Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I finally tried brussel sprouts a couple of years ago. I hadn't had them in about 20 years. The chef and waiter had to convince me that they would be delicious and they were. If you simply cook them with some oil and salt (or bacon as pictured), they retain some of the tanginess of a cabbage, but none of the mushiness or bitterness from my childhood. They also don't smell as badly as I remember.
I don't really like lima beans, but can tolerate them. Green and yellow beans aren't my favorite, but that's because there are other vegetables with more flavor.
My parents weren't completely awful when it came to introducing vegetables into my diet. In some ways, they were great:
Carrots, celery, green peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, green onions, kohlrabi and radishes were regularly in our refrigerator and usually eaten raw. Often, they were eaten plain or just a dash of salt. I don't remember dip being a constant companion to those vegetables. I still love all of these vegetables and will gladly eat them as a snack.
Corn was usually eaten as fresh corn on the cob from the farmers' market with some butter and salt on it. They had never know about elotes, so I can't blame them for not introducing that to me. They did know about creamed corn, and sadly, my mother regularly made me eat that. Even now, I'm cringing at the thought of it.
Onions and potatoes were used in many recipes, although I never had mashed potatoes at home. Baked, fried or scalloped, but never mashed. I didn't have real mashed potatoes until I was an adult. Only had cafeteria instant potatoes before that. Zucchini was around, especially in fall when they overtook people's gardens, but only hidden in things like bread or chocolate cake. It was never used as side-dish.
My mother would make rutabaga and squash on occasion, but not as often as she wanted because both of my brothers hated it. I always loved them both and have made them a regular part of my diet as an adult.
There were many vegetables that I have eaten as an adult that were not available in Wausau, WI in the 1980s, or were too scary for my parents to cook. I am really glad that I found edamame, eggplant, kale, and broccoli. (My mom thought it looked weird, so she never ate it.) I'm sure I've found more, but those are the ones that stick out to me.
If you look at vegetables in the store and think that you've hated them since you were a kid, I recommend you check out Food TV for a recipe and give them another shot. It would not be fair to yourself to deny any food group because of the cooking crimes of your parents.
I ended up injured and on crutches last year. Because of that experience, I am reading everything I can about preventing running injuries. I have also taken a Good Form Running clinic to make sure my run form is as healthy as possible. Today, I read an injury prevention article in Runner's World. They lay out 10 rules for injury prevention. I am following all of them right now. I am trying to improve my stretching and my strength training. If you are a runner who has experienced injury in the past, or a new runner looking to avoid injuries, I recommend you read the article and check out the Good Form Running site.
Here are the rules. The article expands and explains them.
Know Your Limits
Listen to Your Body
Consider Shortening Your Stride
Use Strength Training To Balance Your Body
Run on a Level Surface
Don't Race Or Do Speedwork Too Often
Stretch the Back Of Your Legs
Cross-Training Provides Active Rest and Recovery
Get Shoes That Fit
This is what I love about running. You're just trying to improve yourself. It doesn't matter that there are people running twice as quickly as you. All that you are trying to do is improve upon the prior day's numbers.
Monday, January 30, 2012
For people who aren't internally motivated to be active and need to feel they're helping others, this is a way to get that external motivation. For those of us who thrive on competitive, there are leader boards and challenges on the site. You have nothing to lose, so check it out.
For those of you who want to train with a charity to run a half marathon, full marathon or a triathlon, join "Team Twitter" with Team to End AIDS.
When you pick a hairstylist, you don't want to pick someone with unhealthy, or unattractive hair. You wouldn't pick a butcher who is a vegetarian, or a baker who doesn't eat sweets. Why would you pick a health care provider who is unhealthy? I know I haven't really thought about the health of my doctor, but I may have to change that. It's possible that overweight doctors are less attuned to the weight issues affecting their patients.
Healthy-weight physicians were more likely to believe that doctors should model weight-related behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly compared with their overweight or obese counterparts. They also said they believed that overweight or obese patients would be less likely to trust advice given by a physician who also was overweight or obese.
Doctors were more likely to record a diagnosis of obesity or start a weight loss conversation if they perceived the patient's body weight met or exceeded their own.
