Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Put a Fork in Me...I'm Done

So much for the elimination diet. I just ate a Celeste Pizza For One and topped it off with two rice pancakes (which are actually very yummy. Plus I used real maple syrup, which is delish).

I did learn something through this experience, although I had an inkling about it even before I started this diet. I have a problem with corn and with food derived from corn, such as canola oil.

I will now softly sob in a corner because corn chips are one of my favorite foods...especially when used as scoops for my favorite confetti salsa (recipe on this blog).

I also learned that any diet that tells you to abstain from consuming chocolate cannot possibly be a diet a chocoholic can stick to. (A duh moment here, folks.)

So I'm taking back my chocolate. I'm taking back my pasta. Give me my coffee with artificial powdered creamer. And where the heck is my Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese?

True, I slimmed down some and I like that. But maybe I can find a happy medium in here somewhere. I do believe I mentioned earlier that I don't do well on diets.

So will look for a happy medium and report on it. I do love my juicer, however. And I'll give you its merits in a later post.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More on the False Fat Diet

Okay. We are hungry people, my husband and I. But we started this False Fat Diet on Tuesday and he has already lost about three pounds. I lost almost one pound. Of course, I'm not doing this for weight loss. I'm a size 2 or 4 (depending on the manufacturer), and it's hard enough to find clothes that fit. (Plus, I'm short, but too tall for petite sizes, and apparently most petite sizes are meant for great grandmothers anyway).

But I digress...I am doing this diet to help me get off my sugar and carb cravings, and end the bloat. Also, I hope the side effect of this new diet will be the lowering of my cholesterol. The last time I had it checked it had zoomed up, and I believe it's because I ate too many refined sugars and consumed too many carbohydrates. AND (I will admit) I was eating a lot of cheese. Daily. Saturated fats galore.

I have also been adding vitamins. B complex, D, E, Calcium, MGM supplements, and Omega 3s that make burps taste like salmon. I will be retaking my cholesterol test in March, and following up with a visit to my doctor (whom I see annually for physicals anyway).

My goal is to continue eating more fruits and vegetables and eat less saturated fats and sweets. A lot less. So far I'm doing well. I haven't made a batch of cookies yet!

Now I have amended this diet plan. I added Cheerios because, frankly, I'm sick of Rice Squares cereal. Which is ironic because last week I was bemoaning how sick I was of Cheerios. I have to admit, though, I really liked the Cream of Rice cereal with maple syrup (the real maple syrup, not the kind I usually buy that is mostly high fructose syrup).

Oh, and this diet cuts out high fructose syrup, too. I'm especially interested in seeing what happens to my LDL levels if I avoid it completely. I will, of course, keep you posted.

But right now, I'm hungry. I will eat a banana. I will not break down and shove cookies in my mouth. (New mantra.)

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dr. Haas's False Fat Diet

I am not a dieter, per se. In the distant past I've taken diet pills, tried to live off only fruits and greens, attempted the Atkin's diet, and considered fasting for detoxification purposes.

May I just say all of that really, really sucks? People aren't meant to live like this.

Long ago, after these methods were either tried and dumped or never tried at all, I decided dieting was not a great option for me to lose weight or control my cholesterol.

I am telling you this because someone recommended a book to me, since I have one of those annoying "sensitive stomachs." Elson M. Naas, M.D. is the author of The False Fat Diet. The idea behind this book is that excess gas and bloat make us look bigger than we really are. Gas and bloat can be caused by food reactions. Food reactions are when we eat something our bodies have trouble processing.

This book enables the reader to discover what foods he or she is sensitive to so that he or she can eliminate it from their diet. There are different ways to go about this, some ways are much stricter than others. I will be honest by saying I planned to go the strictest route, and then chickened out and took the least strict route instead.

I'm glad, because I am only on Day 2 and I am HUNGRY.

I chose the "Sensitive Seven Elimination Diet." It eliminates dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, and sugar.

Do you see the last item? That's a biggie for me. I love sweets. Love 'em so much I want to marry them. (Or at least marry the Pillsbury Dough Boy.) So instead of avoiding sugar altogether I sprinkle a half teaspoon of raw sugar in my tea. I have sweetener already in my almond milk. (I tried to go with unsweetened. Blech. I dealt with it for ten days and didn't get used to it.) It's also in the pear butter Dr. Haas recommended for my rice cakes (very yummy, to be honest.) But I am eliminating cookies, cake, my beloved Dark Chocolate Chex Mix, and anything else that makes me have sugar cravings all day long.

