Tracking Calories

I’m torn on writing this post.

On one had I think it’s crucial to track your caloric intake in order to make adjustments that better align with your goals. On the other hand, I feel if you have any sort of disordered eat, counting calories is actually a hindrance.

What on earth do I mean by that?!

Well, if you truly don’t know how much you’re eating or just how many carbs you’re actually taking in; you might want to track your caloric intake – without making adjustments – for a week or so to determine you’re regular eating pattern. Once you do that, if you cannot find an area where adjustments are needed, bring your results to ME or another Registered Dietitian.  An RD can take a deeper look at your intake and help you make a few adjustments.

Do you need to track caloric intake forever? No, not really. Honestly, once you get the hang of a new Way of Eating and you’re consistence with the weight loss or strength gain you desired, you can stop tracking. Some people might say to continue tracking – even I would have said that if you asked me that a few months ago – but honestly, it doesn’t do much good. I’ve been tracking my intake for 325 days and it’s just stressed me out.

Tracking can actually promote disordered eating. Yes, that’s right. I know you’re wondering how…but let me tell you. Let’s say you want to lose a pound a week and you plug in your information and you eat your recommended amount of calories and lose weight. What if that gets “too easy” and you’re confident you could “do better”? All you have to do is open that app and say you want to lose 2 pounds a week OR adjust your daily requirements to a lower amount of calories. I know because I did that.

So my recommendation is to track for maybe a month or so – probably 4-6 months tops. And then just Let. It. Go! (Unless you’re a completive athlete working with a coach who needs to see your info at all times)

Keto Week 2

Soo….this new lifestyle hasn’t been extremely terrible. It’s a little frustrating finding hidden carbs in things or just giving up things because they are unnecessary. Here’s a recap of my week 2.

Day 8 – Back to work, which means back to routine. Shake, salad and protein for lunch, protein and fat for dinner. I do feel fuller on this diet. I don’t get cravings for random snacks throughout the day either. I batch cooked some chicken for meals the rest of the week. Net Carbs 27gm

Day 9 – Second verse, same as the first. Except we batch cooked some turkey meatloaf so we weren’t eating friggin chicken all week. Net Carbs 29gm

Day 10 – Literally the same as day 9. I’m ok eating the same things throughout the week. Although I did make a little peanut butter and coconut flour treat this evening. TMI for you all, but this week was shark week and I was really nervous about how stress, bloating, and cravings. I did go a little over my carbs today but it was totally worth it to only go over a smidgen rather than over by 100 (I might be regretting those words later) Net Carbs 35gm

Day 11 – Same as day 10 – including the peanut butter. UGH. I did swim this am so at least I burned some of the previous ones off. I haven’t felt much difference in my swim capacity. Well, that’s a lie. With the added CrossFit I am a bit more sore than usual and I can feel that in my swimming.  Net Carbs 34gm

Day 12 – Today is travel day to Baton Rouge for my races! (which is a whole other blog…) Breakfast, lunch and travel snacks were on point. For dinner my evil (just kidding) friends decided we should eat at an Italian restaurant. Literally a huge loaf of delicious smelling cheesy garlic bread sat in front of me. I didn’t partake in it, but I did enjoy a glass of merlot. Net Carbs 27gm

Day 13 – Oh Saturday, first race day. I attempted to do this race without gels or gu’s and I failed. I felt like crap, my legs were heavy. After the race I felt terrible. Showered, went to the expo, ate lunch, booked a massage. Enjoyed massage, came back to the hotel and tried to drink a little decaf coffee – promptly threw up. The rest of the story will be in another post, but let it be known I decided to pull myself out of and potential ketosis I might have been in to have a better half marathon race the next morning. Net Carbs 170gm

Day 14 – Race day again. This time I went with my chews, didn’t need too many of them. Had an eh race due to my left quad. Finished the race, opted for no food at the celebration, back to the hotel, shower, and nap. Felt good enough to drive home around noon. Traffic was terrible so I’m glad I had a shake made. Net Carbs 38gm

Takeaways:

  • I need to work harder to keep my carbs UNDER 30gm/day. I’ve been pretty lax as opposed to strict.
  • I assumed I was in ketosis, but maybe I wasn’t? Not sure why I crashed so hard Saturday am. Especially since I’ve done well with all my other workouts.
  • I like how I feel on this diet. I’m not tired or starving.

