Saturday, November 07, 2009

Day 2 - I can do this.

Today was much better than yesterday. I spread the food out more evenly and ate more overall. Every day is a work in progress. I have more confidence that I can do this.

8:30am: 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1 egg+ 4 whites, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 tsp almond butter. I felt hungry but ok waking up this morning.

9:30-10:30am: One hour trail run. Decent workout but I didn't feel fresh and my stomach was getting rumbly.

10:30am: 1 small apple. In the car on the way to the gym.

11-11:30am: Crossfit workout - DB snatch and pushups, then 100 situps. I was starting to get light-headed but made it through the workout.

11:45am: 1 cup mixed berries, 1 scoop protein, 9 almonds. Smoothie!

12:30pm: 2 cups spinach, 1 cup cabbage, 2/3 cup onion, 4 oz turkey, 3 tbsp avocado, 1 small apple.

4:00pm: 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 1 cup strawberries. Mid-afternoon bonk. I got caught away from home and not prepared with snacks. Mo put together this Paleo snack for me :)

6:00pm: 5 oz turkey, 2 cups spinach, 1 cup cabbage, 1 cup snowpeas, 1 sweet potato, 2 tbsp avocado, 6 almonds. Extra large dinner since I didn't eat much since lunch.

9:30pm: 2 tsp almond butter, 1 small apple, 2/3 cup oatmeal.

**Zone Total for the day: 15 protein, 17 carb, 16 fat **

I am happy I could get in a decent run today. I was hungry but not painfully so. I think I was still hungry from yesterday. My dinner and lunch was turkey cooked with a bunch of veggies and spices was totally delicious. Now that I've got almond butter in the house, it's hard too not eat too much. That stuff is amazing. I am going to have fun finding more new Paleo recipes to try.

Friday, November 06, 2009

day 1 paleo/zone sucked

I just finished my first day of eating Paleo/Zone and here's the report.

7am: 1 egg+ 4 egg whites, 2/3 cup oatmeal, 9 almonds.

7:30am: bike to work - 30 minute easy ride.

10am: 3oz turkey, 2tbsp avocado, 3 almonds.

11am: I am starting to get hungry but need to wait until 12:30.

12:10: 4 cups spinach, 2 cups mixed veggies, 9 walnut halves, 4.5 oz cod. I was so hungry I couldn't concentrate on work anymore. Had to eat early. This meal was big but not totally satisfying.

2:30pm: My stomach is rumbling and I am getting a mild headache from hunger.

2:52pm: Shooting pains in stomach and headache from hunger. Leaving work.

3pm: Bike home from work - 30 minute easy ride but I am working to hold it together to concentrate. So hungry. Lots of negative thoughts.

3:30pm: 1 cup blueberries, 1 scoop whey protein, 2/3 cup oatmeal.  This helped the hunger a little but it felt like just drinking a big glass of water to fill my stomach but not give any sustenance.

4pm: I don't know if I can make it to dinner. Taking a nap will make time pass. Nap 4-5:30.

5:30pm: Complete emotional meltdown. I am so hungry it hurts. I need food. Questioning goals. Questioning this extreme caloric restriction. Time to get online... internet research suggests that this 12 block Zone prescription is way too low for my body size and activity level. I feel better knowing that.

6pm: Small apple, 3 almonds. Snack while making more food.

7pm: 5 cups cooked cauliflower, 4 oz turkey. Ok, my stomach is full now.

9:12pm: I am starving again. The stomach pains are starting.

9:30pm: 1 sweet potato, 2 tsp almond butter. I am full and ready to have this food day be over.

Today's total:  14 blocks protein, 15 blocks carbs, 16 blocks fat.
I probably would have died on the calories in 12 blocks (960). I barely made it as is.

What I learned today is that jumping in to Zone and Paleo at the same time is too much change. It would be better to get a handle on Paleo first and then build Zone into it. I am not sure about eating this much meat and so many eggs (cholesterol and inflammation?) but I think I will learn to be ok without the grains as long as I can still have small amounts of oatmeal.

With Zone it is strange to have to measure and count how many veggies I eat. Usually I just call veggies free and don't worry about eating unlimited amounts. Also, the concept of 3 almonds as a serving seems silly... 3??  I couldn't do any real workouts on this little amount of food so I need to figure out a Zone block prescription that will work better.

Tomorrow I am going to try an 18 block day to see if it will support a normal weekend training routine. Today was day 1 and it did suck as predicted but I am ready to make day 2 better.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Going Paleo and facing fears

Amsterdam Marathon post-race meal....
the only food around: chicken sandwich and fries.
It was hard to eat well while traveling.

I finished up my 2009 training season with the Amsterdam marathon two weeks ago and am now in a "rest and recovery" phase. I put that in quotes because although I have cut back on running, I am now getting a chance to ride my bike again, and most excitingly for me, I am back at CrossFit hammering away on the strength workouts. It's also a great time for me to work on my diet since I am not as concerned with workout quality now. If I have any changes in energy levels, I can just roll with how I am feeling.

So, tomorrow I am starting the Paleo/Zone diet. For the past 18 months I have been experimenting with the amount of meat and dairy I eat to see how to optimize my body composition and performance. So far I have not been able to get below 19% body fat. A typical healthy clean omnivore diet with grains was good at first and then I started to gain weight. I saw huge performance gains when I switched to a vegan diet but then plateaued and began to go downhill after about 4 months. Neither of those diets were completely sustainable over the long-term for me.

CrossFit people swear by this Paleo/Zone combo thing, so that's my next plan of attack. It's a 40/30/30 carb/protein/fat ratio, with emphasis on fruits, veggies, nuts, and meat. It's actually going to be a lot like the Engine 2 vegan diet, except with meat and fish added. I'm choosing not to eat any dairy other than eggs.

The hardest thing about this for me is going to be cutting out the grains. Giving up my morning oatmeal is going to be a bit traumatic. This challenge feels almost more daunting to me than Ironman training. There is probably a reason I have done two Ironmans, but have never been able to optimize my diet. This is about facing my deepest fears and learning to be ok without the comfort that I am used to getting from certain foods. I am ready to do it. 100% or nothing.

Nutrition coach Crystal Nelson of CrossFit Central is going to keep me on track. She says the first three days will be very hard, the first week will be challenging, but after two weeks my body will be used to the change and I will start to see the benefits.