Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Why I Became Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified

I feel like a bit of an anomaly in the fitness world. I’ve lived and worked in this space for a few years now. Even as I have worked in this space I have still been on my own journey to discover what health and fitness means in my life. As I have come into a world dominated by people who have lived in health and fitness for most of their lives I felt like an outsider. Many fitness professionals have chosen their career because it was the easy choice, because fitness has always been easy for them. I didn’t end up in this profession because it was easy for me. I ended up here because when I was starting out on my fitness journey I felt like none of the people I went to for help understood where I was at. I had to fight like hell to get here. The things I have learned aren’t just from a textbook. I’ve lived them.

It wasn’t that long ago I was on the other side of this industry… not the fitness professional, but the terrified fat girl walking into a gym of mostly fit people. I vividly remember what it felt like to not be able to hold myself up on a pull up bar for a millisecond. I remember how terribly difficult it felt to push my 250 pound body up off the ground, even doing a girl push up from my knees. I remember crying in the dressing room because nothing fit or getting winded climbing the stairs. But I also remember the very first time I deadlifted 100lbs and couldn’t believe I just lifted that much weight off the floor. I remember the first time I jumped on a box after months of being terrified of it. I know what it feels like to work hard and see results. I know what it feels like to work hard and see no results.
I have been where you are. 
It is overwhelming and confusing hearing everyone try to tell you what you should do… shouldn’t do… what to eat… what not to eat. They try to sell you shortcuts, magic powder, pills, or wraps to get you to your goal in 21 days for 10 easy payments… or whatever. I’ve tried a good amount of them and none of them worked. I was gluten free, paleo, keto, low carb, whole30. I spent a long time following a strict meal plan that dictated exactly what and how much to eat. While that last one wasn’t bad in itself (it was a healthy meal plan) the overly structured format left me terrified to deviate from the plan… not wanting to attend social outings because there would be food and I’d have to be “that girl” who brought her own food or didn’t participate because it wasn’t on my meal plan.
There are no short cuts to lasting change.
[Tweet “There are no short cuts to lasting change.”]
If you aren’t seeing results some fitness professionals might tell you that you aren’t trying hard enough or you must be lying about what you’re eating or how much you’re working out. They tell you to get motivated….  To workout more, eat less. Push harder. Rest less. Eat high carb… no paleo… no try no carbs. If you slip up they tell you to work it off. Workouts should be painful. You should turn down fun life events because they don’t fit your diet. You should be starving. Society in general has told us that losing weight can’t be an enlightening experience. That we should deprive ourselves, starve ourselves, overwork ourselves. We are put down, or we put ourselves down, for not being good enough.
This process will be hard work, but it shouldn’t feel like punishment.
I became a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach because I want to help people reach their goals in a way that makes sense for their lifestyle. I believe the best diet is the one that works for you. I believe that food isn’t good or bad, it’s just food. IMG_7787I believe that whatever way you most enjoy moving your body is the best exercise for you. We are all different. I want to help people quiet the noises of society, the media, that old friend from high school who messages you on Facebook to tell you about this awesome opportunity they have… and discover to what works best for YOUR BODY. Not what worked for your mom, your friend down the street, or some celebrity.
There is no one size fits all prescription for health and fitness. 
 [Tweet “There is no one size fits all prescription for health and fitness. “]
I became Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified so I could help coach people to live their best life now. Not 30lbs from now. Not when they fit back in those jeans from high school. But NOW. Today. I want to help people find true health and wellness. That includes being at peace with their bodies, having a healthy relationship with food, and realizing it will be hard work… but that they are worth the hard work.
I spent the last year learning the both the science and psychological aspects of Nutrition Coaching through the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification Program. I also have a Degree in Psychology. I’ve been a CrossFit Coach for 3 nearly years now. Helping and Inspiring others has been a passion of mine my entire life, that’s one of the major reasons I blog! Now I’m getting more personal. You’ll probably start seeing some more posts here about nutrition and wellness. Be sure to sign up for my free email newsletter to stay up to date on the upcoming launch of my online coaching program as well as get exclusive content and free resources to help you live your best life now.
What would you be looking for in a online coaching program?
How are you living your best life NOW?


Life, Weight Loss

Healthy isn’t A Size: My Thoughts on the Being Thin Doesn’t Make Me Happy Post

The last few days I’ve had a few discussions with people about health, size, & plus size fashion, plus size models in the media and several other topics which got me thinking about my point of view on it and then this morning I caught a clip on the Today Show about a woman who wrote about how Being Thin doesn’t make her happy, but being “fat” does. The article is beautifully written. I can see her point of view. And I agree, where she was when she said she was at her peak of “physical hotness” was NOT healthy. She said she was eating 1000 calories a day, sleeping around 3 hours, obsessively tracking food, and getting to the point where she lost her period. None of these habits are healthy at all. Yes, she was thin. and she was unhappy. but most of all she was unhealthy.

