I know that my legions of fans (hundreds of fans?  tens of fans?  Mom? Are you there??) have been waiting to hear how the orange-flavored fish oil went down today.  Well, I have good news to report:  mixed in with my vanilla protein shake, the taste was almost reminiscent of my

childhood favorite Dreamsicleâ„¢.  I don’t think I even came close to making my “ewwww!” face while drinking it down. And – seriously – how could this be worse than taking in 18 fish oil soft gels a day?

I had a good workout today — instead of the PN workout, I had a beatdown scheduled with my trainer.  We worked hard for a solid hour and I was dripping with sweat by the time I was done (well, I worked hard and she had the draining responsibility of writing down all the hard work I was doing). Of course, dripping with sweat is hardly surprising for me — these days, I seem to perspire by merely thinking about exercising. Gotta love getting older.

I’ve got a great situation with my trainer — I got on her schedule at the gym about 3.5 years ago, and it didn’t take long before we became friends.  About a year after having met her, I moved close to the gym and she needed a place to stay, so, I ended up with a trainer/roommate combo. And with a home gym in my basement, it couldn’t be easier to work out regularly.  At least in theory.  Heh.  Turns out that sitting around shooting the breeze and having an adult beverage all too often wins out over training.  Go figure.

But all that changes now!  Now I’m putting on my serious I’m-not-joshing face and getting down to business.  And anyway, who’s to say what’s actually in my water bottle?

It’s like Christmas around here today!  Look at what I got in the mail:

How tasty does that look? I know, I know — I can sense the jealousy coming over the virtual wire.

Aside from that, it was a pretty normal Monday.  Up at 4:30am, stumble into the shower, walk the dogs, go to work, come home, walk the dogs, do my PN workout, choke down 6 more fish oil soft gels (for the last time! Yay!) and then sit down to spread the good news here about the orange-flavored fish oil that I got.

I’m going to try putting it in my morning protein shake tomorrow … since I know y’all will be on the edge of your seats, I promise to report back how awesome/awful it is.

On another note, I faced my kryponite at work this morning:  my colleague brought in his homemae banana chocolate chip bread.  Yow.  So, so good.  I had a hearty slice and skipped two of my healthier snacks, so it’s a wash, right?  I figure I should take advantage while I can!

Well, will you look at that?  100% compliance this week!  Not that it was difficult (other than the pain of having to look my my “before” photos), but it’s a good start.  And since I kind of live for positive reinforcement and gold stars, this is right up my alley.

So, what did I think of this first full week?  It was pretty easy.  The workouts are short and easy, remembering to take fish oil/probiotics is something my phone can remember for me, and reading the assignments feeds a hunger for knowledge about what’s to come. Yes — what can I say — I’m a Lean Eating rockstar.  

I have to admit, though — despite my success, I’m feeling like a little bit of a fraud.  See, I haven’t actually changed my eating habits yet (unless, of course, that candy bar I had with lunch is “on plan”).  Coach V. tells us that we don’t need to think about what we’re eating yet and that at our only responsibility is to check off the things on our daily checklist. And since nutrition hasn’t yet made an appearance on the checklist, it’s nothing to worry about.

That’s an important point of PN — they tell clients that they aren’t supposed to “worry or wonder” about things in the future.  Follow the plan, work on the one habit that’s been assigned, do your workout and trust that the many, many successes they’ve had will translate to you.  Which is quite a challenge because this method is such a change for me. I’m used to diving in and taking on EVERYTHING all at once.  Of course, after a week I’m usually all out of willpower and find myself face down in a tub of ice cream. Is it possible that my way isn’t the best way? 

Well, one week down, 51 + the rest of my life to go.  Yippee!

It’s Measurement Day!  Oh, joy.

It feels like this has really begun now.  I have my official starting point, and it wasn’t pretty, but it’s only the beginning.  The bright side: at least I’ve given myself a lot of room to improve so my “after” pictures will make me a shoe-in for the $25,000 prize.

The first part of this was body fat testing with calipers.  Mortifying as the thought was, I had to enlist the help of someone else to pinch and squeeze my fat.  So – my trainer Katy stepped up to the challenge.  It was a weirdly vulnerable experience; there’s nothing quite like not only being exposed, but having everything you want to change about yourself highlighted.  Katy did a great job at making me comfortable, though, and I knew that I could trust her with the task.