 

Going Keto: Week 1

So, the whole point of a nutritional ketogenic diet is to get your body to eventually switch from using glucose as fuel to using fat as fuel. You have a lot of fat stored than glucose so once you make the switch, you have an (almost) endless supply of energy to use for activities. This means less gels, gu’s, whatever you “need” to get you through an endurance event. The goal is to have 30gm of NET carbs or less per day. To calculate your Net carbs you take Total grams of carbs – grams of fiber = net carbs.

For my first week I went with super easy foods – no casseroles where I had to guess carbs or anything like that.

Day 1 – not terrible, day time routine was pretty basic – shake for breakfast, eggs & sausage for mid-morning, decent lunch (protein + salad), and a protein & fat dinner. NET Carb intake: 38gm

Day 2 – Same song and dance. I will say (this is probably TMI but oh well) the protein farts were intense. Not anything painful GI-wise, but run for the hills stinky. The BF was NOT amused. NET Carb intake: 29gm

Day 3 – This diet really isn’t so bad! I’m great with routines and schedules so the planning is easy. Also I’m not as hungry throughout the day so I’m not scanning break rooms for treats. This avocado, cheese, and meat dish was one of my post-workout dinners for the week. NET Carb intake: 37gm

Day 4 – Day time, again too easy. This was my first little test. My dad came into town to help with some house items and we took him out for dinner afterwards. My first eating out adventure! We chose Longhorn’s and as you know, they bring out that delicious honey wheat bread. It smelled delicious and I so wanted a piece, but I passed. We got an appetizer – meat and cheese board – PERFECT!! And I was the weirdo in the restaurant on my phone plugging in the food in MyFitnessPal to see grams of carbs. My dinner was a a Cesar salad to start (dressing on the side, croutons given away to the BF) and steak and broccoli as my main course. NET Carb intake: 32gm

Day 5 – Work hours were easy again. I’m so glad I wasn’t doing this during Christmas when we had sooooo many goodies around the hospital. The BF worked all day so I was on my own for dinner. Another night of meat, cheese, avocado. I did make a side of hot chocolate – but none of that commercial stuff. Hot chocolate was: cocoa powder, heavy cream, almond milk, stevia – 2gm of carbs as opposed to 60gm of sugar in those commercial packages. See?! You CAN have delicious things, you just have to find healthier ways to make them. NET Carb intake: 26gm 

Day 6 – This is the BIG test. My bestie’s 30th birthday party. Luckily by this day I really don’t need to eat frequently. Woke up to coffee in bed brought to me by the BF. I think I ate a half of an avocado around noon? Then we headed to the party. I didn’t intend on drink, but peer pressure and carb allowance gave me 2 glasses of champagne (it was a mimosa bar, but I skipped the sugary OJ). Food was a taco bar, also easy. I opted for groups beef, cheese, guacamole. So many desserts!!! Cookies, cupcakes, and of course, cake. The BF got a tiny slice (and I mean tiny) and I had one bite. I made sure to LOG that one bite as well. NET Carb intake: 28gm

Day 7 – Last day of the first week! We got to sleep in so we enjoyed coffee until around 1030 then I batch cooked some eggs and sausage for the week (and our Sunday morning breakfast). We went grocery shopping to prepare for the upcoming week. And grabbed a late lunch while we were out – Salad, steak, and broccoli again 😀 We also ran later that afternoon and I didn’t feel fatigued during the run at all. Pretty sure I ate peanut butter for dinner… NET Carb intake: 26gm

Takeaways

  • I had to change up my shakeology concoctions. I went down to half a scoop due to the carb count. I also added heavy cream to my almond milk to get more calories and fat intake in the am.
  • I did have a headache around day 2/3, but I needed to increase my salt intake. Eating super basic and clean means you need to substitute salt into your diet – Thanks BASE!
  • I don’t feel like I bonked in any of my workouts during the week. I wasn’t lacking energy and my brain wasn’t foggy.
  • I wasn’t all that tempted around sugary foods

Can’t wait to keep up this awesome journey!!!

