Yesterday’s Run and My Weightloss Journey

Yesterday’s race was such a triumph for me. I never thought I would be a runner, let alone, run in a race, even a fun race. I took the challenge to try to run faster than 30 minutes for a 5K, not really believing I could do it. It looks completely possible after yesterday, even this morning with my achy calves.

For those wondering, I raced in the FiveFingers Sprints, which got me at least one question before the race. As far as I could tell, I was the only person there running in minimalist shoes. I definitely think they make me look rather odd, having seen my race-day picture, but I’m definitely loving them. I look forward to next weekend when I run the 5K.

One of the main reasons my running is so amazing to me is because I have lost 100+lbs, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been my entire life. I’m still not near goal, but when I take a step back and look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed, it’s a bit amazing to me.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, I’ve just been trying to lose weight for more than 20 years (I’m in my 30s!). I’ve been on multiple diet plans, read books, seen nutritionists and read a lot of the current news/research on weight loss and obesity and have formulated my own ideas on the subject. Always consult a nutritionist, MD or ND before making radical changes to your life/lifestyle. Seriously. I may even disagree with some of their beliefs, but this is what has worked for me.

Just for the heck of it, I used the Tools at Calorie Count to get an idea of where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. To be honest, I don’t use Calorie Count (I use Weight Watchers, which does the same basic thing, but offers meetings and a handy formula to simplify tracking) for my day-to-day tracking, but it is an excellent, free, weightloss resource. There are other similar resources available – Livestrong, Daily Plate, Spark People – just to name a few. The basic idea is to figure out what your normal calorie burn is for your usual day, this is your Base Metabolic Rate. Next is to figure out how many calories you should reduce (and/or how much exercise you should add) to lose up to 2 lbs per week.

Personal facts and Weight Loss Stuff:

  • At my heaviest, my BMR was around 2750 calories per day.
  • My current BMR (to maintain current weight) is 1700 calories.
  • The BMR of the weight I’m shooting for is 1580 calories.

1 lb = 3500 calories, to lose 1 lb/wk, that’s a reduction of 500 calories per day.

I usually exercise daily, in the form of walking or running, and for a burn of between 100 – 400 extra calories per day. On those days, I might eat more.

I eat roughly 1200-1400 calories per day, which means that I’ve gradually reduced my daily caloric intake almost by half over the past few years. It should be noted, though, I started by reducing my daily intake gradually (about 500 cals/day). The biggest change in the past 25 lbs is having to incorporate more whole foods in my diet to keep me from getting hungry. I could eat my daily calories in doughnuts (that’s about 3 doughnuts in a day). Or I could eat an abundant variety of food all through the day for the same calories. Doughnuts give me a nasty simple-carb hangover. Whole wheat pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce does not. In a way, I actually eat MORE food – but it’s the variety that I eat that makes the difference, and where I choose to say “No.” Scone at a coffee shop for breakfast = “No.” A cupcake at Cupcake Royale = an occasional after-dinner decadence worth waiting for.

And for the record, I don’t deny myself occasional beer, mixed drinks, chocolate, ice cream, bacon, cheese, burgers, french fries, pizza, etc. I just don’t eat them all in one day. I eat real food with real ingredients (hopefully, the fewer required to make the food tasty, the better).

It’s been a long road. I still have a ways to go.

Losing Steam, and Fast

Uh-oh. I’ve reached the 2 workout per week zone. That’s not entirely true, but I only attempted jogging TWICE last week. I did, however, add weight training back into the routine AND did a 10.5 mile walk/hike between Ballard and Magnolia on Saturday (that took me up a cliff at Discovery Park). My calves are still a little tender from that one, though I made it through the entire hike rather remarkably.

I purchased some size 12 jeans at American Eagle Outfitters on Friday, and am waiting for them to be shipped (I had to have them shipped due to my short stature.) This makes these jeans the smallest size I’ve purchased as an adult. My weight is still hovering above the 160 mark, but I stand at over 100 pounds lost, and have decreased from a plus sized 24-26 to a misses 12. This still puts me at about a 14-16 when it comes to modern fashion sizing, but still, it’s a pretty far leap.

I was just reading the latest Marie Claire magazine about a woman who did a relay with her husband across New Zealand (heck if I can actually find the web version). She started at a size 12 and ended up a size 4 – and I don’t want to say that my hope in fitness is a smaller size, but there’s a novelty in it considering I’ve been large my whole life.

