Back to Basics

Hello again and happy Friday! I am so excited to finally get back to you since microbiology is now done! Let the celebrating begin!

Bancroft cocktail

I don’t know about you, but with the snow, cold, and shorter days, my body has not been acting like itself. I was just about recovered from my holiday metabolic whiplash, when the Super Bowl and my birthday came along, and I was happy to have an excuse to indulge again. Ever since then I feel like I’ve been on one bad roller-coaster of cravings and increased appetite. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the incredibly cold temps, but I’m sure a part also has to do with my higher than usual sugar intake.

Chilly with text

I’m so sick of it that I decided to go back to basics to reboot my system a bit. Nothing crazy, just more accountability. For me, that means logging food in MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal logo

The biggest problem I found after a few days of logging my food? Not eating enough at breakfast and at lunch. No wonder I’d be so hungry once I got home! How did that happen? I think I started playing the comparison game (never a good one to play!) as I looked at other peoples’ breakfasts and lunches on other blogs. The thing I failed to remember, though, is many people graze throughout the day. I don’t–I eat only four times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) because I only eat every three to four hours, so each meal needs to have a solid 300+ calories.

Breakfast smoothie calories

The other inkling I had that I my eating was a bit more off? I seem to have a little more jiggle in the middle even though I’m more or less the same weight. Perhaps it’s my body’s ancient response to the cold, thinking I need to hold on to body fat to make it through the winter. Perhaps having a bulk of my calories at the end of the day and being so hungry caused me to overeat. Again, it’s most likely a combination of things.

Paleo oatmeal

Paleo oatmeal to help fill me up!

The other part that’s helpful about using MyFitnessPal is being able to see where my macros are going. I thought that I was eating more protein than I actually was, so increasing my protein will also be a focus for me. Protein always does a fabulous job of filling me up, and add in a good dose of fiber and fat? I’m good to go for hours!

Pollock over arugula

Protein and fat-filled dinner with a good dose of fiber

Another tool up my sleeve? I signed up to rent five fitness tracker through Lumoid. I want to see how many calories a day I’m actually burning so I can get a better idea of how much I should be eating. Depending on the calculations out there for my height, weight, age, and activity level, I should be eating anywhere from 1500-2000 calories. That’s a big difference! The service is also a great way to try out fitness trackers if you’re considering buying one. I’m already not digging wearing a tracker visibly on my wrist, so I don’t think the Jawbone UP is for me.

Jawbone UP

As I’ve always said, it’s not about the weight. It’s about feeling good and I just feel off. Tired, a bit stiff and achy (thanks again partially to the cold I think), weirdo appetite, and a bit softer than I’d like to be. I’m not soft by any means, but you know when you just don’t feel right in your skin? Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to make better. And I know that with a few minor tweaks, I’ll be there.

I’m sure the fact that spring is around the corner will help as well. I always find that once the warmer weather hits, the sun is out more, and I’m able to be outside more, my appetite and energy levels naturally regulates itself. Just having the warm sun shine on my face feels so good!

Questions: Do you have problems with your appetite in the winter? Do you usually stay on track? Do you use any tools to keep yourself on track?


Back on Track

I’m happy to be back on track, at least when it comes to recovering from Metabolic Whiplash (MW) and being back on pace with the Returning to Running program I’m doing to ease back into running while recovering from plantar fasciitis.

First, how I rebounded from MW.

What really spurred me into action the past two weeks was seeing my weight increase by about three pounds. Now, I realize this isn’t a lot, but when you’re petite like me, that ends up being a 3% increase, and in the world of cancer clinical trials that I live in, that’s getting close to a grade 1 weight gain. Not a serious adverse event, but still reportable. 😉

To give you a visual, below is a chart of my weight over the past three months to show you how consistent I usually am. You can see the spike I had last week.

Weight change December 2013

I want to keep it real on this blog, so I’ll going to be completely honest and tell you that I weigh myself twice a week. I would like to stress that I have found that this is what works best for me. Some people get too obsessive if they weigh themselves too often (or at all), or for others it may dictate their mood and feelings of self-worth. So if this doesn’t work for you, please don’t do it! You need to do what works for you!

I always put the most emphasis on how I feel and how my clothes fit, so I’m okay with and know that it’s normal for the numbers on the scale to fluctuate by a few pounds. Keep in mind that your weight can fluctuate based on whether you recently had a lot of salt in the past 12-24 hours (and thus are retaining water) or if you’re dehydrated, to name a few reasons. So it’s just one of the many tools in my toolkit for staying on track health-wise. Plus, I’m a numbers dork, so I love having something I can track and graph!

My out of control hunger and just feeling overall crummy bothered me much more than my weight gain. Seeing the added pounds made it more real and easier for me to get back on track. So after focusing on portion control, especially not going back for a second helping at dinner, and decreasing my sugar intake, as well as getting some solid sleep and continuing to exercise as I planned, I feel like I’m back to myself!

While I don’t care if I’ve lost the extra weight, I’ll be curious to see if the scale shows any difference tomorrow. Who knows—maybe I’ve just put on more muscle and this is my new normal weight? And that would be okay!

