Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Healtiest Diets in America

I just found this article on about some of the better diet plans out there on the market today. While I don't normally suggest a prepackaged diet plan, loosely following the South Beach Diet helped me gain a better understanding of how foods impact my sugar levels. Read this article to see if one of them might help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Typically this is the time of the year that many people realize that they've eaten way too much during the holidays and choose to make a resolution to lose the weight, hopefully by bathing suit season. I can't help but dismiss most people's resolutions since many people give up rather quickly. There are a couple reasons for this, and hopefully you can learn from other's (and my own) mistakes.

1. Your goal is too lofty. As much as we'd all love to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, it's not possible. If you do lose that much weight that fast, then it's not in a healthy way and more than likely you'll gain it all back and then some once you've come off the crash diet you embarked on or quit taking the diet pills. Plus if you lose weight too quickly you'll end up with a lot of excess skin (think of the folks who have had gastric bypass). Who wants that? Give your body time to get used to being healthy again.

2. You aren't willing to put in the work necessary to meet your goal. To lose weight in a healthy way, you should not lose more than 1-2 pounds a week (doesn't sound hard until you try it). This means either cutting out or burning 3500-7000 calories a week. Preferably it is better to combine a healthier diet plus a good exercise routine. Unfortunately the weight won't come off on it's own. You have to be willing to break a sweat 3-4 times a week and make a commitment to yourself to eat better. (Working out like a fiend and eating all the junk you get your hands on isn't only sabatoging your efforts, you'll quickly get tired of working out so much and you're still stuck with bad eating habits. Trust me - I've done this.)

How can you avoid the pitfalls we've all had when trying to keep our resolutions? Here are a couple suggestions from me:

1. Make your goal realistic. Perhaps instead of focusing so much on how much you want to lose you can focus on a fitness goal. For example - try to run for a whole mile without stopping. Don't worry about how fast you're running. Just run. Build up to that level of endurance by gradually increasing your running time. Start at 2 minutes and go from there. The Everything Running Book by Art Liberman, Stephen Pribut, and Carlo De Vito gives an excellent mileage build up chart for beginners. You'll burn calories while you're doing this while keeping the exercise interesting.

2. Tell people about your goal. The more people that know about your goal and how you're doing, the more likely you are to stick with it. Just don't fall into the trap of doing all of this work for everyone but yourself. And if it seems like you have a friend or friends who are unwittingly sabotaging your goals by encouraging you to eat junk or skip the workouts, then you know that you need limited interaction with those people. Surrounding yourself with people with similar goals makes meeting your goals that much easier.

3. Do your research. If you think a gym membership will help you, then by all means buy a membership. Just know what you're getting into. Most people quit going to the gym after a few months. Since January is the busiest time for gyms, be prepared for too many people and too few of them with manners. If running outside is more your style, read up on what it takes to make that successful (I heartily suggest the right gear, which varies from region to region).

In the end, don't make getting fit and healthy a chore. This should be a resolution for a healthier and happier you.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

With the holidays coming to a close, I hope everyone was able to spend time with their loved ones and enjoy the crazy weather that Atlanta has been blessed with the past few weeks.

I was fortunate enough to get everything I wanted for Christmas this year - gift cards to Dick's Sporting Goods so I can buy more winter running gear! I plan on hitting the store tomorrow after work (yes I am one of the fortunate folks who have to work the day after Christmas). Hopefully I can snag a great deal on long sleeve t-shirts, tights, gloves, and maybe a hat or two. I also plan on treating myself soon by going to a specialty running store to buy myself some running shoes based on my running style.

I plan on beginning a mileage build up in about a month so I can be good and ready for this year's Peachtree Road Race. I feel confident about it because I can really see the progress I've made in each race. It's taking a lot of work and dedication, but it's really worth it.

Have a safe and happy holiday!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Va Highland Christmas 5k

So my running buddy Jennifer and I decided that since this was a Christmas run we'd dress up a bit. Too bad I didn't think about the weather enough because Saturday was HOT (55 degrees!)!!!

This turned out to be one of the most challenging courses I've run so far. The only course that was harder was Clyde's Run which was my first 5k. Hills and I do not get along. I am proud of my time, which was 39:40. It's about 4 minutes slower than my PR, but considering that my PR was achieved on an extremely flat course I am pretty happy. Plus this is a much better time than my 47+ time at Clyde's Run. For those that don't know Clyde's Run was on July 19th.

All in all I've made some significant strides in my running this year, and I have myself to thank for it. Yes, I met friends at races and we cheered eachother along the way, but in the end I did this myself. I also did this for myself. If I hadn't taken charge of my body and diet, then I'd still be sitting at home wondering why I was gaining weight and my blood sugar levels were making me sick. I am still working towards my ultimate goal of running in the Peachtree Roadrace this July. It will be my first 10k, and my biggest race ever. It's actually the biggest 10k in the United States, and right in the middle of the Georgia summer (July 4th).

