Paying Attention to My Nutrition Is Hard

Now that Jon and I are training for a half marathon and have a few weddings this summer that we’d like to be in better shape for, I’ve been logging meals, water intake, and exercise in My Fitness Pal nearly daily. I’ve used the app on and off for a couple of years now, and I’ve always found it easier to maintain a healthy breakfast and lunch rather than dinners, especially on weekdays as opposed to weekends. (Weekend dinners are basically my downfall for the entire week.) But I’m trying to get better and am making an effort to enter everything I eat, which is very hard. I remind myself that just because I didn’t enter it in MFP doesn’t mean I didn’t eat it. It’s amazing how hard I try to convince myself otherwise.

I noticed after a recent update to MFP that now it tells you a little something about the food you’ve just entered, such as “This food has lots of vitamin C!” or “This food is high in saturated fat.” (I’m looking at you, cappuccino.) This has been really helpful and enlightening, though admittedly also slightly deflating. I hadn’t thought of a cappuccino as high in saturated fat because to me it was just a type of caffeinated beverage slightly more caloric than coffee because of steamed milk. I stand corrected.

Who could resist this awesome cappuccino foam art?! Totally worth the saturated fat, right?
Who could resist this awesome cappuccino foam art! Totally worth the saturated fat, right? Maybe?

So now that I receive these little tidbits when entering my meals, I’ve come to notice something that my family will likely think is glaringly obvious: I eat a lot of sugar. I know I have a sweet tooth (I may have had a Cadbury Creme Egg for breakfast—don’t judge me), but the grams of sugar just keep adding up more than I realized. “Your goal is to stay under 52 grams of sugar” . . . thanks for the memo, My Fitness Pal. It’s to the point that I have started equating myself with the farmer/giant bug alien from Men in Black. I really don’t want to end up with serious health issues down the road, especially when I have family members with Type 2 diabetes.

Luckily I'm not at the point of craving sugar water just yet . . . give me time.
Luckily I’m not at the point of craving sugar water just yet . . . but give me time.

My Fitness Pal would like me to stay under 52 grams of sugar when I don’t exercise, and yesterday I consumed at least 63 grams. The day before, my goal was 66 (we ran for forty minutes, so I got some extra allowance) . . . but I consumed 105 grams. (WHAT?!) The funny thing is that I was still under my total calorie goal for the day by about 50 calories. I am quickly realizing that this whole nutrition thing is more than counting calories and exercising regularly. Just because I run for however many minutes and am under my calorie count for the day does not mean that I should eat that mug of ice cream with hot fudge and sprinkles. If I really want to wisely use those calories I burned from running, I need to do it in a balanced way and instead look at what is lacking in my daily nutrition, such as fiber, iron, or vitamin A. (MFP has made me aware of those deficiencies in my diet, so, at the very least, I am definitely learning!)

I am happy to have this new knowledge, but I suppose I am a little saddened by my lack of awareness of my own nutrition. I try very hard to prepare balanced meals for Jon to take to work, but I’ve never consistently done the same for myself. Case in point: Cadbury Creme Egg breakfast. But for Jon, I try to give him two to three servings of fruit (natural sugars are better than refined sugar!), some carbs (but not too many!), and dairy that his stomach can tolerate (hard/aged cheese or Greek yogurt) for him to eat at breakfast and lunch. Veggies are a part of his lunches usually in the form of raw carrots, celery, or cucumbers or in leftovers from dinner the night before (our dinners are usually very veggie- and legume-heavy). I think that’s pretty good! However, I don’t pay that much attention to my own food. I’ll eat dry cereal, Cheez-Its, chocolate chips (and most other foods starting with the letter C, apparently?) because they’re fast and easy to pack. My mentality was the fewer dishes I have to dirty or carry, the better; my focus was not on nutrition.

Now THIS is breakfast: Cadbury Egg in the middle. Mind = blown.
Now THIS is a ridiculous breakfast: Cadbury Egg in the middle. Mind = blown.

So now I’m trying to *actually* watch what I eat. I thought I had been doing that all along, but I guess I was missing a huge and important piece to an overall healthy, balanced lifestyle. I have also learned that I need to prioritize my own health and make nutritious meals for Jon and myself. I know it’s going to be a tough habit to break, but I want to be healthy in every way, which means cutting down my sugar consumption by a substantial amount and bumping up my intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Stay tuned as we continue our half-marathon training program, because I’ve decided to take this ten-week opportunity to really revamp our lifestyle and make positive, longterm changes. Wish us luck!

Weigh-In Wednesday March 25th: Dat fog tho

Here at 2 Fat Nerds each Wednesday is a Weigh-In day, where all of the data from the previous week is collected, displayed, and analyzed. If anyone is interested in taking part in weekly tracking, leave a comment!

Weight Loss

team-weight

Anti-Fat Points

Anti-fat points (AFP) is a system designed to give some sort of value to each and every workout, regardless of type. It is based on metabolic-equivalent values out of the compendium of physical activities. Submit a workout, get AFP. Each week we post the totals for each person for the week. In addition, you may see the monthly AFP leader-board on the right-hand sidebar. This is meant to be a fun way to encourage competition to see who can earn the most points!

Weekly Points

afp

The threshold is back to 100 AFP, Green is over and Red is under. Try to get 100 AFP and turn your bar green!

The Chain-Game

To put more emphasis on current progress and current streaks, I am now only displaying the current active streak for each player. It is calculated the same as before, minimum three days a week. Each consecutive week you gain a link.

