Monday, December 15, 2014
I am going to re-post these as a reminder to myself. These pictures represent one of the greatest moments of my life...ever, a monumental accomplishment. Just because I currently can't run doesn't take away from how epic that moment really was.... and yes, I'd like to re-live it a little if for no other reason than to remind myself how capable I really am sometimes we all need a little reminder.
I have come a long way and just because I have issues now does not change the fact that I have a warrior living inside me.
Friday, December 12, 2014
I posted this in a runners group forum on FB but felt it was worth sharing here... if you are a runner, read this and think...
"It's been a long time since I posted here. In short, I miss running. For now, I have had to hang it up and follow other fitness paths. There is nothing more I would love to do than to re-live the feeling of finishing a marathon or 70.3. I am still looking for answers concerning my ankle and the issues surrounding it but after a grieving process I have finally accepted the fact that I need to move on as much as I love the feeling of accomplishment, the medals, the race fun, and the community. I can still do 5k's to some extent so I guess that keeps me connected in some way but my heart is really out on the marathon course or in the middle of a heart pounding long distance triathlon.
The best piece of advice I can give anyone here is you only have one body and us distance junkies have a bad reputation for training through pain because we have learned early on that progress happens at the end of our comfort zone. So we dose up on Ibuprofen and keep going. We fret over missing runs, obsess over bigger numbers, and push hard until we are clutching the railing just to make it up or down stairs.
We often make the mistake of thinking that just because it doesn't hurt, we have recovered enough. We fail to realize that tendons and joint inflammation doesn't go away after a rest day and that is if we actually took a real rest day. Often we satisfy our compulsiveness by filling rest days with alternate cardio believing that rest is a four letter word.
Over time, our bio-mechanical quirks, over zealous addition of too much, too soon, and the thousands of foot strikes on tired feet catch up to us. Once they come calling, they bring injury, downtime, and sometimes total removal from that which we love because we failed to heed the red flags.
If you see yourself in anything I just described, I suggest asking yourself the hard question why and keep asking why until you really get your answer.
Learn from my mistakes so that you will run long and happy for years to come.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
I am doing much better. If anything I am learning what true recovery is all about. It is about slowly rebuilding and taking small steps. Those things that drew me in close to a fitness lifestyle are those things that will bring me back. One of the first lessons I learned early on is to develop an emotional connection with exercise. One reason a persons exercise commitment fails is because they are doing it for the wrong reason. Generally, when one embarks on some effort to establish / re-establish an exercise habit, it is done from a negative motivation.
Rarely do we ever darken the doors of a gym because we like how we look, are satisfied with our weight, or our clothes are fitting just right. Most of the time it is the opposite of what I just mentioned and exercise is automatically associated with a negative emotion. Even if you are driven by justifiable panic over the number you just saw on the scale after months of neglect and you are motivated to pull out all the stops and make whatever sacrifices are needed to bring back a sense of control, rarely does such panic create lasting change. It can spark movement but it doesn't provide for lasting commitment.
What has worked for me then and works for me now is to create a positive association with exercise. Setting and keeping small fitness goals, promising and then delivering, brings with it a sense of control and personal empowerment. A sense of control is what is needed most to stop the downward slide. Relish the feeling of accomplishment of fulfilling a 10 minute workout. Keep track of how much stronger you are getting or how good it feels to really get out in the fresh air on a long walk or bike ride.
Every time I do that, I get strength to re-establish consistency because I want to do it, I am not driven to do it out of fear or panic. Consistency gives you something that is much needed in your journey, a reason to take yourself and your goals seriously. The human heart can't pull motivation out of thin air, it needs evidence to support the belief and consistency proves to yourself that you are indeed serious. Once your heart senses that this isn't just another attempt in a long string of over promised-under delivered fitness endeavors, the eating behavior slowly begins to change and choices begin to revolve around your new commitment. You begin to think and eat like an athlete and not like a desperate dieter.
This is what has been happening with me and I am slowly getting re-established and more like my old self again. Bad habits don't disappear with the wave of a wand but I have noticed that my eating is once again beginning to revolve around my fitness.
