Recently in Nutrition Category



I ran this morning. That's right, you read that correctly, no you don't need to get your vision checked.

I ran!

Okay, so it was more like jogging, and I walked part of it. But whatev. I went for a run.

And it felt great. The knee didn't hurt until I started thinking about the hike I'm s'posed to do with my peeps in two weeks: Mt Humphreys, the tallest summit in AZ. 12,633 ft. 8-9ish miles to the top, 3000+ feet of climbing. Then my knee slightly twinged. But really, I think that's just psychosomatic (sp?). I hope, anyways.

And then I mapped out my strength training and run schedule (complete with baby steps for speedwork!) for the summer and plugged it into my calendar and sychronized that to my smartphone. And when I got home after work, I did my knee strengthening exercises, just like my smartphone nagged me to do! I love it!

And today I moved to phase II of my diet plan, which I haven't blogged about yet. I decided a few weeks ago that I was ready to be serious about getting healthy. And instead of focusing on what I shouldn't or didn't want to eat, I decided to focus on what I wanted to eat. Positive reinforcement, right? (It goes hand-in-hand with a fascinating techinque for public participation - my field of work - that I got to learn a little about last week called Appreciative Inquiry. Basically, the idea is that when people find what works in human systems (societies, organizations, cultures, family units) and then focus on doing that, they have a much better success rate than those who focus on what doesn't work.) Which dovetails nicely with my (usual) state of Pollyanna Positivity (the last three weeks excluded).

Where was I? Oh - the diet plan. Focus on what I WANT to eat. Okay - that means veggies and fruits. That means a specific target for caloric intake at each meal (except for dinner). It takes time to build new habits, new grooves in the brain, so my first thing to remember is baby steps. And grace. No "thou shalts" here. Flexibility and positivity is the focus.

So the last few weeks I focused on eating 1 veggie per day. Do you know how hard that was?! Wow, I hadn't realized that I wasn't in the habit of eating even 1 veggie per day. I averaged 1/day for maybe 4 days a week. I want consistency - every day (the idea being that I get in the habit of reaching for fruit instead of pudding or cake for a snack). The other focus was on waiting when I got hungry. Waiting just 30 minutes from the first sort of "I'm hungry" thoughts. Because usually, I'm not actually hungry. I'm just stressed.

Last week, I realized I could get two servings of fruits/veggies in one (awesome tasting) cup of new V8 fusion pomegranite blueberry juice. So that quickly upped me to 3 servings/day, just like that! This week I decided I'm going to aim for four servings/day. I made it today already! I like this, it gives me a goal and I feel good when I reach it (because I keep reaching it) and I know I'm building new grooves and new habits and before long it'll be second nature. Yay!

I'm still working on the waiting to eat thing - it's hard - I'm very much an emotional eater. But I did decide I'm ready for the next baby step: portion control (yikes!!!). Paying attention to my portions is the first step, along with leaving one bite behind. (Just one bite. That's easy.)

I'm telling you, I'm really digging this focus on what I WANT thing. I'm using it with my son, even. Talking with him about what I want for our family, getting his ideas on what he wants, giving him expectations, discussing how we interact. (We'd been having difficulties.) This feels good. Yay for baby steps to progress! (And three cheers for endorphins!!!)

This has become my mantra.

I like to eat. I really like to eat Trader Joe's Jo-Jos. The chocolate kind (chocolate wafers with chocolate filling...mmm...). I like to eat them late at night right out of the box. Before I know it, I've downed six or eight - three to four servings. I like to eat an entire white chicken and broccoli pizza. I like to eat burritos with lots (and lots) of cheese with chips and salsa. I like to eat roasted corn chowder that I learned has 500+ calories and 26 grams of fat per serving (it's a big mac in a bowl!).

I rationalize that I can eat this much, because I'm running so much. The jo-jos have carbs, the pizza has good olive oil, protein-rich chicken and vitamin-loaded broccoli. The burritos pack protein. The corn chowder has corn and, well, some green stuff floating in it. I have a justification for everything I eat.

