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How the un-fit ‘fit’: Food Jail D6,D7,D8

It was my first weekend in food jail.  I travelled.  I had a messy schedule.  It was an adventure, and there is some room for improvement.

During the week at work, it seems easier to stay on a schedule for me.  My work is fairly flexible to allow for eating as needed.  It’s accommodating with microwaves, refrigerators, and spare silverware as needed.  This has made M-F fairly easy.   The weekend though, this threw me for a little loop.

My schedule was not maintained like during the week.  I was traveling on the road while single parenting a toddler.  Having to improvise is what happened.  Originally, I planned my meals and even had food prepped.  But due to not caring for it, it went bad.  There is was, a weekends worth of meals down the drain.  So what did I do?  Went to Mr. Hero of course.  But it’s not what you think.

My meal plan consists of 4 ounces of protein (chicken) and 1 cup veggies.   The Mr. Hero chicken philly triple veggies, no bun, no cheese, no toppings.  This was as close as I was getting in a pinch.   Now mind you, there is always a grocery store somewhere. The work I was doing at the time and the need to feed others in my party led us to a fast food option.  It was at that time I was faced with a challenge, fail or succeed in failing?  I chose the latter and made the best of the situation.  My subsequent failures were all out missing meals or snacks.  But I made a best effort to get back to plan as soon as possible.

Food jail is no joke.  It takes effort to stay on task.  I’m still learning what it will take to make sure I succeed in eating plans.  What I do know and can see, is just how bad my habits have been to date.  Paying attention to my food at all times weekend or weekday will be key until I have new habits that have replaced the old.

Here is to the beginning of week two in food jail!   Oh and by the way,  that scale thing told me yesterday my efforts were worth it.  All things are moving in the right direction.

How the un-fit ‘fit’: Food Jail D3

If I can just make it to my 1/2 an avocado at dinner, all is well in the world.   I’m now in day 3 of food jail.  I’ve been able to stay on track but it appears consistently around 2pm my alter ego, super hungry, other self finds her way in to my brain and taunts me.  What’s saved me?  My 1/2 an avocado.

One would not think an avocado could be so great.  But I simply can not wait to get my hands on it following my daily battle with hunger which haunts me for a few hours around 2pm.   Despite having a snack during that window of time, it does not fill or touch the cravings I have.  I have no explanation for it.  And to be more honest, I’m not really hungry.  My body is physically fine, its a psychological hunger.  What?  Yes, its true.  It’s a psychological hunger.

Food jail… why do it if its’ not how you will eat for all of time?  Well I say that to myself now.  But really there is a lot of how I eat in food jail that will need to continue well beyond food jail.  My habits have to change.  The psychological hunger for things that don’t fuel my body has to go through a transformation.  That’s why food jail is necessary.  It’s like an intervention.   A reset button.   There are things about food jail that I don’t like,  that I am uncertain if I ever will like.  But first, I’ve got to break the link of my old ways in order to establish new habits.

I’ll take it in small chunks, for today I’ll hold out for my 1/2 an avocado waiting for me tonight.

How the un-fit ‘fit’: Food Jail

Today marks a new journey for me.  I’ve made the choice to put me in food jail.  This sounds harsh, part of it is me just being mad.   What is food jail?   Why did I choose it? Stick around to find out more.

It’s been the better part of almost 15years now, I’ve been fighting my weight.  I’ve succeeded from time to time.  I have also put it back on from time to time.  Right now I’m in the ‘I’ve found it again’ phase.   Self imposed food jail is the next step for me.  What is it?  I’ve partnered with someone who knows nutrition.  And it’s simple.  They write a plan, I procure the food and follow the plan.   There are specific times to eat with specific amounts and types of food.   What is even better for me, is that I have found someone to make that food for me.

You see, I am a cook.  And I love to eat and be creative in the kitchen.   So food jail is a big deal.  And I am being a bit harsh about this.  Had my first meal this morning and it was not bad at all.   Over time, my habits of what I cook, how I portion, and when I eat are bad.  This contributes to my inability to lose weight.  Making the decision to enter food jail, simply translates to I am consciously choosing to re-learn how to eat well.  How to eat for me.  For me, I grew up a farmer.  Cruised high school and college as an athlete.  Then my activity level drastically changed.  And so did my weight. Mostly because my eating habits failed to change when my activity level did.

