Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Apparently I'm An Indoor Cat

So running outside? Nothing like running inside.
Granted, this was only my second run outside this season, and my first attempt at the course for the triathlon. Also, I'm back on the no-carb because I'm a sadist it's the only way I seem to lose weight.
Reasons Why Running Outside Currently Sucks
1. I feel very, very slow.
2. My stride seems to go straight to hell. Shuffle run, anyone?
3. There are CARS.
4. There are PEOPLE in those cars. And they are looking at me shuffle run my big bum around.
5. I can't zone out the way I can when I'm running around an indoor track (sort of like a greyhound if a greyhound took a lot of sedatives).
6. The tri route starts 2.5km from my house. If I walk there and back, that's another hour added on to my workout.
7. I can't calculate my distances as accurately as I can inside. I like my numbers, even if they don't like me.
Reasons Why Running Outside Doesn't Suck
1. Fresh air! Sunshine!
2. I have to use different muscles since the terrain and elevation changes.
I think it's going to take some getting used to, this running outside business. I can only hope it kicks in before the race next month.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "Reality" Of Beauty

The campaign for "real women" shows up quite often these days. This morning I read Mishelle's post on Curvy Girl Guide called "Real-Sized Style Icons". The post lists her top ten “Real-Sized” Fashion and Style Icons. I get what her point is here; she verbalizes herself quite neatly.
"After all, this is not a cookie-cutter world.  We are all different, and that should be embraced in our society, not shunned."
She then lists ten celebrities who all fit a particular body type. While these women are unquestionably beautiful, I have an issue with labeling them "real women". Real women come in all shapes and sizes, even slim.

This is Kasia, the "fiercely real" competitor on America's Next Top Model. Can someone please tell me what makes her more "real" than the Cycle 15 winner, Ann?

The way we label each other matters. It's like condemning a woman for being "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen". The point of gender equality wasn't to keep women from being stay at home moms. It was to empower them with the choice to do so or not. Telling women that real beauty is looking like Christina Hendricks is no different than saying they need to be a size zero to be attractive.
It is exciting to see more body types represented in the media as attractive, and I understand the urge to rally around that excitement and shout "see! I am beautiful!" I get it. But for those women who don't fit this facet of beautiful, we need to be better. We need to rise above any one definition, because no matter what size it is, it's inadequate. We need to stop pointing to any one type of body and identifying it as the standard of beauty. Instead, why can't we push a message of individual beauty? Who you are at your core and the choices you make are what make you attractive.
Real beauty for me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rants And Updates

It's been a rough couple of days back-wise (SIGN!*) which means I couldn't work out as much as I wanted. I missed a run *frown* which was especially hard since Tom went on a run without me and I stayed behind, watching Criminal Minds and eating staring longingly out the window. I am trying to be good and rest when I'm hurting so that I don't make it worse (bet you can guess how well THAT's going).
The funny thing is that I can run, bike, and swim usually completely pain-free. I can also lie down (like a CHAMP). What I can't do is sit. Which makes for awkward times at work, and at home when I always feel lazy for lying down instead of sitting like a normal person.
/Injury Du Jour Rant
In other news, we are heading out to Jasper sometime soon (try and schedule around THAT burglars) for a rugby tournament which I plan to photograph. Hooray for using my expensive camera! I haven't purchased a decent telephoto lens for it yet, but I'm hoping to take advantage (tee hee) of the higher fps to get some good action shots.
/Nerdy Photography Talk
If you are a runner, or a person who likes to read good blogs, check out my new BFF (only she doesn't know it yet – creepy FTW!) over at I Came To Run. But don't enter her giveaway. THAT PRIZE IS MINE.
Only five weeks until my first triathlon! SCARED!

