The last week has been interesting. I started with WIDE! EYED! OPTIMISM! ready to change my world ONE MEAL AT A TIME and I was gung ho and dedicated and excited with shiny new guidelines and pen and paper food journaling and no calorie counts.
A week has passed now, and I can report:
-Energy levels – WAY up. I can chalk it up to the second week on the stupid early morning schedule, or workout fueling, but I am no longer a puddle of worthless after 4-5pm. I even had a wee bit of trouble sleeping on Monday night for 30-60 mins. I definitely have a lot more in the tank. I increased my long run to 7 miles this week and short bike to 45 mins (14 miles) and don’t feel NEARLY as beat as I did last week with less.
-I can get down with this method of snacking, fueling, and breakfasting. This works in my life. The lack of GNAWING hunger ever is a pretty good trade off with eating good foods. Not coming to work and wanting to eat my desk after a run and being able to chew through as many snacks as I want without guilt is just *bliss*. I slipped up on snacks on these occasions: 4-5 ruffles chips, 1/2 serving of ramen, 2 squares of chocolate, a few pita chips. All but one chocolate were Zliten handing me food. I guess I should get better at saying no. Hmmm…
Now that the wide eyed enthusiasm has worn off, it’s time to HUNKER DOWN. Three weeks from now, when it’s old news, I need to remember why this all matters. It’s time to dig in my heels, follow the program, and channel all the patience and power I have to get on the bus and keep it rolling. It’s that second month of half marathon training when it’s no longer NEW and EXCITING, and not near enough to the race to get excited about that, you just have to get out there, and put in the miles, even if it sounds like the least exciting thing in the world.
This week’s lesson at the nutritionist – controlling blood sugar.
She started with a weight watchers story. One lady she was seeing had been doing WW and strictly stuck to the program, and was not losing any weight. When asked what she ate, she said 2 points for breakfast, 2 for lunch, and 28 for dinner. Elaborating – she ate a 90 calorie lemon cake (with 30 grams of sugar) for breakfast, the same for lunch, and then went WILD at dinner. Stuck to the point count, but ate no quality food. Obviously, this is an extreme, but I know I’ve had pretty shitty nutrient weeks but just kept it in calorie range.
She has this cheesy picture of a happy girl surrounded by fruit, veggies, milk, nuts, brown rice, beans, fish, and chicken, and an unhappy girl surrounded by hostess and nestle’s finest. 🙂 The happy girl has blood sugar that is even and her cells are working normally. The unhappy girl has too much sugar in her blood, which means the cells aren’t taking in enough nutrients, and excess blood sugar leads to bad things like heart disease and diabetes and the world being dominated by small ant creatures – in other words, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together, etc etc.
When you have a lot of blood sugar, your body releases a lot of insulin. Insulin is the number 1 producing fat hormone because it increases adipose. So the fatty meats and simple sugars make your blood sugar spike, making the cells not function properly and take in the right things, and they become inflamed and inefficient. Constant abuse can lead to tumor growth, heart disease, diabetes, and mass hysteria as above.
She is very happy with my breakfast, fueling, and snacking, and that I’ve been so ok with letting go of the calorie counting. I slip a lot and say calories, but I’m more trying to convey size than value. And to be honest, if I don’t have a daily goal for calories, 150 calories means nothing to me. It’s really freeing!
Alternatively, I said that I found my tendency to snack has gone UP. I recounted one day where I ate like a crap ton of beef jerky because I was just HUNGRY expecting to get the “eh, well, that’s a little much”, and she said “and you ate it, your blood sugar didn’t go up, and you went on with your day. Awesome.”
I’m not sure I buy in 100% that keeping my blood sugar even will be the silver bullet, but I’ll go with it. It makes sense that it has a part to it, I just feel odd without a quantity limit, like I can do myself in there.
But, it’s definitely something different. I need different because obviously nothing “same” is working. 😛
My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to work on these 3 things:
1. Considering my blood sugar each time I eat. Is what I’m putting in my mouth going to have no effect (protein, fats), a small, reasonable effect (veggies, fruits, beans), a larger, but still reasonable effect in moderation (potatoes, unprocessed grains like brown rice, barley, quinoa, etc), or will spike it (white bread, pasta, sugar, anything with flour).
2. Reducing the number of grains. Each meal, I’m supposed to have about half of what I normally would. If I’d normally have a cup of rice, have half a cup. If I’d have a sandwich with two slices of bread, eat it open faced. I am to replace with beans, nuts, or extra veggies/fruit to hunger.
3. Single Ingredients. I’m *pretty* decent about this, but I am to focus on putting together meals that either come from single ingredients, or if packaged, have less than 8 (give or take – if it’s got 10 good quality ingredients, then sure, if it has 5 crappy, then no, but as a general rule). Half my cart is normally produce anyway, but it will be an interesting reality check when I go shopping this week and check out all my normal foodstuffs.
It will be interesting. A challenge for sure, but I’m up for it. While it’s not as hard as that cleanse, it’s definitely more challenging than counting calories. If anyone has some damn fine barley, quinoa, or bean recipes, I’d love to hear ’em!!!
Chugga Chugga Chooo Chooo (Here comes the train-ing):
I’ve also noticed that my training lately befits an Olympic tri (20+ mile rides, 10k+ runs). I’m extending the run to prep for the See Jane Run half, but also the theory/strategy if I’m used to long runs in the heat, a 5k will be easy peasy (of course, with some major short speedwork closer to the race so I don’t forget how). I want to get some quality bike miles in while it’s warm enough (last year I pretty much put the bike away Oct – March, cold wind is not my buddy) and we have lofty goals of a century (100 miles) in the first half of next year. I think getting to 50 before I have to retreat to the stationary for good is a good start. I have 30 on the plan this weekend.
…but this makes me think. I can probably PR an Olympic this year with my eyes closed if I continue to heat train. Mebbe I finds a race and wing it. If Zliten won’t kill me too much since I said I was staying short this year.
There are two reasons I wanted to stay short – #1 so I can train with Zliten, and #2 because I was afraid of gaining more with distances (since that’s what’s been going down lately). Well, #2 is out the window since I’m on this new program, and #1? Getting up in the morning is way less impactful to get in the long runs/bricks, the swim portion is 30-60 mins max and not anything I’m worried about, and he’s down with the long bikes together.
Definitely a consideration… or maybe I just enjoy long runs and bikes for the sake of just base building and actually getting out and enjoying the summer this year for the first time instead of retreating to the gym for 3-4 months.
So, any good recipes? Olympic tri or stick with sprints? Think my lady person is sane or crazy for trying to make me go low grain?