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Monday, August 30, 2010

Week Three by the Skin of my Teeth

This week was certainly a test of my positivity and ability to accept that not every week will be a great week. I have been really struggling financially this month because of having to replace all four tires, two breaks and two routers on my car in one fell swoop. I am grateful that my financial management to this point helped enough that it didn’t break me and I was still able to pay all of my bills on time. Which is always the goal right? The only issue is that I have had zero flexibility and that is hard for me considering it is my birthday month and I wanted to be able to treat myself… maybe it was a sign. These financial woes definitely showed throughout the week because it led to a bit of a spat with my mom on two occasions and a bit of a spat with myself almost daily. I know that starting this weekend things will start falling back to where they need to be but it is never easy to handle bumps and bruises and this month has proven to be one of those move mountains types of months. To add fuel to the fire I also got a call from another collector who I hadn’t heard from in ages and had no idea where the account was located. At this point the balance on the account is nearly three times the size of the original purchase price. I know that with a positive attitude and gazelle intensity I can conquer this too.

As far as health and fitness are concerned it was another test to my capability to accept things not going my way. Crossfit is still fantastic, I love it thoroughly and this week was a balanced week-a yin yang situation. Monday was tough. I took my friend because she was having a rough day and when I went I felt like things weren’t coming as naturally as they typically do and I got frustrated. I felt that my form was all wrong and the coach who was available had no time for me (which is reasonable considering there are 20 other people there). I left feeling sore in all the wrong ways and upset. I was definitely a bit sensitive just because it was the first day I didn’t leave on cloud nine so I emailed my box owner and he calmed the frustration right out of me. I was back at it on Wednesday with as much or more rigor. I was stoked to be back at the gym and it was an interesting day. The challenge was to do 2 rounds of 12(beg), 18(int) or 24(adv) reps of Dead lifts, wall balls, box jumps, ring push-ups, wall balls, box jumps, and kb swings. I did the beginner level at 12 reps and set a goal for myself to finish before ANYONE else (beginners or otherwise). I finished at 13:45 well before anyone else including the other beginners. I felt like a winner. I AM A WINNER!

Eating primally this week was pretty standard. I really just didn't eat much at all. I am going to have to start keeping track of what I eat for the challenge so I really should get on that. Primal living is being made just a tinge easier by my new friend on the Marks Daily Apple Forum. He goes by TAWFUNGUY and is officially my "Primal Boyfriend" as suggested by his wife. LOL. He is an inspiration to so many people in just 24 days of being primal, he was even commended by Mark Sisson himself! At this point he is counting down his time to a loincloth which he will wear hopefully in a year or less... I told him I might join him in a coconut bikini, nothing lights the fire quite like a visual goal! The two of us have become a mutual support system and the tribe is growing and definitely becoming fierce. I really am grateful that someone has been able to be a bit of a supporter to me. His positive vibes and mine coincide very well and hopefully my primal positivity will turn into primal inspiration.

On that note I have decided that it is time for me to start making an impact. I was approached by three different Deaf people (and even a few hearing people) in the last two weeks regarding my recent weight loss and health changes. This led me to decide that maybe a useful tool for not only the expansion of health knowledge for Deafies across America but also for my own personal motivation, might be to make a vlog (Video-Blog) pertaining to Primal Blueprint and all the health benefits therein. I would say you can probably expect the first installment of this vlog to come around in the next few days, and then I plan to make several starting there.

On the positive lifestyle note-I think it might be useful for me to buy the book “The Secret” and start again on that path. I do have the daily calendar for the book and have considered making a journal from it on my own time. I need to find the time to do what is right for me.

My goals starting now:

1. To get back into a healthy routine with bedtime and wake time

2. To continue to follow the PB way of eating and living including fun and play

3. To spread the word of primal health to Deaf people locally and possibly beyond

4. To start living more positively and relaxed again. Not every day needs to be filled with things to do-Stop doing start being.