*Tom holds up a pretend sign every time I complain about my back or knee. Apparently I mention it a lot. I think that is a wild exaggeration.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feelin' Fine

Yesterday was a pretty awesome day. I woke up feeling refreshed and energetic. I stopped to buy gas on the way to work and bought a lottery ticket for the hell of it. I won $15 (book the cruise!). It was sunny and lovely and warm out (uh, Edmonton warm, so about 10 degrees). Work went by quickly and without major incident. And my workout was AWESOME. It was a swimming day, and although I didn't set a PB for my race length (1km) due to some goggle malfunctions, I did set a PB for my overall distance (1.7km). Sweet! I felt strong and confident in my movements in the water.
I got home and made dinner, did laundry and cleaned up. I felt great. Apparently carbs = happy, even minimal carbs!
I find it amazing the disconnect that exists between our mind and body. We seem so reluctant to associate our moods and feelings with the way we treat our bodies in terms of food and exercise (and just overall). I wonder, what is it that creates this distance? Something I've been mulling over lately.

If all one of you is interested, you can see my workouts and times on my RunKeeper profile. Add me to your StreetTeam if you are on this site!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day Six and Seven: The Final Results!

So after a brutal six days, Tom and I kyboshed the total no-carb diet. My urine turned orange on Saturday (how's that morning coffee tasting?), which Dr. Google informed me is a sign of ketones, an indicator of anemia, liver disease, and/or diabetes. Now, obviously one day of this does not mean I have any of those conditions; what it does mean is that my body was in distress. Ketones are formed when the liver glycogen stores are depleted (Wikipedia). I knew that part of the no-carb process was to deplete that store in order to force your body to draw energy from fats and proteins instead of carbohydrates (which are a "cheap" form of energy). But there is something that doesn't feel right about forcing my body into that kind of distress.
The symptoms we experienced during this diet were:
1. Bitchiness
Let's just say it was a good thing Tom was away for work most of the week.
2. Stomach pain/severe nausea
It was bad. To be fair, I think a lot of this came from suddenly eating a ton of cheese (I usually never do) and eating high sodium, high fat meats like turkey/chicken pepperoni snausages or whatever they are.
3. Fogginess/confusion/utter stupidity
We would forget words. There were several times I didn't feel safe to drive. It was almost like being buzzed all the time without it being any fun.
4. Weakness and general sucking for workouts
I added 15% to my swim time, and a whopping 20 minutes to my bike time (BRUTAL). I felt awful during my workouts and my times really suffered.
5. Losing weight very quickly
My starting weight was 153.2 pounds. The lowest I weighed during the six days was on the fifth day at 144.5 pounds. That's an 8.7 pound loss in five days (!). While the numbers are fun to look at, I can't believe that this is a healthy way for me to shed pounds. And the way I felt was honestly not worth it. I was sleeping 9-10 hours a night and still needing an hour nap each day. I woke up dreading the day because of what I would have to eat; everything I could eat made me nauseated. Opening the fridge would actually make me choke back bile (and not just because I haven't cleaned the fridge in a while).
There are some positives to take away from this experiment.
1. I do consume a lot of easily removed carbs.
Although delicious, I don't NEED to have sugar in my coffee every day. A meal doesn't HAVE to have a bread component to be complete. Eating three yogurts and two pieces of fruit a day is probably excessive.
2. Eating more veggies is easy if I pay attention to it.
One meal I really enjoyed on this diet was tuna salad (with mayo) that I ate using cucumber slices as "scoops". It was like dipping tortilla chips (same crunch) and I didn't need bread to eat my tuna (although I do love me some tuna sammich).
3. Planning meals makes a huge difference.
If you're just grabbing food, you make poor choices. A little planning ahead can mean you eat with purpose instead of mindlessly. On that same note, it is VERY easy to mindless eat carbs. It's as if your body doesn't have an off switch to tell you that's enough. When you are eating protein or fat foods, your body  has a trigger finger on that off switch, and it'll let you know when enough's enough.
For the next week (at least), we're still eliminating refined carbs (sorry Shreddies, I still love you!) and milk. We've added back in fruit and potatoes in limited amounts. Hopefully that will help us find a bit more balance.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day Five: I Feel Shitty, Oh So Shitty

