Archive for category Nutrition
It has been 30 days since I started my experiment following a primal-style eating plan. In the last 30 days, I have attempted to cease all consumption of added sugar, grains, beans, and white potatoes. Though I did make exceptions on a couple of days after the first two weeks were completed, I pretty strictly eliminated these things from my diet. I have also reduced my consumption of dairy to one serving a day, and only had red wine and dark chocolate as infrequent indulgences. In my research in the various paleo/primal-style diets, I found that there was a wide range of adherence to the various principles, so I felt it was reasonable for me to include dairy in my diet knowing that I could tolerate it and the majority was going to be yogurt.
Through the experiment, I typically ate three main meals and two smaller snacks each day. My breakfasts primarily consisted of eggs and fresh vegetables, such as an omelet with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. I ate a morning snack of yogurt and fresh berries. My lunches were big salads with plenty of veggies as well as protein in the form of lean chicken or boiled eggs or some leftover meat from the night before. I usually had an afternoon snack post-workout with some fruit and a small handful of nuts. Dinner was a lean protein and lots of vegetables, occasionally some sweet potato.
Here are my observations from my experiment.
- Increased my vegetable intake tremendously – at least double and maybe triple my previous daily intake.
- No longer feel hungry all the time!
- Smaller portion sizes are more satisfying.
- No cravings for sugary snacks or desserts.
- Renewed interest in cooking and finding new recipes and flavors.
- Requires more planning ahead and time for cooking – less convenience.
- Expensive to purchase all fresh and high quality foods.
- No bread, pasta, or peanut butter!
- Rapid weight loss (8lbs) in the first week and balanced to 5 lbs, total loss.
- Increased degree of thirst in the first week of the experiment.
- No changes in energy levels or inflammation.
In all, I’m really glad I did this experiment and while I do not plan to adhere to the strict rules of paleo or primal, I will likely include aspects in my future nutrition. I don’t plan to go back to drinking diet sodas and I don’t see any need to eat foods with added sugars. I like that it pushed me to eat more vegetables and fresh fruits and that it motivated me to try some new recipes. And I love that I no longer feel famished 20 minutes after every meal. In spite of the benefits, I will be adding servings of whole grains (homemade sourdough is on the agenda for next week!) and such back into my diet, but I plan to keep my focus on vegetables and lean proteins as the main bulk of my diet. If I notice a reversal of any of the positive aspects, or any significant drawbacks, I’ll re-evaluate, but life is too short and if I want to have a warm piece of homemade whole grain bread with my dinner, I will not deprive myself of the pleasure. 🙂
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? Ever tried paleo or primal?
It has been nearly a year since my last blog post. Wow. Time certainly does fly. School keeps me incredibly busy, but I am still running pretty consistently. I ran another half marathon in the fall, and I have several running races fast approaching this spring. The triathlon bug has bitten once again, so I’m thinking about signing up for a race or two this summer as long as the scheduling works.
The next race I have is Dog-N-Jog 5K/10K on April 6. This is the same race I did last year with my German Shepherd Dog, Tara. I’m leaning toward doing the 5K again this year instead of the 10K. The 5K course is being altered a bit so that it is closer to the correct distance, as last year it was a little short at only about 3 miles exactly. The next day, April 7, I’ve organized two teams for Brew to Brew, which is a 44 mile point-to-point relay race from Kansas City, MO to Lawrence, KS. We had two teams last year and it was a blast, so I’m really looking forward to doing this race again. I’ll be running two legs for a total of 8.8 miles. It will be a good warm-up for my next half marathon on April 21, the Kansas Half Marathon, which is the same race I did last spring.
In other news, I’ve been trying a more Primal-style nutrition plan in my daily life. I started a 30 day self-challenge on February 27, so I’m over half-way through. I will freely admit that I am pretty lenient in the dairy department, and usually eat one serving of dairy per day. I have had a few servings of indulgences, but not many overall and none in the first two weeks of the challenge. The biggest benefit so far is that I’m not as hungry all the time and between meals as I used to be. I also lost about 8 pounds within the first week. I’ve since evened out at about 5 pounds lighter than my starting weight. Since I was already happy with my weight, I’m glad the weight loss has stopped. The only downsides are the meal planning and the expense. It’s a lot more expensive to eat so many fresh veggies all the time, but I do think it’s healthier to eat more fruits and veggies. Meal planning does take a little more time than a more conventional diet, but I don’t think it’s prohibitive. I usually plan meals for the week on the weekend and do all my grocery shopping over the weekend. One other observation I made was that initially, I felt extremely thirsty all the time, but that’s no longer the case.