My current situation.  I’m on a project at work that demands 15hr days, and sometimes weekend.   I own a business outside of working full time.  I have a 2 year old independent toddler person who relies on me to entertain her while not at the workplace.  And just a few other small things going on in life.  We are all busy.   What I have come to realize though, is that we ALWAYS have  the ability to control our food intake.

The next few weeks will be interesting.  There is part of me that is bitter and even mad.  Probably a little because of realizing it’s not something I can do on my own.  Because I like to cook, I feel like something is being taken away.  But more than the anger or bitter parts that like to call this food jail, is the desire in me to be healthier and that means taking off the excess weight.

How did I get started.  It was a little bit of want.  And some pushing from friends and loved ones to make a permanent change in my life.  For that I am thankful.  Although I’m sure at times over the next few weeks I will also be mad at them. I found someone who will write a plan.  I found a way to make the preparation easy.  And most important I have the support needed externally and internally to give this a good go.  Internal support?   Well to start this journey I had to get on the scale.

I try to avoid the scale.  Why? Well a number is real.  It makes everything real.  I can’t explain away a number.  It’s based on some fact.  Measuring yourself to track against is a key internal support factor, I know I don’t want that number to be me or define me.  So it’s something that must change.

This step, is a necessary step for me to move forward in my journey.  Cheers to day 1!

How the un-fit ‘fit’: Defining you

So often, we beat ourselves up over an ideal that others or society puts on us.  We should be skinnier, we should be a perfect, we should be something else.  Anything else other than what we currently are?  Feel this way often? I do.   As a matter of fact most of the time I feel this way.

It’s a challenge to break it down and start to understand what is it I want for me.   Without allowing these ideas to pop in to my head of what others believe should be for me.   I want to be fit, but what does this mean to me?  Clothes to be comfortable, eat what I want when I want, have a more muscular tone?  You see there is no magic bullet to what is perfect or what is good.   Knowing what it is that you want and knowing what you are striving for is key.  Maybe it’s more important to you that you can lift 300lbs over your head,  no matter how toned your muscles are.

Our bodies and their response to nutrition, fitness, rest, are very different and individual.  That means no one solution works for everyone. As a matter of fact one solution only works for one person, and that is the person who is seeing success.   Others may take components of what works, but you will also need to modify and make adjustments that fit you as a person.   Bottom line, if it’s not working for you find something new else.

It will need to fit your lifestyle, your body type, your systems response, to put it simple it has to fit you.  Be bold this week, be daring.  Find your inner strength to focus on what success means to you and only you!  Take action to make that happen.


How the un-fit ‘fit’: challenges/scaling

How is your journey going?  Are you hitting your goals?  Are your goals fighting against you, without giving in?   One of my workout buddies this week tossed out a challenge.   After making the comment,  I fail to finish things,  the challenge was tossed out there to become a ‘finisher’.

This, not being a finisher thing, is something new for me.  It use to be, I didn’t know when to stop.  Have I lost all my competitiveness?  Have I not found something to inspire me?  What is going on, that makes me stop just when I get started?

Really there are more questions than answers. But for this session, I’m going to discuss the application of scaling.  You see each athlete is very different.  And what your body allows you to make it through, will differ from day to day, week to week, movement to movement.  You’ve got to listen to your body while finding that delicate balance of pushing yourself to hit goals you could not previously reach.  When getting started and for the length of your journey you must set your finish line for each task you take on.

Last week one of our prescribed workouts included thrusters.   A lots of thrusters for someone like me.   So much that I failed to return to the gym for an entire week because I was so sore.  This in large part because I pushed myself to finish what was on the board, not simply finish what I knew my body was capable of.  Now that should never be the outcome of exercise, not returning to the gym for long period of time.  When getting started returning to the gym on a very regular basis is key.  So scaling to allow that to happen is key.

Scaling can come in multiple ways.  It’s important to speak with your coach to work through what’s right for you.  This week we again had thrusters in the workout.  It was suppose to be 10 rounds of work.  Knowing what I had previously gone through,  I calculated the reps and decided it would be best for me to do only 5 rounds of work.   I got in a great workout.   And with continued progress I will make it to 10 rounds,  that day was simply not today.   Other ways to scale include the modification of movements or reduction of weight being lifted.   Key is,  keeping with a consistent workout schedule and sticking to it.  The volume, weight, speed at which you execute will only improve over time.

Scaling is your friend!   Especially if you are just getting started.   Arrive a few minutes early to class if you have concerns or want to talk through specific scaling options with you coach.