5. Keep working toward my health and fitness goals of size 10 and 175 lbs

This week has been kind of trying emotionally as well. I think a huge part of that is this is the first birthday I won’t be able to spend doing what I want to do without a question. I work, which I love, but that means that I can’t go out on a limb and just act goofy on my birthday. It also means the crown is out, for the first time in 9 years. I will find a time and place to wear it.

I do want to touch on that a bit, just because there has been something kind of bothering me about it. This week I have been posting videos and comments related to my birthday on Facebook. It isn’t really surprising to most people who know me because I tend to celebrate long and hard for my birthday. My aunt did make a comment saying that I am the only person she knows who advertises for my birthday, so I thought I would address this with a bit of an explanation:

My birthday falls on August 31 which is a great day I must say. The interesting thing about it is it is a cut off birthday so I was always the youngest in school. The other interesting thing about my birthDATE in particular is the fact that it tends to fall in the first or second week of school. To most people this is not a big deal, but as a kid growing up it is a HUGE deal. For most kid’s birthdays (At least during the 90s) we would get to bring treats to school and our friends would bring presents and in middle school lockers got decorated and balloons were brought, the whole nine yards. Well, if your birthday falls in the first two weeks, the teacher doesn’t really remember and friends NEVER remember and so my locker went undecorated and my treats went unappreciated. Now, the year I started high school at Littleton my birthday was the third day of school. I decided that I would wear a crown. I was new in the district so no one there knew me anyway, and they would never guess it was my birthday so I would give them a hint. It worked. I got a couple more happy birthdays than normal and I was satisfied.

College came, first day of college was my 17th birthday, I wore the crown along with a shirt that read “today is my birthday! Say happy birthday to me!” and it worked! Not only that but that day happened to be the day I met my current best friend Tove. She and I had a mutual friend and to this day she will tell you “How can I forget?! You were wearing braided pigtails and a crown and a tshirt that said it was your birthday!” –If nothing else, it earned me a great friend!

I choose not to live in a world where people don’t tell me happy birthday. If that means I have to act like a selfish little girl and advertise for my birthday for a week in advance and wear a crown, then so be it. Nowadays with Facebook there is no need to tell anyone it is your birthday, Facebook will do that for you. I understand that it seems childish and honestly for 358 days of the year I am more than willing to act my age or older, but the week of my birthday is the week I get to throw that caution to the wind and be the center of attention. I hope you don’t mind.

For now that is all. I hope to be able to bring you more inspiring posts in the near future. My vlogs will be up and running shortly and I will be sure to keep this blog apprised.

Thanks for reading. Have an excellent week!

Share a smile today! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Health and Happiness-Week Two

Well, CrossFit kicked my butt again. On Monday we did these squat things that made me sore for two days, and then of course Wednesday we worked on something else to make me sore, Friday we did Fight Gone Bad again (we are trying to raise money and awareness for the livestrong foundation and a couple others... the 5th annual CF Fight Gone Bad.)
Wednesday was cool because a guy at my box helped me work on my Snatch form... Pretty soon the world will know me as Manda-Master of the Snatch... until then at least I have good form. :) The box owner here in SF is so incredibly supportive and seems actually impressed with my form. Seems to think that my days as a CrossFitter will be long and strong (which is exactly what I am shooting for).
As far as food and primal living go... I have been having a rough summer. In my opinion summer time is much harder than the holidays. At least during the holidays there are yummy things like turkey and ham everywhere you turn. During the summer it is all the ice cream and chips and salsa that get me! So I made a deal with myself that I will stop being such a cheater, I think it is really taking its toll on me. I have decided to do 90-100% primal until Sept 18th when my local CrossFit is having a Paleo contest for 7 weeks.
The contest includes:
Pay in 30 bucks to live 7 weeks paleo. Must submit weekly food journals on Google Docs. must take 3 (side, front, back) before pics within 3 days of the starting day, and 3 after pics within 3 days of the ending day. There will be weekly (Saturday) meetings about Paleo living which are free to people who are participating. WINNER GETS?: The pot! well half the pot, there is a male and female winner. The winners also receive one month UNLIMITED CrossFit membership (5 classes/week if you want).
Really I am in this for a few reasons:
1. get my act together again before the cold months of doom come around
2. I really want that free month membership-that would rock
3. Look like a million dollars that much sooner
4. Prove to myself that I can do it.
5. I wanna wear a size 10 by October 31st and I know I can... Or maybe by October 11 which is my ex and my 2 year anniversary-that'll show him ;)
The sooner I get where I wanna be the sooner I am there. I have accepted that I am a PBer for life. I have accepted also that I will be a CrossFitter for life and these things make me happy! I know that my "goals" are a bit less structured than most, but I will know it when I get there... and when I am there I will get my Grok tattoo and celebrate! :)
I am 3 lbs away from my first major goal. I would like to be under 200 lbs by my birthday next Tuesday. It will happen.
My next major goals are: size 12 pants and 175 lbs... I will let you know when I get there :)
Keep on grokin' on!

