Thursday, May 28, 2009

More than being slim

I am concerned with my pre-diabetic condition.  I was told two years ago that I was pre-diabetic and insulin resistant.  The advantage to this diagnosis is that with careful diet and exercise one can hopefully turn the tide of that disease.  It is a complex one.  It involves the cardiovascular system, the lymph system, the pancreas, the liver, and even the fat cells play a roll.  

My approach included a many pronged attack.  I am somewhat fanatic about my cardiovascular exercise.  Its not that I always want to do it.  Its that they told me in my pre-diabetes class that cardiovascular exercise is the one thing that reverses insulin resistance.  I took that bit of information to heart, literally.  I aim for 60 minutes in my target heart range 6 days per week.  My intensity is high.  I work between 150 and 185 beats per minute according to my heart rate monitor.  I vary my workouts.  I cross train.  I walk, hike, do step aerobics, hi/lo aerobics, jump rope, jog, and use a stationary bike.  Its an intense exercise regime.  I tried working out every day, but I found that my body really needs one day to repair.  Also, I vary between steady state workouts and interval style workouts.  

One of the methods that I use to address my blood sugar issues is yoga.  Stress reduction is very important both in weight loss and also in helping the body to disengage from a hyper stressful state.  The liver (according to what I have read on releases  sugar when there is adrenaline present.  I have noticed a reduction in my weight when I was practicing yoga.  I am inclined to conclude that is a result of less sugar, and thereby less insulin, floating in my blood stream.  The problem with excess insulin is that it is a storage hormone, it stores fat.  It also has other ramifications beyond obesity, but I will leave it at that for now.
Yoga (according to a story on NPR) also immediately puts the body into fat burning mode.  I'm guessing thats the "fiery krias."  If you have ever performed yoga at a slightly advanced level, then you know what a fiery kria (spl?) feels like.  It feels like you are on fire.  I have experienced that feeling during an interval run or a tough Cathe Friedrich step workout.  

Nutrition is key when fighting the onset of diabetes or trying to avoid it entirely.  I am working towards being more adherent to a very low carb lifestyle.  For me, the biggest obstacles are the occasional grain or milk craving, fruit cravings, and the effect on my cardiovascular output.  When I'm on ultra low carb, I also don't seem to lose weight very effectively.  My body temperature takes a dip and my energy level hits the skids.  I do best between 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per day.  Thats not garbage carbs either.  I can't tolerate juice or soda.  I can't tolerate white bread or donuts.  I should probably eliminate dairy and grain, its more of a behavioral issue than a nutritionally sound way of eating.  I try to keep my carbs to whole fruits (portion controlled) and steel cut oatmeal (just 1/2 cup cooked) as well as healthy low glycemic fruits.  Tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados are my favorites.  I still occasionally make myself a bit of home made pizza with a hearty bread as the crust, whole milk mozzarella, olives and mushrooms.  I make sure I only have 1-2 ounces by cutting it up into iddy bitty bites.  I know that is a bit of a mind game.

I also take a few supplements.  I take fish oil, evening primrose oil, and calcium/magnesium.  I also take a broad spectrum multi vitamin.  If I have had too much sugar/carbs I will take gymnema.  

I have been using the calorie cycling method for a while.  It helps me with my weight loss.  I just skip my dinner every other day.  Its simple.  Not rocket science.  I'm not likely to get into trouble with breakfast or lunch.  Those are usually small bowl of oats, 1/2 to 1/8 cup fruit, 2 eggs, lunch is a big salad with plenty of olive oil, avocado and protein.  This works so long as my carbs aren't too high or I've eaten something from my "Do NOT EAT" list.

I don't know if anybody reads this thing, but if they have insulin resistance, PCOS, or are pre-diabetic, they should.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Low carb and my cardio

I do notice that my cardio endurance suffers when I'm really low carbing it.  However, I don't care because my goal is fat loss, repairing my insulin resistance, and avoiding diabetes.  I'm not training to be an endurance runner.  As a matter of fact, I read that training for more than an hour at a time releases cortisol, which I understand is released with testosterone, and as a PCOS sufferer, I am trying to avoid insulin and excess testosterone as well as excess estrogen.  

