VHALKYRIE   16,233
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VHALKYRIE's Recent Blog Entries

Coconut Protein Shake Followup

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ok, judging from the comments, people don't seem to enjoy the coconut as much as I do. ;) So just a couple of points of clarification.

I should have mentioned the reason why I chose coconut milk. It is not so much for the aesthetics or taste (although I do personally like the taste). It is because I'm taking advantage of a unique property of the coconut milk fat. Coconut fat is a medium chain triglyceride. It can be used immediately by the body, just like glucose. Except because it is a fat, it does not cause an insulin rise. Thus, it can be used as a pre or post workout fuel with none of the sugar crashes. I think this makes it idea for a morning workout protein shake.

If the coconut is not to your liking, you can use your protein powder with the method of your choice (milk, water, almond milk, etc), then use a tablespoon of coconut oil. The coconut oil will give you the benefit of fast fat fuel, but with a milder coconut taste. However, using another method will alter the calorie and sugar content. Using milk will add lactose, which is sugar. The reason why I like plain coconut milk is because there is no added sugar.

Also, if you use lite coconut milk with the fat removed, then it will be the coconut taste only, and none of the benefits of the coconut milk fat I mentioned.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/5/2011 2:01PM

    Whoops! I somehow missed the part about diluting it with 1/2c water. That would definitely make a difference!

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DIY Protein Shake

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anyone remember when the Coca-Cola company tried to sell the idea that a can of Coke would be great for breakfast? All that sugar! Just think of the pure, high energy, rush you'll get in the morning!

You'll promptly bulldoze through 4 of the 100 reports you have to review in the morning at work...then immediately pass out in front of the copier machine.

Well maybe Coke for breakfast got laughed out of submission, but then, why do people still drink this?



Slim Fast Original:
Calories: 220
Fat: 3g
Carbohydrates: 40g
Sugars: 34g (!!!!!!!!)
Protein: 10g

You know what? A can of Coke is only slight worse. It has 40g of sugar.

"But Slim Fast has all those vitamins and iron!"

No. Put down the Slim Fast and back away. I'm here to do an intervention.

I'm not trying to pick on Slim Fast drinkers, honest. A long time ago, I used to drink these too. This was one of the first diets I tried to lose weight back when I was obese. It was horrible. Sure I lost weight, but I was completely unproductive at work. I couldn't stick with it more than a week, then went on a massive binge where I gained back all the weight I lost.

A protein shake isn't the ideal breakfast, for sure. A lot of us have busy weeks where we need something on the go. Protein shakes are amazingly convenient in that you can sit in traffic and drink your breakfast.

It is incredibly easy to make your own. And cheaper than Slim Fast!

You only need three simple ingredients.

Protein Powder. Find one that is sugar free.
Heavy Cream.
1 can of coconut milk.



Optional: chocolate powder. Use a sugar free dark chocolate if you can. Mine is an old canister that I will be replacing with sugar free cocoa powder when this is gone.



Some people are going to be shocked by the amount of fat in this drink. If you are cutting out the sugar, you have to add the fat. Inevitably, someone will try to make this with skim milk and light coconut milk. I strongly caution against this. If you're insistent on doing this, then only use it for a short time. Prolonged use of near zero fat, high protein diet can lead to a dangerous condition called "Rabbit Starvation". If you don't feel comfortable with the fat level in this homemade protein shake, then you're better off sticking with the Slim Fasts. You have to either burn sugar or fat for fuel.

This is a high fat, moderate protein, low sugar protein drink. Low carbers will recognize this as a fat burner energy drink. Slim Fast is a low fat, low protein, high sugar drink.

Before making the mix, you have to know what your protein requirements are for the day. I require a minimum of 80g protein per day to preserve my lean mass with my activity level. I tend to eat 5 meals per day - breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. I try to split my protein requirements evenly through all meals. So I try to balance about 16g protein per meal.

My formula is 1 can of coconut milk, 3 scoops of protein powder and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. This makes 4 shakes with 16g protein each, and about 270 calories. If you make this at home for your needs, then use the recipe calculator to come up with the mix you need.

I whisk the coconut milk and protein powder together, then leave it in the fridge. In the morning, I'll take 1/2 cup of the mixture and put it in the blender with 4 ice cubes, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 tablespoon chocolate powder. Blend it together until the ice cubes are blended, then pour it in a glass. Stir in 1 tablespoon heavy cream.

Edit: Blender is optional. Just skip the ice if you're making it without a blender.



Pour it in a travel mug, if you're on the go.

Here is my spark recipe. Remember, though, that mine is formulated for 16g of protein and 270 calories for my personal needs. Feel free to use this as a template to adapt for your needs. Just don't use skim milk, AND light coconut milk, ok? If you're insistent on a lower fat version, use either whole milk and light coconut milk, or low fat milk and regular coconut milk. Just don't blame me if it tastes watery and doesn't keep you sated with low-fat ingredients.

recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=1700577


Compare this with the Slim Fast nutrition breakdown above:

Calories: 267.5
Fat: 21.1g
Carbohydrates: 4.3g
Sugar: 0g The sugar is actually the lactose from the cream, which is counted in the carbs above.
Protein: 15.5g

It tastes like a coconut milk shake!

Try my protein shake for a week versus the regular Slim Fast. Which makes you feel fuller longer? Which makes you feel more satisfied?

Also, I strongly suggest only using this as a meal replacement for a single meal. Don't try to drink this all day for all meals. You will not get proper nutrition. I drink this in the morning for a quick breakfast, then eat regularly balanced meals the rest of the day.

Edit: Here is a good breakdown of the ingredient contents of a Slim Fast. Most of them are artificial stabilizers for shelf life and to make you feel fuller.
fitblogger.ca/slim-fast-ingredients/

Some protein powders can be just as bad. Shop around for one with the fewest number of additives.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 7/4/2011 10:24PM

    Don't forget to dilute it down with extra water, or else it is really thick.

I should also mention why I chose coconut milk. It is not purely for the aesthetics or flavor (although I do personally like the flavor). I am taking advantage of the unique property of the fat in the coconut milk. Coconut milk fat is a medium chain triglyceride. It is unique because this gives it the property of our bodies being able to access it immediately for fuel, just like glucose. Except you get none of the insulin rises with coconut milk fat. Thus, it is an energy drink for morning workouts with none of the sugar rush and drop issues.

