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I Ride 120 Miles a Week in the Off-season and I still Have to Pass on a Donut in the Morning

I walk into the gas station for a cup of coffee to sip on for the trip to the office… and there it sits, looming in the corner, whispering sweet nothings at me – it’s the donut display.

Of course it’s not whispering anything to me, the donut display case, because donut display cases don’t whisper.  They don’t talk, they don’t wink, they don’t do anything humans do.  They just sit there and, with those beautiful rolled and deep-fried pieces of sugar-coated chunks of goodness, look good.

The whispering and temptation are all in my melon.

And you’d think, after all of this time, after all of the years, the thousands of posts, millions of words, 45,259 miles, the diets to stay at my riding weight… you’d think it’d get easier, right?

But do you think it’s easier or harder to walk by the donut display in the morning without reaching in and grabbing a cruller after all of that?  At this point, who really cares?  It is what it is.

As I get older, it’s almost comical how much more careful I have to be with my diet – it also doesn’t help that my daughter and I have become Food Network junkies and actually try recipes now…  Eating boring food isn’t such a big deal, but when food becomes vibrant, excellent, even restaurant quality at times… well, pushing away from the table becomes a little trickier – especially when you take into account my ridiculously active lifestyle.

Still, as the saying goes, “you gotta dance with the chick who brung ya” (actually it’s a bit more crass than that, but you get the idea).

Things could be worse, though.  Taken in context, this little problem isn’t even a blip on the screen.  I’ll walk into the gas station this morning, plop my buck on the counter and walk out with my cup of coffee – and maybe I’ll flip the bird to that donut display.  One thing is for certain, I’ll be walking out without a cruller.

No matter how crazy life is, mine is still really awesome, and being fat would make it suck a whole lot.  It doesn’t get any easier, I just have more to lose…

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Fighting Weight is One Pound Away, and Three Months Early.

I’ve been on a fairly radical diet for a couple of weeks now. It’s radical in its simplicity, of course, certainly nothing special. Here, scooch in closer… I’ll whisper it to you.

I don’t eat much. An apple and banana for breakfast and a power bar for luch, then I eat a sensible dinner.

To break it down, I’ve got 100 calories each for the apple and the banana. 300 for the granola bar, and figure 1,000 to 1,200 calories for dinner. Do the math, that’s 1,700 calories a day.

My intake, adjusted for my active lifestyle and that it’s winter, is 2,750 calories, give or take. That’s a deficit of 1,000 calories a day over 14 days… 14,000 calories /3,500 is 4.

Here’s the problem: That first two weeks sucks. Getting used to limiting lunch to a few hundred calories is not easy or fun.

Another thing that sucks is that I’m not a happy fellow after my 5pm ride. I have to eat, and fast. My wife has had to be a bit of a saint too, and she has.

The cool side of that though, is that after that second week it gets easier to stay on the path – and the weight reallt burns off when it’s easy.

So, call it two more weeks, maybe three and I’ll be ahead of the Spring game… and none too soon – I wanna ride (even if the weather isn’t cooperating yet)!

They say to drink a lot of water, I just filter mine through ground coffee beans first… Thanks Again, California. You give New Meaning to the Phrase “Stick in the Mud”… Ya Dopes.

Trigger (heh) warning: I don’t particularly like California or Californians. I don’t like their arrogance or the fact that, somehow, they’ve come to rely on politicians who continually screw up all things good and happy, causing everyone to hate everyone else. This post will reflect that disdain for politicians, Californians and other general sticks in the mud. This post will not be my fit in my usual PG category posts. You have been trigger (heh) warned.

California is at it again, taking the best in life and exploiting it to remove all of the joy and happiness, bastardizing scientific research in the process… and all in the name of your safety. It’s kind of what California does (that gives me an idea, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In California, nobody can ever be happy, people must live on the screwed up edge of: “We must do more! We MUST remind the people of how necessary and brilliant we are!” I don’t like California because its idiocy tends to infect the rest of the US. When they threaten session, I say they can’t get there fast enough.

In fact, did you know the self-esteem movement, that which has likely led to more unmarriageable men than any other single “idea” in the history of humankind, can actually be traced back to California? Better, and not surprisingly, the science that was used to back up the need for changes to the education system was skewed and manipulated to support that lunacy.

Well, California is at it again, this time training their keen brand of idiocy and ignorance on coffee.

