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Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas - Day 1

Saturday, January 08, 2011

So, Yesterday, My VFF Bikilas arrived!!! I was STOKED!! After finding out about these, doing some research online, reading SP message boards, and other such things, I thought these might be a great shoe for me.

For those of you who aren't familiar with these, they are shoes (the Bikilas are the ones designed specifically for running) that similate being barefoot, only that your feet are protected greatly from the elements - sharp objects and other such things. The idea is that our bodies and feet were designed a certain way, which, if we learn to use properly, will prevent injury. For example, our feet work best with a forefoot land, which barefoot running (or running with minimalist shoes like VFFs) helps develop, and a shorter stride. Running with more "forgiving" conventional shoes leads to more heal landing, and longer strides, which leaves runners more injury-prone... well, in theory. I am courageously trying that theory out!! Tenderly and slowly though, because the transition must be done carefully or it can lead to INJURY.

Most of you already saw them in my new profile pic, but I LOVE the hot pink and orange! They are SOOOO me! You would think you would be able to see them a mile away....

But my hubby came home last night, walks in the door (where he could see me), walks around (as well as PAST me) for a few minutes situation his stuff that he brought home from work, goes to the bathroom, comes out (he's home for about 10 minutes at this point), and out of the blue says:

"So, where are they? I wanna see them!" In a somewhat demanding (though playful) tone.

I'm like, "Dude, there on my feet." To which he was really surprised...

ANYWAY, I am planning to keep you all up-to-date on my experience with these.

WHY I chose Vibram FiveFingers:
emoticon First off, I LOVE being barefoot. Serious, I hardly wear shoes. I grew up in Washington State out in the country, and I was ALWAYS barefoot. My dad teases me that I never wore shoes until I was 12 years old. In the summer, you will hardly EVER find me with shoes on, and if, they are flip-flops. Wintertime requires shoe-wearing here in Germany, so I do. But often, in the summer, one of my favorite things to do is to run around barefoot, playing tag with my son, which he LOVES too!

emoticon I seem to already have naturally good foot form and high arches. I have been properly fitted for running shoes, and since I have high arches, I was told to wear shoes WITHOUT support. Wearing support, I guess, when you don't need it, throws your natural foot posture off. Didn't know this before, so for years, I always thought arch support in my running shoes was important.

emoticon My forefeet are wide and toes spread a bit, which helps in transitioning to VFFs.

emoticon I already run with a shorter stride. I played around with my stride a LOT during the training for my first 2 HMs, and found that a shorter stride felt easier and less fatiguing, and when combined with a faster turnover, actually INCREASED my pace, but still felt easier!! After doing this, I read from several different sources that a shorter stride is actually much better for runners, because the further out your foot lands from your body, the more impact on your knees, heels, ankles, etc, and the more injury-prone you may be.

emoticon I am a naturalist at heart. I love cooking all-natural, I love natural products, natural furniture, things made out of real things like wood or leather. I just like the natural basics, so the idea of learning to run and use my body the way God naturally designed it appeals to me very much.

emoticon I already pay 120 for my running shoes, so they are not an increase in price. PLUS, since VFFS do NOT rely on synthetic cushioning, my suspicion is that they will last longer, for more mileage. My running FORM will be the key, not the padding in the shoe, since there is virtually none. So, my guess is, if I get myself transitioned into these shoes, I would need to buy shoes less often. ** However, this is JUST my theory, not based on any info I have read, simply my own reasoning! I will definitely be testing this out to see.

Here is my transition plan:
emoticon Even in my normal running shoes, focus on forefoot-landing, not landing on heel. I have already started doing this during several of my runs.

emoticon Wear them often, like around the house and such, to get used to the way they feel, and let my feet become accustomed to them. Not hard, since I am a SAHM and am ALWAYS barefoot, unless I have to go somewhere.

emoticon On my off-days from my normal training plan, or even after my "normal" run, go out for a quick 1-mile or less run in them.

emoticon Once I feel comfortable with them, do my shortest run of the week in them (usually 3-4 miles), and work up slowly from there.

emoticon Run on flat surfaces - not hard for me since I run on the pavement. (This is a tip I read referring to first trying them out.)

emoticon I took them out this morning for my first official run!! I ran 10.6 miles in my "normal" shoes, then came home briefly, changed shoes, and went out for a mile in my new VFFs! They are VERY VERY comfortable. They fit like gloves!! I didn't have any rubbing of my toes at all, which I was a little concerned about, because they fit so snug. I have bought too-small running shoes before, that felt like they fit in the store, but when I ran in them, the crammed my toes something terrible!! But my VFFs were NOT that way!!

