Monday, September 29, 2014

Change your mind about carbohydrates!

I hear in different conversations that carbs/carbohydrates are bad for us and and pack on the pounds.

Guess what..... Not true!

While I don't know absolutely everything (no one does) what I do know is carbohydrates aren't bad for us. There are diets out there that seem to have some variation on eating fewer carbs or low/no carbs.

First I would like to say that not all carbohydrates are the same. Our body reacts differently to simple carbs vs. complex carbs.

For example if I were to eat a cookie that was 120 calories vs. 120 calories worth of brown rice or 120 calories of apple slices my body would react differently to the cookie vs. the brown rice or apple.

Complex Carbohydrates:

Apple = Aprox 4.5 grams fiber, natural sugars (fructose), Potassium,  Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Sodium, Zinc, B1, B6, B1, E, C, A

Brown Rice = 1.8 grams fiber, 2.32 grams protein, Calcium, iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, B6,


Simple Carbohydrates:

Cookies typically contain = very little if any fiber,  white flour, sugar and butter or hydrogenated oils/fats


If I were to eat brown rice or an apple I would be satiated as these foods have fiber in them and or protein. Fiber and protein helps me feel full and slows down the emptying of my stomach. This leads to me feeling fuller longer and helps with stabilizing blood sugar vs. giving my body a sugar high and then a crash. If I were to eat a cookie that was 120 calories I would still be hungry which would lead to a few more cookies and a lot more fat, sugar and calories to only be hungry again a short time later after the sugar crash.

An excess amount of calories = weight gain.

I've found through my many years of experience with weight loss and weight gain that whole foods work!  Whole foods keep me satiated and fuller longer than simple carbs like: white bread, muffins, white rice, cookies.... (all the things I love!)


What are carbohydrates good for?

1. Carbohydrates are an energy source for our body. Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles as glycogen and in our cells as glucose. Any excess glucose in our body is stored as fat (importance of watching our calorie intake). Glycogen/glucose is what powers our muscles during activity both anaerobically (jumping) and aerobically (long slow distance).

2. Protein sparer. Carbohydrates preserve our muscle tissue protiens. The job of protein is to help maintain muscle tissue, repair and grow. If there aren't enough carbohydrates muscle tissue and fat is used for fuel through glyconeogenesis (the breakdown of protein and fat to be converted to glucose).

Glyconeogenesis occurs under these conditions:
a. Dietary Restriction - consuming little or no carbohydrates - not enough calories.
b. Prolonged Exercise - glycogen/glucose stores are depleted during the activity without any additional fuel.
c. Intense training - repeatedly.

3. Metablolic Primer. Carbohydrates serve as a primer for fat to be used as energy. The byproducts of carbohydrate breaking down is what serves as a primer to burn fat for energy. The body can not have a sustained high level of activity (aerobic) from fat only (less intense of a workout = fewer calories burned). The body needs carbohydrates.

4. Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord). Our brain relies on carbohydrates exclusively to function. The brain gets the carbohydrates in the form of blood glucose. The brain doesn't have the capability of creating a storage of glucose to be used later (like our muscles do). During intense exercise our muscles use what glycogen and blood glucose is available. Blood glucose eventually decreases below normal and the body can have mild symptoms of hypoglycemia (weakness, hunger, dizziness). Exercise performance decreases and fatigue sets in.

Summary
Are carbohydrates bad? No!

There are valuable micro and macro nutrients that we could be missing if we avoid foods that contain carbohydrates.

Eat whole foods and you will be eating complex carbohydrates = fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, glycogen and glucose for your brain and muscles. Stay away from as much processed food as you can.

Weight Loss = our bodies using up more calories than we consume.

Cheers!



Sources:

Essentials of Exercise Physiology - fourth edition - Victor Katch, William McArdle, Frank Katch
Pg 36 -38

USDA




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Time To Take A Breath

Time To Take A Breath.
I tell myself after my children get on the school bus.
Another summer vacation has passed and the school year is starting for my boys and I.