However, obese and overweight physicians were more likely to think they were successful in helping their patients lose weight, although the actual percentage was very low.---------------------------------------------------------------------------
This study makes me wonder is personal practices affect other aspects of a doctor's care. Would a doctor with a poor diet not see a poor diet in their patient as a problem? Also, if my weight were to sneak up again, would my doctor point it out? These are all issues to consider when selecting a primary care physician.
It's that time of year again. When every week seems to bring another show of awards for the movies of the prior year. Those of us at home critique the choice of winners and the appearance of everyone on the red carpet. This year, the Best Supporting Actress winner at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards was Octavia Spencer. She is not a skinny starlet. She is overweight. Last night she talked about that.
"I am not healthy at this weight," Spencer, 39, told People Magazine backstage at the SAG awards. "Any time you have too much around the middle, then there is a problem. [And] when you reach a certain weight, you are less valuable." She went on to talk about how sizeism affect everyone. “I feel for the overly thin women as much as I do for the overweight women,” she said. “It ... has to change." Here is her advice, "If more women ate, they would be a lot happier. Let me tell you, I am a lot grumpier when I don't eat."
I think she's right on every point she made. I think we need to stop equating a woman's value to her measurements. We also need to stop equating beautiful with skinny. Eating helps regulate serotonin, so if you don't eat, you will be grumpier. This does not mean you have to eat to excess, or eat unhealthful foods. You can eat a well-balanced diet in an amount that keeps your weight at a healthy level. You can also continue or increase your exercise levels to keep your weight healthy.
I have said this before, but it bears repeating: We should all be striving to be strong and healthy. That will not look the same for everyone because of genes, but that should be the goal.
UPDATE: The stories seem to have gotten it wrong. She was asked about the skinny starlets, so she talked about her weight. Her goal is to be healthier in the body she has, not diet down to some number that is much smaller. For us all to "Be Happy in Our Own Skin" Read her whole take on this issue.
The sun salutation vinyasa sequence of poses has me moving around so much that I want to throw up. Plus, my tightest muscles are my hamstrings and it seems like having flexible hamstrings is the key to every pose in that series of movements. I am also flat-footed, which make the poses where I balance on one leg difficult. I find the fact that I'm not flat-chested to get in the way at times, too. Literally.
Unfortunately for me, yoga is so beloved by the fitness industry that it is hard to avoid. Even things that are touted as "stretching" have yoga, but without the name. That doesn't mean they don't use yoga terms during the session, they just don't use it in the title.
This post feels like a confession to me. Yoga is so ubiquitous that I feel pressured to partake and enjoy and that I'm a philistine for not liking it. It reminds me of that time in college when my friend with the awesome and obscure musical tastes confessed to liking a song by Paula Abdul. He has since gone on to say, "Never apologize for a favorite song. If you like a song, like a song. Don't let anybody tell you what to like."
It turns out that I'm not alone in my dislike of yoga. People are starting to speak out. The NY Times had an article called "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body" Which is adapted from a forthcoming book "The Science of Yoga" This is a different reason for disliking yoga, though. The people in the article are mostly long-time instructors who became injured, not novices who disliked the practice. I also found some amusing items online about hatred of yoga.
I think I need to follow his my friend's advice, but applied to fitness. I love running, cycling and weightlifting. I haven't played in ages, but I love tennis. I don't really like swimming, even though I took years of lessons. I don't like yoga. I am willing to give it another chance, but think I need an individual instructor first. Maybe that would help me overcome my unfamiliarity with it. Until then, I will avoid yoga poses and go back to old-fashioned stretching exercises. I feel better for having admitted my dislike of yoga publicly. It's like a weight has been lifted.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Earlier this week, the International Association of Women Runners (IAWR) held a free teleconference called "How to Correct 7 Common Training Errors Committed by Marathoners and Half-Marathoners" It was hosted by Bennett Cohen, the founder of the group.
I listened to the entire call and here's what I took away from it.
"Running is a chance for you to become a hero in your own life." Kathrine Switzer
He seems to indicate that shortness is somehow nonathletic. I don't know if he actually meant it that way, but that's how it sounded to me, a short woman.
