Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time for changes

I think this is week 3 of Zoning, and things are still going well. I've been more consistent eating than I've been working out. I've yet to hop on the scale this week, but I don't think it has budged much. I'm fine with that. I've been fairly consistent logging in what I eat every day into my FitDay "Diet and Weight Loss Journal." I don't look at it that way, and instead of a way to track what I'm eating, what time of day, where my calories come from, and the break out of my carbs, protein, and fat. Sure, I want to lose some weight and lean out, but that will all happen if I eat clean.

This past weekend I was was up in Philly for the day to visit my former boss and to eat. She knew of my recent addition of meat to my every day eating, even though she's a vegetarian herself, and accommodated our eating likes and dislikes - Feta cheese on the side of the Greek salad, and olives separate from the hummus. We gabbed and noshed on veggies, hummus, and cheese. It was the first time I'd ever had raw cheese (Feta) and it was phenomenal! It made me wonder what I've been eating all along if this is what cheese is supposed to taste like.**

I didn't write down all that I ate that day, but I stuck with mostly veggies and tried to go easy on the hummus and cheese. Okay, notsomuch on the cheese since it was de.licious, and it was also the only source of protein on the table. I brought a bag of cashews and noshed on that on the way home. Getting home at 12:30am was toooough!

In addition to writing down what I eat, I'm trying to eat something new each week. First it was chicken, which has turned into my main source of protein along with the eggs I already eat in abundance. Last week I had turkey bacon for the first time. Over the weekend I had my first buffalo burger. My GF bought some pork chops and buffalo burgers at the weekly farmer's market near her office, so we had pork chops and apple sauce for dinner Friday night, and buffalo burgers Sunday night. We picked up some raw cheddar cheese from Trader Joe's and had a thin slice on top of the burger (no bun). It's still taking us awhile to learn how to grill/grill on the G. Foreman, but the combination of the two is a taste I can't describe. And it's shocking for me to say that meat. tasted. GOOD! I savored every bite and talked about it two days later.

And I only stopped talking about it because I finally had bacon for breakfast. Not the Morningstar Farms stuff that I usually, and still occasionally, have, but a pig with salt and other seasonings. It was all natural uncured bacon from Trader Joe's. I stood at the meat case trying to figure out what to get and said 'this one'. Pretty unsophisticated. I usually take my breakfast to eat at work, and made sure to pour the bacon grease in the container on top of the eggs and bacon. I'd usually do that with syrup, but that is a no-no. Not a bad substitute.

I also purchased salmon over the weekend and have yet to cook it. I'm not sure what new and exciting things I'll try next week, but I'm thinking of flank steak or scallops and wrapping them in bacon.

I'm going to make a few modifications even though I feel fine at 16 blocks and 2x the fat. Looking at my profile, I'm right around 25%-C 30%-P 45%-F each day. I'd like to get those totals closer to 20-30-50.

Here's what I'm looking to do:

- Cut back on fruit and get most of my carbs from vegetables

- Cut back on dairy from 3-4x day to 2-3x as a source of protein.

- Increase fat from 2x to 3x.

- Get more sleep.

- Don't eat dinner so late.

I'm eating dinner around 8-9pm each night and getting to bed around 10:30pm. Not good since I *try* to get up most mornings at 5, but snooze until the GF's alarm goes off at 5:25am. It caught up to me this week as I had to take a little cat nap after work yesterday.

It shouldn't be hard to make these minor changes. I'll keep it this way for the next two weeks (through the first week of August) before making any more adjustments.

**Yes, I'm aware of the dangers of eating raw cheese. Educate yourself a tad

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two weeks of cheating?

I guess I haven't been following my plan as prescribed. Writing everything down and logging it into Apparently I've been 'hiding' a few things.

I chew gum and pop the occasional Altoid. Also, some of my vitamins contain a few calories.

There. It's out there and I've fessed up. Phew! Sooo much better.

That's about the extent of my cheating since I don't record the plethora of vitamins that I consume. So what do I take? See below:

- Trader Joe's Gummie multi vitamin for kids (1)
- Vitamin E
- Calcium
- Fiber tab
- Flaxseed oil
- Acidophilus

- Acidophilus
- B-complex
- Flaxseed oil
- Fiber tab

- Trader Joe's Gummie multi (1)
- Calcium
- Flaxseed oil
- Glutamine powder (occasionally after a workout)

Most of these have extra "stuff" in them and contain upwards to 10 calories in each. And, like the gum and Altoids, they have have sugar in them. Should I be concerned? The only real concern should be that I'm probably just pissing my money away by taking all of these. I eat a fairly balanced diet but I like the added assurance that I'm meeting my daily requirements of vitamins and minerals instead of overdoing it. I will cut back on the gum and Altoids.

