Thursday, July 15, 2010

Diet Hiatus

Well, I followed through with the 7 days of the Ultra Simple Diet but immediately fell of the wagon and did not add foods back in slowly as I was supposed to. There are two reasons I did this:
1) I was not feeling all that much better on the diet anyway, so I don't think I would have noticed changes by slowly adding foods back in. It's possible that I have foods that don't agree with me even within the limited items allowed on Ultra Simple...
2) I'm on vacation! I can't do diet & hardcore exercise while I'm on vacation! In fact, vacation calls for an ANTI-diet! It calls for alcohol(raspberry mead! sake!), fried local oysters, frozen pizza, and hot dogs and marshmallows roasted over a fire. I believe it also calls for Carrie to gain an inordinate amount of weight which she will have to work twice as hard to lose again. Sigh.

So, let me gather my resolve and eat what we have in the house upon our return, and then I will be ready to start the next plan with an iron will. I think. What is it about lack of responsibility that feeds the desire for more of the same?
I think what will drive me is the fear of even stepping onto a scale...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ultra Simple It Is

In a little over a week, I'll be starting the Ultra Simple Diet, by Dr. Mark Hyman
I really like his philosophy as a doctor, and the diet includes several components that I need to be incorporating anyway. This coming week is supposed to be a "preparation week" where you work on gathering supplements, weaning from caffeine, sugar, etc., and mentally preparing.
The diet is about removing toxins and controlling inflammation- a biggie for me. It involves cleaning out the system and only eating foods that are low-allergen and healthful. No sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, etc. But ACK! A return to the horrific vegetable broth from the first diet plan I tried- they got the recipe from Dr. H!
The exercise seems mild- yoga(3x a day!) & walking. So I'll bid adieu to Mr. Horton for at least a week. Shucky-darn:)
I like that the process is very laid out. It tells me what to do & eat throughout the day.
While the plan is technically only 7 days, you are then supposed to spend the 2 weeks after only slowly re-incorporating certain foods. So all told, it's really more a month-long plan, but this preparation week is really nothing big.
I have high hopes for this diet. I actually looked it up originally because there was an article written about it where the author said that her friends were raving about how they felt on it.
I'll check in after I've been on it for a few days to let you know how it's going.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Can I Really Say Goodbye to Tony?

Can it really be the end? Yup, tomorrow marks the last day of the 3-month P90x program for me.
An important thing to remember when reading about my results is that I did NOT follow the P90x diet, but I did follow the exercise plan pretty religiously. What this tells me is that while the exercise plan alone helped me gain strength, it is NOT a weight loss plan in & of itself. In fact, I gained BACK the 3 lbs. I lost on the last diet.

Here are the Vital Stats for P90. And I again want to clarify that my 5-point rating scale for these diets does not represent
worst-> best, but rather least->most. In some cases it will reflect the former as well, but not necessarily :

My impression of the overall healthiness of this plan: 3- I think the exercise plan is certainly healthy, though could cause injury, no matter how much warming up & stretching you do prior to starting the workouts. Plyometrics messed my right knee up every time. This is NOT a program for beginners. In terms of the diet, I have concerns about starting out with so much protein. I really need a more anti-inflammatory diet.

Ease of Implementing: 1- I never did implement the diet. I followed the exercise plan, but is it something someone could reasonably keep up for LIFE? And the sad part is, if I want to keep the mus-kels, I HAVE to keep it up- or at least some facsimile thereof.

Cost of Implementing: 3- The initial investment partly depends on what you already own and whether you are able to find a good deal on the set. I already had hand weights up to 25 lbs., but I did purchase bands(which I didn’t really use) and a chin-up bar(which I DID use- it’s a pretty integral part of P90). I spent less than $100 on the items I needed(including the ripped copies of DVDs), but I could see that if you have nothing and pay full-price for everything you could be looking at 3 times that.

Feeling of Deprivation: ? Whoops-

Energy Level: 3 I don’t believe the exercise contributed either way to my energy levels.

Pounds lost: -3
Yes, NEGATIVE 3. Shut UP.

