Fitness Journey 2.0

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I titled this fitness journey 2.0 but let’s be honest, it’s like on update 14.4. When we moved back to Denver, I just got out of habit with fitness and wellness. I stopped going to acupuncture, I stopped riding everyday, I stopped a lot of healthy habits.  And you know what? I’m not mad about it.  It was an incredibly stressful year when we moved back and working out wasn’t a consistent priority.  I did HIIT workouts, Betty Rocker, ran and biked some, but after a while I would stop due to weather, health, or just because Law & Order was on.

So here we are 2017, for the last 4 months I have been consistent and the results are insane and am highly motivating. In November, I joined the rec center that is literally a 5 minute walk from our house and started riding.  Then in December I started a program from Massy Arias.  I did it again in January and now in Feb am getting into some new workouts at Crossfit! I ride the spin bike probably 2/3 times a week to prep for my ride in September with the Tour de Cure.

I also have been meal prepping my but off – here is my typical day:

Breakfast: 1.5 Cups Eggs Whites, 2 C Sweet Potatoes 4oz ground turkey

AM Snack: 1/4 C Cashews – Apple

Lunch: 6oz Ground turkey/1 C Broccoli/ 1 C Potatoes

PM Snack: Beef Jerky/Apple/LaraBar

Post workout: Vega Performance Protein

Dinner: 5oz Ground Turkey/Unlimited Salad

PM Snack: nuts/salad/almond milk latte

Plus you can see from my last post The Nausea – I got rid of hormones that derail my day and weeks. No more bloating, cravings, and emotions telling me to sabotage my success.

Here are my before and afters.

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From September 2016 to Jan 2017
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Two week difference – dem abs!! 

Starting Feb 20th, I’m doing Whole 30 again.  Just as a reset, you’ll notice the menu above is paleo – but I have been sneaking processed food here and there – like that red velvet cake Rob insisted we make for V-day.  But again, I’m not sweating it (well literally I am lol).  It’s funny though a few days of frosting and I was craving it again, so time to nip it in the bud! 😉

I’ll update as I Whole 30 it up!

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How to Restore a Metal Medicine Cabinet – Before and After

It’s Friday! Woot! (Well technically I’m writing this on a Thursday, but still the excitement is there!)

Today, I figured I would share another little piece of the bathroom before it’s huge debut.  One of the the things I loved about the bathroom was that it had an original steel medicine cabinet.  However, like EVERYTHING else at my house it had been severely neglected and thus was in pretty poor/gross looking shape.  It was rusted out and just looked like you would not want to put your toiletries anywhere near this thing.

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GROSS

So most things can be saved if they are rusted, unless it’s rusted through – then you’re S.O.L. and have to think about replacing.

Step One – Deciding if your rusted metal can be saved:

One good way to see how extensive your rust damage is, is to get a coarse grit sand paper and gently (at first) start to sand out the rust.  If you see the metal starting to shin through, no clumps of rust deteriorating and no holes, then you should be able to turn a rust situation around.

NOW PUT ON YOUR SAFETY VENTILATION MASK AND GLOVES!

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Step Two – Sanding

Depending on the current finish and extent of the rust damage, you will need to determine how the best way to sand your metal will be. For the cabinet, I hand sanded the entire thing (yes, your arms will be exhausted).  Since the cabinet was pretty delicate I did not want to use power sanders and dremel tools on it. I started with a coarse 60 grit sanding block (easier to grip and get in weird spaces) and sanded the entire cabinet – rusted or not.  I did focus heavily on the rusted areas, buffing out any rust that remained.  Then I used a 100 grit paper to smooth out any transitions from the original paint.

 

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Step Three – Prep Cleaning

This is the MOST important step. You will want to ensure the entire surface of your project is 100% clean.  The best way to do this is to use a dry rag or vacuum to get the larger dust/paint particles out. Once you have done that, get a clean rag very very wet with Denatured Alcohol and wipe the cabinet down until it is so clean you could virtually perform some sort of surgery on there – NO PARTICLES, NO DIRT, NO UNEVEN/WEIRD SURFACES.  If you get to this step and find there is a significant uneven lip or not a smooth transition from paint to metal then you need to go back to Step Two.  Believe me, I know you will be tired and I know you will want to just keep moving forward, but if you don’t ensure your base is smooth and clean you will end up with something you HATE and regret not doing it right.

 

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go ahead and buy the gallon you’re gonna love this shit for all your cleaning needs. 