My personal goals regards my life and my fitness goals march hand in hand.  I want to become fit.  I want to become a yoga instructor.  I want to earn my MA in Psychology so that I can counsel others on how to be at peace with food, fitness and life.  I want to do that with Skype.  I want to empower people with knowledge.  I want to be effective.  I want to follow in the footsteps of diet coaches like Sandra Ahten, Renee Stephens, and to be an athlete like Cathe Friedrich.  I want to be smart like Jimmy Moore.  I want to be free of my personal fat suit.  I want to embrace the techniques which I know work.  

What do you want to do with your life?

The Alkaline Diet Concepts

Seem to be simple.  They are don't eat grain, dairy, meat and excess salt.  The one thing I'm concerned about is that the list of foods which are claimed to be alkaline don't really seem to be alkaline.  They list tomato which I know is acidic because when I had my kidney/bladder infection it bothered my bladder very much and in order to neutralize it I had to take baking soda.  However, the principles are not bad and the food list seems reasonable.  The only thing I would worry about is a lack of protein (not complete proteins) but protein in general.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fat Free yogurt

Is not sugar free nor is it calorie free.  However, today was hot and I was weak.  I had one of those Kirkland  swirl yogurts at Costco, to my horror it was fat free.   I would have had  a small but they only sold one size.  I think it was too much at one time.  Still, it is my high calorie day.  I also had some chinese barbecue pork.  We are having zucchini for dinner.  Yum. 

 I developed a nasty headache after having just a few bites of a salami.  Ouchie.  I guess I really can't tolerate those nitrates anymore.  I used to love ham, salami and pepperoni.  I just can't tolerate it anymore.  I develop these low grade migraines on that stuff.  I was good over all.  I did 30 minutes of intense step aerobics this morning with Cathe Friedrich.  I packed my lunch.  I did not eat out with my Dad.  I could have.  I just didn't.  I packed watermelon, roast chicken, a baby apple, green bell pepper, a spinach salad with olive oil and walnuts.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  I feel like my frontal lobe is pushing out my forehead.  OUchie.  No more processed meats, I won't every again, I swear!  I drank a bunch of iced mint tea when I got home.  

I also watered my garden.  I love my garden.  I don't love the rash on my forehead.  Its been there for two days.  It looks like a nasty case of itty bitty acne, but I don't get acne anymore and it doesn't hurt like acne nor is it responsive to anything, not creams or antihistamines.  Go figure.  I'm not eating anything odd.  I think it was pollen from outside when I was pulling weeds.  

The plan for tomorrow:
1. Workout Walk/jog for 60 minutes in my THR.
2. Look for work
3.  Work on my portfolio
4. Eat in a manner that supports my fitness goals.

Planned eats:
Pre WO 1 egg
Post WO 1/2 c. oats, 1/8 cup berries, 1 table spoon of coconut oil
Snack: 3 oz. chicken
Lunch: 2 cups greens, chicken fried steak, 1 tbsp olive oil, 
Snack: 3 oz. chicken
Dinner: skip (low calorie day)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Dieting Trouble

I'm in serious trouble.  I've been working really hard and I put on two pounds.  I feel horrible.  I did everything right.  Well, almost everything.  I did have protein shakes, some nuts, some andes mints, and I tried skipping breakfast as a different time of day to fast.  I was in ketosis.  I did not get 60 minutes in my THR each day.  I guess the only real way to know that its my body and not my diet plan is to follow the plan to the letter so that I can at least feel good about that.  So, revisiting what had worked in the past, I am going back to my high/low days.  This is what my diet principles look like:

Regards Eats:
1. Eat 130 grams of protein per day from fish, chicken, eggs, pork or beef.
2. Eat only olive oil or coconut oil for my fat source.
3. Eat less than 60 grams of carbs per day.
4. Eat only 1/2 cup of steel cut oatmeal per day as my grain source.
5. Eat at least 4 cups of leafy greens per day (2 at lunch, 2 at dinner.)
6. Stick to low glycemic index fruits including tomato, avocado and cucumber.
7. Eat only food that I have made.
8. Eat only 1 tbsp walnuts/day.