Healthy Isnt A Size

because healthy isn’t a size.

i’m with her up to this point. she was in an unhealthy place, physically and emotionally. she doesn’t go much into depth of her current exercise or eating habits other than saying she loves cake (who doesn’t?!) and we should be unaprolligetically fat and eat pizza and drink wine and not feel bad about it. I can’t judge her current health because again, healthy isn’t a size. I just don’t like that it seems she, and the media that helped this go viral, are promoting exchanging one extreme for another. she may be the healthiest she has ever been, but this particular post makes wanting to be healthy seem like a bad thing. And maybe this post will give some people the freedom they need to break out of the obsessive disordered eating. But it also doesn’t address how to still make your health a priority. She talks about having time for her family now. You can still exercise a moderate amount and have time for your family. Too many people, moms especially, already feel guilty for taking time out from their busy days to invest in their health. They don’t need another woman implying you can’t adequately take care of your family if you take 30 minutes to an hour a day to invest in themselves. I firmly believe you can’t adequately care for your family if you don’t take the time to adequately care for yourself.

You dont have to be thin or fat, just be you

no, you don’t have to be thin or fat to be happy or healthy… because healthy isn’t a size.

If you’ve been around for a while you know my story. I was fat. Hell, to modern standards I still am fat. At a size 14 I ride the line between plus size and “normal” sized clothing. I’m too big for a lot of average clothing and too small for most plus size clothing. In a world that thrives on being able to put everyone in a pretty little box… I’m a disappointment. I don’t fit in those labels. I don’t consider myself fat anymore, but I’m certainly not thin. But I’ll tell you what I am… I’m the strongest, fittest, and healthiest I’ve ever been. And yea, some people may look at me and think I’m fat. But they don’t know my story or the road I’ve walked to get here. Another reason why healthy isn’t just about your size. And losing weight isn’t just about eating less and moving more.

Fitness isn't about your weight and healthy isn't a size

i think that we need to move away from labeling people as thin or fat, judging people’s health by their side, and look to encourage people to find more balanced healthy habits. This includes learning to have a healthier mindset towards eating and exercise. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to be fat or thin. It’s not about punishing yourself. You shouldn’t be miserable. Does striving to live a healthy balanced life mean you’ll never eat cake again? Nope. I love cake. This week was my daughters birthday and I enjoyed a lot of cake. But do I do it all day every day? Nope. Find what works for you. Find what makes you happy. This lady ran 35 miles a week. Don’t like running? Try Zumba, walking, or CrossFit. Find something that keeps you moving AND makes you happy. It is possible, I’m proof.

[Tweet “You should take care of your body because you love it, not because you hate it”]

You should take care of your body because you love it, not because you hate it. Because if you are only trying to change yourself because you hate yourself, the chances of you loving yourself once you reach your goal aren’t great. If you don’t love yourself now, what makes you think losing 10, 20. or 50 pounds going to do? Once you come to place where you truly love yourself you can’t help but want to take good care of the body you’ve been given.

Your Turn- What are your thoughts on health, size, & happiness?

Hashimoto, Health, Life, Weight Loss

My Crazy Hormones: Part 2

My Hormones Make Me Crazy.

Last year I wrote a post about how my hormones were making me crazy. I never really revisited that after that post so I wanted to write one. When I had my hormones tested last year I had a Mirena IUD and wasn’t having periods at all (TMI? Sorry…) I did use the prescribed creams for awhile but I still felt off. One of the problems is that Progesterone rises and falls as a woman progresses through her cycle, and at that point I wasn’t having one. I had plans to have my IUD removed and decided at that point to stop using the creams just to see what my body would do on its own. That was back in May of last year. My cycle came back pretty quickly and was pretty regular for the first few months, even with my surgery and everything. Once I got through my recovery and started to figure out what normal felt like again I was still feeling off. Foggy brain, sluggish, tired despite getting 8 hours of sleep on average, and most of all a more noticeable difficultly losing weight. I had even gained close to 10lbs since my Surgery and despite my best efforts with food and exercise I haven’t been able to lose it. I also started having some weird period issues… going from 28 days most cycles to 52 days at my longest cycle. Not too mention the PMS, cramps, mood swings were horrible. This article about the symptoms of low progesterone pretty much sums up my life lately.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

At the recommendation of my nutrition coach (after following detailed nutrition plans and seeing little to no body composition changes) I made an appointment with RevitaLive Wellness Center. I actually made the appointment last year, November I think? They were booked for 3+ Months! I decided to go to a specialist who works with hormone issues regularly instead of my general practitioner, which is what I did last time I got my levels checked. I went in January and got a bunch of tests done and went back last week to finally get the results. I absolutely loved that they did such a wide range of tests, including genetic testing for heart issues which my family has a history of. They tested not just my hormone levels, but also some vitamin and mineral levels, tested for markers of celiac, cholesterol, and tons of other things. I literally have a stack of around 20 pages of test results and explanations. A few things came back flagged. I’ll touch on each one a little bit.

