles to be sore.

Basically, a hypertonic pelvic floor is a constantly contracted pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is ideally elongated yet taut. It connects your sacrum to your pelvis and sits like a bowl shaped sling. It supports EVERYTHING I’ve got going on in there – uterus, bladder, bowel, etc.  When it is constantly contracted, these organs are pushed up and under enormous amounts of pressure. It also means that I am pulling on my sacrum and my pelvis which, in my circumstance, has created a pretty noticeable anterior pelvic tilt. If you’ve ever watched my squat you will have definitely noticed this.  If I had this issue in, let’s say, my traps, I would look like a hunchback. It would be MUCH more noticeable and probably wouldn’t have gotten to the point that I am at today as someone, somewhere, would’ve forced me to fix it. What we can’t see is often ignored – out of sight, out of mind. However, with natural movement and functional fitness, what we can’t see is perhaps the most important aspect of our movement.

I was diagnosed with a hypertonic pelvic floor by Dr. Susan Kellogg-Spadt at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute here in Philadelphia.  How did she know? Well, first she applied pressure internally with her finger and OH MY GOD! I screamed. Literally, screamed. It was so painful.  Dr. Susan then used a device to read my internal pressure. My resting score of 75 is what the average woman will achieve when tensing – my tensing score of 125 is what the average woman will achieve while delivering a child. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly – I am constantly feeling the same pressure of a contraction (admittedly significantly different in representation) every single time I tense my pelvic floor. Every squat I made, every time I tensed for a pull up, every time I rode a bike, every time I ran, my pelvic floor was receiving labor level pressure.

After visiting Dr. Susan, I was lucky enough to get an appointment with Dr. Perry of Stop Chasing Pain with two of my fellow CrossFit Center City buddies and our coach, Erin. Dr. Perry saw my issue immediately and also saw a very obvious expression of my hypertonic pelvic floor – I have an incredibly uneven squat. Without any weight whatsoever, I tend to the right when going down. Dr. Perry’s analysis is that I do this because my pelvic floor is turning off my right QL, right gluteus medius, and TVA which in turn makes my right side pretty much useless. If I can turn these muscles on I can be lifting SO MUCH MORE.  Dr. Perry is an amazing man and  I will probably get into more detail regarding my visit in another post. For now, just know that Dr. Perry and Dr. Susan both saw my hypertonic pelvic floor- one through a more traditional OB/Gyn exam and one through a much less traditional assessment focusing on movement.

I am currently attending Physical Therapy to help release my excessively intense pelvic floor. I am 3 weeks in to an 8 week series. I am seeing small gains and am MUCH more aware of my pelvic floor and when (and why!) I turn it on so frequently. More posts about PT will follow, I am sure!

So, other than a whacky squat, what else does a hypertonic pelvic floor do to you?

Well, a hypertonic pelvic floor can affect a LOT of your life from an inability to reach orgasm (your clitoris goes through your pelvic floor – an orgasm is a spasm of you pelvic floor. Boom.), your ability to hold your pee (double unders, anyone?), your ability to have correct, natural posture (anteriorly and posteriorly tilted pelves are a direct result), hip mobility/stability, weak core stability, weak overhead/upper body strength (pullups!), as well as “Pain upon penetration, soreness, “pressure in the vagina,” pain upon sitting, tightness, throbbing, aching, stabbing, “spasm, ” urinary frequency, hesitancy, incomplete emptying, constipation, rectal fissures, generalized vulvar burning.” UGH. http://www.sexualmed.org/index.cfm/sexual-health-issues/for-women/hypertonic-pelvic-floor-muscle-dysfunction/symptoms/

In general, a hypertonic pelvic floor means that something else is turned off. If your pelvic floor, like mine, is always facilitated (read: “turned on”) then something somewhere else will be inhibited (read: “turned off”). For many of us, this means our transverse abdominals (TVA) are not active and doing their job. They are not in sync with the pelvic floor and are therefore misfiring. Without an active and facilitated TVA, we have no stability, minimal strength, and (probably) poor posture and low back pain. When contracted, TVA will lift the abdominal wall up and back toward the spine. This will give natural space between lumbar vertebrae (expressed as a natural lumbar curve) as well as put my glutes in a position to turn on. For me though, my TVA has an incredibly difficult time turning on because my pelvic floor is taking all that energy. When I think about turning on my TVA, I usually wind up “sucking in” as do most people. Sucking in though, generally causes a flat lumbar area and a posterior pelvic tilt (tucked in) which is the total opposite of the ideal position when the TVA is on.

One of the biggest questions that I had for Dr. Susan, Dr. Perry, and Erica (my PT) was WHY. Why me? What did I do? How did this happen? There are myriad ways for one to develop a hypertonic pelvic floor. Below are some of the most common and researched reasons along with my take on my personal experience with each.

·    Chronic stress:  Tension patterns in the pelvic floor used to be unequivocally linked to sexual (or other types) of abuse. However researchers are finding that the vagina automatically fires (tenses up) in almost any type of stressful situation.  The vagina does this to protect the incredibly precious goods inside and this is a direct reflection of the fight or flight response. A fight of flight situation used to be rare for us humans but now, any stress will cause us to enter this mode.  Watching a scary movie? VAGINA SPASM. Nervous about delivering a report? VAGINA SPASM. Trying to get a back squat PR? VAGINA SPASM.  Weirdo guy walking a little too closely behind you? VAGINA SPASM. Chronic stinkin’ stress. Everywhere. All of the time. This is an easy one. I KNOW that I have chronic stress. How do I know? I am an American, that’s how.

·         Physical trauma:  Our pelvic floor is constantly used and takes a beating and in response tightens to protect the insides. Constant physical stress (load bearing), repetitive pressures (running , cycling, jumping – you know, like doing double unders) and blunt trauma can all cause a hypertonic pelvic floor.  