As for the numbers that came out of it, they didn’t mean a damn thing to me, to be honest.  I’ve never had caliper body fat testing done, so I have no idea what’s “good” or “bad”.  That was a good lesson — all of these measurements should be considered just data points.  No judgment should be assigned to them.

Then – tape measurements (or as they call them, “girth” measurements… can we make it sound any more unattractive?).  Since I’ve been doing this every month for a few years now, it wasn’t all that surprising.  The numbers weren’t good, but not it’s not like my expanding waist line snuck up on me.

And then — the part I really didn’t like — photos.  It’s not like I don’t know what I look like, but it was still a gut check (see what I did there?) to see it in full technicolor. It’s funny, because I didn’t intend it this way, but I have a very pissed off and miserable expression on my face in the photos — I could have been a stand-in for the grumpy cat meme floating around the internet.  And the picture from the back?  When did those back fat rolls appear?  Yikes.

The photos were humbling, for sure, but necessary.  And the good news is that this is the absolute worst it’ll ever be!  From here on out, nothing but improvement.  Isn’t that a nice thought?

… to Precision Nutrition and my team, of course.

My coach suggested it — a virtual commitment ceremony! Find an item to wear that will be the outward symbol of your commitment to the program. What a great idea!

My item is a bracelet that I got last year at the Women’s Quest Colorado Retreat. The parachute cord held the entire group together, and then afterwards, we were each given our own piece to signify how we were all one part of the whole.

That retreat was an eye-opener for me; I went in expecting a week of hiking and biking and yoga, and what I got was a week of feelings, feelings, crying, feelings, crying, feelings … oh, and hiking, biking and yoga. By nature, I’m a reserved person — I’m very not-at-all touchy-feely, so to speak, but that week taught me that sometimes you really need to be open and vulnerable to be able to grow as a person. And so that’s something I’ve been working on since then, with varying degrees of success.

So for me, I commit to being open. Being vulnerable. Sharing my true self. Not always saying “I’m fine!!” when things aren’t going well. Allowing others inside, trusting I’ll be safe.

Like my tattoo says: Let go and live…

(note:  the scar above isn’t part of the tattoo… that’s a fun softball injury from 10 years ago)

Um, yea.  Not a whole lot new to report.  Each day you have three tasks:  read the assignment, do the workout and practice the habit.  After that, you tick them off as complete and get a virtual gold star (actually, a happy green checkmark) as reward.

Today?  First on the list, a reading assignment to learn more about the site and how to use it.  I’m impressed with the level of education they give you.  While I’m finding the site to be a little convoluted, they do a great job at really explaining how to do things and get the most out of the resources provided.  Along with that, they also have some GoToMeeting webinars planned for some real-time training with the ability to ask questions.

Second — the habit.  As it will be for the next 1.5 weeks, it’s taking fish oil and probiotics. I’ve been taking fish oil soft gels (we have to take a LOT of them and the resulting fish burps aren’t all that pleasant) but will be switching to liquid fish oil once it arrives.  The probiotics started today (I ordered them online as well).  I’m curious to see if I see any difference after being on this regimen for awhile.

And last but not least, today was a short strength workout.  Right now, the point is to get ourselves familiar with the exercises, so they’re brief and I can knock these sessions out in less than 15 minutes, which is nice.  It won’t be that time-efficient in the near future!

And that’s all she wrote.  I have this desire to want to do more, but on the other hand, it’s nice to have tasks be undeniably easy and get kudos and virtual high fives for accomplishing them.  Like, WOOT!  You can read!  You go, girl!  

Aside from the coaching and mentors, the discussion forums are a big part of the PN experience.  Basically, it’s a big hangout for all the women who are also have Coach V. as their coach, a place to ask questions, chat and otherwise get to know each other.  Since this is an almost entirely online experience, it’s how we’ll bond.

Now, I’ve been a part of another online community for about 9 years now.  BT (beginnertriathlete.com) has been a second home to me and the friends I first met online have turned into friends that I love spending time with.  I wouldn’t trade them for the world (even though I’m not even really doing triathlons anymore…)!

But, it took me awhile to get to where I’m at now on BT … I dipped my toes in, tested the waters, lurked for quite awhile and then finally got comfortable enough to wade in. With PN it’s been like being thrown into a lake as a method for teaching you how to swim! To get the full experience of the program, you need to get in there and post, and I have to say, it’s a little intimidating, a little overwhelming, but … so far, so good.

