Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kaleo! It's the Magic Pill!

Did you hear? I'm starting a new fad diet! It's called Kaleo. Kale + Paleo = Kaleo. It's a plant based Paleo diet. Genius, no? I'm going to write a diet book and exercise program, hawk them on my blog, badmouth everyone else's way of eating, cherry pick and post a few outlying studies that support my philosophy, get lots of advertisers to pay me to pimp out their products, and make a million dollars. No one has EVER done anything like that before, after all.

B: green smoothie (watermelon, blueberries, spinach, kale, cucumber, avocado, raw protein)
L: 2 rice cakes with natural peanut butter, cubed tofu with olive oil and salt and pepper, small peach/strawberry/cucumber/kale smoothie
S: 2 rice cakes with avocado, apple, peach
D: 2 Praegers' california burgers (speaking of pimping out products, I gotta plug these guys, they're pretty decent for convenience food. They're made almost entirely of vegetables, vegetables that still look like vegetables. Other than some 'soy flakes' pretty far down the list, there's no franken-food in them. They're FAR better than the standard boca/morningstar meat substitute offerings, although still inferior to homemade), 2 whole wheat tortillas, sliced heirloom tomato, mustard.

Cal: 2629
Protein: 135
Fat: 104

AM: 30 minute bodyweight circuit
PM: worked on OHS, freestanding handstand, and clean and jerk. Got up to 115, only 5 pounds off my PR. I'm almost back, guys!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Stopping in to Say Hi

Hi! Been too busy to blog the last couple days. I know I forgot to post my body fat percentage on Saturday when I posted my weigh in, it was 12.4%. That's lower than this device has ever measured me at.


Still staying on program with MyPlate, it's getting easier to get my grains in. I'd forgotten how comforting a big bowl of warm brown rice with a little olive oil and salt and pepper can be. Today's calorie count was right about 2700.

Today's workout:
squat: worked up to a 1 rep max, 155. That's only 5 pounds off my PR, and I've been sidelined from heavy squatting for a month by this darn tailbone injury. That felt good! Then 5 x 5 @ 95. For the record, I squat well below parallel, as close to ATG as my stiff arthritic knees can go.
Several sets of pullups
Assisted dips: 15 w/ assist @ 120, 12 @ 100, 10 @ 80, 6 @ 60, 3 full bodyweight

Saturday, September 17, 2011

9/17 Log

First things first, I know you are all DYING to know what happened with my weigh in today? 1 week in to my MyPlate experiment and my weight this morning...

drumroll please...


What's that you say? I lost 4 pounds? I LOST 4 POUNDS?!?!?!

I lost 4 pounds.

I'm going to explain why now. Paleo/primal readers, feel free to skip this part. You won't believe it anyway.

See, I burn 3000-3500 calories on a normal day. I know this because I've been tracking my diet daily for over three years and I know how many calories it takes to start gaining weight, and how many it takes to lose weight. So when MyPlate gave me a daily allotment of 2600 calories I knew I would lose weight. No matter how many carbs I ate, or how many servings of grain, or how much fructose I consumed. Even if I ate 2600 calories a day of cupcakes, I knew I would lose weight. Some of the 4 pounds I lost was water weight, as depleting my glycogen stores via a calorie deficit also depletes the water that is bound to glycogen molecules. Over the next 3 weeks I will continue to lose weight, but not at as fast a pace. If I stay on a 2600 calorie diet indefinitely, I will continue to lose weight until I reach a body weight and activity level that requires 2600 calories a day to maintain. Even if all I eat is twinkies, I will lose weight until I reach that weight. And then I will maintain that weight until I die of malnutrition from eating only twinkies.

So there ya go.

Today's log:

B: green smoothie
L: salad with chopped veggies, a bit of salmon, and an apple
S: cucumber/kale/honeydew juice
D: veg sushi with a ton of white rice. Needed to get those grain servings in.
S: honeydew. A whole honeydew.

Cal: 2769
Carb: 434
Protein: 127
Fat: 74


3 mile run, followed by
15 round of: 15 jumping pullups/15 box jumps/15 second handstand

Friday, September 16, 2011

9/16 Log

Not too much to report today, got my grain servings in in the form of 4 whole wheat tortillas and a cupcake. Yep, a cupcake. With frosting and everything. Weigh in tomorrow morning, 1 week in. Who wants to make a wager? Will I have gained weight? I have been eating an awful lot of grains after all. 9 whole ounces a day.