I’m also back on track with my Return to Running program. I had a bit of a setback after doing Grace and Gusto last Sunday at home barefoot (though on carpeting and with my foot brace, below). When I admitted my husband that my PF was bothering me again, he totally called me out and said, “You need to be able to walk around the house barefoot for ten minutes before being in bare feet for almost an hour working out!” Sheepish grin. I thought that since it was low impact, I’d be okay.

PF brace side PF brace back PF brace top

(This is the type of brace I have. It didn’t work particularly well for me. My podiatrist gave it to me. If your podiatrist wants to give you one, I’d suggest buying it on your own. You’ll pay a lot less!)

So, I paid the price all last week. Back to arch and heel pain after being on my feet for more than five minutes. Back to wearing my foot brace every night and using KT tape . I continued with my daily stretching and ball massage followed by ice massage while scaling back my workouts and doing low impact when I did work out. As you can see from my week, I had three rest days, two of which were already built in.

Workouts week of 12-8-13

(This is the link the Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD, one my favorite workout DVDs.)

I also had a rest day this past Sunday (unplanned—horrendous back spasm following snow shoveling) and Monday (planned—thank goodness I already had an appointment for acupuncture booked!). Something that I started to do a little differently last week through this week was heating my foot for about five minutes whenever I worked out at home.  Every time I went to physical therapy, they would use a moist heat wrap for ten minutes when I got there to warm up the area before working on it and always ended with ice. The PT’s heat packs looked something like this:

I decided to give the same PT approach a try at home. I’ve had this fabulous heat pad since the early 1990s.

Heat pack

It’s not much to look at (Free Willy anyone?), but it works perfectly. I think my grandmother got it for me at a craft fair. After all these years of having it, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out that it’s only corn inside. I’m sure you could easily make one yourself and even add in some lavender for some nice aromatherapy action! I love using it when I have cramps in my pelvis and back during that time of the month. It works wonders for that. (TMI?)


I just put it in the microwave and set it for 1:30.


Then I just place my foot on it for about five minutes. After that, I make sure to massage my foot a bit as well.

Foot on heat Foot massage PF stretch

Then I’m off to my workout! I still haven’t figured out how to accomplish this when I’m at the gym short of bringing a towel and sticking one foot in the Jacuzzi while I’m all dressed up in workout clothes. I might have the nerve to try it. I’ll let you know!

I still follow my gym workouts with my tennis ball/Foot Rubz and ice massage. For days that I go to the gym, I just try to make sure I do it at some point that night, preferably before, but not too soon before, taking a shower.

My foot was finally feeling better yesterday, so I wanted to trying out Stage II yet again. I used the track, had on KT tape, used my custom inserts and my usual Sauconys. My legs were feeling a bit tight, so I foam rolled my IT bands, hamstrings, and calves before heading to the track. I had a lovely view outside before the sun went down:

Track view

For some reason my MapMyRun RunKeeper app didn’t capture my entire workout. I must have paused it and restarted it at some point. Still the same odd picture:

Track GPS

I really did about 25 minutes. I’m guessing that I did around the same mileage as I did the last time I used the track since it was still Stage II, so I have adjusted my increased mileage tool to reflect that.

RTR done stage II x2

I’ve also updated my Return to Running sheet to show that I have (hopefully) passed Stage II as of yesterday. So far so good today, and if I’m still feeling good on Sunday, I’m going to finally attempt Stage III!

Mileage increase 12-18

Metabolic Whiplash

*Sorry for the late post. I’ve had some issues with migraines lately and looking at a computer screen definitely doesn’t help!

“Metabolic Whiplash” is a humorous term coined by my co-worker for the hard time we seem to have returning to normal eating after indulging a bit too much, usually in reference to the holidays and other special occasions. I don’t know about you, but I am still having a hard time after Thanksgiving. Even though I didn’t indulge too much, the extra sugar over a few days has done a number on me. I find my hunger has increased, as well as my sugar cravings! I completely acknowledge that I am to blame because I have answered many of the hunger cries and sugar cravings, so I keep perpetuating the problem. I plan to get control of that this week (just in time for it to come back around for Christmas!)!

Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers

How do I plan to help get control over this monster?

  1. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep cause changes in brain activity that can lead us to feel hungrier and more intense food cravings.
  2. Continue to eat complex carbohydrates and a high amount of protein while reducing added sugar. I generally try to do this as a rule, but I have definitely been eating more sugar of late, and that could be taking the place of more nutrient-dense food. Sugar can interfere with your appetite, while complex carbs (thanks to fiber) and high protein intake can help quell it.
  3. Continuing to exercise, especially at a higher intensityVigorous exercise dulls your appetite, while moderate exercise stimulates it (this is the reason many runners can gain weight while training for long races, despite their large caloric deficit). Since I tend to get bored easily, I already incorporate a lot of HITT (high intensity interval training) during my weekly workouts.
  4. Reduce stress to the best of my ability. I am not generally one to stress much, but work has been busier lately and the holidays, as fun as they are, can add a certain amount of stress. In addition to increasing your risk of heart disease (yikes!), stress can increase hunger and contribute to belly fat.

Has anyone else been experiencing Metabolic Whiplash? Are you going to try to get control over it soon or just ride it out until the new year?