Primal Focus

Archive for the category “Primal Focus 2012”

Faster. Farther. Stronger.

Those words represent my short term goals:  faster, farther, and stronger.  I am one month into this journey, and seeing myself in new ways.  I know I am only at the beginning of this chapter, but I am learning.  Here are my January lessons:

  • Movement – my body can do so much more than I ever thought possible.  Tonight I completed a WOD – scaled down, but as prescribed!  It felt so good.  The first round was 50 burpees, 20 power snatches.  Second round included 25 burpees, 10 snatches.  At the end of four minutes on Round 2, I had only completed 21 of the 25 burpees.  Sarah called time.  I told her that I wasn’t going to stop when I was only four away.  Better than saying it is living it!  I did not quit.  More times than not, I am winded. I am sore. I am wondering how I let myself get so far off the path before realizing it, which leads me to…
  • Belief – no one at my gym cared if I stopped.  Please do not misunderstand.  I am surrounded by people who encourage, congratulate, and motivate in the best way possible: by example.  I see them push. I see them train. I see them do more than they are asked. I see them, and I believe I can go faster, farther, and be stronger.  I do not want to be the one scaling down, but I can feel the transformation occurring.  I know the sweat, tears, callouses, and sore muscles are badges of courage, and I can hold my head high.  Another difference…
  • Accountability – every other time that I attempted to lose weight, I asked someone to hold me accountable via text, via email, via phone, etc.  The unfortunate truth: I never followed through.  If I examine why, the most likely answer: sheer embarrassment.  I am human. There are days when I slip and fall.  This time I am not expecting perfection.  About ten days ago, out of sheer habit, I reached in and grabbed a handful of Sarah’s popcorn.  Not realizing until it was in my mouth – it’s a grain!  What am I doing?  I mentally kicked myself. Then, I asked myself why? Time kept ticking, the world did not end, and I stayed on the wagon the rest of the time.  The perfection paradigm is not realistic or healthy.  Feels great to let that go!  Speaking of letting go. I have…
  • Freedom – this list is important to me.  I am no longer defined by a number, but I am 11.2 pounds lighter.  I am no longer scared to tell anyone where I am (physically, emotionally, spiritually).  I am empowered to make wise choices. I am responsible for my words, my actions, and my attitude.  Above all, I am…
  • Grateful – for the unconditional love, for the path forward, for the ability to dig deeper, for the understanding, for the moments of grace.

More, Better, Different, and Less…

I am a pretty optimistic person.  9 out of 10 times I am the person in the conversation that sees the glass half full.  With that said, I approach my life at home the same way I attend to work by continually asking myself these questions:

What do I need to do…

  • more of (or for my friends who are closet grammar Nazis, In what areas of my life can I do more)?
  • better?
  • differently?
  • less?

This week my answers are as follows (Note: these answers reflect my life observations which may or may not have to do with my Primal Focus):

  • More?  I need to move more.  I went to the gym on Wednesday and today (intended yesterday, but stomach bug won).  My arms are still a little sore.  Discomfort, not pain.  Thinking about the possibilities jazzes me.  You mean I might be able to do a Spartan race?  A mudder?  A climb to the top of Ranier?  For inspiration, I just look around.  There are women all over that gym who are strong.  And, no, I do not mean bulky, she-men either.  I mean lean, mean, machines who by looking at them you would never imagine that they could pick up, let alone chest press 120#.  These women are gorgeous -inside and out, and I am amazed at the sense of camaraderie among them/us.  There’s something about pushing one another to the limits that brings out the team player in everyone.
  • Better? I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with friends.  Whether or not they share the same issues or challenges, I want to invest in others.  I work.  I play.  I volunteer.  Rarely, do I just sit with a friend to listen.  When I do, I am always grateful for the time, and I pledge to do it again soon.  Then time and schedules get in the way.  The days turn into weeks; the weeks turn into months; and, the months turn into years.  Life is meant to be shared.  This is definitely an area of improvement for me.
  • Differently? I need to find side dishes that work for our family – quickly at the end of a busy work day and before karate (or the next activity).  My family loves roasted vegetables, but the time commitment isn’t realistic.
  • Less? Letting my mind wander to Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve Land.  My present reality is a long way from the goal.  It makes no difference what choices brought me here, as long as I am willing to do what it takes to correct my course.  This is hard for me.  My desire to get there ‘yesterday’  needs to meet Truth.  There is joy in the journey no matter how long it takes.

