Monthly Archives: March 2011

Fear Foods- Fats

Good morning! Well it seems like the weather predictions are going to come true and we are going to get at least six inches of SNOW! But I’m sure it will melt quite quickly πŸ™‚

I feel like this post about fats is long overdue and something I have been wanting to write about for a long time. I wrote about my fear of cereal a few weeks ago, but fats are in a category all on their own. This is long but it’s something I want to express and is very important to me.

Even if you are not an expert in nutrition, I am sure you have heard that fats are necessary in the diet, ones from fried foods and processed items should be limited and fat grams from nuts, olive/canola oils, avocados, etc are much better for your body. There are several different kinds, mono and polyunsaturated, and the more “scary kinds” saturated and trans.

As a Public Health major with a focus in community nutrition, I have taken several nutrition classes and have learned about the three necessary macronutrients for our bodies, carbohydrates, proteins and FATS. These are the sources that we as living creatures need to consume in large quantities for proper organ function and are necessary sources of energy. These macronutrients are found in every food we eat, but the trick is balancing the amounts you consume for optimum function of your body.

These are the healthy ranges that a person should be getting from foods along with sufficient amount of other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The recommendations are:

  • 45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
  • 10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein

Why do we need fat in our diet?

  • Fat provides needed energy.Β  It is difficult to eat the large amounts of food in a very low fat diet to get all the energy you need.
  • Fat is needed to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency.
  • Fat is needed so your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, S, E, K, and prevent deficiencies of these vitamins.
  • Fat provides flavor and texture to help prevent food from being bland and dry.
  • Fat helps food to stay in the stomach longer, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and preventing hunger soon after meals.
  • Fat may help your body produce endorphins (natural substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings).

What does fat do for our body?

  • Provides insulation under the skin from the cold and the heat.
  • Protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs.
  • Fat surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses.
  • Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body.Β  It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
  • Your body uses fat to make a variety of other building blocks needed for everything from hormones to immune function.

Source of the above information.

So it seems like fat is pretty necessary right? You wold think after knowing this sort of information that I would have no problem eating foods with fat in it….WRONG!

When my disordered eating took a turn for the worst, I began to restrict pretty much everything, but especially FATS. In my mind anything with fat= instant weight gain. Anything with fats in it was off-limits; cakes, cookies, pastries of course, but also anything that had been cooked in oil, meats, vegetables, ANYTHING. If I saw a food had that “sheen” of oil on it, I would absolutely not eat it. Eating out at restaurants was the most terrifying thing ever because I would never know how much oil or butter the chef had used to cook the meal, and I usually would not eat it, or would order a salad, because it was “safe.”

It so bad last summer that any food that had more than 2 grams of fat in it, i would simply not eat. When I first began reading Healthy Living Blogs and saw the amazing foods bloggers were eating such as almond/peanut butter, Lara Bars (12 grams of fat per bar! scary at that time), kale chips/sweet potato fries drizzled with (gasp!) olive oil, a piece of salmon?! I was so jealous they were able to and comfortable eating all of these great sources of fat and not gaining weight- must be nice for them. *I truly believed everyone else could eat things and not gain weight but there was no way I could, because I was different in some way.

As someone who has a pretty good understanding of basic nutrition, it’s scary that I was able to convince myself that I didn’t need fats. I knew it was necessary, for everyone else, I didn’t need it and by cutting it out I would lose weight= the goal!

I didn’t like the idea of “wasting” calories that were high in fat and (I believed) wouldn’t fill me up. For example, a piece of pizza was simply not worth all of the fat and calories I would get from it and then be hungry about 10 minutes later which would lead me to eating more, which would lead to weight gain! What a lovely cycle I believed in. I liked the idea of eating an entire salad, plenty of low cal veggies, watery fruits to fill me up for much less calories.