This is what I noticed:
They felt very natural, very comfortable.
The traction was good.
They seemed to lead me quite naturally to a forefoot landing.
Running in them DOES work your muscles differently.
There was no rubbing, except for a little bit on the top of my foot where the opening was.
The socks that I got to go with them make them fit really snug, so I ran without socks. I might try to add the socks again later, we will see.

WARNING: I have read it, heard it stressed over and over that the transition to these shoes MUST be slowly and carefully carried out, since it requires different form and posture, and works your muscles differently. I also read that these shoes may not be for you if you already have achilles problems. Also, if you tend to be a very strong heel-runner or have had heel injuries, I would also think twice. If you require other forms of support in your running shoes, I would also be careful about VFFs. It could be, if transitioned carefully and properly, they can help your issues, but I would just be cautious. It might be a good idea to start running barefoot (a mile or so at a time), and see how it feels before purchasing these shoes. Those are just my tips....

emoticon So there you have it, SparkFriends!! My full report for my first day with VFFs!! Hope it is helpful!

Happy Weekend, and Spark on, my friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COOKIEGIRL26 2/13/2011 4:04PM

  When I first saw these I thought they looked ridiculous. But I fell in love with the idea of a more natural run, and just got my first pair for my birthday. I have really high insteps so the top of the shoe seems to run a little. I am going to try them out. There is a newer model called the Bikala LS that has a quick lace system that might work better for my feet. Thanks for the review.

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PAPAMIKIE 1/9/2011 11:15AM

    You note that you need to transition slowly. That is good. Great report

Comment edited on: 1/9/2011 11:17:35 AM

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REDDIRTRUNNER 1/9/2011 10:59AM

    Nice report! I am so darn curious about these things. I look forward to future reports!

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MAGGIE805 1/8/2011 3:53PM

    Those are awesome! Enjoy. :)

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LJOHN44 1/8/2011 2:48PM

    Great review! I read Born to Run not too long ago and I know some people that have them. I suspect the reason your arches are so high is because you don't wear shoes so you've built up the strength in your muscles. I'm hoping to get some for my birthday in March (It's way too cold to wear them here now). I'm a little worried about how sweaty they'll get in the warmer months. I look forward to reading about your progress with them!

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QUEENIE333 1/8/2011 2:29PM

    I just got mine for Christmas and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. My hub said that he thought the hot pink and orange were screaming my name. :o)

I have been taking it slow but have had NO issues what so ever. (5 runs so far this year in them.) I too had the thought that they wouldn't have break down issues like traditional shoes. We shall see.

Good luck to you!

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SMILESRME 1/8/2011 1:19PM

    My brother gave me the book "Born to Run" and it is such an interesting and insightful book. It does make sense to do things the way God made us. Keep us posted on how things are going for your Five Fingers and training. I have my eye on possibly getting into those as well.

I LOVE the colors you picked! What a hoot that your DH just walked on by you without noticing! Gotta love it.

Giving you a high "five"!
Julia ; )

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SEEAMANDARUN 1/8/2011 11:31AM

    Awesome. Thanks so much for the review. I find them fascinating, but I'm not sure I'm ready to take the plunge. Have Fun!

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MRS_LOOMIS 1/8/2011 10:48AM

    I have a student who loves his---but I think they look like frog feet! I am curious about them and I think they'd be great for running on the beach or other surfaces that require a better foot "feel." I've read the book that launched these ("Born to Run") and most of it makes sense. I do have a forefoot landing in my regular shoes, so I think I could make them work---but the price holds me back from experimenting.

I'll be watching to see how you fare in them---I hope they're GREAT for you!!!!!

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ASIAMORA 1/8/2011 10:18AM

    So glad so read about the VFFs. I've always been curious about then. I'm not sure they would be right for me, but I've thought about experimenting with them.

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JORDBAERROSE 1/8/2011 6:33AM

    agree JILLIANPRNCSS, on all points.. funny in the chatrooms every steps elegantly around these points..

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    I do disagree with you about the wear. I think you will have to replace more often. I got mine this summer and I can already see them wearing out quicker than my running shoes because they don't have as much tread. My other problem was if you step in some mud or dog poop it is really hard to get it out of all those little holes in the arch. I did wash them in the washing machine and were fine but still never got it all out so don't want to walk around in the house with them now. Also during the summer my feet would sweat in them and move around more plus it is too cold in the winter and snow for them.

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LAUROCHKA 1/8/2011 5:33AM

    These look amazing! It's intersting to hear how you're getting on with them. I might investigate myself - enjoy!