·         Excessive tension in the core:  Tension is NOT strength. We know this – or at least we should. Sucking in your tummy is not the same as having turned on and engaged abdominals. Right? Right. So having excessive tension in your core from habitual tummy sucking (ahem, ladies), pilates (with its focus on core strengthening with minimal attention paid to pelvic floor release and stabilization), ab crunching, etc will lead to a messed up pelvic floor. Movement and health professionals know that the pelvic floor and core fire together. It is important that the timing and force production are synced up and when you do these sorts of activities, you are messing with the timing and force production.  “Most people have replaced deep, abdominal activity with “sucking their stomach in”, and think they are constantly using their muscles.  In actuality, the sucking in motion is a pressure (like creating a vacuum) that pulls the abdomen’s contents up (not in), displacing the guts up against the diaphragm (hiatal hernia, anyone??).  You get a flat stomach that looks fantastic by the pool, but you also get a tucked pelvis (do we need to talk more about where pelvic floor disorder comes from?), no butt muscles used when walking, no real work done in the abdomen, and excessive friction in the lumbar spine, hips and knees.  That friction is called Osteoarthritis.” - See more at: http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/what-a-waist/#sthash.k5pcbvGe.dpuf GA-ROSS. I have been an expert tummy-sucker-inner since 13 or so. Never a skinny girl and rarely a fit one, I turned to sucking in to feel good about myself. Learning to un-suck and let my tum just BE is one of the hardest parts about this rehab. Ladies and gents, let your tummy go and be kind to your pelvic floor, please.

·         Unhealthy surrounding tissue: Trigger points, points of extreme tenderness or out of place “lumpiness” in the specific parts of the body are common in those with hypertonicity of the pelvic floor. That is, if you have extreme tenderness in your lower back, IT band, ab-and adductors, then it is probably worth investigating your pelvic floor. The picture below highlights some of the more common areas that can tip you off to a hypertonic pelvic floor. I was having pretty terrible IT band issues and also some pretty acute lower back tenderness.  I originally thought this was because I was running and therefore took it as a sign that I was not “meant to run” which is not true. I am just meant to run CORRECTLY and having a fully functioning, taut-yet-relaxed pelvic floor will allow me to do just that. Pain is a sign that something else is wrong. Listen to that pain – it might just tell you something really really useful!

I fully intend on updating this blog with more things that I learn along the way and trying my best to bring some useful and relevant information to you!

____________________________________________________________Sources:

http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/tootightpelvicfloor-2/#sthash.8HUFQ8q9.zHIHUjBJ.dpbs 

http://www.sexualmed.org/index.cfm/sexual-health-issues/for-women/hypertonic-pelvic-floor-muscle-dysfunction/overview/

28

May

5.28 Day 1 - Virtuosity

My priority for this Body Change Composition Challenge is VIRTUOSITY - my most favorite of Crossfit’s foundations. Virtuosity is often defined as “performing the common uncommonly well” - and that is what I aim to do over the next 30 days.

In a 2008 post, Greg Glassman explains, “Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.”


Now a year or so into my Crossfit training, I feel very comfortable in how I move. Perhaps a little too comfortable. I would say the main reason that I fell in love with Crossfit and decided to dedicate so much time and effort to it was that I felt really GOOD about myself. Crossfit rewards brute strength (and also elegant execution and technical skill…I’ll get to that in a minute) and if there is one thing that I have, it is brute strength.

Growing up I was always told that I didn’t understand my own strength - usually when I was whaling line drives that broke the third baseman’s pinky (yes, this happened) or when I was throwing teenage temper tantrums and putting holes in my wall from thrown books (yes, this also regrettably happened). Thanks to Crossfit I am now closer to understanding my own strength and I love it. I love that I can pull 273 lbs in a deadlift and throw 210 on my back and do a squat or two. I love that I know what I can do. 

Sometimes though, we let our strengths run away from us. We get too excited about the PRs and the heavy lifts that we let little things slip. “How was my depth?” “Umm, it was there-ish.”
"Did I get my chin over the bar?" "Uh, yea, I think so."
I think this is similar to the younger Cait not understanding her own strength. I am strong but do I use it to the best of my ability in the most effective and efficient way? Not all the time. Sometimes my knees cave, sometimes my chin is below the bar, sometimes my depth is questionable. I am very much that person that Greg Glassman describes - I want to be amazing and do all the cool things. I want to do butterfly pullups and pull 300 lbs and snatch as good as the Liberty Barbell Club kids. I am going to take the next 30 days to reflect on this desire and concentrate on building the most perfect foundation that I can. Without a sturdy foundation, we have nothing.

I am pretty much the same way when it comes to food, eating, and nutrition. I want to be that all star healthy, conscientious, clean eating wonder woman but more often than not, I stumble. I will have a bagel on a Saturday morning because it is easier. I will eat ice cream because ice cream is delicious.

Overall I am a pretty clean eater. I have my cheats but I don’t binge. This is a huge step in an amazingly positive direction for me. I could have easily exploited the Paleo lifestyle the way I exploited my vegetarian diet - and every other attempt to eat well that I have ever made in the past. I truly believe that the reason that I have (pretty) successfully transitioned to eating Paleo is because it is a lifestyle that is completely complementary to Crossfit. It is about doing things well, doing things naturally, using what is available, and listening to your body.

I want to bring the same virtuosity I aim to bring in the gym to my eating. I want to eat incredibly consciously and be very aware of what is going into my body - where it came from, what it does once it is in there, and how I will feel after I eat it.

Lastly, no matter how clean my lifts and my eating are, it will all be for naught if I don’t listen to my body. I have some relatively small physical issues in my lower body that I am determined to understand and work towards correcting as best as I can.