Yesterday was a very bad day. I feel awful all the time; my stomach constantly hurts and the very thought of food makes me retch. My workouts have slowed considerably (15% slower than I've ever been in the pool for yesterday's swim) and are torturous to get through. Instead of feeling strong, it's like my body has given up. My muscles won't respond enough to even get me to the point of feeling out of breath.
I didn't end up eating dinner last night because I just couldn't look at food. So I had a glass of wine instead (on what planet is this a good plan?!) and went to bed at 9:30pm. I woke up at 7am and could have easily slept more. Tom passed out even earlier than I did.
According to the plan, after today everything is supposed to suddenly be sunshine and rainbows, so we'll see. The only reason I'm still doing it is because my weight has dropped, and even though I shouldn't care about that number, I'm curious to see how low it can go in two weeks.
Breakfast - Egg white omelette with cinnamon
Lunch – Tuna salad with cucumber slices
Snack – Turkey/chicken "pepperoni" sticks and cheddar cheese
Dinner – Ham and roasted acorn squash "mashed potatoes"
39km bike ride (recumbent) (hold me).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day Four: Oh God, The Bacon

I am very, very sick of meat and cheese (except for old cheddar straight out of the fridge – I could never be sick of you). I find it mentally very difficult to accept a diet where I can't eat yogurt or fruit, but I can eat chicken wings with blue cheese dip. Sure, it sounds great, but really it just hurts my stomach. I have made the awesome discovery of Jello that has no sugar, no fat, and 5 calories per serving. What is in it then?! Colour me confused. But it tastes like cherry, so BACK OFF.
I can't even look at the leftover zucchini lasagna without feeling nauseated. The thought of eating my cream cheese and celery makes my stomach churn. Must continue quest to find non-cheese, non-fatty meat carb-free food. I did find chocolate that was 99% dark, with only ONE measly gram of sugar, but I'm resisting so far. If anyone knows some sort of carb-free chocolate substitute, I will love you forever and give you my celery and cream cheese. Do they make chocolate tofu?
Breakfast - Egg white omelette with cinnamon
Snack – Celery and cream cheese
Lunch – Salad with cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, and bacon (mmmm) with Jello cup
Snack – Turkey/chicken "pepperoni" sticks
Dinner – Steak and roasted acorn squash "mashed potatoes"
1.5km swim (maybe one mile, if I'm not lazy)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day Three: No Carbs Make E3 Something Something

Yesterday after posting, the day was filled with exhaustion. I could barely see straight; everything seemed to swim a little. I went and did my run, but it was slow and every step felt so heavy. Today, I hit a new low for confusion. I got to work and my stomach was killing me, burning. I couldn't figure it out until I realized I had made breakfast and left it at home, uneaten. Hoo boy. The upside here is that I got Tim Horton's ham breakfast sandwiches (HAMUARY!) and tossed the delicious English muffin they came on (SAD).
From everything I've read, this gets better by about day five. Here's hoping! I weighed myself this morning and I am down five pounds from Monday morning, a lot of which is water weight since I haven't rehydrated adequately since yesterday's run.
Breakfast - Egg white omelette with cinnamon Tim Horton's Ham Breakfast Sandwich (2) sans English muffin
Snack – Celery and cream cheese
Lunch – Leftover Zucchini Lasagna
Snack – Cashews
Dinner – Chicken wings and carrots
Rest Day (Massage!)

The Primal Diet

As requested, here is an explanation of the Paleo PRIMAL Diet. 

Seriously, don't call it Paleo.  It makes you sound like one of those people who uses "whom" at every opportunity to show they know grammar.  Well done, you passed 5th grade English

Or who corrects people when they say "expresso" instead of "espresso".  Maybe they need it to GO, jackass.

Okay, now that that's out of the way:

The Primal Diet

The premise of this diet is pretty simple: we should conform our eating habits as closely as possible to what "Grok", our caveman ancestor, would have eaten.  It's fairly intuitive why: we evolved for hundreds of thousands of years as a cave-dwelling, hunter-gatherer and only a few millenia as a mom's-basement-dwelling, Easy-Mac eater. 

Like Kraft Dinner wasn't easy enough?  Stop it you're helping stupid people escape natural selection.

In a nutshell, this is a low carb diet.  Carbohydrates, especially processed grains like wheat, were simply not available to Grok.  Try as he might, he would never have been able to forage more than a tiny fraction of the carbohydrates we typically eat today.

The science seems to back this up, as the primal diet aligns very closely with the low GI diet.  Basically, by avoiding carbs (especially refined carbs and other starches) we avoid a lot of the blood sugar highs and lows that plague so many people.

