The Fit Life, LLC

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 3 - Next to the last day of the detox phase

Weigh-in: 135.6
+2 lbs from yesterday

Oh the horror!!! Up two pounds this morning. And I behaved! I even resisted cake that was just a few feet away--certainly you get extra points for that? Oh well, I'm still 3.3 down from the original weigh-in. I ate very carefully today. No restaurant food...everything completely by the book (of course, I feel like I did that yesterday too). We'll see what happens.

Headaches are gone. I still get an afternoon sugar craving--just not sure that will go away anytime soon. I just have to ignore it. Ironically, I got a $50 Starbuck's gift card in the mail today. I will be using it for decaf lattes once dairy gets added back in next week! Mornings without coffee are getting much easier. I still want it, but I don't feel like I can't function without. I'm sure I'll still make decaf because I really enjoy the taste.

Tomorrow will be my last day for daily blogs, then I'll just do a quick, weekly check-in. It's time to blog about things other than food!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Harcombe Diet - Day 3 of Detox

Day three weigh-in: 133.6 (.2 down from yesterday)

Keeping it short today. Day three went pretty well. I had lunch plans that I made before deciding to do this diet, so I kept them. It was a Mexican restaurant so I thought I might be in trouble. But I did well! I had shrimp fajitas and just ate the peppers, onions and shrimps. I didn't touch the chips and salsa--now that's restraint.

I had my normal 3pm craving for something sweet (right as they brought a big cake into the office), but I resisted and stuck to water.

My run was still terrible tonight. No energy! But when I looked back at what I ate, I realized I had almost no carbs, so I'm guessing that contributed to low energy. I guess I need my brown rice at lunch instead of dinner.

Just two tenths of a pound lost this time. That's okay--I didn't expect to lose another five. If I took off .2 a day that would be just fine!

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Harcombe Diet - Day 2 of Phase I: Detoxing

Day one weigh in: 138.9
Day two weigh in: 133.8
What I feel is my healthy weight: 110 - 115

Day two! Wow...all I can say is I must have been retaining a ton of water--a 5.1 pound weight loss in 24 hours!!. While that's extremely encouraging, I don't expect to see results like all five days.

Day two went much better than day one. I didn't even bother with the decaf coffee. Instead I took advantage of the extra time and slept in 20 extra minutes! I felt pretty alert all day. I made sure I brought more food to work so I wouldn't get hungry. I had a luncheon to attend today, so that was a challenge. I had to surpass a lot of cheese and brownies--and settle for just a simple salad with a tiny spoon of dressing (I know it had sugar in it, and I didn't want to ruin my whole detox).

I did start to get a mild headache around 3pm--which is typically the time of day I go in search of chocolate or an afternoon cup of coffee. I'm drinking a lot of herbal tea. I just like having warm liquid to carry around in my mug!

I did manage a workout this evening (unlike last night when I vegged on the couch all evening with a headache). Mark and I did the fitness trail at a local park. It's a mile trail with about 12 strength training stations. I got through it but felt tired without any caffeine in my system. I'm certainly hoping that improves as I get use to being free of caffeine. I'm running a 5k on Saturday, so maybe that will go a little better. At least I got out there and burned some calories--worked some muscles.

I'm still looking forward to adding dairy back in on Saturday. A decaf latte (sugarless, of course) sure sounds good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Harcombe Diet - Day 1 of Detox

Official Weigh-In: 138.9
What I'd like to weigh: 110-115

Today was the first day of Phase I of the Harcombe Diet--the first of five days of detoxing from harmful gunk in my body. Not having morning coffee was rough. In fact I made a little pot of good decaf (French Roast) because I thought at least the ritual of making coffee, smelling it, wrapping my hands around the warm mug would help. But no dairy the first five days--and I need cream in my coffee. I tried sipping black decaf, but it was not satisfying!

By the time I got to work I was sleepy, but no headaches or anything. Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon (a lot of cinnamon because oatmeal has very little taste without brown sugar, milk...or at least a few raisins)! It was tasteless, but filled me up.