I have yet to go to a Team in Training practice – and it’s becoming something that I avoid because I keep avoiding it. I’m worried about overtraining, and wonder if crazy athletics is what I want to go towards.

One thing’s for sure, though. Hiking up that cliff at Disco Park was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time.

First Run After Rest

Yesterday I dragged myself out of the house to do my first run after one week of rest. I stuck to 30 minutes, and despite not figuring out how to set my Garmin to beep at me when my heart rate went over 148 bpm, I was pleased with how I did. I ended up doing 2.79 miles in those 30 minutes, and stayed rather consistently under 11 minutes per mile the entire time.

My joints, however, are not feeling so good today. Specifically, my big toe joint (bunion) was particularly unhappy. I’ve been using my Healthy Toes after runs and in the evening to stretch my toes out. I have no evidence this will do anything, but it’s kind of fun, and I like the idea that it might help. I also picked up some Boiron Sportenine at my local co-op over the weekend, with the hopes that the homeopathic (or placebo) might work to ease some of my training pain.

I definitely woke up to full body aches this morning, though I feel like I slept better. Emotionally, I feel a bit more on-edge, and a little more anxious. I’m not entirely sure that strenuous exercise is good for me. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going about this wrong.

I plan to try another run tomorrow, to get myself back in the routine. Again, I don’t plan on doing more than 30 minutes.

I feel like I’m trying to walk a tight-rope between health and well-being. Every day I’m inundated with different ideas of what health can be. I just hope I’m choosing the best path.

Getting to Know Food: Source (Part One)

A recent New York Times article let me know that E. Coli Kills 2 and Sickens Many; Focus Is on Beef . This is just a month after the New York Times published an eye-opening article titled E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection. The first article I listed is about a current beef recall which contains E. coli O157:H7, which can have the effect ranging “from mild intestinal discomfort to death.” The woman whose story is followed in the second article, was ultimately paralyzed by her infection due to hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The ground beef you get at the store (and in restaurants) isn’t as simple as a single hunk of meat ground up. It can come from multiple different meat packing plants scattered over the country (and the world). Some of it can include fatty trimmings that have been centrifuged to remove the fat and then treated with ammonia to kill E. coli.

The E. coli part of the story is the life-threatening get-your-attention part. Food safety is important, just as human health is important. You can swear off beef, or all meat – but that doesn’t eliminate your risk. Food-bourne pathogens are also found in vegetarian staples like peanut butter, spinach, and tomatoes, to name a few.

You can point to governmental regulatory issues as the primary problem. Or you can claim the individual company’s accountability in being responsible (and responsive) about testing their products and informing the public. (Just don’t try to test all your product for BSE (mad cow) and put it on a label.) In the end, you can blame the consumer, who isn’t following food safety standards. (The New York Times did a video showing how cross-contamination issues can make it hard for the consumer even if they’re following the instructions on the package.)

One of the things that really squicked me about the hamburger were the multiple sources. This happens with most other commercially available foods. Unlike what the television commercials might lead you to believe (a recent favorite being for Green Giant, having an older, white man playing farmer in a large field of peas), the food on the shelves of grocery stores (even Whole Foods Market!) comes from multiple places, ending up in a single package (or pile) and labeled and sold for its consistency of (relative) quality and appearance. By the time they’ve gotten to the stores, they’ve passed through many food miles and multiple hands. Something as simple as bagged spinach is threatened by this chain, as that a few bunch of spinach from a single producer may sicken a few families in a short period of time. Mix that spinach source in with other spinach sources that are not tainted, bag it and sell it, you’ve got many more people sick and a huge recall. Previously untainted spinach joins the tainted in a single bag. It’s sold pre-washed. And people died.

I’m still an omnivore, and I try to lean more towards vegetarian foods, on average. One of the ways I’ve tried to change my habits is by not eating meat outside my home (where I know the source) unless I know the sourcing of the meat. I also try to keep to seafood that is recommended as sustainable choices on the Seafood WATCH list We buy our meat and fish (and vegetables, actually) almost exclusively from the local farmer’s markets. Shopping this way isn’t affordable (or practical) for many people. It is not impossible, though, and comes up against the big issue which is not the actual cost or effort, but the requirement of lifestyle change. Cost and Effort (and Time) are the biggest complaints I hear from people when they say they can’t afford to make better choices with their foods.

Stay tuned for Part Two: Cost/Benefit: Time