I haven’t noticed an extreme difference in energy levels or inflammation, so I don’t think grains have that much of an effect on me in those aspects. With only 10 days of my challenge left, I think that I will not stick to the restrictions on grains long term, but I will probably keep to the main principles and not feel that my meals have to be centered around a grain or a starch. I want to be able to eat bread or pasta on occasion and enjoy the occasional dessert indulgence. 🙂
I will not pretend that I will be able to post on a regular basis over the next few months, but just wanted to jump in and do a quick update while I have some time. I hope to at least write some race reports for the upcoming races, but life may have other plans.
It used to be that I could go to the gym, do my workout, shower and get home without speaking to a single person. It’s not that I’m antisocial or anything, but usually I prefer to just get my workout done, and get out. I’ve never really had a need to be buddy-buddy with anyone at the gym. Lately, it seems like I’m just a magnet for conversation. Yesterday, I got to the gym and the main floor was relatively quiet, but the weight room was pretty busy for a Friday evening. After a quick warm-up, I dove into my NROLW routine. After a few sets, a guy came up to me and asked if what I kept my legs straight or bent doing what I was (single-leg Romanian deadlift) and whether it worked the hamstrings because he had been having trouble with his hamstrings. I said yes it did and briefly explained how to do it so I could get back to my next set. A few sets later and go figure, the guy is trying the move! And his form was all wrong. I felt obligated to go correct him because the way he was moving he was bound to hurt his back. I never thought for a second that he would actually try it right then! His form in the next few reps were much better, thank goodness. I think he must have thought I was a trainer or something at first. He made a comment about getting some “free training” and I made sure to tell him that I was definitely not a trainer. Through all this, I lost track a bit of my rest times, which kind of bugs me, but oh well. I hope the guy has better luck with his hamstrings in the future and doesn’t hurt himself doing anything he tried because I did it first!
My workout was NROLW stage 3 workout A.
A. One-armed dumbbell snatch – 3 sets of 6 with 105s Rest @ 17.5 lb DBs
B1. Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 6 with 105s Rest @ 30 lb DBs
B2. Barbell bent-over row – 3 sets of 6 with 105s Rest @ 85 lb barbell (1st set) and 75 lb barbell (2nd and 3rd set)
C1. Dumbbell single-arm overhead squat – 3 sets of 6 with 105s Rest @ 12.5 lb and 25 lb DBs
C2. Dumbbell incline bench press – 3 sets of 6 with 105s Rest @ 22.5 lb
D1. Plank – 3 sets of 120s with 105s Rest @ BW
D2. Reverse Wood Chop – 3 sets of 6 with 25 lb (1st set), 20 lb (2nd set), 25 lb (3rd set)
Body Weight Matrix – 2 sets (24 squats, 12 lunges each leg, 12 lunge jumps each leg, 24 squat jumps)
Eating-wise, I’ve stuck to the plan the last few days. Thursday ended with 1772 calories, Friday with about 1685 calories and today (Saturday) with about 1886 calories. Today was a little high, but yesterday was a little low and I worked out, so I thought it would even out a bit. Friday and Saturday are approximate because we went out for dinner on Friday night and I had leftovers (white pizza with red peppers, mushrooms and artichokes) today for lunch. It was delicious and worth every bite. 🙂
Tomorrow morning we need to get to the gym between 8 AM and 2 PM because it closes early for Easter Sunday.
The scale was back in the range I expected this morning. I made a few changes to my eating plans for yesterday, but still hit my goal range for calories and macronutrient ratios. Today was a success too, but I was hungry through the early afternoon. My breakfast and morning snack were identical to yesterday, except I had a cup of green tea yesterday. Maybe the small amount of caffeine suppressed my appetite yesterday? Or perhaps it was the timing of my meals? I had my usual big salad for dinner instead of lunch today, so that could have contributed as well. Total calories for today were 1720.
