Nutrition, Weight Loss

3 Tips to Beating Diet Boredom

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Progresso™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Progresso™, all opinions are my own.



When you tell someone that you are trying to eat healthier the last thing they probably think of is flavorful foods. The stereotypical “healthy diet” usually consists of bland chicken breasts, steamed green beans, and rice or potatoes. My biggest pitfall when it comes to sticking with a diet or eating plan is that I default to those same safe, boring foods. Then I get bored and I want to eat all the unhealthy things. That can turn into a full on train wreck, derailing all the progress I’ve made. All because I was bored with chicken, green beans, and potatoes. Sticking to a diet or eating plan doesn’t have to be torture. Here are my 3 tips for beating diet boredom


  1. Experiment with Flavor and Spices

When I first got married spices scared me. As I got more adventurous I would add salt and pepper… Crazy, right?! The more I learned the less scared I was of trying new things. Chili Powder, Paprika, Turmeric, Cumin…. Heck, even a dash or two of a pre-mixed seasoning blend makes all the difference! I eat a lot of chicken breast but by using different seasoning blends creates a whole new Flavor Experience! Speaking of flavors, did you know Progresso™ soup has 40 delicious flavors at 100 calories or less per serving?





  1. Create a Sampler

One of my favorite new ways of escaping boredom is to create a sampler or snack plate. By using several different types of food you can stay interested in what you’re eating, experience different flavors and textures, and when you portion them out and it saves calories too! One thing I did this week was created a sampler of deli meat, pickles, tomatoes, cheese, and Progresso™ Light Savory Beef Barley Soup. My meal clocked in at 355 calories, had a good mixture of protein, carbs and fat, and kept me full for hours. And it fits in with tip number 1, because it was full of flavor!





  1. Make It Pretty

The more colors, the better! I know I tend to take more pleasure in my food when it is aesthetically pleasing. I used to not care what food looked like and would scarf it down without thinking. No, just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s going to taste better. But if you take the time to create a beautiful meal you will be more likely to want to take your time eating it, enjoying the entire process and you’ll be likely to eat less. So go buy a pretty new bowl. Get a colorful mixed salad. Use your fancy china.



When you defeat diet boredom and trim up you might just need some new clothes, right? Well Progresso™ wants to help you out!


Oh yes you can enter for a chance to win a wardrobe makeover for you and three of your friends, courtesy of Progresso™! Enter the ProgressOh! wardrobe makeover contest at Four deserving Progresso™ fans and three of their friends will each win a $1,000 cash card and a year-long subscription to the POPSUGAR “Must Have Box”


Your Turn: Tell me how you defeat diet boredom!


Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

6 Weeks Post-Op Abdominoplasty Update

Find my previous Abdominoplasty updates here

I DID IT! I made it 6 weeks. That is a huge milestone with an abdominoplasty. My doctor told me I could start working out again at 6 weeks, so you know what I did first thing Monday morning? I worked out! It was strange and amazing all at the same time. I started out slow with the warm up. Nothing really hurt but I could feel a lot of tightness right above my belly button. It actually felt more like tightness in my skin than in my muscles. I ended up skipping the pull up/ring dip EMOM. Pull ups and ring dips didn’t feel great so I opted out of them. I did do the WOD though. It was 21-15-9 of Front Squats and Push ups. The front squats didn’t feel bad at all. I stuck with 65lbs, which would have been nothing for me pre-surgery, and it turned out to be a pretty good weight. My legs weren’t sure they liked it, but everything else felt good. The push ups were interesting. I did super slow knee push ups and took frequent rest. Again, it didn’t hurt, but it was a different feeling for sure. More than anything I was just glad to be back at it, regardless of how slow it was.


I finally got to wear my new HumanX Gear tank. I saved it for when I knew I would be able to actually lift something while wearing it! I love it.
(Pants are Fabletics and headband is Junk Brands)

Oh, I have 6 week pictures too!


I still have some noticeable swelling in the lower abdomen, that comes and goes depending on my activity level. This is first thing in the morning after sleeping in my compression garment. The swelling goes up significantly with activity. I was nervous about how bad the swelling would be at the end of the day after working out. My scar is amazing. I’m just using some Honest Company Belly Butter on it right now, but I’ll probably look into some scar cream here shortly.


This is morning (top) and evening (bottom) after my first day of working out. Obviously there is a noticeable difference with swelling, but nothing too far from normal every day swelling. I still wear my compression gear to sleep in and I wear tight compression pants when I workout.

I tried out back squats today. I felt good overall, it’s just frustrating knowing what you used to be able to do. I stuck with a light (for me) weight for my 6 sets of 2. My legs are trying to remember what heavy squatting was like.


Shirt from Thick2Thin | Pants from Fabletics | Headband from Junk Brands | Belt from HumanX

Overall I feel back to normal from the surgery, I just know it will take a while to get my fitness level back to normal. My mind still remembers what I can do, my body is the one trying to remember. I’m going to continue to take it slow and listen to my body.