See, according to California’s “Council for Education and Research in Toxics (CERT).” coffee causes cancer (specifically a chemical created in the roasting process). Now, if you don’t know already, the study used to suggest that there may be a link to the chemical and cancer was conducted using the overdose method, where testers take the maximum tolerable amount of a chemical and inject it into a small animal. If the small animal gets cancer, bingo. The rub is that the small animal would have to inject something like the equivalent of 486 gallons of coffee a week into its body to cause cancer. Then you have to adjust that to human proportions… And folks, I’m not over exaggerating… I’m under exaggerating. In other words, there’s just no freaking way.

In fact, and let this sink in for just a second, The American Institute for Cancer Research lists coffee as a food that fights cancer. Allow me to channel Samuel L. Jackson for just a moment. Mother f***er, click on the mother****in’ “Research” tab. I’m not even going to copy and paste the quote, mother****er. Better, have a look at all the cancers coffee is shown to fight. Hey, here’s a mother****in’ idea, what does the World Health Organization say about coffee? Well, let’s see:

The World Health Organisation has cleared coffee of causing cancer

So, in other words, everyone else on the freaking planet has discovered that coffee is actually good for you, and in many cases decades ago, but that’s not good enough for the anti-science fun police in California. They’ve deemed it necessary to make convenience stores label coffee as a possible cause of cancer.

Here’s that idea I wrote of earlier…. How about a little truth in advertising, there California? I want the next commercial from the tourism board of California (whatever that bureaucracy is named) to include a disclaimer that while California may be one of the more beautiful places in America, its political apparatus foments hatred and division of its people by constantly attacking happiness itself and that human contact should be kept to a bare minimum lest you accidentally bump into one of those who support a life devoid of happiness and are infected with that resident’s penchant for supporting those attacks.

Motherf***in’ @$$#oles.

Now that you’ve finally begun, don’t quit…

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How I Keep Fitness a Priority, without Failing after the Newness of the New Year’s Resolution Wears Off….

People are going to start dropping their fitness resolutions like a dirty shirt in 3… 2… 1…

I’m on my fifteenth year of my fitness journey, with only a few short breaks in the action for injuries at the beginning of running, then a few more at the beginning of cycling.  In all, we’re talking about four or five weeks off in fifteen years.  Sure, there were a few vacations too, but you get the gist.

I have a few tricks and tips that keep me on the straight and narrow path.

  • I know my happiness and sanity are both linked to my fitness.  The fitter I am, the happier I am.  The less fit I am, the more miserable I am.  It’s quite simple.
  • I know pain is linked to a lack of fitness; the less I move, the more I hurt.  I realize this may seem counterintuitive, but exercise only hurts until you get used to the muscles.  I came to find that laziness is vastly more physically painful than exercise.
  • Unfortunately one must stick with a fitness regimen long enough for that last bullet point to work.  The initial pain of building muscles can be a little off-putting at first.
  • I actually enjoy my activity of choice.
  • It’s a lot easier to keep at something if you literally can’t wait to get back out there.
  • A friend of mine just yesterday laid down this nugget that fits:  It’s a lot harder to fall off the wagon if I’m sitting in the middle of the crowd riding it…
  • I surround myself with a pile of friends who enjoy riding just as much as I do.
  • Now, here’s the big one:  Perpetual motion….  A Jim in motion tends to stay in motion.  Those days you just want to sit down on the couch?  Yeah, unless I’m really feeling down, I give it all I’ve got on those “sit on the couch” days.  If I’m really feeling down, I’ll pedal easy and remember why I love riding so much.  Either way, I move when I don’t want to.

If your resolution is to get fit or lose some weight, stick with it till it takes hold.  Don’t try to do it alone.  Relax and have some fun – you may as well enjoy the time you’ve got, there isn’t a one of us getting out of this alive.

Recovery from Alcoholism and Recovery from Food Addiction: They’re not as Different as some Suggest

A while back I remember someone suggesting that staying on the straight and narrow path of recovery from food addiction was more difficult that recovery from alcoholism because “You don’t have to drink alcohol to survive, but everyone has to eat!”

That seemed like a pretty compelling argument at the time, but when I broke it down it’s really not so.  Allow me a moment to explain…  While we do all have to eat food, we also have to drink, especially water, no?

Show me an overweight person who got that way by eating too much broccoli.  How about an overweight person who got that way because they ate too much baked chicken, broccoli and rice?  We’ve just eliminated 99% of all overweight people.  The vast majority don’t get fat eating well, they get fat eating $#!+.  Simple as that.

I didn’t get drunk from drinking too much Mountain Dew, but I did from too much beer and/or liquor.  I still have to drink fluids even though I have to abstain from alcohol.  I can’t make it three days without water, right?  Right.  So staying away from overeating crap food is not harder than staying away from alcohol, it’s just different.

