Saturday, January 15, 2011

2 Week Update!

Two weeks in and things are looking good. I know you're probably here to check out a new set of photos of me in a sports bra and short shorts but you're just going to have to wait a few more days. The plan is a weekly set of photos but I skipped last Tuesday. Why you ask? Well, mostly because I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. That may be a good look in high schools these days (I'm hoping MTV's 16 and Pregnant** will fix this problem...fingers crossed) but not for me. I seriously felt like someone had shoved a balloon into my guts. Naturally, I decided to hold off on the photos until I was more of a svelte little mink.
***You like how I dropped that in here? I just learned about this show on my flight to LA over the weekend. Flying is pretty much how I learn about most shows.

Photo cred: rwkphotos on Flickr

In the interest of full disclosure, I have eaten paleo in the past. When I was getting ready for my half ironman, I ate like this for 45 days or so, but with more cheating. I learned that when you severely limit your carb intake, your body eventually switches to fat burning mode (ketosis: there is definitely some controversy here about whether or not this is healthy for extended periods of time. I eat sweet potatoes once a week, which is an acceptable paleo practice, rather than completely carb starve my body) that is great for sustaining longer bouts exercise. Eating like this was the first time I lost weight in years. When I first started going to the gym and getting in shape I lost weight of course. Well, technically the number stayed about the same, but I was much more compact due to replacing fat with muscle. After that first year, I plateaued. No big deal. More often than not, if I'm working out regularly, I'm happy with the way I look. I got over the unrealistic (and unhealthy) wish of being super skinny years ago. So, my three issues with eating this way the first time around were:

1. The first place I lost fat, much to the disappointment of Mike, was my chest. Suddenly I really identified with the lament of the animated character in this commercial. Ahhhh genetics, the oh so inconsiderate determinate of where our body holds our fat and where it lets it go first (more on this in a future post).

2. I was totally bloated a lot of the time and did not fuss with my diet enough to fix this issue.

3. The first few weeks I was cranky, tired and constantly hungry. After 3 weeks this went away, but man, I was not fun to be around in the beginning. It was basically sugar/carb withdrawal and let me tell you, it sucks, but it's worth sticking it out. Luckily, this time I did not go through that period at all.

4. Bonus Issue! Inner former vegan sometimes looked at my plate and saw something like this:

Crocheting genius care of Croshame

This time around, so far, my only issue as mentioned earlier ,was the bloating, which seems like too mild a word to describe the distended belly I had the first 10 days. I would eat just a few bites and within 20 minutes I looked 6 months pregnant. The thing with eating this way is that you really have to pay attention and tweak what you're consuming to make it work the best for you. My way of fixing this issue was to simply take 3 fiber capsules daily. Within a few days I was fine. Isn't that fascinating? I know, I should just end this now as this post has clearly culminated.

But I'm not going to. I'm not letting you all off the hook without teaching you something interesting about why grains are bad. So pay attention!

Consuming, and especially over consuming, sugar and grains messes with your body's ability to quickly and accurately communicate to your brain that you're full. I'm simplifying this as it's complicated, but you can confidently walk away knowing that this is true. This leads to overeating in many people and eating the proper amount of food is essential to prolonging your body's ability to operate properly & efficiently. Overeating taxes your body in all kinds of ways that go even deeper than just the obvious issue of gaining weight. On the flipside (because I'm into being fair and balanced, you know, like Fox News) there are people out there who criticize following a paleo diet as they say it can lead to undereating...spell check tells me this is not a word but whatever. I can see how this might happen. I have found myself feeling the need to eat significantly less frequently in the past 2 weeks. My recommendation for those with this concern is to keep a food log for a week or 2 on a site such as Fitday. No need to obsess, but I think it's important to be honestly aware of how many calories you're consuming and if you're regularly lacking in any essential vitamins and nutrients. Actually, screw it, I recommend using Fitday for a few weeks to anyone. It's free and it's pretty interesting, just try not to get too nuts about it.

I leave you today with a word of advice (sorry Angelenos,this is more for my friends stuck in winter wonderland purgatory) bundle yourselves up and get outside regularly for a walk or a run. I've been making a big effort to get outside everyday and walk at least a mile despite the freezing temperatures and the winter blues have yet to hit. Miraculous considering my last 3 winters were spent being able to don a tank top and head out for a run mid January in LA. Motivational winter kittens!

Kitten photo genius care of David Waterman on Flickr

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