Tomorrow I have an early morning to get to class, so apologies for the late stream of consciousness post. It’s late, I’m tired and I’m not even really sure why I’m posting instead of sleeping. My class is public speaking and I am giving my last speech of the semester, so it’s probably nerves keeping me up. I can’t wait for this class to be over! It’s the last requirement to complete before starting veterinary school in the fall! Woohoo!
Yesterday, I ended up eating 1713 calories, which is a little less than predicted. My dinner plans had included two servings of broccoli, thinking I had some in the freezer but I did not. I subbed a single serving of frozen peas and carrots instead and had more than enough food.
This morning I stepped on the scale. Imagine my surprise when it showed a loss of another 1.6 pounds since yesterday morning and a number I haven’t seen in probably 6 months! I know this is probably just a normal weight fluctuation or my scale is broken, but it’s still nice to get that momentary gratification. 🙂 A pound or more in a day is really a much faster rate of weight loss than I want to maintain. If this trend continues, which I doubt it will, I will probably have to increase calories a bit. I am very satisfied on the amount I’m eating right now and do not feel hungry at any time during the day (except when I first wake up in the morning), so I shouldn’t need more but we’ll see. Logging will help me notice trends like this.
I forgot to mention one of the other changes I have made to my diet. I used to religiously eat 5-6 times a day, with 2 big meals and 3-4 smaller snacks. Recently, I had been eating two large meals and one small and a continuous snacking off and on through the evening after getting home from work. Needless to say, that had to go. I’m back to planning for five times a day with an additional shake or smoothie on workout days.
Today is a workout day, so I’m planning to eat 2049 calories. I already had 305.5 for breakfast (milk, cottage cheese and raisins), 300.5 for a morning snack/2nd breakfast (hobbits anyone?) of oatmeal and some add-ins, and I just finished a BIG salad for lunch with 637.5 calories. I’ll have a small afternoon snack of carrots and hummus again for 85 calories, do my workout and then have a post-workout protein shake for 170 calories. Dinner will be 550 cals of leftovers from last night plus some cooked spinach and a little dark chocolate. 🙂 This is 27.41% cals from protein, 32.34% from fat and 40.25% from carbs. By the way, I find it funny that the Daily Plate tells me that I’m over my recommended amount of fat and protein every day. It also hates the amount of cholesterol (from eggs on my salad), but I must say I’m not convinced that dietary cholesterol has much effect on body chemistry. I used to have high cholesterol while avoiding fatty foods and foods with high cholesterol, then when I changed to eating closely to the way I am now, my cholesterol went down. Go figure. Of course there were other factors that I’m sure contributed, but it doesn’t seem like a couple of eggs every day has much effect on my levels.
My workout is New Rules of Lifting for Women stage 3 workout B and 15 minutes of running intervals. Exact workout may be posted later, but I don’t have it in front of me at the moment.
Has there ever been a time when you felt your life got really out of balance? I know I have. After Timberman last summer, I was so relieved to have completed it that I essentially stopped trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I think I had gotten out of balance by putting so much time and effort into training and thinking about training and eating for training for nearly a year that once it was all over I went a little overboard in allowing myself to eat junk and not exercise. I remained active by normal standards (walking daily), but in comparison to my previous commitment to 1-3 hours of exercise at least 5 days a week, I was a sedentary blob.
As a result, I was feeling pretty disgusted and annoyed with myself, and as any readers still out there know, increasingly neglected my blog because I just couldn’t own up to the lack of focus in my fitness journey any longer. I gained about 10 pounds pretty quickly after the HIM and could tell my body composition had changed for the worse. I knew I needed to get myself back on track without the illusion of accountability from recording on the blog. I decided not to do any races this year and start with just 2 days a week of working out. I have continued with the New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLW) program. I recently added a third workout day in every week, so I lift with my mom usually on Tuesdays and I lift with Curtis on Thursdays and Sundays. I also run with a friend on Fridays when it works with both of our busy schedules. I’m really happy with this schedule. I still walk daily with Tara as well and feel it is just the right amount if exercise for me right now. I wouldn’t mind adding another 2 days eventually, but I am still building back to that. Since the NROLW program has interval training worked in, I’m still usually running 1-2 times per week but in short and sweet doses (about 15 minutes) that I can handle.