Healthy Eating (read Complaining)

Can we just talk about healthy eating for a minute? I dislike it. I really do. It has been such a chore to try and eat more veggies, more dark green leafies, more anything that doesn’t fall into the pastry category. I just despise it – right now.
I know that one day I will like it and I will embrace it. But I’m literally the kid that will sit at the dinner table all night because I don’t want to eat the crappy vegetables on my plate. I’ve made it a point to shove my veggies down first to get them out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of my meal. If I never ate another green thing in my life, I wouldn’t cry about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I know vegetables are good for me. I know they are nutrient dense and full of awesome things for my body; doesn’t mean I have to like them. The best thing that ever happened to me was finding Shakeology. And I fought that kicking and screaming.
As a dietitian, we always tell our clients – eat your nutrients when you can. We might be shoving donuts into our pie hole as we say it, but you’re supposed to do what we say not what we do 😉
Anywho, I was reluctant to try Shakeology. There’s no way some “over-priced” shake was going to help me. I fully believed it was all just pomp and circumstance. I tried it; vanilla at first. You try the vanilla flavor because you believe you can add sooooo many other things to it if you don’t like it to make it palatable. I liked it. I added PB2 and a banana to it. I added it to pancake to make my regular breakfasts nutrient dense.
I. Was. Hooked.
I’ve consumed Shakeology for over a year now and I can honestly say that I feel better with it. I have more focus. I don’t crave things like I used to when my diet was less green. Now I know if just so happen to not eat a salad for lunch, I got vitamins and minerals from my Shakeology.
Shakeology + meal prep is a win/win combo. Now if only I enjoyed meal prepping….
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Meal Prep – Part 2

So. Last week was not terrible. I followed my meal plan, ate what felt like a ton of food each day, and didn’t cheat. Technically. At one point – Wednesday I believe – I got a massive headache. Now mind you I took my sugar intake from 90-low 100’s down to ~50gm or less. My brain got ANGRY. So I added a few pieced of dried pineapple or 2 dates to my afternoon snack of almonds. I found that it makes my head happy and my belly gets a little sweet treat. It also cuts any cravings I have for something overly sweet.

IMG_7757So I stuck to my meals! On Wednesday I did eat baked chicken and sweet potato casserole from the cafeteria. A bit of a treat, but it didn’t seem to damage progress too much.

IMG_7773I also got healthy sushi without rice or sauce – insert surprised face here.

I lost a decent amount of weight this first week – 3.2lbs. Mostly water that I was retaining due to a higher carb diet.

We also cooked a healthy dinner – some tuna steaks that we made into tacos with zucchini and salad. Ended up being way too much food for me so I had some leftovers for the next day. IMG_7741

Week 2 has been going strong. I prepped most of this week’s meals Sunday evening. Danny got a friend to smoke 4 chickens for us so we have plenty of that. I’ve got chicken with sauced veggies and sweet potato and I’ve got chicken with quinoa and sauced veggies. Danny has some chicken breast with quinoa and carrots.

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Let’s addressed the sauced veggies – because I know you’re over there judging me. Danny and I discussed this in the store the other day. We don’t want to be miserable eating. So if the sauce adds a few extra sugars or calories, it’s worth it to not be hating our lives. Now if we get to the point where we need to buckle down harder – the sauce will go. But for now, it will stay. But you know the best part about this – It’s OKAY. Yes you read that right, it’s ok. We aren’t trying to compete in fitness shows. We’re just trying to trim down our fluffiness. It’s a process and we’re aiming for progress NOT perfection.