And let me tell you something else, it worked. I did lose weight last summer, but so many other health affects came right along with me cutting out this vital nutrient. A few unpleasant examples:

  • My skin became dry even with lathering with lotion everyday and it was summer!
  • I used to have very thick hair. I lost a lot of hair last summer and now it’s very thin 😦
  • Low body weight= duh.
  • My nails were brittle and would not grow
  • Loss of my period- this has been an on-going issue since starting Weight Watchers in 2008- a very personal post which I will soon be discussing!

There was a point before being really making an effort to change my eating habits that was evidence of how irrational I had become. During Thanksgiving I had made a “safe” side-dish of Ratatouille for myself so I would at least have something to eat with my family. It was made WITHOUT OIL and actually is quite tasty for the record. There was a point I was not in the room and my mom drizzled olive oil over the vegetables as a way to “sneak in” fat for me. Although this was not the best tactic (as doing this in secret wasn’t nice) I understand why she did it; my mom was so concerned for my health and didn’t exactly know how to approach the situation. When the dish was being served, I noticed that familiar look of oil over the vegetables, realized what happened and refused to eat it. Yeah, think I need an intervention much?

During this past winter break, I really made the effort to change my diet. It was uncomfortable and scary but I ate a whole lot more when I was home. Something that prompted me to do this was how thin my hair had become, it used to be “thick as a horse’s tail” not so much anymore. Anyway, one of the first things I ate as a fat source was almond butter. That first state was pure heaven in my mouth. I took a big ole spoonful, and savored the thick, creamy, sweet taste. Every day now I have some kind of almond butter on apples, carrots, oatmeal or just on its own!

Ever since then I have been incorporating fats into my diet slowly but surely. For example, I always put walnuts, almonds, or sesame seeds on a salad, I cook with olive oil, and nut butter= true love. Foods with fat in it, such as granola bars, other prepared foods are finally “allowed” in my mind. I finally tried a Lara Bar after practically hyperventilating before eating it! πŸ™‚

Not going to lie though, I am still struggling with eating foods with sources of fat I consider bad–> baked goods, ice cream, pizza, and so many others. It is my next step to try some of these things, in moderation of course! These still to me= instant weight gain.

I realized I wanted to write this post when I noticed all of the fat sources I had in my room:

Now that I have proper amounts of fat in it, I have noticed changes in my body! I am not losing hair at the same terrifying rate I was, my nails are growing and thick, my skin is less dry and clearer and overall I feel less “brittle” if that makes any sense. Also, I have gained weight, and you know what, it’s okay. Besides fat being great for your body, it also tastes really freakin good πŸ™‚

It may seem like I have perfectly comfortable eating fats now, and I am to a certain extent. However, I am still very aware of how much fat I am getting from foods and I am limiting the number of nuts I eat a day, tablespoons of almond butter and if I deem a food has too much oil on it, I still am not comfortable eating it. That’s why I don’t eat several of the prepared meats and veggies in the dining hall, they are always shining with the scary oily substance.

Phew that was long, and I feel like I am going to think of more things to add as the day goes on. I might add something later if it seems important for me to mention.

If you read all of this, thank you, if not that’s okay too haha. It was long and wordy and kind of all over the place= word vomit :p

*Has anyone fear or feared fat? Any other irrationalities surrounding food? -> I have so many more but I think this is enough for today πŸ™‚

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Filed under Below The Surface, Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Fear Foods, Nut Butter, Weight

Influenced Once Again- Oats in a Jar

Ahh, it is such a gorgeous day out! 54 degrees and sunny in Amherst, which feels balmy after this brutal winter we have all experienced πŸ™‚ Spring is surely in the air. But HOLD UP… there will be a Winter Storm Warming in effect starting tomorrow night…. There are 2-4 inches of snow expected, not too much but winter just does not want to let go!

A little less of this...

How about a little less of this…^

AND MORE OF THIS!