If the coconut is too strong for you, you can mix your protein powder with whatever you normally mix your protein powder with, then add a tablespoon of coconut oil. The coconut oil will give you the same fast fat fuel, but with a milder coconut taste. However, mixing the protein powder with other things (like milk) will alter the calorie and sugar content (because lactose is sugar).

Comment edited on: 7/4/2011 10:27:18 PM

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JECKIE 7/2/2011 12:45PM

    Hmm. Ok, I used coconut milk, french vanilla protein powder, a bit of cocoa powder and whipping cream. It's a really strong flavor. I think I like it. Will have to keep experimenting to get the mix I like.

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BEARCLAW6 7/1/2011 2:48PM

    Use whole milk instead of coconut milk? I am sold. It would be like chocolate-flavored baby formula. I am running out the door this instant.

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EATNBOOGERS 7/1/2011 1:09PM

    I wanted to add that I have been trying to be very careful about my fats, too (by this I mean making sure I get enough and that they are of a high quality). I'm more of the nuts/fish oil/flax oil/grapeseed oil/avocados/eggs kind of person...

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VHALKYRIE 7/1/2011 12:26PM

    I'm still experimenting with protein powders. I couldn't find the one I wanted in my local area, and had to make due with a supermarket brand. I like the look of the one TubLady recommended called Unjury, and will try that next.

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EATNBOOGERS 7/1/2011 12:13PM

    Interesting....

I generally don't have a problem with too much protein (I'm a mostly vegetarian).

What's your favorite protein powder? I have difficulty finding one that's both reasonably healthy (some sources wig me out) and palatable.

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VHALKYRIE 7/1/2011 11:45AM

    PZF144: I think most of us start off eating too much protein. I think men can eat as much protein as they want without consequences, but women have to be more measured. So unfair! Like you, I have added lots of avocados and nuts. I've also added some yummy cheeses like brie, but I have to be careful with the cheeses!

LOL about drinking 3 cans of Slim Fast! Yeah, I can imagine that didn't work too well!

4A-HEALTHY-BMI: I'm surprised to hear you say it is rich. I take 1/2 cup of the mixture and dilute it with 1/2 cup of water. I agree it is very heavy if you drink it straight, and that is why I add water to it. Maybe it is rich, but I like cocouts! ;) Thanks for giving it a try and your impression! Thanks for the tip on to cocoa powder. I will check it out.

KAZINMICH: Good luck! Posters have given great ideas, so I'm sure you can find a delicious shake recipe that you like! Would love to hear about what you end up trying!

Comment edited on: 7/1/2011 11:50:08 AM

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KAZINMICH 6/30/2011 10:11PM

    I am going to have to go shopping now! Thank you & other posters for some awesome ideas. I hate drinking premade shakes (like slimfast) but feel that at least one morning a week I'm too busy to make my oatmeal or other healthy breakfast. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/30/2011 8:34PM

    OK, eating it right now.

I used 12oz coconut milk (the cans at my store are 25.5oz and in the picture yours looks smaller so I just used half. Also, they only had regular coconut milk, not the light variety)

1/4c light cream (which is the same as 4T)

3T of Optimum Nutrition vanilla whey (it's what I had here)

1.5 trays of ice cubes

So, my impressions:

Wow, this is... really rich. I like that it's not overly sweet. It sort of reminds me of those Puerto Rican coconut ice creams you can get.

I think I should have taken your advice to use whole milk, especially since I couldn't find light coconut milk. (knocking on wood about not getting Consequences... LOL)

I don't think I could eat this every day, but it would make a nice desserty treat now and then, especially in the summer.

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P.S. I forgot to mention earlier that they still drink Coca-Cola for breakfast in the Atlanta area. I went to a conference there once and was shocked to see it out there for breakfast along with the pastries and bagels, etc.
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P.P.S. When you get your cocoa powder, I recommend the type called "aristocrat" - it's a warm brown and has a really nice flavor I like better than either the light brown "natural" cocoa or the usual super dark brown "dutched" cocoa. You can find it with Google. A local Amish store around here sells it in bulk.

I probably like it better because of the higher fat content. My tastebuds like fat. LOL

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 8:46:01 PM

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PZF144 6/30/2011 7:49PM

    This sounds good! I'll have to try it!

Re: Too much protein. I was at a stall for almost 2 weeks which, after research, I attributed to too much protein inducing gluconeogenesis. I was at 130 grams protein/day. I switched to 60-80 grams/protein and upped my fat to 125-130 grams. Snap, 2 lbs. gone. And much more satisfied. I added avocados, almonds, flaxseed meal, coconut oil.

Yep, I'm a former SlimFaster. Trouble for me was, I thought they actually tasted really good and I'd drink like 3 or 4 at a time. Yeah, that worked well. :)

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PRANA_DANCER 6/30/2011 2:32PM

    Thanks! I'll have to try it without ice then. :)

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/30/2011 2:15PM

    Sounds yummy. I will let you know what I think when I try it!

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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 11:39AM

    4A-HEALTHY-BMI: If I go too high on protein, I kick off gluconeogenesis, which gives me the same symptoms as high carb - blood sugar issues, hunger and cravings. I have to stay within a pretty narrow range of 60-100g protein. Closer I stay to 80g, the better. The bulk of my calories do come from fat. I am about 20/50/30 (percentages) carb/fat/protein. If my fat goes too low (about 50-40g or less), I end up with skin and hair issues, in addition to appetite problems.

Light coconut milk and whole milk would lower fat to your desired levels.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 11:49:22 AM

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ANDREA409 6/30/2011 11:37AM

    Mmm, I'm going to try it.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/30/2011 11:27AM

    I often add protein powder to nonfat Greek yogurt to make a sort of pudding. Cocoa powder makes it like chocolate pudding. LOL

Speaking of which I don't bother buying flavored protein powders to mix with milk anymore because it's easy enough to add whatever flavoring I want, from the baking aisle.

I don't think I could handle the amount of fat in your recipe. My system prefers to get about 30g per day, total. More than that and I sometimes get Consequences. LOL

While I'm with you on the need for protein, I suppose I'm even more extreme, because I prefer at least 150g per day. I do well on a 30-50-20 CHO-PRO-FAT ratio. (also spread among 5-6 meals per day, about 20-30g of protein per meal)

If I don't get 15-20% fat in there, I do have satiety issues. So there definitely is a minimum fat requirement. I usually pad my fat when necessary with almonds.