Excuse me while I brush the drool from my chin.

My husband, the trooper, is joining me on this journey. I figured 1 week will be good, and if I still feel hungry and miserable, I will re-modify my modified diet.

While discussing this diet with my husband, I learned that it's highly possible that I normally consume more calories than he does in a day. Yet, he has gained weight over the last year, and I have remained stable (with mild fluctuations during that "time of the month," if you know what I mean).

How can this be? he wondered. Here are possibilities:

1) He miscalculates how many calories he eats per day (most people believe they consume a lot less than in actuality).
2) I exercise at least three times a week. He does not.
3) I ALWAYS eat breakfast. He rarely does. (Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast consume less later in the day).
4) I snack, something he thinks should make me weigh more. But the body needs energy throughout the day.
5) I am a stay-at-home mom who does daily housework and sometimes runs around with the kids. He sits at a desk at work much of the day.
6) I get at least eight hours of sleep. He gets less; sometimes much, much less. Again, studies have shown that people who do not get sufficient sleep tend to gain weight.
7) If he doesn't consume enough calories, his body might think it's in starvation mode and hang on to every calorie it can.

I don't know the reason, but I do know that going on this elimination diet should be an interesting topic of conversation at his holiday party coming up. Will this diet help my husband lose weight? Will it make me heavier? Will I be able to keep it up? Only time will tell. I will keep you up-to-date!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting Started in Running

I realize that with the start of a fresh new year comes the potential for hamstring injury. Why? Because people decide they will take up running.

Here's what I did to prevent injury and exhaustion, both of which usually lead to giving up this potentially life-changing form of exercise. First of all, let me state that I went about it the wrong way for years. I was also in my twenties and recovered much quicker than I do now in my forties. When I began running again, I knew I had to be smarter.

It was spring, maybe April or May. I walked to warm up my muscles. Music pumping through my ears helped me stay motivated because let's face it, walking is boring. Okay, maybe the first few times you see nature at it's best, birds singing from trees, squirrels dashing up tree trunks. If you go at night, there may be a few houses with lights on, and the inhabitants have left their drapes open, exposing the beauty of their homes. All of that is interesting the first few times. But then it becomes blah, same old same old. So music can be helpful.

Next, I jogged...which is different from running because it's more like bouncing. Jogging is slower than running. The heart doesn't pump as fast, the lungs can get used to exertion little by little. I jogged about an eighth of a mile. That's pretty much when both my legs and lungs gave out. So I walked the rest of the way...an estimated total of 2 miles.

Two days later, I did it again. And a few days after that, I repeated this. Finally, I felt ready to jog a little further. This slow progression prepared me for my final goal: to run 3 miles straight by the end of summer.

I slipped into running mode and ran, then walked, ran, then walked. Eventually, I was able to run 1 1/2 miles straight, then walk the last 1 1/2 miles. By end of summer, I had stretched it to three miles. When winter kicked in, I stopped running. Sure, some people love ice crystals in their throats and slipping across patches of ice. Not for me. So the next spring? I had to start all. Over. Again.

Man, that sucked.

Exercising regularly at the gym changed that irritating pattern. This year I ran 4 miles by April. Of course, if you've been loyal to my blog you know I had Achilles heel pain by fall, so I took it easy. But yesterday I ran those 4 miles again, no problem.

*so proud*

Moral of the story? If you aren't running, but you want to do so, get on a regular exercise program at the gym or at home. You might be able to start off your first run surpassing that 1/8 of a mile mark. But don't overdo it! Other things to consider if you're running in neighborhoods:

1) Bring a phone in case of emergency...unusual shortness of breath, pain in left arm, anything that may be a symptom of a heart attack.
2) Avoid dogs. Even when there is an Invisible Fence. If someone is walking their dog on the sidewalk in front of you, move across the street until you've passed them. Same goes for a barking or watchful dog in a yard. Avoidance is the best policy.
3) If you are a beginner or intermediate runner, stretch halfway through your run. Your legs will thank you later.
4) If you feel exhausted, walk. You can always run again later. Take care of yourself.
5) You might want to bring a water bottle in hot weather in order to stay hydrated.
6) Don't run in thunderstorms. Even if you don't get hit by lightning, you will worry about it.
7) ALWAYS stretch after a run for at least five minutes.
8) Don't reward yourself afterward with a giant hot fudge sundae unless you have normal cholesterol and are trying to gain weight.

Happy running!