And I wonder why I haven't dropped much weight since starting this training cycle.

After gaining 20 pounds since my gallbladder removal (70 lb weight loss, then 20 lb gain), I realized I weigh more this time around (that's a "duh" statement!). That means the race is going to be that much tougher. I've lost 5 lbs in three months; if I could lose just 10 more lbs in two months, put this 5'3" woman at 140 lbs (hardly underweight!), I would be in much better shape for ZG. Think about it - 10 lbs times 32 miles and 8000 ft of elevation gain. That's a lot of stress on my knees and my cardiovascular system.

Therefore, I have decreed this week that I will eat better, eat healthier and eat less in the next two months in the hopes that I will put my body in a better position to handle ZG. The biggest problem: I am an emotional eater. So, I enlisted Chris's help; he agreed to be my support system on this, as long as it doesn't make things go sour between us :)

The first week has gone well. Most days I've overcome the little challenges (the jo-jos are calling my name....) It's a struggle, but I keep reminding myself of the bigger (smaller?) goal: eating less now = easier race day. It goes right along with my training: running more now = easier race day. I am totally in the "make the race day easier" mode, so I'm hoping the eating falls right into place.

Wish me luck!



So I've got a relay race at the end of March; I'll be running three legs of anywhere from 3 to 8 miles. We haven't had our planning meeting yet to determine who will be running what. I'm a little nervous about this; I've never run a relay, I'm slow and most of the team is fast and I'm not exactly in great shape. I'm taking it easy plunging back into training, which is hard for me to do. I want to be back running 20+ miles a week like nothing! But, alas, I can't. I need to ease into it slowly, so as to not hurt myself.

I'm getting better at the pigeon pose :) The yoga is really helping my body. Last night's class was a beautiful, sensual experience. I'm used to concentrating on the poses as I'm going through the motions, and feeling a sense of grateful release at some point during the class. Last night, the teacher - a sub - wanted us to focus on playing within the poses. Moving back and forth, moving the shoulders, never actually "holding" a pose. We were in constant flux, constant side-to-side or back-and-forth movement within every pose. It was so different, so fun, so joyful, so playful. She kept saying, listen to your body: what does your body want to do? Where does it want to move? I felt like I was dancing. I liked how she emphasized everyone is different, every body is different, everyone's practice would be different. She also had us try the crow pose as well as a head stand - pretty adventurous stuff for this newbie! I wasn't able to hold either pose for more than a few seconds, but it was great fun to try.

I am so sore today from the lunch run yesterday, last night's yoga class and then lugging a heavy laptop around downtown today - I had to report for jury duty. I should find out in the next couple of weeks whether or not I've been excused.

Work has been incredibly busy. It's a little overwhelming, but absolutely awesome. I love being this busy - I get into it, things move smoothly, I'm on a roll. I'm a little tired and sometimes I have to stop and take deep breaths :) Yoga breathing, I remind myself.

Yesterday's lunch run was beautiful. I managed to get out before it hailed, and the nippy chill in the air was great. My pace is definitely slow - 11:40/mile, and that felt tiring. I had about .75 to go when my legs felt shaky and I realized I was STARVING. I wanted to be done, and I felt like I couldn't go on. I got discouraged with that feeling, because I had only run 2.5 miles at that point! And I want to run an ultra?! I've RUN two ultras and I'm feeling like I can't run after 2.5 miles?!?!?! AAAAAAAA!!!!! But I just dug deep, said this is great training and focused on the street light that signaled the home stretch. It was great to get back into that groove - that deep groove of running mentality. Geez, it's been awhile since I've been there!

I am excited that a friend is willing to meet me early Tuesday mornings to get 5 miles in before work on a weekly basis. I ran with him for a little bit last fall, and our conversations flowed easily. I'm looking forward to starting that back up again. You know, it's just that much easier to make sure I actually get out there and run when I'm supposed to meet someone. Once the sun starts coming up earlier and it gets slightly warmer, Paki and I will start our pre-work runs again (I can't wait!). Probably twice a week - once up at the River Path and once down near me. And Kiera and I have our Saturday morning trail runs as well. I took a quiz in a recent Runner's World - what kind of runner are you? - and no surprise, I'm a socializer!