I must also confess that I do drink water-based protein shakes after my workouts because they're convenient. I use the Syntrax Nectar ones; they're fruit flavored. They do have non-nutritive sweeteners and Mystery Additives in the form of "natural and artificial flavors":

Whey protein isolate (milk)*, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, gardenia fruit juice powder, acesulfame-K, sucralose.

At least the list is pretty short.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 11:34:33 AM

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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 11:23AM

    ARCHIMEDESII: I'll drink to that!

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/30/2011 11:21AM

    I tried a Slimfast shake once. EW. I can't understand why someone would exchange a healthy meal for one of those shakes. Of course, look at all those people who drink Red Bull or any of those energy drinks for breakfast. EEK !

What really "yanks my chain" these days are those commercials for 5 Hour Energy. Who thinks it's a good idea to skip breakfast (or even a cup of coffee) for a little bottle of who knows what is in it ?? I tried reading the label and couldn't read the ingredients. The manufacturer deliberately made the label difficult to read i.e. a bright red background with tiny black lettering. If I can't read the label, I'm not buying the product.

Anyway... who wants that stuff when I can have a healthy breakfast ?

This is MY idea of a liquid diet !!


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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 11:20AM

    TUBLADY: Thanks for the ideas! I love the idea of a peanut butter smoothie! Sounds delicious!

Also thanks for the tips on the protein powders. I will check them out when I finish my current batch. I like that Unjury has an unflavored version. I will probably try that next.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 11:22:12 AM

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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 11:08AM

    FITGIRL15: I totally know what you mean! LOL

BEARCLAW6: If you don't like coconut milk, just use whole milk instead. Experiment with quantities of heavy cream needed in the recipe tracker until it comes up with the fuel mix desired. I add the coconut milk primarily for flavor, because I love it!

I was able to get a protein shake mix in the recipe tracker pretty similar to my coconut milk shake using 2 scoops protein powder, 4 cups whole milk, and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream. Comes out to 261 calories, 15.7g fat, 12g carbs, and 15.9g protein. The carbs come from the milk lactose. Which is the primary advantage of using the coconut milk though - no sugars.

Maybe use Greek yogurt instead? Hm. I'll have to think about a version without the coconut milk.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 11:19:04 AM

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TUBLADY 6/30/2011 11:05AM

    I'll try your shake out.
I use only protein powders like Unjury, altho I do have some Jillian Micheals when I have too. Unjury is only avaliable on line. Walker has a good one too.
I have to keep my protein at 80 a day too , I workout a lot and I don't want to lose anymore muscle mass. The body doesn't know to lose just fat when you lose.
I usually mix up 1/2 pack of Yoplet fruit smoothie with milk and a scoop of protein powder. If not Yoplait , I use other frozen fruit. I also toss in bananas, strawberries that I have on hand.
Sometimes I add a container of Dannon yogurt. Or greek yogurt if I have it.
I also make some peanut butter smoothies.
There are so many healthy protein smoothies you can make.
I don't know why anyone would buy the ready made kind, they have preservatives in them too. Not for me.
Thanks for all the good ideas.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BEARCLAW6 6/30/2011 11:03AM

    I do wish that I liked coconut milk more. Otherwise this looks great. Hm...low-carb chocolate shake...

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FITGIRL15 6/30/2011 10:47AM

    But you add MILK to slimfast... doesn't that make it healthy?

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Just kidding... I couldn't resist.
I used to be an avid SlimFast drinker... no wonder I gained weight when I was on a diet! LMAO

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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 9:28AM

    You can skip the blender. Just don't add the ice. The ice just makes the texture like a milk shake. Totally optional.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 9:29:33 AM

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PRANA_DANCER 6/30/2011 9:27AM

    That sounds absolutely fantastic. I'd need to get a blender though...

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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 9:21AM

    Great point! I forgot to include the ingredient content of Slim Fasts.

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DDOORN 6/30/2011 9:08AM

    This certainly sounds WAY better than all of those heavily processed mystery powders that circulate out there! I'm a big fan of Michael Pollan and agree with his "keeping it simple and real" food mantras.

Don

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Exercise for Living, not Losing

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I used to believe exercise was the key to weight loss. I would spend hours at the gym, peddling away furiously. When I didn't lose weight, I'd rationalize that I wasn't spending enough time at the gym. An hour a day 5 days per week. Gyms should rent rooms to capitalize on people like me, who thought they had to live in a gym to get results.

Exercise will not cancel a bad diet.

Exercise will not even cancel a good diet, that is made up of the wrong things.

It's still surprising to me how long I spent struggling, and the answer was always just within my grasp. All I had to do was reach a little further to grab it.

I can't understand why giving up grains has become a source of concern and controversy. In my grandmother's time, her sage advice for weight loss would be, "Eat less pasta and cakes." Now this is called deprivation.

The conventional wisdom advice is to eat less and exercise more.

This was a disaster. Eating less made me hungry. More exercise made me hungry.

I was always hungry.

Now I eat less naturally because I am well nourished.

And I lose weight with less exercise.

Conventional wisdom once told us Americans were too sedentary, and needed at least 30 minutes exercise 3-5 times per week in order to lose weight. Despite rising gym memberships, Americans were still getting fatter. Now they tell us we need 60 minutes exercise 3-5 times per week.

I spend considerably less time exercising now than I have in the past. 30 minutes works like a charm for me.

However, I would say the biggest component to my weight loss is my diet. I'm feeding my body the food that it wants, and it thrives.

Because I am a petite person, my body works in a more narrow range than an average sized person. I have less room for error. I have to stay closer to my target ranges for carbs, fat and protein. (My ranges are not the Spark ranges, just for reference. If you are curious about what I eat, please feel free to peruse my nutrition tracker. You may be surprised it is quite different than the conventional.)

The reasons why I exercise are the following:

1) It improves cardiovascular health.
2) It allows me to eat more food, which makes it easier to meet my nutritional requirements.
3) It depletes glycogen so I can eat more food.
4) It improves insulin sensitivity.
5) It allows me to maintain my weight loss.

This might seem like a strange list. I exercise more so I can eat more food? Yes. This flies in the face of what we have been told about eat less, exercise more, doesn't it?

I engage in regular exercise at the gym so I can eat more food, and still lose weight. Not because exercise burns more calories. 30 minutes of exercise burns about 200 calories. I guess that would burn off my salmon and avocado morning snack. But I could just skip the exercise and snack to get the same result.

When I do my major activities on the weekend - biking, hiking, swimming, etc - I eat a lot more food because I'm doing a lot more activity.

