healthy |ˈhelθē|adjective ( healthier , healthiest )in good health: : feeling fit and healthy.• (of a part of the body) not diseased : healthy cells.• indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health : a healthy appetite | a healthy balanced diet.• (of a person's attitude) sensible and well balanced : a healthy contempt for authority.• figurative in a good condition• desirable; beneficial• A conscious choice; A life-long commitment.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Run a Race? Hey, Why Not!

I was asked to write a post on how I got started with running. Let me begin by saying I am still VERY (and I strongly emphasize the "very") new runner, I only started running in February. That being said, I do believe I have learned a lot in that short time, and having run a 10k and currently training for a half marathon, I do feel I can offer some (probably very minimal, and definitely not expert) advice on how to get going with running, if you think it is something you might like to try.

I made the decision to start running after a boy, ahem, a negative influence, in my life moved away. I needed something to distract me and I was bound and determined for it to not be a boy. I anted no boys. I wanted to be alone and to find out who I was and I honestly believe running helped me to accomplish that.

Races in Central Alberta are far and few between. I knew that eventually I wanted to run a half marathon, and even farther down the road a full marathon, but I thought that was a pretty daunting task. I also thought 5k wasn't enough of a challenge at this point, so I settled on the 10k. Pretty fitting considering the Woody's Half Marathon (Red Deer's only Marathon) had just added a 10k Race this year. I thought, What the heck, and signed up.

Next, I googled (credible, I know) "How to Run 10k" and clicked the first link that came up. Enter Hal Higdon. I started looking through his website, and checked out his 10k Beginners training guide, and thought it sounded easy enough. It also fit into my very hectic school schedule pretty well, so I decided I would follow that.

That my friends, is how I started running.

A spur of the moment decision, that I have never looked back on.

.... Kind of like my decision to become a Vegetarian. Haha

Here are some tips that you may find helpful if you are just starting to run:
  • It is uncomfortable at first. Sometimes your liver will hurt so bad it will feel like it wants to explode. Sometimes it will feel like your lungs physically cannot take another breath. When this happens it is Okay to take walking intervals. Listen to your body first and foremost. Know when and how hard to push yourself - only you can make that boundary.
  • Download music that you like and make a sick playlist. I like to update my playlist monthly. I also like to run to fast paced, "top 40's" tracks like Lady Gaga and B. Spears. This isn't for everyone, so again, listen to what you like - it will make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Drink water!! I try to drink every 2km.
  • For me the first 17-20min are the hardest, from 20-45min I hit my runners high, at 45-50 I hit a brief wall, and at min 60-90 I am good again, from 90-100 I hit a wall, and from 100-120min I am good. Again, this is individual. Try and figure out what your body is telling you. This will take some time to figure out, but check for cues such as how heavy your legs feel, how fast your heart is beating, ext...
  • Positive self-talk. Oh man, this one is huge. When I feel like I need to stop I repeat these words to myself: "You are stronger than this. You have accomplished so much already. You can do this. Push yourself. Push harder." And it works. That is my personal mantra. Come up with your own and write it down!
  • Set goals. My goal was a 10k and I told as many people as I could that I was running it, that way I couldn't back out.
  • Find a program that works for you. If Higdon doesn't appeal, try Couch to 5/10k.
  • Buy good shoes. Enough said.
  • If you try it, give it a shot for 3 weeks. If you don't like it after 3 weeks, that is OKAY! You tried, and it definitely isn't for everyone. The only way to consistent exercise is to find something you love. So if you don't love it, try something else!

Those are just a few tips on how to start. It is hard at first, it is hard after 4 months, but that is part of the gratification. I feel like I accomplish something when I run. I feel like I am pushing my body and making it stronger. It makes me feel alive, and completely at peace with who I am.

I ran for the first time in 2 and a half weeks yesterday. 5k in 40min. It was hard. It was slow. I have lost a lost of speed and endurance. It will come back as I continue to run more and more. My back and hips feel good, so I will slowly re-integrate it into my exercise regimen.

