March 19, 2013

Diary of a Meat Eater: Day 8

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This past week was rough. Fatigue plagued me like never before. Each piece of fruit gave me about 30 minutes of energy, then I deflated like a ruptured balloon. I walked from work to training to bed in a tired fog.

Today, I woke refreshed. Full of energy and hope. And full of cravings. I kept smelling foods I don’t even like that much, and it made my insides itch to taste them. White sauce. Scones. Granola bars. All mediocre things that I want.

The cravings should subside in about two weeks, or so I’m told. If anyone’s got tips on how to survive that long, send them this way.

Imagine me shipwrecked on a desert island, holding on to sanity by the skin of my teeth and the tip of a coconut.


March 11, 2013

Diary of a Meat Eater: Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 8:06 am
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Day 1:
The world is a dark and terrifying place, but I set out with a packed lunch and a strong mind.

The cravings sets in around lunch. Broccoli and tuna cannot sate my needs. I smell my coworkers’ bread from across the table. Coffee tastes like ashes, but it’s keeping me going.

I was told to cleanse my house of all carbs, but after yesterday’s farewell binge, each surface is littered with crumbs, chocolate wrappers and leftover candy. The diningroom table looks like an offering to the Elder Gods, the kitchen counters like a morning-after for the cookie monster.

I will stay strong.

I started the 1 month paleo challenge today. I plan on journaling my progress (into carb restricted madness). Hope you enjoy!

February 26, 2012

Cheat days

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 12:49 am
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I don’t know how I feel about cheat days. On the one hand, I see the point of the people who compare it to smoking: if you keep having cheat smokes, you’ll never really lose the cravings. On the other hand, I see the point of people who say that you have to live with this diet for years, and in order to stick with it, you need to be able to indulge sometimes.

I guess, if I had to take a stand, I’d go with option B, mostly because I can’t quite imagine never eating a slice of pizza again. So I indulge, once a month.

But here’s the rub: when I’m going to indulge, and I set a day aside for myself to eat whatever I want, I want a lot. I don’t just eat one piece of fudge from the box on the table, I eat the chocolate, the chips and the fudge, and nevermind the sharing. I make a list of the foods I miss the most, and eat all of them.

Sure, it’s just once a month. Not enough to kill me, and definitely worth it to keep my spirits up and my heart content, but is it healthy? I would never stuff my face like this if I didn’t feel like I was trying to get the most out of some magical “free pass.” I’m like a hungover frat boy at an all-you-can-eat buffet, when I should be a French lady, tasting everything, but eating moderately.

Is this just me, or do you too feel like you have to make the most out of your cheat days? How do you deal with your cheat meals? Do you have any at all?

February 6, 2012

The Circle of Fail

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 9:28 pm
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I make the same mistake four times a year. I step onto the scale (or try a new dress and have it not fit, or try an old skirt and have it not fit, or notice that my face looks different in pictures from a couple of years back), note down the number that defines whether I’m doing a good job of being a woman or not, and then promptly panic.

This leads to a stream of good intentions that last about a month, by which time I feel better about myself and go back to my everyday life. Four months later, I’ll step on the scale (or swap pants with a friend and realize we’re no longer the same size, or get hand-me-downs from my mom that it turns out I can’t wear, or have an ice-cream binge followed by a burst of guilt) and start all over again.

I call this the Circle of Fail.

This January was no different. I started out with good intentions. The first two weeks were excellent. I felt good, I worked hard, I trained even harder and I shed kilos like a pro, but then it stopped. The next three weeks, I lost nothing. Did I do anything differently? Not a thing. I’ve tracked my calorie intake every day since I started the Paleo challenge (for the second time, this time more successfully), and I’m doing okay. I’m cutting back on carbs and fat, I’m eating less than normal, I’m maintaining my training program, and nothing happens. Let me tell you, there’s nothing less motivating than saying no to every temptation, and not seeing results.