Baby Step One: Save 1000 Dollars for an Emergency Fund

So another aspect of healthy living that I mentioned I wanted to incorporate on this blog is financial health. As much as I am a hippie I am also a strong supporter of Dave Ramsey and what he has to offer. I wish that money were easy to control, then I wouldn't have to worry about my finances or where things affected my budget, but if money were easy to control we would all be millionaires.
Before I get started on explaining my personal financial situation along with going through the 16 CD'S of Financial Peace University (FPU) and what that means, I want to have a bit of a disclaimer. I think Dave Ramsey has the right formula. I even think he has his head and heart in the right place. I personally am not religious so the preachy parts of his lectures are a bit much for me... I am also not conservative in very many ways-So he and I disagree there. However, one thing we do agree on is that money is just a thing, it is the person who has the money who is in control of what happens and how it affects themselves and others. Also, DR is a HUGE supporter of donating money (He is specifically supportive of donating to one's church, my specifications are a bit less religious) I truly believe that in order to get money, you must give money.
NOW onwards. When I graduated from High School I had NO CREDIT (zero as in not negative not positive, just nothing) then I applied for student loans and because my mom earns more than most moms in the state of South Dakota, I lost out. I needed a Co-signer and my Aunt was the only person willing, and so we went from there. A year later I agreed to have my first credit card. The banker told me it would help me build positive credit (and it could have, had I used it properly). My mom had always told me to stay away from Credit Cards (mostly due to her own personal experiences). By the age of 50 my mom had filed for bankruptcy twice, this October will be the end of the 7 year period on her second one. I am changing my family tree.
During the time I was in college I had my credit card which I managed well until the day I wanted to go see my long distance boyfriend at the time. I bought the tickets, told my mom to stick it and flew to Arkansas. Months later he moved up to live with me and we instantly combined our finances. I thought I loved him and knew I would marry him (I wouldn't give up until I did) therefore it just made sense. When I was with him he learned the magic of student loan flexing. By this time I was in college at a MUCH more expensive school with MUCH larger loans... and stretched them a bit further for "living expenses" In the time that we were together my ex and I financed 5 different things for over 15000 dollars. ALL IN MY NAME (pre-marriage)... In the last year I have been working very hard to elevate some of that debt. There is still a lot existing and my student loan payments are staring me dead in the eyeballs... (starting in December I am looking at roughly 600 dollars a month for minimum student loan payments...)  I refuse to sacrifice any more of my life to this. I know that in order to live like no one else I must first live like no one else-But I am choosing not to eliminate the 100/mo for crossfit as well as the "expensive" foods for primal living-My health is not going to be one of the sacrifices I make. In total I have 103,500 in debt... I hope to god that I can get it paid off in 7 years. At some point I would like a new-er car. At some point I would like to travel and go back to school, without the loans.
Dave Ramsey's role: My friend Katie Peterson and her husband Eric pulled themselves out of TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars of debt in 2 years. They only have a mortgage now. Katie and I spent a significant amount of required time together this spring and that is when I learned about DR and what he did for them, and what he can do for me. Katie loaned me the 16 CD'S of Financial Peace University, the class that she and her husband teach. I am going over them again. This spring I read his remarkable book TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER which is a must have on my books to live by list.
Now we are at The First Baby Step:
Saving for 1000 emergency  fund (500 if you earn less than 26000 a year). I recently had to replace 4 tires on my car along with regular maintenance, breaks and routers... I am back at 0... Welcome to my climb. Starting next pay check I will be saving form my 1000 dollar emergency fund. November is quickly approaching and I have a large debt I NEED to pay off by then... I have other debts in the red looking me in the eye. But without an emergency fund, Murphy comes knocking.
I am selling a sleep number bed my ex and I financed if anyone is interested ;) ... that money will go toward this fund. I hope that soon I will be celebrating the first baby step and moving on to the scary-huge Debt Snowball!
wish me luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Manda's "Do Anything" List