IMG_7812We even went out to eat Sunday night at a place that we really could have done some damage to our diets, but we ordered Ahi Poke for an appetizer and salads.

To wrap up my report:

  1. Meal planning works!! Not just for knowing what you’re going to eat but also to keep you on track with portion control
  2. It’s not all that terrible. Small adjustments over time to get you eased into it
  3. You will see results!!!
  4. Excited to see what the new few weeks hold

Meal Prep!

So, let me be honest for a minute.

  1. I’m not too keen on eating healthy. I’m not fond of many veggies. I really love carbs and sweets. Yeah.
  2. I’m not really much of the cooking type. So meal planning is a struggle for me. I like simple recipes with barely any ingredients. Don’t ask me to whip out a mortar and pestle (Hello Fresh I’m talking to YOU!). I just want to cook food in 30 minutes or less – preferable less.

With that out of the way….

…I have become quite fluffy. Shut your mouth if you have anything to say about this. I am unhappy with my fluffiness whether you think I look amazing or not. I am ALWAYS striving for progress.

So I decided to finally pay attention to diet. And by that, I mean follow a diet pretty similar to bikini competitors. On that note, Sunday I went grocery shopping.

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As you can see there are minimal carbs unless they are veggies or crappy white corn tortillas (bleh). And there are no fruits. I get like one fruit a day. Goodbye dried pineapple I so love. It’s literally meat, veggies, healthy fats. No dairy, minimal fruit, no processed grains. Lots of water. Don’t even mention a Twix! Blasphemy.

IMG_7728For my first magic act…I sautéed some zucchini to use for our dinners. I made some couscous (which literally takes less than 10 minutes; stupid easy). I pan-fried? some tofu. I question that because I sprayed the pan with coconut oil, threw in the slices, flipped occasionally. Then I plated it and topped it with salsa. On top of the couscous, there are either saucy brussels sprouts or saucy lima beans. Before you go judging my saucy-ness, I’m not about to throw out semi healthy food because it has sauce and my veggies are supposed to be naked. It’s a PROCESS people. So the saucy veggies went in so they could make space in my freezer for the boring things.

IMG_7729While I was plating all that mess. I had sweet potatoes and chicken thighs baking in the oven. So…I took chicken thighs (yes, thighs…I swear if you keep harping on my choices) and sprayed them with coconut oil and cracked lemon pepper on top of them. Squeezed all those thighs into a baking dish and threw it into the oven. Martha Stewart I am not (which is good because I look terrible in orange).

Baked sweet potatoes – poke holes with fork everywhere, wrap in aluminum foil, throw in oven, remove when fork tender. It’s not rocket science.

 

IMG_7730Lastly, all of that plated into my lovely meal prepping containers. And I added some devil broccoli, covered in cheese because that’s the best way for broccoli to be served so hush your mouth. And I divided up the chicken to get about a good 4-5oz serving per container. Will I ever switch to chicken boobs? Probably not, I hate those more than green veggies. So I might not reach 10% body fat, that’s probably for the best as I’m sure I would be pretty hangry.

 

If you are looking for these sweet-ass meal prep containers, find them here! They are from Fitpacker and they are awesome. Microwavable, dish washer safe. Pure awesome. And they have the divider so if you’re like me and don’t like things touching, this is the way to go!

So. I got all my meals prepped for most of the week. I’m supposed to drink a gallon of water and eat about 6 times a day – 7 if you count the evening post-workout protein shake. It hasn’t been terrible. My mid morning snack for this week is greek yogurt – only because again I have it and I need to get rid of it and I’m not throwing perfectly edible food away. Plus it’s semi-healthy.

IMG_7732Here’s what my fridge looks like with all my meals prepped! Everything is labeled so Danny doesn’t mistakenly attempt to eat my tofu and waste it. It’s kinda dark but you can see all my lovely containers. Also that chicken that’s still wrapped up? Chicken boobs for Danny to grill since he has no problem eating those horrid things.