As long as I keep my blood sugar from rising, I burn bodyfat, and build muscle. I prevent my body from releasing large amounts of insulin by limiting carbohydrates to only vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Protein and vegetables. Not whole grains.

I should note that I am not diabetic. You don't have to be diabetic in order to be affected by high insulin. If you are even moderately overweight, you are in a minor state of elevated insulin imbalance because your body is not burning off excess bodyfat. The sad fact is we are not diagnosed as insulin resistant until we are practically on the verge of diabetes.

I have switched over to a much less strenuous daily exercise routine. 5 days a week, I do light cardio on the treadmill and elliptical. I work out on higher resistance, rather than higher cadence. My more strenuous activities come on the weekend.

The reason is because frequent intense activity is a stressor on the body. It causes a surge in adrenaline, which causes a surge in cortisol. Cortisol is the only other hormone that can prevent fat burn. High insulin + high cortisol is a recipe for weight gain and obesity.

Cortisol can also be stimulated by any kind of stress. Hate your job? Your cortisol is probably elevated. Which is why so many of us struggle with weight loss when we are stressed about our lives.

Modern diet emphasis on grains raises our insulin. Stressful city life raises cortisol. Many of us can place the cause of our weight gain right there. Lower the insulin and cortisol, and I suspect many of us can fix it. Reduce the foods that cause an insulin rise (ie grandma's less pasta and cake advice), reduce the stress, and the weight comes off. This has worked for me. While mom says I am special, in this instance, I do not think I am a special case.

Low to moderate is best for regular exercise, with occasional spurts of strenuous activity. If you are a daily jogger, be sure to take regular rest days so your cortisol levels don't lead to injury, fatigue, and delayed weight loss.

What works best for me is paying close attention to what I eat. What I eat is the biggest predictor for my weight loss success. Followed by regular exercise in non stressing amounts.

Exercise does not help me lose weight, as much as it helps me live a rich and happy life. Losing fat helps me enjoy longer hikes, so I can see more scenery. I used to end up with very sore feet and knees after a hike. After losing just 8 lbs, it made a huge difference to my endurance. No blisters, and no aching knees after our hike on the weekend.

The weight loss came from the food I ate. Living life came from the exercise.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYLADY4 6/30/2011 2:14PM

    I think I am finally getting it. When I run my heart rate gets so high that I am not buring fat, which is why I started running in the first place. For me, running and weight lose are not friends. It is going to be hard to change but what I have been doing for the past 5 years is not working.

Thanks for helping me see this. Should be an interesting rest of the summer.



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VHALKYRIE 6/30/2011 12:07PM

    Good point about the strength training. Strength training will help with weight loss, more so than cardio. ST causes new tissues to be created so muscles can grow. The process of building these tissues requires energy to create and maintain, which also stimulates insulin sensitivity. If the choice was between ST or cardio, I would say ST. I do mostly cardio, but with heavy resistance settings. Most of my ST comes from exercises using my own body weight, rather than weights. But I do not spend hours and hours on it. 30 minutes per day.

I'm still surprised by how much fats I eat! But I have suffered no ill effects. Quite the opposite. Yesterday I had my blood pressure checked, and it is 126/80. I never had high blood pressure, but my reading before my diet changes was about 134/86. I expect this to get better as I lose more weight.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2011 12:16:50 PM

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DETERMINED56 6/30/2011 11:56AM

    I KNOW all that you said but I still want to think the answer is in how I work out. Why? Because I love to st and more easily controllable than diet. But I am looking at your nutritional info...I get the low carbs and good amount of protein but was surprised at the high fats. Obviously, it is working for you.
I am going to look at it more later today.
Great blog!

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BTVMADS 6/29/2011 8:59PM

    I would add that exercise is great EMOTIONALLY too, especially if you need to feel capable when starting a new, healthier lifestyle.

Exercise is more fundamental to my being than just as a physical necessity. I work out because it makes me feel strong and powerful and badass and productive and connected to my body and surroundings and just plain HAPPY. That's why I hike, bike, run, dance, and do strength training. They all make me feel powerful and engaged with my body and the world. If you exercise for anything less than the happiness and confidence it brings... there's almost no point!

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JUSTBIRDY 6/29/2011 7:30PM

    Great!!!! Sore feet and legs are also caused by holding water, which can be caused by excess insulin. Going low carb also reduces inflammation in general. It's not just the weight, though that helps too. emoticon

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PZF144 6/29/2011 6:28PM

    When I think of the thousands of hours I wasted on the stairmaster that goes nowhere, I want to hit myself. When, in history, did man ever do some ridiculous, repetitive motion like that for no reason? One can argue that man had to climb and hike, which is "sort" of similar. Um, no. Climbing and hiking engage lots of other muscles, your lungs get to breathe fresh air, and they did it for a specific purpose.

I love to bike. Get in the water. Walk. Stretch. I do these things because I enjoy them, and yes, they're healthy because they help clear my mind. Long gone are the days of jogging on a treadmill to nowhere.

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FITGIRL15 6/29/2011 4:17PM

    Agreed. I like to look at it in simple terms: Exercise contrls my stress and keeps my heart happy.
Diet/food controls my body shape and size!

They really DO work together, but if you only concentrate on one aspect, you can't have it all! :)

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LHIEBEL 6/29/2011 1:29PM

  I mainly exercise to tone up and look fit and trim--gets rid of the jiggle on my thighs!

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HAPPYNOW26 6/29/2011 12:23PM

    "Food is fuel". I keep returning to these 3 words when I start wanting something that is not on my carefully chosen food-list. It's like putting bad gas in a car=bad performance.
I eat very similar to you and by doing this I have finally, after years of struggling, being able to loose the last pesky pounds.
Thanks for a great blog!

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PRANA_DANCER 6/29/2011 11:36AM

    I've always been told that it's more about the food we eat than the exercise we do. And from personal experience, I tended to lose more weight when I cut back and gave myself a break than when I was going whole hog. I'd have sparkfriends spending an hour in the gym six days a week on a plateau, eating a low-fat lacto-ovo diet. Meanwhile, I'm busting through the pounds with just c25k and dance class once a week while drinking whole milk and eating beef curry and loving it.

Our bodies don't want to lose their energy cushions when we're stressed (surprise surprise). So stop stressing it people!

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KMWESLEY 6/29/2011 10:20AM

    I can totally relate to everything you are saying here. This is my life. I struggle with insulin resistance also, and diet is a BIG deal for me. Took me a while to come to terms with that, but I feel a lot better since I've accepted it. Great blog!