Where we do get into trouble, of course, is the overeating – and I can relate to this, because I REALLY like to eat.  I have a real problem with good comfort food.  I don’t have to worry too much about the desert foods, they’ve lost their luster a little bit, because I can usually convince myself I’m wasting calories on crap.  Every now and again I get stuck on a donut, but for the most part I can say no.  Where I get into trouble is with that big plate of nachos or that homemade beef stew.  Now that’s tasty, baby!

My point is still clear, though; It’s not the low-calorie food that gets me, it’s the calorie-dense stuff.  In the same vain, it’s not the cranberry spritzer (cranberry juice and seltzer water) that gets me, it’s the rum & Coke (or beer, or anything else that contains alcohol).

As far as availability goes, well let’s just say there’s no hiding from anything.  We make a choice – abstain or we don’t.  Which is it going to be?

Fit Recovery’s 2017 Year in Review

2017 was a great year, as my blog, fitness and recovery go.

I set personal best for number of hits in a day (947), not including a South Park meme from 2014, which netted me 1,053 on the day. I set a new personal best for hits in a year (133,300 and counting) and I’ve actually got a company trying to rip off the name “Fit Recovery”.  Talk about flattery!  Chuckle.

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It wasn’t looking so positive a couple of months ago.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to top my previous best in 2015 of 131,000 hits because the math just wasn’t adding up.  I didn’t have that best 947 hits in a day either – in fact, I was actually down on hits going through the summer.  Typically, my best months are May through August.  This year I was down 1,000 to 3,000 hits in many of the summer months.

Then, November.  I still don’t know what really happened.  My daily hits started to climb.  First I was topping 500 and 600 hits a day.  Then 700 popped up now and again.  Then 800 and I finally hit 900 a few times.  The best was it really wasn’t a special post that was getting all of the hits, they were spread out – the only thing that got more hits than usual was my homepage.  November was the best, in terms of hits, in the history of the blog.

2017 BlogStats2

As you can see, the good times continued in December, though they’re slowing back to the norm now.

Next up is fitness.  While I feel a little chubby lately, and I’m eating the food to make it so, I’m only a few pounds over my racing weight of 175 pounds (I call it my racing weight but I don’t, and won’t, race) and even though I’ve taken the last week off, I haven’t gained any weight and have eaten responsibly (or close to it).  That said, it was another personal best for overall mileage for the year:

2017 FinalMiles

As has been the case since I started riding, I’ve reached a mileage total I didn’t think was possible and I’m assuming next year will be my first year where I see my first decrease.  If that’s so, I’ll be okay with it.  I can’t believe I topped 9,000 miles and spent more time at work than I did last year in the process – something that I’m quite happy with.  I also had a best ever month, September, topping 1,100 miles:

2017 FinalMiles-Month

This year, I wasn’t any faster than previous years (actually we did have two B Group bests on Tuesday night where we broke the 1:19:00 mark for our 29-ish mile ride for an average of 22.1 mph) but I didn’t feel any “faster”.  I was, however, able to spend a lot more time up front helping to pull the group.  I did a lot of sprinting for City Limits signs with my friends and I did have a lot of fun with that.

Perhaps the most interesting fitness story for me was my doctor sending me to a specialist to have my heart checked because of an irregular EKG – something that he said was “either nothing, or something that could make you drop dead without warning”.  I purposely slowed down for more than a month while my results were put together from an ultrasound of my heart.  I kept a good attitude but I was legitimately scared about my future.  As it turned out, the specialist told me to come back in 40 or 50 years when I started having problems.  I’m 47, so that was pretty good news.  In the end it was “keep doing what you’re doing and I definitely can live with that.  I put the hammer down, as they say, the next day… with a smile on my face.

Finally, there’s recovery.  Last winter I did another Fourth through Twelfth and concentrated on that which is most important for the rest of the year, the three aspects of the Twelfth Step:  Spiritual Awakening (another one, the step doesn’t say you only get one), I’ve carried the message and practiced the principles in all of my affairs.  I learned a lot this year and shared much of it here.  I’ve made progress on being a better me, and that’s all a guy can ask for after a quarter-century of sobriety.  I feel lucky to be me in this respect:  Most people my age (my current age) are lucky enough just to get into sobriety so young.  I’ve got a 25 year head start.  As enjoying life goes, sobering up early feels like cheating life.  Legally and fairly.  It is good times and noodle salad.

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