This morning I went to the gym here at school and did 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical. I set the incline at 15 and did a simple HIIT routine of going 35 seconds fast, and 25 seconds recovery for 5 minutes at level 12. Then I would recover for 2 minutes at level 10 and then repeat the sequence until the 20 minutes was up. This was pretty random but I wanted to get in some cardio before Kickboxing!

I have talked about this class before but want to mention it again because it’s one of my favorite group fitness classes. I am seriously the most uncoordinated person alive, so I was a bit apprehensive about trying this class at the beginning of the year in fear of looking like a GOON. Although I do punch right or kick left (when I am supposed to be doing the opposite! haha) I still get a great workout in and am always sore the next day! Especially in my back and arms, I’m not used to working them that way. Besides, everyone else is worried about if they’re doing the routine correctly and not lookin at you!

*Below the surface- I am constantly feeling self-conscious and that people are looking/staring at me, of course in a negative way. I feel like I am being judged all of the time, on my clothes, how my hair looks, makeup, acne, my height, and of course, my body. Although i am finally understanding this is not the case, I still can’t help feeling, “somebody’s watchin me!” (anyone know the song?!) I am working through this and I also have realized how much I look at other people. And I admit, I do my share of judging as well. Not necessarily something mean, but I make conclusions about people I see or talk to. I really need to get the heck over this, it’s rude and just not necessary. Of course I feel that people are looking at me, I’m lookin right back! Can anyone relate/have advice? I am not a mean person, actually quite nice πŸ™‚ so I think I do this because I sometimes feel bad about myself.

Phew, sorry about that tangent! On to the title of this post….after my butt was kicked at Cardio KICK, I returned to my room where a fabulous breakfast awaited me! Overnight Oats in a Jar the blog world strikes again!!

Looks so nasty, tastes so good! Into almost empty jar of one of my favorite nut butters, Barney Butter’s Crunch Almond Butter, went:

  • 1/3 cup dry (not instant!) oats
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 sliced medium banana
  • 1.5 tbs Chia seeds
  • Several dashes of cinnamon= i am addicted to cinnamon

Stir that baby up, put it in the fridge overnight (or for a few hours) so the liquid can be absorbed by the oats. Unscrew the cap the next day and try not to inhale it’s ugly wonderfulnous <– that’s a word, I swear.

Demolished! So good. There was probably about two tablespoons of almond butter left in the jar when I put the mixture, it was my best oatmeal concoction yet!

I have an appointment this afternoon, then a dinner date with the lovely Danielle!

Have a good day everyone, enjoy the weather if it’s nice where you are πŸ˜€

*Has anyone tried overnight oats in a jar? I’ll admit when I first heard of this in the blog world, I thought it sounded gross. How wrong I was.

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Filed under Awesome Bloggers, Below The Surface, Breakfast, Exercise, Favorite Products, Nut Butter, Product Review, Recipe

Motivating Music

Hi Readers!

I made a new page about important people in my life, to get to know me a bit better. Check it out if you would like! πŸ™‚

I have my paper to finish and an exam later today so I knew I wanted to start my day out with a run. It gave me a chance to think about what I needed to do for the day, but also have some “me” time, and I knew it would feel great. At least that’s what I was telling myself. For some reason, the LAST thing I wanted to do was run today, just wasn’t feelin it. However, I knew once I got out there and finished, I would feel better, I don’t think I have ever regretted a workout.

Confession: I know a part of my sluggish feeling is not fueling before runs ( i have talked about this before but need to reiterate!). I KNOW i need to do this, but I am never hungry when i wake up, so I just slam some coffee down, pop in a piece of gum and go. My irrational thinking is that since I am not hungry, why eat…i’ll just “save” my calories for later. This is ridiculous, I know I need fuel for this sort of exercise and that my performance is better when I do. I had this meal before my race on Saturday and I felt great during that.