I am just now (started last week) trying to get my nutrition in line. Even though I had gotten back on a regular exercise schedule I hadn’t lost any of that extra weight I was carrying. I was still eating poorly and too much. Last week, my focus was to get more protein in my diet, less refined carbs (and more whole grains and fruits/veggies) and be more mindful of my portion sizes. With just those things, I lost 2.4 pounds. This week, I’m tracking my diet to see where I’m at calorie-wise and what my macronutrient ratios look like. Ideally I’d like to aim for 1700 calories on non-lifting days and 2000 calories on lifting days with 30% from protein, 30% from fat and 40% from carbs. If I have another loss this week I’ll stick with the same calories in for next week. If I have a gain or maintenance, I’m going to decrease by 200-300 each day. I’m using The Daily Plate at livestrong.com for tracking.
For today, my breakfast (oatmeal with add-ins for protein) was 330 cals. Morning snack of cottage cheese and raisins came in at 210 cals. My lunch salad was about 458 calories. I have an 85 calorie afternoon snack of hummus and carrots planned. My dinner of quinoa, broccoli and turkey burgers with a desset of dark chocolate is planned for 674 calories. That gives a total of about 1757 for the day. My meals are a little weird on Mondays because my afternoon is scrunched since I have dog training in the evening and eat my last meal around 5pm before I leave for training. Most other nights my dinners fall between 7 and 8 pm.
I’m not promising a daily update on progress, but I’ll be checking-in.
Today ended up being an unplanned day off from working out, but a busy day otherwise! I had both school and work today, and I had a haircut tonight, so I felt like I was constantly going from one thing to another. Usually, I lift weights with my mom on Mondays, but we decided we’d do our workout on Wednesday instead. It actually works out much better for me since I did a weight workout yesterday and should really have today off from lifting anyhow. I also have an exam on Wednesday, so I’ve been busy studying for that as well. Tomorrow night will be a nice short 5 mile run with some uphill work. Unfortunately, I’m still going to be stuck indoors on the treadmill! It’s probably going to be raining all day tomorrow, yuck! I hopeful that the rain melts some more of the snow though. We’re down to grass in some areas and the backyard only has about 4-6 inches left to go! Of course, the huge mountains of snow on the sidewalks are going to take a bit longer, but ever littly bit helps. I can’t wait for spring!
I realized today as I was tracking my calories, that I haven’t talked about nutrition in awhile (if ever), and I think it’s about time that I do! I’ve always considered myself a fairly healthy eater, but I’ve come to learn that I had very unhealthy eating habits, especially in college. I hardly ever ate breakfast, unless it was the morning hangover breakfast at a local restaurant after a night of heavy drinking. And more often than not, I would get through almost an entire day without having eaten anything. I remember there being days when I would get home from class at 4:00PM without having had a single morsel of food all day. By this time, I usually had a couple of diet Cokes and maybe a cup of coffee to tide me over. Needless to say, I was usually starving by the time I got home and remembered to eat! I would then proceed to binge on anything I had. Luckily, I was a fairly health conscious shopper, so I usually had pretty healthy foods on hand. Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever thought that that was ok! By the time I had graduated, I was sick of eating like that all the time and vowed that with a more stable schedule, I’d be able to develop healthier eating habits.
Fast forward a couple years to now. I can’t even imagine going through a day without breakfast! And a morning snack. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And dinner. Plus the pre- and/or post-workout snacks when needed. The first thing I added was eating breakfast regularly, usually oatmeal. Soon after, I had my cholesterol levels tested and found out my levels were fantastic – all within normal limits after having been elevated the past few years. By spacing out the calories I was consuming throughout the day and exercising regularly I lost about 5 lbs. I do track calories on and off when I feel I need to re-evaluate or if I have noticed a weight change. For the most part, though, I eat intuitively. But, my biggest struggle in healthy eating habits is remembering that I don’t have to “clean my plate” when I am full.