B: green smoothie
S: 2 cashew larabars
L: 2 praegers' california burgers in 2 whole wheat tortillas
D: same as lunch, plus an apple
S: green smoothie

Cal: 2402
Carb: 289
Protein: 116
Fat: 106

1.7 mile run
3 max hold handstand
deadlift: 3 x 15 @ 115, 5 @ 165, 5 @ 185, 10 @ 115
a bunch of clean and jerks and overhead squats, didn't keep track
1.3 miles on stairclimber

Wasn't really feeling it today. Not one of my best workouts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/15 Log

Back to troublemaking in the blogoshpere. Today was day 6 of my MyPlate experiment. I haven't been blogging every day, but I have been tracking. I am sticking pretty close to my 2600 calorie allotment, maybe a hair over one day, a hair under another. Except for one day, I've met my requirements for all food groups every day. Today I went whole hog and ate a HUGE plate of white pasta. I'm estimating it was 6-8 1 oz grain servings. See what I do, in the name of scientific discovery?

B: green smoothie (kale, cuke, honeydew, blueberries, avocado, protein, unsweetened soy milk)
S: apple and cashew larabar
L: pasta w/ chopped raw veggies and a bit of tuna salad
S: 2 rice cakes with peanut butter
D: green smoothie (see breakfast), this was also my post workout recovery meal

Cals: 2263 (will eat a bit more before bed)
Carb: 300g
Protein: 114g
Fat: 80g

10 minutes on stairclimber
3 sets max rep deadhang pullups
bench press: worked up to 3 rep max (105), then 3 x 10 @ 70#
squats: 3 x 10 @ 85, 3 x 8 @ 105
assisted dips: 15 w/ assist @ 120, 10 @ 100, 8 @ 80, 5 @ 60, 3 bodyweight

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

After the Voting: Reflections on the Fittest Friends Contest

The voting is over, the judges have weighed in, and public announcements have been made. I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Regina Gunn on winning the Women's Health Fittest Friends contest. You are beautiful, truly fit, and a wonderful role model. I am honored to have competed with (yes, WITH, not against) you, and I hope this is only the first of many, many amazing opportunities for you! I also want to thank Women's Health and Men's Health for running this contest. It was a great opportunity for many aspiring models and performers to get their faces in front of the public, and though I am neither of those things, I met many extraordinary and inspirational women as a result of my participation. Anowa Adjah you are beautiful and strong and such a brilliant and supportive leader. Sarah Laursen, you have overcome so much and are a gentle yet amazingly strong spirit and I know you will go far. Amber Hayes, I am in awe of your power and strength, truly inspired. Lee Lance, although I never connected with you personally, I voted for you over and over, because, well, you're the badass I aspire to be!

I would like to use this platform to speak to the many of you that have contacted me privately to express your frustration, disappointment and even anger about the judges final ruling. I hear you. I acknowledge your feelings. What I want you to know is that I do not consider myself a loser. Don't forget that I encouraged you to vote for other exceptional women, Regina Gunn included! I wanted to see someone extraordinary win this, and that is exactly what happened! I went into this contest with low expectations. I doubted I would get many votes at all! Lets face it, I'm hardly fitness model material, and the main 'prize' of this competition was a chance to model in Women's Health magazine. My muscles are too big, my boobs are WAY too small (and I have no intention of changing them), my hair is too short, my face is too wrinkled. And like many of you, I have stretch marks and veins from pregnancy, and saggy skin from losing so much weight, and as one of the other finalists so eagerly and publicly tweeted, the picture I entered made me look like a man. The judges were looking for a model, and I'm not it! I'm ok with that. I was humbled by the response my entry got. I didn't expect it, and I am so honored. In the end, I AM a winner, because I didn't go into this for the 'prize', I went in to it to get my message out. And friends, you helped me do that! You voted day after day, you posted my profile on your walls and shared my message with your friends, and they shared it with their friends. I have had so many people contact me privately to thank me for inspiring them to make lifestyle changes, and THAT is the only prize that means anything to me. That is the very best prize in the world, to know that because my story was shared, someone out there is taking control of their health. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me do that. I know that many of you were hoping that your votes would send a message to 'the media' that we want to see more diversity in body size, shape and age on the pages of magazines, and like you, I do hope that message was heard.