Error 1: Too few rest days. Can hit a PR with 3 days running 1-2 days cross training. More than that can eliminate the repair your body needs to get stronger.
Error 2: Quantity over quality. Tempo, interval, race pace and hills should all be part of your training. Don't just keep running long runs.
Error 3: Running long every weekend. There should be a week or two of shorter runs in between the long runs.
Error 4: Failure to include goal pace runs during the long runs. Hard to hit a pace in the race that you've never reached in training.
Error 5: Lack of running specific strength training. Wall squats, bridges, planks and side leg lifts should all be part of your cross-training.
Error 6: Failure to taper properly leading into a race. It can take four weeks from your longest run to fully recover for the actual marathon.
Error 7: Lack of mental preparation. 26.2 is as hard mentally as physically. Practice visualization. Practice eliminating self-doubt and negative thoughts.
The IAWR has individual training programs that take into account age, injury issues and other items that can affect training and racing. They can review and adjust during the training program.
All of these errors are eliminated when you follow the T2 training program. If you're thinking of running a marathon or a half marathon, you should join Team Twitter.
This is something you can control. Taking a daily Vitamin D supplement can help with weight loss in addition to the things we already knew it did. It helps with bone density, immune function, inflammation and cell growth.
The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU/15mcg. There are questions as to whether that is high enough, so you may want to consider taking a little bit more. It is fat soluble, so, unlike Vitamin C, you can overdose on it. Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set the tolerable upper limit (UL) to 4000 IU per day for ages 9–71+ years. Make sure, if you supplement, that you are using vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and not the inferior form known as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
If you're thinking that you already eat foods rich in Vitamin D and you're taking a supplement, you should be aware of the following things that may counter all of your really good efforts.
There are some things, besides diet that can cause low levels of Vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat. Being darker skinned or not getting enough sun exposure can limit your body's ability to naturally produce it. Being overweight may also hinder absorption of this vitamin. That's a double hurt because of it's assistance in losing those excess pounds. On top of all that are the drugs that may hurt your levels.
It looks like many women are fighting back against the "Curvy is better than thin" meme that has been going around lately. I talked about it two weeks ago when I found the idea to be annoying. Today I found an entire group on Facebook dedicated to celebrating all of our bodies. The item that led me there also led me to others made by the same blogger. You should really check them out; they're truly liberating and awesome. She did not make the image here, I thought this was a great riff on that stupid meme.
Friday, January 27, 2012
I can't recommend the clinic enough. If you're a beginning runner, it will give you information you're never heard. If you've been running a while, it will show you how to improve and avoid injury. Injury prevention was my main reason for attending. I do not want to go through a season of training to sit out the event on crutches again.
The insights into running were really helpful, and I will be trying them out this afternoon. I don't want to play telephone with the information they provided. Please go to their site and read for yourself. If there is a clinic offered near you, please sign up. Seeing yourself run on camera is very helpful and not as horrific as you might think.
You don't want to be the person in this photo or any of the other people in the online images showing horrible running form. Sadly, many of the pictures of runners show bad form. That's including pictures in running and fitness magazines.
UPDATE: I just finished my run. It was the exact 5K route I ran on Wednesday, only I ran each mile 29 seconds faster than I did a mere two days ago. It was faster than I've ever run this route and 15 seconds faster than my 5K last April. I can't wait until I have used the information for a longer time so it's more comfortable. I really think it will improve my speed a ton.
Yes, these people are rich and famous, but when it comes to running, that doesn't matter. There's only so much equipment you need and can use. They may spend tons of money on a personal run coach, but you can get the same information through local running clubs and running stores.
Songs with the word run or walk in the title.
Best songs about running.
Another list of songs with the word run or walk in the title.
Weirdly, there seem to be several Iron Maiden songs that fit into this category. "Run to the Hills" "Run Silent, Run Deep" "These Colours Don't Run" "Running Free" "The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner"
My brother was a HUGE Iron Maiden fan when he was in high school. I hated them. Don't know if I ever listened, though. I was mostly judging them by their scary album covers. He had posters all over his room and they freaked me out. Not that I'm an adult and am no longer scared, I think most of their songs would give me a great jolt while running.
