dieting

Age Makes a Difference

When I was younger I never had a problem losing weight. If I weighed a few pounds more than I should, I lost it right away. Of course, I was A LOT more obsessive about my weight and looks then. Sometimes I would go entire days without eating and later, after running a few miles, I would wonder why I felt so weak or cranky or tired. The mere thought of eating dessert was enough to send me into a trauma.

Have things changed! And for the better, thank goodness!

Life has so many twists, so many surprises and experiences. Through them we learn, we hurt, we laugh, we battle against all odds and hopefully, we continue to move forward.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added some extra weight, as many of us do, but I’m not emotionally distressed over it. I am determined to lose it however. It’s not a massive amount, but I do believe that I can be a better runner and certainly a better trainer if I am in the best shape I can be. Carrying around extra weight doesn’t help me at all.

And I’m losing it the right way, with healthy eating and lots of great workouts, both strength training and running.

In my fifties, losing weight isn’t as easy as it was all those decades ago. Even a few extra pounds turns into a major chore. It really isn’t easy. And one careless night of bad eating can add those lost pounds in a snap, which will take me weeks to lose once more.

But one of my goals this year is to be a better runner and I really cannot do that unless I shed some weight.

And just after five days of healthy eating and workouts, I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I know it’s mostly water weight, but still not a bad start!

Have great workouts this weekend!

Cheers!

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FOOD & SENSIBILITY

A friend of mine asked on Facebook how to stop her from getting up at night and eating. And when she does eat in the middle of the night, it’s not anything healthy. This led to a big discussion about healthy eating, artificial sweeteners and a whole host of other issues.

Although I’m not a clean eating purist, I do try to limit the pre-packaged foods I eat and I try to not eat anything artificial. On the rare occasion I have soda, it’s usually at a bar atmosphere and I’ll stick to the sugared variety. But this is maybe, three, four times a year. I enjoy real, whole foods and I don’t have much of a taste for junk foods, with the exception of blue corn tortilla chips…

Wow, she wrote, this is not going to be easy….

And there is the realization that it takes work to eat well. But, it’s so worthwhile! It’s like doing a good job, getting good grades or treating others around you with kindness. The rewards from healthy eating are so great. The food is superior and delicious! The payoffs will be felt nearly immediately; you’ll look and feel better. And if you plan wisely, and cook for yourself, your finances won’t suffer.

Sensible eating makes so much more “sense” than dieting. I’ve yoyo’d more times than I’ll ever admit to in my life and I don’t want to do it again. I’ve been underweight and I’ve been overweight. I’ve been obsessed with eating and I’ve not cared. But now I’m in a point in my life when I want to feel as good as I can. I have some pounds to lose myself, so why not lose them while still enjoying meals and eating and, life?

I’ll keep writing about how it’s going as the weeks move along. So far, so good.

These days I’ve been super busy working out a lot.

Last week, I had two runs with two clients, and they went really well, my first kickboxing class, yoga, a couple weight training sessions at the Y, a group run and a solo hill run. Monday forced me to take a rest day with the only chance to do laundry and this week looks just as busy. I’ll give you a rundown on my workouts this weekend.

Cheers!

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Why I Don’t Juice

Juicing….can’t leave the house without hearing or reading about someone doing it. It’s become the Beverly Hills Diet of 2015, so hip and trendy. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution and Man’s obsession with weight loss, diets have plagued us. Juicing is just the latest diet craze.

I understand the psychological need to rid oneself of toxins, but the body does a terrific job of that all on its own. Don’t underestimate our own ability to wash away the “bad” stuff once we stick to eating and living healthy; it’s amazing what our own Self can do!

Some people get in the bad state of mind thinking that if a weight loss system works fast, it must be good. Sure, you’ll lose weight fast juicing, but people lost weight quickly using Slim Fast years ago too. And then they gained it gained just as fast, adding on a few extra pounds. Juicing is just another binge diet. Supporters can add on all the buzz words they want…. cleansing, anti-inflammatory, organic, add in any others you wish, but in the end, what’s happening is they’re limiting caloric intake and will lose weight.

Juice, be it from fruit or vegetables doesn’t fill me up. Whole foods fill me up. And if I’m going to have liquid food, I’ll take a blended smoothie; I like getting my fiber along with my foods.

My leg has felt terrific this week. I invested in a stronger brace and have been doing leg curls which have really helped with my IT Band. My run last night felt great.

Have great runs this weekend!

Cheers!

GOODBYE 2014

So, I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, as I usually do. I’m not a fan of NYE celebrations; I don’t enjoy being around drunk people, especially masses of them, and I before I was injured, I wanted to go for a run on New Year’s Day. Instead of that, I’ll enjoy my morning, do some reading, stretching and watch hockey. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

I bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wine Chardonnay Grape Juice to open for the occasion, but I couldn’t get it open. In my drinking days, I opened hundreds of champagne bottles, but I could not get this one uncorked.

So, I looked at this unopened bottle as the past year. There are lots of good things and great moments, but the best is yet to come.

2014 has been a year of hard work, disappointments, proud achievements, frustrations, amazingly wonderful surprises and through it all there were the people I truly care about: my family, my friends, my foam roller and my new friend, the roller ball.

The Holiday Season was difficult for me this year. It was a little lonely and also hard because of my lack of finances but once Christmas Day was here and being with my friends everything was right again. When it comes to Christmas, the best thing is to enjoy yourself as best as you can and ignore everything else. Ignore all those boasting about what presents they got, or where they’re going or anything else that you wish you could have or do. Just enjoy what you already have.

