Week 2 Update: No News is Good News... for now

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I'm two weeks into the new nutrition approach now
...and it's been pretty anticlimactic. Which is good.

I am a big believer in slow & steady wins the race (maybe because I'm a slow runner??) but especially when it comes to weight loss and nutrition changes, I feel a little bit uncomfortable when people drop significant weight or significant body fat at a super rapid rate.
I don't think that's sustainable. 

I would much rather have myself, my friends, my family, my clients, make small changes over time so that we can really adapt at a healthy pace for our bodies and we're not confusing our systems too much!

Healthy living is a lifestyle, not a fad. And to go along with any of the "quick fixes" on the market just doesn't jive with long term results.

SO-- When I noticed pretty nominal changes this week, I didn't feel disappointed at all... I felt pretty satisfied honestly.

I've been at the same weight and body fat percentage for months, I've taken in about the same amount of calories every day for months, and I've seen no changes.
Knowing that my system is adjusting and keeping it's own internal equilibrium in line is comforting to me.
After the first month of this new timing, I plan to adjust the actual food that I'm putting in... but not before that.
First, because of my aforementioned tendency to make changes slowly over time... and Second, because we're going to Napa in a couple of weeks and LAWD KNOWS I plan to drink all the wine and eat all the cheese and dip all the bread ;)

...gotta have a little fun every now and again, right?

So, on to the specifics of what's been goin down this week!

   I've had more hungry feelings in the morning time this week than I did in the previous couple of weeks. But it's interesting because where those hunger pangs used to be followed by a headache, foggy mind, crappy mood, and other physical changes-- that's not happening! I drink some water and continue doing whatever it was that I was doing before :)
  I've been happy for meal times, and have been mostly keeping my food "normal," which for me is lower carb, higher fat, and a fair amount of protein.
  I'm starting each day with my faaaaavorite super food shake, Cafe Latte Shakeology! That way, I know that I've gotten my healthiest meal of the day down the hatch and that can be fueling and refurbishing my muscles while I cook up my next actual meal.
  It use to make me feel sick to drink Shakeo on an empty stomach, but it's been the perfect post workout drink!

   This is back to normal... thank goodness! Woah that first week was crazy!
Because I'm not eating until about 11 am or 12 pm (I push it back if I know that we are going to have a late dinner or if we had a late dinner the night before) it gives me plenty of time to get my water in first thing! I have been drinking about 1/2 a gallon before I even workout!

   Still not sleeping at 100%.... but I think that has more to do with other life circumstances than this particular change. Like the train horn that has been waking me up at 4 am the past few mornings... ahhhhhh!!!

   Still no change in this department... which is fine! When starting a new workout program it's pretty common to actually gain some weight from your muscles hanging onto extra water and acid for protection. And after the beating I took from THE BEAST last week, I'm surprised that the scale didn't go up!
  I would like to see some body fat losses by the end of the month, but I'm just going to focus on doing what I know is healthy for now and reevaluate the nutrition side at the 4 week mark :)

   OH MY LANTA! Body Beast is rocking my world right now! I had to add in an extra recovery day last week (I stayed active, but had to postpone the next workout) because I was SO sore! This is the first time that I have done serious, structured, classic lifting in quiiiiiiiite some time (like maybe a year!) so I know that most of it is just from being out of the habit. If it continues I may consider adding in an extra evening recovery shake. But I think that as long as I'm getting good nutrition throughout the day, it should be fine :)
   I need to learn about how people do extended cardio while following this plan. Yesterday I ran about 6 miles and completely crashed in the afternoon. I felt awful. It only lasted for a couple of hours, and I'm not sure if it was totally from the run... but these bodies are a strange machine. I definitely need to learn how to time food around a long morning run for the future!

SO far, SO good! 

If you're wondering about anything else, feel free to ask!
I'm sharing these updates with you so that you can have a resource of what to potentially expect if you consider making a similar change... but also mostly so that I don't forget :)

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy! 

A Tardy Update on My New Nutrition!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

So it's been a week since I've been fully committed to the 8 hour eating window! 
(Okay, its being published a little bit later than that... but these are my thoughts about the first week!)

For those of you who didn't catch my first post about why i'm diving into this little experiment, you can check it out here: http://www.bestselfproductions.com/2016/06/sometimes-status-quo-just-doesnt-suit.html :)

It's strange.... I was expecting to have all this anxiety around not being able to eat until 11 am... or even noon on some days. I thought that it would be stressful to have to push my first meal back so far in the day. I thought that I would feel sluggish, tired, and cranky from being hungry for so long.

WELP, that didn't happen!