I feel like I’m finally getting my groove back. I know it’s still going to be a process, but i’ve embraced the process and am just riding it out. Swelling will continue to come and go. And I’m sure things will change and shift as I ease back into workouts. Overall I’m really happy I had the surgery and I would do it again in a heart beat.

Have you ever had to take a break from working out?
How did you get back into your groove?

Find my previous Abdominoplasty updates here

Health, Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

Abdominoplasty Recovery: Q & A (5 Weeks Post Op)


Today marks 5 weeks since my Abdominoplasty surgery! Time has seriously been flying. I honestly imagined my recovery time to crawl by. I think being on the pain meds the first week made that week go by even faster. I slept a lot that week too. The last update I posted was at 10 days post op. This was just after getting my drains and belly button stitches out. Really, that was a major turning point in my recovery! Showers are a beautiful thing and I was happy to have them back in my life!

From 2 weeks post op to 4 weeks post op things got exponentially better. I started feeling less pain and completely stopped having to take anything for pain right around 2 weeks. Some of the swelling started to go down and moving around was much easier.

// my 3 week post op appointment Dr Mills was impressed with how well I was moving. Again, I will tell you that being fit going into surgery helped me more than anything else. My body recovered faster and moving around was so much easier. At the appointment I was told I had an open wound on my belly button. This wasn’t a huge deal, it was just that where my belly button was ended up right on one of my stretch marks, so it took a little while longer to heal. This was during the healing process. All I had to do was keep antibiotic ointment on it. bellybutton

I also got told to stop wearing my bulky hospital binder and go to using a spanx type compression garment. I have just been wearing high waisted spanx underwear type compression. I still have swelling, especially if I do something particularly active like clean the house. I started to feel more normal and even got into some jeans! I’m wearing the same size I was before, they just fit way better!


At 4 weeks post op I felt 99% normal. I still had some tightness, but a lot of my mobility was back to normal. I can twist and turn and have no pain. Again, the swelling is still here… and It’s actually worse in this picture because I spent most of the day before on my feet.


At 4 weeks I started wearing my compression garment half time. I’ve worn it just through the night and I’ve also worn it just during the day. I think I prefer to wear it to bed because I love waking up with the flatter tummy after being in compression gear all night. I was also allowed to lift more weight, around 25lbs and up. Before I was limited to 10-15lbs. The first few days of wearing my compression gear half time I felt my core getting tired towards the end of the afternoon.

Today is the 5 week mark and I can see a huge difference between last week and this week. The swelling has gone down noticeably, at least to me.


The swelling usually happens in the lower part of my stomach, but today it felt really flat. As far as the scar goes, it is suuuuper low and pretty light. You can see in the 4 weeks post op picture the faint line of the scar. I’m really happy with the placement of the scar and how well it has recovered. I also love my belly button shape and coloring, especially after it finished healing.  I feel totally normal. I’m SO ready to get back to working out. I can start easing back into it next week. I know once I get back to working out things will change even more (for the better!)

Here is a little progression of my results week by week. Some weeks you can see a difference and some you can’t. Tummy Tuck recovery is a roller coaster of ups and downs.


I asked on my Facebook and Instagram if anyone had specific questions regarding the procedure or recovery so I’ll answer them here. If you see any I didn’t get to, leave them in the comments!

Where is the best place to rest immediately post-op? Recliner, bed, sofa?

First of all, remember that everyone has a different recovery. I slept in my bed at night from day 1. I was propped up on pillows so I was almost sitting up, but I felt like I needed some separation between my “awake time” and “night time.” I Spent most of the day the first week in a recliner, which was the most comfortable. By week 3 I started removing pillows and laying down more flat. I still kept a pillow under my knees until week 3 as well.

What do you like best and least about your procedure/experience/body now?

I love my belly button! I’ve always had a spare tire around my belly button as long as I remember. So to have a cute belly button is so fun! The part I like the least about the whole procedure is the numbness I feel from my belly button to the top of the scar. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels weird and was really hard to get used to.

Was it painful?

Again, every one is going to be different. The pain pills helped the first week and once the drains was out it was less pain and more discomfort. Everything felt super tight and that was the hardest part. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

How long before you can walk upright/lay flat? 

I was standing mostly upright by the 8 day mark. I didn’t start sleeping completely flat until around week 3.

Did your insurance pay on the procedures?

No, this was all out of pocket. Some insurance would have covered it, but since we are self employed and have to purchase our own insurance this wasn’t included despite the fact I was referred to the Plastic Surgeon by my Primary Care Doctor due to irritating rashes and other issues. Check with your provider.

How much weight did you lose?

I cannot stress this enough…  This is not a weight loss surgery. I did not have this surgery to lose weight. I spent the last 4 years totally overhauling my lifestyle and lost 70lbs before having this procedure. They removed 8lbs of skin and tissue during the surgery. Since surgery day I’m down just about 5lbs. Swelling is crazy during the first few months so it goes up and down depending on activity level and my diet.