I am sure I will learn a lot about my body over the next 30 days and I am hopeful that I will teach it a thing or two as well.

GOALS

1. Virtuosity in my movements at the gym. I love lifting heavy, I love getting PRs, but that is not what it is ALL about. For the next 30 days I am checking my ego and going for uncommonly good execution. I will no rep myself and ask my coaches and fellow athletes to call me out when I am just not hitting depth, getting my chin over the bar etc. This will undoubtedly mean more drop sets and scaling back. My challenge will be in accepting that.


2. Virtuosity in the food I eat. Using “virtuosity” in that phrase is a little clunky but what I mean is clean eating. Focusing on knowing what I am eating, why I am eating it, and when I should eat it. No sugar (except fruit once a day), no gluten, no dairy, no processed foods. We all eat - I am just going to do it uncommonly well.


3. Virtuosity in my self-care. I have had a wonky knee and I now know I have a wonky pelvic floor. I will work diligently to pay attention to these things, investigate the reasons my body is behaving this way, and take conscious corrective action to allow my body to heal and get stronger. Rather than ignoring the issues or putting bandaids on my symptoms, I will take the time and energy to truly heal and set myself up to be UNCOMMONLY AMAZING.

19

Jan

Day 3!

Feeling good - a  little cravey for bread. I rarely eat bread when I am not BCCC-ing so I’m trying hard to remind myself of that. One of my goals for this challenge is to eat consciously and a piece of GF bread would not be sticking to that goal. I don’t need it, I want it and I want it probably just because I can’t have it.

Nutrition:

Breakfast - One slice of fritatta (the same one all week) and a banana.

Lunch - Sliced turkey lunch meat and a sweet potato. FYI sweet potatoes are the most amazing food to eat at work! 5 minutes in the microwave and you have a hot, delicious, filling thing to eat. Perfect.

Dinner - Practical Paleo smoky chicken thighs wrapped in bacon with sauteed spinach. Wowzers, very delicious! I am having so much fun making the spice blends she suggests in the book. I now must go to Ikea and buy spice jars because I have a million baggies with sharpie descriptions on them in my cupboard. Things could get weird if I grab the wrong one.

Snacks - 1/4 cup of dry nuts, baby carrots, spoon of sunbutter

Workout:

8am WOD. I should start writing what the WODs are. I will do that…soon.

Progress with goals:

1. Running - ran 2 400m sprints during the WOD. I ran very very consciously. Practiced all of the POSE skills and I did awesome! I felt great, fast, and comfortable. I love it.

2. Eat consciously - Like I mentioned earlier I’ve been cravey and that sucks. I am doing some quiet positive reinforcement in my head. Today everything I ate except for the sunbutter (and probably the spices used in the dinner) was locally sourced.

3. Expand my food choices - Meh. Didn’t do so well here but it was a ho-hum average Friday. I did have bacon on my chicken AND it was a new recipe so that counts…kinda.

18

Jan

So Day 2 ended with a not-so-paleo dark chocolate dessert because we were celebrating my birthday and seeind Louis CK…I had already planned this “cheat” so while it is most certainly cheating, I ain’t feeling too bad about it. :)

Nutrition:
Breakfast - 2 slices of fritatta again with ground chicken, spinach, zucchini, and onions

Lunch - 5 slices turkey lunch meat, 6 mini bell peppers (LOVE THESE SUCKERS), and a sweet potato

Dinner - Chicken shish kabob and hummus. I know hummus is a kinda no-no :/

Snacks - 1/4 cup mixed nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds - raw and unsalted), banana, dark chocolate omg deliciousness d’ahhh

Activity:
Good ol 8 am WOD:

Goal check in:

1. Running - didn’t run today but definitely feeling stronger. Foot pain is gone, knee pain is on its way out. Did 30 mins of foot strength building exercises. Walked consciously paying attention to landing on my forefoot and midsole.

2. Eating consciously - Well, I guess I didn’t do so hot here because I did not and do not care where that chocolate came from. Everything else I ate was locally sourced (minus the banana).

3. Expanding my menu - Brian had lamb shwarma which I tried. Quite enjoyed it but I’m sure I would’ve loved it more smothered in tahini and wrapped in a pita :)

17

Jan

Doin it and doin it and doin it well

ALRIGHT! This is day 2 of January’s BCCC but my first post so I will lay out my goals, my plan of attack, and food log shiz from Day 1.

GOALS!
1. Run an 8:15 mile. In Innov-8s. Without getting hurt. :)

2. Eat consciously. Mindless eating has been my downfall for roughly 29 years. I want to eat with awareness - awareness of what the food is and where it has come from as well as awareness of what it will do for me.

3. Expand my eating options! Last BCCC was my re-introduction to meat so I stuck with poultry and fish. This time around I want to get a little more adventurous and add some other high quality, local, grass-fed, good for you meat.

THE PLAN
The plan is…to do it. I will break down my plan of action by goal and request that if you are reading this and think my plan is total shit that you tell me in a kind and respectful way and also offer an alternative. :)

1. So, I am not terribly far off from this goal but I am incredibly new to running so I may have undershot (or possibly overshot) this goal. I am currently at 8:21 for my all out, run like a crazy person mile. The day I did this time trial, I wore my Innov-8s (zero differential) and wound up with a whacky pain in my left foot. I scaled back and started doing a lot (like A LOT) of research on transitioning to minimalist/barefoot running. I am doing specific foot and knee exercises daily and working on strengthening my feet. Getting the time is not as important to me as getting the POSE method down and running injury-free. My very first 1/2 marathon is 4/28 so yea, gotta get that down.

2. Eat consciously. This may seem like a silly goal but I find it to be incredibly important and vital to my success if I am to become healthy and aware. My plan to get this done is to do all of my shopping (for meats and veggies) at RTM or through other local farms. When I have cravings for junk or something junk-like I am going to log it, figure it out, and address it. I have learned (thanks to Crossfit!) that I am able to correct things more easily when I understand why I am making the mistake to begin with.