Right now, I've got about three days a week of evening yoga and four days a week of running 3 to 5 miles in the mornings or at lunch. I'm hoping to get a few runs of up to 10 miles before the relay; I'll probably do a couple runs on Saturday afternoons after Kiera and I run, just to get my body used to running more than once, to simulate the relay conditions. Once the relay is over, I can start really working on building my base mileage toward the fall marathon. It feels like the marathon is too far away; I want a race closer in time, but it's too hot in the desert to have any races in the summer. Sigh. Although I worry about getting burned out on training or getting discouraged or losing faith/sight in the goal, I think it's good to have till September to train - I'll be able to gradually, gently, up my miles and take care of my body. I should also get some good heat training in by continuing to run in the spring and summer months.

I've started outlining my miles per day/week for the upcoming few months, but got stuck for the after-relay part. I have to find out with Kiera/Mike which days would work best to start incorporating long runs (Saturday or Sunday). To properly train for the marathon in Flagstaff - at elevation - during the hot hot summer in Tucson - we'll need to do our long runs (up to 20 miles/4 hours on trails) up on Mt. Lemmon. Once you count drive time in, that's a good 6 to 7 hours toward our weekly long run! From what I understand, at this point in time, Kiera is aiming to do the marathon. She's just got some logistics to work out first (like finding someone to watch her kids for an entire day so she can go run).

I'm also happy to get back into thinking about food as fuel - this is comfort territory, this is what I know. I know how to eat to take care of myself, I know what I need to eat before and after a run, I know how much water I need, I know how to fuel myself on rest days. This is an easy habit to fall back into. Running is motivation to eat well. I'm not nearly as tempted to eat a greasy burger for dinner, knowing I'll be up in the morning running.

I am so relieved to be getting back into training! Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day! (I did actually receive some candy from a coworker, and a friend sent me an absolutely beautiful e-mail this morning, part of which stated: ...if you find yourself without a significant other today, just take a look in the nearest mirror and gaze at the wonderful person that you do get to spend time with... I'm sharing that with all of you, because it's a beautiful sentiment that I believe everyone should internalize. It's my Valentine's gift to you all!)

Kiera and I met for lunch at Chipotle today. And since The Running Shop is right next door, Kiera mandated a stop on our way out. She had stopped by before lunch, and wanted to show me the two shimmels she was purchasing. (Yeah, I had no clue that was called a shimmel. I always called 'em bra tanks. My favorite kind of clothing!) As most of you are already aware, Kiera is one fanTAStic baker, and she usually drops off some goodies at the shop when she's in the 'hood. Today was no exception. Jason was complaining that the butter in the cookies made them too rich for him to eat too many, so I offered to take one off his hands :) My one condition? I had to blog about it. And this is why you folks are getting two (!) posts in one day.

Jason, does that qualify?

Growing new habits


Rob’s recent post regarding his resolutions and habits was the kick in the pants I needed to move forward on changing my eating habits.

I’ve complained a few times in the last few months about the amount of weight I’ve gained since my surgery. It took a few months for my metabolism to slow from the lack of running I was doing, and that combined with the amount of (fatty) foods I was eating has caused the inevitable: weight gain. I thought training for my first 50-mile race would melt the pounds, but needing to take care of my knees means not running the 50-miler and keeping my mileage low (okay, a little too low, but I’m working on that…).

I really liked what Rob wrote about focusing on the positive things. Instead of focusing on what he was cutting out of his diet, he focused on what he wanted to add. I try to live my entire life that way – instead of focusing on the negative, I attempt to focus on the positive – what I want, what I can do, what I can move toward. So, I’m going to start focusing on what I want to add to my diet, instead of stressing about just how much I’m eating as I stuff my mouth with more delectable fried food. The other key to this is that habits take time to form. I want to set mini-goals – what I can do each day, week, month, etc. I absolutely know this is possible to accomplish; I lost 70 pounds during 2005! I absolutely know I can do this. It’s just a matter of actually *doing* it.

