Sick Days…

My family was sick all week last week. Coughing, congestion, etc. I was hoping that I wouldn’t get it. Actually, I was sleeping, taking Vitamin C, taking Vitamin D – all in hopes I wouldn’t get it.

I got it…not too bad, though! In fact, I haven’t had a cough at all. I have felt a little congested and very achy, so I took it easy on Saturday and Sunday.

Feeling good this morning, I decided to go for a run – of course, using the Primal Endurance/Maffetone method. I strapped on the hr monitor, called my mom (usually I listen to podcasts, but it is also a good time to talk on the phone), and set off. My hr started beeping pretty quickly into it. I was surprised because I didn’t feel like I was putting out much effort.

The entire exercise was really helpful, though. Yes, I knew that I was still getting over my sickness, but I didn’t feel like I should take another day off. I felt really upbeat and better than I have for the last few days. If I was dragging at all, I wouldn’t have gone out.

Even though I’m feeling better, my body is still recovering. I think that what I did today was fine – especially since I stayed in my heart rate. I guess that’s what I find interesting. I’m guessing that it was a lot easier to get to my max heart rate because my body is still under a little bit more stress. I’m really happy about having this heart rate monitor. And instead of getting upset, I just slowed down.

After my run/walk, I came home and felt super refreshed. All good signs. I hope that soon I’ll be able to go faster, but I’m willing to keep having faith about the Primal Endurance/Maffetone method.

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Views – one of my favorite thing about running/walking
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I want Candy

I’m addicted to sweets. I know, who isn’t.

I did really well the first three days, but today, my sweets cravings are going to drive me crazy.

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mmmmm….chocolate…

I am trying to think of some kind of way to trick myself. I know that I don’t really need sugar. I know that I’m just addicted to it. I know that if I give it enough time, the cravings will disappear.

I also know that I’ve cut down my carbs a lot, so the sweets cravings may actually be me crying out for glucose in any form. I am trying to become “fat adapted,” but this doesn’t mean I want to be ketogenic. It’s okay for me to burn some glucose.

So – I might be craving cookies or brownies or something horrible, but that’s not what I actually need.

Some ideas:

  1. I can try to simply eat more fat. I’ve been pretty conscientious of this, actually. Of course, today I didn’t have any eggs at all (that’s for another blog post). I also usually have some coconut milk with a shot of coconut oil, and I just wasn’t feeling it this morning. So, maybe I just need more fat.
  2. I’ve been tired today. I woke up tired. I got plenty of sleep, and felt like I should wake up, so I woke up. However, I think that I might have needed a little bit more sleep. I took a nap and am feeling a little bit better. Feeling tired always seems to make me crave not-good-for-me-foods.
  3. I might be starving myself of glucose. As in, I might be going too low-carb. Not sure. I haven’t tracked any of my macronutrients. I’m not sure how I feel about being too low carb. I’ve done it in the past, but then it always leads to the same thing – an eventual gorge-fest of carby foods. I really like Mark Sisson’s approach – being both a glucose burner and a fat burning “beast.” And being able to transition between the two easily.
    If this is the case – then I need to be sure I’m having some kind of starchy vegetable (which I haven’t had any of yet), or maybe fruit every once in a while. Obviously, I don’t want to overdo it on the fruit if I want to lose weight, but a little bit – some berries or a very small serving of some other fruit – probably won’t hurt me. And maybe that’s just what I need.

 

Well, I think that I did the best thing I could possibly do for now. Instead of eating anything, I sat down and typed up this blog post. Even though I want candy, treats, cookies, whatever, I know that I don’t! I don’t want to sacrifice my long-term health for this short term craving.

Maybe in the future, when I’m craving sweets, I’ll sit down and write a few hundred words about this – and then discover what I actually want and what I should do about it. Perhaps just taking a few moments to diffuse those thoughts will help me from mindlessly reaching for treats whenever the craving strikes.

What do you do when you crave sweets? What do you do to stave off sweets cravings? What do you think that your body is trying to tell you when you have these cravings?

My Primal Goals

So, I guess I should try to be a little more official. Enter Goals.

I have a bit of a “challenge” going on with a few of my friends. I’m not really one for “weight-loss challenges” because I don’t believe that weight loss should be the goal. Often times, excess weight is the corollary of an unhealthy lifestyle. It is not the cause! You don’t get unhealthy because you are overweight, you get unhealthy because of the life decisions you are making (nutrition, exercise, sleep).

So, I’m not interested in weight-loss challenges because weight loss is also a corollary. You won’t get healthy because you lose weight. There are a million ways to lose weight, but 99% of those won’t get you healthy. In fact, 99% of them won’t work for the long term at all. You’ll lose 20 lbs, and then you’ll gain it all back.

So – when my friend suggested we do a health challenge, I was excited. I was talking to her. She felt like she needed a push to help her make better eating choices and lifestyle choices. I needed the exact same push.