The healthy bagged lunches are packed and I'm interested to find out how much of it my boys ate. It was standard fare: pbj, apple, carrots, multigrain quinoa chips and bottled water.

I feel a little bit of sadness that my youngest is now in kindergarten and my oldest is experiencing his last year in elementary school. I go inside and look around my house. It looks like a tornado went through it. Towards the end of summer I started to lose my steam. I couldn't do it all and the last few weeks I sort of gave up on the house. Before my surgery and post recovery I tried to pack in as many trips to the beach as I could and activities for my boys. I felt like I was a whirling dervish during the day and went to bed each day exhausted. I figured if my house looked like a bomb went off it was OK as long as my boys where fed, clean, loved, and happy. On any given day there are about 3 loads of laundry yet to be folded and that's ok. I tell myself as I take a breath.

Thankfully I'm sending my children to some amazing yet underpaid teachers. And my husband said this morning: "It's like an early Christmas! Santa is sending us a bus to take our children!". He says this with a smile (my husband has a home office so a quiet house makes for a quiet office).

Santa's Sl.... I mean the freedom bu. I mean The School Bus

After getting the kids on the bus I went to not one, not two, not three but four different places in silence! One of those stops was the grocery store. It was a very happy moment for me. As I walked up to the grocery store I took a deep breath. Ahhh I can read labels and think without any distractions. I never thought I could be that happy in a grocery store! I wanted to skip down the isles and I didn't even look at a list. I made it a challenge to see if I could leave the store without forgetting anything. I felt somewhat giddy. I would have actually skipped down the isle but I thought I might get a few stares. The store mainly had the demographics: elders, and moms with young children. As I saw a few children in the store it brought me back to the days of when my guys where little (under the age of 3). There's a small part of me that misses when my boys where that young and then there's a part of me that wanted to jump up an down in the store and yell I'm free! I'm free! Look I have two hands and no one nagging me to buy this or that! I can even stop and read the ingredients on a label! Wait this can't be for real?! Wait a minute am I on vacation? Time to take a breath.

It's 3:29 and my boys will be home soon. Time to take a breath and brace myself for the tornados. But first to attack the pile of laundry, then dinner and baseball. And tomorrow morning? An early morning workout! No matter what! School for me starts tomorrow!! Time to take a deep breath!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back On The Wagon With Lose It!

As I write this I'm extremely tired and my husband is yacking my ear off about watching a movie so I'm going to make this short.  This week was my first week back to the gym! I'm starting out very slow and gradual so I don't injure myself. This week I went to the gym 3x with the following routine: 10 mins total of cardio on the bike and or elliptical; one arm planks, bosu planks, Lunges with and without weights, squats with weights, skaters, and wood choppers with weight. Even though I ran at my last physical therapy appointment without any pain I want to lose some weight and get my back and core stronger before I start my running routine.

Me Doing the Wood Chop - note the bags under my eyes.
This was taken late in the day today.
My workout today went well even though I'm really tired. Last night I wasn't able to get to sleep until I took a sleeping pill at 3am. I slept 3:30 am to 9:30 am (thankfully my boys don't start school till next week!). Not ideal for me as I need 8 hours of sleep to function normally. Today I went through the day thinking it was Thursday and wondering where the week went. During my workout I asked another person to take my picture. It was my way of proving myself that I am doing the work, it will just take a while to see the results (oh and I'm trying to add more photos to my blog posts :-).

In addition to my workouts this week I had a Drs. appointment for a physical on Wednesday. That was my wake up call. The kind that's a big kick in the ass! Part of my physical of course involves stepping on that beloved scale (insert sarcastic tone). I had a picture in my mind of what I thought I weighed. I of course was wrong. 193lbs!!!!!! I haven't seen that number in a really long time (my plan was to never see that number again!). I obviously know I'm overweight/technically obese but didn't realize my number was that big! During the physical
my blood pressure was also checked. My numbers have gone up to 128/82. The last time I got my blood pressure checked it was 110 over 70.