Do not eat:
1. KFC, 
2. Donuts
3. Wheat, corn, potatoes, carrots (estrogens), soy, 
4. Dairy
5. Chile Rellenos (looks like diet food, but is not)
6. Anything with hydrogenated oils

Regards Drinks:
Drink only water, decaf herbal tea or lemon water. 
Drink at least 8 glasses per day.
Do not drink any fruit juice, soda, or soda water.

Prepare foods ahead of time as much as possible to encourage diet adherence.
Take my supplements on time.
Eat my snacks on time.
Do my exercise on time.
Use my ability to say no to behaviors which hurt me.

1. Cardio in my THR for 60 minutes 6x a week.
2. Yoga 5x a week.
3. Strength training 1x/week.
4. Cross train as much as possible.

Mind, spirit, and heart:
1. Maintain food log/journal.
2. Blog 1x per week (not daily)
3. Check in 1x per week (not daily)
4. Meditate 1x per week.
5. Use the "homework" concept from Motivation to Move podcast
6. Use the WRAP from Sandra Ahten.
7. Use the Re-Do from IOWL.
8. Listen to podcasts when doing exercise or chores.

A sample day's menu:
Pre WO 2 hard boiled eggs
Post WO 1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1/4 cup fresh blueberries,
Snack: Chicken bites (3 oz.) with cucumber
Lunch: 2 cups lettuce, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vinegar, 1/4 of an avocado, 1 tomato, 5 olives, Turkey (4 oz)
Snack: Chicken bites (3 oz.) with jicama
Dinner (eaten only on high calorie days): 1 cup spinach, 1 cup sprouts, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vinegar, pork or beef

Low day is about 1200 calories.  High day is close to 2,000.  I really hope that this works.  Also, I've eliminated salted nuts.  They are good for some people but perhaps are not good for me to snack on.  

Ok, then, Operation SO GOOD ITS DISGUSTING begins tomorrow.

My rotation:
Sunday: off,  Yoga
Monday: Jog Warm up 5 min. Jog 25 min. then intervals of 2 min. jog then walk hr down to 150.  Repeat up to minute 60 in my THR according to my HR monitor., Yoga Kathy Smith
Tuesday: Step Works on one set of risers, Yoga, Today
Wednesday: Jog (same as Mon.), Yoga Gary Bromley
Thursday: Cycle 60 minutes Steady state, HSCkt (Strength) 
Friday: Jog (same as Mon.), Yoga (netflix)
Saturday: Cathe Friedrich's IMAX on two risers, Yoga Today
Sunday: Make up Jog?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vary your calorie load

Both intake and burn.  It can help you bust a plateau when your body has adapted to your calorie intake.  I sometimes skip a meal.  I know that is contrary to popular wisdom.  However, I seem to benefit from it.  I prefer to skip a dinner meal rather than  a morning meal because I do so much physical activity in the morning.  I make sure I don't eat less than 1200 calories.  I have been listening to the Motivation to Move podcast on my shuffle while I was doing yard work (weed eating is very sweaty work.) Scott mentioned varying his calories this morning as a way to improve his fitness/physique.  I think he is on the right track.  Last year when I was in my last plateau (I'm in one now) I used calorie cycling to get myself out of a 9 month plateau.  Now, if you are in a plateau you shouldn't despair.  I have learned from Sandra Ahten and the IOWL podcasts that these are times to reevaluate my behavior and also to embrace the fact that I have learned how to maintain a lower weight than I was before.  I don't expect Scott to get around to reading my blog (he probably doesn't know I'm here lol!) Still, if you do, the cool part about calorie cycling is that you don't have to always abstain from your favorite foods, you just put off the higher calorie ones until your higher calorie day.  

Also, giving yourself permission to eat what you really want to eat (with a bit of portion control) removes some of the power that food can have over you.  Checking in with your stomach to find out what your body really needs is a very effective method for becoming more at ease with food.  Thats a major premise in IOWL.  

