Athletic Progress

I’m still continuing on my health journey, and I still haven’t seen a change in my weight. However, I am seeing a lot of progress. I suppose that you have to take every victory that you can get.

I started the Run Your Butt Off! program in the spring. I ran the week 2 program to start off, because I had already been walking on a regular basis. The week 2 program has you walking for 4 minutes and then running for 1 minute, repeating until you get to about a half hour. You don’t have to worry about how fast you are going; you just have to be going through the physical motion of running rather than walking. I immediately injured myself. I must have pulled the arch of my foot or something. On top of that, running for 1 minute was extremely difficult (although I could do it).

I had to postpone my running for a while, especially considering the fact that it was painful to even walk. I rode my bike instead. I did other kinds of exercise. In a little while, I could walk, but I didn’t want to start running again and risk injury, because I was going on a road trip over the summer and I planned on doing a lot of hiking and camping.

When I came back from my summer road trip, I joined the gym. My normal routine is three days of weight lifting, and one day of pilates, piyo or a class at my kids’ gym, and swimming. Before I do my weight lifting, I go on the treadmill for 15 minutes.

At first, my arch was still too injured to go on the elliptical machine, so I started walking on the treadmill. Eventually, I started healing more, and started a slow run using the RYBO program. I started where I ended off, but I started progressing.

I’ve been going to the gym for 2 1/2 months. My little boy’s birthday party was today, so I didn’t go on my typical Saturday swim, so I decided to try a run outside my house. I had already worked up to a 3 minute run with two minute rests. Tonight I tried the week 5 program: walk for 2 1/2 minutes, then run for 5 minutes. Repeat 4 times and follow up with a run for a total of 33 minutes.

Well, I did it. In fact, the program that I downloaded to my iPod to track my run, Interval Timer, didn’t beep when I was supposed to stop running my last run interval, and I think I ran about six minutes. I’m in no way the fastest runner on the planet, but I kept going.

When I was in school, then when I was in the Navy, I absolutely hated running. It hurt my lungs. I don’t really mind the five minutes at a time that I can run now. I like getting out there and listening to my podcasts, in fact. So what’s the difference? I think that the main difference is that I don’t have to meet someone’s definition of how fast someone should run. Maybe I’ll get there some day and run faster. Until then, I just love to see progress. The same is true for the time I spend lifting weights or participating in a yoga class.

Those pesky pounds are still there, but I know that I have more muscle and less fat. That, and being more athletic, are worth the effort that I’ve put in so far.

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Protandim, Day 3

I have heard a lot about Protandim, and I decided to try it out. I received a bottle of Protandim on Wednesday, and I’ve taken two pills so far (I’ll take the third one this morning). So far, this is what I’ve noticed:

I don’t really seem to have any soreness from my Wednesday workout. I took my first Protandim pill after I returned from this workout. If I concentrate on my arms and legs, I may feel a little bit from the workout, but not much. Last week, I definitely felt soreness a couple of days after my workout.

I have some pain from plantar fasciitis in my right arch, and I’ve had it for a while. I’m hoping that the pain goes away at some point, but I still feel it.

In the two mornings since I’ve woken up after taking the pills, I am a little sleepy after waking up (not abnormal for me), but I’m not able to go back to sleep. I usually go to sleep in the afternoon on Sundays; we’ll see if Protandim gives me enough energy to stay awake the whole day.

I hope to keep track of any benefits or disadvantages of this pill in the future.

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Exercising While Injured

I tried to start running using the Run Your Butt Offprogram. I was really excited about it. My biggest problem with running had always been my lung capacity. When I ran in the Navy, I always had to compete against the clock with people that were far superior runners to me. I hated it. This program has you start off slowly and it was manageable.

Shortly after I started, I injured my foot. I tried to give it a day’s rest, but the injury remained and didn’t heal. It has been a few weeks, and I’m still not confident with it yet.

I decided that I needed to find something else to do. So I started using my exercise bike, preferably with the same amount of time I planned to run. I did four workouts last week (although one of them was a super-tough workout at my kids’ gymnastics gym, not on the bike). I’m supposed to run four times a week.