How do your clothes fit?

Most of my clothes were too small coming out of surgery because of the swelling. I’m just now getting to where I can fit in most of my pre-surgery clothes. They fit different, but they fit. I’m still in the same size jeans but there is a lot more room in the front!

So far I’m very happy with my decision to have this surgery and loving my results. Again, it is not for everyone. It was what was right for me. I would do it again in a heart beat. It is overwhelming to see the results I’ve worked so hard for. I’m not saying you have to go through plastic surgery to see results, but with the amount of time and the degree to which I was obese it was the option that made the best sense for me.

Thank you so much for following my journey!

Do you have any questions about the procedure/recovery I haven’t answered?

Health, Life, Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

Tummy Tuck Recovery Update 10 Days Post Op


I know I keep saying it, but time has been flying by! I wrote about the actual surgery day and the first few days of recovery already. Last time I talked about tummy tuck recovery I was waiting to have my drains out… That was a long 8 days!!

I went to my appointment on Tuesday with less than 20mL draining over a 24 hour period so Dr Mills took my drains out! I was SO SO SO nervous that it was going to hurt. Honestly, the most painful/annoying thing about the first week of recovery for me was the drains. So I took one last pain pill before going and lets just say I was feeling really relaxed once we got to the appointment. He snipped the stitches told me to take a deep breath and him and the nurse pulled both out at the same time. It felt weird, but it didn’t hurt.

Sidenote: Nothing good ever happens after a doctor/medical professional/anyone tells you to take a deep breath. #justsayin

Since I was already there and because I’ve been recovering so well he went ahead and took out the stitches in my belly button. That wasn’t painful at all either. He told me that I could wear spanx if I wanted to but had to keep some kind of garment on full time until my next appointment. He also said I could walk as much as I want, just no “power walking” or anything more intense. He warned me that I would get tired quickly and that I just needed to listen to my body.

When I got home I TOOK A SHOWER! Seriously the best shower ever. I felt human again. I also got my first peek at my tummy without the binder and drains.


Unreal. I don’t even recognize that as MY stomach. It was a very emotional moment for me to be able to see just a glimpse of the stomach I have dreamt about. I know it is still swollen at just 8 days out but there is even a tad bit of ab definition! SERIOUSLY, IS THAT ME?!

When I first started on my health journey I had this as the after in my head. I would work out and eat right and in ___ Days/Months/Years this is what I would look like, no surgery needed. The truth about weight loss isn’t always pretty. I worked out twice as hard as people I watched get amazing results in half the time. I was meticulous about what I would eat. No, I wasn’t perfect. But I worked hard and left it all out there. There are a few things that come into play here… Genetics are huge. So is the amount of time you have spent being obese. I remember having that big hanging pouch of fat back in middle school. Of course it got bigger as I got bigger. and it deflated as I lost weight. But that skin was done, it wasn’t going back no matter how many wraps/creams/pills/heavy weights/”Just toning” or whatever amazing miracle remedy you have for me. I tried it all. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again… I did NOT have this surgery for weight loss purposes. This is a functional, elective, plastic surgery that I decided to do to make my life better. I worked hard and lost 70lbs on the scale and gained a crazy amount of muscle. I didn’t do this to be skinny. I will always be a thick, curvy girl. and I’m ok with that.

End Rant.

Back to talking about recovery…. I posted on instagram one day last week how not every day was a good day (PS- If you follow me on Instagram, @courtnorm, I update there a lot more often!) and that is true. I felt tired and worn out last Monday but it was because of a combination of the surgery and (TMI ALERT) that time of the month. Seriously, I couldn’t tell what was worse. It was just bad timing for that, for sure. But once that went away and the drains were out I started to feel better and better.


I even tried to put some “real” clothes on and felt good in them! I haven’t been brave enough to try on my jeans because I am still so swollen plus the part of my stomach from my belly button to my incision is still really numb and it feels really weird. Since I’m talking about swelling I noticed that, yes, my stomach is swollen but so are my upper legs… hips and thighs. I know they did lipo around the flanks and there is probably swelling/healing going on from that. I just didn’t expect my legs to feel this swollen. I also tried on some spanx, the high waisted shorts kind. HOLY SMOKES. How do people wear this every day? It was like alligator wrestling trying to get it on. and then it wasn’t even comfortable. The pair I had didn’t have a pee hole or anything so I’m convinced people who wear spanx like that have to be chronically dehydrated because going to the bathroom was a major life event. I wore them for maybe an hour and a half while washing my binder and went to the bathroom twice. All this spanx talk reminds me of the buzzfeed video of men trying on spanx for the first time. You’re welcome.

Day 8, the day I got my drains out, was my last day taking the pain pills (which means I can drive again, yay!) Now I only take tylenol maybe once a day if needed. I’ve been able to stand up straight since around day 5 or 6 so that helped me not be as sore because most of the pain was in my back from hunching over.