As a result of all this wonderful news I decided I needed to act right away so I started counting calories. I'm using the ap Lose It! I like the recommendation for calorie intake based on current weight and it's adjusted according to how much you want to lose a week. It's fast easy and I love it! I'll keep you posted on my progress!

http://www.sonyaslosingit.com/p/weight-chart-stats.html




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

7 1/2 Weeks Post Op - 185lbs

It's been almost 8 weeks since my surgery.

I never thought I would see this day! The aqua therapy and physical therapy has paid off (as well as the surgery). My leg and back are pain free. Yesterday at my last physical therapy appointment I hopped, skipped, jumped and ran on the treadmill for 2 minutes! Pain Free!!! I never thought I would hear myself say the words: "I ran". My recovery time for this surgery was a lot tougher than the surgery I had last year. It feels like I can start to move forward.

Unfortunately during my recovery time for comfort I've done a lot of eating. When I was actively exercising/running I would get a runners high. I think that was a big help to keeping me on track with my eating. The endorphins gave me a comfort high. However when I feel stress and lack of control and running isn't an option I tend to gravitate to food. Food and the pleasure of eating it is something I can control. Unfortunately there is a down side and that is weight gain.

Right now I feel like I'm in my old body. I haven't gained all the weight I lost but I'm now a size 16 and I weigh 185. That makes for me needing to lose 45 - 50lbs.  Now that I have the go ahead to start running (very slowly and gradually) I'm going to follow my running plan that I designed for a class presentation last semester. The presentation was on a training program for a first time runner participating in a 5k. The prerequisite?  To be able to walk 30 minutes easily.

Here is the program I am going to follow in addition to other strengthening exercises and stretches:



My immediate and main focus is getting my exercise routine in order and slowly get back to being disciplined with my diet. As the endorphins start to kick in things will only get easier. I hope. No matter what!  One day, one minute, and one pushup/situp at a time.

What helps you stay on track? I would love to hear your success or what you're doing to make a positive change in your life!






Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Days Post Surgery

I'm trying to type while laying down. If my writing seems short/to the point it's because I'm somewhat irritable. Unfortunately my leg is hurting and the only way I get relief from the pain at this time is when I lay on my side. I'm able to walk around and do light house work and sit for short periods of time.

Ten days ago I had surgery. I had a discectomy as mentioned in my previous post.  I had this same surgery in October of last year on a different disc. The recovery was easy compared to after this surgery. I felt no pain post op in my leg last year.

It's difficult being a parent when you're trying to recover from surgery. I see things that need to get done around the house and I want to do them (grocery shop, prepare dinner, weed the garden or clean the windows). Thankfully I have a great support system of friends and family. A friend of mine put together a meal train for me. Friends took turns dropping off meals so that I didn't have to worry about preparing meals for my family. I am so grateful to receive help from some amazing people. My husband has also been a huge help and support for me. He is doing a lot around the house and for our boys. He fortunately has a home office so if I need him in a pinch he can help. He's been driving the kids to playdates and camp as I can't drive while being on the pain med/muscle relaxer. He's also taking them out on the weekend to keep them active. Plus he's been taking over on my usual responsibilities such as cooking.  

Yesterday I felt the need to get out of the house so I went to my nephews birthday party. The car ride there was fine (45 mins - More than I should have been sitting in a car). I walked around a little bit then I laid down in my brother and sister in laws bedroom. Thankfully I brought my pills to be sure I kept up with pain management. The ride home was not pleasant. My hip and calf were tight and in pain. As soon as I got home I went strait to bed. Total relief to stretch out! Needless to say I'm going to be very careful about how much time I spend in a car from this point forward.

My post op appointment is this Tuesday and I'm looking forward to hearing what the Dr. has to say about when I can start physical therapy. I would like to start doing exercises or stretches to help speed or aid in my recovery but I want to do it safely. Fortunately with the first surgery I didn't need any PT.

