Archive | April, 2017

Sharing my (opinion about) food 

29 Apr

Last week someone attacked my food choices, and I gave him a piece of my mind.

I’m being dramatic, of course. I have a “friend” who has an anonymous profile on a dating site (because he’s married). Don’t worry, I’m never going to meet him. I don’t even know his name.

Anyway, I expressed to him that I was having a hard day. He said he was sorry and then asked if I had found anyone to date yet. I said, “I’m thinking about putting up a table at the Natural Grocers store advertising for a foodie runner boyfriend.” And he said, “Don’t even get me started about that whole natural food thing.”

I was already in a bad mood, so I picked a fight and said I didn’t feel like I should have to defend my nutritional choices. After we exchanged many more messages, he said, “Good day to you,” and I left it at that. Ever notice how “good day” sometimes sounds like “eff you”?

I apologized a few days later for overreacting.

Most of you know I did my first Whole30 in March. Because the Whole30 has some pretty strict rules, and because it also quite literally changes people’s lives and relationships with food, some followers have strong feelings about it. Want some proof? Just go on the Whole30 Support Facebook page and ask a question about eating non-compliant foods while doing a Whole30. It’s like lions attacking an old, wounded antelope.

Lately I’ve been exposed to strong beliefs about food, nutrition, and diets or programs. I guess I’ve put myself in the position to notice them more, so I’m also more aware of my own reactions when people comment about my choices. Like when someone turns up their nose at my “healthy” lunch or makes fun of the fact that I eat Brussels sprouts or kale almost every day — it chaps my hide a bit. Or when I overheard someone at the gym saying, “I could never do Whole30! You can’t eat whey protein!” and, though she was not talking to me and her comment was none of my damn business, I felt mildly peeved and admittedly scoffed at her. Sorry, Gym Lady.

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Brussels sprouts, blueberries, eggs, and bacon baby! Looks gross. Tastes good. 

As a personal trainer, I am often asked to share my opinion or give advice about food, diets, and nutritional programs. I have strong feelings about several of them — both good and bad feelings — but I have to be very careful about what I say because I am not a certified nutrionist. I really, really want to go on a rant about some of the ones that are supposed to be healthy and all-natural and supported by research, but I am not going to do that (unless you ask me in private, when I am not working as a trainer, and then gurrrrrl…).

My choices are mine. I have made them based on the evidence I have gathered and deemed to be trustworthy. I assume that you have done the same, and I respect that even if I don’t agree with your choices. Just don’t dig on my Brussels sprouts, bitches, or we gon’ have words!

 

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Remembering bits and pieces

26 Apr

I’m trying to lose weight. Fifteen pounds (as of today) to be exact. Usually I weigh myself on Thursdays. I use the scale at my gym, and I go there in the morning after I’ve used the bathroom (TMI) and before I’ve eaten breakfast. Today is Wednesday. I needed to weigh today because I can’t do it tomorrow.

Something has been off in my body and spirit for a week or so. I’ve had tummy troubles, and this morning I woke up with a terrible headache. Not that there are good headaches. Funny that I always feel the need to qualify my headaches so you know they are bad.

Anyway, headache. Didn’t want to get out of bed. Didn’t feel hungry or even want coffee, which is a sure sign that I’m in bad shape. Been feeling so, so, so very sad, and I don’t know why. Nothing has changed in my diet or my routine. I am not experiencing more stress. Yes, the weather has been rainy and cold and windy, but I live in North Dakota and it’s March.

So I was running late and I went to the gym, stripped off my coat and shoes, and stepped on the scale. I gained more than a pound this week. Last week I stayed exactly the same as the week before. Previously, I had been losing close to one pound per week.

I threw my coat and shoes back on and got in my car to drive to work, and I cried. Lip quivering tears with little whimpering sounds like kittens make. Over a weight gain. Really there has to be something more going on, because I’ve fallen into a funk and I can’t get out.

When I got to work and stepped out of my car, I was thinking, I wonder what would happen if I didn’t eat anything today.

Since I started feeling so low, I’ve had bits and pieces of a quote I believe I once read floating around in my head. It has to do with what gets us down — like you can tell a lot about a person by the things that get them down, or make them upset. I have been Googling the bits and pieces and can’t find it.

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This isn’t the one, but it’s good. And Einstein.

The quote itself doesn’t matter. What matters is that when I start crying about gaining (or not losing) weight and start thinking maybe I shouldn’t eat, it really makes me say, Geez, Wendi. Is that all it takes to get you down? Aren’t there more important matters in the world?

There are more important matters, and I have a lot to be grateful for, but at this very moment I know something is going on that needs my attention. There is a dis-ease in my body or spirit. Yesterday I thought about suicide — not making plans but just the thought that flies into and out of your head. It happens sometimes, and I know it’s important.