When recording most of my food in Fit Day, I use the foods they already have programmed in. It takes a bit to set things up, but I eat similar things every day, so after a couple days it's no problem to go to "Recent Foods" to add what I've eaten. I use the "Journal" function as well to track when I ate and include more detail about the Zone Block split and serving size. Not many people can picture 1 ounce of cashews, so I write it as 22 (21) cashews.

I'm making a few changes regarding the reporting of my foods. Yes, it's tedious at first, but makes for a more accurate reading. For example, I started eating Turkey Bacon this week, and used the TB that is listed in FitDay. I had it again today for breakfast and after reading the nutrition label, realized the FitDay bacon was MUCH higher in calories and fat than what I was actually consuming. It took 2 seconds to add the Trader Joe's Turkey Bacon under "Create a Custom Food" and now I have better record of my breakfast. With Cashews, FitDay doesn't parse them out per nut, as I eat them, and instead by weight. I was guessing how much I'd been eating and finally weighed out how many cashews equals 1 oz. Answer - 22. My entries will be more accurate for cashews now with 15 cashews (5 blocks of Fat) = .68 oz.

I weighed in at 162.2 this morning, down .2 lbs from last week. I'm fine with that and know that my cashew 'binge' last night didn't help. I was tired and hungry after work and cracked open a bag of cashews. I started counting out 9, then 12, then 15 to hold me over.. then finally stopped at 30 cashews. I was over my allotment of fat (41 blocks.. 32 usual), but I'm okay with that since I could've binged on York Peppermint Patties.

I've had some good workouts this week that have left me sensitive, not sore. My muscles don't ache, they are just very sensitive to every little touch. Having my GF's arm across my body when sleeping feels like a 100# weight crushing my core. I'm a delicate flower, yet I was able to pull a 195# dead lift for a 1 rep max at my first max attempt. The 200# goal was right there, but now it's closer than I've ever imagined. And now I have 215 or even 225 to shoot for.

I'm going to keep my blocks at 16 and 2x fat for now. Training will pick up now that I'm adding CFE workouts again. I'm hoping next weeks weigh in is a little more successful and that I can stave off those late day cravings.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And so it begins..

Yesterday I signed up for The Ring, a 71-mile circuit run of the Massanutten trail. I completed this run last September in a time of 28:17 and limped in with considerably sore feet. I hope to improve on my time as well as the state of my feet. This is a fat ass style run, not so much a race, so there is no entry fee, limited aid, and no cut off times. If you finish, you're lucky if one of the two RD's is there (or awake) to shake your hand when you walk up to the start/finish area in the parking lot. Your prize? The chance to run it again in the clockwise direction in February.

Training will be different this year as I'll be following CF and CFE exclusively. I might get out to the mountains for longer tempo or interval runs, but nothing over 15 miles long. This year will be a bit of a challenge since I've taken some time.. okay, a lot of time.. off after MMT with my longest run being a 10k. Runs have been programmed into the CF workouts more recently, so I've been getting in some running. Total current weekly mileage might be around 2 miles.. or less.

Is it enough to carry me 71 miles?

I have two months to train and find out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First week check up

It has been a little over a week that I've been strict Zoning and I feel great. At first I would look at the clock every few minutes to see if it was time to eat again, and it's to the point that eating is becoming a chore. I did have some hunger pangs those first few days, but having a Nalgene full of water (and BPA!) next to me helped hold me over until it was time to eat again. I try to keep meals anywhere from 1.5-3 hrs apart and drink at least 3 Nalgene bottles (32oz) of water a day.

I've been tweaking my blocks and fat a bit, going to 2x at 16 blocks, and so far am feeling fine at this point. I could probably eat more fat to make up for lost carbs, but I'm going to keep it where it's at for now and might tweak it again next week.

I weighed in last Wednesday for the first time in awhile and am down about 1.5 lbs since then. I don't expect miracles and aim to gain strength and improve my body composition with my Crossfit and KB training. If I drop weight *cough, 10 pounds, cough* I'll be thrilled, but I'm not sure if it's something I can maintain since I gained back what I had lost prior to MMT pretty quickly. A cheat here and there (after 30 days!) might be added to curb any cravings, but those can lead to chocolate comas where I wake covered in the wrappers of Fun Size Snickers mumbling "the small ones add up so quickly!!"

So far I haven't had any cravings for chocolate (wait 15 more days...) and have been on my best behavior, but next weekend is another test when I'm heading to Philly for the day to visit my former boss. She's aware of my freaky eating and doesn't have a problem with it. I mentioned that I probably won't drink and she's fine with that since that just means more wine for her. Win-win!