 

Day 1 went well. I ate all my food – feels like a TON of food. I think this might not be so terrible. Ask me again once I’m eating non-saucy veggies and I’m on my umpteenth million salad.

 

The Biggest Loser

Oh the controversy! The Biggest Loser Winner Rachel standing at roughly 5’4″ and reducing her weight from 260lbs to a low 105lbs – a difference of roughly 59%. Seriously the Biggest Loser scale had TWO digit numbers rolling around before landing on 105.

In case you missed it, here’s her reveal:

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and here’s he final weigh-in.

The Biggest Loser - Season 15

Before I go too far, let me say that I love watching Biggest Loser…mainly because I like watching people workout until they puke or fall off a treadmill. This is probably why I don’t coach a whole hell of a lot of people. *shrug. But as a health and wellness professional, I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I’m watching a show that is encouraging people to lose half if not more than half of their body weight in less than a year’s time. WTF. A grown ass man lost 222lbs – he lost another grown ass man!! – and he didn’t win. This is extreme. Marinate on those thoughts for a minute.

Back to the rant. These contestants are completely supervised ON THE RANCH. There is an entire team of healthcare professionals monitoring every nerdy thing you could monitor about these contestants. It’s easy to be healthy when your food is bought and stocked for you and you’re told where to be/when to be there/what to do 24/7. Society as a whole has a sheep mentality – get over it, you know it’s true – and will do as their guided to do 99% of the time. So these contestants get to go home and be their own people for a couple of months before coming back for the live finale.

Most people go home excited because they get to see family and friends and maybe they have a vacay for a few days. Then they settle back to family to take care of, going back to a job or finding a new one since they were MIA for a few months, and trying to incorporate their new healthy lifestyle into their old family ways. There is a lot of success, we see that in the other contestants. Sure they might only lose 80lbs, but they have a job and kids and I guarantee you their mindset is that of a completely different person’s than when they first came on the ranch. And they still lost 80lbs!!!

So now think about this. What would a young, twenty-something, former competitive athlete go home to do?

Exactly what Rachel did. Turn the competitor switch on to BEAST MODE and go HAM. If you don’t have shit else to do and there’s $250,000 on the line, what would you do? If you know the rules of the game are lose the highest percentage of weight, how far would you go? If you knew no one is going to check your food record, no one is going to look at your macro intake, no one is going to look at the hours you spent in the gym – just pounds lost.

As a competitive athlete, I know this song. Mission: Win. Path: Any way possible. Outcome: Victory. Repeat as necessary.

It’s a scary thought to look at Rachel and be 98% sure you know what she did to get there, because it’s exactly what you would have done. Do I think she wants to be that small up top? As a swimmer – I can call myself that now, right? – I think not. Those bony arms definitely aren’t pulling her through any pools. Do I think she’ll gain 10-15lbs in the next month or so? Absolutely! After all, mission accomplished! She’s walking away with $250,000, the world dropped their jaws for a bit and started slinging words. Maybe she did it to spite us all and show us that we shouldn’t focus solely on pounds lost, that maybe we should actually focus on %BF – shocker!

Do I think she has an eating disorder? Ehhh…maybe the beginnings of one. At first glance, I thought “hell to the yes!” But then thinking about myself and my competitive nature, I think she did what it took to win. I’ll definitely be following this story to see how it unravels though. Ah, reality tv…

ENERGYbits

I want to share some awesomeness with you all! I recently discovered ENERGYbits (actually, I think they discovered me on twitter but who’s keeping track). These are amazing little chewable (not recommended unless you like really green tasting things), swallowable tabs that provide super clean fuel for you!

They are all natural 100% spirulina algae.

Whhaaa, did she just say algae? I sure did! These are NON-GMO(!!) natural, clean, raw energy without additives or flavorings or dyes. Can’t go wrong here…hello!!

The greatest thing about these bits is that they’re easy. My biggest issue running OCRs is that I cannot and do not want to sit and chew any kind of protein bar. Being on a Beast course for 4-5 hours, I need carbs AND protein. I was finishing these races completely depleted of energy. I’ve been using these for training runs and swims and I feel A-mazing! I can’t wait to use them in Tampa next month!

