February 27, 2011

Springtime Tallahassee 2010

Proof!  Last year I ran the Springtime Tallahassee 10K and am currently training to run this year's race.  I found this picture on accident and am thrilled to have it.  That was a incredibly fun race and I am genuinely looking forward to running it again this year. 

My spring training is going very well.  This afternoon I start my 1x9 series (walk 1 minute, jog 9 minutes).  I've had some great runs this week, a bit faster, felt a bit lighter on my feet.  The only thing that might be considered a negative is that sometime between minutes 20 and 50 I am experiencing very significant thirst, a gummy dry mouth, and feeling very flushed.  I don't think that I am hydrating properly so today I've decided to work on drinking more of my water before my run instead of balancing the water between before and after the workout.  Starting next week I am going to try and get a longer run in at least once a week- 60 minutes or so.  Additionally, starting next week I will also add some interval training to my workouts.  What this means is that for certain minutes I will try to go faster so that I can build my pace.  I want to get as close to a 12 minute jog before April 2 as I can.  That will be difficult but I can at least make the effort to try. 

Also, more good news.  The other day, Thursday I believe, I totally got the Runners' Seal of Approval.  As I was jogging around the 'lake' (it's really more a pond) a runner passed me and gave me a thumbs up.  I really appreciated this encouragement.  Usually I can be overly sensitive about people noticing me and praising me as I workout.  Generally I wish I was invisble as I jog, I don't like people to notice me.  However, when this runner acknowledged my hard work I felt truly appreciative, like a rite of passage.

Well, I look forward to continued training and will post soon.

February 22, 2011

'Diet Rhetoric' and how to move on

I want this blog to be a positive space, but I also want this blog to be a honest space.  With that in mind I want to address this issue of foods, some being bad, others being good. 

How many times have you heard someone say "I'm having cake, I'm being bad today."

Or how about this: "I've really been focused on my diet, nothing but good foods."

Or maybe "I can't have that, I'm trying to be good."

I am very tired of this kind of rhetoric.  I am tired of some foods being categorized as good , angelic foods and others as evil, terrible foods that bring out the worst in us.  I am also entirely over this idea as 'good' foods as tasting like paper and 'bad' foods being everything that we actually like to eat. 

By demonizing certain foods and beatifying others, we, meaning many women and maybe some men too, we extend those ideas to our own behaviors.  Meaning, if I eat a 'bad' food then I am a bad person undeserving of love, deserving of fatness and poor health.  However, if I eat 'good' foods then I am somehow also a good person and by extension worthy of both self-love and love of others, happiness, a great job and all other awesome kinds of things.

What absolute nonsense.

This idea that someone can somehow earn worth by eating only 'good' foods and avoiding 'bad' foods is incredibly detrimental to the self-worth of women.  These people can either falsely build esteem on their ability to highly control their diets or struggle to love themselves based on this ridiculous notion that by eating certain foods they are bad, wrong, or unlovable.

If you can, let it go. 

Since January I've really been examining how I approach food.  I've had a lot of help with this.  I have a nutritionist, as I've commonly mentioned on this blog, but I also have other mental health professionals who help me examine how I tie my self-worth, esteem, and self-love to what I eat and how I feel about food.  Also, by labeling some foods as bad and the action of eating them as bad, you are also arguing that these actions are somehow sinful, wrong, or evil.  Not so.  Not even a little bit.

I just want to let that all go.

Instead of categorizing foods as either good or bad, I want to encourage any potential readers to think of food in a different way: as everyday foods or as sometimes foods.  An example: I think of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy as 'everyday foods.'  Foods I can and should eat everyday in order to keep me healthy, happy, and strong fall into this category.  'Sometimes foods' are foods like cake, soft pretzels, Barnaby's pizza and wings, beer, real Coke, peanut butter M&Ms, etc.  These foods have a place in my diet, most often in situations that are celebratory like birthday parties, holidays, or restaurant get togethers.  These foods are not bad.  They give me quick energy and more often then not are part of a lot of fun times that I am not willing to give up.  Nor should I have to.

By giving up this idea of 'bad' and 'good' foods I can let all of this rhetoric go and instead move my life forward.  By maintaining this idea that there are foods that are 'sometimes' foods and not 'everyday' foods I can let myself enjoy them while still understanding my relationship with them.  I do not have to think of any food as somehow detrimental to either my self-worth nor my future health of ability to lose weight. 

 Be well.

February 19, 2011


Great party tonight.  Annie Sue turned 25 this month and she threw a great party to celebrate.  This girl has class!

February 18, 2011

400 Calorie Fix

Since January I have made a lot of changes to my portions, included more fruits and vegetables, tried to eat better in general, but overall I'm not eating anything special nor am I excluding anything entirely.  Instead, I have embraced the 400 Calorie Fix.