Overall, recovery has been uneventful for me. Which is great. and I will tell you that I believe 100% that the reason I have recovered so well is because I was in such good shape going into this. I’m not telling you that this surgery was a cakewalk, because it wasn’t. But I believe that CrossFit made me strong and fit which helped my recovery go so well. I’m used to a certain level of pain/soreness so this isn’t out of the ordinary. My body knows how to recover well.

I’m already missing my workouts, so instead of workout out I just dress like I’m going to work out. A little jedi mind trick.


Overall, I’m feeling really good. I love my results and would do it over in a heartbeat. Dr Mills is truly an artist. My scar is low and thin (you can see part of it in the before and after above). I know I’ve made it through the toughest part and recovery should be all downhill from now. It will only get better!

Thanks so much for all your kind words. You guys are the best. Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Facebook for more regular updates. If you have any specific questions leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them all or do another Q&A post if I get a lot of the same.

Any recovery tips?
Have you ever worn spanx?! ((WHY?!))

Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

Recovery Update: Days 2-5

Is it already Day 5 Post Op?! It seems like time is flying by most of the time. Day 1, or the actual surgery day, was a bit of a blur. I was in and out of it all day with the anesthesia wearing off. I attempted to sleep in my bed on the first day and it was a little tough getting in and out of bed so I ended up back in my recliner around 3am. I really wanted to be able to sleep in bed but couldn’t feel comfortable laying completely flat. The next day the hubs came home with this beauty


I called it the abominable snowman. It is a bed rest type wedge pillow and it has been perfect for sleeping in bed! I still needed some help getting in and out of bed for the first 3 days or so. Now on day 5 I can get in and out of bed and my recliner relatively easily with no assistance. I can also stand up almost straight and walk around easily as well.


I have also been decreasing my pain medication and still feeling pretty good. There are, of course, some moments where I am more uncomfortable than others. Over the past 5 days I haven’t felt like the pain was unmanageable at all. I feel really good in the mornings and can tell my core gets more tired as the day goes on. I’ve been sleeping in bed from 9pm until about 5:30am with 1 or 2 bathroom trips a night. I spend most of the day in my recliner and have been taking a few short naps throughout the day. I make sure I get up and walk around at least 5-10 minutes every hour. It has become a game of finding balance between the right amount of rest and the right amount of moving around.


I still have my lovely drains in. I will have them until Tuesday as long as they are putting out less than 25mL on each drain in a 24 hour period. Which they are right on the edge of doing at this point. When it comes to eating I have just been eating what is easy. We have been so blessed to have people bringing us food for dinners and such. And believe it or not when we first got married Chris did most of the cooking because I was such a horrible cook… so he CAN cook I just usually don’t let him.

Speaking of Chris… He has been an absolute saint. His stress level has been through the roof but he has been doing so well taking care of me, Payton, and the CrossFit. Since I was feeling so much better than expected we actually snuck out and had a quick dinner in the real world!


My scars are healing surprisingly well. All I need now is a shower and I’ll be good to go! haha.

Seriously, I can’t thank you enough for all your support and well wishes. I’m more than pleased with the results so far and can’t wait to share them with you. Do you all have any questions about the procedure/recovery that I can answer for you? Feel free to email me or leave them in the comments!

Have you ever had to recover from surgery? Any tips or tricks?

Life, Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss

Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss – Surgery Day


I made it! I can’t believe I made it! It seems like this day would never come. I have worked so hard for the last 4 years and then I scheduled this surgery back in February. Time seemed to fly by after planning, but it also seemed like it crawled. It seemed so surreal going into the weekend before. I knew I would want to do all the little things around the house…cleaning the floors, laundry, dishes… My major concern was packing up Payton and her things to spend most of the week at Grandma’s house. When Sunday rolled around and we finally dropped Payton off with Grandma it began to feel a little more real.

I actually slept really well the night before surgery. I woke up a few times with that anxious “Oh no, I’m going to miss it” feeling. I still remained pretty calm. We got to the surgery center around 6am and did some paperwork and finished paying… handing over that wad of money I’d worked so hard for stung a little. It was just a few minutes and I was whisked away to the back where a wonderful nurse helped me change into a gown and hair net and hooked me up to some leg massagers to help prevent clots.

Dr Mills came in to do all the markings and that’s when things got real exciting… One of my friends who previously had some plastic surgery procedures told me she got light headed during the markings. I kinda laughed it off. But I shouldn’t have. I guess me not trying to think about it and not making a big deal about it caught up to me. He started a few of the markings and all of a sudden the room got hot and stuffy. I began to feel lightheaded and had to sit down. I ended up getting sick and thought after that I’d be fine. So I stood up again to finish the markings. and again I got woosy and had to lay down. This time I actually blacked out for a second. I got sick again. I guess the nerves caught up to me after all!

