Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Last Weekly Fitness Post

I am sort of getting bored writing about my fitness routines and I am sensing many of you are, too.  Besides, I have adopted many good habits so I am getting structure and reinforcement elsewhere.  Better to post when I am inspired by some hardship or triumph than blandly and dutifully post every week.

I am on a temporary weight-lifting hiatus due to health issues, but I can almost always do cardio.  This week was the first of running, and it was great!  I’m only running one minute at a time so I’m not overdoing it and giving my body time to adjust.  I found a group on Cool Running’s website frequented by people who are on the same week as I am and it’s very encouraging.  I also got a jogging stroller for my birthday and I’m hoping that will help in the excuse department.  Yesterday we ran/walked to the grocery store (2 mi) and it enabled me to get through the rest of the day without passing out or snapping at someone (a set of coworkers took most of the weekend off to go to a Minnesota mall with their boyfriends, then didn’t show up or find a replacement to relieve me for the shift they were going to work–I ended up working from 2 pm Friday until noon on Sunday with a 2 1/2 hour break to nurse the Snapper and shower at noon on Saturday).

I’m also walking, dancing, cycling, and hiking to everything with the Snapper on my back more because I feel good enough to do these things and they’re just plain fun.   The eating habits are holding steady and I appear to be able to handle moderation.  This is a new one for me.  On weekends I have what I want and by noon on Sunday I am always more than ready to go back to my whole grain, low-sugar, high fruits and veggies lifestyle.  I’m so pleased!

Back to real posts after a day or two of recovery from the weekend.  I must go now and see what piece of furniture the Snapper has scaled this time.


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It’s the six-week routine change and I am excited.  Time to start running!

Stats: 90 minutes cardio on stationary bike

2 weight training sessions

1 one-hour Footloose dance party with one of my residents (so much fun)

1 leisurely family bike ride courtesy of a new-to-me thrift bike (20 bucks!)

So I have cardio and strength training but I am missing core work and stretching. I think that I am going to reintroduce myself to yoga–I’m just trying to find a way to do it.  My old routine that I love takes 1 1/2 hours with meditation and I just don’t have that.  I want to do it every day, maybe 30 minutes in the evening.  I should look in my old 30-minute yoga book if I can find it.  I’m also looking to shake up my weight-training routine.  Any suggestions? If you have an exercise ball, do you like it?  Do you have suggestions for good workouts with it?

Eating is good.  I eat healthfully on weekdays and have treats on weekends.  I am still struggling with balance as I am not so good at moderation.  I want to have the occasional slice of pizza or piece of candy like a normal person but I am always afraid that it will be a slippery slope (as it has been in the past) and I also don’t want to obsess over food.  So far, so good this time but who knows…

My group home guys are all with their families for Easter so I get to have Saturday afternoon, night, and Sunday morning with my little family.  It’s been lovely.

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I compromise with the scale

I can’t stay off the scale.  BUT I’ve found a way to deal with it that is still in line with my fitness goals.  I think it’s acceptable to measure health based partly on body fat percentage, as I’ve mentioned.  I know that muscle weighs more than fat and that too much weight loss could mean muscle loss, and that a lean, muscular body is healthier (and stronger, and more resilient) than a rail-thin body.  But I haven’t been clear on where the line is between fat loss and muscle loss is for ME.

So I was investigating body fat percentages, and first I found this site, where I was able to measure my body fat at 28.3%.  Since I don’t have any of the distortion factors they mention (I am not a top athlete and I am not skinny), it’s probably relatively accurate.

Then I found this site, which provides a kind of calculator (you have to do the math yourself, and it’s a little complicated, but not bad) to figure out whether or not your weight loss goals are appropriate.  As it happens my ‘ideal weight’ is seven pounds UNDER the weight that would allow me to achieve 21% body fat and not lose any muscle.  And it puts me exactly in range for a healthy rate of weight loss with fitness and good nutrition for the wedding.

So I’m going to keep weighing myself but I’m hoping that this approach will keep my focus on fitness and give me another tool to determine whether or not I’m doing what I need to do to be healthy.

As it happens I’ve had two milkshakes, four pieces of pizza, and french fries this week, which I loved and were lovely, and I still lost a pound (in body fat, I hope!).  I’ve also (despite the milkshakes) had far less dairy than usual, mostly whole grains, tons of delicious vegetables (sauteeing a bunch of kale is no more time consuming than zapping a bag of microwave popcorn and its’ sooooo good), beans, and some soy here and there.  I’m hoping to keep this be-healthy-but-don’t-be-a-fundamentalist attitude with relaxed rules so I can get to my health goals and stay there for the rest of my life.  Wouldn’t that be something?

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Fitness, Week 5

Almost time to switch up the routine. In the past I’ve noticed that any routine I adopt goes stale at almost exactly six weeks. As it happens the weather has finally broken and our six feet of snow has receded considerably, so next week will be the launching of Cool Running’s Couch to 5 K program. After I’m done here I’m going to look to see if there are any local 5 Ks around the time I’ll complete the program, about ten weeks from now. (ETA: Maybe I’ll do this!)

Stats: 2 free weight sessions, upping the weight to finally be breaking a sweat

80 minutes cardio on stationary bike, occasionally moving the resistance up to 3 (had been doing 5 min on 1, 20 min on 2 and back to 1 for the last five; now I’m experimenting with five or so min on 3)

60 minutes walking with 21.13 pound toddler in backpack

I’m still trying to get the balance right. My Thursday mood crash came just after a particularly intense weight session and I think my body was saying REST! but of course finding time to rest is somewhat challenging these days. But rest I did, and other things got swept to the side. I’ve also been hungrier in the past three days than I’ve been since I started the latest fitness push. I’m hoping it means that I’m building muscle. I skipped my weight training session on Friday and my bike session on Saturday. I’ll be back in the basement with weights tomorrow. I’m going to try to strike a balance between giving my body what it’s asking for and saying, “why bother?” which is what I’ve done in the past.