Back to my friends comments about becoming a finisher:)  It’s a good challenge for me to push and this is the balance needed in my workouts.  Sometimes I scale too much.  Finding someone who knows yo well enough to know when to push you vs when to allow your scaled finish line to be the finish is key.  Find workout partners and coaches who support this, and who will support you in what you need to become your best self.

How the un-fit ‘fit’: why

Why me?  Why this?  Why now? Why, why, why…

As we sit back and reflect on this journey to be better.   It’s very natural to question why and what and how. Sometimes I find this line of questioning leads me down a negative train of thought.   Any time I start negative thought,  it has become a goal to stop it.   This is a habit I have committed to changing.   It’s a small one,  but a very difficult one.

Why am I the only un-fit person here… (although I am not, often it feels like that).  Is a negative thought one I need to stop.  One I need to replace with… “I am in a group of people who are ALL trying to get better.  We are all here for the same reason.  I am one of them.”  You see it doesn’t matter if you are super fit or just getting started or somewhere in the middle of your journey.   The purpose with which every one walks through the door is simply to ‘be better, stronger, skinnier, more  toned than they were  before’.  That’s it,  there is no more magic to it.   And by committing to showing up,  you are one of those people who are on a journey to be your better self.

Why now, why this?  Finding something that motivates you is key.  Working within your army to be surrounded and work towards common goals.  It’s very much trial and error when it comes to improvements.   There are about 100 ways to learn just about everything on this earth.  But there is only 1 of those 100 that is likely to resonate with you.  So it doesn’t matter if you’ve tried before and it didn’t work.  Now you have just 99 more ways to try 🙂    This is a lighthearted spin, and me telling you YOU ARE WORTH IT, KEEP TRYING!    I can say this now, because it has taken a very very long time for me to convince myself this was true.   Which is amazing, because I have a lot of very positive people around me telling me I was worth it,  it was simply something I never believed.    So why now for me?   Because I want it.   Why this? Because it’s all very real.   CrossFit is something real for me.  Something that has motivated me, and keeps me going.  Nutrition is something, I have now unlocked the secret to for me personally. And I have been able to witness the energy difference, the how it makes me feel.   I now know and believe it’s possible for me to live with energy and excitement, and strength.  And all of those things make me feel beautiful and happy.

We can consume ourselves with “why”.   So long as these lead to breakthroughs for you get on the positive train… answer them.   Or commit to changing the questioning and line of thinking.   Like any habit, it takes practice and time to change.   But you can do it!

How the un-fit ‘fit’: The Mental Fight

This morning was the first time, I did not need to convince myself to go to the gym.   I woke up, and it was now a part of my routine.   As routine as me drinking my morning cup of coffee each day.  And it felt good!

This is a huge win for me personally.  I’m not sure if this will happen every day going forward.   One of my biggest fights,  has been all the self negative talk that goes on.   It’s like there is this whole other person inside my head that does not want me to succeed.   And that person, that talk, that whatever it is is nasty and mean.

On a regular basis when faced with life in general.  I fight this talk in my head that ultimately gives me a bad attitude, steers me towards a bad decision, or takes me off my path all together.   Maybe I am the only one with this in my head.  If thats the case,  please don’t confirm I am crazy.

It happens with everything, not just working out.  It happens at work.  I think that I’m not good enough to be in the room.  That I am not smart enough to speak up.   For working out,  I think well I don’t look like that, so I don’t belong here.  I should hide my workout over in the corner somewhere.

What it comes down to, is facing our fear.   I’m afraid I am not good enough, or that I don’t belong.  And for a long time this has kept me away from being my best self.   This has held me back from progress.  This has prevented me from trying at all.   I’ve given up time and time again, before I even reached the start line.   Is this something you struggle with too?

From my earlier post,  it’s in part habit.  Commit to changing just one habit.   And stop at nothing to get that habit to change.   This morning and today, I feel like a whole new person.  Not having to have that fight to get to the gym.   It’s amazing.   It’s amazing, because it’s something I want, it supports what I want to be.  Knowing it is fear that is talking to me,  is something I know I can face a little bit at a time.

