Nutrition Challenge Success: The Hahn Family

23 Nov

Meet Ellen and Nick Hahn! Nick is one of the original members of CFO…he left the island after serving in the Navy, married beautiful Ellen, welcomed “mancub” baby Lucien and recently moved back to the island! I hope their stories will inspire you :)

Ellen Hahn

My paleo challenge testimonial is going to sound a lot different than most, because I came into this challenge with different goals and motivations than most. I came into this challenge weighing 111 pounds at 5’10″, too skinny by most anybody’s standards. I ended this challenge with no significant change in weight or body composition, but with a changed, much healthier outlook on food and nutrition. And that, for me, is the most important, and most difficult, change to effect in my life.

I spent years battling anorexia. I still battle disordered eating, even now. At my lightest, I weighed 103 pounds. I weighed myself multiple times per day and kept Excel spreadsheets of those numbers, which is why I can still quote the exact figures. It is a long story, how I got that low, and how I started to pull myself out, so I suppose I will start at the beginning with a brief recap.
I grew up in a home with two wonderful, loving, overweight, unhealthy, and sugar-addicted parents. My diet mirrored theirs – lots of Mac and cheese, sugary cereals, and PB&J’s at mealtimes, and lots of candy, chocolate, and homemade cookies in between. When I was a teenager I was slightly pudgy, sugar-addicted, and scared to death of becoming as overweight and unhealthy as my parents. 
The loss of control I felt was terrifying; I couldn’t stop eating the crack, I couldn’t get myself healthy. So I seized control. I started my first diet when I was 16. Eventually I progressed to chronic cardio, along with fat and calorie restriction. During my college days I ran 10 miles on the treadmill. Every. Single. Morning. And I limited my calories to 1750 per day. Believe me, I know. I counted every bite that went into my mouth. When I was at social events that required me to eat more, I would purge. That’s how I succeeded in getting down to 103. I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t feel healthy – I barely had the energy for my everyday activities – but I felt in control.
My views began to change in January of 2009, when my soon-to-be husband introduced me to the wonderful community of CrossFit Oahu and to the paleo lifestyle. I started to think more about being healthy, fit, and strong, and not so much about being skinny.
Another turning point for me was learning that I was pregnant with my son. If anything ever lit a fire under me to be as healthy as possible, it was knowing that every single food, exercise, and lifestyle choice I made would affect his health. That same motivation to health has continued as I am breastfeeding him. And being a healthy example for him as he eats more and more (nutrient-dense, toxin-poor, paleo) solid foods.
So that is where I was at the beginning of the challenge: paleo, but still somewhat neurotic about food, still checking the scale every morning, still unable to stop that running calorie count in the back of my head. But I was committed to change. And I have changed.
I am now focusing on the nutrient-density of my foods like never before: grass-fed beef, wild-caught fatty fish, veggies drenched in grass-fed tallow, some fruit, an occasional sweet potato after a hard workout. I was pretty darn strict even before the challenge, but now I can see that even my occasional “treats,” like a trip to Starbucks or some dark chocolate, were crowding out some of those more nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. And not doing any favors for my digestion, or mood, or mental health.
Now, with my more nutrient-dense, cheat-free paleo lifestyle, I am feeling healthier, stronger, more vibrant, less neurotic, and more in control of my self and my health. I find it a wonderfully ironic twist. That sense of control I had been seeking for so many years in my calorie-restricted disordered eating – I never found it there, but I found it in a strict paleo challenge. 
I am totally in control of what I eat and how I feel! I have spent the past 45 days taking control.  I am not a slave to sugar cravings. I don’t need that mocha in the morning and I don’t need that chocolate after dinner. I can turn them down. I have been turning them down for over a month. Every morning when I wake up I can make the choice to eat nutrient-dense foods that nourish my body and my son’s. I eat as much of the good stuff as I need to feel sated, I avoid the junk, and I feel great.
And this sense of control that I have is no longer neurotic, or based on fear. It is, rather, proactive. I am making a conscious decision every morning to take care of my body and mind, to nurture them with proper nutrition and movement and rest.
I do not feel like I have “arrived,” by any stretch of the imagination. I still have lots of work to do. I do not know if I will ever be able to totally stop the calorie counts in my head or throw out the bathroom scale. But paleo has been *the* way I have found to gain positive, healthy control over my emotional and physical well-being. And every day of the past 45 I have been getting healthier.

