Jeannette’s blog: Of barbells and bok choy

Thank you for your lovely comments about my last blog. I’m so glad it encouraged some of you. I’ve been doing a lot better since the end of last year. My anxiety and stress levels are WAY down, as is my weight and my blood pressure and I finished up a Whole 30 in the month of January feeling great.

My skin cleared up of the red marks and welts that appeared on my face due to stress and eating badly and my brain fog dissipated like a morning mist. Yes, I caught that horrible cold thingy that was going around, and had that bloomin’ cough that lingered well after the cold left (like that party guest who insists on staying way after you’ve put your pj’s on and cleaned the kitchen) resulting in not being able to go to The Kettlebell Fitness Center more than 5 or 6 times this past two months, but instead of stressing out about it, and feeling like a failure, I was very positive and understood the need to 1. Get well and 2. Not give this stupid cold thing to anyone else that might touch a kettlebell after I’ve sneezed/coughed/hockled all over it. You’re welcome!

The other thing I’ve tried not to stress and get down about was the after effect of this cold thing. My deadlifts suffered. Well, I may be exaggerating a tad…the actual thing of it is, that this cold wiped it out of me, as well as the lack of kettlebell activity due to last year’s ending/drama/anxiety thingamajig. I used to warm up at 155lb on my deadlifts and move up from there. These past few weeks have had me struggling to do more than a few at 165 without feeling exhausted. However, I am taking hold of the thought that progress is NOT a straightforward line forever onward and upward, but that it takes detours and sometimes backtracks, and plays games with you. It happens to everyone, because LIFE happens, injuries happen, colds/flu/sickness happens. Consistency is key, but you know what? Sometimes crap gets in the way, and you just have to keep on keeping on, and not look around you and compare your “journey” to the others around you. If you do that, you will give up. And I was encouraged last Saturday to be able to get up to 190lb without feeling like a soggy noodle afterward.

Oh! And an exciting thing! I turned 53 last month. (That’s not the thing) And I have decided to see what happens if I let my hair turn naturally grey! (That’s not the exciting thing either). The exciting thing is, that for my 53rd birthday, my ever-loving husband bought me…a 45lb powerlifting barbell and bumper plates for the garage, so I can practice my deadlifting at home consistently, instead of just once a week at open gym!! How exciting is that? I’d say pretty darned awesomely exciting. And it’s been cool to be able to workout with the hubs…me in my little corner with my bells and my barbell, and him with his multi-gym and elliptical that I also hog at times.

As I had written earlier, quite a few of us did the Whole 30 in January or February, and at the beginning, I missed red wine like CRAZY. My habit of drinking wine every single night was a tough nut to crack the first week. I would be watching TV or reading, and my hand would reach out for my glass of wine, only to flail around in mid air. Seltzer with sliced limes ended up being my go to. After the first week and a half, I was fine, but it got me to thinking about habits. Why is it that it’s easier to fall into habits that aren’t so good for us, but harder to be consistent about habits that will help us lead healthier lives? Why is it easier for me to slob out in front of the TV knowing that I’ll be tired and grumpy and feeling like a slug for the rest of the evening, but harder for me to go for a walk, when I KNOW that my endorphins will be pinging and that I’ll feel bright eyed and bushy tailed and energetic and great about myself afterward? It’s that beast inside my head again  – insidious and sly, whispering untruths to me. But now I’m the grand and fabulous mature age of 53, I will not take any nonsense from Deirdre the beast. (Ha! Watch this space!) Today, I was wiped out from the week (and it was only Tuesday); a couple of horrible things had happened to people I know and I was bummed. I didn’t want to work out; I wanted to sit and watch mindless TV, drink wine and forget things for a bit (and that’s what Dierdre, my inner beast was trying to get me to do). However, Dan was going to work out and I didn’t want to be the wimp. So, I put on workout clothes, shuffled through the snow to the garage, did some single hand swings and spent a little time on the elliptical to get the blood warmed up and then started single leg deadlifts, cleans and push presses. I put boxing gloves on and took my frustrations out on Dan’s heavy bag, then finished with a 15:15 kettlebell snatch finisher for 5 minutes. I’m so glad I did it. It made me feel SO much better.

This round of Whole 30 was not as experimental as others. I think I only made a couple of things that I hadn’t tried before. I wanted to keep it simple so as not to put undue pressure on me. So I kept it to lean pieces of meat, lots of vegetables, and my tried and true recipes of Whole 30s past. Salmon cakes, chicken fajitas (without the tortillas), chilli, spaghetti squash with compliant bolognese sauce, salads, olives, guacamole, baked fish, meatballs, curries etc. With it being so cold, I went for the comfort food options mostly. I have to say, even with this dastardly cold, it’s was one of the easiest Whole 30s I’d done…although the combination of “Tiger blood” and feeling blah from being sick was a tad weird.

However, a couple of easy new recipes had been tried. A red cabbage salad and mustard & garlic roasted brussels sprouts (which kind of became a little addictive!) were both given the seal of approval by the hubs. And my new stupid, easy favourite, which I found on Stupid Easy Paleo. Garlic ginger bok choy. Takes 5 minutes. I have it a couple of times a week. You can add extra veggies (see photo) and protein to it (just make more sauce), or have it as a side to grilled salmon to make a simple dish. The sauce consists of a tablespoon of coconut aminos, a dash of fish sauce and a teaspoon of grated ginger. That’s it. Sautee a couple of minced garlic cloves in a skillet, add a pound of washed baby bok choy that you’ve sliced in half lengthways, add the sauce plus one tablespoon of water. Toss, then cover to steam a little for about 4 minutes. That’s all folks. Seriously.

Well, that’s it for now, my friends. I’m hoping by the next blog, I’ll be consistently lifting 200lb and higher once more. It’s gonna happen.

Until then, stay strong! – J

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