As for 'my message': I said it during the contest and I will continue to say it until I die. Fitness is not about being sexy to find or please a mate, it is not about looks or money and success or youth or professional athleticism or competing to have the biggest biceps or heaviest deadlift or fastest 5k time. Fitness is about YOU, taking control of your OWN health, improving the quality of your OWN life, finding joy in moving and pride in accomplishing things you never thought you could do because you'd been told, by someone in your life or by societal pressures, that you were too old, or too fat, or too clumsy, or too slow or too weak. It is about valuing yourself enough to dedicate time every day to your own health and well being. It is about setting examples for our children, so they will grow up valuing and respecting us, and THEMSELVES, enough to take pride in their bodies and their accomplishments and their health. Women, it is about feeding and nourishing your bodies with plenty of healthy food, it is about rejecting society's mandate that you must be small and weak in order to be desirable. It is about rejoicing in our bodies' STRENGTH and power, supporting and building each other up, valuing and appreciating our bodies, and those of other women, for what they can DO, not how they look.

Please join me in this 'movement'. Stop dieting. Stop trying to look good for someone else. Start nourishing yourselves with food and movement and love and friendships. If you posted my profile on your wall during the contest, please post this blog post on your wall now so that my gratitude can also reach your friends who took the time to vote for me.

I love you all, and am so grateful for your support, we are all winners.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13 Log

MyPlate FAIL today, I only managed to fit in 4 grain servings. That really does seem to be the hardest part for me. I was so busy I fell back on my regular eating habits. Who would have ever thought the day would come that I would have to struggle to fit enough bread into my diet?

B: green smoothie
L: dr. praegers' california burgers (2) wrapped in whole wheat tortillas.
S: cashew cookie larabar
D: salad w/ shredded beets, olives, beel peppers, crumbled tofu, sesame dressing
S: green smoothie

I can pack a lot of calories into my smoothies, btw, in case anyone looks at my daily menus and is mystified as to how I manage to get my calorie count so high.

Cals: 2743
Carb: 324
Protein: 158
Fat: 117
Sat Fat: 14
Fiber: 83

20 minutes of high intensity core work (just fast paced, no rest)
Squat/pullups superset (10 squats @ 115/max rep pullups)
30 minutes of clean and jerks. Worked up to a one rep max (115, a bit off my pr), then 40 @ 70#

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12 Log

Day three of MyPlate. I'm having a hard time getting in all my grain servings. Not because of the amount, I don't think 9 ounces is all that much. It's because I don't like grain products any more. They taste bland to me. Boring. Not worth the calories. But I soldier on. Today I ended up eating rice cakes with avocado to meet my requirements. I would have preferred to just eat the avocado plain, to be honest, the rice cakes did nothing to enhance the experience. I am finding myself craving green smoothies madly, which also happened when I was eating paleo.

I did manage to fulfill all my recommended intakes. I went way over on fruits and veg, as I suspect will continue to be the case. I can meet my requirements for less than 2000 calories, which leave 600+ calories of my allotment to fill as I wish, and fruits and vegetables are my wish.

B:Green smoothie (spinach, blueberry, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, unsweetened soy milk)
S: cashew cookie larabar
L: 4 ounces worth of savory quinoa pancakes with salsa, green smoothie made from pear, cucumber and spinach
S: almonds and rice cakes with avocado
D: zucchini pancakes w/ avocado
S: another blueberry/spinach/avocado smoothie

Calories: 2568
Carb: 328g
Protein: 140g
Fat: 97g
Sat Fat: 14g
Fiber: 79g

10 minutes on stair climber
3 sets of max rep dead hang pullups
Deadlift: 20 @ 45, 15 @ 135, 10 @ 155, 10 @ 165, 5 x 2 @ 185
Press: 3 x 15 @ 45
Power clean: 3 x 5 @ 65, 3 x 5 @ 75, 3 x 5 @ 85, 3 x 5 @ 95
1 mile jog

My Beef (hardy har har) With The Primal/Paleo Crowd

I think Primal/Paleo is a really healthy way to eat, and far, FAR better than the Standard American Diet. I don't think my diet is superior to the Primal/Paleo diet, and I fully respect anyone who wishes to improve their health by adopting a Primal/Paleo way of eating. I think most people will see a dramatic improvement in their health by going Primal/Paleo. In fact, almost everything I eat (save the legumes) would be right at home in a Primal/Paleo kitchen, and I am quite certain that I wouldn't go hungry at a Primal/Paleo dinner party.