Nick Hahn

This Paleo Challenge has primarily helped me to gain habits in what I call “second order paleo.”  The term “second order” refers to a higher level of complexity than simply eating cleanly.  By contrast to simple dietary changes, which I think of as “first order changes,” these second order paleo lifestyle habits have eluded me for the 6 years I have been eating paleo.  In fact, I think I was one of the earliest of adopters of paleo eating on the island, yet I never saw all of the benefits I could have.   For me, not eating crap-in-a-bag was comparatively easy.  Fixing my addictions to caffeine, work, screens, and stress were much more complex.

I started eating paleo while I was still in the Navy.  I have continued eating paleo after my discharge and during law school.  Throughout my entire time eating paleo until I did the Paleo Challenge, I did not practice any lifestyle changes that generally compliment a paleo diet. These include:  Sleeping at least 8 hours, limiting screen time before bed, reducing stress, getting sunlight during the day, moving throughout the day, and reducing caffeine.  It is fair to say that I did not do any of these things.  During law school, my physical condition greatly deteriorated.  I enjoyed staying up late, and reading case law and other law-related things online.  I drank copious amounts of coffee–up to 10 cups per day–to stay awake.  And I went to school in Wisconsin, so getting sunlight and going outside in -10 degree weather did not happen often.   I often had to take NyQuil to get some sleep, given the stress I was under.

Studying for the Hawaii Bar exam this summer turned out to be law school on steroids.  By the time the Paleo Challege started, I realized I needed to tweak my lifestyle habits, if I would ever feel better and stop feeling so beat up.

The Paleo Challenge was an opportunity to instill better habits.  I can gladly report that the Paleo Challenge has been a resounding success!  

In addition to commuting on my bicycle (about 4 or 5 miles per day), I have been able to incorporate more movement into my daily routine.  Instead of slouching in my Henry Miller Aeron Chair for 4 hour stretches, I now get up and move.  I work on the “chinks” in my fitness armor:  mainly handstand push-ups, pistols, and push-ups.  Every 30-45 minutes I get up, and grease the grove on different movements.  This allows me to do, for instance, around 200 push-ups per day, or 30 strict handstand push-ups.  My co-workers think I’m nuts.  But I’m the one who can do handstand push-ups.  I’ll continue to fly the freak flag at work.

My mood has improved during the day, and I can attack complex legal problems much more effectively after a short, brisk session of greasing the groove.  Better yet, I’ve gotten better at these movements.  During lunch, I walk for about 45 minutes in the sun, so I get the slow movement Mark Sisson recommends and a good dose of vitamin D.  

Even more important than moving, I think, is the reduction in stress and increase in sleep I’ve experienced.  I am in bed every day at or before 8:30.  In order to do this, I have to limit my screen time.  I used to be an information addict right before bed, reading legal and news blogs.  Now, I have been forced to cut this time short.  The reduced screen time has given me more time to read books.  It has also made my nights much more restful.  I wake up much more rested, and less stressed.  I have found that I do not wake up grinding my teeth any more.  Best of all, I no longer feel the need to rely on any sleep aids, no matter how stressful my day was:  no NyQuil or melatonin.  

In a related vein, I have limited to the amount of coffee I drink to one cup before workouts, and one cup before 10 am at work.  This has also helped reduce my stress.  Paradoxically, by reducing caffeine, I feel less beat-up at the end of the day.  I also think I’ve been sleeping better.