At least I can work on my lung capacity a bit and get a little cardio in. My foot is a little bit better, but I’m going hiking next month, and I want injury-free feet for that. I hate being derailed by injury, but I guess that there’s not much you can do about that. Perhaps eat as nutritionally as possible to speed up healing.

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RFID in Foods? I Don’t Think So!

Just Eat Real Food shirt

I read one of the most disturbing things this morning. Evidently, scientists are trying to push RFID chips in food. Does anybody think that this is a bad idea?

Why would they want to put RFID chips in food? There are benefits, I suppose. It would be easier to track your food as it goes through the supply chain. Special plates could tell you how much of a food to eat (or whether you should even eat it at all). Chips could tell special microwaves how long to cook the food.

I suppose that some people might like these benefits, but there are way too many drawbacks. Who is to say that these RFID chips are even healthy to consume in the first place (my guess is that there is probably some problems with this that might not show up for decades if implemented). I personally don’t want anybody monitoring what I eat… especially the government, whose recommendations have worked SOOO well for the American population.

It’s becoming increasingly disturbing what companies are doing to our food to screw it up and take it away from the food that it is meant to be. This is even one step (and probably the most disturbing step yet) away from what food should be like. I guess that this is one more reason to buy organic and possibly local.

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End of a Stressful Week

This week has been very stressful for me. I had an emergency project that popped up on Monday that I had to complete by this afternoon. It was a project that required almost all of my free time, and required me to get by on very little sleep.

I was up until 4 or 5 AM on most days this week, and the amount of sleep that I was able to get in a night ranged from 4 to 6. I drank caffeine to get me through the week.

Not very healthy at all, right? I almost never get sick, but the lack of sleep and poor nutrition caused me to get sick yesterday afternoon. But there is a bright side to all of this.

I knew when I started this project that it was going to have to take an extraordinary effort for me to finish on time. I knew that I would have to skip on sleep and even drink too much caffeine to get through the week. I made the conscious decision so sacrifice healthy living this week to achieve my goals. As a result, I don’t wonder why my leg and feet muscles haven’t healed from Monday and Tuesday’s workouts. Now I can get back to living in a more healthy way.

I see it as progress because a couple of years ago, I would have just done the work, stayed up late, and drank the soda without realizing that I was making a tradeoff between getting the job done and being healthy. This week, I consciously made the choice.

Things happen. Sometimes we can’t get to bed at a decent hour; sometimes caffeine and sugar will temporarily help you steal a few more hours out of a day. I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

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More GMO Foods… Woopee!

In the April 16 issue of Businessweek, there is an article about scientists that are working on creating corn that doesn’t need as much nitrogen to grow. Are we supposed to get excited about more GMO corn?

Evidently, farmers use a lot of fertilizer on their corn crops to get the nitrogen that the corn needs into the soil. This uses up a lot of energy, of course, plus some of the fertilizer runs off into the ground water. That’s not a good thing.

Here’s revolutionary concept: rotate your crops! That will also put nitrogen back into the soil. If you have a few acres (or more), grow corn on part of the land, legumes on another part of the land, and have some cows grazing on the other part of the land (grass fed cows… yum!). Me and my daughter were just talking about George Washington Carver the other day in school… there was a reason why he wanted everybody to grow more peanuts. They’re good for replenishing the soil. Grass fed cows are not only tasty and healthy for you, but they’re not going to harm the soil.

If farmers start growing GMO corn that requires less nitrogen, do we know how it will affect the nutrition of the corn that is being grown? Will it have a different balance of vitamins and minerals? Probably. Will it make us sick? We have no way of knowing, but what I do know is that I’d rather avoid the GMO products that we already have, not try to find new ways to make GMO products.

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The First 10 Pounds…

So many people have trouble losing that last 10 pounds. My trouble is losing the first ten pounds.

I know that I’m getting healthier. On Mondays, I work out at my kid’s gym while the kids are having fun with their open gym. On the first week, I was completely drained of energy for the entire day. Today, I’m sure that I worked out harder, yet I am not quite as tired. I even managed to do ten inverted rows after I finished with my workout — mainly because I want to build up that ability and maybe one day be able to do a pull-up.

I drink way less soda than I used to. I used to drink several cans a day; now, I can go for days without it, and I generally don’t drink a soda unless I’m at a restaurant or if I need the extra energy (I will probably have one today). I drink a lot of water. Yet, I still have trouble losing these first ten pounds.