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Wrist update!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

I'm gonna pump out 2 blogs today, because I feel it's goofy to combine these 2 subjects - so STAYED TUNED for my blog on my new Vibram FiveFingers!!

The verdict on my wrist:
Inflamed tendons in my wrist due to the hard work I did shoveling my driveway. Followed by further agitation with my subsequent strength training activies. Not sure if that means technical "tendonitis" or not. Dealing with a bit of a language barrier here, so I am not sure if the doctor said it was tendonitis or not. But definitely enflamed tendons. Isn't tendonitis chronic, and not just stemming from one isolated situation?

My wrist got wrapped in a swab with anti-inflamatory ointment on it, and I was to take anti-inflamatory meds 2xs a day. Plus, I am taking my Omega-3s, because they are supposed to naturally help inflamation too. So, my arm was wrapped like this:

Then, I self-prescribed some love from my kiddos to help with the healing. Reilynn ("Thing 1") kissed my "boo-boo" without much coaxing:

Thing 2 was not so cooperative. Mommy - "Eliane, mommy has a boo-boo. Can you kiss it and make it better?"

She hesitates. "Com'on, Eliane, please give mommy's boo-boo a kiss. Please?"

"Ew, Eliane!! I did not say 'wipe your nose on it!' I said 'Kiss it!'"

"Oh, yes, sweetie, that makes it feel MUCH better.!

And today, I have full range of motion with almost NO pain whatsoever!! I feel a little twinge here and there, but its not really painful. And I can rotate my wrist fully without having to limit the movement because of horrible pain.... WOOHOO!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LASHERTHECAT 1/8/2011 11:13AM

    Very cute!! Good for you for getting it checked out right away!

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ASIAMORA 1/8/2011 10:12AM

    I'm sorry about your wrist!!! Your girls as so cute!!!

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LAUROCHKA 1/8/2011 9:15AM

    Glad to hear it's on the mend!

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CAROLYN1213 1/8/2011 8:54AM

    You can have inflamed tendons without it technically being tendonitis. The tendons have been aggravated by a recent series of events. However, since you probably do not what to repeat the discomfort you are in, using lifting gloves or straps might be helpful. Of course the little lovey dovey from thing 1 and thing 2 is always worth repeating!

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ELYMWX 1/8/2011 4:01AM

    Ah, the power of children!

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Injury Frustration!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Last weekend, on New Year's Day actually, my husband and I were trying to get our driveway shoveled free of snow. We really waited too long, and it was already packed, but we were getting warmer temps over the weekend, which means it was loosening up and was easier to shovel than when its frozen solid. I didn't want it to partially thaw, then freeze again, and then it be an icey mess. That is NOT COOL.

So we are shoveling and I notice a little bit of pain in my right wrist. So I tried to adjust how I was using the shovel to use less force, and more momentum, to break up the hard spots. I didn't notice any significant pain or discomfort after that....

Then came BodyPump. I went to BodyPump on Monday night, and felt fine, really. But afterward, on Tuesday morning, I had extreme tenderness in my wrist. Certain movements or positions with my wrist really hurt. It hurt(s) right where the wrist bone is and a little down my arm (so I am guessing tendons?), and also the palm of my hand is sore. When I try to hold anything between my thumb and other fingers, it also hurts.

But I HATE having obstacles in my fitness plan. If I plan it, I wanna do it. So, it seemed to be a little better, though not pain-free, on Wednesday... Yes, I went to BodyPump AGAIN. Not the smartest, but I did it. I tried to be very careful, and pay attention to what exercises hurt it, tried to make sure my form was proper when it came to my wrist.... but Thursday morning, it was STILL WORSE!

It's so frustrating. I don't want to take time off of my ST. I don't want to be held back by this. I have some goals I want to achieve (particularly with the Rachel Mac Progress Picture Challenge emoticon) and if I can't get my ST In.... ???


Then I thought for a minute: "What if that were my ankle? What if I were having pain this severe in my knee or foot? My running would be OUT THE WINDOW!!"

And I was immediately thankful. Yes, it hurts when I put pressure on my hand. It hurts to cut my vegetables as I cook dinner. It especially hurts to pick up the cutting board and set it back where it belongs. It hurts to pick up my kids. It hurts even to press down on the soap dispenser to wash my hands.

But in all my running I have done, I have never had pain this bad. Sure I have had some piriformis related pain, tightness in my hip and butt cheek, some knee irritation here and there. But all things that were minor, certainly not this painful. Nothing that sidelined me, for sure. I am SOOOOO thankful for that!

