Two Weeks In

This past Tuesday was my two-week anniversary of being on this fourth Whole30, and the half-way point. What was supposed to be the “Tiger Blood” phase ended up being my head cold phase. I’m still not feeling great, but I am feeling a bit better.

I leave for my annual training (AT) in a few days, and I’m getting ready both psychologically and logistically. As I’ve said in the previous posts, I’m packing Epic Bars, RXBars, and nuts. I will live on those exclusively unless the food provided to us includes healthy options (rare, but it happens). Breakfasts typically involve eggs, bacon, sausage, and some fruit, so I’ll likely partake in those. Lunch and dinner is a crap shoot, and most of the meals provided are very carb-heavy, so I’ll definitely be skipping those and using my own provisions.

As for weight, I’m still at 10 lbs down, but I do feel my clothes continue to become looser. I feel good despite having a cold; my energy levels are decent, and I’m fairly certain that were I not on a Whole30, this cold would possibly be hitting me harder. Eating healthy impacts far more than just weight.

I am happy to be in my third week, though. When I’m done with this Whole30, I won’t be returning to care-free eating, but I will be able to indulge in foods that Whole30 considers SWYPO: things like Paleo pancakes, Paleo cookies, Paleo pizza, etc.

In the meantime, I’ll focus on continuing to eat right, getting back to normal (no more head cold!), and hopefully back to exercising after AT.

Still Ill

Another song title? Who knows the band that sang the song, “Still Ill” without Googling it?

But, that’s where I find myself: still ailing from this cold. It was bad enough today that I had to stay home from work due to not getting any sleep. The combination of Sudafed and the running nose kept me from being able to rest, so I let the medicine run it’s course and fell asleep around 7 am this morning. I did get a few hours of sleep in before I was awakened by a stuffed nose and sore throat.

I feel a bit better now, but that’s because I’m taking more medicine. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight so that I can go into work tomorrow.

Of course, this has spelled disaster for my plans to run. Just walking the dog today took a lot out of me, and I’m sure that my upcoming annual training is going to really do a number on me. Unfortunately, we are so short that my absence would be disastrous, so I’ll “Soldier on,” as they say.

As for my eating, I’ve been sticking to the Whole30, and while my weight is stalled, I feel myself losing size as evidenced by trousers that are fitting better now. Hopefully the scale starts moving again soon, though.

I don’t know when this cold will finally go away, but for now, I feel like I’m still in the middle of it. My head aches, my nose continues to run, my ears are stuffy, and my throat hurts. Wish me well, folks!

Caught a Light Sneeze

Ha. Never thought I’d get to name a blog post after a Tori Amos song, yet here we are. I caught a cold of sorts on Sunday, and I spent all day yesterday sneezing with a very actively running nose. Fortunately, I was able to medicate and keep most of the symptoms at bay, but it requires me to keep taking medicine regularly. The other thing it’s doing is keeping me from running.

Considering the effects of pseudoephedrine (which is what I’m taking to dry my nasal drainage), I think it is best for me to not do any cardio right now. I’m older, and the last thing I need is for my heart to be over-exerted. So, I am sitting out running for a little bit right now. At least until I am not taking pseudoephedrine. Then, I’ll get back out there.

Oh, but there’s more.

My annual training (AT) in the National Guard starts within a week, and I will likely not be able to run regularly during that two-week period. Strange; I know. Most people think that when we’re on AT, we’re running every day, but honestly, we have so much work to do, the last thing we have time for is the luxury of exercise. We are supposed to be doing that between drills so we don’t waste time with something so basic and rudimentary. Anyone can exercise alone; we can’t practice our missions on our off-time without the appropriate equipment.

So, I caught a light sneeze and now I’m on the sidelines wishing I could be running. How weird it is.

Sleep

Remember all those posts where I harp about getting enough sleep? Well, it turns out that there’s science to it after all!

A recent government report states that there are numerous metabolic disorders that can be linked to irregular sleep, not enough sleep, and changing sleeping and waking times.

Sleep is what I always tell people is the missing ingredient from many successful weight loss programs. I know people who are putting in all the work to lose weight except for one thing: getting enough sleep. When I tell them they need to get at least 7 to 7.5 hours a night, they scoff and tell me that they just don’t have the time.

We all have the time. We must make sleep a priority. Not only does it help us lose weight, but getting enough can help us avoid lots of other problems like high cholesterol, hypertension, and high blood sugar.

GO TO SLEEP!