Recent events have lead me to realize there are so many things I would love to do in my lifetime. I am sure this is a common notion, otherwise movies like "The Bucketlist" wouldn't exist. However, I just can't accept the thought of not being able to accomplish everything on my list. I figured I would actually make one, and post it, and I hope that one day I can mark everything off as "done". I truly believe life is too short to not enjoy...

Travel the world
Road trip the United States (and Canada)
*Swim* in a lake in the mountains with a waterfall (I can invision it... )
Wear barefoot-like or no shoes for the rest of my life
See the whale migration
See the turtle migration
See the salmon migration
Visit the panda sanctuary
Get my PhD
Go to the interpreting program at Juliard
Interpret for someone famous
Lead a girl scout troop
Be a mom
Start a/work at a CrossFit
inspire someone to be healthier
inspire someone to be an interpreter
inspire someone to be a mom
live in a pretty cottage/cabin
go somewhere fun specifically for a concert
get married on the cliffs of Mohr
grow 50%+ of my own food
live off the grid for a while
own a VW bug
Tattos: Pangel, Grok/Live like no one else, cladaugh, beloved, (Jamie)
See an opera at THE Opera House in Austrailia
Hang glide
sky dive
get out of debt
teach an ASL class for parents
have a motorcycle
motorcycle through another country
go to the burning man festival
become an AOW at CFSF
be NIC-Master level
have home births
train another dog
go to a super bowl
go to a world sport event
attend Primal Con
interpret a large event (like BIG)

FIT LIST: (my list of things I wanna do when I physically can)

Ice scate
run a marathon
martial arts
win a contest of a physical nature

There is probably more to be added, so stay tuned. Since my divorce I have learned how crucial it is that we don't lose sight of who we are and what our goals are. Sometimes I feel that becoming a professional and working so hard to get to the level that I am at has made me surpass all of those young adult adventures I could have had. And then I remember one thing: Age is a number... it's all a state of mind!
:) Hang Tough!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First week of CrossFit

One week of CrossFit is officially down the hatch and I must say that I loved every moment of it. Even when I was in shock by how much work I was putting in, or when I felt like I was going to throw up because I was pushing myself so hard... I was still completely happy.

First I figured I should take some pictures of my first day so I have something to compare to down the road, right? So these pics are from August 5th which was the day I did my Baseline (which I will tell you more about in a minute):

(please ignore the mess lol) I am shocked just looking at these photos how different I am from when I started living primal 6 months ago. It makes me extraordinarily excited to see what may come in 6 months of CF and PL... I can't imagine.

So I attend a box here in Sioux Falls called: (Surprisingly enough) CrossFit Sioux Falls. They are extraordinary and push and pull so hard but have built an extremely reputable community of CFers and even Paleos (The sibling of primal). I might venture to say that CrossFit is most worth the money, time and energy needed due to the remarkable community that is there. That is, of course, coming from me: a person who thrives on the energy of others.