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ANDREA409 6/29/2011 8:55AM

    YES, YES, YES!

You've said it all so well. What struck me the most about hormonal imbalances is that increased insulin levels are actually perceived as a stressor to the body, so they raise cortisol levels. Incredible. Just astounding. Ergo, grains and starches = stress = no weight loss or even weight gain + a whole lot of damage to the body's homeostasis.

This fact alone leads me to wonder how conventional wisdom can tout grains, et al. as essential parts of our diets. Seriously, I'm really, really confused. I can maybe see why in the 70's the Lipid Hypothesis came into being, but in light of the fact that we now have good science refuting that, why is this crap still prevailing?

I walk maybe 30 mins a day, if that. My bf walks about 2 hours. And we are both having no difficulty losing weight. I used to be so manic about exercise. Looking back, I really think my adrenals were already in trouble, and I used exercise as a means to elevate my cortisol levels, so I'd feel better temporarily. I don't doubt a lot of people do this, as well. To me, it was really no different than consuming sugar. Or drug addictions in people. We're all looking for the same high - that sense of wellness. I would have never equated chronic cardio with drug abuse, but it kinda makes sense to me now.


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DDOORN 6/29/2011 8:50AM

    Without a doubt food choices are the most critical aspect of weight loss / control. I think of exercise as essential in helping to shape / tone the weight I have in the best possible way.

Don

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SCRAPPINPOLLY 6/29/2011 8:17AM

    Great post! I have one other reason that I like to exercise - it feels so good.

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ELLEN0407 6/29/2011 8:15AM

  great blog

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Obesity and Malnutrition

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Contrary to what we have been lead to believe, obesity is not due to the sins of gluttony or sloth. Obesity is a state of malnutrition and biochemical imbalance.

Our bodies want to be lean and healthy. They do not want to be overweight or obese. While our genes might make some of us more predeposed to putting on fat, none of our bodies want to be malfunctioning. Which is what obesity is - a malfunction of hormones.

The most important of these is insulin. Diabetes type 2 is a disease of excess insulin. Being overweight or obese is also a disease of excess insulin.

If you want to reverse it, you have to reduce the foods that cause insulin stimulation. Carbohydrates and sugars, regardless of whether they are simple or complex, drives insulin levels up, not fats. That is basic biochemistry.

However, that is not the end of the story. Even if you bring your insulin levels down, you may still be in a state of imbalance. Many overweight people are lacking in many essential vitamins and minerals, partially due to diets lacking in proper nutrition (good quality protein and vegetables), but also other factors. Many of us exercise in addition to dieting. Exercise depletes many vitamins and minerals, and they have to be restored.

I avoided supplements for a long time because I believed a healthy diet should be able to provide all the nutrients my body needs. I still believe this is true...for the most part. However, because I am in a calorie deficit because I am trying to lose weight, it is not possible to get all my vitamins and minerals purely from food source. Because I am a petite, this is also harder for me to do. I have to choose highly nutritious food sources, then fill in the gaps.

Before we get started, I have to say this or I will get in trouble. If you have any special health needs, do not take any supplements without the consultation of your physician. This is particularly important for people with impaired kidney function, or people taking high blood pressure medication.

The supplements I am about to show you are for my personal needs, and are not intended to be medical advice or guidance. These are strictly my opinions.

Ok? Ok.

Here are my supplements. I only take some of these everyday, and a few occasionally.




Calcium and Multivitamin - Everyday

The only supplements I take every day are a multivitamin and calcium. I hate most multivitamins and calcium pills. They are so big and I have a hard time swallowing them. I prefer to take them as a chewable gummy multivitamin, and a caramel calcium chew. It's like adult Flintstones vitamins. Hey, if it encourages me to take my vitamins, don't knock it!


Magnesium and Potassium - varies on need

When we exercise, we excrete salts through our sweat. The three essential salts we lose are sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Yes, sodium is an essential mineral. I ended up with a moderate electrolyte imbalance last week because my sodium intake was too low. I'm so used to the low salt mantra, I haven't been adding enough to my food. Low carb diets have a slight duretic effect as the kidneys eliminate ketones and excess fluid retention. Excess sodium is normally excreted in urine. However, when sodium is low, the kidneys eliminates potassium instead. This is what was happening to me. My heart rate was unusually elevated. I realized I had been exercising a lot, it is very hot in GA right now, and that was causing my electrolytes to be low. I bought magnesium and potassium supplements to take care of it. I take one of each per day when I have exercised or have been sweating in the heat. Magnesium in proper levels in our blood also prevents potassium loss. I have also been adding a pinch of salt to my purified water. Not enough for me to taste, but just a trace amount to keep my sodium levels normal.


Chromium and zinc - occasionally

Chromium is a new one to me. I just recently learned about it. It is a trace mineral found in many things, including eggs. We only need it in very, very trace amounts. However, modern diets tend to excrete it, and we have a hard time restoring it when it is depleted. While it is a trace mineral, it has a pretty important effect. Chromium is a mineral that is required to make our insulin receptors work. That's right. If we happen to be chromium deficient, our insulin receptors will not work. Thus leading to blood glucose problems. Many Type 2 diabetics take it as a supplement to help insulin sensitivity.

There is also promising research that shows chromium helps restore insulin sensitivity in obese people.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11225649

The only chromium I could find at my store was this 400mcg version. I think I have restored most of my insulin sensitivity, and I eat a good variety of chromium containing foods, so I don't think I need too much. I use a pill splitter, and only take half once a week to keep my chromium levels topped off. 200mcg of chromium is included in many women's formula multivitamins already.

Looking at my nutrition tracker, I was surprised that I was always coming up short on zinc. 30mg is more than the RDA required, but it was the smallest I could find. I only take this once every other day.


Fish oil - everyday, amount varies

In a perfect world, we should be able to get all of our nutrition needs from our diet. There is one notable exception. Omega-3 fatty acids. We do not get enough omega-3s due to the way our food supply is raised.

I was at a Whole Foods recently, and I took pictures in order to demonstrate this point. The top picture is a conventionally raised cattle, choice grade top sirloin. The bottom picture is free range, grass fed cattle sirloin. These are muscle meats. Do you see the difference in the fat levels?




In the conventionally raised cattle, the muscle tissue has a lot of little bits of fat embedded in them. This beef is full of omega-6s, and low in omega-3s. They call this marbling. This is choice grade marbling. Prime grade has even more marbling. Prime grade beef is from an obese cow - 32% or more bodyfat. This is an insulin resistant cow, fed on a diet of grain and corn, folks. If we are overweight or obese, this happens to our muscle tissue, too.

