Nutrition

Super Strong Nana does the Whole30

I’ve been on the Whole30 website on and off for the past year. I’ve looked at how strict it is and knew that there was no way I could change my eating that much. I rationalized that maybe I could do it but still eat dairy and put milk in my coffee, eat my nightly treat of popcorn because after all, my meals are pretty healthy. I told myself that I do better with a diet high in carbohydrates and a lower fat intake. LIES, LIES, LIES!

I hit rock bottom with my eating during Christmas week. In October of this year, I was at my lowest weight in years. I even went out and bought several pairs of skinny jeans. I was feeling confident and on top of the world.

As usual, I was was close to my weight goal, a number that I haven’t been at in 10 years. I have no idea why I picked that number or why I continue to chase that number after 10 years of coming close and then failing. Even though I know better than to use the scale as a way to measure my success, I am addicted. The number on the scale effects whether or not I am a good person or not. It effects whether I feel like a loser or a winner. It is a mechanical square that I have allowed to dictate my happiness.

At the end of October, starting right before Halloween, I starting allowing myself to eat candy. It only took a few bites and I was as out of control as a crack addict. I couldn’t get enough. I was hiding my eating, hiding my wrappers and going out and buying more.

One night turned into a daily stops at the 7-11 for candy. Feeling ashamed, I would buy other things so the cashier wouldn’t think I was such a loser.

The holidays were just another excuse to binge. I resorted to my favorite Oreos. Once I go down that road, there is no turning back. I felt sick, lethargic, bloated and overall unhealthy. I didn’t have energy to workout and it took everything I had to do simple things such as going to work. Emotionally, I felt hopeless and worthless.

I went back to the Whole30 website. As bad as I felt, I still wasn’t willing to follow the rules they laid out to help me reset my eating and to get healthy again. I ordered their book, It Starts With Food. It only took a few chapters to realize they were talking about me! I related to everything. They even used Oreos as an example of the vicious cycle of sugar cravings.

It was then that I decided to get healthy. As foreign as it was, I decided to focus on health rather than my weight. Focusing on my health allowed me to be willing to do anything to get better.

I went back to the Whole30 website and printed out everything. I printed out shopping lists, recipes and a success guide. For once in my life, I was willing to go to any lengths to get my eating under control.

On December 26th, I quit eating sugar. As the days wore on, I cut out other foods that made me feel unhealthy. I officially started Whole30 on January 9th.

I would love to tell you it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. There are days when everything in my being wants to eat sugar and other junk food. The more days I get behind me, the easier it is. I’ve had sugar dreams and have woken in a panic thinking that I blew it.

I get stronger and stronger in my conviction as I experience more energy, more strength in the gym, better sleep and a clearer head. Mentally I am feeling strong and confident. Each time I pass up the pizza, bread, desserts and pasta that my family eats, is a notch in my success belt.

The best part is that I am trying foods and cooking things I would never have tried in the past. The food I make is so good! Even my family loves it. Things taste so good and I am experiencing the taste of sweetness in natural foods. I never would have thought that carrots could be so sweet. My taste buds were used to the extreme sweetness of highly processed foods loaded with artificial sugars and ingredients.

Although I think everyone would benefit from a super strict reset, I realize that most people either don’t think they have the strength to do it or don’t care enough about themselves or their health to try. Like I did for the past year, the thought of making such drastic sacrifices despite the health benefits prove to be too much. Even making small changes such as detoxing off of sugar can make a difference.

Making changes based on getting healthy and maybe even saving your life instead of appearance or a number on a scale may just be the to finally succeed.

Superstrong Nana Gets a Little Lazy

It’s not what you think. My laziness has to do with keeping up this blog. I am responsible for 3 different blogs, one of which is due once a week for our local paper, The Tallahassee Democrat.

I wrote what I think is a good blog and I decided to repost it here.