A few other parts include the low-key desires to: add back some strength training – either yoga or at-home strengthening exercises; drink more water; get more focused/mindful (since the separation and subsequent divorce, my mind has been much more scattered than ever before; I’ve lost my focus); and of course, run more. But I want to remember: baby steps.

First up: I need to figure out what I want to eat. Starting today, I am keeping a food log again to help me track just what it is I’m eating. This way I can see just how unhealthy I’m eating, and what I should focus on adding (and when – do I need to eat protein at 2 pm to help with the afternoon slump? Change the amount of caffeine I’m drinking each day? Etc.). The other thing I’m sort of rolling around in my head is the emotional eating aspect of this. My whole life I’ve been an emotional eater. So I also want to start being mindful of the feelings I have when I know I’m not hungry but I want to eat or I find myself reaching for a specific food (French fries, cheese, etc.). If I can find the stimulus (other than hunger), then maybe I can find a different (healthier) coping mechanism to feel better. Another part – going back to the healthier substitutions for foods I love.

Baby steps. It’s possible. I can do this. Baby steps.

In the paper!


Profiled in today's Tucson Citizen Body Plus!

On a training note, registration for OP50 opens tomorrow, yay! I didn't run much this last week, with a crazy work schedule and moving into my new place, but this week, I am ready to get back into things. I had a good run yesterday morning with Kiera, and a nice sunset hike last night. Fall has definitely arrived in Tucson, and I am glad to be enjoying it.

Getting Back


Getting back into my routine. Feels good. Went for a run with Paki this morning, our first together since "my last run with my gallbladder." How awesome. It was pretty muggy out this morning, so afterwards I decided an iced mocha sounded really good. I stopped by our old Starbucks, and while I was there I figured I'd get my boys some goodies too. Ash woke up early with me this morning, so I knew Johnny would be tired and extra appreciative of some deluxe coffee. And Ash adores the fruit-slice cookies (sugar cookies with icing to look like oranges or limes) and his "cow's milk" (Horizon Vanilla Milk), so I got him his standard. I was proud of the fact that I ordered a tall iced non-fat mocha, instead of a grande or venti like I (sort of) wanted. I'm trying hard for this moderation thing. Last night for dinner, there was no moderation, and I really want to get there. I'm also working on teaching myself that even though I don't feel physical pain or see the number on the scale rise when I eat high-fat foods, they are still unhealthy and harmful to my body. I remind myself of hardened arteries, heart disease, etc. So each time I eat more than I should (another Taco Bell taco anyone?), I'm trying to remind myself of why I don't want to.

I'm ready to start doing a long run each weekend. I'll be heading out with Kiera on Saturday, and hopefully I'll be able to hook up with JD on Sunday morning. Even though I had to walk a portion of this morning's run (due to a side stitch and the horrid humidity), I still feel ready to run longer distances. My body is ready.

Tonight, I'm meeting Joyce at the gym to go over my strength training plan! Yay! I'm so excited.

Further notes on research into the course of study I'd like to take: it's looking like I'd rather get a degree in Exercise Science (or Exercise Physiology or Kinesiology, depending on which school you look at) with an emphasis in Nutrition. It's also looking like if I really want to pull the two together, I'll need to get my master's degree. I'm very excited about researching this information. But because I did not attend college, I have to start at the very beginning. I'm looking into our community college's options for getting the first two years done. They have a great alternative program where I could attend school once a week, year-round, in the evening and get my associates degree. I like that idea. I just have to figure out when to start. January? But then I'll be in my monster month. That might be hard to start. But better than now, when Johnny's starting student teaching and I have a number of public meetings to attend in the evenings (the same evenings the school's program meets) for work. I really don't want to have to wait very much longer. I have so many years of school ahead of me, I'd like to start asap!

PS thanks Gary for your suggestion to check out SCAN's Web site. I'm still not done exploring their awesome Web site!


angie's explored by trail running (and mixed-media art)


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