A cow fed on its natural diet of grass and hay has almost no fat marbling in its muscle tissue. The grass fed beef was a healthy cow. It is a good omega-3 source. Not as rich as salmon, but grass fed beef DOES contain healthy levels of omega-3s. If we ate beef raised on its natural diet, we would not have omega-3 deficiency problems.

Grass fed beef is expensive, and it is not available in my local area. I have to drive 100 miles to the nearest Whole Foods. The ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 should be 1:1. However, most Americans get 1:6 ratios. Some get 1:12 ratios. This is what gave beef the bad name for clogging arteries. It's not the saturated fat. It's the high load of omega-6 in the saturated fat that clogs arteries.

In order to bring the omega-3:omega-6 ratio back in line, I have to take a fish oil supplement. On days when I eat one serving of an omega-3 rich food like salmon, I'll take 1 fish oil supplement. On days when I eat conventional beef or chicken, I'll take 2 supplements.

While our vitamins needs may vary, at very least, I think a multivitamin and some sort of omega-3 supplement are important to everyone.

What supplements do you take on a regular basis?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEDGEY 6/29/2011 2:51PM

    Since I'm arthritic, I take 4000mg of fish oil daily, calcium, Vit. C, glucosamine and a multi. Every other day I take a cranberry and a Vit. D. I inject with mega-doses of Vit. B and folic acid for my pernicious anemia as needed.
I also eat as much grass-fed beef as I can. Buying it by the quarter directly from the rancher is how I make it affordable. The beef is pastured for all of its life and is grain-finished (no corn in the mix) for the last 3 months while they are still on pasture. We can go pet the beef any time we wish as they are quite friendly. :)
Corn-fed cows are not only obese, they are suffering from a constant state of acidosis since *COWS CANNOT DIGEST CORN*. Cud-chewing ruminants are made to eat grass. They convert grass into food for us. Simple. Messing with nature like that is just wrong.

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VHALKYRIE 6/29/2011 12:23PM

    I keep hearing about these 'fish burps' from fish oil supplements! I haven't had this problem with mine. Is it just from taking one without food or something?

No Sprouts or Whole Foods in Savannah. We only have a Fresh Market, and they don't have grass fed beef, as far as I know. We have to go to Charleston or Jacksonville.

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BTVMADS 6/28/2011 7:22PM

    I only take a Flinstone's Chewable multi every day (oh that's right. Flinstone's brand. Turns out, they're some of the best multivitamins money can buy!) and that's just about it. I've been thinking about adding potassium though, because it seems that I can almost NEVER get the recommended amount in my diet.

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SANDYMISA 6/28/2011 5:05PM

    Thank you for posting! It reminds me that I need to add calcium supplements - I like the chocolate chewable ones. I'll have to look for adult chewable multis - I remember to take Vitamin C but generally forget the rest.

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JUSTBIRDY 6/28/2011 3:23PM

    Every day I take a multi, magnesium, C, omega 3 and ALA. Sometimes I also take B's some days. When I am outside in the heat, I also drink water with a dash of fake salt (and no, I do not inject anything that I purchase at the grocery store.) I know that many recommend coQ10, but I never notice a difference with it so I don't go for the expense.
Do you have Sprouts yet? They have grass-fed beef, and also venison, bison, elk, antelope, and even wild boar (haven't tried that yet, but I am working up to it.)

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DDOORN 6/28/2011 3:05PM

    Like you I find I run low on my Zinc levels, so have added that to my multivitamin, fish oil (1,000 mg), flax seed oil(1,000 mg), vitamin c (500 mg), & e (400 i.u.), calcium (1,000 mg) regimen. Probably could do without the vit. c & e...old habits...lol!

Don

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FITGIRL15 6/28/2011 12:45PM

    And when we are sick... our bodies are even in a higher emergency state for these vitamins & minerals... so supplimenting becomes even MORE crutial! (I had Bell's Palsy last year! Who knows where I'd be without my Omega 3's, vitamin B's and Zinc!!!)

Thanks for the reminder! Omega 3's are also a natural anti-inflammatory! Good stuff for those of us that lift weights!

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ANDREA409 6/28/2011 11:36AM

    Nicely said. I never used to believe in supplements either, but now I can't imagine a day (or in my case, a meal) without them. Ideally, I'd love to get to the point where I can glean all my nutrients from food alone, but in this day and age, I don't see that happening. I like the idea of having the multi as an insurance policy. Better to waste a few cents on extra vitamins rather than be deficient in even one.

Within the last few days, I've been able to cut back on several of the vitamins I had been taking, which I'm stoked about. I was taking a LOT of zinc and couldn't figure out why I still failed the zinc status test every time. Knowing that copper competes with zinc, on a hunch I started buying distilled water. In just one day of drinking that, rather than my filtered tap water, I have not had to take a single zinc supplement. I don't know if there is Cu leaching into my water or what.

I would have never thought these imbalances can be so damaging. As a healthy person, I just always assumed the body took care of itself. Now, on days when I take a long walk, I immediately make a drink to restore my electrolyte levels (based on a Thrive diet recipe). The only thing I have to be super careful about is my potassium/salt ratio. People with AF tend to have too much potassium, because there is not enough aldosterone being made to retain salt in the body.

This stuff is fascinating to me.

Chromium is the latest mineral on my radar. I've been taking it 3x a day (as recommended for AFer's like myself). I got on the scale today (to verify that Sunday's weigh-in wasn't a fluke). Girl, I'm down almost another pound. And I haven't done any exercise in the last 2 days, because of the die-off/sinus thing. It may be unrelated to the chromium, but I don't know what else it could be, as I haven't changed anything else. No, I don't think it's the next super weight-loss tool or anything like that; I think my insulin receptors have needed this mineral for a very long time now, so that they could properly do their job.

Remarkable.

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JECKIE 6/28/2011 11:35AM

    Hmm. I have a bottle of multivitamins on my counter. Do I remember to take them? Nope. :(

I really should sit down and reconsider my vitamin choices. I'm off and on iron deficient and should really be remembering to take them! (I only remember first thing in the morning and iron/multi on empty stomach = BAD)

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/28/2011 10:50AM

    Speaking of supplements, I forgot to take mine this morning. eh-hem. According to my blood work, I'm vitamin D deficient. Here I was thinking I was getting enough from my reasonably healthy and varied diet. Nope. it seems that living in a state (MA) that has winter six months a year doesn't help. ugh...