Low Vitamin D and Omega 3 Levels – My Omega 3 Index came back at a 4.8% when the optimal levels are anything above 8%. This wasn’t terribly surprising as I don’t really eat fish and have been sporadic at best with my Fish Oil Supplements. My Vitamin D level came back at a 32, she said the optimal level is above 50.

Low Progesterone/High Estrogen/Low Testosterone- This would be classified as Estrogen Dominance. My estrogen wasn’t extremely over range, it was at 175 where the highest they like to see is 200. So on the higher end of normal. My progesterone, however, was super low. I had a 0.56 and she said they like to see a level between 5-10. My testosterone came back at 28 and she said they like to see it between 30-50.

Hashimoto’s/Hypothyroid- It’s no surprise that my markers came back positive for the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was diagnosed back in 2009. I’ve been on Synthroid/Levothyroxine for almost 6 years now. My TSH levels have fluctuated in that time from a 9.0 down to 0.5 and averages somewhere around a 2 most testing periods. They tested me out at 2.49. The acceptable levels are anywhere from .5-4.0 depending on the lab. I have always said I feel better when I’m closer to a 1.0. She said they like to keep patients under a 2.0. She also said because of my hashimoto’s that my body has a harder time converting the Synthyroid to Free T3. She suggested upping my dose and switching me over to Nature’s Throid, which is supposedly more easily converted to what the body needs despite my autoimmune condition.

So, what now?

The first thing we changed was my thyroid medication and dosage. I’m now taking a higher dose of Nature Throid instead of Levothyroxine. I also got a small injection of testosterone to bring those levels to the optimal range. They recommend the injection monthly, but will test my levels again so see where they are. Finally, I’m going to be taking a progesterone pill to bring those levels up to a normal range. I’ll be cycling those pills for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. I haven’t started them yet, as I have to wait for a certain time during my cycle to do so.

This is all just me sharing my experience with you. I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I know some people have very purist ideas about hormones and doing it all naturally and while I’ve tried to do that as best I can on my own I’m looking forward to seeing how this process works for me. I’m trying to have an open mind and pay attention to my body as best as I can to see what works for me. I’ve been on the new Thyroid medicine for about a week now and I’m noticing small changes, like not feeling as foggy mentally and not feeling like I need to go back to sleep as soon as I wake up. I’ll check in after my first round of progesterone and let you know if I felt like it worked or not.

Have you ever had your hormones tested?



Life, Weight Loss, workouts

And Then What?

I’m just over a month away from turning 28. Is that too early to feel like I’m going through some serious self-reflection/mid life crisis stuff? Maybe because 28 is so much closer to 30… and for some reason my whole life I thought I would have it all figured out by the time I turned 30. The decade of the 20’s is the one for figuring it all out and the 30’s is when you get to enjoy it all, right? Isn’t that how it works?

See, the problem isn’t where I am. As I stop and look around I am really super duper happy and blessed to be where I am. The problem is where I thought I should be. the problem is the expectation of what “arriving” or “achieving a goal” would look like.


A photo posted by Courtney Norman (@courtnorm) on

this isn’t just with life in general. it has happened in marriage, parenting, weight loss, nutrition, finances. like we spend so much time and energy chasing a goal and then we get there and then what?

in my head i would get there… achieve this goal… and then what? it would be smooth sailing, of course. I have absolutely no problem clawing my way to a goal. I set my sights on something and then sprint after it. and then all of a sudden I have it. and I want to sit there and bask in the moment. but then what? that goal becomes a moving target and I’m forced to chase it again. it’s like I thought if I hit that goal it would stop being so hard.

but it doesn’t.


[Tweet “it’s like I thought if I hit that goal it would stop being so hard, but it doesn’t. “]

I lost a good amount of weight, but it doesn’t just stay off because I reached a goal.
I thought because I got to a “comfortable” place with my body I wouldn’t have to think about what I ate, but I do.
We both got laid off of really good paying jobs right when we first bought our house. We clawed our way through some dark financial times and ended up starting our own businesses (yes, multiple. we are crazy). We aren’t doing bad, but finances still require hard work to manage properly, More money doesn’t mean less problems… it means more work.
I thought that finding the right person to marry would be the hard part. that marriage brought pixie dust and butterflies and rainbows. and sometimes it does. but it requires tough conversations, uncomfortable vulnerability, and lots of hard work.
Pregnancy is hard. Labor and Delivery is hard. and yes, the long nights of feedings and diaper changes are hard. but answering tough questions and being responsible for shaping the world view of this little girl… it is hard work every day.