I am doing much better :)
Friday, September 19, 2014
The purpose of these last two blogs is to raise awareness among the weight loss community about this test and the benefits as well as to share what I have learned both through my own trial and error experiences and what has been finally confirmed by science. THIS WILL BE A LENGTHY BLOG.. be forewarned. If you want to educate yourself, read on. If you have been stuck forever like I have, read on. If you are looking for a quick woo-hoo-you-can-do-it, then move on, this post is not for you. I am passionate about this subject simply because I have been fighting this war for years and I am always looking for intel on my enemy and ways to relay that intel so that victory can be achieved by myself and others. We are in this together.
I am heavy in to documentation on stuff like this. First reason is that I don't toss stuff like this out to the world based on "I suppose" or "I think..." there is TOO MUCH of that already. There is too much celeb personality driven fitness marketing in a world that is dying for lack of hard, simple facts and from the inaction caused by frustration from conflicting messages. The disillusionment from the cult of personality that is so prevalent doesn't help matters any.
Before I begin let me bring some explanations and definitions to the role of insulin and weight loss.... in the words of science.... not diet cults.
"When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage."
"Insulin is a key player in the control of intermediary metabolism, and the big picture is that it organizes the use of fuels for either storage or oxidation. Through these activities, insulin has profound effects on both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism...Insulin inhibits breakdown of fat in adipose tissue by inhibiting the intracellular lipase that hydrolyzes triglycerides to release fatty acids....insulin is involved in further accumulation of triglyceride in fat cells....From a whole body perspective, insulin has a fat-sparing effect. Not only does it drive most cells to
preferentially oxidize carbohydrates instead of fatty acids for energy, insulin indirectly stimulates accumulation of fat in adipose tissue."
"Glucose that your cells don't use accumulates as fat."
Short version: When your insulin levels rise due to carb consumption ( from "good" or "bad" carbs), the hormonal response of insulin causes your body NOT to utilize fat for fuel.. period. Carbs not readily utilized as fuel turns to fat. Understanding the relationship between carbohydrate consumption and fat storage is key to appreciating how important the test is. The difference between good or bad is how fast it rises... but it still rises and the key to fat loss is to keep your insulin levels down and stable as much as possible. How you restrict and how much is between you and your health care provider or dietitian. This is purely education, not prescription.
What the test measures and why-
The test measures your respiratory quotient (RQ) Your RQ is the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide that you are taking in and expelling. The gas exchange that takes place (like a cars exhaust) tells the story of how your "engine" is doing and how it is managing fuel for combustion and at what percentage.
"The relative amounts of the macronutrients oxidized by an individual are reflected in the respiratory quotient (RQ), which varies inversely with lipid oxidation. A high RQ, indicating a relatively low lipid oxidation, and a low activity of the sympathetic nervous system have both been identified as risk factors for body weight gain."
" a low ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation is associated with subsequent weight gain independent of low energy expenditure and may contribute to the familial aggregation of obesity."
... so understanding your RQ is key to understanding what is REALLY going on inside you since your metabolism is going to be individually determined by unique genetic traits as well as lifestyle. This cannot be determined by online calculators, all they can do is provide a generic estimate based on averages and formulas. Can you lose weight without the test? Sure you can. Millions (including me) have done it BUT... it takes a high level of commitment and a dedication to trial and error as well as keen self observation. In spite of that however, as many can attest, you can get stuck... big time (not your typical plateau either).
This is also where even the best of the best can stumble and crash in their resolve. Some lose their minds when they stall out for a month or two. Hang on honey, you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until you stall for years and you are still 60-80 lbs from goal weight with NO logical explanation. This is where the typical "oh its only a plateau", "you just need to change things up" cliche's really fall flat.... as if weight loss veterans haven't actually considered this.... wow *eye-roll*. At that point you need more than a pat on the back or a woo hoo, you need answers and don't even get me started on fitspirational posters. If all it takes is a picture of a never-been-fat skinny chic, her abs, and a cliche' to motivate you, you probably haven't been at this long enough for reality to set in... brace yourself, it's coming, but I digress... back to science.