Around 11am the headache came on. I was surprised it took so long. I took some Ibuprofen, which helped a little. Lunch was some very good, all natural vegetable soup Mark and I made last night, along with a salad. I made yogurt dressing for it (yogurt is the only dairy permitted during the 5-day detox period).

Lunch was filling and helped the headache, but I had incredible sugar cravings afterward. The cravings were so bad I almost caved on day one. But I kept reminding myself how much I want this to work. Next week I can have fruit again and that will help with the sweet cravings. Instead of going for a chocolate bar, I went for a walk. The weather was nice, and it perked me up a bit.

The day went along okay until around 3pm, then the headache came back with a vengeance. It got so bad I started feeling nauseous. I gave up and left work at 4:40. I stopped at the little local grocery store to stock up on legal snacks so I wouldn't get so hungry tomorrow. What I was really craving was meat--which is odd since I don't eat meat (except fish). I wanted some deli turkey to munch on at work to keep me satisfied. Unfortunately, while exploring my turkey choices I discovered that all the deli meat--even the stuff behind the meat counter--has processed crap in it. Mala dextrose, corn syrup, etc. So deli turkey wasn't an option.

Desperate for something in my stomach because I really felt like I was going to be sick, I bought a rotisserie chicken (again, very strange purchase for me...haven't had chicken in awhile now). When I got home I devoured half of it. It made my stomach feel better.

It's weird because this diet is not a calorie-restrictive diet. You're suppose to feed your body when it's hungry. I just didn't bring enough food to work to do that. And I'm not sure what was with the meat craving. I typically find meat fairly repulsive.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. She warns that the first three days are rough. My head is still throbbing. I sure hope it's all worth it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Harcombe Diet - The Preamble

Those who know me well, know I'm a bit obsessed with eating healthy. Many also know that
despite my best efforts at eating well and exercising regularly, I've been struggling with weight gain for the last two years. At the moment I'm about 25 pounds over what I consider my ideal, healthy weight. Deep down, I know that I'm still an active, healthy individual. I run, bike, hike, lift. But all the activity just makes the extra weight even more frustrating for me.

Prior to this struggle with weight, I was not a proponent of any diet. I fully believed if you lived a healthy lifestyle (wholesome food and exercise), dieting (which I'll define as restricting calories or lessening your food intake) was unnecessary. But with my weight gain came desperation. In the past year I have tried a number of ploys to drop the weight. In addition to increasing my exercise--both in frequency and intensity--I have also tried the Atkins Diet (high fat/low carb), the South Beach Diet (low-fat/low carb), going low-fat, and going vegan.

Through each I initially saw a small weight loss. But for varying reasons (and I won't go through all of them now or this will be a very long blog) they didn't work--and they didn't fit in with my core lifestyle beliefs.

The other day Mark heard a radio interview with
Zoƫ Harcombe about The Harcombe Diet. He thought it sounded right up my alley and steered me toward her website. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. In fact I bought her book as an e-book so I could read it right away.

I won't be able to fully explain her 360-page book on here, but I do want to explain the main points. First and foremost (the reason why Mark brought her to my attention) is that she believes in eating pure, wholesome foods: fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, whole grains. Basically, food in its natural form. I have been striving to eat this way for quite some time. But let's face it--nobody is perfect. Harcombe also believes that the processed foods and sugars--through spiked insulin levels--have led most people to have one or all of the following conditions which hinder weight loss and encourage gain: Candida (yeast imbalance), food intolerance and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Her "diet" is not so much a diet as a change in lifestyle--getting back to nature but with some extra key steps. It happens in three Phases. Phase I is the most stringent and lasts five days (long enough to work, short enough to stick to it). It's purpose is to detox the body--bringing to light and getting rid of the three conditions mentioned above. Phase II is a bit less restrictive, but focuses on eating pure and healthy. Finally, Phase III allows you to stray a bit from purity, but for the most part maintain a pure way of life. In other words, the author realizes that never having a piece of cake again as long as you live is asking a lot. So you do the best you can, but allow for real life. Nowhere in the plan do you restrict your calories. You feed your body when it's hungry. You do not restrict carbohydrates, but you do separate the fats from the carbohydrates. I will get into that more as I enter Phase II. I'm really not doing her book justice in a few short paragraphs, so I encourage you to go to her website--even read her book to get a better understanding.