What are my fears?   Well there are a lot.  Having competed at a fairly hight level is sports,  I fear I will never be the same level of athlete.   Well that’s true.   I am older, my bones are no longer soft to absorb the stress several movements place on a body.  So rather than strive to being the same,  I have committed to re-defining myself as an athlete.    I fear I am not enough, nor will I ever be.  This applies to so many things.  But I already am.  I have an awesome partner and beautiful daughter.  And if I changed nothing,  they would love me still.   But I want a better me, for me and for them.   Being enough is defined by you and only by you for you!   Strive to be your best you and the version of you you want to be.

Take a moment to relax and look around you, and the good that surrounds you.    Start making lists of those things that are good, that make you feel good.   Make lists of those things you are striving for.  Finally start making lists of those things you are willing to give up,  to make those things you are striving for actually happen!

You can do this!  We can do this!  2016 is the year of progress, and we are going to move forward!

How the un-fit ‘fit’: a new adventure

It’s new, its all new!  In actively choosing to improve my life, it means so many things in my life will be new.  There are so many new and awesome things we set our goals around.  Like buying a new wardrobe, or sporting our new body on a planned beach vacation.   For some its fitting in to a new pair of jeans, or scheduling a make-over with new hair style.   For some it’s sporting that new swimsuit.  For others its an adventure trip, or simply doing an activity that previously felt not possible.

We often look forward to a hitting a weight loss goal, and set our eyes on the prize of getting a new wardrobe to match.   What we rarely talk about is the first closet that needs cleaned out, and thats the pantry.  Before we can clean out our clothes closet and replace it with new gear… we commit to workouts and have to take a serious look at our food consumption.  Why, because our current lifestyle is not getting us to where we want to be.  So the NEW we want,  comes with a NEW we must do to get there.  It’s habits, its how we eat, how we think, what we do, how we act.

No one is perfect.  Just this week,  i had a donut!   It was yummy!  And I enjoyed it!  There is no need to torture yourself,  but certainly start making weekly changes that will get you there.  The smallest things, whatever that is for you!   Sometimes its food, sometimes its fun, sometimes its work.  But it will all come together if you just keep chipping away at it.

My first blog release spoke about how this has been a multi-year journey.  I’ve spent the past 7 years sticking with the mindset of “trying to make it work”.  That is a long time.  And I am only a portion of the way to where I want to be.  Everyone will be different.  And many of you,  will likely be less stubborn than I in realizing what it takes to make it happen.   I was a little difficult to deal with when it came to changing what I do.

Recently, I realized I need to modify just about everything I know in life. My friends remain the same, but how I operate on a daily basis has not, and can not remain the same.   Fitness is a lifestyle change.  It’s not a short term diet, its not a short stint with a personal trainer.   These things may help you along the way,  but if you don’t come out with new habits that change your day to day and you plan on returning to your old self.  Save your money.

Be mad, be really mad, and thats ok. Change is a must, and it’s starts with purging our current closets.  Emotional closet, food closet, mental closet, but most importantly our habit closet.  To change, my habits must change.

How the un-fit ‘fit’: breaking through

I’ve had countless starts and stops.  I’m talking weight loss.  My journey has been a multi-year, fists to cuffs, drag you down knock you out kind of fight.  Ok let’s be honest, it’s been a war.  Some battles lost and some won, but in the end I now seem to be on the right path.

I’m a good 50lbs overweight, and I’m a CrossFit gym owner.  For the past year, I’ve almost been embarrassed to admit this.  I’ve been ashamed that I don’t look fit enough to claim part ownership in such a fitness rich community.  But what that ver y same community has helped me realize… It’s that we all have a starting point.  We all have our battle bruises when it comes to life.  Many of those battles guide us down a less fit path.  The community I am now a part of has provided the needed support for me to get back on my feet.  Everyone asks where I have been,  how I have been doing, and cheers me on no matter how painful the movement.  Why?  Because they want me to succeed.  They want me to hit my goals, and for that I am grateful.

This journey is painful.  It’s emotionally and mentally painful.  Every day I still fight all the negative talk that wants to keep me from the gym or eating healthy.  It’s physically painful to get back in shape.  A former D1 athlete, I am astonished at how much I can no longer do.  That’s a tough pill to swallow.  But each day I show up, I improve.  I make motion towards my goals, and my image of me has started to change.  I’m proud of my box jump now 24″.  That I can hit a few double under, that I can do a push up not on my knees.  These are small wins, but all wins that will help me get back to being the fit me and the ‘fit’ mom I want to be as an example to my daughter.

Join me in 2016!  I’m here to listen, to share, to encourage you to also reach your tipping point on your fitness goals!