One final thought:

When I was at the gym on Wednesday, I heard a few people say, “I can’t.”  A short time ago that used to mean you had to stop and do ten burpees, but I digress.  I realized I no longer have an “I can’t” attitude.  I kept thinking, “not yet.”  Everything is possible regardless of my age or where I am starting.  Maybe not tonight does not mean not ever.  It just means, not yet.

Homemade Chorizo

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes in the morning.  It’s so easy to make that Sarah doesn’t even need my help.  Here’s what you do…

Throw it all together:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ounce chili powder — I use 1/2 jar of Mexene

Just add everything to a gallon size bag that pinches or zips shut.  Hand it to your kid, and let him/her smoosh (official cooking term) it all together.  Put it in the refrigerator over night so the flavors can marinate.

To prepare:

  • Add 1/2 of chorizo to hot skillet.
  • Add finely chopped onion to taste.
  • Brown on medium heat for about 10-12 minutes or until pork is thoroughly cooked.
  • Add 6-8 eggs.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Scramble eggs with chorizo until eggs are cooked.

This is chorizo in a pretty pure and simple form.  Every Mexican family has his/her favorite additions ranging from adding oregano to cumin (comino) to garlic.  Any way you make it at home is going to taste significantly better than the pork parts and who knows what chemicals versions that you’ll find in many stores.  Simple.  Delicious.  Paleo.  Enjoy!

Two Weeks Down!

Hard to believe I’m two weeks into this journey.  Apologies, I never intended to wait that long to update, and I will do better.  This post will be a little long, but I have four topics on my mind:

  1. Skipping treats or meals – you will not starve,
  2. Great minds think alike – Mark Sisson’s 2012 Success Stories in the Making,
  3. Exercise – the good, the bad, the reality, and
  4. What’s next.

Any behavior change, weight loss, exercise, or lifestyle (that’s where my choice falls) program with which I am familiar tends to reinforce the addage: fail to plan, and you might as well plan to fail.  I am not sure I agree – at least not completely.  Planning is important, but, I think (for me) it’s more about commitment to the decision.  Let me explain.  On Monday I attended a Pampered Chef party.  As a quick reminder, I am avoiding sugar, grain (not just gluten, but all grains), legumes (including peanuts), and dairy.   As a side note, important to me at the time, I went to the party ‘starving.’  Work was super busy, and I had no time to eat a snack before I arrived.  My friend invited me in, her daughter took my jacket, and, then, I went to the line.  Translation:  I was one member of the herd in a huge buffet style line of food large enough to feed a small country.  Choices included taco soup (beef, tomatoes, corn, black beans, etc.), dips with bread, cheese with crackers, cakes with frosting, and I know I’m only scratching the surface.  My plate looked pathetic – raw cauliflower and a few (yes, that means three) green grapes.  I expected a lot of people to ask, but only a couple did.  I spent my time visiting with ladies with whom I usually only see in passing.  As we went around to the various stations to make our food, I knew exactly what I was adding or in some cases deciding not to add to my family’s food.  For instance, one station called for a taco seasoning packet.  I planned ahead and brought a snack bag of my favorite taco seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin).  Another station had ketchup (catsup to some) laced with high fructose corn syrup.  No thanks.  When all was said and done, I walked away with four meals, not five.  I did not starve, and when I came home I had a cup of chicken broth.  I survived.  I also went to one of my favorite restaurants where they bring out the warm bread and dipping oil.  Since I was with others, I did not say, ‘no thanks.’  Rather, I sat there, did not touch it, and I survived.  As a matter of fact, I felt empowered, motivated, and strong.  This is my body, my temple, my gift.  Every ‘right’ decision motivates me to make another.  For that I am thankful.

Great minds really do think alike.  Jimmy Moore posted a link to 46 new paleo blogs for 2012, he’s including mine in his next list.  Mark Sisson added a new feature to his site, “Success Stories in the Making.”  He’s created a forum for others on this journey.  When I read his post which went up within a few hours (his was actually earlier) of mine, I debated on whether or not to shut this one down.  I do not believe there is anything new under the sun or unique to me, but I decided to keep it going.  This is about my journey and what I am learing along the way.  I do encourage you, however, to check out his page.  I guess there are over 400 of us on this path.  There’s definitely comfort in numbers, especially when you take a moment to recognize/realize:  everyone has a story. 

Now, a brief moment on exercise.  Nothing added yet, but, I am super excited about a kettlebell workshop tomorrow.  Ok, if I’m completely honest, I am stoked and scared.  I know this will involve soreness, pain, and many moments waaay outside of my comfort zone.  At the same time, I like what Amanda put on her wall this week to mark her first anniversary in the gym.  I’m paraphrasing, but basically, “no matter how slow I’m going, I’m lapping everyone that’s choosing to stay at home and sit on the couch.” 