As I mentioned before, we eat fairly pure already.I'm actually getting ready to start a certification program in holistic nutrition. So sticking to this way of life is not a far stretch for us. However, I have a few vices that I feel are fueling my weight struggle and causing the conditions she mentions. And I believe, for the most part, I will need to let these go. The biggest vice of them all for me is caffeinated coffee. Yes, that's right, I'm going to try to give up caffeine. Caffeine causes your insulin levels to do all kinds of wacky things. And I drink a lot of strong coffee on a daily basis. In fact, other than days here and there when I've been sick, I probably have not gone a day without a cup of coffee in close to 20 years. The second vice is sugar. My sugar addiction certainly isn't as extreme as my coffee addiction, but it's there. I put a half teaspoon of sugar (or honey) in my coffee every day. I put brown sugar in my oatmeal. Cereals (even what appears to be healthy granola) have sugar. Cans of tomato sauce have sugar. And yes, chocolate has sugar--and I love chocolate. It's everywhere.

Are you still with me so far? Good.

Starting tomorrow I will embark on Phase I of this plan--the detox plan. Mark is doing it with me. He's not a coffee addict, but the man drinks a tremendous amount of sugary orange juice every day. For Phase I we can have all the meat (which for us will be fish because that's the only meat we're eating these days), eggs and vegetables (except for the high carb colorful ones--carrots, corn, eggplant) we want. We can have decaf tea or coffee and water to drink. For five days no dairy, wheat, wine. She does offer soy as an option for vegetarians, but notes that some people have an intolerance for soy. Since I have been eating a ton of soy lately, I'm going to cut it out as well.

Harcombe openly admits that the first five days are tough. Your body will be craving it's addictions like crazy. She even warns you may feel flu-like as your body rids itself of all the nasty things. I'm already nervous about a life without caffeinated coffee. (Luckily, in Phase II you can add red wines back in in moderation. I'm not sure I could deal with losing both wine and coffee). For just the first five days--no dairy or fruit. It can be added back in during Phase II.

Again, you can learn more about the diet by visiting her website. The reason I'm on here typing away today is to say that I'm going to blog about my progress in this lifestyle change. For the first five days, I will blog everyday about how I feel (mentally and physically) without coffee and sugar in my diet. I will weigh-in tomorrow morning (and to my horror, share that weigh in with you) and then again after the five days...and after that on a weekly basis. I will let you know if I cheat (which will help me be accountable for my actions).

So stay tuned! And let me just say upfront to any co-workers reading this, I apologize ahead of time for any crankiness resulting from my caffeine/sugar withdrawal. It's going to be a tough week.

For now, I'm going to sit here an enjoy my last cup of good, strong coffee--and later, a glass of wine!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Letting go of time

For about 10 years now I've considered myself "a runner." Not necessarily a great runner, but I considered myself a runner nonetheless. I feel I've earned the title. I've completed eight marathons, countless shorter races, been stuck in a walking cast with a stress fracture, and weathered a foot surgery that required walking with a cane for about a month (and left the right side of my foot with no feeling). I paid my dues.

It (the running) all started when I was about 30 years old and needed to drop the weight I put on in grad school and in my sedentary job. I was living in the D.C. area and wanted to sign up for a bootcamp program that was popular, but it was just too expensive. Then I came across an ad for a beginning women's running class offered by the Washington Runhers. It only cost about $20. Sold!

I had always admired the people I saw running down the street. I wanted to be like them. I'd put on my exercise clothes, go out the front door and run down the sidewalk. By the end of the block I would be huffing and puffing so much that I stopped and walked back. It never dawned on me that there was a right way to run--and I definitely wasn't doing it right.

The class taught you how to SLOWLY build up your running endurance, along with proper form and attire. At the end you graduated by running a 5k. After the 5k I was hooked. I trained for a 10-miler and then my first marathon.