This book is really helping me with my success.  Since January I've lost 18.5 lbs.  It does not emphasize any particular kind of diet (like Atkins, the Blood Type Diet, South Beach, etc) instead it just emphasizes portion control.  In encourages you to make every meal about 400 calories and I eat four meals a day.  This usually puts me between the 1600-1700 calorie range.  I do not want this blog to become a daily tally of what I eat but I do want to show you how much food you can eat for 400 calories.  An example: my breakfast this morning included an Alternative Bagel 110, light cream cheese 160, a Light and Fit yogurt 80, and half cup of fresh blueberries for 30.  This all adds to 380.  Additionally I have a cup of coffee that averages about 65 calories.  This is by far my most filling, favorite breakfast.  Other breakfasts include oatmeal with dried fruit and a yogurt, or cereal with fresh fruit and yogurt. 

It seems that, for me, this 400 calorie number seems to really help.  All my meals are about the same size.  I have a breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus a dessert.  A 400 calorie dessert is a pretty big dessert.  For example, last night I had a Warm Delights mini microwave cake 150, an Edy's half cup of light chocolate ice cream 170, strawberries, and a piece of chocolate.  All for 390 calories. 

I will say this, when I first started I was very hungry, sometimes all day.  This has gotten better but there are times that I just have to ride it out.  My nutrionist has advised me to break up my dessert into two 200 calorie meals but I don't want to do that.  I guess if I felt like I really needed to eat then I would but I love knowing that my large dessert is coming. 

All in all I think this book is great.  It gives me the structure and guidance I needed.  I gave me some great recipe ideas and the pictures are a real help.

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today has been great.  My students turned in their first paper, I gave a lecture, and I went to Zumba this evening.  I am exhausted and enjoying V-Day with the one man in my life: Jackson, my dog.  He's a good date too: he cuddles, gives good kisses, and doesn't mind that I don't share my chocolates with him.
I love the idea of Valentine's Day.  I think that designating a day to celebrate the fact that people can fall in love is wonderful.  Historically, the choice to fall in love and find a life partner based on mutual affection is relatively new, only about 200 years old. 

I hope everyone is spending the day with someone they love, be they with two legs or four.

February 11, 2011

Feeling really good.

Overall I've had a great, but busy, week.  My students have a paper due on Monday so I've spent a lot of time working with some of them on their writing, their arguments, their ideas.  I have to say, that for the students who have come to me and worked with me over the week, I'm impressed with their hard work.  Some of them did not let this wait until the last minute and really used me to their advantage.  That's smart. 

On the down side there are some students who are working very hard but I know that they will continue to struggle all semester.  I'm very willing to help them in any way that I can but it breaks my heart knowing that someone, somehow, let them down earlier in their education.  The only upside to this, and it's pretty significant, is that these students will almost certainly be able to get a degree and that degree may afford them some upward mobility, open doors, and they will have it for the rest of their lives.  I often take my experiences in education for granted, it was never hard for me.  I succeeded with little effort and I do often wonder what might have happened if I had truly pushed myself. 

Otherwise I've have a good week.  I met with Heather (nutritionist) on Monday, I got several workouts in this week, I've kept to my calorie goals of 1600-1700.  As far as this being a healthy-living, weightloss blog, this week has been 'successful.'

School is about to gear up soon.  In addition to my students' papers, they also have a midterm on Friday.  I have my own midterm the following week.  I also need to work on my papers for this semester.

February 8, 2011

Super Bowl- not what I thought it would be.

Well as most people know the Super Bowl was this past Sunday.  It set a world record for viewership with 111 million viewers.  The previous record holder was last year's Super Bowl with about 107 million.  Before that the record holder had been the series finale of M*A*S*H* with 63 million people in 1983.  Even before that (just to give some perspective) the most watched event in American history was the cliffhanger 'Who Shot JR?' episode of Dallas in 1980.

I watched the game while I wrote a lecture on Polish Americans for my class.  The game was not that interesting- it's no secret that the Steelers did not play as well as anticipated.  Commercials were okay.  Half-time show, while energetic, not earth shattering.  Overall, I give this game a 'meh' for entertainment because it just could not live up to all of the hype, despite the surprise appearances of both Slash and Usher.

The single thing I had been looking forward to most was the food.  I mean, for about ten days before the Super Bowl I kept thinking to myself 'Today I can stay in my calorie ranges and it will all be worth it because on Super Bowl Sunday I am going to get Barnaby's pizza and wings!!!'  I mean I was rocked out stoked about this.  I love Barnaby's pizza and wings.  It is easily my favorite casual restaurant in Tallahassee and the fact that it looks a lot like the inside of a pirate ship is only part of it- the food is really good.

So come Sunday and I eat on plan all day (I mean this is not a all-day calorie event, this is just for the game).  I go for a jog.  I go home and order my food and then drive all the way across town, because of course this is the kind of place that doesn't deliver, and fork over my $18.65 and leave with food that I had been anticipating for more than a week.  I get home, feed the pets, set myself up with game the on, a huge glass of water, and commence the eating.  It's delicious.  I mean, really, great.  Exactly what I had been waiting for and the taste and texture totally lived up to the hype in my mind.