3. Expand my food options! This is the one that should be the most fun AND the most terrifying. The plan is easy: buy more food!

FOOD LOG DAY 1 (1/16)

Breakfast: 2 “pie slices” of homemade frittata with ground chicken, spinach, zucchini, and onions.

Lunch: Large salad of romaine and spring mix, half a red pepper, half a cucumber, red onions, black olives, two hard boiled eggs, and a few pieces of sliced turkey. Some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

Dinner: Chicken breast with mole poblano sauce and 1/2 cup (or so) of guacamole

Snacks: banana, raw almonds, carrots

Beverages: 108 oz. plain water, 12 oz black coffee, 16 oz herbal tea

25

Sep

So I have been incredibly busy and out of the entire weekend and all through Monday because we had a big event at work (www.careerwardrobe.org) called Style Me Hired where we makeover 100 women and hold an exclusive job fair for them…in one day. The picture above is of me teaching one of the job fair skills seminars that occurred throughout the day. My job is incredibly rewarding and also quite busy.
The upcoming month is going to be the busiest I have been at this job and will require me to put in some more hours and effort for very worthwhile reasons. I had considered not doing the BCCC because I knew this month was going to be so stressful and busy for me with work. Obviously I decided to go ahead and take on the challenge. Why? Because I figured that my shitty way of eating (which wasn’t all that shitty, all things considered) would only get worse during stressful times. What better time than now to develop new “coping mechanisms” for anxiety than the present? If I can’t eat the brownies and the pizza and the ice cream (oh, the iceee creeaaamm!) than I won’t eat them. Makes sense.
This weekend and Monday were the first really frustrating days. Not because I had cravings but because I found myself in situations where either a) there was delicious amazing food that I couldn’t eat in front of my face b)there were very very limited options or c) I felt some peer pressure of sorts.  Had I not been doing the challenge, I would’ve eaten the following things:- Homemade bundt cake with chocolate drizzle frosting amazingness all over it- Goat cheese with figs and almond bread- Ginger snaps- WINE! SO MUCH WINE!- Pumpkin/cream cheese super awesome super sweet dip-Many many ridiculous things at Buddakan namely the mini dessert donuts that came with blackberry jam and dipping chocoalte
Yea, so I missed out on all of those delicious things BUT you what I didn’t miss out on? Keeping my word to myself. I promised myself that I would be super clean for 30 days. I don’t want to break that promise. I am doing really good at keeping my promises with myself lately and a little bundt cake isn’t going to ruin that for me. Plus, I am sure I will get to bundt cake at another point in my life. :)
So here is a run down of my meals Saturday-Monday:
Saturday- Breakfast: Black coffee (Saturdays are really bad sometimes with me missing meals - this was one of those Saturdays)- Lunch: Fritatta with ground turkey, kale, peppers, onions-Dinner: Sauteed spinach with crab meat and diced tomatoes SO GOOD!
Sunday- Breakfast: Fritatta again and black coffee- Lunch: Salad with turkey lunch meat on top. Lots of greens and veggies…I love lunch salads!-Dinner at my parents! This included lots of delicious things that I couldn’t eat for appetizers and dessert but my mom and dad are amazing and actually googled some paleo recipes! Aren’t they the best? Lemon sage grilled chicken, roasted butternut squash, grilled sweet potatoes, and a salad.
Monday- Breakfast: Two fried eggs and some beans- Lunch: big salad with turkey lunch meat- Snack: a handful of mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)- Dinner: Super amazing boyfriend Brian came through again as I had to work super late. He made grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, and kale. Fantastic!- Dessert is happening now and it is a handful of red grapes and a cup of tea.

So I have been incredibly busy and out of the entire weekend and all through Monday because we had a big event at work (www.careerwardrobe.org) called Style Me Hired where we makeover 100 women and hold an exclusive job fair for them…in one day. The picture above is of me teaching one of the job fair skills seminars that occurred throughout the day. My job is incredibly rewarding and also quite busy.

The upcoming month is going to be the busiest I have been at this job and will require me to put in some more hours and effort for very worthwhile reasons. I had considered not doing the BCCC because I knew this month was going to be so stressful and busy for me with work. Obviously I decided to go ahead and take on the challenge. Why? Because I figured that my shitty way of eating (which wasn’t all that shitty, all things considered) would only get worse during stressful times. What better time than now to develop new “coping mechanisms” for anxiety than the present? If I can’t eat the brownies and the pizza and the ice cream (oh, the iceee creeaaamm!) than I won’t eat them. Makes sense.

This weekend and Monday were the first really frustrating days. Not because I had cravings but because I found myself in situations where either a) there was delicious amazing food that I couldn’t eat in front of my face b)there were very very limited options or c) I felt some peer pressure of sorts.  Had I not been doing the challenge, I would’ve eaten the following things:
- Homemade bundt cake with chocolate drizzle frosting amazingness all over it
- Goat cheese with figs and almond bread
- Ginger snaps
- WINE! SO MUCH WINE!
- Pumpkin/cream cheese super awesome super sweet dip
-Many many ridiculous things at Buddakan namely the mini dessert donuts that came with blackberry jam and dipping chocoalte

Yea, so I missed out on all of those delicious things BUT you what I didn’t miss out on? Keeping my word to myself. I promised myself that I would be super clean for 30 days. I don’t want to break that promise. I am doing really good at keeping my promises with myself lately and a little bundt cake isn’t going to ruin that for me. Plus, I am sure I will get to bundt cake at another point in my life. :)

So here is a run down of my meals Saturday-Monday:

Saturday
- Breakfast: Black coffee (Saturdays are really bad sometimes with me missing meals - this was one of those Saturdays)
- Lunch: Fritatta with ground turkey, kale, peppers, onions
-Dinner: Sauteed spinach with crab meat and diced tomatoes SO GOOD!