I will leave you with my favorite running quote;

If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or you've been running for years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What do I do Now?

So I stepped on the scale after working 2 night shifts, thinking I would stay the same, or perhaps see a small gain. I mean lets face it, yes I have been eating healthy, I have done well this week trying to cut out processed foods, and I feel good that I reduced my dairy intake. I didn't eat out, I enjoyed a coffee almost every day, and I felt like I ate more than I normal would (especially since working nights, I tend to eat more).

What number do I see when I step on the scale?

125.

Wait, What? 125? How is that even possible? I stepped on the scale last Monday and it said 127.5. How is it possible that I lost 2.5lb in 6 days?

Water weight perhaps? Retention from my Pizza and Beer from Last Wednesday now fully out of my system? Going through the "shock" effect from eating lots in Winnipeg to eating what I normally would at home? Time of the month being over?

I don't know.

I found it hard to believe. I let the scale turn off. I moved it around the bathroom floor. Each time, 125. That number is, in truth, a little bit scary. My exercise has been a lot less strenuous the past 2 weeks. Lots of elliptical, Lots of walking, Lots of LIGHT weights. Not anywhere near enough to burn off 2.5lb. Perhaps the water retention from strenuous exercise is now gone?

Maybe a combination of all of these factors?

Not sure.

So whats my plan?

To be honest, I am not actively trying to lose weight. I am trying to be healthy. Eat when I am hungry. Stop when I am full. Enjoy my food to the fullest. Eat the foods I like. Cut back on processed crap. Reduce dairy and egg consumption. Exercise 30 minutes moderate pace each day, and at least 30 minutes light exercise. Listen to my body. Let my back heal.

This is what I have been doing. This is what I will continue to do. If I lose more weight, then my body will eventually come to a halt, a happy place, a good number to maintain at.

I do track all of my food, but that is more for nutrition than actual numbers. I don't eat less than 1300 calories on any day, I am averaging about 1400-1600/day, which is sustaining.

I was asked to write a post on how I started Running, so watch for that sometime this week! I also just finished the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, so I am planning on doing a post regarding a plant based, whole foods diet, which is what I am striving to adopt, the whole foods part, I already have the plant based part down ;)

So that's, that. Ask yourself before every meal: How many processed chemicals are in this food? Can I pronounce all the ingredients on the label? If your answers aren't ideal, perhaps chose something else!

Happy, healthy, eating my friends,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Food Addiction - Does it Ever Go Away?

This morning I received an email from Lysanne (Hi Lysanne!) that reminded me why I love to write in my blog and why I am so thankful people actually take the time to read what I have to say.

That being said... I will provide a quick update and write a meaningful post. Because lets be honest. It is way overdue, and for that, I apologize.

I stepped on the scale this morning and weighed in at 127.5, which is a half pound loss since Monday. I don't really feel like I have a "weight in day" anymore.. I more or less just get the urge every few days and in the morning when I wake up will think "Yeah, I should step on the scale today." I am so grateful it is not an everyday compulsion anymore! That was a stressful time.

My back feels much better after seeing the chiropractor for the last 3 days. It is a very strange science (?), and it is a very physically demanding job, but I am seeing results and it feels nice. Last night was the first night I could sleep on my side without pain and this morning the tightness in my hips was gone in less than 2 minutes (3 days ago I was not feeling any relief at any time).

I haven't run since Sunday the 12th, and I am itching to go, but know that I can't. Instead I have been going on lots of long walks and doing the elliptical trainer daily. This has been working out Okay.... but I would definitely prefer to be running or working out outside or at at class at the gym.

I met Matthias's new girlfriend yesterday! (For new readers - Matthias is my Ex, we were together for 5 years and the relationship ended last August. We remain very good friends and share custody of our 2 year old Rotti, Tuck). She is a very pretty girl, taller than me, but very polite! I was impressed - I think she is a keeper. I told him I approved and I think that made him happy.