I eat mostly whole foods, with my staples being oatmeal, nut butters, salads, and eggs. I do use protein powders in shakes and to boost a meal’s protein levels if I feel like I’m lacking (most often in my oatmeal). Dinners typically consist of some protein source (chicken, fish or beef and occasionally pork or buffalo), a veggie, and a starch (potato/rice/noodle/bread). I LOVE bread, rice, and noodles and could eat any of them plain in mass quantities. I’ve learned to manage that and restrain myself from overdoing (most of the time!). I do drink wine regularly, but very little other alcohol on a regular basis. I do not subscribe to “low-fat” or “low-carb” options typically, it’s a fine balance if I choose those options over full fat and full carb options of how many calories there are and what they did to it to make it low fat or low carb. I don’t mind eating out, and I usually don’t restrict myself from ordering what I want and eating it too! This even includes fast food (mmm Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich combo!), and I don’t feel guilty about it afterward. Although one of my biggest pet peeves is that fast food restaurants usually ask you if you want “medium” size and don’t give a choice of “small”, so you have to specifically say you want the “small”. I nearly always am completely full from a small meal, so I have no temptation to get a larger size. Especially since the “small” size of today is actually the “medium” that I remember from growing up. But I digress…
I have mentioned that I like to shoot for 30/30/40 split of calories between protein/fat/carbs. I actually find that my intuitive eating actually has me closer to 25/35/40, and maintaining my weight well. However, I feel like I’ve stagnated in muscle growth a bit and want to address that, which is part of the reason I set calorie counting as a goal for this month. I’d like to see those protein levels a little higher and the fat levels a little lower to see if it makes a difference in my body composition. I am aiming for about 2000 calories on non-workout days and 2300 on workout days, give or take. This is based off my calculated BMR (calories I need to just stay alive) according to height/weight/age and using the Harris Benedict Equation for the multiplier. While these may not work for everyone, I find that they do a pretty good job of estimating my caloric needs.
I realize this post is somewhat disjointed and choppy, but it sums up my nutritional habits, background, and ideals for me pretty well, so thanks for sticking around if you’re still here! Do you have a set nutrition plan that you follow? Or is it more ad hoc with some loose ideals?
Today’s Calorie Count
Morning Snack: 125
Lunch (out to eat): 996
Afternoon Snack: 362
I have gotten a little off-track with my training plan, but I’m hoping by tomorrow I can get back to normal. Curtis was away at the end of last week and over the weekend, so my schedule was a little helter skelter from that, not to mention my classes started on Wednesday, so I had to adjust to that as well. I intended to run fairly early on Friday, either in the morning or right after class, but it didn’t work out. I slept in and had forgotten a friend was coming over after class. After she left, I ended up reading for awhile and then falling asleep for a couple of hours. By the time I woke up, it was 5:00 PM! I decided to go to the gym and run on the treadmill. I did 5 miles then 4 pickups for a total of 5.95 miles with the walking and cooldown included. The pickups were done for 30 seconds each at 9 mph. I did not run on Saturday because again I fell asleep in the afternoon when I planned to run and by the time I woke up it was dark and since my gym closes early, I decided to forego it.
Today, I had a 10K course plotted out and brought along a cue sheet with me so I could do my practice 10K. Unfortunately, one of the turns did not seem to exist. I think what I had seen on the map appeared to be an intersection, but was not. I ended up just backtracking and picking some trail routes that I hadn’t run before and tried to make up the lost distance. Around the point I hit the dead-end, I also lost my cue sheet. I figured I’d just try to guess-timate 6.2 miles. I felt pretty good throughout the whole run, never got tired or winded so I think my pace was pretty good. I forgot to put on my watch though, so I have no idea what that pace was! Clearly, I was a very disorganized runner today. It turns out, the course I ran was 6.14 miles, so pretty close to the 10K I was aiming for!
Tomorrow I’m going to attempt to get my act together and run in the morning since it’s just a short recovery run.
I made myself one of Susan’s breakfast cookies for tomorrow to get back on track with my nutrition. I need to go grocery shopping, though, so I don’t have snacks or lunch packed yet. I’m still trying to figure out what to do about those for tomorrow.
