Documentary looks at epidemic of obesity

Americans are fat, suffer horrible diseases because of it, and our children face a similar or worse fate if we don’t do something about it — that’s according to the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation, which debuts next month.

I had the opportunity to go to the world premiere last night at the Blanton Museum of Art. We watched Part 3 – Children in Crisis. It was about how obesity is affecting American children, and the stories were sobering.

I found myself thinking a lot about my own kids and how just because they’re thin and active now doesn’t mean they’ll always be healthy. There is pressure from many different directions to eat crappy food and live a sedentary lifestyle, and I started to think that only constant vigilance and awareness will help me guide them through childhood.

It’s not just about how you look. Really, it’s not. It’s so much more than that. Obesity can lead to diabetes, a horrible, horrible, horrible disease. When kids are going to the doctor and being diagnosed as pre-diabetic or type-II diabetic, and it becomes COMMONPLACE, there’s a threat at hand. But it’s not the only disease caused by obesity, and that’s even scarier.

There were were a lot of people in the film blaming outside influences for how kids get fat — federal law, food company and advertising pressure, underfunded school lunch and PE programs. Some of the parents found a solution in taking their children to pediatric weight loss clinics. Some blamed themselves. I felt sadness and frustration, but I also felt hope.

Andy and I talked a lot about the film on our way home. We had actually planned to go out to dinner afterward but because of how the film affected us, we decided to eat at home, because our food is always better. I am more committed than ever to staying on our current lifestyle path — it’s a path of nutritious, real food, lots of family activity and it also doesn’t involve screens and the potential to be exposed to a constant barrage of food-like substances that have nearly zero nutritional value.

The documentary series starts on HBO on May 14. I encourage you to watch it.

Luke’s 2012 Dillo run

Luke stands in front of Junior Dillo finish line

Luke woke up this morning with fire in his belly. I had already been up for a few hours, and the coffee had kicked in. But Luke didn’t need coffee.

He was kind of driving me crazy, to be honest. I’m already feeling a bit on edge with ask the tasks piling up. Then, I decided not to work out in order to get some work some, so I was already in a touchy place when the screeching began. And the jumping around.

Needless to say, I was glad when he and I left for the Junior Dillo race at Auditorium Shores. We parked about 20 min before his heat was scheduled to begin, only to realize his race tag was at home on the kitchen counter.

Color me not amused.

Cooler heads prevailed, and after calling Andy who insisted the race people would help, crisis was averted when Luke for a replacement tag.


We had a great run. There was a lot of excitement in the air, and it was infectious.
Luke kept a great pace. He loves sprinting, so he would take off, slow down to catch his breath, then take off again. I cheered him on along the whole mile, and I even tried to distract him by pointing out stuff up ahead so he wouldn’t think about being tired as much.

Luke eating a cinnamon bun

I have no idea when we crossed the finish line. I guess the race people didn’t enter his new tag number, because his name wasn’t among the results. (Bummer.) But we had fun anyway.

I do have one beef with the race. Guess who was a sponsor — Whataburger. The fast food chain provided the food after the run, and it wasn’t fruit.

It was cinnamon buns. With icing.

You can imagine my amusement.

Despite the sugary madness post-race, I’m so glad we went, and I’m so proud of my Luke.

December hustle

brummer family and gingerbread house
Luke, Andy, and Mads at one of the many activities of December: A gingerbread house workshop

Am I the only one who’s having a stressful December?

My calendar is so full I find myself running from one place to the next, with barely enough time to catch my breath. Why is it that everything has to happen in December?

I’ve managed to make it so far with a smile on my face, but unfortunately some of the things I really enjoy doing have had to be put on hold — like writing in this blog.

What really sucks is how, despite being surrounded by people all of the time, I feel incredibly isolated. When you’re constantly running from point-A to point-B, it’s hard to catch up with the people you care about. Email, Facebook, Twitter — great tools — but they are not substitutions for face-to-face time with a friend.

Caring for yourself includes taking time to be with friends. And when I don’t, I can really feel the negative effects.

On a positive note, I am so super excited about Christmas. I love playing Santa – surprising people with unexpected gifts. Last weekend I surprised the kids with a session at the Austin Children’s Museum’s Gingerbread House Workshop. Luke and Mads had a fabulous time.

And Wednesday, I showed up to Olympic Lifting with gifts for the whole class. They were probably the most inappropriate gifts for a group of Crossfit coaches. Homemade peppermint bark for my classmates; homemade preserves and my famous gingerbread muffins for Zach.

I can’t express how much I wanted to eat that peppermint bark. Or the muffins. Gah.

But giving lifted my spirits. The look of joy or surprise on a person’s face is so rewarding.