So we'll what happens in the next couple of weeks as I eat the same monotonous crap day after day.**

I'm still eating the ingredient-dense Morningstar Farms brand sausage patties and bacon for breakfast and probably will for awhile longer. I'm still working on adding 'new' meats to my everyday menu and haven't gone beyond the 'thinking about it' stage. So far I'm fine with chicken. I've had it for dinner and lunch most days and it's easy to do in the George Foreman Grill so as to not contaminate the vegetarian skillets in the household. It works well, does its job, and I enjoy using it. 'Nuff said.

Here's hoping to another good week.

**Really, it's not all that bad. If I didn't like it I wouldn't eat it!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

When one streak comes to an end and another starts

It was a weekend in February, 2001, when I last ate meat/fish/poultry. I was out bridesmaid dress shopping with my mom and older sister and we went to Red Lobster for lunch. That year I made it my New Years Resolution to become a vegetarian. There wasn't too much thought into why, I just thought it would be cool to do. I'd give up meat for Lent and figured if I could do it for 40 days/nights, I could do it for 365 days/nights or more.

That 'or more' turned into 8 years, 4 months, and a few days.

I took pride in being a vegetarian. I turned my nose up a skanky fast food, avoided any mild food poisoning I might've had in my pre-veggie days from eating ill prepared meats, asked if food was prepared with chicken/beef broth or fish sauce, and made other modifications to my order. I cooked with and learned to love tofu and tempeh and other meat substitutes.

I was able to find mild 'success' in sports as well, having decent showings in ultras and triathlons and have gained strength as a vegetarian while doing Crossfit. What's not to like about that? My weight has fluctuated from 158 (recent low) upwards to 175 (fatty in 2005). Okay, looking at that range, fluctuate isn't the appropriate word, ballooned is! Eesh.

I've been at a post-MMT weight of 165 of late (afraid to get on the scale, but had to find the weight of a picture frame so I had to get on) without eating too terribly bad. However, a cheat 'here' and a little more of this 'there' adds up to 5 lbs and then some. I'm trying to stay away from the 'and then some' part, so I've decided to make some changes. Part of the decision comes from a recent post from a blog that I read asking readers to change your life in 30 days. She is asking people to do Paleo, but I'm going with The Zone.

I'd been following The Zone (40-30-30) for a few months now with a looser approach as opposed to weighing and measuring of everything. I have started that up again and will be much more strict, weighing and measuring everything. I've been using Crossfit Journal #21 about meal planning as well as scouring the internet for other sources and ideas. It's somewhat difficult to jump right back into it, sink or swim, but if I take the time to really learn it, I'll just keep putting it off. I have a good base knowledge and will continue to add to what I know.

I plan to cut out all grains (bread, rice, pasta, cereal, etc), no cheat days, nix the alcohol, no processed foods, no sugar (syrup, Splenda, honey), as well as add poultry to my diet. Yes, poultry. I mentioned earlier how I had been a vegetarian for 8+ years and that has officially ended. I've started eating chicken this week to mix things up. If I've been able to do X for so long as a vegetarian, why not see what my results might be when adding chicken to my diet? I'm a little leery about adding fish, meat, bacon, etc after such a long layoff, but I have not noticed any digestive issues from the chicken. Any 'discomfort' was probably from the curry powder I made from a mix of 8 or so different spices, but I digress.

Another difficulty is storing and preparing it in the house with another vegetarian. Separate utensils, plates, storage containers, cutting boards have been purchased and/or okayed by the Mrs. I continue to seek approval to thaw a chicken breast in the fridge or defrost in the microwave, trying to figure out which will cause the least amount of stench and clean up. It's a learning and acceptance process for everyone, however, I think the dog is on my side. :D

To keep with my progress, I'm keeping track of what I eat at Fitday. You can follow my progress or just be nosey and check out my public fitness journal from time to time. Sure, there's not a lot of variety in what I eat, but I like to stick with what I know and like, and with what's easy to prepare.

Additionally, I had said before that I was considering a return to the triathlon world and I'm going to put that on hold. I've been on my bike and in the pool and I'm just not feeling the fire or drive to do it, so I'm not going to force it. I have other priorities right now and that will be my focus for the next month. I'm still looking to do The Ring, a 71 mile trail run, so that will be on the September calendar. I might swim and bike from time to time, but it will be for variety. I'm sticking with running and kettlebells and Crossfit for the time being.

It seems to fit with the quarterly changes I make in my life. Look out for October, if not sooner, for more changes. That was when my old company would always re-org and people would get laid off. How fitting.