I don’t think that starving myself is going to provide a long-term solution. Doing that can screw up with your metabolism. I’ll keep up with what I’m doing and hope for the best. At least I know that I should be healthier than I was before.

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Ignorant Thinking

I mentioned that the other day I was watching Food, Inc.. It’s a good movie. This one part of the movie really stood out to me:

A family was driving through the drive through, I think it was Burger King. They all order food off the Dollar Menu. Everyone in the family is obviously overweight. The mom starts saying how they can’t afford to eat healthy food. They try to go to the grocery store and find food, but can’t find anything that is filling for the same price as Burger King. Then she mentions that her husband is spending more than $200 a month on his diabetes medication.

See anything wrong with that picture?

Some healthy food is really expensive. Raw milk, organic fruits and vegetables, and grass-fed beef are a little too expensive for me to consume every day (although I do try to get a little of the good stuff when I can, because I know that they are more nutritious). Isn’t there something of a middle ground between the super-expensive foods and the dollar menu?

She wanted foods that were filling for the price you paid for them. How about rice, beans, potatoes, and oatmeal (not instant)? I know that these are mostly carbohydrate foods and aren’t the best choices, but these people are hard up for cash, and they need something to keep them from being hungry. These foods are all inexpensive, and they will fill you up for the price. I know that you can buy rice and oatmeal for $.99 a pound, and you certainly won’t eat a whole pound of either for a whole meal. Since you have one food that is really inexpensive, add in some vegetables and maybe a little meat to make a meal. There you go. It may not be the most nutritious meal on the planet, but it sure beats fast food.

Perhaps if the family was eating a little better, then the dad might not need the diabetes medication after a while? The whole situation makes me so sad. I’ve only started to learn about how important nutrition is to our health, but I’m trying to clean things up in my life.

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Genetically Modified Foods

I watched Food, Inc. last night. There isn’t really too much information in there that I hadn’t heard of before, but it was interesting to see it presented in video form. Most of the information I get is via podcasts or YouTube or in print. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty good.

One of the most bothersome parts of the movie is how companies like Montesanto (okay, so 99% of the time it is Montesanto) try to bully the farmers who choose not to use genetically modified (GM) seeds. I suppose that if a farmer wants to use GM seeds, that’s their business (although I would prefer to be notified if that’s what’s in the food I’m eating; right now they don’t have to be labeled). It’s when farmers want to use heirloom seeds and are bullied by big companies when they choose not to use them that I’m bothered.

I would much prefer to buy the regular, non GM foods, but when big companies bully small farmers that choose to farm the foods I’d rather eat, it’s pretty annoying. The government enables them. Why won’t they pass laws where food companies have to disclose when they use GM food? Why does the government allow Montesanto to bully farmers into paying to use their seeds when some of their GM pollen contaminates a good crop of non GM plants? Why does the government allow us to be used as guinea pigs when other countries won’t? Why do US taxpayers have to subsidize the growing of corn?

The good news is that more and more people are learning about these subjects. Perhaps as We the People start to take back power in some ways, we’ll be able to extend that power to help heal the food supply.

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Sorry I’m late in my post today. My daughter had umbilical hernia repair surgery yesterday.

There is a lot that you can say about food on a blog about being healthy. Food freedom. The FDA says that we don’t have the freedom to eat the kind of food that we see fit… hence the okay for some states to make drinking raw milk illegal. Yet aspartame is okay, along with all the other disgusting concoctions that they allow on the market.

F is for fish. Experts always say that it is good for you. You have to watch out for mercury though. Other than tuna fish, it can get a little expensive though. I do like to pick up some on occasion at Sprouts, which is a local store that sells a lot of relatively healthy food (they carry some things that I wouldn’t eat along with stuff that’s great).

Food and its ability to make us fat or lean is a mystery to many. How can some people eat like gluttons and stay thin? Is a calorie really a calorie (no)? Is 3500 calories actually equal to a pound (no). If starving yourself will cause you to lose mostly water and muscle, what works?

Eating the right foods can be a challenge in this day and age. I’d love to cook a lot of natural, healthy foods, but sometimes it’s hard to do.

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