I know, as frustrated as I am about my silly wrist, I would be REALLY DOWN if I were not able to run. Running is my passion. Running has been in my blood for so long. I started running more than 10 years ago, and even though there have been long periods void of running here and there (mainly due to pregnancies, but not always), I always, ALWAYS had the itch to run. Don't get me wrong, I believe STRONGLY in rest days or even longer rest periods. I schedule rest weeks and days into my running plan, because I think it is necessary for the body to take a break. BUT I HATE having something stand in the way of fulfilling my schedule, an unplanned-for obstacle, sickness, injury, whatever. Drives me nuts.

emoticon Running, I love it.

emoticon I love the way my body feels alive when I have been running regularly. I love how I feel right after a run.

emoticon I love coming in from a REALLY LONG RUN, and having that really fatigued feeling like I really pushed my endurance that day.

emoticon I love coming in from a short tempo run, where I pushed myself hard on speed.

emoticon I love just zoning out during my run, and letting my mind wander to all sorts of things.

emoticon I love singing when I run, when my iPod starts playing one of my favorites.

emoticon I love running in the dark.

emoticon I love running when its snowing, running through thick snowflakes as they come down. It's so beautiful!

emoticon I love running when it's light out, especially on beautiful sunny days.

emoticon I love running new trails, new routes, and exploring along the way (Thank you, Garmin, for making that possible, AND still know how far I go!)

emoticon I love that running makes my weightloss/management so easy.

emoticon I love setting running goals and shooting for races.

emoticon I love how running is so invigorating.

emoticon I love running out in the country here in Germany where I live - it is SOOO beautiful!

So, in spite of my annoying wrist situation, I am very thankful that it isn't a running injury. I WILL be going to the Dr. in just a couple of hours to get it checked out. I hope this clears up quickly.....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QCESCADA 1/7/2011 4:43PM

    So, the question you love running? LOL

Seriously though, give your wrist time to heal. You don't want to end up not being able to type about how much you love running. The pain is there for a reason, get it checked out and take care of it. I will pray for it to heal quickly after all God is a healer:)

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SEEHOLZ 1/7/2011 1:45PM

    Trust me, when you are injured, whether or not it drives you crazy, you got to accept it! I mean, I have had this hamstring issue since the summer of 2009 - on an off-- then the ankle in Spring of 2010 and well, now back to the hamstring... and back to the Dr. Oh well, you do what you got to and truthfully you just got to do your best, injuries and all. I really, really hope your wrists are just sore and get better ASAP and I totally understand 100% how grateful you feel despite the pain.

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TWINSMOMMY607 1/7/2011 9:07AM

    It sounds like you have tendonitis. I developed it in my left wrist and had to wear a brace for a little while. I find that if I wear a brace at night it helps a lot! Good Luck!!

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LASHERTHECAT 1/7/2011 8:44AM

    I hope your wrist heals quickly. I so know what you mean about pain getting in the way of exercise!!

I am not a runner... emoticon It's really not in the cards with my wonky hip and resulting "stupid walk."

that said... I LOVE that you emoticon LOVE running

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SOCCERBROWNIE12 1/7/2011 5:01AM

    Way to think positive!!!! You are totally could be worse (knee or ankle!) Good luck at the doctor's and I hope it gets better soon!


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LAUROCHKA 1/7/2011 4:20AM

    It's great to see how enthusiastic you are about running.I enjoy it as a challenge bur need an inspiratoin boost every so often - and you've given me that! THANKS!

Also I hope your wrist isn't too serious and the doc can help.

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MELROSE1702 1/7/2011 3:18AM

    I hope all went well at the Doc. I understand your frustration.

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Darcy's Guide to Success (diet-wise)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Gonna make it sound all official-like today. emoticon

I love food. I have always had a sweet tooth, for as long as I can remember. And certain traumatic experiences as a teenager and thereafter made eating a very emotional experience for me. To be quite honest, I can PACK AWAY some food, for real. So, learning to control my appetite and what I eat has been quite a struggle at times. How have I done it? I put some thought into what has helped me, and thought I might pass it on.... Some of these things, many of you have already heard, but I always like to add things that personally work FOR ME... Personal touch, that's how I roll. That's why my blogs are always long and wordy....

Darcy's Top 10 Tips for Sticking to a Healthy Lifestyle:
(Again, these are eating/food-related)

emoticon 1. Habits: It all comes down to habits. Habits will make or break you. I think people should take your focus off "diet," and start focusing on etching out some good solid healthy habits. This helped me tremendously a few months back, when I was struggling with getting back on track. I heard this little story years ago, when I was a teenager, and it has always stuck with me (I used it in a former blog too):

There was an old Indian man who had 2 dogs which always fought with each other. The Indian man would always predict which one would win, and was always dead on. Someone once asked him what his secret was, how he always knew which one would win, to which he replied:
"It's whichever one I feed the most."