It’s Sunday. Thanksgiving was four days ago. It’s time to put down the fork, toss the leftovers and get back to sensible, healthy eating. I write this blog for you, but also for myself.
I would love to tell you that I am one of those trainers whose Thanksgiving dinner consisted of roasted turkey, vegetables and sugar free, fat free pies, but I’m not. I’m normal and yes, I went way, way overboard these past few days. Due to a snafu in my plans of ordering my entire meal online and happily spending my day visiting with family instead of being in the kitchen all day, we ended up with nothing but one Turducken and two pies. That’s what happens when you send your husband out to the grocery store to pick up the meal.
Thank goodness I had the foresight to make stuffing. I threw together some mashed potatoes out of a bag leftover from a week before. That left us with meat, starch and pie. The vegetables I ordered were left deserted at the grocery store as well as the rest of our side dishes.
The only vegetables at our table were the Gerber First Bites green beans that my grand daughter happily gobbled up from the tray of her high chair. Even if I glued the tiny pieces together with maple syrup, it would have given us one green bean a piece.
With a belly full of starch and sugar, I spent the rest of the day on the couch. My carbohydrate coma and lethargy dashed all of my hopes of getting in a good workout. Eating too much of the wrong foods have that effect on me. I know that what I eat and what I put into my body have a direct effect on my energy and my mood. I also know that starches and sugar set me off on a binge much like a drug addict searching for that next high.
My October issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal had an article on food addiction and the effects of sugar on our brain chemistry. Without going into all the science behind these studies, the gist of the article states that hyperpalatables such as sugary, starchy, fatty and salty foods have a direct effect on dopamine; the neurotransmitter that signals when rewards are present, motivates us to seek rewards, promotes exploring and learning about rewards and maintains awareness about reward related cues. It goes on to say that Cocaine and Heroin target and hijack this reward system and so do appetite controlling hormones.
Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institue on Drug Abuse used PET scans and radioactive chemicals that bind to dopamine receptors in 2001 and their research revealed that obese people had fewer dopamine receptors in the brain’s striatum (reward center) and therefore had to eat more to experience the same rewards or “high” as people of average weight.
Studies with rats showed that when they were given free access to typical hyperpalatble foods, their brain structure changes the same as if Cocaine were ingested. Functional MRI studies proved that both obese and lean women who demonstrate addictive behavior around food show the same pattern of neural activity as a chronic drug user: high levels of anticipation and low levels of satisfaction after consumption.
There is hope. The book; The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction by Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP goes into detail about how reducing stress, regular exercise and a diet rich in Omega-3s can have a positive effect on our brain chemistry. For more detailed information, I recommend you get the book.
One thing we must do however is to detox. Pick a day and make a decision to stop eating those “foods” that keep you in the cycle of addictive eating. Be prepared with lots of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean sources of protein. If you aren’t already; start exercising. Even getting out for walks will have a positive influence on your stress levels and mood. Surround yourself with people who will support you in this endeavor and avoid those who sabotage your efforts.

My Latest Gadget

Those who know me know I love gadgets. The more bells and whistles the better. I feel naked if I don’t have my heart rate monitor, iphone, super duper headphones, iphone case for running, the perfect shoes, socks etc.

On Monday my new Blendtec blender arrived. This thing cost me a small fortune but it will replace the other 5 blenders I have sitting around. This came with an extra jar and lid. Score!!

I automatically assume if I just had all the right gadgets, my workouts will be better, my eating will be cleaner and the extra body fat will just fall off.

I spent a couple of weeks researching blenders. I’ve been through every brand from cheap to what I considered expensive (until this purchase). It never fails, after a few months, the blender will start to leak. I always find out when blending something that is super sticky. I’ve had to clean out too many cabinets and drawers from gooey, sticky messes caused by blender failure.

It was between the Blendtec and the Vitamix. Reviews for both were great. It was a tough decision but in the end I went with the Blendtec because it was shorter and would fit under the cabinet but mainly because it had cooler features such as buttons for blending different things. The blender actually will speed up and slow down depending on what you are blending. Clean up is as simple as adding a drop of dish soap and pressing the pulse button for a few seconds and then rinsing.

I really love the idea of making smoothies for a meal or two during the day. I want to get into making green smoothies and cramming as much healthy stuff into one cup as possible. I am not one who will sit down and eat a meal for lunch. I prefer to blend something and drink it. I like to keep things simple.

My latest smoothies are made with Amasai, 1/2 packet of Advocare Meal Replacement, 1 packet of Advocare Fiber Drink, 2 scoops of Advocare Muscle Gain, 1/2 packet of frozen fruit and ice.

It tastes great and is really filling. Today I added a bit of Spinach and it still tastes good.

Do you make smoothies? What are your favorite recipes?