Posts Tagged ‘health’

  • An update

    Date: 2011.03.02 | Category: fitness | Response: View Comments

    Time is really getting away from me and I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I updated here!

    The half marathon training is going ok.  I had an awesome 10 mile run last time I wrote, and I should have knocked on wood because I struggled to maintain that pace for a 6 mile run this last weekend.  Typical.

    This Monday I had an assessment with a personal trainer.  I did this for a couple of reasons: 1) To find out my body fat % and 2) To see if signing up with a trainer would help me reach my goals and reinforce accountability.

    I found out a few things:

    • personal trainers are really expensive, and I feel guilty for spending this much on myself
    • that my body fat was lower than I expected, but I don’t think it’s accurate because they tested me on a body fat scale that looked like this.  Here’s an article on why Consumer Reports doesn’t think these kinds of scales are accurate.  The problem is, how does a regular person like me (who basically wants to spend next to nothing to get this info) get their body fat tested accurately?   
    • personal trainers are probably used to training people that know hardly anything about food/nutrition.  She asked me if I had ever had a sweet potato. 
    • I can do 22 regular pushups before needing to stop.  She actually said it was “excellent”.  I’ll take it! :)

    The next time I meet with her, I get an actual workout.  The appointment I had on Monday was mostly talking.  Once a week, I’m going to see her to check in on my progress and get a workout.  Hopefully this will keep me motivated, however I haven’t really been doing that awesome yet.

    As I texted my friend last night, “I’m really bad at dieting, but really good at eating Ben & Jerry’s.”

    Speaking of health numbers, yesterday I got my cholesterol checked and was glad to hear it’s normal.  About 6 years ago, when I was in law school, my cholesterol was 215, which is considered “borderline high.”  Read here to learn more about cholesterol numbers.  At the time, I was not overweight, but I exercised only sporadically, was usually stressed out to high heavens, didn’t eat that well, and a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol made my lifestyle a problem. 

    Now, I exercise 3-4 times a week and think that I eat better (but definitely far from perfect).  The last time I had my cholesterol checked a few years ago, it was right around 180. 

    But, I was especially interested to see how my cholesterol fared because since the beginning of December, I have been playing around with Paleo and Primal eating.  That means eating more meat (including red meat), lots of eggs, and other animal protein, and eating sources of saturated fat while avoiding wheat, soy, and any grains (which sounds like a recipe for high cholesterol).  Oh yeah, and I’ve cooked and eaten more bacon in the last couple of months that I probably have in, well, EVER.  Frankly, I was a little worried about how that would affect my cholesterol.

    But – good news.  My cholesterol as of yesterday is 185.  My good cholesterol is 95 (which is excellent) and my bad is 80 (which isn’t awesome, but according to this calculator, it’s in the optimal range).  I’ve been reading that saturated fat is not necessarily evil, and I’m starting to believe it.  I definitely plan to continue to check on my cholesterol and make sure I’m doing okay.  I wonder if there is a way to do this without going to my doctor?  Anyone know?

    So… Questions for you readers:

    * Does it surprise you that all saturated fats may not be as bad as we think?

    * Do you know your body fat %?  Do you think it even matters?

    Thanks for reading!  Even if you disagree with me, I hope you got some food for thought here! :)

  • The Real-ish Thing

    Date: 2010.11.16 | Category: eating, reflection | Response: View Comments

    Hello!  I know I’ve been MIA for a few days but it’s because I’ve been really busy.  I feel pretty stressed out actually.  I think it’s work, and life in general…  I’m to the point where little things like laundry is stressing me out.  (Granted, the house being dirty actually stresses me out, maybe that’s a little OCD.)  I’m just the kind of person that is wound a little more tightly than others.  But I think anyone that reads this probably already knows that.  Winking smile

    Anyway, on Saturday we had the Girls on the Run 5k.  One of the girls I was paired with had not been in Girls on the Run for the full program and she was struggling.  She started to complain before the first mile was finished.  After a few walk breaks, I bargained with her: 5 minutes of running and a couple of minutes of walking.  Towards the end of the 5k, that stopped working – so I said, “If you run to the end, I’ll buy you something nice.”  Well, that worked!  She ran through the finish. 

    Our celebration for the end of the season for Girls on the Run is tomorrow and I plan on giving her the gift then.  It will be nice to see the girls one last time and congratulate them on what they accomplished. 

    I have a confession to make.  I’ve been keeping a secret.

    Well, I haven’t really been keeping it on purpose, I just haven’t mentioned it because I have a lot of thoughts about it.

    The Real Thing”™

    dietcoke

    I haven’t drank any of that for 2.5 weeks.  I have also been avoiding all artificial sugars and sweeteners.  I’m still getting ample amounts of the real thing – real sugar, not Coke, so don’t worry. 

    Before 2.5 weeks ago, I drank anywhere between 1 can of Diet Coke to two or three 24 ounce diet sodas.  In addition, I added sweetener to my coffee (one or two packets), and often one or two packets to my breakfast, especially if I ate yogurt (plain yogurt is sour on its own).  Needless to say, some days it was a lot, and I never really liked doing it.  The habit started some time in law school, and I’ve kept it up since, more or less.

    a-gallon-of-diet-coke-straight-to-the-dome

    Source: NatalieDee.com

    I’ve done this before – given up artificial sweeteners and sugars – I did it for a couple of months.  I think vanity was motivating me more than anything, because after I noticed no advantageous effects scale-wise (in fact, kind of the opposite effect I was going for), I quit.  One study reported that artificial sweeteners are linked to weight gain.  This is big news for people consuming artificial sweeteners as a way to reduce calories, and therefore control weight.

    As far as health risks go, I’m not convinced that artificial sweeteners are bad for you.  Neither is the FDA, and several other sources.  This wikipedia article has a pretty good synopsis of the controversy surrounding aspartame (the sweetener in Diet Coke), sources discrediting the studies that artificial sweeteners are linked to weight gain,  sources discrediting other claims, not to mention a hoax that has indubitably played in the subconscious like any good hoax. 

    It was this evidence that always weighed in favor of continuing to consume artificial sweeteners.  It is easy to find alarmist articles or web sites calling aspartame or other artificial sweeteners “poison,” and much harder to find actual science backing that up – and the same can be said for the opposite side.  The campaign against aspartame has been hugely successful, however, it interests me that the alleged cancer connection to aspartame is more widely feared than soy’s alleged connection.  Frankly, I do not know why that is the case.  At the end of the day, I’m not sure who or what to believe.  But I refuse to be capricious.

    All that said, why now?  Like I said earlier, I felt that I was consuming too much artificial sweetener, too often, and I didn’t like it.  One thing I always noticed was that if I drank a diet soda on an empty stomach, it would start to growl very loudly even though I wasn’t hungry (I’ve never met anyone else who had this problem!).  It led me to snack just to quiet my stomach.  Since I quit drinking diet soda, I haven’t needed a morning snack.  I knew that part of my problem was I drank coffee in the morning and after a little while I wanted a diet soda to get rid of coffee (spiked with sweetener) breath, so I gave up coffee too.  The other thing motivating me is just a desire to feel better in general, and not feel so dependent on little packs of chemicals.

    What am I drinking now?  Tea and water. 

    You would think that giving up coffee and soda would be hard to do, but it actually wasn’t at all.  I still think about getting it now and then, and I don’t see anything wrong with having it once a while.  I’m just not ready to end my sweetener-free streak yet.  Well, I will give an update on how I’m doing in a few months!  Thanks for listening if you got this far! Smile

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My name is Michelle and I like to write about running, food, and fitness in general. Check out my About Michelle section for more!

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