Step Four – Painting

Now the moment of truth!  You’ll want to tape and cover any surface you don’t want paint on.  That takes the most time.  Then you’ll want to make sure you have a spray paint that is meant to protect and will last.  I would HIGHLY recommend Kilz as a primer (if necessary) and then Rust-oleum for the actual color followed by a clear coat. This process will ensure that with proper cleaning and care, your metal will not start rusting again.  Now thankfully the dude has taught me how to spray paint like a professional in the past- this part can be hard.  The only two things to keep in mind are stay at least 12 inches away and keep moving with long smooth sprays.  Also remember, it doesn’t need to be full coverage the first time – in fact the slower you go and more coats you do the better the end result will be. Just remember to let each coat dry fully.

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first coat – notice it’s not fully covered. 
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getting there! still some uneven color but one/two more coats should do it!

Paint process in general:

  1. apply Kilz or other high quality primer
  2. apply desired Rusto color
  3. apply Rusto clear coat

Are you ready for the official before and after?!

Before!

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After!

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Seriously, can you believe that is the same cabinet?! I’m so excited to start using it.  Also keep in mind you NEED to keep your protective mask on the whole time otherwise you will get high on paint fumes – which is not safe or cute. I bought my ventilation mask from Harbor Freight – it cost $17 and I use it for everything paint related at my house since there IS lead paint in my home. Seriously HUGE DISCLAIMER!! If you have a home older that 1980 you should err on the side of caution and assume there will be lead paint in your house.  People saved/loved that nasty scary shit and it WILL HURT YOU. So don’t be dumb – buy some protective gear and wear it. 

Night of the Living Demo

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Well, it’s demo city over at the farm house. For starters we had to remove so much crap/trash the former owners left as well as just tear out some disgusting bathrooms and ‘enhanced features’ that were growing/rotting/squating all over the property.  That 30ft roll-off was packed to the gills. “Don’t let it go over the top!” Lois said 10 million times. And by jove we didn’t let the trash go over the top.

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Since I decided I would do a little refresh on the bathroom, things have gotten out of hand.  There will be a true transformation post about the bathroom in about a week, by the way.  This is a photo of me in my gas mask as I sanded, poured Xstripper all over the cabinet and tried to remove 5 layers of paint. 2 base coats were lead… AWESOME.

Here is the before of my ‘en suite’ aka the corner of a bedroom. Notice the lovely blue color scheme. The creepy  bathroom  was added into this bedroom in the 90s.  There was no water-proofing, no prep, and no attention to what a bathroom that is not supposed to be in a bedroom would do long-term.

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The hardwoods have massive holes in them from the shower drain and the toilet fitting.  Not to mention they are all warped and swollen from years of being under peel-and-stick linoleum. The plaster wall is ruined due to the hammer hole plumbing insert method they used.  It is the epitome of what someone who had zero money and had just enough knowledge about something would do. AKA homeowner’s special.

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Here is me in the bathroom again, because I worked on ‘refreshing’ the room with some new paint, I also decided we needed to redo all the caulking which led to sanding down the rusty window and repainting that too.  In fact, there was so much cleaner used it lightened my hair substantially lol 😉 26011364146_93c8378ac4_z

Ah and now the piece de resistance! The downstairs bathroom…. One of the creepiest, ill fit and just disgusting bathrooms I’ve ever seen, let alone owned.  Lightbulb in the shower? CHECK. Carpet? CHECK.  The well system is actually that cut out hole you see in the right of the bottom right comparison photo.  You could sit on the toilet and work on the well system…. efficient for sure…. That well system will be moved out into the new utility room now that the bathroom has been 86’ed from the layout.  Eventually we will put another bathroom in the basement where there is enough space to actually have one, but for now just having the appropriate space to work on the well system or that ejector pump.

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We still don’t have running water at the house, but hopefully that will be fixed very soon.  Thanks former home owner for breaking the pressure switch and jet pump the night before closing! Appreciate you!

Then on to electrical work to see what fun we can have next!

More updates to come… and more before and afters of the yard… DUN DUN DUN!

Betty Rockers “Make Fat Cry” 90 Day Challenge

In my last post about finding balance, I mentioned that I am doing a 90 day health challenge. Well! The time has come! I am going to participate in Betty Rocker’s “Make Fat Cry” 90 Day Challenge. Other awesome news is that I am getting the support from my best friend Tannith from franklytannith! She did the 30 day challenge and saw such success that we are both motivated to do this longer and more nutrition based endeavor.

For the past few months, my exercise habits included more and more time running, spinning, and cardioing – but I could also feel my jeans get tighter and my eating habits fall back into not so good ones (“I’ll get back on track tomorrow…tomorrow…tomorrow”). I’ve reached a point in my life where I am ready for balance in all things. Thus, this challenge is the perfect way to kickstart this new way of living I’m in pursuit of!