So take my advice, readers. Sit down to a cup of coffee or wine with a friend. Give a gift. It’s not just for them. It’s for you.

Love in the kitchen

3 jars of pear-ginger preserves
Fruit of my Sunday efforts: 3 jars of pear-ginger preserves.

Despite my best efforts for the past 29+ years… I have found love in my kitchen.

It turns out, I really do love to cook. Andy and I have seemingly switched places. He’s the gardener now, and I cook what he grows.

In fact, I spent just about my entire Sunday in the kitchen.

I guess I was itching for something to do since I haven’t been able to work out. Sunday was my third rest day in a row. Not only am I trying to give my ankle a rest, but I’m also recovering from a nasty cold that left me feeling just awful on Saturday.

It’s kind of nutty how much I cooked Sunday. Here’s all I did:

  • Started out making pear-ginger preserves. The recipe was supposed to make 7 jars, but I cooked it down so much the batch only made 3.
  • Steamed 3 pumpkins and made 2 1/2 quarts of pumpkin puree.
  • Put the pumpkin in the crockpot with sugar and spices and slow-cooked it all day to make pumpkin butter, which I will freeze.
  • Made chicken stock and froze it into 1/2 cup servings.
  • Prepped the bacon wrapped dates I’m taking to the office Thanksgiving feast and froze them for later this week.
  • Roasted the pumpkin seeds in the oven so Luke can take them to share with his class.
  • Made a beef pot roast in the pressure cooker and a reduction sauce. I served it with braised turnip greens, baked sweet potatoes and salad. Andy said it was awesome and Luke and mads ate their servings all up!
Plastic containers of pumpkin butter
This is the finished pumpkin butter, cooling on the counter in plastic containers.

Whew!  Busy day. Andy said after dinner that I must be hating it that I spent all day in the kitchen, but I feel productive. It was a free day, and I got to spend it playing with one of my passions — food. Plus, one of these days I’ll actually put up some preserves I can give away as Christmas gifts. Next weekend — watch out!

Milestone: Mads & me

Today my baby girl turns 1. I can hardly believe it’s been a year.

Remember when I looked like this?

Oh, wait — I meant to show you this:

That photo still makes me laugh. I can’t believe I carried that around for so long. I was ALL baby. And over the past year so much has changed. I’ve shed all of that baby weight and more and my baby girl is running around!

That’s my happy girl! She’s a true paleo baby — healthy and active! And she’s trying like heck to keep up with her big brother, who I couldn’t be more proud of either.

I am going to cut loose a little tomorrow when we celebrate Mads’ birthday. Andy is making her cheesecake and I WILL be having a little sugar with my baby girl.

Happy birthday, Mads!

Intervals at 4:30

I was awake by 4:30 this morning. No coffee required.

I’ve been taking ZMA supplements before bed, and that — combined with an extra hour of sleep, no nighttime anti-histamines, and adjusting to my tightened nutrition — have helped me feel much more rested without caffeine.

I’ve also found myself reading more and more of Ross Emanit’s book Infinite Intensity, which is written for fighters. And while I’m no boxer, I do want to be strong, powerful and fast — the qualities of a fighter. (I guess I’m also missing Kung Fu a little.)

Ross’ training plan is really interesting, and years ago, Andy and I did the 50 training plan from Never Gymless. That was great.

So I’ve been incorporating more and more of Ross’ training regimen into my routine. This morning I did intervals.

4 x 800m (90 sec rest between intervals)
Average time: 3:53 per interval
5 x 50m (jog back to start between intervals)
Time each round: 13 sec

I threw in some ring pull up holds and double unders, just to keep practicing. Then I finished up with core training.

3 rounds
5 wheel rollouts
6 side bends w/ 25# DB (each side)
12 supermans
10 Russian twists (each side with 6# med ball)
60 chinnies

Whew! Those wheel rollouts and side bends are no joke! I did not get my chest anywhere near the ground on the rollouts. Maybe one day?

Breakfast was fun. I’m going into work later this week and I actually cooked breakfast for us. I even cooked Mads up some pork and zucchini:

pork and zucchini in the pan

I only eat protein and fat at breakfast, so here’s what I ate:

Pork and pork pan sausage with avocado on a white plate

My day went downhill from there. I actually left for work to escape the crying. I love my daughter, but she’s been super fussy lately, and I felt like I could do nothing to appease her.

Then I had a long talk with Andy and we came to the agreement that I will not join Zach’s Olympic Lifting class in October. Or November. Or December. Maybe January. Which really disappoints me because I had my heart set on it. I’ve felt pretty sad since the conversation, even though I know it’s the right decision.

Of course, I risk circumstances changing, class times changing, class prices changing… but what are you gonna do, right? I’m privileged with the opportunity to go to my current class. At least I get that.

