One of my regular readers, Cousin Jennifer, has been on her own quest to lose weight and get in shape, including running her first marathon. She, too, writes and exercise/fitness blog and though she has no formal education, has spent considerable time studying nutrition and exercise to determine how to maximize her efforts to help herself. I’ve taken the liberty of reprinting something from a recent posting because her experiences…quite different from mine…are interesting and may benefit others.
I've lost 23 pounds in a year. It doesn't seem like much compared to the people who lose that much in a month on "The Biggest Loser" but, for me, every pound lost was a battle won. I recently quit Weight Watchers reacquainted myself with my old friend, Dr. Atkins. The results? 13 of the 23 pounds lost were shed in the last month.
The Atkins diet is one of the most studied and proven methods of losing and keeping off weight. The reason I gained weight over the last 5 years (besides having 3 babies in two-and-a-half years' time) is that I started ignoring the carbs I consumed. The old adage, "everything is good in moderation," is false. White flour is wonderful for making paper mache and play dough, but it's not good for the body. Carbohydrates and I don't mix, and I might as well get used to this fact. I'm not fond of rice, bread and pasta, so it's no big loss.
Decision #1: I will not follow the advice of someone who has never lost more than 20 pounds.
According to my reading, some people are genetically predisposed to a higher metabolism. Walking for one hour and eating less works for them. My body laughs at walking. These genetically blessed people cannot possibly understand the struggle of a metabolically challenged person. And lest anyone think I'm playing the I-have-bad-DNA-it's-not-my-fault card, let me present "Exhibit A" -- the reason why I walked out of my last Weight Watchers meeting:
I followed the "Points Plus" system to the letter. Every morsel that went into my mouth was recorded on the Weight Watchers e-tools site. I also exercised more than ever. After 3 months and only 5 pounds lost, I was disgusted. I sat and seethed in my last meeting because I hated the whole group therapy kvetching thing. And I earned over 100 activity points that week -- equivalent to about 15 hours of exercising, P90X, running (not walking), and Zumba. I didn't even eat my bonus points. I saved them all. My results? A half pound gain at weigh-in. All while feeling like I starved every day.
The topic of that day's meeting was exercise. The group leader attempted to inspire people to commit to a regimen, just a little every day. One woman raised her hand committing herself to a whopping 5 minutes a day, and the class cheered for her as if she were an Ironman gold medalist. I think I heard the Twilight Zone theme music, and ran out the door for the last time. The definition of insanity is hitting your head against a brick wall repeatedly, so I drew the line.
Though I’m familiar with Atkins, I have not read his book, but intend to. I know its focus mirrors the Paleo Diet and I’m guessing that it makes sense for all the same reasons the Paleo Diet does. I know Jennifer feels that advice from someone who has not lost at least 20 pounds is important…but I’d draw the line there. True, some people are blessed with good metabolisms, but I work with a nutritionist I have known since grade school whose complete dedication to health and fitness has kept him lean his entire life. If I were to cut him from my circle of professionals because of that, I would lose invaluable knowledge and fierce commitment to help those who struggle with weight…and just because he, like me, ‘walks the talk’. Still, she makes an interesting point about advice. Personally, I want it from someone with a combination of a formal education and pertinent experience in the discipline they’re expounding. I wouldn’t put much faith in a person who has never been in the back country for backpacking or follow the advice of someone who has never competed in triathloning for a program to do the Iron Man. Like so many things in life, we need to ‘consider the source’.
I’ll post up more of Jennifer’s stuff over time, but you can visit her at shemakesherarmsstrong.blogspot.com if you care to read more.
The trails were in decent running shape and I managed a fifty minute run on a cool, crisp evening. I’d eaten a wonderful Paleo lunch…spinach salad with chicken breast, mushrooms, almonds, craisins (cranberry raisins) and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and was planning something equally Paleo for dinner when Holly suggested Jet’s Pizza. I caved quickly and we ordered what turned out to be an amazingly delicious pizza. I never expect much from chain’s, but this was really good stuff. I did manage to curb my total caloric intake by washing it down with Diet Coke, though.
Calories burned during workout: 850.