I don't think this story is even real (since it was used to prove a point like I am doing now), and I have no idea why it was an Indian man in the story, but that's how it was told. from what I remember. emoticon Point is, habits are like the dogs in the story - we have good habits and bad habits. As we "feed" our good habits, making healthy choices, eating right, not making excuses when it comes to exercise, not reaching for those pit-fall foods, we strengthen those good habits. It gets easier and easier to stay on the right path, the longer we keep at it.

Likewise, when we continually make excuses to not exercise, or continually make allowances for bad eating, or eating too much, we are strengthening those bad habits. So, when it comes to a test, a situation that is hard to resist, and you are finding that you are always giving in, chances are, you have been letting the wrong dog eat a little too often.

So, which "dog" are you feeding today?

emoticon 2. Stop focusing on the NEGATIVE! I have read it so many times, so many people say they don't want to "deprive" themselves, they don't like dieting because they feel too "deprived". If we are constantly thinking about, whining about, pining after what we CAN'T have, of COURSE we are gonna feel deprived. Try instead to focus on what you CAN have, what you SHOULD have. Because in all reality, when you "deprive" yourself of those things that you SHOULD be leaving out, you are also "depriving" yourself of the health risks that come from being overweight, and living unhealthy.

For example, when I first started my healthy lifestyle pursuit 2 years ago, I thought at first it was gonna be SOOOO hard!! How was I gonna do it? But I picked a solid diet plan that was formulated with a daily mealplan, so I was constantly focused on what I was SUPPOSED to be eating. It was GREAT! Likewise, recently, I started focusing on trying to get more protein in my diet, as well as more veggies, and I can't believe how easy it has made it lately! It's taking the focus OFF the NEGATIVE, and focusing on the POSITIVE - what good things can I put in my body today???

emoticon 3. Have a plan, and stick to it. Some people might do good at just cutting certain trigger foods out, or lessening their portion sizes. But for me, a definite plan really really helped. My "diet" started me out by making a meal plan each week, then formulated a grocery shopping list. This has stuck with me for 2 YEARS, and I NEVER thought I would be the type of person to do this! It really helps to plan everything out, and like I said, focus on what you ARE going to eat, and NOT what you're NOT eating.

emoticon 4. Fill up on good foods. I feel SOOOOOO full and satisfied if I fill up on good wholesome foods. Lots of VEGGIES, fruit, protein (for me, lots of meat), and healthy fats. I stress veggies, because they REALLY help me feel full, and are usually very low in calories! I also limit the carbs like bread, pasta, or potatoes - they seem to be trigger foods for me, that leave me feeling VERY hungry (which I posted in yesterday's blog). When I am full of good food, I don't have the uncontrollable cravings.

emoticon 5. emoticon STAY HYDRATED - I know this is like a total "DUH!!!" point, because we hear it ALL the time, but seriously, hear me out. We all know that water is essential, particular to weightloss. But not only does water help control the appetite in general and help us lose weight better, I feel that water helps control my sweet cravings. I have noticed when I am really thirsty, and I start eating sweets, I will WOLF THEM DOWN, and just keep going. Of course, I always had a problem with sweets, but when I am not well-hydrated, it is a milllion times worse. My mom told me years ago, that when the body is thirsty, it often displays this in the form of hunger pains, so always drink first!! I think when my body is thirsty, I crave sweets....

emoticon 6. Find a sweets substitute. I don't mean sugar substitute. I mean, find something that relieves the craving, without you giving in. I found that almonds are great - they have a slightly sweet taste, crunchy texture, and help me avoid giving in to something detrimental. Also, when I need something sweet, drinking tea with just a touch of honey really helps. Find something that is as nutritious as possible, that works for you.

emoticon 7. DON'T BUY IT!! Don't buy it "for the kids" or "for the hubby". Don't pick it up at the store, contemplating whether you should get it "just this once." Don't read the label to see if it's "really THAT bad." Don't get it. If you have it at home, it will make it a million times harder to resist. For that matter, don't even walk down the isle of the junk food at the store. Don't even go near it. I just avoid it, plain and simple. I try not to even look in the direction, or linger long enough to even want it. I go to the store with my weekly grocery list, and I stick to the list. emoticon

emoticon 8. TAKE A DEEP BREATH!! There are gonna be some times when we have food around, or are around food that is tempting. When I see a food, say, like chocolate, or cookies, my IMMEDIATE impulse is, "OH, I want some...!" and I start reaching for it. I have started just stopping, taking a deep breath, relaxing, and then telling myself, "You don't really want OR need that." And I step back. I was amazed at how much that helped me through the holidays. I had chocolate AND cookies within reach at any given moment, and didn't bother with it on most days.