Instead of not eating, which I honestly don’t think I could EVER do, I decided to let go of two things today: the scale and tracking my food. It will be hard for me to do that, but ultimately I think it will help.

Thank you for reading this far. Please understand that I don’t want any advice about weight loss or mental health. I would, however, appreciate your support and understanding. Like, “I understand this feeling, Wendi. Is there anything I can do to help? Would you like a latte or a million dollars?” Like that.

 

Feeling a bit off

20 Apr

Here’s a confession of ignorance, or perhaps just some good old fashioned foolish optimism: When I was mid-way through Whole30, I really thought it would solve all of my problems. Well, all of my food-related and health problems.

It’s not that I had a lot of “problems” to begin with. I had been mostly grain- and dairy-free for a while before I started. Once a week I would treat myself to a sugary coffee drink as a reward after my long training run, and occasionally I would use the same sugary coffee drinks to cope with a bad day or celebrate a great day. I really didn’t need a reason, which is why I needed to get away from that addiction. 

As far as my health, I was in decent shape. I was about 15 pounds overweight, but I was active (low-intensity running and cycling 5-6 days a week). I didn’t have high blood pressure, wasn’t pre-diabetic, and don’t believe I was dealing with many of the issues associated with inflammation — as far as I know. I did get the mid-afternoon slump a lot, and that was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to kick the sugar habit.

Most of all, I wanted to feel good about the food choices I was making and feel physically well, and Whole30 has certainly helped me accomplish that. For the last few days, however, I have been feeling overall yucky. I have an upset stomach, a low-grade headache, and very low energy. Generally I think gut issues are a sign that something is off in your system, but nothing has changed in my diet, environment, training/activity, or life. I just feel gross.

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this is not my tummy

I also feel disappointed because I thought my days of feeling like crap would be over once I started eating whole, real, unprocessed, delicious food all the time! I mean, I didn’t think I would never get sick, but I thought that putting good foods into my body would mean I would feel well. All the time. Is that dumb? 

I don’t know what is wrong, but I am sure it will pass. Right now though, even my Brussels sprouts and blueberries with eggs on top aren’t helping, and usually that dish completely makes my day.

Have you ever thought you found a magic cure and then discovered, much to your dismay, that there are no magic cures?

Loving and losing

16 Apr

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about my weight loss. A lot of friends and family did exactly what I asked — they told me “Yay!” — and helped me celebrate my accomplishment.

But one friend made a comment that caused me to ponder the reasons people lose or gain weight, and the reasons people decide to make those changes to their bodies. We can lose or gain for many reasons, positive and negative, and several factors might motivate us to make changes.

Later in the day, as I was writing and rewriting this post in my head, a friend said on Facebook that his wife had started a diet. A friend of theirs commented, “Tell your wife she is perfect just the way she is.”

And that set me off!

I want to propose the idea that it is possible to truly, deeply love yourself and your life, to be very happy and content, and still want to lose (or gain) weight. That decision need not come from self-loathing, a desire to conform to any real or perceived standards, or any other unhealthy attitudes toward one’s own body or food.

At times in my life, I have certainly hated my body and wished it would magically become smaller without me having to make any lifestyle changes, even though I knew that wish was ridiculous. It’s the dream of every person who has an addiction — to do whatever you want and not face any negative consequences.

Since I became an athlete and a personal trainer, I have had to confront and refine my ideas about body image, weight, health, and wellness. I know that weight loss is not always a reason for congratulations. I also have become very passionate about the fact that we feel comfortable saying, “You look great! Have you lost weight?” to friends and family, but when we notice someone has gained weight (and don’t lie, you notice) you don’t ask or wonder if that person is physically, spiritually, or emotionally well. We think loss is “good” and gain is “bad,” but both are usually more complex.

This time, I am working toward weight loss as part of a focus on overall wellness, but I also have a very specific and perhaps lofty goal: I want to take about 20-30 minutes off my marathon finish time. In case math isn’t your thing, that means I would need to run at least one minute per mile faster than I did at my best. A goal like mine requires attention to nutrition, sleep, stress, weight/mass, attitude, meditation (which I don’t do!), strength training, AND running. I’m 45 years old and I’ve only been running for only six years, so I have a lot of work to do!

hearthandsFor me, this weight loss is an act of self-care. I’m eating whole, real, delicious food that helps support my goals and activities. I feel strong and beautiful and capable. And I’m in love with my life, which is exactly why I believe I’m seeing improvements in my body and my training.

I believe you can love yourself and still want to change. Do you? I’d like to know.

Noticing changes 

14 Apr

You know those Facebook friends or the people you follow on Instagram who are all fit and constantly posting pictures of their exposed abs and tight buttocks? I usually unfollow those people because (let’s be honest) I’m jealous.