I almost broke my oath to post tonight! I decided that since I lifted AND ran yesterday, I could take today off from training and do my run tomorrow instead. Especially since I am not working and only have one class. Instead I spent the evening at my friend’s place to let our dogs play and get some energy out. If I had the amount of energy that Tara has…wow! I don’t even know what I would do! They wrestled and ran around the apartment for about 3 hours (not to mention she had spent an hour running around at the dog park beforehand!). Needless to say, I am just now (10:30) getting home and in bed and realized I haven’t yet updated the blog today. But here I am, and I’m going to attempt to summarize my training since my last workout update….
Friday – NROLW Stage 4 workout A
Saturday – Unintentional day off
Sunday – 7.2 mile run (treadmill)
Monday – NROLW Stage 4 workout B
Tuesday – Unintentional day off
Wednesday – NROLW Stage 4 workout A and 6.4 mile run
Thursday – Day off
Since this weekend is a relatively easy weekend, I figured it would be ok to do three days in a row of running if I do my workout in the morning tomorrow and afternoon/evening on Saturday and Sunday. The plan calls for doing a 10K Saturday, but I was unable to find one back when I looked a few weeks ago. I may try and find one tomorrow, or I’ll just run a 10K route against myself. I’ve never run a 10K outside of the triathlon before, so I’d be curious to see how I did in a race. Maybe I’ll try and find one on another weekend coming up.
By the way, this may be too much information, but I’m not going to be posting heart rate stats for the next few workouts at least. My chest strap has been cutting into my chest and it’s quite painful! I don’t really notice it when I’m actually working out, but afterward it stings really badly. I’m hoping once it heals, I can figure out an arrangement that doesn’t cause any sores.
I mentioned in my super-short post yesterday that I’ve had a horrible eating week, and I have! It’s been horrendous. Even though I don’t talk about it often, proper nutrition is very important to me. I try to eat intuitively, but keep my calories within the “enough but not too many” category, keep macronutrient ratios fairly stable, and eat as many fresh and whole foods as possible. This week was a throwback to my pre-triathlon days of snacking without purpose and eating mindlessly. I think this is mostly due to the fairly extreme schedule change, which I’m going to have to learn to work around. Now that I’m taking classes, I no longer am able to cook oats at work every morning for breakfast and lunch is going to have to be on-the-run most days. This weekend, I’m going to take some time to figure out a new plan for eating around my schedule for this semester. I forget how much it throws me to not have a good food schedule in place for myself. I think something like this might work:
@wakeup – breakfast
@ 10:25 – small snack on the go
@12:00 noon – lunch
@ 3:00 – afternoon snack/pre-workout
@ 6:30 – post-workout snack
@ 8:00 – dinner
I’m probably going to have to throw that out the window, but it might be a good start. 🙂
I’ve been feeling a little bleh yesterday and today, so I decided to make today a rest day. I picked out an On Demand yoga program to do as my active rest. It was ok, but not really what I was looking for, there was a lot of pilates-type moves for core strength. I wanted some more stretching type moves to do, but oh well. It only took 20 minutes, which was nice. I don’t think I’d do it again, though.
After I was done, I decided to attempt to make some homemade Larabars. I even took pictures to post!
First, I took an entire (well actually a little less because I’d already eaten several) 10 oz container of Sunsweet pitted dates and checked them to make sure they were actually pitted. Once I had removed the one stray pit I found, I microwaved the dates for about 30 seconds since I thought it would be easier to work with them if they were slightly heated.
I dumped the whole container of dates into the food processor and turned it on.
It didn’t take long for it to become a paste-like consistency.
I added 1/2 cup of almonds (1/4 cup at a time).
And 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. The food processor turned it into a very sticky ball of dough.
I spread it into a small baking dish and put it into the refrigerator to harden. After an hour or so I moved it to the freezer to be faster.
After they were sufficiently hard, I cut them up into 16 squares to store.
This one only made it as far as my mouth! 🙂 It was tasty!
Here’s the nutritional info:
Serving size -2 squares (1/8 of whole)
Calories – 148
Fat – 4 grams (rounded up)
Carbohydrates – 30 grams
Protein – 2.5 grams
I think that next time I’ll add a bit of chocolate protein powder, but I’m pretty pleased for my first attempt. I’m excited about getting some more dates and trying some different combinations of flavors. The pecan pie Larabars are especially interesting to me. Yum, I’m salivating just thinking about it!