When it comes to my diet I've been eating really well. Lots of veggies and fruit with lean protein and some grains. I wouldn't be surprised if I lost some weight as my portions are much smaller and healthier. I did a lot of binging before my surgery. I thought of every food I haven't eaten in at least a year and I went out and ate it. Needless to say I needed to buy some clothes in the process :-/ Stupid.

Overall I'm trying to be patient with my recovery. I have a limited amount of energy in which I can do things so I have to choose wisely. If I choose to help my 5 year old make cookies or if I choose to do some light housework I'm done for the day. I push myself to move around just before or at the threshold of leg pain then I lay or sit down. I'm working on recovering while keeping my eye on where I want to be in the future. One small step at a time.

Note: My brain is a little foggy with the drugs so if you read something that doesn't make sense or my writing seems 'choppy' it's the drugs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life

It's been forever since my last post. I've often thought about things I would like to write about but somehow life gets in the way. It feels like I have a million things I want to accomplish but there are only so many hours in a day. Today I had a Drs. appointment and he asked me what my plans were after the surgery (something that has developed since my last post). I told him my plan is to get back to where I want to be physically.

Rewind.....
Over a month ago I had a nasty sinus infection and chest cold. During that time I didn't do any cardio due to a my lung capacity. I was coughing for about a month (which only made my leg hurt more as it push pressure on the nerve). I vowed to go back to taking spin on Friday mornings once I felt ok but my leg pain has been acting up more (especially during the coughing episode - thankfully I'm not coughing but it doesn't take much to aggravate the nerve.).

I finished physical therapy about a month + ago and it was recommended I get an x ray and an MRI. The x ray of course didn't show anything but the MRI did. I have a ruptured disc L4-5. Surgery is in a couple weeks and I can't wait to get this done. As I told the doctor today I want to get back to my fit self. I've been doing lots of comfort eating knowing I shouldn't but frankly I don't really care at this point. I know what it takes to lose the weight and I will get there. I will do it again. I know I can.

On my way home from the Drs. today I heard about a car accident where a husband and wife died. They had just dropped off their child at daycare when the accident happened. It saddens me to think about what their child must be going through today knowing that his/her parents are dead. I can't imagine how horrible it will be for the person who has to tell the child what has happened. Gone forever. It's moments like this that make me want to hug my boys that much more. It also puts in perspective how lucky I am. I may see myself as fat but I have so much to be thankful for. I have hope. I may never run again but fingers crossed I will. If I can't run then I will count my blessings. It just means my course has changed and I need to figure out a new plan. I need to put down the spoon and pint of self pity and start again.

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Feels Like Forever

This feels like forever as I sit here typing. Forever since I've run. Forever since I've felt strong and confident. Forever since I've fit into my clothes that I purchased after working so hard to lose 80 lbs.

I feel like a hamster running on a wheel and I'm going nowhere.

As the days and weeks go by I am going to PT for my most recent back injury. I have pain down my right leg that's being caused by my sciatic nerve being pinched. I'm in a really negative mood. I miss my 'old life' of running with friends and feeling strong and powerful. Now I feel like the old fat me who is trying to crawl out of this hole in the ground. I want to be who I've worked hard to be. The fit and trim not the overweight Sonya.

Some may say this is sort of a mid life change up. I'll be 42 this year and my goal is to be a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I want to help people who want to change their life for the better. While I want to do this I feel like I can barely help myself right now. On the upside I'm doing well in my Exercise Physiology class and I find it fascinating and interesting how the body works to create energy for exercise/motion. Understanding the science helps me understand the why. The "why it's so important to eat carbs"; "why it's so important to stay hydrated" and the how. How our body's systems work together for energy output and how foods are processed and stored as fat or used for energy. Another plus is one of my medications has been dropped. This one medication in particular is known for people to gain weight on. I'm hoping my metabolism bounces back.

I'm trying to look forward and tell myself this isn't forever. This is just one day. All I can control is what I do today. I have choices. I just need to make the right ones. I think I'll be passing on the pizza my family is eating tonight and have a salad instead.

Waiting for the day that doesn't feel like forever.