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Hitting Your Stride Takes Time

I’ve been talking with a bunch of people at work about running recently, some of who were pretty active last spring and summer. We had a good group that would go out in the late afternoon for a nice group run, which was both an awesome way to build synergy with the lab personnel, as well as get an extra run in during the day.

Typically there is a couple of people in the lab that don’t necessarily enjoy running. They can’t fathom that I like going out on long runs as a way to de-stress and think. For them the struggle is real. Every mile is painful. While I don’t disagree that running is a brutal mistress, you learn to love it.

Yesterdays 4 miler
Yesterdays 4 miler

I tried to explain to the nay-sayers that the first few miles of every run really just suck. Your body isn’t warmed up, you are fighting every step and you feel like you should be doing better out the door. It takes some time to really hit your stride, if you are anything like me. And I’m talking like a good three miles before I feel comfortable. Yesterday’s run was no exception to this. I am horribly out of shape compared to where I want to be, and the first three miles SUCKED. But, with Ellie leading the charge, by mile 3 to 4, we hit our collective stride and hit our fastest mile of the run.

It takes time to get into the rhythm, and for your body to realize that it’s no longer time for rest and relaxation. It takes time to build up the endurance to hit that next level. I’m excited to get back there soon, because I’ll tell you what, getting through the first few miles is the worst.

The Anatomy of A Good Workout Playlist: Flexibility

We’ve talked about music as a source of inspiration during workouts many times on this blog over the past few years, and yet I still find myself constantly overhauling my track lineup.

The individualistic nature of music makes it hard to make recommendations. While I perform best to Britney Spears – Work B**ch, others might not. How people don’t run PR’s to that song every time it plays is beyond me. But whatever.

I’ve come to the realization that a set playlist is not the solution. I think music has to be more organic. It has to match your mood, your goals, your attitude. If I’ve learned nothing from this whole blog, all runs are NOT created equal, so one playlist to rule them all could never work.

The key is flexibility. 

Sometimes Ke$ha and Meghan Trainor are going to be the solution. If you are crazy like my Dad, some Italian music is his goto. Whatever inspires you, don’t be afraid to change it up or go without it. Be flexible. I think you will see that it will make music all the more powerful when you need it most.

Weigh-In Wednesday March 18th: Virtual Enviornment

Here at 2 Fat Nerds each Wednesday is a Weigh-In day, where all of the data from the previous week is collected, displayed, and analyzed. If anyone is interested in taking part in weekly tracking, leave a comment!

Weight Loss

team-weight

Anti-Fat Points

Anti-fat points (AFP) is a system designed to give some sort of value to each and every workout, regardless of type. It is based on metabolic-equivalent values out of the compendium of physical activities. Submit a workout, get AFP. Each week we post the totals for each person for the week. In addition, you may see the monthly AFP leader-board on the right-hand sidebar. This is meant to be a fun way to encourage competition to see who can earn the most points!

Weekly Points

afp

The threshold is back to 100 AFP, Green is over and Red is under. Try to get 100 AFP and turn your bar green!

The Chain-Game

To put more emphasis on current progress and current streaks, I am now only displaying the current active streak for each player. It is calculated the same as before, minimum three days a week. Each consecutive week you gain a link.

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Race Schedule 2015!

Last Year I posted a schedule for all races that our members are taking part in, for quick reference and to spur any interest in running as a group!

If you have a race and are looking for more people to join in on the fun, leave a comment and I will add it to the list!

Here are our entries so far:

April

May

June

July

August

  • August TBD – Cape Cod Invitational Triathlon

September

October

Honestly, I want to see you be brave.

As some of you may have noticed from the scrolling list of public workouts, I’ve been going to yoga classes once or twice a week since the beginning of the year. Yoga has always been something I’ve really wanted to like, but always found myself in classes that were either too challenging or full of people that were far too good at yoga to make a beginning comfortable. I found a studio near my house that offers a series of Gentle classes. They are focused more on breathing techniques, restorative poses, and gentle strength building. Beginners are encouraged, and even seasoned yogis sometimes need a break. This class has been absolutely perfect for me, as one who is not at all strong, cannot do a push up, and has trouble changing poses quickly (did someone say blood-rush to the head?). But all in all, the class has been amazing, and just last week I did my first-ever successful lady push up. So I am definitely getting stronger, and the flexibility practice has treated my running-abused hips very well.

In a class last week, or maybe the week before, the instructor asked us to devote our practice that day to the idea of “radical acceptance.” She asked us to, for an hour, focus on loving ourselves exactly as we are, without aim to change anything. This concept is completely foreign to me. I am a goal-oriented, seeker of continuous improvement type, who although is not completely dissatisfied with her appearance and current ability, I am definitely not ready to call it quits and accept every part of me as i am. But, for that hour of downward dogs and low lunges, that is what I focused on.

It’s really important to love yourself, at whatever stage you are in. You can’t be constantly focused on who you are going to be, because the only person who matters is who you are right now. I think meditation is really important, and that is one of the biggest reasons I have enjoyed yoga. It is giving me an opportunity to reflect on who I am, what I am doing, and is helping me find ways to be happy with whoever and whatever that is. But to radically accept what you are now, is to ignore goals. That is not my prerogative here. My fitness goals, and my health-oriented improvement plan only works if I don’t radically accept where I am now, right?

Are accepting where you are and setting improvement goals mutually exclusive? Will I always be a little dissatisfied with my current ability? I don’t have all the answers, but this is something that has been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d share. Maybe it doesn’t work for an all-the-time mantra, but if you can take an hour out of your day to radically accept who you are and everything about your life, I think you are on the right track to feeling happier and healthier.