Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why do I eat the way I do...

So, if I am asked about my lifestyle changes, I will often use the label "Paleo/Primal". I often hear, however, that it is a fad or something similar to that. Honestly, I only use the label because of convenience and not needing to explain things in more details.

The honest truth about my lifestyle changes is I am eating in a way that makes my body more healthy, in a way that makes me feel better, in a way that I feel more alert and happier, in a way that my physical performance is improved. I have learned of late to listen to how my body responds to certain foods and processed foods make it protest...sometimes very loudly.

So, my "fad" diet includes mostly real foods, things that have an expiration date or would if they had a container. There are a few exceptions in that I do include coconut milk, cream and yogurt as well as some good quality dairy products (although not currently as elimination of all dairy is part of the cleanse I am on). Oh, and I do eat some amount of bacon.

I have learned over the past year that even some real foods, much to my dismay, cause my body to react in a non-positive way. So, for example, eggs, a mainstay of my diet for months, have been purposefully removed from my daily menu planning.

I am not purposefully eating a "low carb" diet as I am not counting carbs or any nutrient specifically. I still eat plenty of carbs in the form of vegetables (mostly non-starchy) and some fruit.  

I am no longer afraid of eating fat and tend to eat some form of good fat (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, etc.) most days of the week.

I eat the best quality meat that I can afford and find. Most often, my beef is grass fed, pasture raised. I buy quality poultry. I buy bacon without added nitrates. I try to limit my fish purchases to wild caught items.

I limit non-fruit sources of sugar. I do use a bit of raw honey from time to time but for the most part these types of added sugar are avoided.

I avoid most grains, although I do eat a bit of rice. After all, sushi isn't sushi if you can't have a bit of rice! For the most part though, I do not eat grains. They don't sit well with me. I am sluggish and generally feeling blah when I consume them, so I avoid them.

I certainly am not living the perfect life, diet-wise. There are times that I break all the rules above. BUT when I do, I make the choice consciously and, for the most part, without regret.

So, I use the label "Paleo/primal" to describe my lifestyle but it is not a choice that I made to follow a certain diet but rather where I ended up when I finally started listening to my body. I also do NOT make a proclamation that it is right for everyone. It is a matter of listening to one's body to figure out what is right and what makes you a healthier person. 

Enlist the help of experts. I have. I work with a great nutritionist that has helped me, and continues to help me, via an elimination diet that I learned so much more about listening to cues from my body. Do research. I can't tell you how much I read on the subject, but in the end, it comes down to what is true for ME. Most of all, learn to listen to your body. I think that if you are really thinking about things, you start to recognize patterns and how you feel after eating certain things. This is going to be different for EVERYONE. It is hard work but, for me, it was so worth it.

Here is a graphic that mostly explains my lifestyle but again, not totally accurate because I have had to tweak things for MY life. It is from a blog at the gym I attend.

So, while I do use labels for my new lifestyle, it would be more accurate to say that it is the lifestyle that I choose to live because of how much better it makes me feel, how much healthier I have become. Isn't that what life should be about? Being the healthiest, best version of yourself?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It has been a rough week....

So, my leg issue didn't turn out to be such a minor thing By Sunday, my leg was starting to turn pink. I sort of thought it was odd but having never had such a bruise, I just kind of figured it was what it was. Well, Monday when I went to kettlebells, I bang my shin into a kettlebell and honestly it hurt more than anything I have ever felt. I realized then that my shin was hot to the touch and quite swollen. I finally went to urgent care on Tuesday as my doctor had no openings. The doctor there declared it to be infected and put me on an antibiotic.

He also scared me to death by telling me that he was pretty sure I had a blood clot. But strangely, he told me to see my primary care doctor within 24 hours and didn't bother to test for an actual clot. This lead to a pretty sleepless night, wondering if I would die in my sleep. It brought back bad memories of times when I was extremely unhealthy and really did wonder if I would die in my sleep.

I did wake up and went in to see one of the doctors in my primary care practice (but not my doctor). He was not at all worried about clots. He said it was indeed infected and instructed me to come back Friday or Saturday to see how the antibiotics were working. I forgot to ask if I should or could continue to work out. It was really bothering me on Wednesday night so I went home, elevated it and did hot compresses as instructed by the doctor. 