I read a lot of Primal/Paleo blogs and here are some of the things I've read recently:

-a plant based diet will result in high triglycerides

(mine were 33 last time they were checked)

-a plant based diet will result in low HDL

(mine was 68 at last check)

-a plant based diet will lead to accumulation of body fat

(mine is 12.5%. I hate to be all arrogant about that, but that's lower than any paleo woman I know personally. In fact, it's lower than most paleo MEN I know personally))

-a plant based diet will prevent gains in lean body mass

(I've got about 140 pounds of lean body mass, that's as much as a fit MAN my height and weight)

-a plant based diet will limit strength gains

(this MAY be true? but I'm pretty damn strong. Sure, I could be stronger. But I'm pretty damn strong for a 40 year old soccer mom with a arthritis, a day job, and a social life)

-phytates in legumes cause mineral deficiencies

(my mineral levels are so pretty you'd cry)

-lectins in legumes cause leaky gut and poor digestion

(well, first of all I'm not convinced leaky gut exists, but more importantly, my digestion and elimination are, by the standards I see in paleo blogs, perfect)

-vegans are emaciated


-vegans claim mucus in stool are worms


Basically, NONE of the things I hear the Primal/Paleo crowd claim are the dangers of a plant based diet hold true for me, and I've been eating this way for 3 years. In fact, the longer I eat this way, the further away from their vegan stereotype I get. I get stronger and leaner, my triglycerides get lower and my HDL higher. When I mention this, I invariably get an answer along the lines of "well, you're obviously a genetic anomaly". If I were a genetic anomaly, why would my body have responded to the Standard American Diet and sedentary lifestyle the way everyone else's body does: obesity and metabolic syndrome? There's nothing extraordinary or anomalous about me. I'm quite average, I assure you.

So what I'm left with is: why do they feel the need to make shit up about plant based diets to get people to believe in their philosophy? Their philosophy is sound, why undermine their own credibility with, well, made up shit? All those things I listed above are true of crappy diets, not plant based diets.

Primal/Paleo people: more power to you. I respect your dietary choices. I don't go around making shit up about your diet. I believe you are healthy, and your diet is health promoting.

Stop making shit up about mine, and maybe you'll find out we can accomplish more together. Promoting a healthier lifestyle is our common goal, no? Maybe?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MyPlate N of 1, Day 1

In case you missed my post about why I'm conducting this experiment, here it is. This post is to document my beginning stats.

Date: September 10, 2011
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 157.5 pounds
Body Fat: 13.1%
BMI: 22.6
Blood Pressure: 134/77

Notes: my blood pressure reading is from yesterday afternoon at my chiropractic appointment. Not sure why it's reading so high, I'm normally pretty spot on ~120/80. Thought I'd include it anyway. In regard to my body fat: I test it using an Omron hand held bioelectric impedence device. I know these are not accurate. :) I had my BF hydrostatically tested in June 2011 with a result of 12.5%. That same day, this device read my BF% as 13.3%, so I think it's actually decently accurate. However, I'm not assuming that it's reading is 100% accurate. I am using it simply to gauge fat gain or loss over the course of this experiment.


Day 1 MyPlate breakfast smoothie. 1 pear and 1/2 avocado (1.5 cups fruit, 1 fat/oil serving), spinach and cucumber (1.5 cups veg), 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (1 cup dairy), 1 scoop Raw Protein (1 oz protein food). 370 calories, 37 grams carb, 28 grams protein, 16.5 grams fat, 14 grams fiber.

AM Snack:
1 2 oz. slice homemade whole wheat toast (2 grain servings), 1 TBSP home made peanut butter (1 protein serving, 1 fat serving). 193 calories, 22 grams carbs, 8 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 2 grams fiber.

2 2oz. slices homemade whole wheat bread (4 grain servings), 3 oz sliced tofu (3 oz protein), 1 medium tomato sliced (1/2 cup veg), basil leaves, 2 tsp olive oil (2 fat/oil servings), 1/2 a banana (1/2 cup fruit). 429 calories, 60 grams carbs, 20 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 5.6 grams fiber.

Afternoon Snack:

Smoothie: 1 cup spinach and 1/2 cup cucumber (1.5 cups veg), 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 peach (1 cup fruit), 1/2 avocado (1 fat and 1/2 fruit), 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (1 cup dairy), 1 scoop Raw Protein (1 oz protein). 356 calories, 32 grams carb, 29 grams protein, 17 grams fat, 13 grams fiber.

2 2oz corn/whole wheat tortillas (4 grain servings), 1/4 cup black beans (.5 protein), 1 oz shrimp (1 protein), radishes and green peppers (.5 veg), salsa (.25 veg), 1/4 avocado (.25 fruit, 1 fat), 1 apple (1 fruit). 482 calories, 78 grams carb, 23 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 14 grams fiber.