Healthy nutrient-filled foods and appropriate circuit and body weight exercises (max 30 mins) could not be more balanced. If you’re not familiar with Betty Rocker (also named Bree! and she also lives in Denver!) you should definitely check out her blog & instagram to see all the awesome things she is doing in the fitness realm.

I have not been more excited for a ‘radical life change’ since I did the HCG Protocol 2 years ago. I will admit 15 pounds have crept back on over the past six months, but instead of going back to the Protocol as the first reaction, I am doing this challenge. I am ready to get back on track with proper portions and nutrition as well as do daily appropriate workouts. I have to say that nothing is more frustrating than spending hour(s) a day working out only to see absolutely no results physically. I know quite a few people like this and after seeing my New Mexico pics I have become one. Too much exercise + whacky nutrition based on imbalanced nutrient levels = not a body I’m taking care of.

So my friends, for the next 90 days I will be apart of this challenge and I am so excited. I plan on following it to the ‘hemp seed’ (one of the many great nutrient packed ingredients I’ll be eating) so that I can truly see results. I plan on updating at least weekly for the next 12 weeks – you know it will be before and after crazy on here.

I spent a good chunk of change and a good chunk of time today prepping for the first week. Although, I can’t share specific recipes on here (Betty Rocker owns that IP yo!) I will definitely share my progress and my experience along the way.

Here’s some funny time lapse movies getting ready for the week!

My HCG Weighloss Journey

So I have been wanting to write this post for a year.  However, I figured I needed some time/evidence/and some personal research before I dished about my weight loss last fall and then keeping it off for over a year.  I lost the weight through a controversial method – the HCG Protocol.  Some see it as no better than a diet pill, for me it was in no way shape or form ‘the easy option.’  Also surprisingly, through HCG I learned just how important nutrition and fuel is for my body. It went from the sole desire to ‘look a certain way’ to being able to fuel my life and be healthy.

Shall we look at a before?

8/2013

Now what about an after (april 2014)?

i know a 'paleo' diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.
i know a ‘paleo’ diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.

And now?

i need fuel for zee muscles!

Let us begin.

About a month after I got sober in July 2013, I realized that just stopping my alcohol consumption would not magically make me lose the weight I had, for years, deduced must be there because of booze/booze related consequences. After a month sober, I physically felt better and mentally felt great, but still had every excess pound on me.  Now at this point, it had been years since I exercised regularly and I had 26 years of bizarre eating habits going on.  A prime example of my ‘bizarre’ eating habits is ‘oh no I can’t eat that whole serving of chicken breast, instead I will only eat half and  use those ‘saved’ calories to consume some M&Ms’ – makes total sense…..  However, before HCG I had tricked my brain (but not my body) into thinking all calories were equal.  Of course I’ve heard the opposite of this said everywhere; at the gym, at WeightWatchers, at CrossFit, at Title Boxing, at Whole Foods, on Dr. Oz, in People Magazine, etc etc… but I never really believed it. Why? Because I wanted to eat the bad shit.  Plain and simple.  Sure an avocado is amazing for your body/nutrition, but a donut is more fun!  Also I am a ‘victim’ of the generation that was told fat and calories are BAD!  Something we as a culture are just starting to wake up from….

However, I digress, I wanted to lose the weight. I was single, sober, and by golly I wanted to be thin.  (Yes thin, not healthy – we will get there) When thinking about the way to lose this excess 30 pounds I had with me, I immediately thought of the HCG Protocol. I have had several close friends see long term success with HCG so I figured I would try it in Chicago.  Oddly enough, there is a medical clinic just two blocks from my house that advertises (in giant neon flashing lights) that they have the HCG Protocol there.  I took it as a sign from some ‘diet higher power’ and made an appointment.

Now here is where the risk got high.  This HCG protocol was not cheap.  In fact, it was a cool $1000.  I was weighed, questioned, pinched (for BMI), and had an EKG done for heart health in my consult.  The Doc said – it seems like a good fit for you.  I agreed (good thing I had that 0% APR Chase Slate card on me!).  I’m going to give the canned version of what the next 42 days of my life were like.  First off, I was to inject myself daily with HCG (which some of you may recognize as a hormone produced by pregnant ladies) and follow a very strict meal plan of specific foods that were under 500 calories a day.  This may sound alarming, because well it is pretty insane. But, I had seen the results of the folks that followed the protocol and so I followed the instructions.