And I’m not really scared of hard work. but somewhere in my naive little mind I thought some day the hard work would end. Like this fairy tale would all come together on its own. that I would reach my goals and get to just be for a little while. I knew I’d make new goals. and I was ok having to work hard for those. I guess what I wasn’t expecting was to have to work so hard to maintain what I thought I’d already achieved.

[Tweet “I guess what I wasn’t expecting was to have to work so hard to maintain what I thought I’d already achieved”]

The catalyst for this post was realizing it has been almost 6 months since my abdominoplasty/skin removal. And yes vacations and holidays and life have happened since then… but I was up 10lbs since surgery day. Since realizing that and reluctantly getting back on a structured meal plan I’ve lost a few pounds and am now just 6lbs heavier.  They removed 8lbs of skin and fat. and I know the scale isn’t the only judge of progress, but I also feel a bit softer in the middle than I’d like. I wasn’t eating stupid or anything, but I was being a bit more lax than I was before. I was happy with my body and loosened the reins a bit. I explored what “maintenance” would be like and ended up gaining. And I kinda sulked about it for awhile. I finally got to a place where I felt good about the body I had worked so hard to achieve, it couldn’t be too hard to keep there… but apparently it was. Do I want to eat chicken and rice and green beans for the rest of my life? No. But do I need to have dessert every night or a “cheat meal” every meal during the weekend? No, I don’t. I had to realize that once you reach a goal doesn’t mean you get a get out of jail free card for that particular goal for the rest of your life. You still have to put in the work.

this isn’t just for weight loss. or fitness. but for relationships… finances… life. i was overwhelmed at having to try so hard. to put in so much effort. but not because i hate hard work, but because somewhere along the way i adopted the mindset that it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. regardless of what it is supposed to be or not supposed to be, this is what it is. hard work. that is the then what. it’s hard work. and now that I realize that, it’s time to do it. live the then what.

Have you ever struggled with the “then what” part of the story?

Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

The 5 Limiting Factors That Can Stop You From Reaching Your Fitness Goals

Happy first Monday of the New Year! I know it is just another day, but motivation and resolve seems to be at all time high on Mondays. and first Mondays are even better. The best though… the best is when the 1st falls on a Monday. I’m not alone, right? My OCDish personality loves it when that happens. I am particularly excited about today because I finally started to feel better. After about a week of battling a sore throat, cough, and congestion I’m finally starting to feel somewhat human again. Aside from feeling better, I’m also really excited to get back to a sort of normalcy. I enjoy the holidays, I really do, but I also really love the rhythm of a well created routine.

This is my life.

A photo posted by Courtney Norman (@courtnorm) on

That pretty much sums it up.

As we dive into a new week… month… year… Goal setting is at its peak. I love having goals, giving me something to strive towards. Many people have set goals related to their health. It may be the first time you have resolved to change your lifestyle or maybe it is the 100th time. Either way, let’s make this time different. The best way to reach your goal is to pin point what has been stopping you from achieving that goal and remove that obstacle. When we are talking about your ability to live a healthy life there are 5 major limiting factors that stop you from reaching your fitness goals.


Genetic Makeup

This was one of my fall back excuses for a long time. I was convinced that my genetics prevented me from losing weight. A good portion of my family was overweight. After my mom lost a huge amount of weight when I was in my early twenties that excuse crumbled for me. If she could do it, I could to. The truth is most people don’t come close to realizing their genetic potential for health and fitness. No, you may not be a Rich Froning… he is a genetic freak. But your genetics typically allow for improvement in health, fat loss, and muscle gain.

Physical Activity Patterns

This is one that we often acknowledge. If you live a pretty sedentary life that could be what is holding you back from reaching your health and fitness goals. The recent influx in popularity of fitness tracking gadgets has helped many people become more active simply by making them aware of their inactivity. Even though I coach CrossFit, I still have a desk job that has me sitting for hours at a time. If I am not purposeful about my exercise and activity it doesn’t happen. Start wherever you are at. You don’t have to go from sedentary to marathoner overnight. If you want to get fitter, leaner, and healthier you are going to need to pursue an active lifestyle as well as purposeful, regular, and intense exercise.


This is one I will preach about until I’m blue in the face. While exercise and nutrition are important, there are certain physiological imbalances that will severely impact your ability to reach your goals. This includes all kinds of things like thyroid problems (Hello, Hashimoto’s) and hormone imbalances (oh, and hey there estrogen dominance). These may not be issues with every person who struggles to lose weight or get fit. They were, and still are, very real issues with me. You know your body.  You know when it just doesn’t feel right. You could very well have some physiological limiting factors, but please please listen to me very closely here… While these may be limiting factors, they are not excuses for not trying. Yes, I’ve had to work twice as hard for half the results in some instances. Yes, I’ve felt like my body was fighting me every step of the way. But I did not let it defeat me. It may have been the medical reason why losing weight was hard…. harder for me than others…. but it did not stop me. I identified it as a limiting factor and did my best to remove it, or manage it. If you think your limiting factor may be physiological, find a team willing to help you get to the bottom of the issue. A good doctor, trainer or coach, and nutritionist. It’s worth the fight.