I feel great about the last two weeks, and I am honestly looking forward to whatever comes next.  I will start sharing some of my favorite recipes, including homemade chorizo and my homemade shrimp creole.  All good stuff!  Last, but not least, if you’re wondering – how much have I lost?  I have no idea!  I know that I have lost, but I also know 1) it’s usually water at first, 2) the number does not define me, and 3) I told myself I would not look for thirty days. 🙂

My One Year Challenge

My name is Sonia, and I’m addicted to sugar.  I came to that conclusion almost a year ago.  So, where am I now?  In the exact same spot?  Not really.  Throughout the past year, I read a lot about what it means to be paleo (strict paleo is basically no dairy, no wheat, no legumes, no added sugar), what it means to be primal (paleo; however, small amounts of dairy are ok), and what nutrition does or does not do to your body.  Quite the adventure ensued.  For those interested in learning more, I highly recommend: The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson ( and Whole 30/Whole 9 (  If you are in or near Indy, then, it’s worth the drive to Brownsburg.  There’s an amazing garage gym called PR Fitness that incorporates and lives by many of these principles (

In June/July 2011 I went 30 days strict Paleo, using the program designed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig,  Whole 30, in conjunction with my gym, PR Fitness.  The results – I lost 12.5 pounds, many inches, and I felt great!  This happened while on vacation over the 4th of July!  For a reason unknown to me (ok, honestly, I am smart, but I have moments of weakness, addiction, and stupidity), I went back to the sugar, bread, and other simple carbs.  I did not retreat entirely though, and I incorporated much from the teaching and teachers above.  Here is why that context is significant.

December 13, 2011 I visited my doctor for a complete physical.  I asked him to do labs, including the ever dreaded lipid profile.  Additionally, I wanted my blood sugar re-checked.  Again, context matters.  Sometime in 2008 I had blood work, and my results were something like this – sugar, too high – not diabetic, but insulin resistant.  In other words, on your way and we cannot tell you when.  Cholesterol was around 220.  High enough that the doctor was going to recommend statins.  And, my triglycerides were around 136 – normal is up to 150.  For most normal people, the numbers were enough of a concern to change my ways.  Not me.  It took my dad’s death almost two years later for me to realize the significance of things like dialysis and bypass surgery.  Back to the 13th (Dec 2011), with a mostly primal lifestyle, my numbers were impressive.  Not kidding.  My husband who is not easily swayed by the latest infomercial (yes, I own almost all of them) took notice.  Here are my numbers:

  • Triglycerides – 89 (are you kidding?  that’s amazing!)
  • Blood sugar – 85 (no more insulin resistance for me!)
  • Cholesterol – 196 (within normal limits – on the high side, but still!)
  • Vitamin D – 10 (not checked back in 2008, but, low enough that my PCP put me on prescription strength Vitamin D for the next 8 weeks)

On paper a person could believe that I still maintain a healthy weight for my height.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  My number is daunting and taunting.  It’s high enough that I probably qualify for a show like The Biggest Loser, but I cannot imagine subjecting myself to that kind of public scrutiny.  Nor, do I think the show does enough of the ‘real world’ experiences where individuals live outside of the ranch.  Life is far from predictable – just ask those sitting on the interstate for an hour, or those with a parent in the hospital, or those in prison (how many dreamed of that when they were in high school?)… I will stop.

Here is the point of this blog/this post.  I am and will continue to be inspired by people who lose a lot of weight.  Their stories of courage and triumph over adversity are motivating.  My issue/challenge is the day to day.  How about a blog or a resource where someone is living it?  That is what this will be.   I need to lose a lot of weight.  I want this blog to be about the journey, in the midst of the storm, right where I am, right where I struggle, and what helped me or didn’t help me through it.  I may not post every day, but this is about my year long commitment to being the best me I can be.  That spills to a lot more than nutrition and exercise, but for the purposes of this blog, I will keep it simple.  After looking at the research and knowing my family history (riddled with diabetes on both sides), this is the approach that I choose for me.  The one year (Primal Focus 2012) will be a blip on the radar of my life.  Intimidating at first, but I hope to hit the groove within a few weeks.  One day at a time.  With that said, I think it’s only fair that you see the starting point.  Here I am – all too much of me.  The picture below was taken a couple of weeks ago on 24 December 2011.  This is my ‘before,’ and I am already looking forward to my ‘after.’

Primal Focus - Before

Post Navigation