Archive for May, 2012

One week in – Four Hour Body update

Well, I did it, made it through the first week of the new meal plan. Last Sunday was maybe the hardest, trying to figure out how to get all that food in and not feeling particularly creative. I managed to eat 4 times and get in the protein, too.

Monday morning I was down about a pound. Of course I realize weight fluctuates a good deal and I don’t usually weigh myself every day, but either way, just seeing that was enough to make me feel more motivated. Tuesday wasn’t too bad because I was home most of the morning. By Wednesday morning I was down 4 lbs. Wednesday, however, is usually pretty heavy as far as work goes, and due to poor planning, I was forced to drink 2 protein shakes instead of one. I was starving by the time I got home!

Yes, it goes against all of my food morals…

That was when I came up with a great idea for eating more protein. One of my son’s favorite meal is burritos and over the years, we used to make “burrito beans” at least once a week, sometimes twice. Essentially I used ground turkey (from a local farm🙂 ) and 4 cans of beans, two refried and two black/kidney beans, chili peppers, jalapenos, onions and tomatoes, which we ate over brown rice. I loved that stuff. I used to take some out for myself before adding the meat, but I did eat even the part with meat in it if there were leftovers.

Wednesday night, I made a batch, using the very lean turkey I got at Costco. It worked out to 38 grams of protein per cup! I was so excited. This means a quick meal if I’m in a hurry and a small meal for times when I’m feeling too full to eat one more thing. 🙂

Which has been one of the hardest parts – eating enough, often enough. I realized what awful habits I’ve gotten in to over the…years, maybe? I already know from experience I do better if I eat more frequently, but I have been eating maybe twice a day for months. Even when I was still in MN it often happened that I had a nice lunch after a run (no breakfast before) and then didn’t eat again till evening, 8 or 9 after getting home. Also, I gave up running this week. I was having enough trouble trying to figure out how to eat enough protein, on a schedule to try to figure out how to get my run in.

Friday morning I didn’t have to go in to work, but I was really feeling the lack of running (it really helps my mood). So I got up and drank a quick protein shake, thinking that would be better on my stomach, but halfway into my run I was nauseated enough to have to stop briefly.

It’s hard for me to eat right after getting up. I have been getting up and working out, then eating after for years. Even if I take a day off, I never get up and eat first thing. This morning I leapt out of bed and into my run so I could do both, run on an empty stomach and still get my breakfast in in the first hour. I actually woke up hungry, but when I sat down with my breakfast, I had a hard time putting it in my mouth. But I’m good, because I did get that run in, and that feels great.

Back to the week. By Friday I was down 6 lbs. Saturday was the “cheat day.” I got up and had a big, protein filled breakfast. I decided I would try to eat 4 times, even though I totally planned to eat ice cream and all that. I had fabulous pasta for lunch with fresh spinach pesto…but it didn’t taste as good as I expected it to.

That’s not my actual pasta – I forgot to take a picture!

I haven’t had pasta in a couple of months, and in general, the truth is I don’t find it all that satisfying as I used to, but I did expect to enjoy it, at least. Don’t worry, though, I DID enjoy the fresh from the dairy ice cream I had. And my popcorn. I only managed 3 meals (unless you count the popcorn/ice cream as a meal), but I did manage to get 20 grams of protein in every one.

I had 2 Oreos, too, just because, but I forgot that I really only like them when I’m having a migraine. Over the course of the week, I really only had cravings for snacks one night – I don’t remember which night, Wednesday or Thursday, I think. I was sitting staring at my dissertation and feeling particularly non-productive and was wishing for popcorn.

So, after my day off, I’m back up 3 lbs, but I’m not feeling too bad about that. Hard to feel bad after a good, fast run. I only did 30 minutes (trying to get to my breakfast quick) so I did intervals.

Those are obviously not my specs…

One last thing. I did order some of the supplements after having such great progress right away, and started taking them on Thursday. Well, I took one dose Thursday, and maybe managed two on Friday.

Two things about supplements. I have spent most of my life without taking any at all. Then I had to start because of the anemia and apparent Vitamin D3 deficiency. I started that a couple of months ago, and around the same time started taking Migravent, a supplement that is supposed to decrease migraines. So I went from taking none to taking FIVE pills every morning and three at night.

They don’t look like much, but it’s a lot for me!

Adding in the helpful supplements from Four Hour Body has, at times seemed just too much. The second thing is that I think they mess with my stomach some. I was feeling fine before I started to take them, but after I started, I think they make my stomach…something. Uncomfortable. So I don’t know how dedicated I am to taking them.