Maybe I should have put this at the top. Having the courage to believe you can is the biggest part of the battle. After being overweight the majority of my life it took a lot of courage to step out and say maybe I can change this. Getting to that point is huge, but it isn’t the end all to the mental battle. Once you believe you can you must have the mental strength to stay in the battle once the feel goods fade away and all thats left is hard work. Getting up early to work out, eating healthy, and most of all staying consistent is not always easy. Your mindset is critical in determining if you will reach your goals.



Ah, yes. This is the one. The one that more often than not will hold people back. It could be from lack of knowledge, lack of implementation, or being inconsistent. Nutrition is almost always, if not one of many, the most important limiting factor. It can be overwhelming with so many different points of view on nutrition. There is no right or wrong answer. There is no one best diet. You have to do something that works for you! Fad diets may help you for awhile, but what you need is something you can sustain for a lifetime. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. The truth is most people who think they have a generally good diet, but are still unhappy with where they are in regards to their fitness probably aren’t eating according to their goals. Regardless of what your goals or what “diet camp” you find yourself a part of there are a few things that all types of healthy eating philosophies have in common like making you aware of what you are eating, focusing on food quality, help eliminate nutrient deficiencies, they help control appetite and food intake, and they all promote regular exercise. So regardless of what route you take to get there all the popular healthy eating philosophies will help you reach your goals in similar ways. Stay consistent. Don’t give up because you mess up. Nutrition will be the make or break piece of the puzzle on your journey to health. If you’re looking for some one on one coaching to help you figure out this nutrition stuff, check out the  Precision Nutrition Coaching Presale List. this is the company I am doing my certification through and they offer a year long coaching program to help you reach your fitness goals.

Now that you know what the top 5 Limiting Factors that stop you from reaching your fitness goals you can see which of these may be problem areas for you and start making a plan to remove them so you become an unstoppable fitness force! For me it was a combination of many of these factors. Once I identified the problem, reaching my goals became just a matter of time, hard work, and consistency.

Do you struggle with any of these limiting factors? If so, which one(s)? 


Health, Weight Loss, workouts

Learning Balance, Finding a Healthy Relationship with Food, and Loving My Body

As you all know, I’m a big dreamer. I love to set big goals. For the longest time my main goals have been either weight loss or body image related. Lose XX number of pounds, fit in a size 12, be “normal” on the BMI Scale. Even though my goals have gone from get skinny to get healthy and from “weight 175” to “be strong” – It still all relates back to my personal body image. Almost everything I have done for the past 4+ years has somehow been related to these goals. Heck, I even turned it from a hobby into a full blow job! I guess what I’ve really been thinking about is where is that line? When do you go HAM on reaching a goal and when do you say ok I’m just going to be ok with where I’m at?

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. I see some of the fittest people I know come into our CrossFit box. People who workout hard 5 days a week, eat strict meal plans most of the time, are the picture of health and fitness… and they still aren’t happy. They want abs like so and so, or a butt like Stacie Tovar (I mean, who doesn’t?! #strengthisbooty after all…) I’m guilty of the same thing from time to time. I am guilty of negating the progress I’ve made by focusing on the things I’d still like to change.

[Tweet “I am guilty of negating the progress I’ve made by focusing on the things I’d still like to change. “]

When I first started out on this journey I was morbidly obese. I needed the structure and discipline of adhering to a strict plan. I was motivated and had a lot of fat to lose. I had specific health related milestones I wanted to reach. I went from one side of the road to the other. I used to eat whatever I wanted, and that’s what got me to 50% body fat! I needed some intervention to turn that train around. And I did (for more about my journey check out my “Before & After” page)

Read how my health journey has helped me learn balance, find a healthy relationship with food, and love my body.

Even before my surgery, I started to realize I was happy with myself. The surgery was just the cherry on top of my body acceptance sundae. It just helped me to be able to see the body I had built underneath all that skin, and that body is beautiful. And when I realized that I was happy with my body, all size 14 and 200 pounds of it, instead of being happy I felt confused and slightly panicked. What am I supposed to do now? Where do I go from here?

After over 4 years, I was suddenly on the other side of the spectrum. I had gone from 50% body fat to 20%,  I went from not being able to do a proper air squat with my own body weight to being able to load up a barbell with my body weight and back squat it. Throughout the last few years I went through strict Paleo, Whole30, and spent the better part of the last year on detailed meal plans through a nutrition coach. It was a lot of restricting. Suddenly foods became “good” or “bad” and meals became either “on plan” or “off plan.”