Running and I have always had our ups and downs. Injuries have put me out for awhile and it felt like starting from scratch when I got back in. But my constant struggle in running has always been my pace. Simply stated, I am not fast, yet I have always refused to accept that. Every race must have a better time than the one before! Must! But at my peak (my fitness peak, my ideal weight, my running peak), I was a 9:15 mile. Folks, a 9:15 mile will never win a race.

Then came the foot surgery. It took months after the surgery just to learn to walk normal again (with no feeling on one side of my foot, I had a terrible limp until I learned to adjust). And once I started running again, I just never got back to that 9:15 mile. I tried--repeatedly. I'd run sprints, focus on pace instead of distance for awhile, try to drop weight. But I never got back to being under a ten-minute mile.

Even during the past year I gave it another whirl. I wanted to at least be a "middle of the pack" runner again. Plus, I've put on some weight with my current desk job. So for about eight months I ran sprints. All winter on the treadmill I focused on the sprints. Guess what the result was? I learned to dread running. I didn't drop a single pound. I maybe took 30 seconds off my already slow mile and I hated every minute of it. I always felt good after the workout, but never during.

About a month ago we had a really pretty early Spring day. I came home from work and decided I wanted to go for a run outside--the first outdoor run of the season. I put my favorite running songs on and headed out the door. It was so nice outside that I just decided I would run slow and enjoy the weather.

You know what? I enjoyed my run. I enjoyed running for the first time in a long time. And when I thought back to the days before I packed on this extra 25 lbs of chunk, it was when I was running distance and didn't care about my pace. I'd just go out on a Saturday and run for hours.

So I made a decision--I'm letting go of time. I'm going to enjoy running again. I'm going to enjoy taking my time as I run on trails in the park. I'm going to smile at the dogs and cats I pass when running through the neighborhood. Sometimes it's hard to let go. Someone will sprint by you (maybe someone who looks like they are in worse shape than you) and that old competitive spirit creeps back in--you pick up the pace--try to catch them. But then the fun starts to disappear again.

This morning I ran a 5k sponsored by the Ohio River Road Runners Club (which I recently became a member of) . I put my music on and settled into my comfy pace. It was nice. I actually enjoyed a 5k (I've done many 5ks, but rarely have I enjoyed them). In the final stretch there were two ladies keeping about the same pace. The husband of one came up and encouraged them to sprint it in for the last half mile. They took off ahead of me. It hurt my ego a little, but I was happy doing my pace. I finished the race in 35:45. In the past I wouldn't even tell anyone if I finished a 5k in that amount of time. I would have been embarrassed. But I'm letting go of time. And when I met Mark at the finish (he had finished several minutes earlier) I realized that I really enjoyed the race. And I'm going to enjoy next weekend's race just as much.

I may be a tortoise at the back of the pack, but I'm a happy tortoise. And, if I'm happy with something I'll keep doing it. And to me, that's what's important.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Humorous Quest to be Pure (when it comes to gardening)

Last year around this time, I was ready to plant my garden. It was my first Spring in the house Mark and I now share. And, it was my first time as a homeowner instead of a renter. I was going to have the purest, healthiest garden around. No chemicals, unnatural fertilizers, no genetically modified seeds. My garden was going to be the most organic garden in Greene County!

I had to settle for a container garden because we have walnut trees all over the yard--and of course, walnuts kills most of your veggies. Plus, although I had talked Mark out of putting chemicals on the lawn that year, he had used them in years past. So I couldn't very well start my pure garden in a chemical-laden yard. It would be a small garden in containers, but that just made it easier to go organic.

My quest to be organic had started in the winter. I needed something to compost in. I wanted nice, healthy composted soil for my container garden--and I was running out of time! Here's where the trouble began. I should probably start by telling you I have a tendency to get obsessed with things. When I decided I wanted a totally chemical free, organic garden, I meant it. Second, I should probably quit reading books and articles about going organic because they seriously wig me out, and it makes it hard for me to eat anything without feeling bad about it.