I am now working on getting out of my plateau.  Contrary to popular method, I have skipped the occasional breakfast.  I am trying the IF method.  That is short for Intermittent Fasting.  I'm not as hardcore as the Eades are as posted on their blog.  Instead, I just skip breakfast.  I have shifted my cardio to the evening on those days.  I don't want to do cardio without fuel in my system.  This incorporates a period of no food with unpredictable feed periods.  Also, I'm still using a couple of days of my old style of calorie cycling, with eating 

In a week it looks like this:
S Low calorie day (stop eating at 1 pm)
M Eat until 6 pm
T Start eating at noon.  (this is where I vary from the Eades)
W Eat until 6 pm
T Start eating at noon.
F Eat until 6 pm
S High calorie day Normal calorie load, no fast at all.  Low carb to avoid a problem 

I have also shifted my workouts to accommodate my variation in calorie intake.
S off
M am Jog, pm Yoga
T am yoga, pm Step
W am Jog, pm whole body strength 
T am yoga, pm cycling (1 hour steady state)
F am Jog, pm Yoga
S am Step, pm Yoga

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dieting By the Numbers

This is how I figure out how many calories to eat each day.  I aim for a 500 calorie deficit.  I try to achieve that deficit in my workouts rather than under eating.  What I mean by that is that I eat my bmr in calories rather than eating 500 calories less than my bmr and not exercising.  I determine my calorie load by using this simple calculator.  Then do determine what my calorie deficit is, I add my calories burned from my workout (as told to me by my heart rate monitor.)  

Todays calculations look like this:
BMR is 1588
Calories burned is 611
Total calorie load is 1588+611
For a deficit of 500 calories= (1588+611) - 500= calories that I need to consume today.

1699 is my goal for today.  I will round up to 1700 calories.  Thats a lot of food btw.  Thats not a small amount.  If you eat clean, it is a large volume of food.  Which is a good thing, for me!

To determine how much food I will eat I start with my macro nutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrate.  First, I look at what I have in the refrigerator in the way of protein.  Thats the most important component in my diet.  Its also the hardest to eat enough of, I like the protein power style of dieting.  They focus on 35 grams of protein per meal.  I don't always get that but that is my goal.  I use Fitday to determine how many calories and protein are in my food.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Intermittent Fasting

Oh boy.  I only made it to 11 am yesterday without a bite.  I was supposed to go until 6 pm.  I had an interview in the middle of the day.  I didn't want to be smelling like ketosis in the interview.  So, I ate.  This morning was less good, I had chocolate ice cream for breakfast.  I didn't have my oatmeal ready, and my resolve was down cause its ttotm.  However, it was only 1 cup.  Not the end of the world.  I have factored it into my calorie load for today.  I have a protein shake and salad on schedule for lunch.  I have a 3 mile Leslie Sansone dvd planned for today's workout.  I'm not up to Cathe today.  I did Cathe yesterday and I will do Cathe tomorrow.  I will fast in the evening today and tomorrow morning.  I also am skipping yoga because you need to not do inversions during menses.  Its not a good idea.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

Revisiting the Re-do

Ever notice yourself giving other people advice that you should be taking?  I just recommended the re-do to someone who had a food situation over the weekend that could be resolved with a re-do.  I need to re-do it myself.  I had some ice cream but I did give half to my Dad.  I had two burgers, but I had only 1.5 buns.  In retrospect, I should have had a couple of protein shakes and additional chicken for protein.  I could have skipped the buns entirely.  By then, I was so hungry, I could have cried.  Still, re-do and don't beat yourself up because being mean to yourself only leads to sad eating.  That is not a helpful behavior.  Its better to use something other than food to heal emotional wounds.  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

weight is up again

I thought that a chile relleno would be diet food, apparently it is not.  I'm up four pounds.  I'm also very frustrated with this plateau.  I'm really ready to move on.  Its time to be serious.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Doing whats in my best interest

What is in my best interest?  

Plenty of yoga.
Plenty of high intensity endurance jogging.
Plenty of protein.
Plenty of good fat.
Plenty of leafy greens.
Home made lunches.
Doing that which makes me happy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inspired by the two gomers

They always have a section called songs to run to.  I like soundtracks, Hans Zimmer is the best imho.  "One Day" from the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End soundtrack is especially good.  "Up is Down" from the same soundtrack is also quite good.  I like it for off road running.  I use it to help propel me up particularly pernicious hills.  