emoticon 9. DON'T SWEAT the slip-ups. It seems like this one is really, really hard for some people. The scale goes up ONE DAY for ONE POUND, and some people are already discouraged. Someone brings some donuts to work, you have one, and you totally beat yourself up and eat bad for a week. There are times when I don't eat good.... AT ALL!! But the MOST IMPORTANT THING, is NOT to let it derail me. Get back on track ASAP, and move on. You can't erase what you ate yesterday, but you CAN start fresh RIGHT NOW.

emoticon 10. Find a nutritious way to keep fun treats in your life. I make my family pizza (though I try not to eat too much of it myself), and I make cookies every now and then. But I try to make EVERYTHING 100% whole grain, and I try my very best to supply those sweets or treats as nutritious as I can. Be creative. There will be a time when a reward, a treat, is well-deserved. Try to find out how you can make it without totally killing all your hard work!

So, that, my friends, is how I have gone from looking like this.... looking like this:

I know its a long blog, but I hope it is helpful to some!!! Happy Sparking, Friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELROSE1702 1/7/2011 3:02AM

    Thanks for sharing. I found your post very helpful, you are a great inspiration.

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AOGOAE 1/6/2011 11:18AM

    haha I kinda stopped reading after #1 because I felt sorry for the dogs. Oh well :P

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ROCKANDRUN1 1/6/2011 10:52AM

    Great advice Darcy!!! You are a big inspiration and have come so far!! congrats and thanks for sharing!!! :)

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PUNKINOODLE76 1/6/2011 10:18AM

    Great blog! I'm a big fan of common sense, and there's lots of it in this one. I especially agree with the whining about deprivation. Just stop and focus on what you CAN eat.

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SAMMBA 1/6/2011 10:13AM

    these tips are great! THANK YOU!

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SEEAMANDARUN 1/6/2011 9:42AM

    Great Tips! I especially agree about number 7. If I don't keep it in the house, I can't see it and eat it. It really helps that there is no vending machine where I work. I'm really trying my hardest to do #3. I'm such a poor planner. Thanks for the great blog!

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ASIAMORA 1/6/2011 9:24AM

    Super advice. You are looking so awesome.

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CHERIERIE 1/6/2011 8:55AM

    great advice -thanks!

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KAYYVAUGHN 1/6/2011 8:30AM

    Your blog was very helpful and so true.
We all can do it. It's up top us and our plan.

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Low-carb AND running???

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Can it be? Can someone even do that?

Well, I do. Not super low, but definitely lower than SparkPeople recommends for my calorie range. I think on most days, I am between 120-140 g carbs. I don't really stress or worry about it, I am not that strict about it, but I certainly don't "carb-load" or change my diet for my running. And I know, I know, there is a BIG push in the running community to load up on carbs. I don't buy into it, however. I just wanna put some thoughts out there. This is just to be a help to others, and get people thinking. I have seen many other runners struggle with their weight after they started running hefty distances, and it is JUST A HUNCH of mine that this might be why.... Here are my thoughts:

I NEVER was a big fan of the low-carb hype. Hated it actually. Thought it was a fad. Blew it off. Whatever.

Until one day, I read a book my sister recommended to me called "The Maker's Diet", a book written by Jordan Rubin. It is a faith-based diet philosophy, shall we say. Excellent book. I highly recommend it.

The diet is this:
Whole foods, organic if possible, everything as natural in its natural state as much as possible, not processed by heat (oils, honey, milk, other things like that), refined, stripped, skimmed, pasteurized or any other processing. EVERYTHING, and I mean, EVERYTHING 100% whole grains, in fact he recommends that you not eat ANY bread unless it is sprouted grain or sour dough. Absolutely no artificial sweeteners or other additives. Only raw honey, or organic whole cane sugar (Sucanat, Rapadura, those are 2 examples, but there are others on the market.) LOTS of veggies, but also LOTS of meat. And I guess I could add here - high fat if you compare with conventional diet recommendations.

I started this diet at the same time I started running to get back into shape. The first 2 weeks were nearly carb-free. I immediately started dropping weight like crazy. Four days into the diet, I do remember hitting a "BLAH" day, where I had no energy whatsoever, but after that, I felt great.

