Throwing Shade

CrossFit, Whole 30 and Chinese buffet: Changes mean progress

Associate web editor Justin Mitchell has lost about 50 pounds in about four months by eating clean and working out.
Associate web editor Justin Mitchell has lost about 50 pounds in about four months by eating clean and working out.

15 minutes. The workout is only 15 minutes.

The workout of the day, or WOD, wasn't complicated: jump rope 90 times, squat and execute 20 wall balls, and clean 135 pounds of weight 15 times.

Sara Carter, one of my coaches at CrossFit Portside in Gulfport, told the class we should aim to finish three rounds in 15 minutes. I would be happy with finishing two.

Rihanna was the first song that came over the speakers as Sara yelled, “He were go!” 15 minutes, I told myself. Push yourself. It'll be over in 15 minutes.

I finished two-and-a-half rounds, and I was pretty pumped.

But what made this morning's workout better was that I had officially completed my second round of Whole 30, a month-long diet that cut out every piece of processed food I put into my body.

In the first round of the diet I completed in July, I lost 30 pounds and several inches. This time, I lost 12 pounds, four inches in my chest and dropped a pant size or two, depending on the store.

Just like the first round of the diet, the second round was challenging. On some days, it felt like hell. The first week, I had Diet Coke withdrawals. My head was pounding, and I was so tired of being tired. So, I finally forced myself to drink unsweet tea and iced black coffee.

Not having bread or grain kept me hungry all of the time. Luckily, I had the help of meal prep goddess Kristin Grizzard, who owns Meal Prep by KUG. I bought five Whole 30 approved meals from Kristin every week and got to enjoy delicious food I would never cook myself. Some of my favorites include the Asian cobb salad, sweet potato chili and her meatloaf with cauliflower mash.

Other things that got me through the month? Unsweetened apple sauce, Waffle House chicken breast, steamed hash browns, vanilla almond butter and blueberry muffin Lara bars.

I get very excited when I see results, and sometimes I feel like I post my weight loss too much on social media. I've heard in the past that a couple of my friends on Facebook thought I was just fishing for compliments.

But truth be told, I post my progress regularly to social media because I'm proud of the person I've become. I love looking at myself in the mirror naked and seeing the place where a six-pack could be one day. That same spot used to be covered in purple stretch marks and rolls of fat. I love being able to see the size of my arms shrink but see my biceps get larger. I love being able to share my story with others who are struggling with their own weight loss journey. Hearing support and reassurance from others only drives me to do better and get to where I want to be.

I've pretty much reversed my diagnosed Type 2 diabetes by working out and eating right. I've lost almost 50 pounds since June. When I tried on a suit for wedding I'm attending this Saturday, I had dropped down six jacket sizes since March. The pant, a size 34, is the smallest pant I've worn since sixth grade. I did a dance and screamed in the dressing room at Express in Edgewater Mall. The sales clerk had to come and check on me.

The fact is that we all have things that drive and inspire us, and I'm glad I found an inspiration in fitness and weight loss before it was too late.

Granted, I still have cheat meals. I love the Chinese buffet, and I can eat pizza for every single meal. The guy at Taco Bell could pretty much recite my order to me as soon as he hears my voice.

But I've found a balance and will power to keep on truckin'. I've found that you can love Crossfit, love Whole 30 and even love the Chinese buffet on occasion.

My body isn't perfect and never will be, but my confidence is in a place that I'd never think I would see.