Finally we finished the markings and I got to lay down in the bed. They let Chris come back in before I got taken to the OR. It was nice to have him there after my little fainting spells. A few minutes later and I was off to the OR. They wheeled me in, put me on to the operating table, and the anesthesiologist told me to take a few deep breaths…

Next thing I know I woke up in the recovery room.


I felt pretty good when I woke up, a little groggy of course, but mostly coherent. According to the hubs I kept asking the same questions over and over again. My biggest question was “How Much did they take off?!” lol. It turns out they took off just over 5lbs from the front of my stomach and then just around 3lbs from the sides. That is 8 freaking pounds of skin/fat they removed!

I spent a little time in recovery before heading home. It was technically an outpatient procedure. Some people stay in aftercare facilities and some places have you stay overnight in a hospital. I was able to move around enough to get in and out of the car and spent the majority of the day sleeping in my beloved recliner.


I wasn’t able to really eat much, I munched on graham crackers and a protein bar. I kept up with my meds thanks to my amazing husband. I could still feel the effects of being under so I was really groggy for a lot of the day. We moved up to the bedroom and I slept there for a few hours but I realized I needed a bigger wedge type pillow because I can’t get up very easily from laying that far back. I moved back to the recliner around 3:30am and also took more pain meds. Lesson learned, don’t wait for them to wear off! It’s hard at night but I may set an alarm or something tonight to help me stay on top of it.

Overall I feel really blessed. The experience has been mostly positive and I’ve received so much support. I was able to catch a glimpse of the work at my follow up appointment this morning with a small hand mirror and I am just in complete awe. I’ll try to get some pictures in the next few days. The difference is amazing. I’m going to have to keep my drains until Friday or Tuesday depending on how much they are draining, but once those are gone and I can shower I know I’ll feel a lot better. I was able to move around quite a bit better this morning and it felt good!


I don’t want to paint it as all roses over here, because I still am in quite a bit of pain and discomfort, but I know I chose this so I don’t feel like I have a right to complain. I know it is painful, but I know it will be worth it. This is just another chapter in my journey. The journey to my best self hasn’t always been easy. Weight loss isn’t easy. And neither is excess skin removal. But it will pay off in the end!

Follow me on instagram, @courtnorm , to keep up with my updates and progress! I’ll post here as much as I can. Any questions you have leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer! I want you to have the best information possible if you are thinking about doing this for yourself!

Weight Loss, workouts

Weekly Check In- 9 Weeks Out

Another week has gone by already? This means I’m now just 9 weeks out from my Skin Removal Surgery. This was my first real week of trying to stay focused on my main June goals… Drinking 4 Liters of water a day, Taking vitamins Regularly, and Staying on the meal plan.


Overall I’d give myself a B- for the week. I stayed 100% on the meal plan until Thursday when I had an extra quest bar… I was just starving while coaching! Not the worst thing ever. I was consistently getting my water in (and peeing all the time too!) and taking my vitamins. Then comes the weekend…

What is it about the weekend that makes it so much harder? I know that we go out often, going out to eat is like our way of winding down. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings and I got naked tenders and a salad with balsamic, as close tot he meal plan as I could stay. I felt good about it. Saturdays are a little bit tougher because we are at CrossFit longer than normal so I move some meals around to make them easy to take on the go and eat after the competition class I take. I did great throughout the day and then we ended up going out with the hub’s family to our favorite pizza place. We always get the family deal which includes garlic bread, salad, and a pizza for $20. For me to order my own separate meal there is another $10-12 that I didn’t want to spend so I decided to eat as much salad as I wanted to fill me up and enjoy a few small slices of thin crust pizza. I didn’t feel overly stuffed, just satisfied. Sunday I stayed on track all day even with my grocery shopping and meal prep until we ended up out to eat again after some shopping at the outlets. I chose a large salad with grilled chicken and a vinaigrette, not horribly far from something on my meal plan.

Overall I feel like I did well. I want to be able to stick to this plan and see the weight loss… but I also want to be able to live real life. Real life means eating out and not feeling guilty about it. Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan and you just have to make it work. Eating out of tupperware 24/7 isn’t the life I want. I want to be able to make adjustments on the fly and still see progress.

A side note to this week’s check in and possibly TMI – I had my Mirena IUD removed just over a week ago. I feel like my body is still adjusting. I also stopped my hormone replacement trying to get my body to readjust itself naturally. I think that is going to play into the scale number with how bloated I felt all week, despite being 98% on plan.

I weighed in this morning at 194.6, which is a few ounces more than where I was out last week. It was slightly disappointing to see that. I have to fight the mental battle that if I’m not going to lose weight I should at least eat whatever I want. I can’t wait to get to the point where I don’t feel like I have to fight to lose fat and can just focus on performance. As far as size goes I’m totally fine where I am, I feel strong. I just hate this excess hanging skin in front. I want to stay focused for the next 9 weeks to get the best possible result I can from the surgery, to have a healthy recovery, and get back to training without feeling held back by the scale or my skin. Not to mention having these hormones settle the heck down. I hate feeling like I’m doing everything right and not seeing progress. This week it isn’t just the scale… my clothes are tight and I have that overall “bloated” feeling. To be honest I still fight that cardio junkie mindset that just tells me to go run forever to try to burn more calories, even though I know that won’t fix it.