Work is going well. I think the Nurses on the Unit really like me. They always give me very positive feedback and I think they appreciate me always trying to help out. I am enjoying my time there very much! I work nights this weekend, which kind of messes up my eating, but that's okay.
Okay, now on to the good stuff.

Food Addiction.

I strongly believe that addiction (or the addictive personality) has a genetic component. My grandmother is an alcoholic. My mother is an alcoholic and benzo addict. I am addicted to food. Or was I addicted to food? That is a question I find that I am asking myself, and I struggle to come up with a concrete example. The semi-answer that I have right now, for myself, is that yes, in fact, I am still a food addict. I think that I always will be. I am addicted to compulsive eating and the feeling of over-satiation that I would feel after a binge. But just because I am aware of this fact, does not mean that I have to act on.

Paul likes McDonald's Coffee. He prefers the taste to Starbucks, and even Tim Horton's. One day when he was at work, I decided to surprise him and bring him a coffee because I knew he was working a long day. This was the first time since November that I had set foot in a McDonald's location. Guess what happened? It is a hard experience to describe, to put in to words exactly what I was feeling, but I will try. My heart rate sped up. My breathing did in fact become slightly more shallow. I looked at the menu and my eyes instantly focused on the Big Mac. I felt hyper aware. I could smell the fry grease. I could smell the burgers being cooked - I could smell it so much that I felt like I could taste it. All of my senses were heightened. It was... strange and discomforting. Did I act on this? Of course not. I have been a vegetarian for long enough to know that I don't want to eat meat in any form, and I have been focusing on a whole foods diet for about a month now (at least) and know that eating the processed crap at McDonald's is not only extremely bad for you, but also not satisfying in any way. I have been back on at least 4 other occasions, and even enjoyed some coffee and iced coffee from their, but that is as far as my purchase will ever go.

On the last stretch of Nights that I was doing I had a patient who's baby was over in the NICU, so she spent the majority of her time either there or alone in her room. I went in at about midnight to do one of her checks and her boyfriend had brought her McDonald's. Fresh McDonald's. And not just any kind.... he brought her a Cheeseburger. The precursor burger to all my binges. Every time I went to McDonald's I would order a cheeseburger to start and finish it by the time I turned out of the drive through. Same thing happened - my senses became hyper aware. I watched her take a bite of the cheeseburger and I felt lust for it. For the way the ketchup was mixed with the onion, and the 2 measly pickles thrown carelessly on to the bun. It was one of the best smells I think I have ever experienced... and I tried to stay in that room for as long as I could so that I could savor it.

Strange how the body remembers these things and how they trigger us to feel a certain thing. A memory. A ritual.

Cheeseburger. Big Mac. Fries & McChicken Sauce.

Am I still addicted? Yeah. I think so. But my mind has been cleared of all the processed toxins found in these foods for so long now that relapse is only a very small concern for me. I can honestly say that I would rather starve than eat McDonald's food.

So what does this mean for me long term, and better yet, how can this knowledge help other binge eaters, compulsive eaters, and fellow food addicts?