The second phase (2 weeks as well) added a few more carbs back in. I pretty much stayed in this phase for several months, losing weight EASILY while RUNNING and training for my first 2 half marathons, WITHOUT TRACKING a single calorie. I finished my first marathon in 2:05, completely without the help of supplements or extra carbs in my diet. I finished my second HM in 2:08, but that distance was actually just about 14 miles (22.4 km exactly), so my pace was faster for the second, again, without the help of fuels, gels, or carb-loading.

After I got about 15 lbs away from my goal, I found SparkPeople (YAY!!!!!), and started tracking calories too. I found that with tracking calories, I felt more free to eat a little more carbs, because I would just track the calories, and it was all good, right??

Wrong. It was at that point that I REALLY began STRUGGLING to keep my hunger at bay. My calories would just blow through the roof, and I often felt like I just had to eat and eat and eat. The more carbs I seemed to eat, the more hungry I was.

Well, I still worked hard and reached my goal. I loosened up A LOT after that on the carbs, but let me stress here that I STILL followed the whole-foods philosophies, making all my own bread 100% whole-grain, trying to keep everything whole-grain, and nutritious.

But I kept struggling to keep my hunger at bay with my running. I kept wanting to blame the running as the culprit. And the funny thing is that I do not think my performance improved much at all from eating more carbs. Yeah, sure, I went on to PR at my next 2 HMs, 1:57 and then 1:55, but I think it was the TRAINING that made the improvement, NOT the carbs. (I am not shooting for professional numbers, here, and I know I am just an average runner, but I think that is pretty good on a low-carb diet!)

In December, I joined Rachel Mac's Progress Picture Challenge, because I am looking to tone up more, and wanted a new goal, something different than running. Plus, I feel as a runner, ST is VERY important. So, I started focusing the last several days on really packing on the protein, and staying away from bread, pasta, potatoes and such. I try to get all my carbs from my fruits and veggies. My only splurge every day is my COFFEE!! To which I always add my Organic Whole Cane Sugar!! That is my treat!

My Nutrition Goals at this time:
120+ g Protein per day
100-140 g Carbs
Fat... whatever, I don't care about fat, I don't believe it causes heart disease, and I know I am stirring up a lot of controversy by saying it, but if you wanna get a different side of the story, pls read Sally Fallon's book "Eat Fat, Lose Fat." My goal is mainly to stay within my calories, so whatever my fat comes to is fine with me.

Anyway, The last several days, I have really shot to get that protein in!!! And you know what??? I FEEL GREAT!! I have also PILED ON the veggies - raw, cooked, salad, however I can get them, and stuck to fruits and beans as my carbs (except for today... don't look at my nutrition tracker... I baked cookies for a neighbor and nibbled.). I am not having problems controlling my appetite, and my running is fine.

It is my theory (and has been for a long time now) that carbs are really over-rated, EVEN for runners, and that maybe part of the problems I was having with controlling my appetite had to do with the carbs. They seem to be a trigger food for me, that sends me into a wild cabinet/fridge draining session (where I "drain" the food right into my mouth, that is.) Some people may do fine eating more carbs, but some of us may thrive better eating less, let me stress again, EVEN as a runner. If a certain diet works for you, then stick with it. Take the motto - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

Of course, these are just my OPINIONS, and simply what I have noticed with my own weight, with my own hunger control issues, and my running. Just wanted to throw this out there as food for thought for some other runners....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAUROCHKA 1/8/2011 5:37AM

    This is really interesting!
I struggle to get enough protein - any tips? I'm totally with you on the natural foods though.
Sounds like your theory works for you and that's what's most important!

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ELISAMLW 1/7/2011 6:19PM

    Interesting blog.. lots of info. Thanks for posting this! I am a self-proclaimed carb addict, and would like to get away from it but I feel like I don't have the time or the money to prepare/buy those kinds of food.

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KIMPOSSIBLE82 1/6/2011 7:37AM

    This is a great blog. I love the diet plan you mentioned. When you're eating healthy food, it makes sense to not worry about fat, since it's coming from good sources. This is an interesting take about running and carbs and pretty much opposite what I keep reading everywhere else. But I, too, struggled with losing weight when I was running long distances, perhaps due to eating extra carbs. You've got many thoughts going in my head now :) thanks!

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QCESCADA 1/5/2011 6:47PM


Jordan Rubin actually spoke at my church about his testimony and also about nutrition. I was never big on low-fat, fat-free, etc foods because I didn't trust whatever the replacement would be to be healthy. After hearing him, I definitely try to eat mostly natural foods. A lot of what he said was "common" sense and speaks to self-control.

That being said I LOVE CARBS but have also realised that a good number of them leave me feeling hungry which is why I eat mostly whole grains which leave me more satiated.