If' you're looking to expand with some new music, Spin magazine has a free download of a song called "Marathon Runner" '
Looking through these lists has made me want to make a comprehensive list of songs with run in the title.
UPDATE: Here is the list that I've compiled. Please add any songs you want in the comments and I will add them to the list.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I didn't want to work out today. I was feeling lazy and sluggish. I had overdone it on Monday and Tuesday and really noticed that on yesterday's run. I was coming up with a ton of other excuses, too. I finally stopped procrastinating and just did the workout. Part way through, I thought, "I'll stop at 20 minutes." Then, "I'll stop at 30." Eventually, it got to be the end of the workout and I had gone for 53 minutes.
Like every other time that I've debated not working out, and delayed it while I was procrastinating, I feel great now that I'm done. My muscles are a bit sore, but in that amazing, "I kicked some real butt" way. It's amazing to me how I still haven't figured out how much better I'll feel once I've accomplished the day's workout goal.
I know I've talked about inertia before, but it bears repeating because it's a really powerful force. You can make your fitness journey public, like I did. The fear of public failure motivates me to move when I'm not feeling it. You can also get a workout partner. You may debate with yourself about working out, but if you have an appointment, an obligation, to meet someone else, you're less likely to flake out on the activity. Look on facebook, meetup, RoadRunners, or on Google to find local groups. There are tons of running and walking groups out there. You can also join a charity training program like T2. If you don't find a group, start one. Hang a sign at the local coffee shop or any other bulletin board.
Park at the far end of parking lots. This will probably save you time and frustration, because you won't be driving endlessly looking for a great spot.
Carry your purchases from the store to your car, instead of taking the cart with you. This will add some muscle work to your shopping trip.
Use a hand basket instead of a cart, if it's possible. It adds muscle work while you're shopping. It also makes you more aware of what you're buying because you have limited space for the items.
Leave the car parked. Is your errand only a few blocks away? Walk or bike there. It won't take much more time, but it will make you feel better.
Avoid the escalator and take the stairs. It takes the same amount of time, possibly less time and is good for you.
If the escalator is the only option, walk up it anyway. This will give you some of the benefit of taking the stairs.
Avoid the elevator. In Chicago office buildings, this isn't possible because the stairs are locked and you have to use the elevator. If that isn't the case in your office building, try the stairs.
Take the long way around. If there are two routes to a common destination at home or work, take the longer one. It may add a few seconds, but those extra steps add up.
Do calf raises when you're stuck standing. Waiting for the bus, train or elevator? Why not do this barely noticeable exercise with that spare time? You can do calf raises on the train, too. Don't be this guy, though.
Do knee raises at your desk or while stuck in that boring meeting. It will burn a few calories, tone your legs and give you something to think about instead of your coworker's brown nosing.
Sit up straight. Remind yourself to make sure you're not slouching at your desk or while watching TV at home. It takes a little bit more energy and strength to hold your body up straight and will improve your posture. You may need to raise up your monitor to do this comfortably. I used books at my job to get sufficient height.
These are just a few suggestions to build fitness into your life without having to reschedule everything. You can take these ideas and expand them to fit your life. If you can burn an extra 100 calories a day, you can lose 10 pounds in a year without thinking about it.
This belief of negative calorie foods is still being propagated today, and the lists has grown to include many other vegetables and some fruits. The thing many of the foods on the lists share is that a cup is only about 30 calories. Some of them go up as high as 100 calories per cup. Luckily, there are reputable health and diet sites that refute this diet myth.
These foods are great items to eat when you're trying to lose weight. They will fill you up for less of a caloric hit than pasta or most other foods. If you're trying to decide what food to stock for munching or to use for dinner or dessert, please check out the lists that are linked above. They are a great way to help you make sure you are keeping healthy food in your house. Remember, they will not subtract from your total calorie consumption, though.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I've posted about inspiring people before. Today is the first time I get to post about non-famous inspiring people. People I've actually met.
------------------------------------------------- Kinnier Lastimosa and Jennifer Cheng have been staunch T2 and AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) supporters since their first race mile—at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2008. They have raised about $25,000 for AFC through their running careers—and were recognized for their fundraising efforts in 2011 during a T2 pasta party before the Chicago Marathon.