Food isn't good or bad, it's just food. How I learned balance, found a healthy relationship with food, and started to love my body.

[Tweet “Food Isn’t Good or Bad, It’s Just Food.”]

I had become one of those Diet Martyrs… “Oh, guess I”ll have to skip the Christmas cookies this year” or “Man, I wish I could eat that” or “I can’t believe I ate that!” followed by a big serving of guilt and shame. While I never thought I had a full blown eating disorder, I saw an article about Orthorexia and found myself nodding my head in response to the list of possible symptoms. I had some disordered thinking and unhealthy mindsets when it came to my relationship with food. I was in the mindset of I can’t have it because It’s not on my meal plan. I followed a specific meal plan, eating the same safe foods over and over again. I was afraid to stop counting calories, measuring portions to the ounce, or following a rigid meal plan. Because if I didn’t have a plan it meant I would gain back all the weight I’ve lost and suddenly be fat again *eye roll*

How losing weight became less about the number on the scale and more about how I felt about my body.

I guess what I’m saying is I am finally happy with my body. I feel a sense of peace with where I’m at right now. I’m healthy, I’m fit, and I’m happy. Society still tries to tell me I’m plus sized, so what. This plus sized girl rocked a bikini in Florida last month! I still have stretch marks and squishy areas. I know that if I want to take my body to the next level it would require more restricting and while I know I could do it, I’m not in a place where I’m willing to do what it would take. Could that change next month? Absolutely. For more about the cost of getting lean check out this article from Precision Nutrition.

 I’d like to challenge you to take a look at yourself and your goals. If you are restricting yourself or beating yourself up about your body or how you’re eating, why? What are your goals? If you have a hard deadline goal like doing a bikini competition, by all means eat according to your goals this holiday season. If you have serious health risks that are obesity related or a history of unhealthy binge eating than maybe you need to structure your eating a bit more. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and in a healthy way. Super restrictive diets aren’t great for your mental health. Food isn’t something to fear. Take time to Learn balance, find a healthy relationship with food, and love your body.

You are worth it.

Do you struggle with Balance or a Healthy Relationship with food?
What are some things you can do today to love your body?

Life, Weight Loss, workouts

Trust The Process

When I think about things to share on my blog I often think about things I want other people to hear. Other times, like today, it’s more of a reminder to myself to practice what I preach. All too often I forget where I was when I first started on this journey. Chronically tired, out of shape, embarrassed, overwhelmed. I’ve come so far in the last 4 1/2 years. But I obviously didn’t start where I am today. It has been a process, a journey.

I started walking. Then walking alternated with running. When I started I could barely run 30 seconds at a time. Then I got the crazy idea to run a marathon. And I did it. I followed a training plan and I trusted the process.

I ended up being able to run far, not fast, but far. I went from an 18-20 minute walking/jogging mile to an average 12-13 minute mile. From barely going 1 mile to over 20 miles.  This took time. It was a process. Then I started CrossFit. And I’m pretty sure I was at a deficet when it came to strength. I couldn’t hold myself up on the pull up bar at all. I could barely navigate the use of the barbell. I still remember the first time I clean and jerked 95lbs as my 1 rep max. Just last month I did that 30 times in under 4 minutes for the workout “Grace”

For months I struggled every single workout. Burpees brought me to tears. My mindset going into every workout was “just keep moving. just survive” – I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea of doing well. It was more like “don’t die” than trying to kill a workout.

Eventually I started to get stronger, faster, more confident. I just kept doing it day after day and I got better. This year I decided I wanted to train for an Olympic Lifting competition. So I followed a specific Olympic Lifting program. I got stronger in my Snatch and Clean & Jerk. I entered, and won, my first Olympic Lifting Competition.

And now here I am. After having major {elective} surgery with my abdominoplasty/skin removal and finding myself frustrated with my current performance. Not only was my body put through some major trauma with this surgery, but I was also out of the box completely for 6 weeks, and really out of my normal level of intensity for about 10 weeks. I knew I would be weaker coming back, I just didn’t imagine it would bother me as much as it does. The most frustrating part is knowing how hard I worked for the progress I had and watching how easily it slipped away. I mean, I had struggled and struggled for years to get a rope climb. It was just recently this year that I finally got that rope climb. Now I can’t even get in one good pull on the rope. It feels like I’m lightyears away from where I want to/think I should be. I just have to keep reminding myself to trust the process. It took time to get there the first time, It will take time to get there again. And it will take even more time to progress beyond that. I know CrossFit works. I know how to get stronger. I just have to put in the work. Show up, do the work. That is how you see the results. It is a process. Embrace it. You won’t always be where you currently are if you put in the work. I want to be stronger, faster, better. So I will put my nose to the grindstone and do the work I know it takes to get there. Every damn day. Because I’m worth it. My dreams and goals are worth it.