Gear Review: Hylete Icon XL Convertible Backpack

Hylete XL Icon Backpack

You might think you don’t need the Transformer of gym bags, but you’d be wrong. The Hylete Icon XL Convertible Backpack is probably the closest any athletic company will get to building a gym bag that is the equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.

Hylete has had a couple of iterations of this bag, most notably upgrading the first release with improved zippers all the way around. We’re talking a lot of zippers here. Zippers on top of zippers; but the design and reason for all those zippers are the key strength and contributor to the expandability and versatility of this bag.

The bag is built in the common tear-drop daypack shape with a base capacity of 36 liters. With the flip of the wrist though, those zippers start to turn that basic daypack into something else entirely; adding an additional 17 liters of holding power. Across the front of the bag is a full arch zipper that expands the volume of the whole pack. At the base of the bag is another zipper that when undone exposes an entire shoe compartment capable of holding three separate pairs. The side compartments zip open for accessory storage on one side and a thermal insulated space for keeping food cold or warm. The last zipper covers the concealed section for a full set of backpack straps for even more mobility if you need it.

I think Hylete’s video on this backpack does a much better job of explaining the versatility and “presto-changeo” capabilities of this bag.

Inside the bag there are even a couple of more surprises. There is a fully padded laptop inner sleeve with a Velcro closure to keep the computer from popping out when you toss the bag around. And there is a mesh sack attached to the back wall of the pack to toss dirty clothes into. And the surprises just don’t end there. Inside the bag is an entirely separate drawstring bag that buckles into the primary backpack. Even this drawstring bag is tricky, having a bottom zipper that opens to another dirty clothes bag and side zips that give two more compartments of separation for rings, wallets, watches or whatever you toss in there.

At a price point of $200.00 I could easily just give this pack a really high mark as one of the most versatile backpacks you’ve ever seen.  And I would have no hesitation in telling you that if you wanted to invest in a portable CrossFit footlocker, this is your pick. But, let’s face it, 200 bucks is a lot of coin for a gym bag when you can just as easily pick one up for a quarter of the price. Or just use the one you pulled out of the closet that you think used to belong to your uncle, or roommate, or that hitchhiker you wish you’d never met.

Even though I had been putting this bag through the wringer for more than three months, I knew I had to up my game if I was going to push this duffel to its limits. In the gym setting, nothing I threw at this bag phased it. Considering the cost of the bag, I decided I would run it through some really difficult trials; namely as my single piece of luggage on international business trips.

6 airports, 10,000 miles and none the worse for wear.

6 airports, 10,000 miles and none the worse for wear.

My professional career gives me the chance to travel frequently (the adventures of which I blog about on and I am very set in my luggage choices. As a global road warrior for the last 15 years I am one of those “one-bag-never-check-anything” types of travelers. I can go for a two week business trip and never use a baggage space bigger than the overhead compartment. Taking a gamble and using a gym backpack was no easy decision given my longstanding habits. But my specialty bags, like my indestructible Red Oxx Air Boss cost $200 to $300 each, so it only made sense to see how the Hylete Icon XL would stand up against stiff, purpose built competition.

I have to admit that after three 10,000 mile round trips even I am surprised by this bag. My first trip was to Warsaw, Poland and I did the one bag carry-on on the out bound flights. Even in a couple of small planes, I never had to ramp check. On this first trip I took the rare step of checking a bag just to see if the handlers could tear it up. I never, ever check a bag. They didn’t even put a scuff on the ballistic nylon. As I write this I am on a return flight from my second trip to Zurich, Switzerland and I pulled off a pair of easy 4 day business trips with shoes, changes of office clothes and a set of gym gear. This pack has become my go-bag and my bug-out bag for both the gym and parts unknown.

I’d encourage you not to think of this as an expensive gym bag. Consider it the Swiss Army Knife of your luggage collection that you just happen to take to the gym every day. If you’re looking for the perfect bag, I might have just found it.


  • Incredible versatility
  • Seemingly endless expansion of space
  • Rugged, high-quality construction
  • Really cool design features like the insulated food pocket and extra string bag


  • A big price point
  • Easy to stuff to the point of overload (an 80lb gym bag isn’t a lot of fun)

Richard Bird reviews gear and documents his travels to CrossFit gyms around the world for Tabata Times and at Along with being a Masters level Scottish Highland Games Athlete,  Richard is also a co-owner and coach at CrossFit Westerville.

Originally posted to Tabata Times @