10,000 Steps a Day

Me after a grueling, hot run yesterday.

Let’s just cut to the chase: you can’t out-exercise a poor diet.

There. I said it. Now I’ll explain.

I ran in the heat yesterday. It was 94 degrees and sunny, and it was a tough run. My average heart rate was above my target heart rate for my age: it was at 160 BPM. That’s putting a lot of strain on my heart, but I’ve been exercising for three years, so I’m in better shape than most my age. With that said, it was still a wake-up for me that I need to keep my target heart rate in mind when I run because ignoring it could be disaster. Anyway, at the end of that run, I looked at the data tracked by the Garmin and Strava apps, and I found that for that hellish half-hour, I only burned 436 calories.

436 calories.

Here are some foods in the 400 calorie range:

  • Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
  • Chicken Avocado BLT Wrap
  • Crunchy Mexican Salad with Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • Salmon Salad-Stuffed Avocado
  • Greek Salad Wraps

Most of those aren’t Paleo, but you get the idea.

In comparison, here are some common fast foods:

  • Slice of Pizza: 320 Calories
  • Whopper: 770 Calories
  • Five Guys Burger w/cheese: 610 Calories
  • Quarter Pounder: 510 Calories
  • Burger King Medium Fries: 440 Calories
  • Baja Fresh Chicken Burrito Ultimo: 880 Calories

There is NO WAY I could ever out-run a meal of fast food and live to tell the tale!

That brings me to walking 10,000 steps a day. How many calories does that burn? As compared to being in a chair, it’s good, but mostly it’s good to keep your blood circulating properly. To get any real gain from exercise, you need to get your heart rate close to your target heart rate. That means some sort of cardio. Walking just won’t cut it.

I know people who have been walking their 10k steps for years and they’ve lost no weight because they haven’t changed their diets. You lose weight in the kitchen and get fit in the gym/on the road/in the pool/etc.

Get those 10k steps in each day if you want. It’s good for you; much better than sitting all day. But don’t think you will lose weight from walking those 3 miles over the course of the day. It’s not realistic.

Chicken and the Other Meats

This morning, I saw a story on the local news that a study was recently published in which it was found that cholesterol levels of people who ate chicken in place of other meats did not reduce their cholesterol. The story went on to say that the conclusion the researchers drew is that regardless of the kind of meat, a person will still have high cholesterol after eating any kind of meat.

I laughed.

Meat doesn’t cause a rise in cholesterol. Eating fats doesn’t even cause a rise in cholesterol. Eating carbs does. If all the researchers were looking at was the difference in cholesterol levels based on the consumption of the types of meats people were eating and not taking into account the carbs, then there is no way they can gauge the impact of chicken vs other meats on a person’s cholesterol. This entire study also forgets to take into account how human bodies work and more specifically, what the liver does for us.

I’m no scientist or doctor, but I’ll put it simply: the liver takes sugar and converts it to fat. That’s why people who are obese often have fatty liver. It’s why people who aren’t obese but eat a lot of carbs can also have fatty liver. It’s why I had fatty liver, and when I eliminated the large percentage of carbs from my diet, I no longer suffered from fatty liver disease. I am no longer diabetic. My vision has improved. I no longer suffer from circulatory issues or tingling extremities.

Keep eating that chicken. Heck, I eat bacon every day, and my cholesterol levels are lower now than they were when I was eating oatmeal, bread, and pasta. We are still a long way from mainstream medicine having a grasp on how our bodies work and process food. Unfortunately, many will suffer and die while the competing research factions (read: funded scientists for lobby groups) fight it out through their scientific papers until the truth finally becomes too obvious for everyone to ignore. Until then, it’s on you to do the right thing: cut the carbs!!!

Creating a New You

My co-worker has a mug that has a really nice saying on it that I think we can all learn from:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about CREATING YOURSELF.”

This is so true when it comes to your health. There’s no “finding” good health. You don’t find weight loss. These are things you have to create, often through planning, hard work, and perseverance.

The good habits. Eating right. Exercise. Getting enough sleep. Sticking to the plan. Avoiding temptation. These are all things you create. Nobody will do it for you; you have to do it for yourself.

Ultimately, even though my wife does the majority of our menu planning and meal prep, it’s up to me to stick to the plan. I have to be the one to not sneak meals and snacks when I’m not at home. It’s up to me to get out on the road and run. It’s up to me to ignore the false appetites.

Create the new you that you want. It’s not going to happen accidentally. It’s only going to happen after you put in the work.