Well, that’s it. One week down. Even counting the cheat day, I’m down 4 lbs. That works for me!


4-Hour Body – And go!

This book is awesome. I love that it starts by myth-busting all the ridiculous things that the media tries to sell us. He used himself as the guinea pig – more bonus points for Tim Ferriss. He then tells us to be skeptical – I don’t think he could have said anything that would have made me love him more.

It keeps getting better though (I swear I don’t own stock in TF). Next he introduces the Minimum Effective Dose – the idea that there is no reason to do more than is necessary to get the desired result. You know I love that idea. Next, more myth-busting and a wonderful piece on A Calorie is not a Calorie, something I’m very interested in.

The next main section is all about the psychology of motivation and goal setting. Yeah. I’m done. I’m officially doing whatever this guy says.

Lucky for you, you get to follow along, if you like.

For starters, I went out and bought a bunch of protein in the form of flesh. One of the motivators TF recommends is taking a picture of whatever you eat, and posting it somewhere that other people can see it. Interestingly enough, the thing that I’m worried about with posting my pictures (because you know I don’t have any problem posting pics of food) is that there will be meat in most of my pictures.

Like all of us, I have a number of identities. Some of the ones I like the most are my “mostly” identities. I’m mostly a vegetarian – I mostly don’t eat meat – but I won’t freak out if it appears on my plate. I already feel like a bit of a fraud because recently I’ve eaten fish and meat a couple of days a week to combat the damn anemia. Who will care that there is meat in my pictures? Nobody, I guess.

While we are on identities, I also identify myself as a runner. To tell the truth, I’m a mostly runner, too. I mean, I don’t actually run. I jog. I’m not very fast, and the only way I can manage any distance at all is by using the Jeff Galloway walk-run method. I mention this because there is another part of the 4-Hour Body that talks about getting faster and yet another on stamina. I want to do all these things, but one thing at a time, no?

This could be me…someday…

On your mark….

Get set…


4-Hour Body and the Health Coach

In the midst of my dissertation disaster-extravaganza, I got a notification that a book I put on hold had arrived at the library, the 4-Hour Body.I don’t actually remember putting it on hold, but that happens from time to time. I just went and picked it up. I’ve been dissertating pretty much without doing much else for 6 days, I think, so I decided it was ok to read a few chapters of my new book before getting back into the work. I am finding it engaging, intriguing, and even funny.

He says not to read the book all at once, rather to pick a topic and read all of that, then maybe read others as you go. I started with the recommended reading for Rapid Fat Loss. He makes lots of great points, one of them being that if you measure, you’ll know better about what’s happening. I know this from first hand experience. While working with a talented personal trainer, my inches/body fat measurements were so much more telling than my weight was! He talks about a simple 5 location measurement, then adding up all the numbers for you Total Inches (TI). That way, you can keep simple track of your progress.

In the next chapter, he says, Before you go on, take at least 2 of the following 4 actions. Here are the choices he offers in my own words:

1. Take a picture of yourself (this helped me with Body For Life, too), put it somewhere you’ll see it often (he recommends the dog’s forehead)

A nice pic from 2005

2. Take a picture of everything you eat for 2 or 3 days. Use your hand in the picture for sizing. “For maximum effect, put these photos online for others to see.” Ha!! This is amusing to me because I did just that last month. My plan was to do it on a “closed blog,” as I didn’t really want everyone seeing what I ate(!) that I would invite my health coach to watch. I managed a couple of days, I think, before I gave it up. I have been using that closed blog to keep track of my migraines, too.

One of the meals I was ok with posting 🙂

3. Find someone to engage in a friendly competition with you, using the TI mentioned above (rather than weight). 4. Get a tape measure and measure, “both upper arms (mid-bicep), waist (horizontal at navel), hips (widest point between navel and legs) and both legs (mid-thigh). Total these numbers to arrive at your TI. I’m telling you again because I know you didn’t do it after the last chapter. Get off your ass and get ‘er done. It takes five minutes.” This make me laugh out loud, since I hadn’t moved from the chair since I started reading. Another of my own tips – measure from your elbow or knee or ankle how many inches up or down you are measuring (like 5 inches up from your knee) so that you measure the same place every time – something I learned from the PT).

I’d love to find someone who wants to join me on this – just a little friendly competition/motivation. I know it helps me to have someone else checking in with me, although I don’t feel very competitive in general. I’m excited about his ideas because they make sense to me.

