Sunday, March 31, 2013

Maybe it's not such a big problem....

So, I have been mulling over some thoughts about my workouts. I seem to get obsessed with things and the only way I can get everything I want to do is to do at least two workouts a day. Some days on the weekend, I may even sneak in an extra by doing some kettlebell swings. I am obsessed with lots and recently just discovered spin class....another obsession. So, now I have kettlebells, stair climbing, running, boxing, weight lifting and spin class to fill my workout time with....oh, and I would really like to fit some swimming, yoga and mat Pilates in if I could.

I started to think about how I was becoming a "Jack of all trades but a master of none" regarding my various workouts. Even though I like lots of things, I really am not very good at any of them...but I do sweat and workout hard, which is important to me. I also love the endorphins. The mental release I get from working out is sometimes more important than the physical benefits. An hour punching on the heavy bag at the boxing gym allows me to sweat away any frustration I may have from the day of dealing with various projects. An hour cycling in spin class allows me to clear my mind of the never ending deadlines that fill my work day. A good sweat on the stair mill allows me to feel like I accomplished something even if the rest of the day was wrought with failures.

I love it all. Of course, some of the activities I love more than others but for the most part, I really do like the activities I currently am obsessed with. I have dabbled from time to time in other things -- Zumba for instance. Oh, and body pump classes were great for awhile but now, well, I am not so much into the synchronized weight lifting and prefer doing my own. As much as I liked the sweat, my heart was just not into these activities for very long. I just mention this to show that I am somewhat selective about my workouts but when I do find something I love, I want to do it every day. But realistically, I can't so I try to fit as much in as I can throughout the week, which stresses me out a bit....totally NOT what I want to happen.

I have had a lot of people tell me that I work out too much and I needed to work out smarter. I know I have blogged about it in the past but obviously have not learned enough to figure out how to fix things without stressing about everything too much. After speaking with people about the progress and lack of progress I have had in the past months, I decided to do two testings, one with my nutritionist and one at the gym. Honestly, one of my hopes in all this testing was that I would be told that everyone was wrong and I need to work out more or harder or something like that. You know, find a few more hours a week to work out and to work out harder. To me, that seems like the easiest answer.

The first one was an ASI test, a saliva testing for adrenal stress index. I did this one a few weeks ago and got the results on Friday. I must admit that I was a bit taken back by the results. My cortisol is all out of whack, too high in the morning, too low at noon, and on the high side the rest of the day. Sigh, what to do now?

The second test would be helpful in trying to figure some of this out. It is metabolic testing at the gym and will tell me what heart rate zone is most efficient for fat burn and things like that. Unfortunately, I had to postpone the testing because, for the second time this year, I am sick. I haven't been this sick in some time, which is another sign of cortisol/adrenal issues. Hopefully, when I get this figured out, I will be able to avoid the colds like I have in the past. It is rescheduled for next week. I am also doing a Resting Metabolic Rate test to tell me how many calories I am burning just to get through the day and give me an idea of targets for how much I should be consuming. I did both of these tests a couple of years ago at the spa. It will be interesting to see how things changed. Unfortunately, I had to postpone the testing because, for the second time this year, I am sick. I haven't been this sick in some time, which is another sign of cortisol/adrenal issues. Hopefully, when I get this figured out, I will be able to avoid the colds like I have in the past. It is rescheduled for next week.

In the meantime, I have to think about what I can do to work out the issues with the cortisol levels. I have some supplements from the nutritionist. I also need to think about what I really want to do for workouts and stop over working out. I have to need to be better about fueling before and after workouts. I have to figure out the whole carb balance thing too. Lauren thinks that these things will help me get things back in balance. I will admit that at first I was a little freaked out. I did think that the test would show that adrenal/cortisol was quite normal and that I could just try to figure out how to do more things. But alas, now I need to think and figure things out. One thing I am going to try to do is track food again, not for calories as much as to watch when I am eating my carbs and making sure that I am fueling for workouts correctly.