In sum, the second order effects of a more primal/ancestral/paleo lifestyle have eluded me for years, in spite of eating fairly cleanly for 8 years.  After the Navy and law school, I was a wreck:  stiff, stressed, anxious, and edgy.   After almost 45 days of conscientiously incorporating second order lifestyle tweaks, I feel like a new person.  Judging by Robb Wolf’s “how do you look/feel/perform test,” incorporating the second order prescriptions has been nothing short of life changing.  


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Nutrition Challenge Success: Frazier Family

15 Nov

Meet Jen and Tripp!

J Frazier 1

J Frazier 2

This nutrition challenge has been a blessing in disguise for myself and my family. It’s become a habit now to think about what we are putting into our bodies. I always knew nutrition was important but I could never follow through with healthy eating. I would always break and eat some crap like McDonald’s.

Speaking of this particular eating establishment I’d like to share a couple of things. Like I had stated in a previous post we have done our best to switch our oldest son Peyton to gluten free. This was not fun to say the least but we had told him you can have McDonald’s once a week.  He had been on the gluten free bread for about a week and a half and he asked for chicken nuggets and French fries. He threw up that night after eating this. I thought maybe he has the flu (even though he was acting ok and no fever) so watched him but was fine when he woke up the next morning and went to school. A couple of weeks later wanted McD’s again so we did and he proceeded to again throw up after eating it. This was shocking to me and make me sick to think of what I was letting him have. He doesn’t ask for it anymore, how amazing is that?!  Before we had started the challenge Max had dropped his cheeseburger on the floorboard, pushed it under the seat and of course never said anything to anyone. We found it three weeks after starting the challenge perfectly preserved, no mold anywhere on it and no funky smell. Again, what the hell have I been letting my kids eat?!

We now have true guilt when eating not so great things for ourselves because it’s become a habit to be conscious of what we are eating. Same with working out. When we can’t make it to the gym we do a home workout, DeltaFit, Spartacus, Insanity, whatever just so we know we’ve done something to help ourselves. When you commit to a diet, hold yourself accountable and stick with you not only see some results but you begin to FEEL better. I didn’t lose as much as I wanted on this challenge.  BUT I still feel like my body looks better, slimmer, more toned than it ever has before and I feel healthy. It’s engrained in the kids exercising is important. They don’t get the healthy eating quite yet because candy rules when you’re a kid but we will get there because Tripp and I will continue to set the example. We’ve limited his Halloween candy to two pieces a night and it’s worked out well. We only get one body, one heart (unless you’re REALLY lucky), one brain. Feed and work it right!!!  Nutrition rocks :)


Tripp Frazier (1)

Tripp Frazier 2

Looking back over the last 45 days of the challenge I must say that it was a major life changing event for me. I took the challenge head on and made a commitment to stick it out. There were times I didn’t think I would make it and the first 7 days were the hardest. There is temptation everywhere and I craved everything I couldn’t have. I had an end goal in mind and I took it day by day, meal by meal. I decided to stick to my level and not try to do more than what I committed to. Boy did it ever work! I was very satisfied with my end results. Not only did I lose weight, inches and body fat, but most importantly, I feel the best I’ve felt in years. I have more energy than ever and sleep better than I ever had. I now realize the importance of how I fuel my body and my results are directly related to what I put in. This challenge has opened eyes and will change the way I eat for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to continue life with my new ways of nutrition and continue to get the results that I truly want.
p.s. Hi! This is Tripp again. So since the challenge I have still continued paleo but not as strict. I took my PT test for the Air Force today and I weighed in at 182 lbs with a 32″ waist and blew the test out the water! All thanks to you and the challenge. Keep on doing what you’re doing and changing lives! Many thanks from me!
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Nutrition Challenge Success: Best Decision in 10 years

11 Nov

The Fall 2013 Nutrition Challenge ended on October 30th and over 75 athletes successfully completed the foundational challenge of eating real food, sleeping better, being more active and being better in general! I would like you to meet Sean, one of the many inspiring nutrition and lifestyle victors!