Meanwhile, in other news, I hired a health coach. That is to start tomorrow night, and I am very excited about that too. Although I am wondering, to tell the truth, if that was a mistake. A little buyer’s remorse, maybe? I have no idea how it will go, never having done this before. I mostly believe in the premise, as I know that leaning on someone with professional know-how has helped me in many other areas of my life, even physical fitness (as with the PT) but it also feels a little scary to invest money in myself this way. Strange, isn’t it? That investing money in my health seems somehow…frivolous? Part of my goals with the health coach is, of course, weight loss, but I’m also interesting in decreasing my migraines, getting decent sleep and decreasing my depression.

From the health coach’s blog….I mean, she’s fantastic, right?

At any rate, I’ll be blogging about both as I go. Feel free to follow along…and drop me a line if you’d like to join me in some way. Who knows, I might let you in on the closed blog…if we get a bunch of people doing it, could be fun…

Treats or tricks?

Here’s the thing about eating healthy foods. I mean, it’s good, right? That’s true. Good for my body and all that. The problem for me comes up when I decide to allow myself some junk food. Tonight on the way home I got french fries from my favorite place around the corner from work and a nice falafel. My friend got an eggplant sub. We did the food share thing and I came home with my booty, something I felt like I deserved because of all that I’ve accomplished on my dissertation this week.

It actually looked a lot like this…

I liked the eggplant part. It actually turned out to be something like eggplant Parmesan in a big…hoagie bread deal. Uh, yeah. I don’t really like big hunks of bread like that. I especially don’t like them when they are soggy. Even though the tomato sauce had good flavor, I couldn’t stand it in the bread.


The falafel turned out almost the same, only it was a wrap. Now, I’ve eaten the falafel at this place before and liked it, but I didn’t think about the fact that when we go there, it’s for lunch and we eat there. My friend “doctors” her food, taking out the bits she doesn’t like, and I do something similar, peeling off the extra wrap. Which is an interesting thing all by itself. The falafel comes in two big wraps, I’m sure there are some ridiculous number of calories all by themselves. Anyway, the point is, it doesn’t get soggy when I eat it right there.

Also, I’m all congested now. I’m having some kind of allergic reaction (I’m guessing the bread or the tomatoes).

Here’s the problem part – none of these things are new to me! It’s just that I forget! I also know that taking food to-go usually means it’s not as good when you get there. I know that I don’t really like a lot of bread. I know that eating a big dinner leaves me feeling tired and lethargic. Yup. I know. Just have to be reminded from time to time. 

Can I get a quorum?

After yet another grueling, yet useless seminar, wherein one of the other interns bashed me and no one said anything in my defense, I headed home with my fresh, organic, locally grown vegetables and let the tears fall. I know my life is good, I do. But these Tuesday meetings are seriously sucking the life out of me. It’s a good thing my CSA pickup is on Tuesdays, because at least I can look forward to that.

Depression is not new to me, nor is the scenario that is playing out with the interns. In a nutshell, there is a person who gets picked on whom I defend. That is kind of my way in the world and most of the time it works for me. In this scenario, of course it isn’t my “job,” so I try to keep my mouth shut and limit myself to supportive comments to the picked on person. However, once in a while it gets to be too much for me and I speak up. This has played out several times. Meanwhile there is a third person who, from time to time, points out that I am being mean to the person doing the picking. This has also played out several times.

Here’s the part that got to me today: when all these roles get talked about (and they do, we’re psychologists, for fuck’s sake) everyone says something nice, everyone get’s a little pat on the back, except me. No one ever points out that my behavior, while not always polite, is useful. No one ever defends me, although I defend the picked on. Meanwhile, while I defend that person, that person defends the picker! The third person, stirring the pot, never gets called on anything.

That’s a pretty big nutshell, huh? Here’s the thing, in a smaller nutshell. No one stands up for me. Not even me. Not that that would help matters. I’m pretty sure if I stood up for myself in this situation, I would just look worse. It isn’t like the person has asked me to speak up for them. I know I would be better off if I kept my mouth shut (like I said, that isn’t new for me).

That does not change the fact that I feel quite alone whenever this happens, there I am, waving in the breeze, hung out on the line, an easy target. I’m already lonely, you know? I don’t really need the beat down on top of that to remind me that no one is on my side.

Of course I didn’t come here to make friends. I knew I was probably only going to be here a year. But the part that gets me is that while we aren’t friends, I feel like I try to treat people as if we were. I try to be kind and supportive. And people are totally ok with that, right? As long as they don’t have to do anything for me in return.

I know I have to make it through the rest of the year and probably none of this is going to change. After all, I’ve been lonely a long time, right? What’s four more months?

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