Healthy Eating and the Gingerbread Jerks

November 30, 2012 § 5 Comments

It wasn’t the realization of the added ten pounds on the doctor’s scale (at which I cried) or the 2 minute per mile slower running time; not the puffy face in recent photos nor the general feeling of blah. There’s no reason for jump starting the healthy eating plan (again) other than it is time.

For the past two days I ate things like this:

  • A piece of Millet bread with a quarter of an avocado spread like butter, topped with a scrambled egg (and two egg whites) and a spoonful of fresh salsa.
  • Juice made from carrots, celery, apple, ginger, kale, beets, and huge bunches of spinach.
  • Gwyneth’s Detox Chicken over millet with a side of kale chips.
  • Back to Nature’s Multi-Seed Crackers with half a piece of jalapeno cheese and a slice of uncured honey ham.
  • Apples.
  • More juice.
  • Whole wheat crusted chicken nuggets baked in the oven with green beans and tomatoes on the side.

Two days of healthy eating and a small dose of exercise (a three-mile run yesterday), and one would assume I was completely on track.

But there’s always a hitch when it comes to clean eating, this time it came in the form of tiny white-fudge-frosted gingerbread men (120 calories for three) nestled inside a pretty Christmas colored box.

If it weren’t for those sneaky gingerbread men I would have conquered two full days free from processed sugar.

Except.

Except their pull over me was too strong that I ate three. And then I ate three more. And the 240 calories I ingested happened faster than you can holler, “KALE!”

The good news is that I got a grip on the situation and stopped. I didn’t go back for more. But I thought about it a lot (a lot, a lot), before running far enough from the kitchen that I was no longer tempted.

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

M.

Do you eat clean or do you struggle? What is it that makes you attack the gingerbread men?

Cute little jerks.

Cute little jerks.

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Incorporating Strength with Yoga

September 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

I went to yoga this morning.

Sweaty, tough, beautiful vinyasa.

The sun salutations were plenty. One legged chaturangas, too. So many utkatasanas (chair pose), core cultivation, crescent lunging, crow (side crow is beyond me; watch superstar Kathryn Budig’s unbelievable video below) and twists.

My arms, back and sides were awaken. They are sleeping again now, but will probably scream at me tomorrow morning after a long night’s rest.

I walked out knowing that the addition of weekly guided vinyasa is going to help me build strength in areas that running alone can’t provide.

Will I have the stamina for both? This remains to be seen.

On the schedule tomorrow is any easy 6-8 miles. Compared to this morning’s yoga class it will be like a good old walk in the park!

Tell me running friends…. Do you incorporate yoga and/or strength training to improve performance?

XOM

Gluten Free Me?

September 9, 2012 § 8 Comments

It has been established that traditional weight loss and diet techniques do not work for me. My yo-yo has worn itself out and my quest for a healthier life and body has led me here.

Step one has been to quit getting on the scale, a strictly mental challenge. My weight on the scale has nothing to do with how I feel in my body, heart or mind. I can be up or I can be down and depending on that digital number my mood is affected, pushing me toward my coping method of choice; food (eat happy, eat sad).

Three weeks ago I quit Diet Coke.

Fifteen days ago I committed to cutting out the sugary foods that plagued my every waking thought; ice cream, cookies, cakes, etcetera. Sugar (in its obvious form), I discovered, was not that difficult to subtract from my diet.

Hidden sugars, it turns out, have been more difficult to avoid as they are in everything from seemingly healthy cereals and protein bars, breads, frozen entrees, and yogurts.

Being aware has helped me to stay away from the hidden sugars, but I’m finding it all but impossible to cut the stuff out completely. Still, I try.

What, then, is the next step?

In the past two weeks I’ve paid attention to my overuse of carbohydrates (healthy and not).

As I see it I have two choices; either commit to only consuming whole grains and other good carbs or attempt a period of gluten-free to see what it might do to my body.

I don’t know much about a gluten-free lifestyle. It doesn’t have a great reputation to those who live and die by carbohydrate laden lifestyles. But every person I’ve ever met who’s gone gluten-free not only looked terrific, they themselves have praised the benefits in regard to how they feel.

I know I’ll never be a waif.  I don’t care to be. But I want to feel good and so I am intrigued.

Like with sugar, I know in the future I’ll be faced with a birthday party cupcake or a morning meeting complete with a box of Crispy Cremes to fuel tired brains. With gluten, I know there will always be mom’s pasta dinners, cheese and crackers at cocktail parties, barbeques with cheeseburgers begging for rolls.

This scares me. A cheeseburger without a roll scares me!

What do you know about gluten-free? How does one prepare for the lifestyle? What changes have you made to your diet that have helped you become a better healthier you (not necessarily in regard to weight)?

XOM

The bottom shelf of the pantry. Our go to snack station. I guess the Rice Crispies are okay? I have no idea, though.

The Hansons’ MarathonTraining Plan

August 31, 2012 § 12 Comments

Running is important to me, keeps me sane and levels my pre-diabetic blood sugar.