I feel really good! And the best part is, that it feels really natural.
I have always been a morning person... I get 80% of my to-do list done before 10am most days. By 2 pm I'm generally useless, and after dinner-- don't even try to get me to use my brain cells.

I had expected that not eating in the morning would prevent me from feeling good enough to continue with this early day efficiency.... but what actually has happened is that I don't have to waste time thinking and worrying about how I'm going to plan my food into my morning and around the dog's walk and timed with my workout.
AND, I've had some of the most productive few days in recent history this week!

So, here's the rundown of what I'm noticing in different areas of my life :)

   I used to wake up STARVING.... and I would be SO SO SO susceptible  to blood sugar dips where I would get HANGRY. This week, I haven't felt that way at all!
   Now, I do still have some hunger pangs a couple of times during the morning before I eat... but nothing consistent or bothersome. I'll interested to see how that changes as I move forward.
   Daytime meals are definitely larger than what I'd been eating before, because I'm still aiming to hit my calorie goal every day, but if I go a couple of hours without eating, I don't notice neeeeaaarly the amount of fluctuation as I usually would!

   WHEEEWWWWW baby! Someone had mentioned to me to make sure that I drank extra water as I made this transition because of the way that the body's processes are shifting and expelling different materials.... she wasn't kidding! I have experienced a lot of drymouth, dry throat, SUPER DRY hands (especially when waking up)... so dry and puffy that I've had to take my wedding band off every night and lick my thumbs to make my phone work in the morning (baahahha)
   I'm a gallon a day girl already, so drinking much more than that is a bit difficult.... BUT as the week went on, it got better and better and now feels almost normal again.

   I'll be honest... I slept pretty terribly all week. Now, there were a few other contributing factors (like a middle of the night earthquake, my giant beast whining for attention, etc) but it was a full week of waking up every 2-3 hours. Which for me is totally not normal. I'm a great sleeper. I LOVE my sleep... so this piece was a bit concerning to me. Again though, as the week went on it improved.
   Now, I'm waking up at 6 am, ready to rock my day! And for someone who does all the tasking early in the day... that's a good thing!

   No change in this department. Which I'm happy with! I am at a healthy weight right now, so I'm not concerned with the number on the scale. Though, I was a bit nervous that I would drop weight quickly. But I'm glad to see that keeping my food intake the same, just at different times, hasn't changed that piece-- means that it is maybe kinda diggin the new status quo ;)
   I would like to see my body fat decrease.... mostly carrying the extra fluff in the midsection, so that's where I'll be measuring. It would be silly to think anything would change after just one week.

   Last week was mostly a recovery week for me physically and emotionally after constant Spring time running training. I did some easy jogs and some lower body work... nothing crazy. I felt good, but I also didn't want to push myself too hard as I switched to the new nutrition plan.
   This week I've started Body Beast and am LOVVVINNNGGG IT! I'm doing the workouts fasted (eek!) but have been feeling energized through them and then usually have my Shakeology right after and then my first meal!

I'm super excited to see how the next few weeks play out!

If you're wondering about anything else, feel free to ask!
I'm sharing these updates with you so that you can have a resource of what to potentially expect if you consider making a similar change... but also mostly so that I don't forget :)

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy! 

Sometimes the Status Quo Just Doesn't Suit You Anymore: How I'm Changing my Entire Approach to Healthy Eating

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I'd like to preface this entiiiiiiiiiire blog post by saying that this is an experiment. I'm not yet willing to suggest that this is the correct approach for me long term, or for you, or for any of my clients... BUT I think that it's important to push the envelope. So that's what I'm going to do.

On paper I am the healthiest I have ever been.

I have spent the past year digging into my nutrition, cleaning up my habits, focusing on well rounded exercise, and have brought my running pace down significantly.

...Let's focus on the running for a minute, because that is where I really started to notice this strange shift in my health that caught my attention.

I have been a runner for a few years now... I've run many half marathons, a full marathon, and have averaged about 20-30 miles a week for the past couple of years in addition to my strength training or Beachbody programs.
Nothing crazy, no extreme training plans or anything. But, as I began to train this Spring for another half marathon (at a time when my nutrition is BY FAR the most consistently clean it's ever been) I felt kind of terrible.

Long runs were kicking me right in the gut-- and even as low as 7 miles was causing me all kinds of issues that my fellow runners know all too well. I was also experiencing soreness and fatigue in areas of my body that never have caused me issues before... even after much more strenuous training.
I was baffled. Like seriously, truly baffled. 

When I trained for and ran my first full marathon a few years ago, I didn't give any thought to my nutrition other than that I should be consuming a fair amount of food to make up for the calorie loss, and probably I should be eating like... you know... 1/2 a Freschetta pizza before my long runs.--- haha yeah, true story.
After those runs I'd come home and eat... I don't know... junk probably. Maybe a PB&J or a giant bagel. The point is: I didn't really pay attention at all.