Please read more about this inspiring couple at the Windy City Times. If you want to meet them, you can join me in training with T2 this year. Please join "Team Twitter" and tell them Rebecca Kell referred you. :)
How are you doing on your resolutions? I hope you're sticking with them. If so, congratulations!!! If not, you can always start again. There is nothing that says you have to be perfect from 1/1 going forward or you have to give up for the rest of the year. Every day is a new day to start working on being a better and healthier you.
Healthy Wage allows you to bet on yourself. You invest money in yourself and if you hit your weight loss goals, that investment pays back. Like SPECA, it makes your desires public and rewards you for achievement and punishes you for lack of achievement. They also require an outside confirmation of your weight loss numbers, so you can't just claim to have lost 10% of your body weight.
Health Rally allows people to donate money to motivate you to achieve your goals. It's like kickstarter, but for health, not art. Plus, they accept every rally that is submitted and have various reward options.
CFG is another site based on this same concept. Everywhere I look on the site they keep saying that it's a simple exchange, but I can't seem to understand it. They do have a monthly fee.
So, unless you're famous and willing to share your weight loss story in commercials, but still want to get paid to lose weight, check out the links above. I just think the concept is pretty cool in theory, but am not sure if any of them have executed it well. Have any of you tried any of these?
Fat-free milk does not have any added items. It is simply milk with the fat removed. It cuts the calories in a glass from about 150 down to 80. This can really add up if you drink milk often. Also, you're cutting out almost all the saturated fat and cholesterol. Back when people remembered getting milk that wasn't homogenized, they called it skim milk.
Fat-free sour cream, on the other hand, has all of the following: Whey Protein Concentrate, Propylene Glycol Monoester, Artificial Color, Gelatin, Agar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Vitamin A Palmitate. None of these are in regular sour cream. You can avoid all of those items and the fat by simply using Fat free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. It tastes just the same, but without all the scary sounding chemicals.
Fat free yogurt is another item on which I spent some time reading labels. Many of them had gelatin listed in the ingredients. I don't eat meat, but do eat dairy and was surprised and disgusted to find a meat product in my dairy. I really wish that food labels would have a meat listing just like they have for peanuts.
You can't eliminate all the fat from your diet, and you shouldn't try, because you need some fat for your body to function. There are ways to cut the extra calories that fat has, but be sure to read the labels before you pick the fat-free version of a food.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
This was a great PR move by HealthyWage to get their name out there. It's also a distortion of the quote and what he really meant by it being "a scam." Here's the full quote so you can judge for yourself: "I have to lose two pounds a week. I'm at 38 pounds now. They come and weigh me every two weeks. I've never missed a weigh-in. I'm never going to," Barkley begins. "I'm feeling much better. But I ain't giving away no money. ... I'm not giving away no free money. I thought this was the greatest scam going -- getting paid to watch sports -- but this Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam."
Weight Watchers PR weighed in on the quote as well: "We are thrilled that he is having great success and inspiring millions of men to join him. We agree that being a spokesman for Weight Watchers is a pretty great gig.”
As an adult, I rarely eat white bread, unless it's a fancy french baguette or it's part of a grilled cheese sandwich. It turns out that white bread grills up better than a hearty wheat. Other than that, all bread that I eat is wheat and filled with as much fiber as I can find.
I try to eat whole wheat pasta, too. Sadly it doesn't cook up as well as standard semolina pasta, though. If someone can come up with a whole wheat pasta that wasn't tough and chewy, they'd be my hero. I have replaced the white potatoes of my youth with yams, rutabagas, and turnips which all provide more fiber and nutrients than the standard Idaho potato.
I try to get brown rice when having Asian food, but don't have the patience to cook it at home. I have been trying to find a healthier, yet still easy alternative that is still tasty. I have tried quinoa and enjoyed it, but the texture is still a bit weird. I can't tell if that's because I'm not familiar enough with it yet, or just because I'm not a fan of the small crunchy, poppy texture of quinoa. I bought a bag of bulgur at the store last week and have really enjoyed it. It cooks as quickly as white rice and has a similar texture. It also has more fiber, protein and vitamins.