I have developed strategies that work for me, to help control my food cravings, the amount of food that I eat, and how I listen to my body.
  • Drink lots of Water; This first thing I do when I get up in the morning is have 2 full glasses of water at least 5 minutes before I start eating breakfast. This helps to jump start my sedentary tummy and I feel fuller before I begin eating, therefore leading to me eating less.
  • Incorporate your favorite foods in to breakfast; I think this one is very important because it helps to tame my cravings for the rest of the day. That means that I incorporate the following foods into my breakfast every. single. day. Bananas, Peanut Butter, Chocolate. Yes. All very sweet foods. Some might consider them to be "bad foods" but I know that for me, my life is not as enjoyable if I cannot eat these foods every day, so why would I want to deprive myself? I incorporate them in healthy and acceptable portions, and I still manage to lose weight/maintain. This is a lifestyle and I never plan on giving up the foods that I love!
  • Start with a schedule; When I was a compulsive eater, I could literally be munching ALL day. Not healthy at all, unless of course you are munching on Veg all day (which I certainly wasn't). I started eating on a schedule to ensure that I never got too hungry or too full, this worked, it helped to control cravings, and it reassured me that I would never face the ever dreaded hypoglycemia, it also gave me something to look forward to.
  • After you have the schedule mastered, start listening to your body; This takes LOTS of practice and is something I am far from mastering and still learning lots about - everyday. I track everything I eat, every day, and have for the last 95ish days. (Check out my food diary here). Within the last month I have started to listen for my true hunger signals (something that is hard for an eater who used to never feel hungry because she ate ALL the time). Now I try to ask myself before I eat "Am I hungry right now, or can this wait half an hour?" "Am I eating only because it is part of the schedule?" "Am I bored/tired/sad/happy?" "Are these emotions affecting my hunger?" "Am I thirsty?" "Out of 10, 10 being starving, 1 being stuffed, how hungry am I?" (I try to eat when I get to about a 6-7). Again, this takes lots of practice, so don't be hard on yourself if it takes a while for you to learn.
  • Enjoy life... In moderation; Something that comes with going on trips is eating out at restaurants, something I do not like to do. Yes, the food is amazing, but Yes, I tend to over do it, even now, when I go out to eat. I try to plan before what I will have, but I now am a lot more lenient on myself because I recognize that these things are not every day occurrences. Last night for example, I went to Original Joes. I enjoyed 3 pieces of pita with hummus, I could have eaten the entire plate if I had wanted to, but I recognized that I had ordered an entree, and would prefer to enjoy a bit more of that than the hummus and pita. I ordered a greek pizza for my entree which came LOADED with cheese. I enjoyed 3 slices. I could have eaten the entire pizza, and I wanted to, but I knew that I could feel like crap if I did, so I stopped myself. I drank a pint of Blueberry Beer, and boy was it amazing. Beer is something I wish I could enjoy every day, so when I go out to eat I make sure to savor it. Normally, I wouldn't have wanted an appy... because I find they take away from the entree, but we have a 50$ gift certificate and the entire $50 had to be used all at once, so we went all out. It was delicious, and by the end of the meal, I was 9/10 on the fullness scale (same idea as the hunger scale, but with 10 being the fullest, and 1 being starving, I usually like to eat to about 7). Could I have eaten less? Yes. Could I have done worse? Yes. Does this happen every day, should I be worried that this will make me gain back all the weight I lost? No.
I hope those tips can offer some strategies as to things you can try to help fight a food addiction. I do believe it is something that will follow me forever, but awareness is what will prevent relapse.

I will write about Forks over Knives, Food INC, and In Defense of Food next... get ready for some whole food, plant based diet talk!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sciatica

This past week I found myself in Winnipeg, MB for the Canadian Federation of Nursing Union's National Biennium Conference. What an exciting opportunity! I was thrilled to have been asked to go - all expenses, except food, paid for, and jumped at the opportunity. 800+ Nurses gathered from across the country to talk about, what else, Union Issues. I have had little education on Union's thus far in my training so it was very eye opening and interesting to learn about the different struggles faced by nurses across the country. Some of the neat things I did while in Winnipeg: Visited the Forks, Went to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Picketed with the Canada Post and Air Canada workers (THAT was interesting, haha), Went to a Banquet.... oh, and have the worst sciatic flare up of my life.

I knew the beds were uncomfortable after the first night. I woke up and could feel it coming on, but instead of listening to my body, which I adamantly encourage everyone to do, I went down to the hotel gym and used the row machine for 30 minutes. Mild discomfort the entire time, but "Oh Well! Gotta get the heart rate up because I know I will be eating more!" So I worked out, and then proceeded to follow this with an entire day of sitting in a work shop. Followed by more sitting and more sleeping in uncomfortable beds by Friday morning I was in so much pain in the morning that I felt faint and had to lay back down because I couldn't sit or stand.