Whew, kind of a downer aren’t I? On a good note, I do feel stronger than ever. I’m following a Catalyst Olympic Lifting Cycle and getting more and more comfortable with heavier weights on my olympic lifts. Like legit lifts, not the “it counts in crossfit” lifts. I’ve been regularly full snatching around the 85-95lb range, I even did a 100lb double from the hang last week. I’m going to be competing in a legit Oly comp in July and i’m looking forward to it!


I know this week I just need to stay on top of my mental game and do the best I can to get rid of this annoying hormonal bloat.

How was your week? How do you stay on your mental game?

Weight Loss

it wasn’t all my fault.


As far back as I can remember, maybe around 6 or 7, I was always chubby. It was just how I was. It didn’t bother me until much later, maybe around 12 or so. One family member asked me when I was going to start losing my “baby weight” and I remember being so angry and hurt and confused. I didn’t know anything was wrong. It was somewhere around that time that I stopped fitting into clothes in the girls section and had to move to the plus size section. I never fit into the “Juniors” section, totally skipped over it. The smallest I can remember being in High School was a size 14. I may have squeezed into some juniors size 13, and if I saw pictures of it I’d probably regret it… But throughout all those struggles with my size I didn’t necessarily hate my body. I was frustrated because I never understood it. Some of my best childhood friends and I ate the same way and they were naturally thin and never struggled with excess weight. I wasn’t binge eating fast food, scarfing down candy bars, and guzzling soda. Sure, I had those things, but in no different quantities than my “skinny” friends.

So, I didn’t over eat and I was relatively active. It never made sense to me why I was the size I was. I felt pretty healthy and I even tried to lose weight multiple times in high school, during my internship, and even after marriage. Each time I would start something new… Atkins, Weight Watchers, or just counting calories I would see an initial loss, like 5lbs, and then stall out. Which would make me frustrated and I’d stop trying as hard. It was an ugly cycle. Again, I didn’t hate my body… I just hated that it made NO sense why my body was significantly larger than everyone else around me.

Fast forward to 2008-2009 when we decided to try to have kids. We tried for 8 months before I finally went to talk to my doctor. Something was certainly off. See this whole time I was trying to lose weight I had talked to my doctors about finding out if I had problem. But when a 215+ lb woman comes into the doctors office talking about how I was struggling to lose weight the answer was always “Eat Less, Move More” – It always seemed like it was something I was doing wrong. Each month we tried to get pregnant and found out we weren’t, I felt intense guilt… it was my fault, something I must be doing wrong… Of course I thought that, it was what I had been told by doctors forever. With the added symptom of infertility on the already long list of symptoms my doctor finally did extensive blood work and determined that I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I thought I finally had an answer for all my problems! They gave me a perscription for Synthyroid and I thought once I started taking it the weight would fall off and I’d be “normal” … aaaand I got pregnant within the next month. I packed on another 50lbs with my pregnancy. Then I thought when I finally had my baby the weight would just fall off, since my thyroid was “within the normal range” … nope.

Even with medication putting my within the normal range, I still struggled to lose weight. I was determined though. I started running, well, wogging. I could barely manage an 18 minute mile pace. I was still out there pushing a stroller and trying my hardest at 250+lbs though. I counted calories, tried to stay active, and even tried the HCG diet for like a day before I thought I was going to die. I ended up losing a good 25-30ish lbs over the course of nearly 2 years. I was around my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body was shaped way different. Then I started CrossFit and pretty strict Paleo for 2 months and dropped another 20lbs or so. And then I stayed there for about a year. The summer of last year I hired a nutrition coach. Again, I saw some great numbers the first 6 weeks or so and then things slowed down.

I struggled because I was doing everything right. The scale wasn’t moving, the inches were literally moving 1/4″ at a time. Yes, it was still progress… but it just didn’t seem to match up with the amount of effort I was putting in. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is to know that I am going all out with nutrition and exercise and not being able to see noticeable changes. Sure, I can see a noticeable difference between where I am now and where I was a year ago. And yes, some progress is better than no progress. But at the same time I look at all the blood, sweat, tears, and meal plans I’ve been through in a year and think shouldn’t I notice a bit more of a difference?

aprilprogressfront.jpg aprilprogressside.jpg

Sidenote – another reason why it is crazy to judge progress using just the scale… In the picture from last year I was around 187lbs – In the picture from this year I’m around 190lbs… I weigh 3lbs MORE than I did but I am actually smaller #justsayin

In the last few months I’ve really been on a quest to figure things out, and I have made some progress. I discovered that I struggle with estrogen dominance (which could actually be what caused my thyroid issues in the first place!) and I have been working hard to get things back in balance. This includes supplementing with hormone cream and removing as many excess estrogens from my life as possible. That is a whole other post in itself.