+

 

 

 

 

Yum πŸ˜€

To give myself a kick in the butt to get going, I decided to run with music today. Sometimes I run with music, but for the last few months I have been listening to books while running instead. Let me tell you, it’s great! Especially when I’m listening to a good story, the time and miles zoom by. I finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult the other day, and am now listening to South of Broad by Patrick Conroy. Unfortunately, this book hasn’t exactly pulled me in yet so I figured the run would go even slower. At this point, music seemed the best option, and it really helped push me on the run!

It is safe for me to say that I like really ANY kind of music, so my playlists are all over the place. They range from current pop songs to country, oldies, etc. Today though, I decided to listen to the only band I consistently liked every song they have produced, Rascal Flatts!Β  Yes they’re country, and I know there are a lot of country music haters out there :p but this bad is fabulous. Most of there songs are upbeat, have catchy lyrics and don’t have that “twang” sound you often hear in country singers. I would loveee to go to one of their concerts soon too πŸ˜€

 

So Seductive :p

(Source)

I think I have about every song they have written on my iPod, so I just blasted them for my entire run.

Stats for the run: 7.1 miles, 55:00, which averages about 7:45 pace per mile. It was a very hilly run, so I bet some of that time contributes to me have sheer relief of being able to go downhill!

Here are the songs I listened to today (all Rascal Flatts):

  1. Here’s To You
  2. Life is a Highway
  3. Break Away
  4. Feels Like Today
  5. Backwards
  6. My Wish
  7. Me and my Gang
  8. Cool Thing
  9. No Reins
  10. Secret Smile
  11. Summer Nights
  12. Sunday Afternoon
  13. Why Wait
  14. Love You Out Loud

Although I most races without music, sometimes you just need that extra something to get you going!

*Do you run with music? Ever tried listening to a book? Or are you anti-ipod?

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Filed under Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Exercise, Favorite Foods, Favorite Products, Fuel, Running

Calling All Runners and Athletes!

And just like that, we are almost done with Moan-Day! I got this from Caitlin’s (Healthy Tipping Point) post this morning, made me laugh πŸ™‚

I am currently sitting in one of my favorite places ever, Barnes and Noble!!!, and writing a paper. Let me first say that Barnes and Noble, Borders, or really any other book store, is my favorite place to do work. There is usually a cafe, plenty of books if I need references, and when I need a break- people watching is the best!

The only problem is being distracted by huge magazine rack, or really any other book available to read. Must. Focus. Now.

While I am procrastinating actually writing this paper, I am thinking about it at least! This is for my Nutrition and Public Health class and I am researching about a subject near and dear to me, disordered eating among female athletes. I am focusing on college-level athletes, but also am discussing the trends among regular ones, although only in women (sorry guys!).

If you Google, “disordered eating and athletes,” there are overwhelming results. Overall, these indicate there are higher levels of eating related issues among female athletes as compared to those that are more inactive. This makes sense to me: there are pressures not only from our society to become thin, but also there are certain sports that put pressure on performers to meet a certain weight criteria.

Running is a sport largely related to this. Many elite female runners are lean, mean, fighting machines, with very little body fat.

 

Elite Runners Before a Race

A person that is attempting to get to elite levels might draw the conclusion that the thinner you are= the faster you run. Although there have been studies that showed how weight loss does impact race times, these are only geared toward people that have some extra weight to lose. Check out this Runner’s World article for a more detailed explanation.Unfortunately, some women may learn this information and take it into the extreme, leading to a restrictive calorie intake and setting themselves up for menstrual loss and osteoporosis at a young age.

From personal experience of being a member of my school’s cross country and track team, I have seen the pressure to be thin among my teammates. I can remember on the very first day of practice, a girl was there that was so thin, her legs looked like sticks and she was shivering in the 80-degree weather of September. Eventually she admitted to restricting because she though it would make her run faster. With intervention methods such as requiring her to eat a specific number of calories and education on adequate nutrition and sports performance, she has recovered, gained weight and is running quite fast now.