Sean C

Putting into words the experiences I have had over the past few weeks is difficult. Not so much to say or share, but to truly communicate in a way that can be more than understood… but felt. 

A few weeks before joining Crossfit Oahu and starting the Paleo Diet, my wife and I took a weekend trip to San Francisco for our 10 year honeymoon.  In our hotel bathroom, we found a scale.  It had been a while since I had hoped on one and was curious to see what it had to say.  To my disbelief, my weight had climbed to nearly 230 lbs, the heaviest I could ever remember weighing.  No doubt that by the time we got home a few days later, even more damage had been done after trips to Giradellis and two days spent in Napa Vally.


After returning, my mother came from Houston to visit.  Within a week of her stay, she was struggling with walking after time spent eating out with me so many times.  While she was here, we went to a family party where my brother-in-law Marc was telling us both about how amazing the expansions attire downtown CFO were going.  It was that night that I decided to sign up for the elements class that was starting a week away…

This may turn out to be the best decision I’ve made in the past 10 years. 
After a few sessions with Coach Ian in elements, I truly came to know just how out of shape I was. He and Marc started telling me about how the best work I could do, would always be undermined by my dietary habits.  In Ian’s words,”You can’t outwork at crappy diet.”  Both suggested I look into The Paleo Diet and within a week I was reading the book and trying out some of the rules. 
That was the second weekend of August – and I haven’t looked back!
Within the first two (difficult) weeks, I lost close to 10 lbs. and could already see the changes in my face. After 30 days, I had lost nearly 25 lbs. and was nearly at 200 lbs.  family and friends were taking notice and everyone was asking me what was going on.
I came into the challenge with a running start, however, there was still much to learn and lose.  You see up to that point I was still not fixing my own food, was having my “cheat” meals occasionally and hadn’t yet gotten around to giving up my dairy and salt.  The challenge changed all that.  The only way I was going to make it through was to get serious and get help. My wife and daughter were the first to get on board.
I can still remember sitting at the dinner table wanting so badly to have just a sip of wine when my four-year-old begged me not to cheat.  ”Don’t cheat Daddy.  You can do it.  I know you’re not a cheater!”  Talk about motivation!
In the end, I’ve lost nearly 50 lbs. since that fateful day in early July in that SF hotel. I’ve gone from over 24% body fat down to a respectable 17% at 180 lbs.  Most importantly, it’s the sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that have been the most rewarding. 
I didn’t do it alone however, I’m grateful for the help of my coaches Marc, Ian, Courtney and Gil. My co-worker John who’s also a Paleo/CFO mentor.  Most especially my Wife and daughter who have provided me with all the inspiration, motivation and support I could ask for.  
Now it’s time for the real work to begin!
Sean C.
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Amanda Blair

18 Oct
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Barbells for Boobs “Amazing Grace” WOD 2013


Join us in making the best Barbells for Boobs event yet! We want to fill the gym to capacity with an army of pink wearing CrossFitters! Please fill out the form at this link: so we can set up your weights for you. This will start promptly at 5:00pm and we’ll be heading out to Eat the Street Kakaako after to refuel.

This event is to raise funds for Barbells for Boobs. Barbells for Boobs is a non-profit organization that provides funding to pay for breast cancer detection services as a last resort for thousands of people who don’t qualify for assistance elsewhere. Order your Special Edition Do More Suck Less shirt by October 7th and all proceeds will go to Barbells for Boobs. You may also make a donation after the 7th on the CrossFit Oahu/Barbells for Boobs fundraising website.

Thank you for your support CFOhana!

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04 Oct
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CFKB Christmas Party


Join us for food, drinks, fun and games CrossFit Kaneohe style. Friends and family are welcome to attend.

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Strongman Clinic


Move large loads over long distances quickly. That’s the definition of fitness and there’s no better way to do that than strongman style training. Learn how to use and train with different odd objects including axle bars, log bars, atlas stones and more!

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