Monday, January 23, 2012

After 2 week detox plan, I have new view on food

Two weeks ago I started a detox plan with Joanna. I started the plan hoping to give you updates on what I was eating and how I was feeling, but life completely got in the way. Two weeks ago, we also got a new computer system at work so anything other than figuring out the new system and paginating newspaper pages did not get done... but I did stick to the plan as best as I could.

The red/green pepper we found. Cool, right?

The first couple of days on the plan were really tough. I am not a vegetarian at all. I love to eat, but the plan called for all veggies all the time. I was drained. I had very little energy and about midway through my workouts each day my energy level would drop to zero. Around day 5 on the plan my body started to adjust, or maybe it was more like my eating habits started to adjust, and I had loads of energy. Joanna told each of her detoxers this would happen, but to be honest, I didn't believe her. I'm a skeptic, but it happened. I was sleeping better, I was waking up in the morning full of energy, albeit hungry, but not groggy.

Speaking of groggy, let's talk about detoxing from caffeine. Holy crap, what a headache. Let me tell you, it was not easy at all. Not one bit. I work at a newspaper, there is coffee brewing all the time. The smell of coffee is the first thing that I smell when I walk into work every single day. It took a huge amount of willpower to not drink it. I stopped cold turkey. Dear Lord, the headache. I drank Green Yerbe Mate tea, which has caffeine, but it's not coffee. Anyway, it worked as a crutch and as I sit here today, I am coffee free. I will tell you that I did have a cup last Thursday. It was decaf and I only drank half of it and I felt like crap after I was finished. I was shaking like I just finished a pot of coffee. I also made myself a cup before work Sunday night and I had about two sips of it and threw it out.

Some other benefits I've noticed is that I lost three pounds during the last two weeks. I was not starving at all either. I ate a ton of food all the time. My coworkers can attest to this. I probably ate pounds and pounds more food than I ever ate before. My typical day consisted of lemon water and juice that I made from a recipe of fruits and veggies Joanna gave to me, a sweet potato with almond butter (sounds gross, but it is soooo good), some raw veggies with humus or not depending on my mood, a huge salad with homemade dressing, an apple, another veggie meal and dinner.

Clearly I cheated more than once on this plan. I ate a doughnut yesterday, which was delicious and I just couldn't not eat it. I also had a night that I was craving a cheeseburger so badly I was dreaming about it and so I ate one for dinner. During the second week of the plan, I was given the ok to add some animal protein to my diet, so after my workout I'd have either an egg or I once added some ground turkey to some chilli I made. I wasn't starving at all.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention my workouts. After I got through the initial feeling weak phase, I was having one fantastic workout after another. I recovered faster and I never found myself dragging at midday after a long morning workout. 

Over the next weeks, I'll be reintroducing foods into my diet to see how my body reacts to each of them. Overall, I am so glad I did this with Joanna. I can say I learned a lot about my body and how I eat with her help. 

In the next few days, I will hopefully be meeting with Joanna to do a follow up BIA test and, reluctantly, I will discuss my weight and body fat to muscle ratio in an upcoming post. And I have a new video coming that Joanna and I made on cycling. I have a lot in the works and now that the initial new computer system issues are (hopefully) gone, I'll be able to update this blog a little more frequently again. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rebooting nutrition plan with two week detox

Beginning Monday, I will be joining Joanna in a 2 week detox plan. I'm not entirely sure what will be involved, but I will be chronicling the process and giving you as much detail as I can as I learn about it. I believe I will be following a modified plan that will be tailored specifically for my needs as an athlete.

What I'm hoping to get out of this is some energy that doesn't come from coffee. I've been dragging a bit recently and I am 100 percent certain it's thanks to the downward spiral of my food choices. For example, at 5 p.m. yesterday, I set out to a late meeting for work and stopped at Starbucks and ordered a large soy latte.

Did I really need the biggest size?

Yup. Getting up at the crack of dawn to work out is not conducive to late meetings.

While at the meeting, I had not one, but three Hershey special dark miniatures. Did I need three? Clearly not, but they were so good.

I got home from the meeting at 8:30 and despite all the sugar and caffeine I just consumed, I managed to fall fast asleep at 9:30. When the alarm went off at 5 a.m., I had no choice but to fall back to sleep. There was no conscious decision to be made. My body needed the sleep. I had slept that night, but it seemed my body was too busy processing the sugars and caffeine to rest.

Today I am so tired that I have no idea how I've made it this far without a nap. I have a bike and swim workout on my schedule today that I will not be doing. I will not benefit from a workout if I'm too exhausted to really do it. Tomorrow is another day.

Basically, I think, the next 2 weeks will be spent rebooting my digestive system.

Here's to a new start... I'm so excited to start.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Keeping your fitness resolutions is easy if you take it slow and make it fun

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions and this year will be no different. But in the last couple of days I have heard lots of people talk about changing their lives for the better. Everything from people promising themselves to exercise daily to changing the way they eat. Personally, I think it's great to make resolutions, but it's way better to keep them.

The thing about resolutions is that those making them step out of the gate with a bang. Food stocked up in their pantry is thrown out. Gyms are packed with people in sweats climbing stairmasters hoping to lose 20, 30, 50 extra pounds. Two weeks later, hunger sets in and a chocolate bar is eaten or exhaustion sets in and the gym membership is forgotten again.