Have you ever had to remind yourself to trust the process?

Life, Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss, workouts

I’m Done Coasting

Today is 12 weeks, or 3 months, since my Abdominoplasty/Skin Removal. I knew going into it that I wanted to take it easy for the first 3 months. Like I said in my last post, I just wanted to coast through recovery to give my body time to heal. I had to prepare myself mentally to scale back on workouts and I wanted to give my mind a break when it came to eating. The first 6 weeks were hard, I hated not working out. Then when I got back in the gym it was tough to get my head in the game because I felt so weak when I started back. Over the last 6 weeks I was trying to build my base back up. I was enjoying my new body, not being strict on foods, and just giving my best in the workouts.

Now that I’ve made it to the 3 month mark I’m done coasting. I don’t want to lose any momentum. I’m ready to see what this newly revealed body is capable of. This means starting a focused training program. I’ll be switching to afternoon workouts for the first time in yeeeeaaaars. It should be interesting. (Sidenote: A common misconception about running a gym/box is that you can workout whenever you want. False! You have to put your clients training above your own… that means you workout whenever you can!) I also need to start paying more attention to my food. I just got a new meal plan set up from Precision Fitness STL and I’m going to stick as close to it as I can while maintaining my sanity. If I want to go further than I’ve ever gone I’m going to have to get a little more uncomfortable. If you want to grow you have to go outside your comfort zone!

There is always the temptation to just stay here for awhile. To keep coasting. I’ve come so far. It would be so easy to just stay here. I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m happy. Isn’t that good enough? Well, yes. And no. I could very easily stay here. Here isn’t a bad place. But every single part of my journey to fitness has made me push myself beyond just good enough. I know I have so much more to give. My body is capable of SO much more. Are there going to be days I mess up? Yup. Do I want to go to that “crazy” place of obsessing over food and working myself to death? Not at all. My short term focus goal right now is the CrossFit Open coming in the Spring. I want to confidently walk into it knowing that I can do at least one of whatever movements they throw out there. I want to be strong. I want to see more of my muscles pop out. Like I said in my post last week, I’m learning to be ok with the number on the scale… that Isn’t my main focus here. I want to have performance based goals. I want to fuel my body for performance. I want to keep growing as an athlete and a coach. I can’t wait to see what this body is capable of!

What have you done outside your comfort zone?

Life, Weight Loss, workouts

This is Not What I expected

When I went in for surgery I knew my recovery would take about 3 months, minimum. My plan was to just take it easy, mentally and physically. Obviously I would be out of the gym completely for 6 weeks, but even when I got released to workout I knew I wanted to take it easy and let my body fully recover. I didn’t want to stress out over workouts or food choices for those first 3 months. Basically, I just wanted to coast through recovery. Next monday I’ll hit that 3 month mark.

It’s weird now, though. When I first started losing weight I was so focused on the number on the scale. If I’m being totally honest, that number still hangs in my head. I wanted so badly to weigh 175lbs. I don’t know why. The stupid BMI scale says I should weigh 130, which is a joke. I guess I thought 175lbs seemed like an easier goal to achieve than 130 when I started out at 260ish lbs. When I started CrossFit the first few months the pounds fell off. And for the last few years they have gone up and down. The lowest I’ve been was close to this time last year, I was around 183. The highest I’ve been? This week. 199. I stepped on that scale, saw that number and it I know I’m leaner than I’ve ever been. So why does being so close to 200lbs scare me so much? Because I instantly flash back to that girl floating somewhere in the 200’s – afraid to really know for sure how much I weighed. I know I’m not the same person I was then. My lifestyle is completly different. My body is completely different. But that number still bothered me. I feel like I have conflicting desires. Because I want to be strong. But at what point does weight matter when you want to be strong? I want to be good at CrossFit – as a woman doing pull ups at 200lbs is hard. No, it’s not impossible… but it’s harder for me than someone who weighs 150. Yea, I may be able to squat more than some of those girls, but not all of them. So when does weight start to matter? I don’t know.

Anyway, after weighing in at 199 that morning I had an appointment to check in with my nutrition coach I worked with over the past year. It was my first appointment with him since my surgery. While I did freak out a bit about the weight on the scale I was feeling far leaner than I ever have before. After some measurements and pinches he told me my results…

The left side is my before… the right side my current. I’ve gone down 13mm in pinches, up 11lbs in lean body mass, and down 3.5% in body fat. Out of my 199 lbs on the scale approximently 166 of those are lean muscle. Uhm, what? I’m just under 19% body fat?! Are you serious? I was close to 50% body fat several years ago when I got a DEXA. Of course I know results from a pinch test are going to be different than a DEXA but still… It blew my mind being anywhere in that ball park.