Sunday
- Breakfast: Fritatta again and black coffee
- Lunch: Salad with turkey lunch meat on top. Lots of greens and veggies…I love lunch salads!
-Dinner at my parents! This included lots of delicious things that I couldn’t eat for appetizers and dessert but my mom and dad are amazing and actually googled some paleo recipes! Aren’t they the best? Lemon sage grilled chicken, roasted butternut squash, grilled sweet potatoes, and a salad.

Monday
- Breakfast: Two fried eggs and some beans
- Lunch: big salad with turkey lunch meat
- Snack: a handful of mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Dinner: Super amazing boyfriend Brian came through again as I had to work super late. He made grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, and kale. Fantastic!
- Dessert is happening now and it is a handful of red grapes and a cup of tea.

21

Sep

So September 20th was Day 4 for me for the BCCC. Overall, it was a great day. Before I get into my highlights for the day, I wanted to write a little bit about being posi and what that means to me and how it is vital to my anticipated success with the BCCC.
Posi is a term that is pretty well attached to posi-hardcore and the straight edge scene. While I am hardly straight edge in many ways I do cling to the concept of staying positive. I have no god, no religion, no idols, etc but what I do have is an overwhelming belief in the good winning over the bad. This is staying posi.
We have so much control over our emotions and our thoughts. Not all of the time by any means; but much of the time we certainly do. I think people willfully ignore this concept and get swept up in defeatist and negative ways of thinking. So much of our world is negative - just turn on the TV or open a newspaper and you will be inundated with negativity. Political attack ads, yet more shootings in our dear city of Brotherly Love, countries on the brink of war, an economy that is just barely coming up from the depths of a deep recession. Yes, none of these things are awesome and no I am not purporting that we pretend they are. But these are not the ONLY things going on in the world. Do not ignore these things - learn about them, accept them, form opinions on them. Do not assume all will be right in the end without any sort of action - join with campaigns and organizations that are fighting for what you believe in, make your voice heard, sign a petition, volunteer at a Head Start. But DO realize that positive thinking is the answer. Reframing discussions to be centered on what CAN we do and what is going RIGHT does wonders. Focusing on solutions and happiness and hard work and good fights are all forms of positive thinking. It is not some hippie thing. It is not some hardcore thing. It is a way of approaching life. An approach that can do amazing things if practiced by many individuals.
It is not easy to stay positive all of the time. There are times when it is more challenging than any WOD could ever be. There are times when your life seems to be falling a part around you. Or times where you want nothing more than a bowl of ice cream. Or times when you are so physical hurt and  broken that you cannot imagine pushing yourself any further. It is hard - really really hard - to stay positive when faced with challenges, no matter how big or small they are to others. But these are the times when you really need to dig down and come up with what is good. Come up with what your posi mantra will be. Tell people you are posi. Tell yourself your posi. Smile - even when there is no reason to. Smile in the mirror and tell yourself, “I AM GODDAMN POSITIVE!” Nothing will help you more than that. Nothing.
 I got a tattoo of a heart with STAY POSITIVE scrawled across it a few years back when shit was not easy for me. I was the poorest I’ve ever been, had no professional direction, friendships were evolving and breaking in front of me, family was dealing with some serious issues, and I was constantly getting flat tires. I decided that I was going to etch that into my skin permanantly to remind myself that staying positive is a life decision, not a trendy fleeting thing. Also, it is pretty damn hard to be negative when you have stay positive tattooed on you - people call you out on that shit. Lifestyle choices - they’re where it’s at.
Major Highlights:
Breakfast was scarmbled eggs and two pieces of turkey bacon from Whole Foods. I attended a schmancy networking event in the AM and all they served was fruit and muffins/bagels/croissants and I didn’t eat a single one! The hot bar eggs at WF are probs not the best things ever but still, it was better than a muffin! I also had some pellegrino.
Lunch was leftover roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts with two small turkey sausage links. I also had a small side salad with balsamic vinegar and a cup of tea.
Late afternoon snack was a cup of black coffee and a small square of 88% dark chocolate. The chocolate was a gift from a co-worker who felt bad about offering me cookies earlier. How sweet! :)
I missed the 8 am session due to said schmancy morning event so I went to the 5:30. It was packedddd! I got a PR on my supinated pull up - mini band+micro band. 100 pullups with AB in 11:54. I’m not complaining :)
Right after the session I had my Sun Warrior protein with water.
I got home to an amazing dinner prepared by my uber-supportive boyfriend. He made some avocado chicken salad thingy from paleOMG that was delicious. Had that with a green salad and sauteed kale. He takes good care of me.
Dessert was a cup of bed time tea. Brian finally finished the M&Ms. YAY!
My energy has been through the roof! I am loving it. I have been sleeping great too. Last night I didn’t get sleepy until 10:30 (I am usually ready for bed by 8:30) and I am super stoked about this! I felt like I was getting too sleepy too early.
Still no super challenges in regards to cravings. I am sure this is coming but so far I’ve been able to mentally move past the little cravings I’ve had - you know, using positive thinking :)

So September 20th was Day 4 for me for the BCCC. Overall, it was a great day. Before I get into my highlights for the day, I wanted to write a little bit about being posi and what that means to me and how it is vital to my anticipated success with the BCCC.

Posi is a term that is pretty well attached to posi-hardcore and the straight edge scene. While I am hardly straight edge in many ways I do cling to the concept of staying positive. I have no god, no religion, no idols, etc but what I do have is an overwhelming belief in the good winning over the bad. This is staying posi.