I am in no way a professional, rather a mere mama who likes to run, likes to learn, appreciates a good challenge and crossed the finish line at her first marathon (less than six months ago) feeling both elated and defeated simultaneously.

Having signed up for my next marathon, Miami 2013 ( Jan. 27), I continue to run and learn and hope that I can strategize differently (better) for a faster time and more consistent race (less tired/more energy at the twenty-mile marker).

My training for Tobacco Road was strictly running, little cross training, following the Novice 2 plan by Hal Higdon. The Higdon plan is pretty straightforward consisting of a four-day run week with the long run exertion at an easy comfortable pace. Walk breaks are acceptable, especially through water stations, though I worked hard to run without them.

In the months between my two races, there has been the time and opportunity to test out different theories, the latest being the Galloway method using the run/walk/run ratio.

I like Galloway. I like running with my 10:30 pace group (although our walk/run speed is closer to 12:30).

But my problem with the plan that has nothing to do with running and everything to do with what goes on in my head.

For starters, none of the Olympic marathoners I watched this summer stopped to walk. If they didn’t stop to walk then running an entire 26.2 can be done. So shouldn’t we try?

Unfortunately, I am not an Olympian and my ability to keep a pace that results in a happy finish time requires walking. Strategizing walk breaks, then, would be a good way to go for the next race. If I could just get my head to accept it’s okay.

Having just received the current Runner’s World magazine in my mailbox, I came across an article by Alex Hutchinson about the Hansons; brothers who run marathons and train Olympic runners.

Their philosophy is in, “cumulative fatigue,” teaching your body to run fast on tired legs and “push recovery,” meaning that if your hard runs are easy, then your preceding runs were not hard enough.”

This makes sense, but how can the average mama bear use this strategy in her isolated/no trainer on the payroll training?

By putting mileage on your legs and going out with a little bit of fatigue, you can prepare your body for going farther distances. This makes sense to me.

Push Recovery doesn’t seem as clear.

The Hansons’ plan calls for a “nine-day hard-easy-easy cycle.” What does that mean? Does that suggest you run for a total of nine days and rest for the next two? That your runs should be hard, then easy, then easy, repeated for a total of nine days?

So here I am, constantly learning and testing the strategies with the hope that I finish Miami strong and happy with my performance. Not a professional in any way, but a lover of the game completely!

Are you in training? What does your training plan look like? Do you know anything about the Hansons’ plan? Share!

I took Grace for a run with me this summer. I tried to teach her the run/walk method in the hope we would go a couple of miles. She was having none of it and ran full force until she was too tired (complaining of hurt feet) and wanted to go home. There’s time, and I see track and field in this kid’s future!

I Quit You

August 29, 2012 § 11 Comments

When Ryan Hall dropped out of the Men’s Olympic Marathon less than a month ago, people accused him of being a quitter.

There are Pinterest quotes that scream, “Pain is temporary and quitting is permanent!”

I get that quitting can be bad, but it also can be good (and needed and safer and in Ryan Hall’s decision was an intelligent choice to save a career by accepting an injured hamstring).

I quit drinking Diet Coke well over a week ago when I realized that I was cracking a can every time I felt thirsty. I knew it was wrong, but I’m not sure it was because I felt so awful that I knew it had to be quit. It was a case of intellect outshining desire (damned desire) and in this case my brain won.

It was the first step in taking back some control of a diet that had spun away from me. I’d retreated back to the coping mechanism of using food during what’s been a tumultuous time in my life.

Entering day four without sugar hasn’t been as easy, but it also hasn’t been torture.

I am not having huge cravings and I’m beginning to feel what I think is hunger.

Five days ago the habit to return to the fridge/kitchen/pantry for energy and fuel and emotional strength left me feeling like a guinea pig on a wheel.

Once the wheel got going I could run and run and run, but I never felt satiated and never felt good.

But it saved me from having to think.

The hardest part of cutting out the refined sugar has not been the cravings. It’s been setting myself up to make better choices by having a fridge/kitchen/pantry stocked full of the right things.

In the midst of a hectic day, given the choice to eat a bag of Twizzlers over anything else, the decision too often made itself. Admitting is the first step to recovery and so I confess. This is how I tick. This is how I was made.

Will I ever eat a cupcake again? I’d be in denial if I said, “No.”

Do I hope I’m not in the position to eat one (or a box) for a long time? Oh God, on knees, saying prayers.

My biggest hope is that when I do decide to eat a cupcake (and let’s hope the cake part is moist and rich and the buttercream sings in its sweetness) that I will be able to stop there and not eat three.

A day at a time. A minute at a time. With faith that (for today) I can do this.

Do you emotionally eat? Do you have triggers? Ever feel like a guinea pig on a wheel in the kitchen (or anywhere else for that matter)?

XOM

Cupcakes by Frosted NYC at Stacey’s wedding. they were great. I was sent home with a box for my daughters whose temper fits made their trip down the aisle as flowers girls an impossibility. Would you like to place bets on who actually ate the box?

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