Anyway, I still firmly believe I should be getting most of my vital nutrients from the food I eat, not a pill. However, for now, I'll take my vitamin D and fish oil pills. The doctor didn't say I needed to take the fish oil. I have a friend who says it's helped. So, I figured I'd give it a shot. can't hurt. CVS was having a buy one, get one free sale. And you know how I love my sales !

Now, if I can just remember to take them in the morning !!! LOL !!!!

But it's true... too many obese people are very malnourished and it's such a shame when you get people who point fingers and say they just need to eat less.



Comment edited on: 6/28/2011 10:52:36 AM

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MARITIMER3 6/28/2011 10:35AM

    I take a multi-vitamin, calcium and vitamin D daily.


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TERP_TERP 6/28/2011 10:17AM

    I take centrum chewable multi-vitamin. Like you I have an issue swallowing pills and I am not too fond of gummys so I opted for the only other chewable I could find emoticon

I also take Vitamin C off and on as needed.

Complex B as well as needed.

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BEARCLAW6 6/28/2011 10:17AM

    Nice blog. I've been doing some reading of the Eades doctors lately, and supplements are big on their list of must haves. I believe they worded it this way.....If you are a good driver, you still get auto insurance. If you are a good eater, you should still take vitamins.

I, too, am starting to think about getting a 2nd mortgage on my home so I can afford a little grass-fed beef (maybe exaggerating on this). But, I guess a trip to Whole Foods is in my future. Also, I would suggest keeping those fish oil pills in the fridge. If they oxidize and go rancid you won't know because you don't chew them and they are actually worse for you if rancid than not taking them at all.

keep up the good work!

Oh, I forgot to mention....I take fish oil pills and a multivitamin. The multivitamin already has a good amount of magnesium in it. I am thinking of adding ALA to the list!

Comment edited on: 6/28/2011 10:19:47 AM

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/28/2011 9:32AM

    Omega fish capsules
(I prefer the lemon-flavored ones - the burps are more pleasant.)

Glucosamine & Chondroitin
(for the arthritic knee)

Genetic multivitamin

Wellness Formula

Whey protein and/or protein bars to make sure I get enough protein per day (150g minimum)

Fluoxetine
(Beca
use if I'm not thinking straight I won't make healthy choices.)

Comment edited on: 6/28/2011 9:32:52 AM

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Weekend Discoveries

Monday, June 27, 2011

There are some women who are beautiful and sexy no matter what their size. They have curves in all the right places, and are head turners. They put extra weight on their breasts and thighs while maintaining an hourglass, even though they are overweight.

I am not so fortunate. I am very much a pear. Even when at ideal weight, my butt and thighs carry the bulk of my weight. When I am overweight, the effect is exaggerated. Butt and thighs get even bigger, while upperbody remains relatively thin. My square jaw bone structure becomes rounded and puffy. I look like an oompa loompa.

When I had a personal trainer, my measurements always came off my arms and chest first. No, I will never be a Jessica Rabbit.

I am meant to be built like a cheetah. Lean and sleek.

Since I have been tracking my data for a very long time, I have a pretty good history log. At my highest, I weighed 160, which I dropped to 130 before joining Spark. I have spend that time trying to lose another 10-20 lbs unsuccessfully. Take a look at this. This is my weight chart on Spark since July 3, 2007. My weight keeps bouncing up and down between 130-140. Nowhere near my target line.



I tend to gain weight around the holidays, then trim it off during the summer. Good thing I am trimming in the summer, or else I would most certainly be obese again.

I think I have expected that I would always be this way. Fit, but overweight. I don't do exercise only because I want to lose weight. I do it because I enjoy it. One of my all time favorite memories is kayaking on Lake Washington in Seattle. Warm sun on my face, gentle breeze, kayak to explore and take in vistas I can't see from land. I engage in activities because I'm living life.

But my extra body weight does have a price, no matter how fit I am. The extra weight puts stress on my knees and feet. I could hike longer and farther...if only I could remove the excess.

Now, I am starting to look like the athlete I feel. In some ways, I still carry doubt in the back of my mind that this is real. Is this just going to be temporary as it always is?

This time is different, and it is not following the normal pattern. I've gone below 130lbs for the first time in almost 4 years. I have kept off my weight loss for the longest I can remember.

So many times in the past 4 years, I've lost the weight, then rebounded. It came to the point where if I lost weight, I'd think to myself, "Well, I wonder if it will stay off this time." I was afraid to buy new clothes. My body wouldn't keep off the weight long enough, I'd think pessimistically.

Now, I am confident. I have metabolic control. I know what I need to do. Fat gain and fat loss are no longer a mysterious, unqualifiable whim. I know what kind of foods my body wants, and what it doesn't.

We went to Atlanta this weekend to go shopping and hiking. Saturday, we went to REI, where I spent hours trying on new fitness clothes. The fiance made fun of me, saying 4 people went in and out of the dressing rooms while I was trying things on! I didn't care. I picked out clothes that I felt comfortable in, nothing too form fitting. While I have come a long way in an amazingly short period of time, I still have further to go. I was careful to limit my selection to fitness clothes that I felt great in. This came at a great time, since REI was having a clearance sale. I was able to get a complete set of outfits for a week while spending 40-60% less than retail. Score!

We also went to the Atlanta Aquarium. It is the only aquarium outside of asia to have whale sharks. The Atlanta Aquarium is one of the best I've been to, and the whale sharks were magnificient to see. Fiance says we should take a diving trip to the Red Sea where we can see one in its native habitat. But they are rare, so it is unlikely we could plan a trip just to see one in the wild. The aquarium may be the only chance to do so. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, the Aquarium is worth the visit.



Sunday we went hiking near the Appalachian Approach again. Still have never even got close to the Appalachian trail, and I'd really like to one day. A camping trip is necessary, and my fiance has become less enthuastiac about camping as years have gone on. I'll have to wait for friends to come into town, or join a meetup group. We still enjoy going for a hike in the Amacolola State Park whenever we are in the area, though. We took a trail up to the waterfall, then took the stairs down. It is quite the workout, even though the loop is not very long.




We worked up an appetite and had lunch at a Whole Foods buffet again. I had salmon sashimi and a leafy green salad. In the past, going away for a weekend was such a source of distress. How could I eat and stay on my diet? Now that I am no longer avoiding fats, it is incredibly easy. I just pick a protein and vegetables of my choice.