We have so much control over our emotions and our thoughts. Not all of the time by any means; but much of the time we certainly do. I think people willfully ignore this concept and get swept up in defeatist and negative ways of thinking. So much of our world is negative - just turn on the TV or open a newspaper and you will be inundated with negativity. Political attack ads, yet more shootings in our dear city of Brotherly Love, countries on the brink of war, an economy that is just barely coming up from the depths of a deep recession. Yes, none of these things are awesome and no I am not purporting that we pretend they are. But these are not the ONLY things going on in the world. Do not ignore these things - learn about them, accept them, form opinions on them. Do not assume all will be right in the end without any sort of action - join with campaigns and organizations that are fighting for what you believe in, make your voice heard, sign a petition, volunteer at a Head Start. But DO realize that positive thinking is the answer. Reframing discussions to be centered on what CAN we do and what is going RIGHT does wonders. Focusing on solutions and happiness and hard work and good fights are all forms of positive thinking. It is not some hippie thing. It is not some hardcore thing. It is a way of approaching life. An approach that can do amazing things if practiced by many individuals.

It is not easy to stay positive all of the time. There are times when it is more challenging than any WOD could ever be. There are times when your life seems to be falling a part around you. Or times where you want nothing more than a bowl of ice cream. Or times when you are so physical hurt and  broken that you cannot imagine pushing yourself any further. It is hard - really really hard - to stay positive when faced with challenges, no matter how big or small they are to others. But these are the times when you really need to dig down and come up with what is good. Come up with what your posi mantra will be. Tell people you are posi. Tell yourself your posi. Smile - even when there is no reason to. Smile in the mirror and tell yourself, “I AM GODDAMN POSITIVE!” Nothing will help you more than that. Nothing.

 I got a tattoo of a heart with STAY POSITIVE scrawled across it a few years back when shit was not easy for me. I was the poorest I’ve ever been, had no professional direction, friendships were evolving and breaking in front of me, family was dealing with some serious issues, and I was constantly getting flat tires. I decided that I was going to etch that into my skin permanantly to remind myself that staying positive is a life decision, not a trendy fleeting thing. Also, it is pretty damn hard to be negative when you have stay positive tattooed on you - people call you out on that shit. Lifestyle choices - they’re where it’s at.

Major Highlights:

  • Breakfast was scarmbled eggs and two pieces of turkey bacon from Whole Foods. I attended a schmancy networking event in the AM and all they served was fruit and muffins/bagels/croissants and I didn’t eat a single one! The hot bar eggs at WF are probs not the best things ever but still, it was better than a muffin! I also had some pellegrino.
  • Lunch was leftover roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts with two small turkey sausage links. I also had a small side salad with balsamic vinegar and a cup of tea.
  • Late afternoon snack was a cup of black coffee and a small square of 88% dark chocolate. The chocolate was a gift from a co-worker who felt bad about offering me cookies earlier. How sweet! :)
  • I missed the 8 am session due to said schmancy morning event so I went to the 5:30. It was packedddd! I got a PR on my supinated pull up - mini band+micro band. 100 pullups with AB in 11:54. I’m not complaining :)
  • Right after the session I had my Sun Warrior protein with water.
  • I got home to an amazing dinner prepared by my uber-supportive boyfriend. He made some avocado chicken salad thingy from paleOMG that was delicious. Had that with a green salad and sauteed kale. He takes good care of me.
  • Dessert was a cup of bed time tea. Brian finally finished the M&Ms. YAY!
  • My energy has been through the roof! I am loving it. I have been sleeping great too. Last night I didn’t get sleepy until 10:30 (I am usually ready for bed by 8:30) and I am super stoked about this! I felt like I was getting too sleepy too early.
  • Still no super challenges in regards to cravings. I am sure this is coming but so far I’ve been able to mentally move past the little cravings I’ve had - you know, using positive thinking :)

20

Sep

Although I am writing this post today, it is about yesterday (Day 4 of my challenge and also Sept 18th!).
Started off with a standing appointment with Tansy Briggs - a very fabulous acupuncturist operating out of Six Fishes Healing Arts on 15th and Fitzwater. Acupuncture days are also my rest days - mostly because there is no way I will be able to physically workout afterwards. For the uninitiated, acupuncture really leaves you feel drained, tired, and sore by the end of the day. It releases so much crap out of your poor energy-clogged body that you are really just reduced to mush WHICH IS A GOOD THING! Sometimes we need to be mush - it gives our bodies a chance to relax, restore, heal, and get ready for the next assault. This session focused on my inability to sleep soundly through the night without tossing and turning and also as a supplement to the BCCC and my new way of eating. Apparently acupuncture can also support changes in diet! Who knew!
If you are interested in acupuncture at all, you should definitely check it out. Unlike much of Western medicine that focuses on medication (chemically produced medication at that) and surgery, acupuncture won’t hurt you if it doesn’t work. Kinda the whole no harm, no foul thing. According to a study that just came on out Sept. 10 that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain. This is HUGE for acupuncture folks because it (kinda) validates all of the hard work they have been doing for a very very long time. Read more about the study and acupuncture in general here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture. You know why else this study is awesome? BECAUSE IT MEANS MORE HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS WILL MOST LIKELY START COVERING IT!! Great news for the thousands upon thousands of folks living with chronic pain, unbalanced energies, restless nights, general malaise, etc.
Major Highlights:
Morning started off with acupuncture! Brilliant. I had a spoon of almond butter before I left because I tend to get a little light headed on the table and wanted to keep that at bay. 
Breakfast was - kale, one hard boiled egg, two turkey sausage breakfast links from RTM. YUM! Had a cup of herbal tea with this too. 
Lunch was a salad with leftover turkey sliders on top. A ton of greens and veggies (red pepper, cucumber, carrot, onion, tomatoes) so I felt super satisfied and full. 
Snack was a clementine - I couldn’t resist - and a small black coffee. 
Dinner was 8 oz of baked salmon with roasted yukon potatoes and brussel sprouts. Super amazingly delicious! I would up making a rag tag sauce for the salmon using mustard seed and powder, olive oil, onions, and red hot sauce. Worked for me. 
I drank 5 27 oz. bottles of water today. This is pretty average for me but I would like to up my intake - may help with some of the cravings I get. Does lemon in water really help with that? Experiment time!
I think I am still high on the concept of a challenge so no real struggles with cravings. 
Those goddamn M&Ms are still in my house but Brian is doing a bang up job of eating them so hopefully they will be gone soon! 
Sleeping like a babyyyy! As I am not running a good control re: diet vs. acupuncture, I don’t know which deserves more credit but I am pretty confident that it is a little bit of both. Plus sleeping with the windows open with a cuddly kitty and an even cuddly-er boyfriends can’t hurt either. :)