Well, I say I’m not seeing results, but that’s not exactly true. The weight I lost in the first two weeks have stayed off, and I have lost a centimeter all around my body. But centimeters are slower and harder to measure, and every time I step on the scale and it gives me the same number (77.5kg), I feel more defeated. I feel like losing weight shouldn’t be this hard.

True to form, the same thought patterns are going through my head again: it’s too hard. I’m not that far off my goal, perhaps I should just learn to be happy where I’m at. Maybe I’ll never be pleased with my weight anyway, so I should just be happy now.

I know this is fear and laziness masking as sense, but I can’t help feeling this way.

It’s also interesting to notice that it took me less than a month to turn what started out as a completely reasonable goal (I want to be in the 72kg weight class for power lifting) into a dieting obsession.

So, what should I do?

I’ve decided to put my scale in the closet. I’ll still be measuring my intake, so the odds of gaining weight should be low. I’ll stay paleo and keep my training program going. And who knows, maybe alleviating the pressure of building my hopes up and having them crushed every Tuesday morning might make my body respond better to the new diet? At least it’ll give me time to wait for the slow and steady results of living healthy and training well.

Do you think I can avoid the Circle of Fail this time? How do I keep on keeping on without turning obsessive or getting depressed? What would you do in my situation?

January 22, 2012

The New Training Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 12:54 am
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As I mentioned a few weeks back, I’ve decided to change my training program and eating habits to facilitate weightloss. My diet is hardcore paleo, a surprisingly pleasant ordeal so far. The training program is a bit more complex, so I thought I’d jot it down for you.

Martine’s fatloss training program:

Morning program:
This program is done Monday through Friday. Alternating days you do either 50 kettlebell swings or sun salutations. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells at home, I suggest switching the exercise for burpees (though you might want to decrease the amount of reps at first). The good thing about this is it wakes you up, gets your body going, without tiring you out before work.

Afternoon program:
Here, the real work begins. My program is designed to give maximum fatloss, meaning weightloss without decreasing muscle mass. (I know morning workouts would be better for fatloss, however, that doesn’t mesh with my current work situation. But if you want to try this program, every workout can be done in the morning.)

Monday: Powerlifting
Squats: warm-up sets then 5×3 work sets. Each time you successfully do three sets of five reps, you increase the weight with 5lbs for next session. Right now, I’m lifting 165lbs. Next week, I’ll be lifting 170.

Press: warm-up sets, then 5×3 work sets. Same deal for progression.

Power-cleans: Same deal.

Tuesday: Interval running
I do 4×4 intervals. That is, four minutes of sprinting (currently 9.5K/hr) followed by three minutes of rest pace (currently 5.5K/hr) four times. Remember to warm up before your work sets and increase the pace every time you successfully complete all four sets.

Wednesday: Metcon
For my metcon day I do a variation of the famous crossfit exercise Fran. 10×3 reps of thrusters and inverted rows for time (my thrusters are currently at 65lbs). To add progression in this exercise, I’ve added the rule that if I can complete the exercise within less than ten minutes, I add another set next time. So if I finish in five minutes, I’ll have to do four rounds of work sets next week. Once I hit five rounds, I increase the weight and start over. Short, and sweet.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Powerlifting
Squats: Same deal as Monday. 5×3
Bench: Same concept, only with bench press. 5×3
Deadlift: Again, same concept, except instead of adding 5lbs if you complete your work set, you add 10lbs, and instead of three sets of five reps, you only need to do one.

Saturday: Interval running
To mix up my intervals, I do 2×8 intervals on Saturday. That is 2 minutes of sprinting (currently 9.5K/hr), followed by 1 minute of rest pace (currently 7K/hr) eight times. Again, remember to warm up before your work sets.

Sunday: Yoga
I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who’s a yoga instructor, so we practice together each Sunday. If you don’t have the opportunity to following someone else’s lead here, I strongly suggest you go to youtube and get some free classes there. It’s amazing what a difference it can be to have someone guide you through the movements.

So there you have it. Pretty straight forward, no? I’m enjoying it so far, but I’d love to hear your opinions. Does it sound doable? Fun? Challenging? Do you want to join me? I’d love to know how it works for you!

