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Warning: Vacation can be hazardous to your health

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I went on vacation last week and despite my good intentions of logging into SP every day and logging all of my food and activities, I did not fare so well. I was good for the first couple of days when it was just my immediate family with me. It was sort of like we were still at home and I continued with my routine.

Then the rest of my family came. And brought pasta. And cookies. And wine. And lots of other goodies that I usually do a good job of staying away from. Then the rain started and put a damper on all of our planned outdoor activities. So we sat. And ate. And sat. And drank. And sat.

I was good about going to the gym at the hotel three times during the week and managed to swim one afternoon. I was good about eating for the first two days, and for the last two days. It was the five days in between that were terrible... and the scale shows it. I think the thing that hurt me the most was not taking the time to log in to SP and track my nutrition. Tracking my food always helps me to visualize my goals and stay on target. It's harder to eat one more cookie when I know I am going to enter it into my nutrition tracker for the day.

Time to get back on track. Today was a good day for nutrition. Tomorrow I'm back to my regular gym schedule. The challenge is going to be the holidays and festivities coming up this week, but my goals is to make sure I track daily, regardless of where I am or what i've eaten. I haven't tried the SP app recently -- I think I'll load it tomorrow and try to use it to track my eating and workouts. Hopefully all of the old (as in over a year old) bugs are worked out and I'll find it easier to use this time around, which will make it a whole lot more likely that I'll enter everything I eat, even while at relatives' houses for dinner.


Serendipity and Diet Culprits

Friday, December 07, 2012

Almost two years ago I went on a short-term gluten-free diet (actually it was free of gluten, caffeine, chocolate, peanuts, soy, sugar, alcohol except for the occasional glass of wine, and a few other things). I called it the Crazy Diet because it was a bear to manage and took a lot of willpower. However, as difficult as the eating plan was to follow, it was the best I have ever felt in my life. I wasn't tired, mood swings were MIA, migraines disappeared, my sleep was better, no bloating or other IBS symptoms... you get the idea.

But as with any type of radical change, these types of diets are not sustainable in the long run. Although I admit that supermarkets and restaurants are making it easier for us to eat this way, there are always those visits to family and friends that make it impossible to be a Crazy Dieter unless we want to be rude and deal with the snarky comments. As a result, after about six months of following the Crazy Diet I was back to eating 'normally'.

The interesting part of going back to normal eating was that I was sick for about 6 weeks straight. I assumed it was something I had avoided during the Crazy Diet that I started eating again that was making me sick. I tried to analyze my diet (I had tracked everything here on spark) to find out which culprit was to blame, but it was nearly impossible since I went straight from eating zero of the potential culprit foods to eating all of the potential culprits practically overnight. Even the doctors couldn't help me, and just recommended I take some over the counter probiotics. It helped a little, but not enough.

I had lost a good amount of weight on the Crazy Diet (10% of my body weight at the time) but over the past year it has started to creep back up on me. I recently joined a gym that has helped me to shift my body weight around so that it's more muscle and less fat, but my weight has stayed the same. Not that it's a bad thing -- I'd prefer muscle over fat, but I was kind of hoping to lose the few pounds I needed to be back to my 'goal' I had achieved by the end of the Crazy Diet.

Then serendipity decided to pay me a visit. I was complaining at the gym one day about how I never, ever get over being sore from working out. The trainer asked about my diet and after listening to my mortified admissions, he said I wasn't eating enough protein. He recommended at least 100 grams per day. So I tried it. And guess what, I feel better.

So what happened?

Here's my theory: In order to get in all of that extra protein I had to add a protein based smoothie daily, which replaced my lunch. No more bread-based sandwiches. Since I was already doing 1/3 of the Crazy Diet again (i.e. the smoothie) I ended up by default adding a few more of the better parts of the Crazy Diet: having a nice sized salad every evening with dinner, and replacing my dinner bread/pasta with brown rice, sweet potato, or a starchy veg (squash, green beens, or corn). Viola. The bloating disappeared, my sugar and chocolate cravings stopped, the weight started coming off, and I am feeling better already. It's only been two weeks but if I say so myself, that's quite an achievement.

In the end I'm thinking it's the wheat. Not necessarily gluten, but perhaps I just don't digest wheat very well. I've been staying away from cheese too (it's a huge hit on calories for very little protein) so that might have something to do with it, but my vote is still on the wheat.

At least I can say the cuprit is not caffeine (I am still drinking coffee every morning). I will gladly give up wheat for the rest of my life so I can savor my morning cup of coffee.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALLEN5321 12/10/2012 10:16PM

  Crazy good diet! Sounds kind of paleolithic. I am trying to clean up my diet a bit with fewer simple carbs like bread and adding protein to every meal. I too am feeling better with more protein for workout recovery. Keep up the good work!

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SPARKLINGLAF 12/10/2012 8:22PM

    Thanks Parker and PJ! I agree, PJ -- anything that improves health and well-being isn't really that crazy!

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PJBONARRIGO 12/10/2012 7:43PM

    What an interesting blog. I'm with you on the coffee. I don't have a cup every day, but it is a very civilized treat. Maybe the Crazy Diet isn't so crazy LOL

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PARKERB2 12/7/2012 8:26PM

    A well rounded diet with plenty of the good things we need is the way to go. Glad you found out the wheat thing was your downfall. Have a great weekend.

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