Thursday night I tried boxing but it hurt to pivot so I only did what I could. It wasn't a great work out but it was something. I mean, by now I hadn't worked out in two days and going from working out two times a day to none...well, it is not good for me.

I finally got to see my doctor on Friday. She was not happy with the progress with the antibiotics so prescribed a stronger one and gave me a shot. We talked about work outs. She said that she didn't want me to do anything that used my calf muscles. This basically means recumbent bike and swimming. I specifically asked about stair climbing and was told no. BUT I was told I could do recumbent bike and swim. So that was a positive. I also am going to try barbell class again. I may have to skip the lunges and do something else but I will do that.

Last year on my other blog, I posted about the running injuries I had and that I would be okay with walking until I could run again. I was going to start running again this week....and this happened. So I will admit I spent a bit of time feeling sorry for myself and worrying about things. I feel like I could end up gaining weight while I wait out this injury. I do feel like I am losing good training time for the stair climb. But I have reconciled to the fact that I need to heal. Once it is healed, I will deal with all the rest.

On a more positive note, my cleanse is going well. Monday I start the next stage when I don't have to down this horrible tasting thing twice a day. I start a protocol with a protein powder and eliminate beef all together. I do get to add almonds back in and some rice. Slowly the protocol changes over the next three weeks. In fact, one of the weeks will be a vegetarian week. It will go well. I did it one time and I can do it again.

Hope things are going well for everyone else.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Just an update

Well, one week down and start of the second week of the cleanse protocol. I thought I was going to be blogging every day about it to stay focused but I am finding that I am doing fine without the daily update. I am going through the cleanse with a large group of people via my nutritionist so I think that is helping.

I will say that I had a few rough days, where I just did not feel well. I am not sure why that was as I don't remember having those days last time I went through the process. It is likely because of the holiday season and having to detox a few things out of my body that I didn't need to last time. I am feeling well now and full of energy so I start week 2 with a great attitude.

Other things that have been happening...well, I fell training for a stair event and have a bad bruise that finally feels like it is healing. I have actually been fortunate not to have hurt myself like this very often so it kind of freaked me out. I have never had a bruise so big (it covers my shin and calf and part of my foot/ankle). I am also very fortunate that I can still workout as it is only a bruise.

I have been loving time at my new gym. I have tried a few classes. First, a spin class, which I did not like very much at all. I am going to try again at some point but for now, I am sticking to things I really do enjoy. As Tim told me, I don't have to like everything. Second, I did a barbell class. I had been doing a lot of body pump classes a few years ago and loved them. Well, I still do love these classes. I just wish this gym had bigger plates. The highest weight on a plate is 10 pounds. I seem to recall 25 pound plates at body pump. Because the classes was filled to capacity, there were no extra plates either so my dead lifts were rather light. Still, I will go again.

Here the weather is cold and, with my shin, I have not been out running yet. I think I may need to change my goal of running a half in May but I am sure I can find one later in the year to run. So, that about does it. One to week two of the cleanse.

Just a little reminder for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I think I have proven that I am ready...

An open letter to the "personal trainer/weight loss specialist" that felt the need to interrupt my friend and I today to give me his card and encouraged me to call him when I was "ready"....

Hey, dude,

First, let me say it is rude to interrupt people in a conversation and to put your hand on the shoulder of a stranger, who definitely did not invite you to do so. Second, you need to watch what you presume about people. Third, if your intent was that I would feel awful about myself and think that all as hopeless, you ALMOST won today....but you didn't.

You do not know anything about me. I mean, I have come along way over the past few years. I have lost weight and kept it off. I know I do not have an "ideal" body but I am getting closer every day. Of course, you wouldn't know that, because YOU know nothing about me.

You don't know that I have met some "amazing to me" physical challenges. I completed the Couch to 5K program. I ran every step of a 10K. I completed a half marathon. I have climbed hundreds of flights of stairs at different events and in training for those events. I conquered the Manitou Incline. I lift heavy things and hit heavy bags several times a week, often two times a day. Of course, you wouldn't know that, because YOU know nothing about me.

You don't know that I had just spent five minutes going through the various teas to determine which one would be okay on the cleanse I am on right now. You wouldn't know that I totally rehauled my lifestyle and focus on whole real foods, avoiding processed foods of all kinds, that I haven't been in a fast food restaurant in years, that reading food labels has become a way of life. Of course, you wouldn't know that, because YOU know nothing about me.