Fast forward to 2016 when I am actively working to improve my health every day and have seen great results from those efforts! 

I have seen great results, but I also feel stuck. I feel stuck with results-- having just completed a new program and not having seen much change at all, feeling like my insides are talking back to me when I'm doing the activities that I love the most, and just wondering in general is there is something more or different that I should be doing.

It was while I was having this back and forth with myself that I happened to listen to a few different podcast episodes that made me question THE ENTIRE WAY we have been approaching nutrition.

...check them out if you're interested in learning more details!

1st was School of Greatness with Lewis Howes; interview with Mark Sisson, author of Primal Blueprint. Listen HERE
   In this episode Mark discusses a bit about his history as an Olympic endurance athlete, the reasons that he came to discover a new way of fueling his own body for greater health, and then the practical ways that he has made the shift in his own life. He's an advocate of a diet that is high in healthy fats, mostly free of grains, and a very limited eating window. We're talking like SUPER limited... like 1pm - 7pm kind of limited.
   I was on board when I listened to this the first time with much of what he said.... EXCEPT for the short eating window. It went against everything that I was learning, teaching, and had used in my own life to experience results! AH! It made me cringe! 
   I put his info in my back pocket as a reassurance that my inclination to have a higher fat diet was good, but other than that I brushed it off as nothing more than thought provoking.

THEN was The Chalene Show with Chalene Johnson; interview with Melissa McAllister, author of The MADE Diet. Listen HERE
   Melissa goes into detail about some experiments that she ran on herself over the course of a few months, with the help of her doctor so that she could have cholesterol and other screenings done throughout the process. She did everything from being completely vegan to having her diet composed of 75% fat. She found that her heart was healthiest during the time of..... DUN DUN DUN... extremely high fat! And that she had more inflammation and cholesterol during her time following a vegan plan.
   She also utilizes the limited eating window that Mark Sisson discusses a bit in his podcast-- but hers a little little bit larger (8 hours), and she also went into a little more detail about why she has chosen to eat this way.

Important points:
- Back in the good ol' days before obesity was running amuck in our society, people didn't eat breakfast until they'd already been up, feeding the chickens, milking the cows, etc. She argues that in order for you to "break" the "fast" there actually has to be a period of fasting. 
- Our bodies don't start burning fat until about 12 hours into a fast... if we don't even let our system get to that point, we can not become efficient fat burners. (insert muffin top)
- Who has pushed the idea that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"?.... could it be Kellogg's? Or Quaker? Or any of the other food companies who are merely trying to sell a product? OH CRAP. Had I ever thought about it that way before? NOPE.

After listening to those two podcasts, and doing some reading on my own... I thought, 
"You know what? It can't hurt to try!"

So I decided that after this most recent half marathon I would give this whole limited eating window thing a try!
I already eat a pretty low carb (from grains) diet, and I lovvvveeee my healthy fats... so the types of foods wasn't going to be difficult for me.
What IS going to be difficult is the fact that I am STARVING by 7 am, and anyone who knows me knows that when I get hangry, you better get ouuuuttaa my way!

So here I am! 
I'm taking a couple of weeks to transition, as is recommended by both Mark and Melissa.

I'm going to track my progress each week, along with my food, how I'm feeling, and if I notice any other changes taking place in my body.

*I will be going from a nutrition plan where I ate 6 meals every 3ish hours between about 7 am and 8 pm to a plan where I will consume that same amount of food between 11 am and 7 pm.

I spent last week pushing my breakfast time back... the first couple of days it pushed back an hour, then 1 1/2 hours, then 2 hours... then the half marathon jacked up my whole system and this week I've jumped right into 11 am.
I'm going to stick to my normal foods for the first couple weeks, and then may consider making some adjustments there-- but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it :)

I love the idea of being able to turn my body into a fat burning machine... not only for the obvious appearance changes that that would bring (like finally bringing those abs to the forefront ;) ...just bein' honest!), but because it truly seems like a more efficient way of functioning. We weren't designed as humans to have food readily accessible, so it makes sense that we would be better off by allowing our bodies the fasting periods that they evolved to have.

I'll be pairing this nutrition plan with Body Beast for muscle building, some sprint work for additional fat burning, and some good ol' fashioned regular runs for my soul.

If you're interested in following the journey, I'll be sharing my results and what I learn along the way!
Here's hoping for great results!

With some hesitation, much excitement, and a whole bushel of avocados to eat,

ps...This is a podcast that I listening to this morning from Art of Manliness who also featured Mark Sisson, and that was exactly the reassurance that I needed this morning to start this strange journey!
Listen HERE
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