If I were to go to a gym and just have to motivate myself while looking at everyone else doing what they do then walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes might be the most horrifying way to spend a half hour of my day. And if you were to try and sell to me 30-60 minutes 3 times per week surrounded by ripped and sculpted bodies of a variety of backgrounds... doing remarkable things I can hardly fathom and enjoying myself... I may offer you a one way ticket to my personal hell. However, the simple additive of compassion and camaraderie which is available at CFSF... is all it takes to make it a paradise. A hot, humid, muggy, smelly, loud, energetic, motivating utopia.

I have always wanted to be a person who enjoys working out to some extent, and I think the wanton desire for this comes from the utter lack of athleticism I have experienced my entire life. Never once have I felt like I fit in at gym class or sporting events. I have always been content in being the non-athletic Leisten. The one who took the music path instead. I was raised to believe that genetically it just isn't a part of who I am, but I always WANTED it so badly. I wanted to be like my cousin Nicole who loves to work out and enjoys the energy of sports. I wanted to be like my brother Brett and run for miles without a second thought. We all want what we can't have. But I have never been one to accept can't as an option. I much more well known for my determination to break boundaries.

More on my past is to come in this blog, for now, I will focus back on the first week at CrossFit.


To find a baseline we did 500 meters rows, 40 squats 30 push ups 30 sit ups and 20 pull-ups (If I remember correctly) Some of these ambitious goals were adjusted for my lack of experience for the time being. For example: I did jumping pull ups and used my knees for my push ups. However, I did complete the task in 10:56 minutes... and celebrated and smiled just knowing that I did something physical and completed it. This baseline will be used and tested several times in my life with CrossFit, the next time will be in 90 days. I seriously cannot wait to see what progress I have made by then.

DAY 1:

I was in a beginners/intermediate WOD class with several other CFers this day. The work out was incredibly intense... we ran and then had to do a series of box jumps, sit ups, kettle bell swings and something else I can't remember... It was hard. However, I did get through two full rounds. In the end  I was proud and patted myself on the back. I was stoked too because everyone said it was hard, so it made me feel like less of a wuss. Also the coach for the day said he was shocked to see me smiling, they'll get used to it I'm sure. I remember feeling like I was going to die, right at the get go. I felt super sick to my stomach but I feel like I may have pushed my first run a bit harder than I could handle which had a ripple effect on the rest of the day. Either way, I did it. And i felt amazing! :)

Day 2:

Another day in the Beg/Int class and people are super supportive and encouraging. Without that I wouldn't ever come back. We did work on muscle ups today and then did rounds of double-unders, aspen rings, and something where we had to push ourselves up using muscles I haven't ever seen before. Really today was inspiring knowing that one day I will have some serious upper body strength. My entire life I resigned myself to the understanding that upper body strength was not an option for me... thanks CF for telling me I am wrong. :)

DAY 3:

Fight Gone Badd... that crap is hard! 15 minutes of 1 minute reps of rowing, box-jumps, push-pulls, sumos and wall balls... and then a min of rest-- three rounds with a partner to count reps. It was exhausting, I pushed hard and surely grunted several times... but point is, I did it. I really enjoyed partner work because there is constantly someone encouraging with me. I am not sure what it is like with other partners but AL and I worked well together and I really enjoyed that. Also knowing that even in a regular class I can be pushed the same way is great. I absolutely love this place! :)

This week has been excellent. I seriously can't wait to see where this place takes me I am certain the results will be great. Since staring primal living I have had an interesting experience and had to, several times, defend my choices to people I love (more on this later). It is really quite relieving to find a group of people who are willing to listen and sometimes even completely agree with the beliefs I have about health and fitness. Also, the owner of CFSF (Chris Mello) has been so encouraging. Every time he introduces me to someone he tells them I am primal/paleo and then tells them I am crazy about CrossFit and bring a great energy to the box. Which makes me feel like a million bucks and keeps me coming back for more! :) 

For now, this is it. I will leave you with my 3 main goals for CrossFit:

1. Gain enough upper body strength to do pull ups without a second thought.
2. Be able to do any physical activity I set my mind to without hesitation.
3. Build a network and community of people who understand and respect me for my beliefs on nutrition and physical health.


