it’s a new year!

I hit the big TWO-FOUR last week so I’m officially a big girl. Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to!

  • Food – I really don’t like the word “diet” but the way I eat is mostly paleo. I’m avoiding dairy whenever possible because I’m lactose-intolerant and it gives me acne (and feeling like a 14 year old was bad enough the first time around), eat my heavy carbs post-workout, and indulge in wine, dark chocolate, and homemade treats. Whenever possible we will continue to eat seasonally and locally.
  • Fitness – Just ended a strength cycle at CrossFit Charlottesville and hit several big PRs. I followed my plan to only go to the gym three times a week and it worked brilliantly – I was never overtrained, unhappy at the gym, or restless. I’m going to continue that habit for the time being. CrossFit Total numbers listed below
      • Backsquat: 167lbs
      • Shoulder Press: 67lbs
      • Deadlift: 201lbs
      • Total: 435 (a 50lb PR from March 2011)
  • Photography – had my very first client this past December! I had an exceptional time with the family and it couldn’t have gone any better. The session made me want to jumpstart my photography so I’ve set up my photography website for all to see! Go to www.jennigabriela.com to view my work!

A shot from the family shoot! Tonks is the cutest dog!

Whole30 Reflections

It’s been over a week since I completed the Whole30 challenge and these were mere observations and experiences from my point of view (because well, it’s my blog).

  • Apparently, I thrive in a structured environment and if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. Good to know!
  • My taste buds have definitely changed – spicy food appeals to me and I’m currently in a love/hate relationship with cayenne pepper.
  • I have some serious demons when it comes to food – even though I’ve been perfectly healthy (both before and during the Whole30) I was incredibly hard on myself during the entire process. I found it mentally exhausting to constantly be worried about every little ingredient that went into my body. Reading labels is a great habit to form; however, don’t let it drive you nuts.
  • Food is like a drug and “getting clean” is like drug withdrawal. Seeing other people eat foods I enjoy is like being a former smoker and having smoke blown in your face.
  • I found myself avoiding otherwise enjoyable situations just so I wouldn’t be “tempted” by food (or alcohol).
  • Things I lost during the Whole30
    • Around 8lbs  – but I didn’t think I did. I did notice some body composition changes but not a significant amount. 8lbs on a 5’2” frame is actually a lot.
    • Strength and stamina at the gym – admittedly, I had been out of the country for almost three weeks and the strength-loss would be more a consequence of that than anything else, however, I did not regain strength after I’d been back for over a month. The 8lbs lost could also attribute to this. In the week after the challenge, I introduced more carbs and have definitely noticed more energy during workouts.
  • Sleep has been heavenly – I’ve been sleeping like a freakin’ baby.
  • For the ladies, I did notice that it affected my menstrual cycle. I didn’t get cramps or bloating and it was an effortless and quick period (maybe 3 days long).  I’m usually in the fetal position for a week straight craving chocolate and bad chick-flicks.
  • All the meat I’ve eaten in the last 30+ days has been appropriately raised and fed (grass, forest, pasture, etc). Which is awesome. It’s also expensive; HOWEVER, because I haven’t been eating out at restaurants, I’ve actually saved money. I bought a new camera lens to celebrate!
  • I’m absolutely lactose-intolerant and that makes me sad. I’ll now be going dairy-free whenever possible but am willing to suffer the consequences when it’s really worth it.
  • I’ll also be going grain-free and low-sugar whenever possible. I’ve yet to introduce gluten back into my diet so I’ll see how that goes.

In the end, I’m glad I did it. Proving that I could do it is a feat in itself and it has taught me that I’ve more willpower than I had allowed myself to believe. Learning how to reset my body and my nutrition habits has been a valuable lesson and one that’ll stay with me.