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The Breakfast Experiment

Last week I began an awesome tele-class with the dynamic duo of MizFitOnline and Dinneen  of EatWithoutGuilt. What an amazing team they are! They’re teaching a pilot class called Jumpstart 2010, and I feel fortunate to be part of it. MizFit is a unique expert on all things fitness, and Dinneen is the queen of intuitive healthy eating. Together, they are just fantastic. (for you Twitter folks, look for the hashtag #JS2010 to see Tweets on this class)

For me, I feel it is necessary to always continue learning, finding ways of fine-tuning my understanding of both fitness and nutrition. I can’t afford to sit back and say, “I’m done now.” So it was a great opportunity for me to be able to participate in this class and see/experience things in a different way. Already I am so glad for what I absorbed in the first session.

One of the “homework” assignments of the first week was the Breakfast Experiment. Which consists of eating something new for breakfast every day, and logging how we feel right after, and also 2 hours after each meal.

Here’s what I’ve noted so far.

Day 1: 10am (after heavy workout) mini whole wheat bagels (“bagelettes”) with peanut butter. Pretty good. But since I ate SO late, I was ready for lunch around noon.

Day 2: 8am – caramelized onion scramble (one egg + one eggwhite) with one small slice ham, sprinkling of goat cheese. Plus blueberries on the side. This was VERY filling (Weight Watcher folks will recognize this as a classic “filling food” breakfast!!) and I was happy/satisfied until 12:30pm lunch. Thumbs-up breakfast, but I don’t always have time for this.

Day 3: 10am (again after heavy workout) – 0% Fage yogurt with blueberries, a couple pecans and a drizzle of agave syrup. Very refreshing and yummy after hot workout, but a slight tummyache half an hour later. Was it because it was cold? Because it was dairy? Because it was cold dairy? Hmm.

My trainer yelled at me this morning bc I admitted I had not eaten anything before the workout, only a cup of coffee. I KNOW this is not good. But I am rushing around like a bat out of hell in the AM, driving daughter to school, then rushing to the gym, and it’s all I can do to get a cup of coffee in me to fling myself behind the wheel. No, it’s not ALL I can do, but…

I resist eating before workouts because:

1. It’s early.

2. I don’t like eating the second I wake up.

3. I reallllllly don’t like working out with stuff in my stomach. Because I work out so hard there is often the danger of puking. Today I felt pukey enough on on empty stomach.

I guess the only solution to this is to (nooooooooo!!!) get up earlier. Which means (noooooooo!) going to bed earlier. And maybe I will have one of those mini-bagels, or a slice of turkey? or cheese? on the way to the gym. I’m going to have to experiment with this.  Miz? Dinneen? Any thoughts on this?

Edited to add:

Day 4: Double fiber English muffin with cheddar cheese. I didn’t think this was going to last very long, but it was amaaazingly filling and staying! Four hours, easy.

Day 5: Bear mush hot cereal with blueberries & cream. DELICIOUS. Also very long-lasting. Yum.

Day One of Healthy Challenge: How’s It Going?

I’m so excited! Today is day one of the Fabfatties’ Healthy Challenge! And I’m really excited because I know that I personally recruited many people to join in. I was surprised that a few people that I asked really hesitated, saying it was too much of a commitment, or too much time, or something. My feeling about that is that there’s no rule that says you have to do every single thing on the challenge. Even if you make ONE change, and get some points for that, it’s a great step in the right direction.

It’s so funny how our minds work, isn’t it? Now this challenge contains so many things that are already a part of WW or other plans, and yet for some reason they feel brand new because it’s a new and different context, and people are all excited about it, and Tweeting it, and it’s like, WOW, drinking water! Food journal! when it’s stuff that is certainly not new to me.

I am really eager to know how everyone is doing with this so far. Which parts of the challenge are super easy? (for me, it’s not drinking soda- I don’t anyway- but I know that others are really grappling with this big time) Which ones are hard?

Please check in here and let’s give each other support, suggestions, tips and kudos!

I knew right off what my hardest points would be: drinking water, and eating a healthy breakfast. In fact, I just ate my breakfast a few minutes ago. It’s 11:30am. Does that count as breakfast? Or did I skip breakfast and just eat breakfast food for an early lunch? (ha) I did get some points for the fruit/vegi category. My “breakfast” was some nonfat Fage yogurt with big fat blueberries, some walnuts and a drizzle of agave syrup. VERY YUM.

I exercised for 90 minutes today. Since I have my 5k race tomorrow morning, my trainer wanted to take it easy so we did no cardio- just a lot of strengthening and stretching. My right hip is giving me issues. I had to roll it out on a hard basketball, then a tennis balll, for quite a bit, and it really hurt. But I think I loosened it up a bit.