I had a hard time reconciling the idea that I had such high muscle mass. I thought of that 135lb “suggested weight” on the BMI chart. I’d have to lose at least 30lbs of muscle to get there? No thanks. I even thought of that 175 “goal weight” and realized if I want to be there I’m either going to have to be super lean or lose some muscle.

I’m not unhappy with my body. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud of the quad muscles I see popping out. I’m proud of my newly revealed flat tummy that had been hiding under loose skin for the last year. Proud of my baby traps. It’s just when I think about being anywhere near 18-19% body fat this is not what I expected. I’m still technically plus size in size 14 jeans. I’m still close to 200lbs. But I’m strong. And I’m fit. And I’m healthy. And I’m happy. It’s just so hard to reconcile all these things in my little brain.

When it comes to weight loss, I’m finally in a place where I’m not all “I need to lose xxlbs” or whatever. I mean sure, I want to grow my muscles, but overall I don’t feel unhappy with my body. And I guess there is a part of me that almost feels guilty for NOT feeling like I have to change something about my body. I mean, growing up obese means I’ve basically been told all my life that my body and/or weight isn’t acceptable. That being a 200lb woman isn’t acceptable. So now that I’m at a place where I’m at peace with my body, yes even close to 200lbs, I almost feel guilty for that, like I should want to change something.  (Sidenote: I know some of you will say of course you feel that way you just had plastic surgery, of course you’re at peace with your body… but that was just the final step after years of work in the kitchen and the gym!) It just feels so foreign to actually embrace my body for where it is. To be clear I’ve never hated my body. I didn’t bask in my self-loathing thoughts, I just knew I was not in a healthy place with my body composition. At 5’3 and 250lbs and close to 50% body fat I knew I needed to change something.

I know in our minds we all have some idea of what our ideal body/weight/composition is and how it would look on us. I know I did. And I guess all I’m saying is that my reality is different from that picture I had in my head. It’s not disappointing and I’m not upset about it. It’s not that one is good and one is bad… it’s just not what I expected. I guess I just have to learn to adjust my expectations. Cause I sure as heck don’t want to lose my hard earned muscle!

Do you (or did you) have different expectations about your before/after?

Life, Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

Abdominoplasty Update: 10 Weeks Post Op


I remember when I was 10 weeks away from my abdominoplasty  thinking it seemed so far away. Now I can’t believe it has already been 10 weeks since my surgery  It seems like so long ago when I was trying to imagine what it would be like to have my hanging skin gone, smooshing and folding it while standing in front of the mirror. These past 10 weeks I’ve had to relearn my body. I still am caught off guard when I catch a glimpse of myself in a picture or a mirror as I walk by. Other times I feel like this is how my body has been forever. Mostly I feel like I am finally able to see the body I have earned. It’s weird because people who meet me now have no idea where I’ve come from. I truly have had to earn this body. In the gym, in the kitchen, and even in surgery and recovery. I have earned it.

I feel mostly back to normal now. I owe you a few more workout recaps. At CrossFit I’m almost back to where I was before. I still don’t have 100% core strength back so sit ups and push ups are harder than they were before. I am able to move moderately heavy weight again. Mostly I’m able to do all the workouts without having to modify because of my surgery. Things like running and jump rope are 1 million percent easier without my skin bouncing around. In just the 4 weeks I’ve been back to working out I’ve seen awesome changes. I do believe I see a baby ab poking through!

The most common questions I get are about weight changes and clothing size changes. I know this may be disappointing, but I actually weigh within a pound or two of what I did on surgery day! Stupid scale. I stick around 194ish and I was 196 on day of surgery. As far as clothes go, I wear the same clothes I wore before they just look better! I’m a size 14 in most jeans and can go between a Medium-Large in shirts. All my workout clothes fit a bit different, but they still fit. Speaking of workout clothes, I was able to try out Knixwear Athletic Underwear. I’m wearing them in this picture, but you can’t tell! No panty lines, stays in place, and is moisture wicking.

As far as swelling goes, it isn’t as regular of an occurance as it used to be. I still swell in my lower abdomen especially after workouts, but not always. My whole trunk used to swell and it has gotten better each week.

The scar has healed beautifully. I once it healed I started putting a belly balm on it and just a few weeks ago the awesome folks at GelZone sent me one of their wraps and silicone strips to try out for scar therapy. The wrap is also great for compression and it stays in place wonderfully.  The silicone strips are reusable and washable and are easy to wear when I’m not wearing the wrap. The scar is still pink, but it isn’t bumpy or raised. With continued use of the scar therapy I’m certain it will eventually be barely noticeable.


Overall, I’m still estatic about the procedure as a whole. I don’t regret it for a second. The recovery has been far easier than I imagined. It wasn’t easy, but it was easier than I thought it would be. There is a lot on the mental side I want to talk about, but I’m saving that for its own post.

Do you have any questions about the procedure and recovery process?
Any scar care tips?