With everyone (mostly) in the same boat, it makes it easier.  I know that that if I’m a dork now, the other women are probably just as concerned with how they’re coming across and not paying attention enough to notice and remember my first impression all that much.  At least, that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

It’s all good, though.  It’s a little weird and awkward right now, but I think the immersion theory will make for good friendships later on.  With my BT experience, I know how supportive and encouraging an online entourage can be, and I’m hoping for nothing less with PN (though on an accelerated schedule).


I figured I’d back up a step or two and talk about why, out of all the programs out there, Precision Nutrition was the lucky group to take on crazy ol’ me.

Part of it, like I mentioned in my last post, was just serendipity; PN’s email showed up right when I needed to see it.  Funny how life works, right?  While I hadn’t hit rock bottom, I had finally come to see that I couldn’t continue on the path I was on.  It’s too easy to sit on the couch and eat bon-bon’s all day, ya know?

So, once the PN email had caught my eye, I did my due diligence and searched online for non-affiliated sources for review.  And – I have to say – I didn’t find a whole lot out there in the way of first person experience with the program (that wasn’t on the PN website, of course — and, which is why I started this blog).  I did find a few, though, and without exception the opinion of the program was high, even taking into account the monthly fees.

Still, I wasn’t sure.  I probably read every last bit of the website — and more than once, at that.  I liked their attitude about food and lifestyle — from what it sounded like, they weren’t going to push a specific diet on me (Paleo, low carb, vegan, etc), but rather go about creating nutrition habits that would make me a healthier eater.  More whole and fresh foods, less crap and processed food.  And really, isn’t that what every successful diet shares? Seems to me that’s the most important part of it.

Another factor was it seemed like they weren’t going to push a whole lot of supplements on me.  I knew it would annoy me if I was paying $100/month and then after signing up was told, oh, by the way, you need to buy another $100/month worth of our vitamins and if you don’t, you won’t be considered “compliant” with the program (and thereby wouldn’t be qualified for either the cash prize or money back if not satisfied).  Turns out that they are pretty gung-ho about fish oil and probiotics, but have also been straightforward in saying that you can buy it from anywhere and get any brand you like, so I’ll withhold judgment for now.  Perhaps it’s the best thing since sliced bread (heh, see what I did there?).

The most important part of why I decided on PN?  The fact that I had to commit to a full year.  I know myself… had I done something like Weight Watchers (which I had considered), I knew I’d bail out either when it got hard or when I made a little progress.  I need daily accountability.  I need someone looking after me.  I need to know that there will be someone looking for me if I disappear (you have to provide an “emergency” number so that if you go missing, they have someone to contact (!!)) and I definitely need someone handing out gold stars for good behavior.  The idea of small teams with coaches that could get to know me personally really resonated with me.

Oh, and yea, there’s that cash prize thing I referred to.  Grand prize?  $25,000!!!  Yup.  I’m in it for the green.  Talk about motivation!  I’m already figuring out how to spend my winnings… 

Well, today’s the first day of the rest of my life.  Or, at least, the first day of the rest of the year that I’ve committed $100/month to Precision Nutrition.

The sign-up for the July group came at the exact time that I needed it to; earlier or later and I might not have realized how perfectly this might work for me.  I had been struggling, really working hard just to get moving every day, and the invitation to join appeared – like magic – in my Inbox.  I knew that it was something that I needed to jump on … the glimmer of hope that I could change my life cemented by concrete action.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve gained 30 pounds.  I’m not entirely sure how this is possible (ask me if I’ve ever lost 30 pounds in 7 months…), but it happened, trust me. The goal is to lose weight (of course), but more than that, I just want to be fit and healthy and happy again.

So – I’m all in.  The program starts easily enough — a workout and some lessons to read, introductions all around, and figuring out my way around the website and forums.  PN preaches learning by a habit at a time, with the theory being that most life changes fail because people take on more than they can chew (except in my case, I suppose I was always able to chew it… that’s probably how that 30 pounds ended up on my hips…).

This weeks habit?  Start taking fish oil and probiotics.  I’m naturally skeptical, and question how much good this is going to do, but I promised myself that I would do everything they said.  They’ve had a lot of success stories, and if I do what they say and I’m *not* a success, well, then I can get my money back.  Good deal, right?