So awesome.

I had a good sleep my first night home, woke up and thought it might be a good idea to attempt stretching. Wrong. So now it has been 1 week of fairly excruciating pain that has made me feel faint once and made me question my ability to drive my own car.

My dad told me today he would pay for a visit to the chiropractor for my birthday present, so today at 11am I am praying for some relief.

I stepped on the scale yesterday morning and maintained my weight at 128, which was a blessing considering the eating out I did last week. I tried to make healthy choices, but I know that I overindulged in sweets. It feels good to be home and eating healthy food again. I am okay with maintaining right now because all I can think about is my back. I need to feel better. I need to start running again - I haven't ran in over a week. Yes, I have been active every day with light weight stuff like stationary bike or elliptical or LOTS of walking, but I hate feeling like I am losing all of my independence.

Will update on how the Chiropractor went... and then hopefully I will be able to focus enough to write some meaningful posts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coming Soon to a Blog Near YOU.

  • Forks over Knives Review
  • Intuitive Eating & Exercising
  • Food Addiction - Does it ever go away?
In the mean time, I am writing this quick post from Winnipeg. Things are going well. Eating decent and trying to work out. I think I will maintain this week or see a small (0.5-1lb) gain, which I think is acceptable considering all the eating out.

Cheers :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Planning a "Good" Post

I have been so so busy the last week that I have been neglectful of the blog. My apologies lovely readers. I am planning a meaningful post and will hopefully get to it within the next day or 2. Watch for it :)

Stepped on the scale today: 128! Yahoo!

Going to Winnipeg till Friday. Will Eat as Intuitively as possible and I have a whole ton of healthy snacks packed. Perhaps I will see a gain this week, but I am just hoping to maintain.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have a confession...

I have an undiagnosed back injury (although if I were to self diagnose it would probably be along the lines of pinched sciatic).

The first step to change is admitting you have a problem.

Very sad face.

For the last 3 months I have been battling severe low back pain when I bend over or move the wrong way. It is sharp, and it often shoots down my leg, even when I am driving. It has been hard for me to accept and acknowledge because it doesn't hurt when I am running, walking, elliptical-ing, just when I am doing work out classes that require lots of jumping, twisting, and bending.

I thought it was getting better because over the last month the pain has subsided (or I was just finally used to it?) but now it is back with a vengeance.

I probably need to see a chiropractor, or massage therapist, but alas, I am too poor and I don't have any health insurance to cover the extra costs. So now, I must ask you all, do you have any tips or suggestions for me? I am really willing to try anything to try and get it un-pinched, but I am at a loss as to where I should start.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bikini Ready :)



Monday, June 6, 2011

ABCDEFood

A: is for Apple, what's your favorite variety?
Gala. Funny story: I used to think I hated apples and refused to eat them. When I became a vegetarian I randomly tried one one day... and fell in love.

B: is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?
Sourdough. But I stick to Whole Wheat!

C: is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently (just one!)
Special K Satisfaction. Cereal is my favorite meal of the day - I could list at least 10 flavors that I love.

D: is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?
Dutchie! I like that it is square and isn’t missing that pesky hole in the middle. The more Doughnut the better.

E: is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?
Microwaved with a wedge of laughing cow cheese, please.

F: is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?
I think that when you add the words “Fat Free” to anything it instantly becomes unhealthy, so I try to stay away from Fat Free products. That being said - I don’t like the consistency of 2% milk, so I like 1% or skim.

G: is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours at?
Safeway (Produce), Save-On-Foods (good organic selection), Superstore, Nutters, Sobeys - anywhere really.