And that’s exactly where I continue my journey in 2015…enjoy what I have already, PLUS open that bottle!

This past year was about setting the foundation. The upcoming year is about setting and finishing the first floor.

My workouts will take center stage. Weight control is of prime importance and once I can start running again, I will add on the miles and be back in business. Until then, I need to get my core, legs and arms strong.

Attitude is another area I will be working on. Many times I defeat myself by being so self-judgmental. If I recognize those self doubts when they rear their ugly head, I can stop them. And if I can do that, my attitudes towards everything will improve.

For 2015, my fitness goals are:

  • Run 1 half marathon and 1 marathon
  • Lose weight
  • Obtain my Personal Trainer Certificate
  • Be more positive in my thinking

Enjoy your New Year. I just know 2015 is going to rock!

Cheers!

RICE CAKES – Why Are They Still “A Thing”?

The Dreaded Rice Cake

The Dreaded Rice Cake

Much of my focus these days is on what I should be eating, what I need to be eating and what really isn’t all that great for me to be eating. In doing so, I spend a lot of time re

I read a lot of websites about fitness and nutrition. I discover some really excellent ones that help with running, fitness, weight loss as well as healthy recipes and eating ideas.

Once in a while though, I come across something that puzzles me. The majority of people that I’ve read and met who are successful in fitness know most of what they’re talking about. However, there is a tendency, especially by those who are in it just for looks or beauty-type contests to go to extremes and by doing so, they develop odd food habits. I’m focusing only on one of them today, perhaps I’ll write about the others in future blogs.

I’m talking about the existence of Rice Cakes. Why are these still around?

I glanced over a website that was a collection of pictures, bios and the eating habits of extremely fit (and some VERY underweight females) the website owner looked up to as role models. Some of them were healthy and ate healthy; meaning, they didn’t radically limit their eating nor did they starve themselves. But two of the women did. They consisted on meals of protein shakes, or chicken breast and broccoli and maybe a sweet potato if it was a heavy lift day. And then for snacks, they had rice cakes.

It’s trendy to make ALL flour, even good healthy whole wheat or rye flours, a BAD food. If it’s gluten and flour, it must be BAD, so they must be avoided AT ALL COSTS! This just isn’t the case. In moderation, there is nothing wrong with a slice of 100% whole wheat or rye bread. Make it homemade or organic from a local baker and that’s even better. In fact, a slice of whole grain bread has more nutrition than a rice cake and I dare say tastes worlds better. Those slices of cardboard don’t even fill a person up.

Perhaps it’s the crunch in a rice cake that makes it appealing to some. OK, then, how about Akmak crackers instead? They have crunch and guess what? They have nutritional value too.

So, give up the cardboard and eat real food!

Cheers!

IN DEFENSE OF CALORIE COUNTING

I enjoy receiving emails from a few different fitness and nutritional sources. One of the websites I like is MindBodyGreen. I’ve had no reason to question them until this morning when I read something that irked me enough to want to write about it.

Hundreds of weight loss and “diet” tips are thrown at us all the time. One of the latest trends is to avoid counting calories. In the latest email from MindBodyGreen the author writes that we should avoid doing this because 500 worth of soda isn’t the same as 500 calories worth of Brussels Sprouts. Well, duh.

I think I can speak for most, if not all of us when I say, thank you for underestimating the readers’ intelligence here. For the beginner just entering into weight loss, this may be a good suggestion, but for those of us who do know the difference between a sugary drink and a vegetable, it’s insulting.

Keeping track of the food I eat through a website like MyFitnessPal is a great way to not only help me with portion control, but it also helps me ensure I get the right amount of nutrients, fiber, etc, I need. Calories are just one of the many tools I use to help keep my Way Of Eating where I want it to be. I never use it to replace healthy foods with junk and I never rely on counting up calories alone.

I think the original author of this article’s biggest mistake is to assume that her readers don’t know a darn thing about nutrition. We know, we know. We know that kale is one of the best foods out there. We know that white flour and white sugar has virtually nothing nutritionally for us. We know that we should be working out rather than sitting in front of the television. So why try to take away one item in our workshop?

Nutritionists should not be writing for all their readers with the same broad brushstroke. I would love to read an article that didn’t treat me like I knew zilch about the food I eat. I don’t have the degree, but I’ve probably done TONS of reading about nutrition and can sit and have an intellectual conversation with any PhD’d Nutritionist. And I bet a lot of you can too. I wouldn’t be reading all the emails and websites if it was a subject I wasn’t interested in learning more about.

At my age, it’s vitally important that I practice portion control. One of the ways I do this is by understanding not only the size of the portion of food I eat, but also the calorie count. It all goes hand in hand. Maybe a young person doesn’t need to exact such control over what they eat; youth is on their side. But even with all the physical activities I do, if I am not very careful about what I eat, I will gain weight. I wasn’t always this way, when I was young, I could eat whatever I wanted and I’d lose weight. It was pretty hard accepting that as we get older, this stops. At least for me it did.

Maybe I make the wrong assumption thinking there are others who are as meticulous as I am about counting calories. I’m much too busy to think about the caloric count of everything. Is that what you’re thinking? Sure, it takes a few minutes, but not that long. It takes about as long as checking into Four Square. And I dare say, it’s more worthwhile.

So, to all you health/nutrition writers: please understand that some of your audience knows a little bit about the subject you’re writing and also that not everyone fits neatly into little boxes.

Cheers!