Motivation to Move

Is a podcast that I am subscribed to on iTunes.  I like both Scott and Joy.  I listen to them when I'm on my morning jog.  I haven't signed up yet for their pay to play service.  I'm still in the job market.  However, I really like what they have to say.  Scott emphasises (spl?) doing your home work and what he means by that is checking in with your self to find out how am I doing?  This is a powerful tool because you do it at least once a week.  You look back on last week and review your performance, how you felt, and what you would like to have achieved but didn't.  Then you look at the following week and decide how you would like to feel and what you would like to achieve or get done.  This is a powerful tool because it is invoking the power of setting your intent.  There has been a lot of research about how setting your intent has a dramatic effect on the outcome of any situation.  I learned about intent setting from Sandra Ahten.  I highly recommend listening to both of these podcasts, they are a wealth of knowledge.  I realize that phrase sounds like a cliche, however, in these cases, its really true.  

A link to Sandra 

A link to Motivation To Move 

I'm about to go on my second workout from week 6 of the couch to 5k program.  I'm almost all geared up.  Its gotten warm enough that I'm forgoing my college sweatshirt.  I'm all decked out in pink.  Its going to be a scorcher by the end of the week.  We expect to see triple digits by the end of the week.  I am going out earlier to avoid complete and total melt down lol!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It must have been water.

I did work really hard this morning.  I started with one hour of beginner's yoga from Sarah Kline on Yoga Today.  Then I did one hour of a walk/jog.  I started with a 12 minute light jog then I did some fast walking.  I jogged my heart rate up for one minute then would speed walk it back down to 150.  I did not let it dip below 150.  Then on my dirt track I did week 6 of the Couch to 5k program.  I did one hour total and 53 minutes in my THR.  

This morning's eats consisted of 1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal, 1/2 a grapefruit, 1 small apple, and 1 slice of swiss and a half a home made scone.  My snack was a Kashi Frozen Meal called Mayan Harvest.  It was very tasty.  I also had 1 ounce of macadamia nuts.  Those are addictive so I really watch my portion control with them.  Seriously, I could eat the whole bag.  

This week's rotation is a little more intense because I've been in this plateau for a while and I'm ready to move on.  

5/11 yoga, Jog
5/12 yoga, SB
5/13 yoga, Jog (afternoon/evening),
5/14  yoga, Cardio Hits
5/15 Jog, HSCkt
5/16 off

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I've been holding this plateau for 5 months now.  I'm ready to move beyond my comfort zone.  Its time to up the ante.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eat a lot, drink tea, and be merry

All the way around the track.  Don't forget to jog!  Thats what I did yesterday and I've lost a half pound.  Over all, life is good.  I'm enjoying my workouts.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's jog.  I have officially graduated from wogging to primarily jogging.  Tomorrow its a 5 minute warm up walk followed by 20 minutes of jogging then a 5 minute cool down.  I have created my own tune mix for my iPod.  Its sunny.  The weather is perfect.  I am prepared.  I am working on my mental outlook.  Its an exhausting prospect unto itself.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I over came the urge to stay in bed this morning.  Yahoo!  I went out for my week 5 of the couch to 5k program.  This was a challenging workout.  I did not make it through the third jog without a short rest.  The rest of the week is intimidating.  I should have 8 minutes of straight jogging on Wednesday. On Friday, its the big 2 0.  Wow.  20 minutes of running/jogging without stopping.  I will do my best.  I will keep a slower, steady pace and hope that works.  I did 20 minutes of yoga afterwards.  I would have done more but my computer crashed and I was streaming the video off of Netflix.  

This morning's eats consisted of steel cut oatmeal, strawberries, coconut oil, protein powder, 1/2 a grapefruit.  Before my workout I had 1 ounce of peanuts.  That worked out really well because they don't fill my stomach up but have carbs, fats, and protein.  

I listened to Robert Ullrey's podcast with my workout this morning.  Afterwards, I listened to IOWL.  This is more of a top down approach to weight loss involving the head and the heart rather than a bottom up approach.  That concept I borrowed from Sandra Ahten.  She says that the bottom up approach is feet and stomach.  That would be anything involving diet and movement.  

My weight was up a little bit.  I tried an experiment over the weekend and it did not work.  I will go back to the longer fast on my low calorie days.  Oh well.  Also, I had tried adding soup as my mid day meal for my low calorie days, and it filled me up so much I was not able to eat enough calories.  I am not going to do that anymore.  I will lower my soup to one cup and add a side salad with olive oil.