Because of the way I feel about those people, I have pretty strict rules about posting comments about my own weight loss or pictures of my (emerging) abs or (not-so-bad) buttocks. I mean, nobody wants to see that anyway. Well, if they do, they’ll ask.


Despite the fact that it generally bothers me, I think I understand why people who have nice bodies, or people who are going through body changes like weight loss or muscle development, post pictures — they want others to tell them “Yay!” In my family, we say “Tell me yay!” when we do something good. My nephew made it up.


Here’s the point (finally!) of my post: I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last two months, and no one has noticed.


To be fair, I haven’t really told anyone that I have been working on losing weight. I started Weight Watchers online in February, and in March I did my first Whole30 with a friend. Changing my eating pattern, continuing to run and bike, and adding strength training has changed my body in ways that are very noticeable to me. I’ve been working really hard, and I feel great (super sexy) and I have a lot more energy than I have in a long time.


So either it’s not noticeable to others, or nobody wants to comment. I have also been growing out my hair and it’s pretty crazy compared to my old pixie cut. Maybe that is why no one has noticed. 



I’m conflicted about posting this because, like I said, I am somewhat contemptuous of unfollow people who show off their bodies. But honestly, I really just want someone to tell me “Yay!


That’s not so bad, is it? Please don’t unfollow me. 

Counting the fat

11 Apr

I have a lot of anxiety about food. Actually I have a lot of feelings about food, which is dumb because it’s food.

I did Whole30 in March, and I loved it. Whole30 helps you kick a sugar habit if you have one and moves you away from highly processed, nutrient-poor foods. It does other remarkable things, which you can certainly read about if you are interested. After I stopped craving lattes (like three or four days in) I felt better, had more energy, and lost weight – and I was eating a ton of food. Who wouldn’t love that?

You follow the Whole30 way for 30 days, and then you can continue if you want or move on to “reintroduction” or like “Whole30 life” and try adding grains, dairy, and legumes back into your diet. That’s my current stage. I have no desire to reintroduce dairy because I’ve found alternatives that I feel better about. I tried corn (CHIPS!) and that was fine, so I’ll have them from time to time and try not to get back to the point where I eat only chips and guacamole for dinner. And I also tried peanut butter, and that was an immediate disaster. So no more PB for me.

Everything is great except for the situation that causes me anxiety. I also have been doing Weight Watchers for quite some time which means I track the points value of everything I eat and drink. On Whole30, I eat a lot of fat, and fat is a lot of points; thus, my anxiety. For example, I made this amazing butternut squash, kale, and bacon soup that has full fat coconut milk in it, and a bowl is 12 points. I eat about 30-37 points in a day, so I am going WAY over my points total every single day, especially on my long run training days when I have to replace 1,000 or more calories.

Herein lies the rub. (I think it’s the rub. I should really look up what the rub is.) If I ask the Whole30 people for advice, they will say, “EAT THE FAT!” and if I ask the Weight Watchers people for advice, they will say, “GO LOWFAT!”

I am not going to switch to low-fat or nonfat options. I think low-fat and nonfat are horrible. That’s my personal opinion and I’ll tell you why if you really care. And before you ask, YES, my cholesterol levels are awesome. And in case you’re wondering, YES, I have been losing weight. Plus I eat a ton of food. Really a ton of vegetables and fruits and meats (with some fat!) and nuts and eggs.

What this all means is that I have to deal with the anxiety that is all about the number – the points value – of food that I believe is better for me. When you are assigning a value to a food, and you are supposed to stay within a certain range of values, you can get really focused on the numbers.

I have also considered the possibility that I don’t need to count points at all anymore, and I could allow my (healthy awesome delicious) choices to free me. That’s probably what I should do, since anxiety sucks.

Have you faced a similar situation? I’d love to hear what you did!

Believing I’m enough 

8 Apr

For most of my life, I’ve felt like I was too much — too fat, too loud, too crazy, too emotional — too much of the bad things and never enough of the good. In the last few months, that has changed. 

I’ve been focusing since October on wellness, which for me means making changes or improvements in several areas of my life. I began a running/training program designed to reduce stresses, increase the body’s use of fat as a fuel source, and strengthen the heart. It is much lower in intensity than the typical training program, and for the first several months I saw little improvement. But lately I’m making steady (and kind of huge!) improvements and it’s incredibly rewarding. 

I also made a goal to change my nutritional habits so that most, if not all, of my choices were supporting my training and helping me live my best life. In March I started the Whole30 and it really has changed my life. Every day I eat a lot of whole, real, delicious food! I’ve lost weight, I sleep better, and I have more energy than I ever have. 

I’ve made other changes to my thought processes, relationships, and in my approach to dealing with conflict and frustration. I don’t have everything figured out, and I don’t hope to. But I’m moving forward and it’s empowering.

Just this morning, I thought “I feel like I am enough, not too much or to little. Just right.” My wish is for you to feel like you’re just right, too.