Go ahead and laugh at my picture. If you think I was the most outrageous person at the race, you've never seen two men wearing matching silver and gold tights *wink*

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bondi Band

Oh the joys of Bondi Band!

I had read about them in another running blog I subscribe to, and since they were on sale I decided I should try them out. I just received them today, and they're awesome!! I have short hair that isn't long enough to put up in a pony tail, but it's long enough to get on my nerves while working out. Most of the ones I ordered are more for everyday wear, but the black one was ordered specifically for running because it's dry wick. These bands are super wide so they hold back my hair without having to worry about bobby pins or elastic bands. I certainly recommend trying them out - especially if regular head bands give you head aches like they do for me. I like to think that my enormous head means my brain is bigger =)

Wish me luck in my race tomorrow! I will have results and hopefully pictures up shortly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's race time!

This Saturday I will be running in the Virginia Highlands Christmas 5k. The first 500 get a free Santa hat (I hope this means the first 500 people who register because I'm sure I will get my butt kicked). Gotta love free swag! In fact, I really love race swag. All the races I've participated in so far at least had a t-shirt (even if it was ugly), but most of them also have a goody bag filled with coupons and other free stuff from the race sponsors. This year's Roswell Rise 'n Run had free pancakes after the race!

I have been training consistently for the past couple months, and with the last race I saw a definite improvement (I improved my personal record from 40:30 to 35:30). I don't anticipate that kind of improvement this time around, but I am hoping for 35:00. For most people shaving a minute off their PR is huge - 5 minutes was mind-boggling for me.

I'm still trying to find a good race to participate in for January, but I'm having a hard time with it. January is right in the middle of the slow season for races, so I might have to suck it up and go to the 5k in Marietta on January 24th. I have personal reasons for not wanting to participate in that race, and no it's not because it's a church.

I definitely recommend attending a race just to see what it's like. They're addictive!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup - Evil or just okay?

Runner's World magazine reported in their January issue that a study showed no evidence that high fructose corn syrup (hfcs) is metabolized any differently that sugar. While I understand that food manufacturers use hfcs to cut costs and increase shelf life, doesn't it scare you that so much of what we eat depends on this unnatural substance (or that we are so addicted to sugar that we have to have it everything we ingest)? Ask anyone who has struggled with his/her weight and tried cutting out carbs - it's nearly impossible to get away from the stuff.

With the obesity epidemic becoming more and more widespread, we as a society need to do more to save ourselves. Before you know it we'll all be too fat to walk or have babies. We're committing suicide as a species. Some may say that's okay with them. I for one think that that line of thought is idiotic.

Here's a good link on how to limit the effects of hfcs and sugar in your diet. Let me know if you think I'm paranoid about hfcs, but I definitely have my hypoglycemia under better control now that I'm trying to avoid sugar overload.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ahhh the eliptical....

So I had read in another blog that a great way to break up the monotony of running on a treadmill is to essentially circuit train using a variety of cardio machines. i.e. run for 10 minutes, then get on a bike for 10 minutes, then 10 minutes on an elliptical, etc. So I did that on Saturday. I got 30 minutes of really good cardio in, and I felt awesome. Unfortunately I woke up Sunday with my upper back so sore I could hardly move my neck. Turns out that going bonkers on the elliptical can really strain your upper back. I finally stopped being sore this afternoon!

Will I do this kind of training again? Absolutely. It was actually a lot of fun. Will I exercise (ha! pun intended) more caution the next time I'm on an elliptical machine? Hells yeah.

P.S. I only wish my butt looked as good as this chick's.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Would you run every single day for 30 years?

I was so inspired reading this article that I just had to write about it. This man has been running every single day for 30 years. He's run through broken toes, a heel infection, and who knows how many days of inclement weather. We can talk about how running is healthy and good for you and whatever, but this guy keeps going because it's fun. It's in his blood.

I read this tonight when I was supposed to be running myself. I just couldn't bring myself to go to the gym and get on that treadmill tonight (it's so boring!!). I am, however, looking forward to my runs this weekend when I will be outside.

Well, I'll give myself a break today because we're all allowed a day to be lazy. But you bet I'll be remembering this guy when I'm running Saturday.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I finally got my magazine!

I decided to subscribe to a running magazine (Runner's World) and the first issue came in the mail this week! Yay!!! I like this magazine because it covers the gamut from super experienced runners that participate in marathons to people like me who often need a lot of help just to work out a little three times a week. I definitely recommend checking it out!