January 7, 2012

Bulk and Cut

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 8:08 pm
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Over the last two years, I’ve completed three rounds of bulking and cutting, a system where you eat an excess of calories while lifting weights for a few months (I’ve done the Starting Strength program), and then cutting calories while training metcon/crossfit for the same amount of time. This method is supposed to max out your strength gains while ridding you off excess fat after your gain period is over. My results after three rounds of bulking and cutting: squats from 90lbs to 215lbs, bench from 65lbs to 120lbs, deadlift from 45lbs to 235lbs, weight from 160lbs to 180lbs. That’s right: I’ve had no problems doing the bulking part, but the cutting part has left me 20lbs heavier.

Each time I’ve thought it was just me. I’ve not gone the distance, pushed hard enough, been meticulous enough. So I try again, and add another few pounds to my butt. Two things happened during Christmas that put this view in perspective. First, my man and I both did our four month weigh-in and measurements after doing the same training program and diet plan. He’d lost 7lbs and 3inches around his stomach in the four months of cutting without restricting calories. All he did differently was change his training program. I had lost nothing. Four months of metcon, running and semi-low carb eating had left me without results.

Cue self-pity, right? No. Cue research mode. I talked to a Norwegian friend of mine who competes in powerlifting. I asked her about diet and her methods for gaining muscle without gaining weight (important since she wishes to stay within her weight class). She said that she’s given up on bulking and cutting. Why? Because, in her experience, women struggle more with losing weight than men. Even if we have a high metabolism due to being active and muscular, women have a harder time shedding excess fat. This fit well with what I’ve experienced. For the first time, I heard another active woman say what I’d thought was just me being
unmotivated: it is hard to cut.

It felt good to know that maybe my lack of results aren’t because I’m lazy, but because of actual physical differences between men and women. The system of bulking and cutting is designed by men, for men, and even though I love the starting strength program, I might have to skip the gallon of milk next time. Instead, I’ll follow the advice of my friend: eat healthy all the time, and focus on gaining strength without gaining fat.

What does this mean for me? Well, in the next four months, I’ll be trying to cut without losing muscle, but this time I’m doing it woman style. So stay tuned for my training program and diet plan.

January 1, 2012

Happy new year!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 2:10 pm
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Thank you to all my wonderful friends for sharing 2011 with me. I have a feeling 2012 will be an excellent year.

I don’t really have any resolutions for this year. I have training goals, and writing plans, but no set improvements that I wish to make upon my life. But I know that 2012 will be exciting. You see, I have exciting news. On Tuesday Jan 3rd I’ll become a Text Coordinator, proofreading and editing text for computer games, and coordinating the collaboration between the localizations team and the writers of games to make sure everything is running smoothly. I couldn’t be more excited (unless someone wanted to publish my latest novel, of course. Oh gods of the publishing world, hear me). Anyways, that means 2012 will be a different year no matter what I do. I’ll be a full-time employee in a writing community and doing writingesque stuff. Life couldn’t be much better.

Other plans for the new year include a fresh training program, and a second go at the 30 day Paleo challenge after I read this inspiring blog post by Sarah Fragoso. The only person holding me back is myself. So this year I’m going to kick-start my new job with a fresh start at healthy, natural living and exciting changes to my training. Stay tuned for more info on that.

I have a good feeling about this year people.

How about you? Any resolutions? Any goals? Any premonitions about 2012?

November 26, 2011

The fitness and nutrition article you should read right now

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 1:03 am
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I could spend a bunch of time concocting my own rant about fitness and priorities, but why do that when Jason Seib has already written it for me? Let me quote you a nugget of wisdom:

“Some of you aren’t lifting weights because you won’t go to the gym because you are intimidated by the people there. This one makes me want to scream! I understand that you feel like you stick out and everyone is staring at you. What I don’t understand is how you can place enough value in the opinions of complete strangers that you are willing to sacrifice your health and well being just to avoid them.”

Now go read the rest of the article.

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