The first two days of injections you get to pig the eff out.  NO JOKE. There’s a little bit of a ‘science’ behind what you want to eat (more fats/proteins), but basically anything you want in an quantity until you are so full you may vomit all over yourself.  I vividly remember this was the last time I ate Taco Bell. It was amazing.

Day Three – 42. 500 calories MAX a day.  Of only certain proteins (chicken breast/certain fish), leafy greens, and two fruit options (apple/grapefruit). So I wasn’t miserable. 1 – because the pounds fall off by 1-2lbs per day. So it was at least results producing. 2 – the HCG chemically tells your brain/body you are satisfied at 500 calories and thus is allowed to burn your fat without knowing you are actually starving yourself. I don’t know the real science behind this – this was my attempt at not putting you asleep but sharing my process. Now this whole 500 calorie business is serious. I recall one day chewing (NOT EATING) 10 sticks of gum and because of the sucralose in the gum I gained 3 pounds. Once I realized that was the only thing different in my diet I made sure not to do that again. That was early in the protocol too so it reinforced that cheating was going to really sabotage this.  Plus I JUST SPEND A GRAND ON THIS. (Believe me I hyperventilated about it many times – but stress deters weightloss so I had to calm the eff down and be thankful that card was 0%APR for a year longer)

During these 42 days I also had weekly (every Sunday) doctor visits where I would weigh in, get my weeks worth of shots and a weekly B12 shot.

So, naturally there is fear about the sudden stopping of the shots and then increasing the calories.  At the end of the 42 days I had gone from 195lbs to 166lbs.  For the next two weeks following the protocol I had to increase my calories to at least 1500, BUT remain on the same selection of foods. Now 1500 calories disappears very quickly in a diet where you can have nuts, pasta, pizza, sugar, soda, but when you can only eat eggs, chicken breast, leafy greens, apples, grapefruit, certain fish… it takes a lot of those things to get you to 1500 calories. For the first time in my life I felt like I was gorging on healthy foods.  The doctor said I would probably continue to lose a few pounds which I did – I finally ended the weight loss at 164lbs. This re-introduction of calories is also so important because it sets the ‘base level’ for your metabolic function.  So if you follow the 500 calorie days, then biff it in the 2 week post weeks the whole thing was WORTHLESS.

After the two weeks I was able to introduce basically everything except starch and sugars into my diet. Obviously this means bread is out. Sugar is the goddamn devil, but again that’s a conversation for another day.

So what did the protocol teach me? A LOT.  It actually retrained my ‘yo-yo dieter’ brain into eating proper and good nutrition. Gone are the days of skipping dinner to eat a pack of M&Ms or have a sugary cocktail. Now I want to eat to fuel my body.  In the past year I have learned that I can do anything with my body – ride 1000 miles on my bike, walk around Thailand, craft, walk my pug, discover Chicago, run an 8 minute mile, and learn to box.  In September I took a break from my usual 2 hour daily active regime (3000 calories/day intake) and got a little confused.  I started letting the empty sugar calories invade my day instead of eating cashews/avocados and other healthy fats. I blame seasonal induced lameness.  I got on the scale on 11/3/2014 and weighed 175lbs (at night after eating all weekend long in Des Moines) and was bummed.  I knew what I had to do….  Today (11/10/2014) I’m 164lbs as I have cut the added/processed sugar from my diet for just the past 7 days. (What’s that base level weight?! you are a real thing?!)

In conclusion, the HCG for me was the best option and it came at a time when I was most focused and inspired to do this. I followed the Protocol to the ‘t’ and lost the 30+lbs in the 42ish days.  I have successfully kept off ALL the weight over 14 months later. To say I am happy with the process and the results is a gross understatement. The HCG protocol retrained my brain to care about my nutrition and my health, not my calories.  Today and this past year I have experienced the healthiest relationship with food I have ever known as an adult.  It may seem extreme, it may not be your cup of tea, but it allowed me to reach a level health wise that I am so proud of. I know what works for my body and I am happy that finally at 27, I have a healthy relationship with my body and with food/nutrition.

If you have questions you can email me at ghostfaceknitter@gmail.com – I would love to educate anyone interested in this process. I also understand many people do not agree with this protocol, I understand that as I was once very against this (until through my close friends was shown long term healthy results are the outcome) – please don’t demean my journey as I would never demean yours.

Thanks for reading.

GFK

XXX

Humpz Dayz

Is it just me or is this week kind of dragging? Maybe because it’s supposed to be Spring, but the weather still stinks? I mean I can’t complain that much – it’s been above freezing in Chicago so that’s like heat wave status.