You don't know that I have surrounded myself with people that support and encourage me. You wouldn't know that I have reached out to many people for advice and help. You wouldn't know that, even as an introvert, I have opened my heart and mind to many new people in my life and to the virtual world. You wouldn't know that I have lots of people that appreciate what I am doing with my life and that are available to help me. Of course, you wouldn't know that, because YOU know nothing about me.

Quite honestly, you giving me your card is not what I take the most issue with but rather the comment to call you when I was "ready." Well, dude, you should never presume that someone isn't ready or that someone is not making progress just by seeing the person sitting at a table in StarBucks with a friend. You ALMOST had me falling back into a bad place of self doubt and uncertainty. You ALMOST had me in tears on the way home. You ALMOST had me questioning all the changes I have made in my life. BUT YOU DON'T GET TO WIN THIS TIME.

I know I still have a long way to go and I know I am not where I want to be on my fitness journey. I am, however, a lot closer than I was yesterday.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Some thoughts before starting the cleanse/elimination diet

Tomorrow I am embarking on my second time through a cleanse and elimination diet. I am a bit apprehensive about it this time as opposed to the first time I did it. I know I can do it and I know I will do it but I am already dreading giving up my coffee (although I have cut way back in preparation for it).

I know that this is a good process. The reason I know it is because the focus in real whole foods. There are some supplements -- repairvite the first two weeks, which helps heal leaky gut syndrome. Based on all the research I have done and more importantly how I felt last time through this process, I believe this is a real problem and then clearvite for the last three weeks, which is a protein powder. Beyond that, I will be eating real whole foods. You do avoid certain foods that can be causes of inflammation and/or leaky gut syndrome.

For me, other than the coffee, it really should not be that difficult as most of my diet has been focused on whole real foods over the past year. I will admit that a bit more sugar than I wanted has snuck into my diet over the holidays but it is something I recognize and am willing to deal with as well. Ok, "snuck" is not the right word. I know that I chose to consume these items that I would not have done so outside of the holiday season but there has been progress made in the holiday eating area and I am proud of that.

The whole process was a great learning experience last year. I am not sure I will necessarily learn anything new but who knows. It is also good to confirm things I learn about reactions to certain foods. Of course, the continued healing of inflammation and leaky gut is always a good thing.

I wasn't sure if I was going to blog about the cleanse/elimination process but I think I will. I think it will help me keep focused and be the most successful over the process. 

I know I don't have everything figured out as far as an ideal diet for my life but I am getting closer and I keep learning more and more. This is just part of that learning process.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Be more awesome than last year....

My first post here was about my goals for the year. These are truly goals and not really resolutions. I think my actual resolution is to BE MORE AWESOME THAN LAST YEAR!

This morning I went to the Commitment Day 5K downtown. It was COLD, only 7 degrees when I left home and 10 degrees when I arrived to pick up my race bib. I considered running part of it but honestly I was so cold that I wanted to stay bundled up and I knew if I ran part of it, I would be way over dressed. AND more honestly, I am a little scared to run again. Weird, right? I know I need to start again because I really do want to run again but I am afraid that it is going to hurt again and I'm not going to able to do it. If I can't run, then I can't meet many of my goals for the year. Sigh. Well, it is time to get over that and start running again. I am going to do so this week. I am going to step out of my comfort zone and even try to run on the treadmill.

Anyway, back to my original story about the Commitment Day 5K. It was a great event put on by the gym I recently joined. When I joined, they gave me a t-shirt for the run. I don't feel right wearing a t-shirt from an event I didn't do, so I had to sign up. The whole idea of the Commitment Day run was to make a commitment to health in 2013. I knew I was already committing to making this a year of health. In fact, I had already set up my goals. I couldn't figure out what I was going to commit to in order to make this a great year. I mean, 2012 was AWESOME and I accomplished so much. 

So, 2013 I have goals but what was my focus going to be for the year? Well, when I came home from the walk, I saw this posted on my FaceBook newsfeed and thought "Yep, this is what I am going to resolve to do this year."

So, my official "resolution" is to be more awesome than last year!

Happy New Year all!