And then I got full.

What the heck?  After only three wings and three tiny squares of pizza (Barnaby's doesn't sell pizza in trianglular slices, but in small squares) I was full.

Ladies and gentlemen this really ticked me off!  I mean, I had been planning on this calorie fest for almost two weeks!  I kept to my four 400 calorie meals with dilegence knowing that in the end I would get to eat pizza and wings without feeling guilty at all. 

'But Elizabeth, just put that food in the fridge and enjoy it tomorrow!'

Can't do that.  There's no way to fit B's pizza into 400 calorie meals so if I do that then I have two days off of plan.

So for the next three hours of the game and into the overly advertised follow-up episode of GLEE I ate.  I made myself eat.  I finished those wings.  I tried to eat the pizza but just couldn't.  Even as I was doing this I didn't feel good, I felt uncomfortable, I felt frustrated, and once it got cold it didn't taste as good as it did when I first opened the boxes.  I was so angry!  In times past eating B's pizza and wings would have been an awesome, tasty, pleasurable, completely enjoyable experience and I feel robbed of this!  I feel like someone took something away from me that I love and made it this pathetic, self-punishing event.  What I had been looking forward to for days just could not live up to my expectations and it wasn't because the food wasn't good but it was because I couldn't eat as much of it as I wanted to, that I had planned to. 

What do I do now?  Will food lose its pleasure for me?  That makes me sad as previously food had been this amazing thing that I enjoyed.  I didn't just enjoy the tastes and textures, I loved the act of eating, of chewing, of feeling full, of celebrating in a large meal.  Now, I may not be able to do this anymore.

That doesn't mean that I won't try later, because let's face it, large delicious, rich meals are real events to me and I may try to keep loving them for awhile before I am able to walk away from them.

This was not a change I was ever expecting and I am just not sure how to handle it yet.

February 7, 2011

New look!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fancy new look of Genuine Efforts.  My friend Annie, of Turning Pages, made this blog a very special place.  I think it fits me well- feminine and sincere.  Thank you again Annie for my beautiful blog!

In other news things are going overall well.  Being sick has kept me from exercising but I am happy to report that I was able to go back to Lake Ella to jog yesterday afternoon, doing 40 minutes of the 4x6 breakdown (four minutes of walking, six of jogging).  On Sunday next the breakdown will be 3x7 and so on until I get to 1x9.  Once I get to 1x9 I will work on making some minutes faster or more pushed then others with some recovery time.  I also want to get to a 50 minute workout.  I hope this will help me achieve 12 minute mile for Springtime Tallahassee.

I met with Heather again, my nutritonist.  She's great.  Again she encourages flexibility as being key to making these longterm changes and more sustainable.  She's quick to see that I can be very rigid and fixed (I like to think of it as carefully planned and controlled) and knows that if my plans don't always work out that I get frustrated and am likely to quit or self-sabotage.  She encourages me to relax and anticipate things not always working out as I plan and would like me to consider how to handle that.  It's sound advice and I've learned even since January that I have to sometimes give up control in exchange for sanity and peace of mind.

Look for another post tomorrow about the Super Bowl!

February 4, 2011

Zumba today

I've been sick now for ten days.  The worst has been over for three or four days now but I just cannot shake this cough. 

This cough is not the bone shaking cough but more of a constant inconvenience.  When I walk up hills or do anything remotely strenuous I cough. 

This is making me stir-crazy.  Just as soon as I get back into jogging and zumba I get sick! 

I went to zumba tonight, the first bit of real exercise in 10+ days.  I could.not.stop.coughing. 

It was embarassing.  I ended up leaving after 25 minutes. 

I miss exercising so much- I feel so yucky.

On a more pleasant note, I have lost 14 pounds since the New Year!  I'm so awesome!!  I am going to try and go for a jog tomorrow.  Even if it is only for twenty minutes I know it will be better than nothing.

February 1, 2011

Where I wish I was today!

The Pantheon in Roma!

I wish I was there right now, sitting in front of the obelisk, watching the kids eat gelato, eating McDonald's fries (yes, McDonald's bought a space directly in front of the Pantheon and I find the irony humorous), and enjoying the general splendor.

This is why I want to get healthy, lose weight, and get fit. 

I want to go back to Europe and enjoy all of it.  I want to eat gelato twice a day 'con crema' and eat pasta every evening.  I want to walk the Piazza Navona at every conceivable time of day.  I want to enjoy the shopping.  I want to toss coins in the Trevi Fountain and ensure a third trip. 

I miss Italy.  I miss it like a relative that I love that maybe lives far away or a best friend that I haven't seen in ages.  Just like those relationships, I long for Italy.  I also know, that like those relationships, I could walk back into Roma and just as before resume the closeness and happiness I found there before.

Maybe even find love there?

Probably not!  Those Italian men are cads!