Anyway, your blog just caught my eye especially about Jordin Rubin:)

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ERPARA 1/5/2011 4:34PM

    I was just reading another blog and a lady said that one of the signs of her gluten intolerance was feeling more hungry when eating items with gluten in them. I wonder if that's just her own opinion, or if it really is a symptom of gluten intolerance?

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BARRONVC 1/5/2011 4:29PM

    This is really a good blog. Everyone is different and you are finding what works for you. Have you studied body types (Endo, Ecto, and Mesomorph)? There are 7 points for a classification and you can be and Endomorphic Mesomorph..etc. What you are describing is the way to eat for that type of person.

Using a macro nutrient system 45% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. I follow this and carbs kill me. I do 55% carbs before a big event to load and cut back after.

Sugar and Starch will kill me. Protein and good Fat has got me back. See my blog from May 3 2010

Nice work. Thank you

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MLRICHARD 1/5/2011 2:38PM

    Thanks for sharing. I recently started running and find that I feel better eating less carbs. I do eat whole grain bread almost daily, but have began staying away from rice, pasta, and potatoes. I feel better overall with less carbs. I will weigh in a week or so to see if it has made a difference.


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LOVELYLOSER84 1/5/2011 2:32PM

    Hi! Thanks for sharing.
The same with me: carbs make me look for more more more! So I try to stay away from them and seem to be steadily losing for the first time.


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SEEHOLZ 1/5/2011 2:07PM

    I think it's like anything- you got to find what works best for you! I don't think all runners go carb crazy and if they do, it does oftentimes stem from extra mileage. My Dr even said that it is very normal for people to be extra hungry when they up their running and craving carbs. So, while the body might not need a lot of carbs to run, just because you feel good eating less carbs, someone else might get crabby, sick, feel faint. If I lower my carbs too much, I barely can function. But, I'm sure I could get used to eating more along real grains and all that. That is always great for us. Truthfully, it is all about your goals, your lifestyle and staying realistic. It is a lot harder to cook and plan meals when you are out of the house most days and while it is very possible, I find it extra difficult. I know that even if I was working from home, having the convenience of my kitchen would be a huge advantage.
I really think that if that truly works for you and you are happy, that's awesome!

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ASIAMORA 1/5/2011 1:31PM

    Thanks for posting this blog. I've struggled with adding the carbs into my diet and still losing weight. I did very well losing weight when I followed a diet very similar to what you talked about. Your blog has given me inspiration to try to go back to a higher protein diet that worked so well in the past for me.

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SEEAMANDARUN 1/5/2011 12:40PM

    I think your plan sounds great, but you do know that veggies are essentially carbs also? So they aren't quite over-rated. Congrats on your halfs. I hope to run a few more this year and get my time down.

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SIOUXSIE-Q 1/5/2011 12:02PM

    This diet sounds very similar to South Beach, without the emphasis on "organic". I've never lost more weight than when I followed this plan. Sparkpeople's nutrition tracker tells me I'm not eating enough carbs, although I'm eating tons of fruits and veggies. My body feels great, though, if I omit the breads, pasta and potatoes (feels and LOOKS great, actually).

I think I will re-visit the diet and forget the worries of the nutrition tracker. I think that so long as I'm eating enough fruits and veggies, I can't go wrong.

As for energy, I do recall feeling sluggish in the fist couple weeks but after that, I was fine.

This is an excellent post, girlie - LOVED IT! I'll have to check out "The Maker's Diet".


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MBSHAZZER 1/5/2011 11:54AM

    Interesting... I do think people's preferences are very individual. For example, I was having a conversation with a friend about this very subject. If I eat a bowl of oat bran for breakfast, I am literally stuffed to the gills for hours. But if I have eggs for breakfast, I'm ravenously hungry in an hour. She was relaying that she had the opposite experience.

I think it's great you have found what works for you. It's important to do that and to close your ears to what the "experts" say! I have been having this issue to some extent because a lot of the online health and running newsletters I subscribe to give conflicting information and it's so hard to keep track! I love whole grains and don't eat meat, so it's hard when someone is saying, "NO GRAINS! EVER! BAD!" At the end of the day, some people are going to do well eating low carb or gluten free and some people are not... so go with what works for you!

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AOGOAE 1/5/2011 11:49AM

    Definitely true that it isn't one-size-fits-all. I think I'm a carb addict, and I lose weight much more quickly without them, but I also suffer from fatigue on a very low-carb diet. I do well with something in between- with most of my carbs coming from fruits and vegetables rather than bread, potatoes, etc.

I wasn't able to find it on your nutrition tracker, so how are you fitting in 100g+ of protein? (if I had to eat that much chicken I would probably rather be fat, lol!)

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