And so I struggle with the message that I’m trying to convey here… That maybe it isn’t ALL your fault. I’m afraid that I’ll just give someone an excuse to stop trying… to start saying it’s their hormones or thyroid and go back to eating like crap and not working out because they have an excuse.

But I know I need to share my story because I have struggled so much with guilt and shame and frustration. I don’t use my thyroid or hormone issues to tell myself it’s ok for me to be overweight, I use it as a motivation to push harder. I embrace my reality. My reality is that I have to work twice as hard to see half as much progress. Understanding and embracing that makes it easier to keep going. It doesn’t take away those days I struggle, but it makes the struggle mean something. I know if I can make progress despite my body working against me that I just might be able to encourage others to do the same.

So, to those of you who have taken steps to make yourselves healthier and feel like you’re barely treading water, let alone making progress… I want to urge you to advocate for your own health. To stop the negative self talk that shames you. To stand up to all the doctors who think you’re just another fat person looking for an excuse why they are fat. Yes, my love of ice cream and mac & cheese may have made my problem worse. my ignorance to what good nutrition looked like may have made it worse. but my body was damaged. it wasn’t all my fault. I may be fighting an uphill battle, but that makes victory all the more sweet.


Hashimoto, Health, Weight Loss

Estrogen Dominance (aka – My Hormones Make Me Crazy)


If you have followed my health journey for any period of time you know that I have been working incredibly hard and yet still struggle with seeing the results I think I should. It’s not that I don’t put in the work, because I do. I press my limits at the box, I follow a clean eating plan from a nutrition coach with the exception of a few meals out with family per month. Still, despite all my work I was seeing little to no progress. I mean, yea, I was making better choices for my health but as hard as I have worked I should be further along… I know everyone says that! But it’s true!

I chalked most of that up to the fact that my thyroid is whack thanks to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 98% of the time I accepted that my reality would be that I would have to work twice as hard for half the results. The other 2% of the time I threw myself a big pity party that included fried pickles, burgers, loaded fries, and ice cream. Because if I wasn’t going to lose weight I was going to eat whatever the heck I wanted anyway. This lasts for about a day before I start feeling sick. Then I get back to business and keep working. The thing that always bothered me is that since starting my medication my labs have always come back as normal. That means everything should work like it is supposed to, right? Wrong…

I started to notice more signs that something wasn’t right in the last few months. I was having crazy headaches, I was sleeping on average 8 hours most nights but still feeling extremely fatigued, generally felt “off” and “foggy brained”, and the biggest red flag was my ability to go from happy go lucky to extremely irritable in 0.6 seconds… particularly when dealing with my daughter. That was a huge eye opener. If you know my daughter you know that she is seriously the best kid ever. I’m not just saying that because she is my daughter, but she is seriously the sweetest, kindest, most well behaved child I know. So when I lost my patience with her on a regular basis that was a huge red flag. Not to mention my lack of results with hard work on the diet and exercise front. I really started to feel like I was legit going crazy. I had my thyroid checked again just to see if my levels fluctuated… but nope. Still normal. My nutrition coach, Jamie from Precision Fitness STL, suggested the theory of Estrogen Dominance. When I read the symptoms I felt like I was reading through a description of my life. Check these out…

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
  • Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • PMS

Uhm, HELLO! McFly! This is seriously my life. Could THIS be reason why my thyroid is jacked up to begin with?!

I brought it up to my general practitioner who deals with my thyroid issues and she hadn’t ever really dealt with it, but was interested in doing so. We got my blood work done and I was on pins and needles waiting for the response. So, it turns out that my estrogen levels are normal… HOWEVER… My progesterone levels came back in the range of someone who was Post Menopausal. Meaning there was practically no progesterone in my system.

My first reaction? I’M NOT CRAZY! YAY!

Then I was a bit confused, My estrogen levels were “normal” after all… so it wasn’t that I had too much estrogen… It was that it wasn’t balanced with the other hormones in my body. One of the places I was reading about it made it make the most sense to me “the theory of estrogen dominance is very real, but its significance lies in the overall ratio of estrogen to progesterone

So, it isn’t that I have an excess amount of estrogen, it is that I am not producing enough progesterone to balance it out. So, I am going to start using a natural progesterone cream to help supplement. This is a tricky issue as too much can cause my body to swing the other way. Another complication to the issue (and a TMI alert) is that I have the Mirena IUD and don’t have regular periods. I can’t tell you the last time I had a period. I do plan on having it removed in the next few months and I hope that helps things to balance out.

I know this is long winded, but I wanted to share this with you in case any of you were struggling with the same things.

Have you ever felt crazy? Were you really crazy?

Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss, workouts

Taking the Plunge: Skin Surgery Post-Weight Loss

Well, aren’t we just talking about one major life change after another around here! Be warned this may get a little lengthy…


I’ve been on this healthy living journey for over 4 years now. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been many detours along the way. I’m getting to a place where I feel like I’m close to the body type I think will work best for me and my goals, this is totally personal opinion. Many people on their health journey are out to get to a goal weight. When I started on this journey I thought I wanted to weigh 135. Now my lean muscle mass is hovering around 150, so that number is out of the question unless I want to lose 15lbs of muscle. Which I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be super lean, I want to be strong. For the most part I’m happy where my body is. There is one main issue that I just haven’t been able to fix with diet or exercise… extra skin.


When you spend the majority of your life extremely overweight and carry most of that extra weight in your mid section that is going to leave you with a lot of extra skin, even if you lose weight in a slow and healthy way. There is no muscle left in my lower abdomen, so there is no hope of it retracting on its own. There is also an area of lose skin around my belly button. Most times this extra skin isn’t noticeable under my clothes, I work hard to make it that way. As I’ve continued to lose weight it has become more of an issue in many areas.


The first thing that comes to mind is my CrossFit performance. I can’t work out unless I am wearing some type of compression pants. Even then doing any kind of jumping movements can be painful and makes it a million times harder. Even wearing compression pants they move and shift and I’m often spending a good portion of the workout adjusting them.


I can’t remember a time when I had a flat stomach. I’m at the point in my journey where I have to work super extra hard to see changes and it’s hard when I know even with the work I put in without surgery I will never see a flat stomach. I want to look good naked and in clothes. I don’t want to have to worry about stuffing my apron of skin into a pair of jeans. Not to mention if that skin wasn’t there I could probably fit into a smaller size. Or maybe not, since my squatting thighs are pretty large still. I have also had issues with rashes both around my belly button and on the fold where the skin lays.

First Impressions

This one is hard for me to admit, as it can be misconstrued as vain or shallow. The truth is I love my body for what it can do despite how it may look. I am strong and healthy. I am also fit. The reality is it may not appear that way to some people, particularly when I am in a fitness related position. I’ve had to fight my own demons to get to where I realize my level of fitness isn’t related to the number of stomach rolls I may or may not have. Not everyone is at that place. As a fitness professional I feel like I should look the part. Yes, I may be relatable and inspirational to some people, but there are others who may look at me and think I shouldn’t be in the position I’m in. I’m not saying that people with extra skin or fat shouldn’t be fitness professionals at all. I’m just saying this extra skin isn’t doing me any favors for my business.

Lingering Reminder

Some people say that things like extra skin and stretch marks are reminders of how far they have come. Yes, i’ve made some amazing changes to my life and my body has followed along with those changes. For me it is more of a thorn in my flesh reminding me of where I was before… Of how far out of control I was. While I am proud of my progress, I want to live more in the moment of where I am now. I don’t want to have such a large reminder of how far gone I was at one point.

So, all those things added up to decision to pursue this surgery. The final straw came when I talked to my general practitioner about that and she referred me to a plastic surgeon. I guess I still see myself as larger and thought If I could lose 30 more lbs maybe it would go away. She confirmed that it wasn’t just excess fat, it was actually a large amount of skin and that it wouldn’t go back on its own. It was like solid validation. I was scared to pursue this though. Mostly, I didn’t want people to think I was “cheating” or trying to take the easy way out. I was scared that people may look down on me for doing it. Then I realized I never have let what people think about me stop me before. So, on her referral I set up a consultation with Dr Peter Mills at Renaissance Plastic Surgery. I’ll write a whole separate post on that whole experience. After the consultation I talked with Chris about it. Yes, it is a lot of money. Yes, the recovery will suck. Yes, it is a major surgery with risks. But it is something that makes sense for me and where I am in my journey. Not everyone may agree with my decision. That’s ok, this journey is my own. I also talked to my friend Courtney from Treadmill Runway who recently had this procedure done herself. We have been so alike in other areas of this health journey it is so helpful to have her insight on this as well.

Taking into consideration the cost and recovery time we decided to go with an August Surgery date. So, Monday August 11th is the day. There is still plenty of time for me to make more progress before then to have optimal results. Right now I’m in the upper 180’s as far as weight goes. Ideally I’d love to be comfortably in the 170’s when I go in for this procedure. So another 15lbs give or take. I will be clear on this: This is not a weight loss surgery. I don’t agree in having a tummy tuck for the reason of losing weight. If you don’t address the issues of healthy eating and exercise you will likely waste your money and end up gaining weight back after the surgery. I am in a healthy place with my eating and workouts and will be using this as a functional surgery, not a weight loss surgery. If I lose weight because of it, great. If I don’t, no big deal. It’s not about that number on the scale for me.

I plan on sharing all about this along the way so you all can see the good, bad, and ugly about the procedure and make your own informed decisions on if this is right for you. I’m an open book so any questions you might have I’d be more than happy to answer, you can leave them in a comment below or email them to me at courtney (at) courtneynorman (dot) org