Anyways – I’ve had a pretty great week so far albeit a little quiet and slow.

First: Been really enjoying my gym time. I go 4-5 times a week now and just feel like I’m killing it there. I’m still amazed that I have lost no weight, but the overall shape/tightness of my body is radically different. Don’t believe? oh look a before and after! My favorite! (haha). I have been going between 2-4 miles a day and as of last weekend have been using intervals and inclines to keep me on my toes.

after on left 3/14 – before 12/24 on right; same weight 160.

Second: I FINALLY found a great dentist here in Chicago. I had avoided the whole ‘check up’ thing since I moved. I take insane care of my teeth now (after root canals, LANAP surgery) and so I knew I wasn’t going to have any cavities or major plaque issues. I did have a consult done on my ‘root canal-ed’ teeth that are in the front. I’m nervous, but incredibly excited to move forward with that. To say that I have adjusted my lifestyle and smile to accommodate my always graying teeth would be an understatement. It’s a major bummer to look at photos and have it make my teeth look misshaped or worse look like I’m missing teeth! So that’s an endeavor I’m about to journey through and am excited to move past.

Third: I scheduled my GMAT exam. I know what you are thinking “Brianna, you just graduated with your MA last year.” Well, you all know it’s a goal to get my PhD and this stage of my life would be the best time to just ‘get ‘er done.’ So I have 9 weeks to study my face off. I’m not too concerned about finding time and I bought the Manhattan study prep kit so I think I’ll do just fine.

Fourth: I beefed up my sewing skills with a simple skirt class. The highlights were learning the ‘french seam’ and some nice hemming techniques. I’m excited to begin sewing more especially since I’m at the size I want to stay.

pattern and fabric.
little ‘faux fur bag’ i made the cats. the safety pins make the cover/lining removable (i.e. washable) they LOVE it. both fight over it.
adorable yarn draw string bag i made. i actually did the inside with french seams and practiced my casing skills haha.

Fifth: GREAT progress with the Heliopath KAL with socalmeaghan. I’ve seen quite a few followers/fellow KAL friends are WAY ahead of schedule. I am right on track. It’s taking me about 4 hours (!!!!) to knit the 16 rows of the cable lace pattern over 151 stitches. (That’s 2416 total stitches if you wanna think about how much work in a different sense). The pattern is easy, but tedious and as soon as I start getting tired I have to stop because I start fumbling and it gets scary with all the YO / K2TG / P2TG and cables.

4.5 inches of pattern / 2 inches of ribbing. sigh.

So there was the weekend/first half of the week. I’m ready for spring. I feel lonely and whiny. Lois is coming to visit Friday so I’m really excited to be around family.

xxx
GFK

Weekend Photo BLAST.

I had such a great productive weekend! I love when that happens. Even though the winter is really starting to wear on me and everyone else in Chicago, spring and summer are right around the corner (I just know it!). Let’s see. I have really been having a blast at the gym – I know right I hate to be one of ‘those’ people, but since I’ve regularly ventured back at the beginning of the year, I have seen major changes in toning. I haven’t lost anymore weight, but I can definitely tell that the gym has begun to tone everything. I’m obsessed with before and afters so here’s one of my lifestyle/physical change from July 2013 to March 2014. 7 Months.

Before July 2013 at 195. After March 2014 at 160.

Then I have been dying to try this small Chicago Diner chain since I moved here, but no one ever wants to go. Saturday after my run, I decided just to check it out myself and I am so happy I did! The Golden Nugget reminded me of the diners that I grew up eating in with my grandma and grandpa. I got the Steak Omelette which was just perfect. I know Chicago has any kind of eatery you could imagine, but I’m cheap as hell and sometimes picky as in I have specific cravings so this place will do just fine by me in the future.

Then came the time to touch up my hair – I had been getting it done, but things changed so I’m back in the saddle with my cheveux. I think it came out well. There is a slight dark band about two inches out I’ll have to address since a bleach shampoo cap didn’t even touch it, but overall I revived the red perfectly.

on the left before, middle during/post bleach cap, right the finished product.

Then I went ahead and started my chest plate.

Just kidding – obviously they are fake tattoos!

Then because I’m becoming the queen of cheapskates I went to Aldi, Five Below, and a clothes shop Discovery. I’m going to start shopping only at thrift store here in the near future, because I’m over new-consuming, but my final hoorah at Discovery was great! I got two more tanks not pictured for a total of $27 so a week’s worth of new tops/a dress. Not too shabby.

Then of course…..

Sigh. Monday. Blerg.

xxx
GFK