Hope you enjoyed my first week at CrossFit as much as I did!


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I am starting this blog as a way to document the unique life I lead. I have several other blogs which tend to turn into journals, vent-fests etc but really what I love to read online are the blogs of successful people who took their lives into their own hands. So I decided that mimicry is the simplest form of flattery and therefore the creation of my new blog.

Let me give you some background info:

I am 22 years old, for another two and a half weeks at least. I grew up in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado in the average American family. My brother has always been athletic and extraordinarily fit, and I have always been into music. My dad was larger as is most of his family so when I started gaining weight as a child and the "it's just baby fat" excuse didn't work any longer, the "it's in your genes" excuse took its place. I have been overweight since I was at least 10 years old if not younger and it has always been a concern to my friends and family but never really to myself. When it comes to health and nutrition I never thought I had options and then when options were made available I just never wanted to do it. Typically weight loss for me would be 5 lbs and then regaining that and more, just to try to appease my mom who wanted nothing but the best for me. My story is like that of so many others in this world, and I feel bad for feeling cynical about it at all. I grew up in a great family, we had our issues and they got worse as I got older, but at least I had people who cared.

My breaking point happened after a 5 year relationship and 9 month marriage to a man who treated me with less respect than I deserved. I gained over 40 lbs in the 3 years we lived together and he convinced me he just loved to watch me eat and be happy, so I ate, and ate and ate. The day I finally left him I was devastated and my self-esteem was at an all time low. Until I finally realized I was the one who was choosing to make it that way. July 4th of 2009 a photo was taken of me at Elitch Gardens in Colorado. I am bursting at the seams in my clothes, my eyes look sad and I look like I can barely hold myself up. When I saw this photo I realized I was no longer me on the inside or the outside. This photograph changed my life for the better.

As far as health is concerned I am a strong supporter of the Primal/Paleo lifestyle. I think it is important to remember that we have only been consuming processed foods like grains and sugars for a bit over a thousand years... which is nothing in retrospect. I have been Primal for 6 months now and have lost almost 40 lbs (totaling 60 since the pic that changed my life) but have not been doing much for exercise. The Primal lifestyle also advocates for the gym CrossFit, and as of this week I am officially a member. In this blog I hope to document milestones with both Primal living and being a member of CrossFit.

Primal and CrossFit are huge components in my life which are very influential in the decisions I make on the day to day, however, there are other abnormalities in the way I handle my life which I would love to share. Many people my age have no idea about finances due to the fact that we haven't had to worry about it yet. Most people I know are just getting their first student loan bills in the mail and trying to figure out how to balance that and living expenses on a fresh-from-college salary. I hope to share on this blog some of the major financial milestones I experience. When it comes to finances I have found that the program established by Dave Ramsey is the most affective for me personally. I will share with you some of those exciting new endeavors as I take them on myself.

Lastly, something I hold near and dear to my heart is the power of positive thinking. On this blog I hope to share some of my favorite positive quotes, meditation guides, ways to look on the bright side, and ways to think ahead to a better and brighter future. I truly believe that half of the reason why I got to where I am today is because I am a positive thinker. It plays into my determination so well that failure tends to not be an option, and when I stumble I find a way to get back on top.

I hope you find this blog informative. For me it is more about having a full documentation of my experiences in this new life I am living. This year I have taken on so much, the primal lifestyle, CrossFit, total money makeover, focusing more on positive thought, as well as my first year in my career as an American sign language interpreter. These are all important components in my life, and I know in the future I will be grateful for having kept a running blog regarding them.

Thanks for reading.