Here we go seems like the more I know, the more I need to learn....but I will get there some day. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Does it really matter what you call it?

Of late, I have seen a lot of posts about how wrong the Paleo lifestyle is and how people are fooling themselves if they really think "caveman" really ate this way or that way. I had one person tell me that I should just eat "real food" and quit the Paleo lifestyle.

Ummmm....well, the truth of the matter is I use Paleo/Primal to describe my lifestyle because it is easier than truly describe what I have discovered makes me feel and perform my best. I eat real food. I avoid processed foods. I do not eat most grains. I avoid added sugar. I do not eat soy products. I read labels. I cook at home for the most part. I buy high quality ingredients. I do not drink my calories. I do not eat low carb as I do consume sweet potatoes, squash, and some rice. I don't obsess about things.

I do not eat this way because "caveman" did. I eat this way because I have learned to listen to my body. I know that I feel better when I avoid certain things. I know that I work out better if I eat certain things. I know that I have lost weight following my new lifestyle and my weight progress has stalled when I have not.

What I don't get is why some people seem to feel they must cause a fuss over labels like Paleo, primal, whatever. To me, the important thing is to find what works for you. I definitely believe that each of us is very different and what works for me may not work for you. The key is to start listening to your body and figure out how it responds to various things. In working with my nutritionist and meeting  many of the others that she works with, it has become clear to me that some people tolerate some foods I cannot tolerate....and I tolerate some things others cannot.

There is no "one size fits all" concept here. AND it does no good to try to discredit what others have found works for them. I want to be as healthy as I can be and I choose to describe my lifestyle as Paleo or primal and it works for me. Maybe some day I will start to describe it as "eating real food, eliminating soy and grains, cooking at home, reading labels, avoiding additives, and avoiding sugar and processed foods" lifestyle.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Consistency == it's key

From a random FaceBook post I read:

"We often would rather be Looking for something than Doing something. Looking keeps us busy, but delivers no results. By doing and doing consistently we have the power to change. So if you think you need to be looking for something else, because "this clean eating & exercising is not enough", then try bucking this natural human tendency by not looking for something else... instead just DO it."

I am guilty of this. I do keep looking for something to explain tell me why I am not losing weight at a faster pace.I keep thinking that there has to be a reason, something that is holding me back. Am I eating something that is causing problems? Maybe but that is why I am going through the reintroduction process from the elimination diet. So, far yogurt and eggs continue to bother me.

Am I working out the right way? Am I not working out hard enough? Am I working out too hard? How do I know? I found myself talking to trainers about testing that they can do at the gym. As I was talking to them, I was struck by the thought that here I was looking for a solution when I wasn't even sure if there was a problem.

So, the best question that I asked myself this past week, shortly before I saw this FaceBook post, is WHAT AM I STRESSING OUT ABOUT IT? How do I know what I am doing isn't working? I mean, I feel good. I work out hard. I definitely have lost weight over the past 15 months. My nutritionist, who I also asked about different testing, asked me some important questions too -- what I was trying to accomplish with the testing, what my goals were, what problems was I trying to solve?

I am going to stop looking for ways to solve problems until I know there is a problem. One of the things I am going to do is make friends with the scale. I have been doing the 90 day challenge at the gym and love trying different activities at the gym. I have not been looking at the scale though. I turn around when they weigh me in. I avoid looking at my progress. Well, I know it is not healthy to be that upset by a number. I have progressed so far regarding my body image, my view towards food, and pushing myself in the gym. BUT the scale is something that I just haven't dealt with very well. It is time to change that. I am going to weigh in once a week and not let it get to me. I am going to use it as a tool to track my progress.

If I don't see progress, well, then I will consider some more intense testing. I am going to do a couple of tests because I find them interesting but I am not going to do the over the top expensive stuff until I know if I am actually struggling., until I have proof of lack of progress.

In the meantime, I will stay consistent in my lifestyle changes. I will keep true to my food plan. I will do my workouts as I have been doing. I will relax about things.