Instead of making a "resolution," a "life style change" is more appropriate. An Ironman isn't achieved overnight. The athlete who decides to compete in any event builds up to the event through smart training, not hard training - especially right away.

Although I am not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, I have some personal experience with lifestyle changes. So here are are my non-professional suggestions for anyone looking to keep their fitness goals for 2012. I also included some advice from Joanna, so her suggestions are included as well. After reading this, please feel free to add, amend or completely agree or disagree with my suggestions. I would love your feedback.

1. If you don't currently exercise regularly, don't start this week. 
Let me explain. I'm not suggesting you forgo your weight loss or workout goals, I am, however, suggesting that you take it slow. Instead of opening a gym membership, go to the your local sporting goods store, buy a wicking T-shirt, a pair of shorts/capri's you can move in and a good pair of sneakers (this clearly is optional, but since I'm a girl, I find that with right outfit, getting out and going is much easier for me, personally). Then go for a walk, swim, bike ride, run, or whatever it is that you want to do. But, here's the thing, do it Every Single Day and only for 30 minutes. You can go outside or walk on a treadmill, both work the same. (Joanna talks more about this below)

2. It's YOU time.
The 30 minutes is YOU time. Don't think of it as exercise or working out, but as time you need for yourself. It's OK if by Wednesday you don't feel like walking, read a book during that half hour, cook or knit or whatever it is that you like to do by yourself and for yourself. Even Ironmen have take a day off. You'll still be using your time for you and you'll be rested for the next day's workout. 
(Psst, hey you moms. This is for you. Being a mom and having children - one or 10 - is no excuse to not give yourself 30 minutes a day. Period. I have two kids. I have two kids who are 14 months apart... and I work full time. You are not being selfish by taking 30 minutes for YOU. What you are doing is being a responsible mom. You are showing your child(ren) what a healthy lifestyle looks like and they will emulate the choices you make. You are taking a few minutes to put your health first because, let's face it, if mom is sick, no one is happy. Don't have a babysitter or not interested in getting up before the sun while everyone is sleeping? Include your child in YOU time. If it means walking with a stroller or using the child care facility at your local YMCA, do it.) 

3. Don't confuse changing your diet with starving yourself.
Food is meant to be eaten. Instead of throwing away everything in your pantry, read the labels of everything in your pantry. Notice that the second ingredient in that can of baked beans is sugar. Or the gravy mix is full of chemicals. My advice is if you can't pronounce it or if it's not found in nature, don't eat it. Taking out the hidden sugars in your diet and replacing them with natural sugars from real foods will do wonders for your energy level, but also probably inadvertently help you lose some weight. And, really, if you want a piece of chocolate, eat it for goodness sake. You aren't going to ruin your goal by treating yourself, but you will definitely set yourself back if you consume an entire chocolate cake because you've been craving something sweet for a month.

4. Stop drinking soda.
There is no soda that's good for you. Need that fizzy feeling? Try seltzer. Diet soda is worse for you than full calorie soda, and that's not saying much for full calorie soda either. Drink more water, especially since you're adding exercise to your life, you will need to increase your water intake anyway. Want something with taste? Make your own juice.

5. Don't go at it alone. Get a friend on board. It's much easier to get up a half hour earlier if you know someone will be knocking on your front door if you aren't there. If you're married or have a family, you will need their support as well. So while you're going through your pantry, explain to the kids why they won't be eating cheesy puffs at lunch, but they will be replaced with cheese cubes ... or whatever. Or you can do what I do and simply stop buying them so the choice isn't there at all. My kids will generally forget that they love Tasty Kakes if there are no Tasty Kakes in the house.

Finally ... (promise)
6. Register for a race.
No joke. Actually register for the event and pay for it. Seriously. When money is at stake, it's excellent motivation to reach your goal. I recommend a local 5K if you're just starting out and, please, give yourself plenty of time to train for it. If you've never run, or you haven't run in years and years, signing up for a race next weekend is a recipe for disappointment.

From Coach Joanna:

Keeping it realistic. 
Forget about what it is you used to be able to do –either last year, or even when you last worked out or exercised regularly. Youare probably starting with a new slate, so try to just think about the goal athand and start slowly. The body can only accept about a 10 percent increase ineither volume or intensity per week, so don’t start from doing nothing, todoing an hour because you will not make it. Instead, try rotating activitiesfor 10-15 minutes each and 5 minutes rest in between while you transition frombike to treadmill to rower, for example. Each week, decrease the rest time by30 seconds. Increase the time doing each workout by a few minutes each week. Dothat until you reach your goal time of an hour. But only add only five minutesfor the whole week, not each time you work out.  After you work up to that hour of continuousactivity, make it more fun with intervals, changing intensity or incline – playgames with the workout. For example, if you’re on a rower, challengeyourself to maintain a certain speed for three minutes at a time. If you’re ona treadmill, try changing the incline for 1 to 3 minutes without changing thepace. If on a bike, try doing hill climbs for 2 minutes at a time, and ofcourse, rest in between.

Keep in interesting.
Keep it interesting by changing the activity either ineach session to start, or every day do something different than the day before. Try the stair master, walk or the elliptical. The challenge is always to find something you enjoy doing, thenmaking it creative and fun to do even though it will still be ‘work’ing out. 

Please feel free to add, amend or completely agree or disagree with me or Joanna. I would love your feedback.