I’m still loving the less-dairy thing, and the other day my copy of Veganomicon (find mouth-watering photos here) arrived, followed by the purchase of The Voluptuous Vegan. I love The Healthy Hedonist so I’m looking forward to the VV.

As for trying not to focus on weight or size…there’s nothing no to say this week. It’s just a struggle.

Anyone know how to ACCURATELY measure body fat that is even remotely affordable?

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I’m annoyed at our Perkins waitress last night who praised me for being a “good girl” (yes, I’m 30 and not yet eligible for womanhood) for ordering three vegetable sides and mozzarella sticks (I’m keeping cheese, esp. in fried form, to 1-2 times a week).  Never mind that the broccoli was “butter-steamed,” that the “glazed” baby carrots were dripping with pancake syrup (yuck), and that the mashed potatoes were probably from a box.  People who eat regular entrees do not go to hell for it.  I’m thankful to Clementine for reminding us in the comments that food choices are not an individually moral.  They have societal consequences, but for land sakes, do not stop eating your pancakes because you feel it will put your eternal soul in jeopardy.

I just ate something called an “omlette waffle.”  If that is being ‘bad’ (despite the tofu and salsa involved), I don’t want to be ‘good.’

Vegans will probably think I’m in a funk because I ate a lot of fried cheese last night.

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Second haircut.  15 months and still blissfully in love with mirrors.

Yes! I’ve made it a month!

115 minutes cardio

2 free-weight sessions

45 minutes walking with a toddler on my back

I’m still struggling over size issues. In a moment of weakness I got out the scale AGAIN, and because I had to stand on the toilet to reach it, I got a full and honest view of my midsection in the mirror. Ouch. Rhetoric is cheap. I still want to be skinny. How do I get over this? Do I need to throw the scale away? Even then I still have the mirror, and if you saw how poorly I already manage my hair (a ponytail is a ‘style,’ right?) you wouldn’t suggest I throw it out, either. There are shop windows, and magazines (even if I don’t buy them, in grocery store lines), commercials, other women talking endlessly about weight loss…I am hopelessly lost in a sea of skinny obsession and I want OUT!

The update on the vegetarian front is that I think I’ve come to a conclusion: vegetarian on a regular basis except on the rare occasion that locally and humanely caught fish is available; dairy in moderation and daily enjoyment of vegan foods. People, I LOVE vegan food. I am at a fair trade/vegan cafe in IC and just had the most divine hazelnut espresso muffin followed by a truly decadent tempeh reuben (spell check just underlined both words :))

I’ll spare you–and me, for that matter–the excruciating details of my week-long internet research of dairy, but I’ve come to the conclusion that dairy isn’t unnatural for humans and that it has health benefits but that it is waaaaaay over-consumed, most definitely by me. I did actually consider going vegan for a few days–tried it on, felt it out–but given that I am allergic to soy milk and almonds, (both good sources of calcium) and am hard up for B12 otherwise, I’m going to keep the milk and eggs, just in smaller amounts. 1000 mg of calcium isn’t that much and doesn’t all need to come from dairy (a cup of yogurt gives you half that, and the other half can be consumed in kale and the like). I understand that B12 is available in supplemental form but I am suspicious of any diet that cannot support all necessary nutrients without supplementation (though I believe in multis because no one makes correct calculations 100% of the time–yesterday, for example, I was deficient in vitamin K and selenium). Vegans will disagree with me on the necessity of calcium and B12 in current recommended amounts, but after reading a lot of stuff from a number of different perspectives I’m going with conventional wisdom on this one. I do agree with vegans that omnivores are probably MORE likely to be nutritionally deficient, in part because vegans have to be so much more mindful of a non-traditional way of eating. I can throw together a meat/starch/veggie meal at the group home without a second thought but I really have to think through a vegan dinner at home. Even through the process of considering veganism I’ve become more aware of the deficiencies of what I thought was a pretty healthy diet and made a lot of adjustments. I’m eating about 3-4 servings more vegetables and fruits a day now, and not relying on soy so much.

And now I have to leave my lovely vegan cafe to go to the library where I don’t have internet access on my laptop and will be therefore less tempted to google “vegan cupcakes” when I’m supposed to be reading about WWI (painful).

P.S. For those of you who will know what this is: I was awarded a thing that rhymes with “felon” and it means that I will not have to work next year. I can devote my non-parenting time (which I’ll have more of) entirely to the dissertation. I am elated.

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Fitness, week 3

For shame–I’m writing this during dissertation time.  I am sickly at the moment–am I detoxing because of my recent lifestyle changes? or just have yet another seasonal virus?–and it took me the better part of two hours to get through a 15-page, reasonably readable essay on a topic that is interesting to me.  There may have been a nap involved.  At any rate, before I get back to some dissertation busywork, which is what I do when I am sick or burned out (read any fascinating books on the Eiffel Tower?  let me know!), here’s this week’s update:

90 minutes cardio on the bike.  For each 30-minute session my heart rate has been at aerobic level for at least 20 minutes.

1 free-weight session.  That night I developed a sore throat and by the next morning I had a fever, too, and now I have a cough, so I am suspending sessions until next week.  But I was sore the next day (and how! on top of achy) which means I was doing something right.

Eating is good; as I mentioned in the post below, I’m moving toward a kind-of vegan, dairy-as-condiment type of diet.  I’m finding it tasty, fulfilling, and at least health-wise, guiltless.

What an enormous privilege it is to have the time and the means to be preoccupied with food choices and exercise.

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