I have also succumbed to the pressures of meeting a certain weight, as I have discussed in my “About Me” page and “Running” page. Although my obsession with food occurred long before i began runner, last summer I figured losing weight meant I would run faster. Initially this did occur, but my inadequate calorie intake caught up with me and I was constantly feeling fatigues and my performance steadily got worse.

Too Thin For ME!

When an athlete goes on a “diet” and begins to restrict their intake, it actually might look like they are eating normally. Yet they are not taking in adequate calories to meet the demands of their practices or training runs, and their performance will inevitably decline.

For example, on days when I go on my long runs, I now eat like a horse after! I am usually so hungry the entire day and continuous snacking on proper nutritious items helps me to recover. I might look like I am eating excess amounts to a non-athlete, which is why this could go unnoticed from someone who is suffering with food-related issues.

So for my essay, I would love to hear other people’s stories or opinions on this! Beyond influence from images of our culture in magazines, TV, Internet, etc, have you ever felt pressure as an athlete to look a certain way for the sport? Or have you seen this among friends?

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Filed under Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Fitness, Fuel, Recovery, Running, Serious Stuff, UMASS

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sorry about the quirky title but does anyone else now have the Sound of Music stuck in their head? Because I sure do! (and if you didn’t you probably do now πŸ™‚ )

I wanted to thank those that commented on my last night’s post. They were so great to read and made me feel much better this morning. It’s nice to know I am not the only one that feels this way!

Well, it’s Sunday night and I am currently organizing myself for the week ahead. It’s going to be another busy one with choosing classes, two essays due, an exam and RA stuff. It shall be fine though, and I’m sure the week will go by supa fast while staying so busy!

I have been doing homework all day, so I decided it’s break time, aka dinner+ blogging + Chopped (Food Network) = a delightful evening πŸ™‚ I also wanted to write a post on a few random things that are favorites of mine! Here we go…

My pandora bracelet. This bracelet was given to me on my 16th birthday by my lovely mother. I started with only one charm, a “16” and have gained so many more since then. There are a few I bought on my own, but a majority of the charms were given as gifts from the special people in my life. Each one of these has meaning and I know who they came from. I wear this bracelet everyday and couldn’t imagine my outfit without it!

This is a corkboard in my room, here at school, with all of my bib numbers from various races and other race memoribila. It is cluttered but organized at the same time (if that makes any sense) and gives me inspiration and a sense of accomplishment each time I look at. I’m thinking I am going to put them together in some of kind of scrap book to preserve the memories better, but for now, I like it for decor in my room.

Another piece of decor for my room at school. I have ALWAYS wanted one of these, since I was a little girl, but the ceilings in my house didn’t work for it. They do at school though, hence the princess-like bed. It’s funny I am not even a real girly-girl but absolutely love this πŸ™‚

I HATE (sorry harsh) shopping for shoes because they never have my size, and really don’t fit correctly. Because I am tall, 5’10” finding shoes that are comfortable is quite the task- and my feet are pretty wide so my pinky toes always get smooshed. These shoes, Nike Frees, are the best walking/running shoes I have ever purchased! I wear them to walk the miles around campus and they are simply great.

I may be 21, but you better believe I still have a stuffed animal! This is Duchess, she’s a horse I have had foreverrrr. She is the one stuffed animal I have held on to since my childhood and she travels with me everywhere πŸ™‚ I like acting like a kid sometimes!

Making collages! I am honestly the least artistic person you will ever meet, so I express my creativity through creating collages. I love taking old magazines, deciding on a theme, and looking through them for just the write words, phrases and pictures. They always turn out to look nice and give me something to do hehe. These two are both currently hanging in my room. Would anyone be interested in having me make one of these and sending it to you as a giveaway?! Let me know!

I like a bunch of other stuff too, but I wanted to include these and perhaps help you get to know me better!

What are your favorite items? They can be any category! -Food, workout related, decor, clothes, anything πŸ˜€

Have a lovely Sunday Night!

 

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Filed under College, Favorite Products, Product Review