I wish I could say that I’m really pure or mature. But I’m not. I get stuck in my habits and tend to cling to my bad ones. I know better. Boy do I know better. But somewhere I’ve had trouble making the rubber hit the road. So, this challenge idea came at the perfect time.

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A few weeks ago, I sat on a hill and pondered about my goals…okay, I actually fell asleep…

The Challenge

The beauty of the this challenge is that it is personalized. We each make up our own goals. I’ll list my goals later in this post. The challenge is to complete our goals. If we don’t, then we have to donate money – $500 – to either Hillary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s presidential campaign!

I know. I feel like I should be “good” enough to make some kind of positive-reward goal. But the truth of the matter is, I’ve had a lot of positive incentives to change, and none of them seem to outweigh the cycle of sugar addiction I’ve been in. I believe that incentives can really work, so I needed to figure out the right one.

I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, nor am I a fan of Hillary Clinton. I will probably end up voting for my dog. And the idea of donating even a dime to either campaign – that’s enough to help me say no to a cookie.

Just to be sure that this incentive works, I also knew that I needed the dollar amount to be high enough to really hurt. I’m not rich, but $50…that might be worth cheating on my goals a little bit. I really like pizza. I needed the penalty to be more than $50 or even $100. So – $500? I can’t spare that kind of cash for a cookie.

And the idea of giving the Donald $500 makes me want to barf in my own mouth. The idea of giving $500 to Hillary makes me want to double barf in my own mouth. This is the perfect incentive.

The Goals

    • 175 Consecutive Days of Yoga*
    • 175 Consecutive Days of Meditation*
    • 175 Consecutive Days of Being in Bed by 10PM*
    • 175 Consecutive Days of 90/10 Primal Diet*
    • Run the Park City Trail Series 1/2 Marathon – implementing the Maffetone/Primal Endurance method
    • Submit my “success story” to Mark’s Daily Apple
    • Size 4

Those are the goals. They are really hard.

* There are 10 “free days” in each of the 175-consecutive day goals. The 175 day goals are important to keep, and I wanted to write them in there because I feel like they will cause a domino effect. If I’m going these things, then the other things I want to have happen in my life (size four, Mark’s Daily Apple Success Story) will happen.

Okay. That’s it for now. Those are the goals. That’s what I’m working for.

Moving Sloooooooow

I started the Maffetone/Primal Endurance method of aerobic training today. I’ll probably write about that more later and link up to some really helpful sites.

For now, I’ll just say that I was running walking slow. Much slower than I’d like to. So, I’m hoping that this works out.

I was tempted to add 5 more to my aerobic heart rate (as outlined: 180-Age). According to my age, I should be at 143. Of course, I have subtracted 5 because I’ve been dealing with an issue with my skin – inflammation. I know that I need to keep the lower heartrate of 138. It’s so slow, though.

Like I said, I was tempted to go up to 143, but I had the thought – instead of pushing up, I need to work on my problems with stress and inflammation. This will be handled with my diet and sleep. So, I’ve got renewed effort. Sleep! Paleo! Yay!

Ceasar (ish) Salad Dressing Recipe

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The Goods

Salad…I will admit, I love a good salad. It’s not because I’m some kind of health nut and am superior to others. Nope, it’s all about taste. Which means, I like a salad that tastes good.

I don’t understand the people who claim, “I prefer salad without dressing.” blech. First of all, I’m pretty sure that they are lying. Second of all, I wonder what is motivating this senselessness – is it because they think that salad without dressing is healthier?

If you think that a salad without dressing is healthier, then you may be mistaken. Many of the vitamins and minerals that are found in veggies (especially Vitamins A and K) are fat soluble. If you want the benefit of these vitamins, then you need to eat them with fat! So, put on some salad dressing.

Of course, I don’t mean that you should use a salad dressing made with PUFAs and loaded with sugar. CRAP! Instead, use a good monounsaturated oil (or you can put some fat in your salad using saturated fat like cheese, avocado) to make your salad dressing.

Since I’m an Italian-American, and I’m pretty much obsessed with my food tasting good, you’ll want to use a good quality oil – like Olive Oil, paired with a some type of acid. In this recipe, we’ll use Lemon juice. Good, good, good.

So, here’s the recipe:

Ceasar’s Salad Dressing

    • Lemon Juice – 1 to 1 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
    • Olive Oil – I don’t know. A few ounces. I usually add as much oil as lemon juice. Do according to your taste. You might want just a little bit more oil than lemon juice, but not much.
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce – I use this instead of anchovies. I think that anchovies might be healthier, and I will probably be experimenting with this in the future. I just didn’t have any on hand.
    • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon Mustard
    • 2-3 Cloves fresh minced or crushed garlic
    • 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese – seriously. Get good stuff. I buy my Parm. cheese at Costco. It’s worth using the good stuff. I promise.
    • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
    • Sea Salt (the good stuff – with real trace minerals), to taste

It’s pretty simple. Combine these ingredients, and then pour on some roughly chopped Romaine lettuce.