The RQ numbers and what they mean.
"Because of the differences in composition of food fuels, different amounts of oxygen are required to completely oxidize those foods to carbon dioxide and water. Thus, the quantity of carbon dioxide produced in relation to oxygen consumed varies depending on the substrate metabolized. This ratio of metabolic gas exchange is termed the respiratory quotient (RQ): "
Short version: Since fat has less oxygen than carbohydrate, the amount your body needs to metabolize it varies and that ratio of O2 and CO2 tells us the percentage of carbs and fats is being metabolized at that moment. When this is done in a fasted condition, it tells you what ratio of fat / carbs your body uses at rest. This is key because we know that metabolic functions from day to day is what burns the majority of our calories. Also, knowing this is also key to adjusting our intake of insulin raising carbohydrates to a level that will allow energy for the day yet still allow us to lose weight since we are metabolizing more fat than carbs.
My Number is .83
"During activities that range from bed rest to light aerobic exercise the RER seldom reflects the oxidation of pure carbohydrate or pure fat. Instead, a mixture of these nutrients is used, and the RER falls between 0.7 and 1.00. "
During the review of my results with my provider, it was determined that my RQ was .83. I was advised that for fat loss, I need to get an RQ of .80 or less. She reviewed my stats and determined that I need to keep my carb levels to approximately 150-ish grams a day with light exercise. The amount can be tweaked as we go along but that gets me in the neighborhood. If needed, I can also see a dietitian to get ideas but I got a pretty good handle on this.
0.83 Carbs 43.8% Fat 56.2% at rest
At .83 my leanings are somewhat toward fat burning, I just need to adjust my carb intake and avoid the processed crap. For some others the number may be much higher and thus highlights the need for intervention to properly adjust the diet to levels that will allow for weight loss since they are natural sugar burners.
I hope this helps someone. i know this was long, but I wanted to get this out there because this was such an eye opener for me and I know it gave me the missing link, what i am needing to really get my weight loss going in the right direction again.
*** ADDENDUM ***
I wanted to make 3 additions to this-
1) The above information should also should cast much doubt on the mindset that some have that says a calorie is a calorie when it comes to the simplistic idea of calories in / calories out. 1500 calories a day of stereotypical high carbohydrate low fat diet is going to produce an entirely different hormonal reaction than 1500 cal of balanced (good) fats, carbs and protein. The insulin response and thus the fat hoarding properties of high insulin will be in play here.
2) The above only applies to those engaging in a moderate exercise program that does not provoke the body to require more carbohydrates to properly fuel one's training (running / triathlon etc..) Again proper balance requires the input of a skilled practitioner in nutrition / sports nutrition to eliminate the guesswork. It's pretty tough to train for performance and still keep ones carbs down for weight loss. It probably should be one or the other but not both.
3) Some have commented that low carb is not a sustainable lifestyle and I tend to agree. It is not a lifestyle, it is a weight LOSS methodology. Lifestyle implies day-to-day living and maintenance. We are mistaken if we think that we can flood our system with hormones that block access to our fat stores and still lose weight. The science says no. When it comes to maintenance, that's different. The only way to lose fat is to tap our fat stores and that is nearly impossible when our nutritional choices blocks our body's ability to use its own fuel. End of story.
As far as maintenance and healthy living goes, I personally believe that there is NO single "best way" to eat. The fact that humans survived and prospered under varying dietary conditions with macronutrients varying greatly should tell us that humans are extremely adaptable. Then again we are talking daily living and thriving, not about creating the metabolic environment for fat loss to occur. The only thing that the varied traditional diets and peoples across the globe have in common is how the dietary wheels fell off when they were introduced to the Western processed food culture. Across the board, many of these cultures never heard of our diseases eating their traditional diet of whatever was local to them. The bad things happened when they traded pineapples and fish for Whoppers or walrus meat and caribou jerky for Chicken McNuggets and Coke.
For further reading on this concept of there not being any one "perfect" way to eat... I highly recommend the book Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald.
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