Being a responsible grownup really sucks sometimes.

Running after baby

I haven’t been able to write about my workouts over the weekend because of this:

Madeline sits on the floor, wearing pick shoes
Madeline got her first pair of shoes this weekend.

Madeline is now walking, and as a result, life just got a bit more hectic. I’m now running — literally, running — after two kids. THIS IS WHY I HAVE TO STAY FIT AND ACTIVE! Well… that and my own quality of life, but the kids are a huge reason, too.

Mads took her first few steps on Luke’s birthday, and now she’s toddling farther and farther distances.  I’m still a huge proponent of being barefoot, but it’s SOOOOOOOO hot out there and the pavement is scalding that we decided to get Mads’ her first pair of shoes over the weekend.  You won’t catch her in shoes when she’s inside.  In fact, she pretty much takes them off whenever she can.

Other than run after my kids, I did a lot this weekend as far as activity.  Saturday morning was a skills session for the Iron Belle Challenge in a couple of weeks.  And on Sunday, Andy challenged me to finish my run in under 30 minutes.  But writing about those WODs will have to come tomorrow.  It’s time to rest up for class.


Exercise guidelines for… babies?

The British government is telling its citizens that kids under 5 who can walk should be active 3 hours a day.  And experts want the U.S. government to come up with dietary guidelines for kids from birth to 2.

It’s true!  Read the ABC News story.


This is what we’ve come to as a society.  It makes me mad.  It makes me shake my head.

I’ve spent some time around kids — my own and others.  They want to move.  They love it.  My Luke and his friends are constantly in motion.  Luke spends his days running through the house, doing flips on the couch, performing plays, staging dances, doing gymnastics….

He’ll be 5 soon.  It’s always been this way.

Mads isn’t much different.  In fact, I would argue she’s more active.  She can’t even walk, but we give her free access to nearly everywhere, gating off only some rooms, rather than confining her to a playpen.  She’s everywhere.  She crawls and pulls up on furniture.  She rolls around. It seems like as soon as she could move, she did.  No sitting around for my girl!

I just don’t believe in cooping up my kids in swings or cribs or stuff like that.  It’s just a choice I made.  It certainly makes it harder for me to do chores or work, but HEY!  It’s pretty fun to sit back and watch the action.

How did it get to the point where kids, who naturally want to move and run and jump and play, lose that natural desire and governments have to come out with guidelines for parents?  Are kids getting cues from the adults, who seem to be growing larger and larger every year?  Texas’ obesity rate was 31% in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It’s a very sobering statistic.

I’m happy my kids and their friends are active.  In fact, I just signed Luke up for Crossfit Kids.  He starts in just a couple of weeks.  He’s so excited!

But what about the kids that don’t have that?  What can we do to help the kids who aren’t active, who are obese or on their way to obese, and who face a dire future?

Well, there are a number of programs right here in Austin designed to address the issue.  But I think, in addition to supporting those groups, I’ll lead by example.  I’ll let me kids play and run and jump.  I’ll take them on walks and explore.  I will do my best not to coop them up.

Here’s the ABC News video, in case you’re interested:

Wish you were here…

Madeline and Cindy stand on the shore at Orange Beach while a wildfire sends up a huge plume of smoke in the background.I’m taking a rest week this week.  Other than a light run one or two days and lots of walking like a tourist, I’m not working out.  Nothing!  Nada!

Am I eating crappy food?  Yes.  Is it delicious?  For the most part.  But starting in July I’m doing a strict 30 day Paleo cleanse.

In the meantime, get out in the sun and have fun, ya’ll!  And don’t let the fires hold you back.  The whole country seems to be on fire these days — even the beach!  (That’s a wildfire sending up a huge white plume at Orange Beach in Alabama.)

Safe travels!

In flux

I started a new job this week.  This single event has thrown my house into a weird state of transition.  It’s amazing how many things are affected by my returning to work outside the house full time.

As a result, I have been working like mad to adjust to this new state of being.  I’ve managed to fit in workouts, and I’ll blog about them soon, but at the same time, I just need time to get settled.  I mean, seriously — my new job has changed just about everything.  Everyone here is getting used to this change, although I think everyone but me is handling it extremely well.  It’s painfully apparent that I am on the verge of OCD because of how much stress I feel not being in control of where plastic-wear is put away, how the dishwasher is loaded and whether Luke’s mattress pad goes in the dryer.

Yeah.  I actually caught myself feeling stressed out about that stuff.

I skipped my usual Wednesday workout to chill out and sleep.  That’s not going too well.  It’s already 10pm and I’m up super early in the morning.  But all of my things are ready to go so I can run out the door super fast.

Thank goodness I’ve been working on running faster.