H: is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?
Starbucks: Double, Tall, Nonfat, Light Foam, Extra Drizzle Caramel Macchiato; Double, Tall, Nonfat, No Whip, Cinnamon Dolce Latte; OR Double, Tall, Nonfat, Half-Sweet, Light Whip, Mocha.
Tims: Regular Coffee; OR Half Coffee, Half Hot Chocolate (on special occasions only!)
Can you tell I am a bit picky about my Coffee? :)

I: is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
Chocolate Peanut Butter! Fun topping: Maraschino Cherries (I could eat a whole jar.. therefore I don’t buy them).

J: is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavour?
Strawberry only!

K: is for Kashi, name your favourite Kashi product?
Dark Mocha Almond Granola Bar

L: is for Lunch, what was yours today?
Kashi Peanut Peanut Butter Granola Bar and an Apple with Peanut Butter... not the best option.

M: is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Microwaved Caramel Nut Brownie Luna Bar... Oh my gosh.

N: is for nutrients, do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?
Carbs.

O: is for oil, what kind do you like to use?
Olive Oil Pam. Shhhh.

P: is for protein, how do you get yours?
Fortified whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, soy, tofu, anything meat free, protein powder after a long run.

Q: is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?
With Mashed Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips!

R: is for roasting, what is your favourite thing to roast?
Veggies - Potatoes preferably.

S: is for sandwich, what’s your favourite kind?
Grilled Cheese for Savory. PB&J+Banana, or PB&Nutella+Banana for Sweet.

T: is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?
Packing healthy snacks and coffee to avoid temptations, but being realistic and taking yummy opportunities when they arise.

U: is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?
Apricot & Graham Crackers maybe?

V: is for vitamins, what kind do you take?
Multivitamin Gummy, B12 Gummy, Calcium Chews, Omega 3, Glucosamine, and Iron

W: is for wasabi, yay or nay?
No thanks!

X: is for XRAY. if we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
Water, Shirataki Noodles, Catelli Herb Sauce, Veggie Ground Round, Cheese, Peppers, Onion and Cucumber and for dessert a Revello bar! YUM.

Y: is for youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?
The Ice Cream Truck :)

Z: is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?
Good question. Never prepared it!

128.5 this morning - 0.5lb gone :)
Have a healthy day ladies and gents!

I haven't disappeared!

Hello!

My oh my, its been a while. I had a super crazy week and weekend, and could barely find time to relax at night, let alone keep up on reading blogs and blogging myself!

Here's a quick recap:

- Worked 4 day shifts from Wednesday to Saturday, they were crazy busy, crazy intense, and I learned SO much. I won't go in to details, but needless to say I DID find time to work out after and eat well, regardless of all the other commitments I had going on at the same time (Dr.'s appointments, Nursing Society Stuff, Blah, Blah, Blah).
- Went to a BBQ on Saturday and over indulged in garlic bread (YUM!)
- Dance recitals all day Sunday (from 9am to 6pm), followed by an exhausting 13km run.

I am totally a morning runner, I did NOT want to get out and run after being at the college all day, but I pulled up my big girl panties and did it. I didn't time myself because I didn't really care, I just wanted to get it over with. All went well... aside from the fact that I was attacked by a little white dog. Like legit. It didn't end up biting me because I kicked it in the face every time it got really close, but man oh man, I am lucky! The bastard wouldn't leave me alone. It kept coming at me, within inches, and every time I would have to boot it away. It was vicious. I even tried to run away but the little shit was so fast it was right at my ankles. Not impressed.

In other news - Matthias has a girlfriend too! I am thankful it happened at the same time for us, because it would have been a little disheartening if either of us had been alone while the other was happy, but he seems to like her a lot and he says she likes him a lot so I approve. She is very very pretty as well, and from what he tells me she is nice and has a good head on her shoulders.

I still don't know what the future holds for us - but I suppose that is why it is the future and we never know. I still hope I am not making a huge mistake.

I will probably step on the scale tomorrow morning, but who knows, if I don't feel like it then I won't.

I am also going to fill out that nifty ABCDEFood thing that is going around! That way you guys can see some of the foods I love if you don't have me as a friend on MFP.

Hope you are all having a healthy week!