This weekend I experimented with a few splurges. We shared a small key lime pie for dessert. I was surprised that my blood sugar stayed nice and even. I seem to have made great progress in repairing some of my blood sugar control. That is the good news. The bad news is, all of my candida (thrush and yeast infections) and gingivitis symptoms flared up. Even though I have killed off millions (billions?) of candida in controlled sugar starvation, it does not take much sugar for survivors to make an unpleasant and unwelcome population growth overnight. I have not fixed my body chemistry enough for the good bacteria to keep the candida in check.

I finished reading the book "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes over the weekend trip. I'm still working on "Good Calories, Bad Calories", but it is a very research heavy book, and takes time to digest. I decided to read through WWGF first because it is a short read I could finish quickly in a weekend. I got some great information to expand on what I've already learned. I will share my discoveries in the coming week.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTBIRDY 6/27/2011 7:33PM

    Well, ya, I was an hourglass, too, but it doesn't always help. No need to store two hours worth of sand, ya know?

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VHALKYRIE 6/27/2011 3:16PM

    Karen: Georgia Aquarium has a walk in tunnel too! The whale sharks swimming above the tunnel is quite the unique experience! The ones that are there now are just juveniles, and they are big animals! Full size they will grow to 40ft!

Andrea: I wondered if you were having a die-off when you mentioned the sinus infection. Hang in there! I had it too. Once it is gone, you'll feel soooo much better! The key lime flare up was nothing as bad as the die off thrush/sinus infection. I just had a white tongue from the candida having a party and a minor stuffy nose. Nothing serious, just annoying enough to remind me that sugar has consequences.

Don: You should check out Amicolola State Park when you visit your son! I think you would enjoy it. If you're feeling ambitious, you can take the 8 mile hike on the approach to the Appalachian Trail, if that is at all interesting to you. You'll have to plan to camp, though - can't make it there and back in a day. The start of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia starts there.

The waterfall is a short little day hike, if you wanted something more in and out. You can take the woodland trail up towards the summit of the waterfall, then walk down the stairs, which is what we did. Or you can take the 425 stairs straight up 735ft. Very challenging for even the serious stair master. ;) Also don't forget to bring a grill for a cookout, or sandwiches for a picnic at the park! You'll work up an appetite on those stairs for sure!

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 3:20:23 PM

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DDOORN 6/27/2011 2:59PM

    My son & d-i-l live near Atlanta...hadn't heard of Amacolola State Park...will definitely have to put this on our list of things to do next time we're down that way!

The aquarium is an AWESOME site to behold! Been there, done that, going to do it again sometime soon! :-)

Don

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ANDREA409 6/27/2011 2:50PM

    Well, you may be an oompa loompa, but at least you're a beautiful, smart oompa loompa. Not at all orange and creepy.

I've never been to Atlanta, but my brother tells me it's a beautiful city. The Aquarium looks great. I've been to the National Aquarium in D.C. and one in Baltimore, but I'd like to check this one out too. The whale shark is gorgeous.

Interesting reading about the key lime pie experiment. I'm SO GLAD that you are able to reverse the damage done to your insulin receptors. That's a huge plus. But the minor flare-ups with candida and gingivitis, that sucks. What exactly did you experience? I'm curious, because I've started getting some decent die-off I think. Know how I've had this sinus infection for weeks now? I'm starting to wonder if it's not partly that and partly some kind of yeast detox. I feel like I have the flu. It's really bad. Normal sinus infections aren't that lousy.

My body is also that hour-glass shape, albeit an inflated one. I pretty much stay the same shape; it just gets wider and wider. I guess that's a good sign, hormone-wise. I know I've done an awful lot of damage to them, but I don't think I'm beyond the point of no return.

Looking forward to what you have to say in your book reviews. Oh! I read Dr. Mike's blog where he wrote about "The Vegetarian Myth." I loved what he had to say. He strikes me as an extremely observant, rational, objective guy. I like that. I agree with him when he writes that the book was very political. However, I happen to like that sort of thing...when it's done well. She pulled the politics of feminism off beautifully.

Glad you and the fiance had a fab weekend. emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 6/27/2011 12:22PM

    I LOVE going to the aquarium !! When I was in Philly visiting a friend, we went to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. It's right across the river and a fabulous place !!! You should see their shark tank. They have a "tunnel" you can walk through as the sharks swim around and over you. It's a fantastic effect.

I've had problems with gingivitis in past. One thing my dentist recommended was to rinse with salt water. I asked them about hydrogen peroxide, because in past, I used a combo rinse of hydrogen peroxide and salt. Nope. They said that was over kill. To reduce the gingivitis, rinse with salt water after brushing.

Also, do you floss regularly ? I'll admit it. I was a lousy flosser for years. When I started doing that regularly, that helped too.

As for the yeast, I'm having my own minor issues. So far, the afternoon yogurt seems to be helping keeping my flora and fauna balanced.

Glad you had a good time on vacation !! Sound like soooo much fun !!

emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 6/27/2011 11:44AM

    PRECIOUSJENI: We're going to have to talk some time, as I'd love to get some tips on where to go from a local!

PZF144: I so know what you mean! It's so clear what I've been doing hasn't worked when looking at the graph. It was really scary to take a leap against the conventional advice, but I have no regrets. Congrats on your success so far!

I guess we all are our worst critics when it comes to our appearance. ;)

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PZF144 6/27/2011 11:22AM

    I had no idea Spark had a chart tracker like this, and that you could go back in time. So, I went back to when I started Spark, May 2008. I weighed 160 that day, and I've bounced between 150 and 160 for 3 YEARS. Only going below 150 for about 5 minutes a couple of times. Thanks for pointing out this chart; it is so useful to see that what I've done for years has not worked at ALL.

Today, happy to report a full 5 lb. loss from 6/1/2011. Eating more high-quality fat and protein, plus my veggies, seems to be doing the trick. Feeling great.

And hey, I am a true hourglass figure: big boobs, big hips and butt. And I'll tell ya...no matter what yoour body type, you're never happy if you're not at your ideal weight. What I can't stand is how big I have to wear my pants, and how much they gap in the waist. And my large bust just makes me look...well, large. I'd love it so much if my weight loss happened in the bust, as it just makes me look dumpy.

Sounds like you had a great weekend! Love Atlanta, but have never seen the Aquarium. Next trip!

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PRECIOUSJENI 6/27/2011 10:35AM

    Love the pictures! I'm originally from Atlanta, so I am all up in the business when people post about trips to the city.

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