Although I am writing this post today, it is about yesterday (Day 4 of my challenge and also Sept 18th!).

Started off with a standing appointment with Tansy Briggs - a very fabulous acupuncturist operating out of Six Fishes Healing Arts on 15th and Fitzwater. Acupuncture days are also my rest days - mostly because there is no way I will be able to physically workout afterwards. For the uninitiated, acupuncture really leaves you feel drained, tired, and sore by the end of the day. It releases so much crap out of your poor energy-clogged body that you are really just reduced to mush WHICH IS A GOOD THING! Sometimes we need to be mush - it gives our bodies a chance to relax, restore, heal, and get ready for the next assault. This session focused on my inability to sleep soundly through the night without tossing and turning and also as a supplement to the BCCC and my new way of eating. Apparently acupuncture can also support changes in diet! Who knew!

If you are interested in acupuncture at all, you should definitely check it out. Unlike much of Western medicine that focuses on medication (chemically produced medication at that) and surgery, acupuncture won’t hurt you if it doesn’t work. Kinda the whole no harm, no foul thing. According to a study that just came on out Sept. 10 that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain. This is HUGE for acupuncture folks because it (kinda) validates all of the hard work they have been doing for a very very long time. Read more about the study and acupuncture in general here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture. You know why else this study is awesome? BECAUSE IT MEANS MORE HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS WILL MOST LIKELY START COVERING IT!! Great news for the thousands upon thousands of folks living with chronic pain, unbalanced energies, restless nights, general malaise, etc.

Major Highlights:

  • Morning started off with acupuncture! Brilliant. I had a spoon of almond butter before I left because I tend to get a little light headed on the table and wanted to keep that at bay.
  • Breakfast was - kale, one hard boiled egg, two turkey sausage breakfast links from RTM. YUM! Had a cup of herbal tea with this too.
  • Lunch was a salad with leftover turkey sliders on top. A ton of greens and veggies (red pepper, cucumber, carrot, onion, tomatoes) so I felt super satisfied and full.
  • Snack was a clementine - I couldn’t resist - and a small black coffee.
  • Dinner was 8 oz of baked salmon with roasted yukon potatoes and brussel sprouts. Super amazingly delicious! I would up making a rag tag sauce for the salmon using mustard seed and powder, olive oil, onions, and red hot sauce. Worked for me.
  • I drank 5 27 oz. bottles of water today. This is pretty average for me but I would like to up my intake - may help with some of the cravings I get. Does lemon in water really help with that? Experiment time!
  • I think I am still high on the concept of a challenge so no real struggles with cravings.
  • Those goddamn M&Ms are still in my house but Brian is doing a bang up job of eating them so hopefully they will be gone soon!
  • Sleeping like a babyyyy! As I am not running a good control re: diet vs. acupuncture, I don’t know which deserves more credit but I am pretty confident that it is a little bit of both. Plus sleeping with the windows open with a cuddly kitty and an even cuddly-er boyfriends can’t hurt either. :)

18

Sep

Day 2 was pretty fantastic. I was incredibly busy at work (like super busy…super, super busy!) and I still stayed 100% on point. Boo-yah.
I know it is only Day 2 but I have a lot of confidence in myself to be successful with this whole BCCC thing. I am taking this challenge on for a variety of reasons - not least of all that I want to prove to myself that I can do it. When I tell some people about it they say, “Oh my god! I could never give up (insert anything with gluten, dairy, or sugar)! You are crazy/awesome/dumb!” Well, it is a relatively easy thing to do. You just decide to do it and you stick with it. It is like most other things in life. No one said it was easy and no one said it was without frustration, annoyance, and probably some amount of pain - either real or imagined. But this doesn’t mean that it is impossible or even that hard. It just requires a shift in priorities, a conscious effort, and a will to succeed. Oh yea, and some know-how.
I shifted my priorities. I decided I was going to make this work. I have an iron will (I think). However, what I did not have was the know-how. I don’t know how to cook meat, I don’t know where to buy meat, I don’t know how to build meals. BUT ERIN DOES!
Today I had a lucky run-in with none other than Ms. Erin Davidson at Reading Terminal. I decided to pop in the market during work when it wouldn’t be too crowded to look around and to stop by Fair Food Farmstand and see what was up. Erin happened to be there picking up some things to make a broth (a ginger-carrot chicken broth…with Hawaiian ginger! Sounds good to me.) and GRACIOUSLY and FABULOUSLY showed me around not just the Fair Food Farmstand but the entire market. Erin answered all of my questions, pointed out some good pieces of meat, gave me some ideas for easy meals, and reinforced my desire to RULE at the BCCC. The picture is one she took when I got excited that I could eat potatoes!
Highlights from Day 2:
Breakfast was once again kale and hard boiled eggs. Today I was a little sad because it wasn’t as awesome as yesterday. Tomorrow I will have it again but this time with two turkey sausage links that I picked up at the Terminal today! Stoked for this. 
Again had my Sun Warrior protein but this time with water - not bad at all. I had it a little earlier today (11:30ish) because I was super hungry and obsessing about satiating my tummy. 
Lunch was leftovers! Chicken/sage/apple sausage and an avocado/spinach/basil cream sauce. I also ate a red pepper. Pretty satisfying lunch because I love leftovers in general. The sauce worked well as a dip for the pepper. I will remember this and use this as a hummus substitute! 
For dinner I COOKED MEAT AGAIN! I used ground turkey I picked up today on my Erin adventure to make this recipe http://paleomg.com/southwest-turkey-sliders-spicy-avocado-slaw/ minus the slaw. I had mine in lettuce wraps with some sricacha. Also had a big ol green salad. Boom - delicious. 
I again resisted the M&Ms. I am again extraordinarily proud of myself for this. 
I am now pretty sure that dessert is going to be an issue for me. I need to come up with some ideas for my constant after dinner desire for sweets. Tea is only kind of cutting it.