Under the primal diet, most of your energy comes from fats (about 50%) with about 25% from protein and 25% from carbs (mostly vegetables).  The good news is, you can eat all the fat you want

You read that correctly.  OM NOM NOM!

While it sounds counter-intuitive, fat does not actually make you fat.


Fat, like carbs and protein, is just another form of energy for your body.  What makes you fat is an excess of energy.  This is when there is too much glucose in your bloodstream, which sparks higher insulin production.  Insulin is used to store the excess glucose in your muscles and adipose tissue (also known as your love handles).

So, if you want to avoid becoming fat, you need to do two things: avoid excessive calorie intake, and keep your blood sugar levels (and thereby insulin production) stable.

The primal diet does both of these things marvelously.  For one, eating primal foods (like nuts and meat) promotes powerful satiety.  You feel full much faster, making it difficult to overeat.  Also, stop watching Keeping up with Kardashians while you eat.

Second, because protein and fats metabolize much slower than carbs, they do not cause a spike in blood sugar.  No spike in blood sugar means no spike in insulin, which means no fat storage.  And my favourite part: keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking means you don't feel dizzy after eating, and you don't experience a crash followed by excessive hunger even though you just ate two hours ago!

Take it from me: I used to eat every three hours to fight my ravenous hunger.  If I hadn't eat for 4 or 5 I would feel tired and cranky, and, to quote E3, veritably "stabby".  Now I will notice 6 or 7 hours have gone by and I haven't even thought about food.  I never get ravenously hungry and I have no crashes that aren't bike-related!

Some Primal Diet slogans for your amusement: 
* Grok On! 
* Just call me Optimus Primal
* I'm Grok-Orthodox       <----- my favourite

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 2: Mood – Stabby

So yesterday morning's excitement about being on a new program wore off by about 2pm. I ate far too much cheese because a) it's delicious and b) it's an approved non-carb snack. Tom and I spent the evening alternating between snapping at each other and laughing hysterically at things that weren't THAT funny. Luckily more laughter than snapping; I watched Tom wander aimlessly around the apartment for 15 minutes looking for his shorts, eventually resorting to looking in the linen closet and shouting "I can't think without carbs!". Awesome.
My stomach is angry and the sudden shift into dairy (which I normally avoid for the most part), so hopefully today I can look up some more no-carb options sans cheese. Tom and I are already planning a pancake breakfast for once this horrible experiment is done.
Breakfast - Egg white omelette with cinnamon
Snack – Celery and cream cheese
Lunch – Leftover Zucchini Lasagna
Snack – Cashews
Dinner – Sashimi
10km run (indoors) (hopefully)

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Okay, I Don't Like Carbs Anyway *SOB*

It's Day One of our 14-Day No Carb Challenge.
Overall, I'm a firm believer in "everything in moderation" when it comes to food. However, Tom and I can't really deny that when we cut refined carbs (breads, sugars, pasta, etc.) we feel better and lose weight. To that end, we are trying a two-week carbohydrate intolerance test, as set out by Phil Maffetone.
To be clear, this is not a diet per se. The site tells you NOT to pursue this meal plan beyond the two week period. It is designed to see how you feel when you completely eliminate carbs (and that includes "good" food, like yogurt and fruit for example). If you feel better after the two weeks, you can slowly reintroduce servings of carbohydrates until you feel poorly again, resulting in a sustainable level of carbs that your body can handle.
·         Breads, pastas, sugars, and other refined carbs
·         Fruit
·         Yogurt and skim dairy products
·         Potatoes
·         Corn
·         Rice
·         Beans
·         Eggs
·         Cheese
·         Heavy cream
·         Unprocessed meat
·         Squash, lettuce, carrots, broccoli
·         Nuts, seeds
·         Oils, vinegar, mayo, salsa, mustard
·         Coffee (yay!) and tea
The idea is that by eating full-fat dairy, nuts, cheese, and oils, you'll be fuller longer, and won't crave carbs (we'll see about THAT).
Breakfast – Two egg omelette with mushrooms
Snack – Celery and cream cheese
Lunch – Grilled chicken salad with oil and vinegar dressing
Snack – Cashews and almonds
Dinner – Low-Carb Lasagna


26km bike (stationary)