Calories: 1900 (this is very low, I will eat more before bed)
Carbs: 232
Protein: 114
Fat: 68 (also low)
Fiber: 49

Fruits: 5 cups (2 cups recommended)
Veg: 5 cups (3.5 cups rec)
Protein: 7.5 1 ounce servings (6.5 oz rec)
Dairy: 3 cups (3 cups rec)
Grains: 10 1 oz servings (9 oz rec)
Fat: 7 tsp (8 tsp rec)

And my workout today:
10 minutes on stairclimber
OHS 10@ 50, 10 @ 60, 10 @ 70, 8 @ 80
Deadhang pullups: 3 sets max reps
Squats: 5 @ 115, 5 @ 120, 5 @ 125, 5 @ 130, 5 @ 135, 10 @ 115
Handstands: 3 max hold
Hang snatch: 10 @ 45, 2 x 5 @ 55, 2 x 5 @ 60, 2 x 5 @ 65, 1 @ 70, 1 @ 70, 1 (failed) @ 75, 10 @ 45

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Next N of 1 Trial

UPDATE 9/14: five days in and this morning my weight was 157. My BF was 13.2%. Not gaining weight yet *looks at watch*...wonder when those carbs are going to start their evil dirty work?

I enjoy experimenting on myself, especially in regard to diet. It was through experimentation that I learned that I do well on a plant based diet, and that low carb diets make me feel and look like utter crap. I spent 4 weeks recently on a strict paleo diet and was thoroughly unimpressed with the results. I've decided what my next case study will be.

I'm going to follow the USDA MyPlate guidelines for four weeks.

Why, you ask? Well, the USDA guidelines get a lot of flack from the blogoshpere. Diet gurus of all philosophies decry them as little more than a shill for the grain and dairy industries. The USDA's industry-friendly guidelines, they say, are responsible for our nation's obesity and subsequent chronic disease epidemic. Heck, even I have been heard to say that they are a little grain heavy. What will happen to me, you may wonder? Will I develop leaky gut syndrome from all the lectins in the grains I will consume? Disabling mineral deficiencies from the phytates? Will I gain weight uncontrollably as the carbs run amok inside my body, triggering insulin resistance and fat storage even in the absence of excess energy? It stands to reason, after all, that if I consume the diet that led to our obesity epidemic, I will become obese. Oh, the dangers are myriad, and terrifying! But throw myself upon the sword of MyPlate I shall, all in the name of scientific discovery.

Here are the basic guidelines MyPlate gave me based on my age, height, weight and activity level:

2600 calories, pretty decent. Not a starvation level diet, thank goodness. They even provide detailed guidelines for vegans:

2 cups of fruit, 3.5 cups of vegetables, 9 ounces of grain (wait, 9 ounces? That's not very much. I thought the grain industry was trying to force feed us massive quantities of grain?), 6.5 ounces of protein (yep, that's about right), 3 cups of 'dairy' (or soy/almond/hemp replacements in my case). This doesn't sound too terrible. Maybe a little less vegetables and protein than I am used to, but not fatal.

Care to make a wager on the outcome?

I'm starting on Saturday. I will post my beginning stats (weight, BF%, resting heart rate) then, and update periodically as the experiment progresses.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/5 Log

Wow, it's been a while since I logged. Sorry about that! I fell off a bosu ball last weekend and did a number on my tailbone so I took a week off of workouts. That, and being super busy with the first week of school and work and everything else just kind of sucked up all my time. Gonna get back on it though! My tailbone is still very sore so I'm keeping my weights low until I heal up some more.

Warmup: 5 rounds: 10 x 50# thrusters/max rep pullups
full snatch 5 x 5 @ 55#
bent over row 5 x 5 @ 100#
10 minutes working on free standing handstand
squat: 2 x 10 @ 95, 2 x 8 @ 105, 2 x 8 @ 115, 2 x 5 @ 120
Pullups, toes to bar, wall handstands, planks in between sets

B: green smoothie (berries, kale, spinach, cucumber, raw protein, avocado, almond milk)
S: watermelon
L: green smoothie (same as breakfast)
D: salad: greens, chopped veggies, olives, crumbled veg. italian sausage, goddess dressing
Dessert/snacks: peaches, apples, almond milk w/a scoop of raw protein

Cal: 2605 (I'm cutting, 2600 is weight loss level for me)
Carb: 312
Protein: 175
fat: 87 (little low today)