I drank 8 oz of water after my workout. I know this water thing is going to be challenging, partly because I don’t believe in it. I just read this last week in Mindful Eating and it made me laugh but I also agree with it:

In the last decade, there has been an epidemic of mind-induced thirst. ….Modern Americans feel compelled to carry around a water bottle at all times and sip from it frequently, much like a baby bottle, no matter where they are. This fetish began with a medical report stating that humans should drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. Tea and coffee didn’t count since they are diuretics. Your cells were crying out for water. Fearing death by dehydration (HA!) Americans began carrying glasses of water around. Product development departments noted, and responded quickly, spawning two huge new industries: bottled water and water bottles.

People now bring personal water bottles (everywhere), including into meditation halls. Apparently they are unable to endure various bodily sensations that they interpret as “dehydration” and cannot sit for sixty minutes without a drink. All the liquid that goes in must come out. People pop up and down to the bathroom like grasshoppers (LOL).

A few years ago a corrective report came out, announcing that people had misinterpreted the first report. Humans do need a total of 64 ounces of liquid a day, but it does not have to be drunk from a glass. It actually could ALL COME FROM FOOD, and tea and coffee counted! Studies showed that caffeinated beverages did not deplete the body’s liquids after all.

Why, in the midst of this epidemic of grownups toting and nursing from water bottles has no one asked how our grandparents, and the entire human race for tens of thousands of years escaped mass annihilation by dehydration? Our modern minds believed what magazines told us and overrode the wisdom in our bodies.

In other words, you don’t need to drink extra water unless you are THIRSTY. The only times I am actually thirsty are: 1) right after I exercise; and 2) when I eat very spicy food. Other than that, I do not really ever feel the need to drink.  So this 64 oz. thing is sort of annoying me but I am going to give it a shot and see what happens.

Other than that, things are going okay so far. I’ve checked off exercise, breakfast (even though it’s late). I’m tracking my food. Trying to come up with a good deed.

Assessment: Two Months Today

Two months ago today, on January 17th, I got my wake-up call and thus began my… what? My New Life? My Healthy Journey? I keep trying to think of how to describe it. I think I shall call it my Turnaround. Also Turnover. I began turning over all of my old habits, thoughts, fears, activities (and lack of) and really trying to examine what got me to that point. It’s been a very busy two months.

Here’s my little self-assessment after two months have passed. In the tradition of the maddening “narrative progress reports” that my kids used to bring home from school, because the poor little darlings were’t thought to have enough self esteem for letter grades:

What’s Going Well:

  • Well, I’ve actually lost 16 lbs! That’s no small potatoes. And I intend to keep going. I’ve been through a plateau or two, and a day or two of discouragement, but the trend is steadily downward. And that can’t help be encouraging.
  • I haven’t had a major bout of Emotional Eating since Jan 17th. I can’t even describe how shocked, incredulous and frankly moved I am by this. Previously I would not have thought this possible. I truly have found ways in which to ride out the emotions, write them out or talk them through. And they have passed. In the many times that I’ve dieted in the past, THIS part was never really addressed. So it’s huge. HUGE, I tell you.
  • I am pretty happy most hours of most days. Which I can say has not been true for YEARS. I mean, I used to have some happy moments in what were either “regular” blah or downright bad-feeling days. NOW, I have moments of absolute ECSTASY within days that are mostly happy or at least content, with little blasts of unhappiness now and then. I don’t know whether to attribute this to the endorphins from exercising, to the fact that it just feels comfortable and nicer to be smaller and fitter, or the fact that I am channeling my emotions properly rather than using food. Probably ALL of the above.
  • Most importantly, I think I am improving my health. I have been able to discontinue my blood pressure medication that I have been on for over five years. I think I’m going to have more improvements when I next see my doctor in April. I’m moving in the right direction.

What is Going Better But Could Be Improved:

  • Low-level anxiety that This Cannot Possibly Last.
  • Insecure in my new habits (this is echo of first point)
  • Probably too much focus on the scale

What Needs Major Improvement:

  • Eating breakfast. I’m getting tired of eggs, not wild about many other breakfast foods, etc. I KNOW it is the most important meal and that it jump starts your metabolism and all that! I really need to work on this one. I am going to experiment with eating lunchy/dinnerish foods in the morning and see if that helps any.
  • (more echo of point one) “Breakfast like a queen, lunch like a duchess and dinner like a pauper.” This is what I’ve read repeatedly but still dinner is THE MAIN EVENT around our house. I wonder how much it would help if I could actually implement this style of eating. We did eat like this in Latin America, where the main meal is at noon, then dinner was more like what we’d call a “snack.” And I did lose 26 lbs while living in Central America, but that was probably the hard labor and turista. 🙂

Conclusion: All in all, things are going shockingly well. I have to say that I am cautiously optimistic. But nervous, you know, because I’ve never done this before.

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