Day 2 was pretty fantastic. I was incredibly busy at work (like super busy…super, super busy!) and I still stayed 100% on point. Boo-yah.

I know it is only Day 2 but I have a lot of confidence in myself to be successful with this whole BCCC thing. I am taking this challenge on for a variety of reasons - not least of all that I want to prove to myself that I can do it. When I tell some people about it they say, “Oh my god! I could never give up (insert anything with gluten, dairy, or sugar)! You are crazy/awesome/dumb!” Well, it is a relatively easy thing to do. You just decide to do it and you stick with it. It is like most other things in life. No one said it was easy and no one said it was without frustration, annoyance, and probably some amount of pain - either real or imagined. But this doesn’t mean that it is impossible or even that hard. It just requires a shift in priorities, a conscious effort, and a will to succeed. Oh yea, and some know-how.

I shifted my priorities. I decided I was going to make this work. I have an iron will (I think). However, what I did not have was the know-how. I don’t know how to cook meat, I don’t know where to buy meat, I don’t know how to build meals. BUT ERIN DOES!

Today I had a lucky run-in with none other than Ms. Erin Davidson at Reading Terminal. I decided to pop in the market during work when it wouldn’t be too crowded to look around and to stop by Fair Food Farmstand and see what was up. Erin happened to be there picking up some things to make a broth (a ginger-carrot chicken broth…with Hawaiian ginger! Sounds good to me.) and GRACIOUSLY and FABULOUSLY showed me around not just the Fair Food Farmstand but the entire market. Erin answered all of my questions, pointed out some good pieces of meat, gave me some ideas for easy meals, and reinforced my desire to RULE at the BCCC. The picture is one she took when I got excited that I could eat potatoes!

Highlights from Day 2:

  • Breakfast was once again kale and hard boiled eggs. Today I was a little sad because it wasn’t as awesome as yesterday. Tomorrow I will have it again but this time with two turkey sausage links that I picked up at the Terminal today! Stoked for this.
  • Again had my Sun Warrior protein but this time with water - not bad at all. I had it a little earlier today (11:30ish) because I was super hungry and obsessing about satiating my tummy.
  • Lunch was leftovers! Chicken/sage/apple sausage and an avocado/spinach/basil cream sauce. I also ate a red pepper. Pretty satisfying lunch because I love leftovers in general. The sauce worked well as a dip for the pepper. I will remember this and use this as a hummus substitute!
  • For dinner I COOKED MEAT AGAIN! I used ground turkey I picked up today on my Erin adventure to make this recipe http://paleomg.com/southwest-turkey-sliders-spicy-avocado-slaw/ minus the slaw. I had mine in lettuce wraps with some sricacha. Also had a big ol green salad. Boom - delicious.
  • I again resisted the M&Ms. I am again extraordinarily proud of myself for this.
  • I am now pretty sure that dessert is going to be an issue for me. I need to come up with some ideas for my constant after dinner desire for sweets. Tea is only kind of cutting it.

17

Sep

Day 1 - Success!

Ok so my Day 1 of the BCCC was a resounding success!

Major Highlights:

  • Had kale for breakfast. That is an absolute first and one that I am way into. I know it is only day one BUT seriously, I can see kale becoming a breakfast staple.
  • Made a sweet potato in the microwave at work. This may not be a highlight for many but for me, this is just awesome. It is super convenient, tasty, fast, etc. It felt good to have real food for lunch. 
  • I ATE CHICKEN FOR DINNER! Yes, I have been a pescatarian (I find that term to be incredibly obnoxious but it is more genuine than saying “vegetarian” as I have never given up our friends from the sea) for several years and have decided to use the BCCC as a way to experiment with adding some meat back into my diet. I am super stoked about this. We had apple-sage chicken sausage from Renaissance Sausage. Made right here in South Philly! http://www.renaissancesausage.com/ I used it to make the Creamy Avocado and Spinach Chicken “Pasta” from PaleOMG and…OMG it was amazing. Great recipe! Omit the chicken and you have an absolutely bangin vegan pesto dish! http://paleomg.com/creamy-avocado-spinach-chicken-pasta/
  • I used Spaghetti Squash as a pasta substitute for the first time too! It was super easy to do although I wound up having to bake it for an hour because I could no cut the damn thing when it was raw. Definitely using this again and again. I am envisioning stir fry over spaghetti squash…
  • There are fall colored peanut M&M’s in my house. In two different bowls. In my face. AND I DIDN’T EAT ANY! That might be the biggest highlight concerning day one of the BCCC. I am legit proud of myself for that one!

I was so hungry and so excited to eat dinner tonight that I did not take a picture of it. Nor did I eat at a particularly classy pace. That shit was delish though.