I love the light and fresh taste of this salad dressing.

Sleeping

I’ve always hated sleep. When I was a kid, I thought it was boring. I remember, when I was a teen, there was a song by REM, and one of the verses sung, “Sleep delays my life, Get up! Get up! Where does time go? I don’t know!” – And I believed in this sentiment wholeheartedly.

Of course, I started liking sleep a little more when I was a new mother – and I never got any. But, for the most part, I still loathed the idea that I needed to spend so much time doing nothing.

Well, that’s where I was mistaken. I know now that a lot is happening during sleep. While we sleep, our bodies are getting much needed rest, Melatonin increases, Cortisol decreases and our bodies are able to heal themselves from basic wear and tear of the day.

It took me a long time and a lot of pain (and itching) to learn this. A few years ago, I started suffering from dyshydrotic eczema. The condition got progressively worse. I had a major flare up of eczema all over my body. When I finally saw the doctor, she was giddy, “I’ve never seen such a bad case!” Then, I was put on a high dose of Prednisone for over a month.

Since then, I’ve been on Prednisone at least 3 more times. It is horrible.

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My hands last October. It got much worse and I have problems with all of my skin now.

I changed my diet. I took vitamins, supplements, etc. I knew that I needed to get more sleep, but sleep just takes so long. – I homeschool my children and I look forward to a few hours in the evening for some peace and quiet.

I keep refusing to prioritize sleep, and my skin gets worse.

I saw a documentary about the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, and I learned that one of the tactics used to get them to give up information is to put some kind of itching powder on them. I can see why this method is used. I’ve been so itchy, I finally found myself at a point where I was willing to say or do anything to stop itching…Including sleep.

So – now I’ve got a strict bedtime. I go to my bedroom at 9PM, brush my teeth, get ready for bed, etc, and am usually asleep around 9:45. I don’t have an alarm for the morning. I’m just allowing myself to sleep.

Admittedly, I only started this in the last week. The first few nights I slept for a long time. Today, I woke up at 5:16 AM. I stayed in bed for another hour before getting out of bed – just in case I fell back asleep. I’m hoping to fall into a rhythm soon.

While my skin isn’t cured, it is already starting to clear up. More than that, I’ve been in a better mood and I’ve been able to get a lot done in the morning before the kids wake up. I feel less stressed during the day because I have so much more time and because I’m not dead tired.

So – sleep. This is a major major part of my Primal Experiment.

 

Periodization Plan 2016

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A pretty picture because I believe that blog posts need pretty pictures

 

So, one of my “complaints” about Primal Endurance is that there isn’t a set plan for me. HOWEVER I understand why that doesn’t happen in this book.

If you’re looking for some laid out schedule – run 3 miles on monday, 5 miles on Tuesday, 4 x 800m Intervals , etc. – then you will be disappointed with Primal Endurance.

Instead, Primal Endurance teaches you to know your body and be intuitive. I love this idea. I love the idea of knowing myself! I want to be intuitive. It’s just a little bit more work.

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View at 30,000 ft.

I was on a plane a few days ago from Boston to Seattle. It gave me plenty of time to hash out a plan.

Wait. I didn’t hash out a plan. That’s not really a primal thing to do.

I created a basic plan for periodization that gives me a little bit of focus, but it is also vague enough for me to be able to be intuitive with my training.

So – here’s the plan:

Aerobic Base

  • April 10 – July 2

Intensity Mini-Periods

  • July 3 – July 16 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a short race on July 9.
  • July 17 – July 30 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • July 31 – August 13 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a race on August 13
  • August 14 – August 27 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • August 29 – September 17 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a 1/2 Marathon on 17 September
  • September 18 – October 8 – REST – NO FORMAL EXERCISE
  • October 9 – October 22 – Intensity and Competition Phase
  • October 23 – November 5 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • November 6 – November 26 – Intensity and Competition Phase

Rest Phase

  • November 27 – January 1, 2017 – no formal exercise.

It’s important to note that this plan is subject to change. It all depends on how I’m feeling and how I’m progressing. The first thing is to build an aerobic base. This comes through training at an aerobic level (using the MAF method: 180-Age). The second thing is to change the diet – eliminating sugar dependency and encouraging the body to use fat for fuel (especially fat storage).

So – building the aerobic base takes time, but with commitment and consistency, I know that I can do it. I know that if I just stay primally aligned with my eating, get enough sleep, and keep my workouts under 138 bpm, (my adjusted MAF heart rate), then I’ll be able to build the aerobic base that will enable me to perform better and be healthier.