So I needed a container for my compost, but I didn't want to spend a few hundred dollars on an actual composter (one of those big ones that you spin as things start to break down). I just wanted a container to hold my soil and natural waste. A garbage can seemed the logical choice. Should I go plastic or metal? Couldn't metal have some dangerous chemicals in it that break down while my compost is breaking down? Tin? Mercury? Something evil I'm sure. But we all know plastic is made of terrible stuff. Would it break down and get into my beautiful healthy soil? Maybe a big clay pot is the way to go? Wait, isn't there a chance the clay pot would have lead in it? I know this sounds silly, but standing in the store thinking about all of this almost brought me to tears. I ended up with the plastic trash can. I figured I wasn't going to microwave my compost in it, just store it. And we all know that plastic doesn't break down in our landfills.

The next order of business was soil. I just wanted plain, clean soil. Dirt. Do you know it's next to impossible to find plain dirt? You need soil in your compost container to help break down the waste. Long story short, I ended up with Miracle-Gro organic soil. It said organic, so I thought it would be okay.

I brought the soil home and dumped it in my plastic trashcan. But something was gnawing at me. I didn't feel right about the Miracle Gro. I went back outside and pulled the bag the soil came in out of the garbage and read the ingredients. Basically the "fertilizer" in organic Miracle Gro is cow manure and chicken poop. Well I've read all about chicken poop and chicken farms. I've read how they keep way too many chickens in a pen, stacked up cage upon cage--with the poor chickens pooping all over each other (read Skinny Bitch or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). Farmers give the chickens antibiotics to keep them from getting infections from being exposed to poop all the time. And I'm guessing that a company as big as Scott's (makers of Miracle Gro) don't go to little organic chicken farms to get their poop.

So already in my quest to go organic, I've blown it. I have soil with infected chicken poop in it! Rather than dump it out (it wasn't cheap), I decide to use it and just be careful that everything else I do is pure!

Seeds were the next order of business. Did you know that most seeds are genetically modified (GMO) so they'll grow bigger, be more colorful, survive droughts and have a longer shelf life? Okay, I see why scientists and farmers think this is a good idea. And, it has probably helped some countries tremendously. But again, I'm going for pure. I don't want seeds that have been spliced and modified. I want good old fashion seeds from good old fashion vegetables! So I ordered my seeds from Bountiful Gardens--a non-profit company dedicated to ending world hunger by teaching sustainable agriculture. Now I'm feeling better. Certainly my seeds make up for my Miracle Gro "organic" soil.

When my seeds arrive I start them inside by the window. I lovingly care for them--checking them each day for growth. After a month of tender loving care it became apparent I did not have a green thumb. I had one sprout--a pea plant. So here it was time to put plants outside and I had one sprout. I don't blame this on Bountiful Gardens. I blame it solely on my lack of growing skills--or perhaps bad karma for using the Miracle Gro soil.

So I did what any frustrated organic gardener would do, I found an organic nursery (Marvin's Organic Garden) and off I went to buy some vegetable plants. They didn't have a huge selection, but it was a start. They also had some soil that truly was organic. I passed another nursery on the way home (we drove 45 minutes to find the organic one). Just out of curiosity, we stopped to see what they had. The selection was so much better--I just couldn't help myself--I bought more plants without a clue on how they were grown.

With my plants planted in their containers all that was left was to watch them grow.

My tomatoes and peppers did really well. Some were from the organic place, some were not. I have no idea which was which. We grew two eggplants and enough green beans to cook one potful. My herbs lasted well into Fall. My broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes failed miserably.

So my organic garden wasn't perfect--it wasn't pure. But I did my best to help the Earth and our health. This year we actually dug out a place for a small in ground garden. I think it's far enough away from the walnut trees. Our yard had been chemical-free for over two years now, so I call it my transitional garden--it's on it's way to being organic. I used my composted soil along with topsoil from Marvin's Organic Garden. I'm not sure what I'm doing about plants/seeds yet. I guess I better decide. I'll have to accept that fact that I'm doing my best to be pure. And that growing your own vegetables of any kind is far better than buying them at the grocery store. And what we're lacking this year we will get at the local farmer's market. Obsessing about it, just isn't worth the stress!

About Me

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I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.