ENERGYbits

Ready to experience a new energy boost? Head over to ENERGYbits and use the code MudRunnerChick to save 25% on your bits today!

I’m proud to be an ambassador and the first OCR racer #PoweredByBits!!

Nut Butter

We all know the awesomeness that is protein, but are we really packing enough into our meals? I’m usually not, so I decided to add nut butter to a good bit of my meals. I chose almond butter and I was buying jars by the caseload and then I decided “I can do this” and decided to start making it myself. It’s a super easy process that you can do right at home!

Step 1: Pour 3 cups of almonds (I used raw, unsalted) into food processor and blend! Almonds will being to look like almond meal.almond butter 1

 Step 2: Continue to blend the meal, you might have to stop to scrap the meal creeping up the walls back down.

Almond Butter 2

 

Step 3: Eventually the meal will start to form a ball that travels around the processor and sometimes gets stuck. Be prepared to battle through it, or you can break the ball apart and continue blending.Almond Butter 2

Step 4: Once the ball breaks up, you might think that you’re done. Let it blend a few minutes more until it’s nice a creamy.Almond butter 3

Almond butter 4Step 5: Once your butter is complete you can put it into the container of your choice. I use the glass almond butter jars I used to purchase (no need to buy anything fancy, am I right?!) The butter tends to be a little warm from all the processing, so I stick the filled jars – lids off – in the fridge for a few minutes to cool before popping the lids on. You can store you butter in the fridge. I tend to keep mine on the counter as I typically go through a jar a week and I’m not dead yet.Almond butter 5

You can follow these steps for any other nut of your choice. Since the beginning of my homemade nut butters I’ve made almond, almond/cashew, and cashew. All super delish, super healthy, and super good for you!

Here’s my cashew butter. Cashew Butter

Flavored Waters

As I teach nutrition classes and new groups of runners about proper hydration and eliminating empty calories from sugar sweetened beverages. Then the room gets silent and there might be some stares as they marinate on the new information. Then the barrage of questions comes “I drink this, is it ok?” “what about this?” “how much of this is too much?” and then the inevitable “I cannot stand water, what can I drink instead?”

Excellent question, except there are a lot of things you can drink, you can probably drink a 5th of vodka but that’s not going to be beneficial in most arenas. So what should we be drinking?

Well, there’s water for one. I don’t buy the fancy bottled water ever. Even when I’m traveling, I carry a refillable aluminum bottle through airports. I grew up in a generation that played outside when we weren’t in school or eating dinner and we turned on the garden hose when we got thirsty. Now that I’m older, I’ve replaced the hose for the faucet and a Brita filter.

Human beings need water, hell we’re 70% water so it kinda more important than food.

“Water is boring” you say. “I hate the taste of water” you say. Excuse me? Water is supposed to be clear and flavorless. Now I understand some tap water is a bit off, per se, but come on! So I scratch my head and scour the internet for a new way for my clients to enjoy their hydration.

A quick google search brings to a wonderland of mason jars filled with water and pretty fruits…and the wheels are spinning.

My first attempt was just lemon water:Lemons
It ended up being a bit like weak lemonade. My method was to cut the ends off one whole lemon and toss those, the rest of the lemon was sliced into thin slices and the seeds were removed. I put a whole lemon in each jar, added some ice and then filled the rest of the jar with filtered water. I allowed the fruit to sit about 36 hours in the jar and then removed it. The now flavored water can be consumed in the following days, you just removed the fruit so it doesn’t get funky.

My next attempt was a lime only. It was WAY too tart, so be aware if you like lime you might not like it THAT much.

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My last attempt that I really enjoy is the lemon, cucumber, mint water.It has a really nice mellow flavor. I used about 6 mint leaves per jar for mine, but you can always adjust.

photo 3    Anyone else try to make their own flavored water? Have any favorites? Any failures? I want to know!