What's next? I would like to start a new plan in a week. During my "week off" I plan to try some of the P90x workouts that were mysteriously NOT included at any point in the plan. I also plan to go out to eat without having to worry about whether the choices I make are ok with any particular plan. And then...and then. I am really wrestling with which plan to try next. I had decided that I am no longer going to care about weight loss and that if I am eating healthfully, I will be satisfied. But seeing poundage creeping back up made me seriously disgruntled.
So the two plans I am vacillating between:
The UltraSimple Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman- this one would probably be just what the doctor ordered. Anti-inflammatory and very healthy. Basically it cuts out sugar, alcohol, dairy, gluten, etc. He just recommends walking for exercise, and this jumpstart diet is just a 7-day plan. He has another book called UltraMetabolism which I might want to follow with if I feel good on this one...
The Belly Fat Cure, because where did those 3 lbs migrate right back to? In a nutshell, this diet cuts down significantly on sugars & carbs without counting calories. The exercise program relies on the author's patented way of lifting weights that sounds too good to be true...takes significantly less time than the paces Mr. Horton has been putting me through. Can I get the same results or better with less work? The diet is suggested for 2 weeks- a claim of 10 lbs. expected to be lost is made. But the exercise portion is actually a 38-day plan, so in teality I'm looking at over a month on this one.

So what do YOU think? I would love to get your vote!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Making my Peace with Tony Horton

Well, I have now been P90xing it up for 2 months, and while many days I still dread the long and strenuous workouts(in fact I am working on this blog right now because I am putting off the dreaded "Legs, Back & Abs" Friday routine), I know they have made some positive changes in my body. I actually foresee continuing to use the workouts on a regular basis even at the formal conclusion of the program in a month.
I still have yet to lose a single pound, but am definitely stronger and have more firmness & definition. Last weekend on a hike we came across a set of pull-up bars and I pulled myself up for a few. I don't believe I would have been able to do that pre-P90.

And again, I have only myself to blame for the lack of weight loss- I have not followed the diet much...well ok, I have not followed the diet AT ALL. The basics of it are that you should eat a very high percentage of protein the first month, and slowly start normalizing the carb/protein ratio over the next two. Of course you are also supposed to keep it lo-cal. I HAVE worked to keep my calories in check, though not maniacally, but the rest I discarded pretty fast. I have no doubt that it would indeed probably help me with weight loss, but I think I rebelled against the fact that it really isn't necessarily a healthy choice to eat that high a percentage of protein, especially for me as I seek to tamp down my body's inflammatory response.

I will give a final report late next month and then will start the next plan, which I'll keep under wraps for now. But I think I may keep Mr. Tony Horton in my life for longer than originally planned. I think Tony & I have made our peace:)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I Still Want to Burn his House Down

This was yesterday's Facebook status: I interrupt this Good Friday/Autism Awareness Day broadcast to say to Mr. Tony Horton of P90x, "It's been a month now, and I still want to burn your house down." Now back to your regularly scheduled programs.
Yes, I am closing out the first month of the program and definitely have a better idea of the pros & cons of P90x.
- variety, variety, variety! Yoga, strength training, stretching, can't really complain of boredom, though you ARE welcome to freely complain about Mr. Horton's inane banter
-you can do it all from the comfort of your own home
-you are told exactly what to do, but you do have some choices within the program
- I am definitely feeling some strength & flexibility benefits
-on many of the routines, the directions and tips given really are instructive in terms of form

- I feel that some of the cardio routines are pretty average in terms of intensity. I was feeling the strain more when I was on my indoor bike(and I could watch a TV show simultaneously!).
-There is a lot of reliance in this program on chin-ups/pullups. I can only do them assisted with a chair, and have injured my right shoulder in my attempts. The alternative given is to use the bands, but there is really no comparison. Using even the band with the most resistance is "baby work", using the pull up bar is "a man's work"...I see no in-between option. But I plan to keep trying. Sarah Connor. Sarah Connor. Sarah Connor.
-There is a slight bit of coarse language scattered throughout the DVDs- nothing major, but since little Jordan has been participating with me some, I don't like to hear "hell", "damn" & "ass" sprinkled into my workouts.Though I almost find the dumb jokes and comments even more offensive...
-I found the nutrition plan to be too complicated with too little support. I decided to stick with what I felt was the gist of it: high protein, 3 meals + 1-2 snacks per day, lo-cal. More on this in the final paragraph.
-while I listed being able to work out at home as a benefit, the con are confined to your home. No outdoor activities/alternatives are given as equivalents for even the cardio days. It would be nice if this was a choice given at least once a week.

Month One Parting Thoughts
I am feeling good about the exercise plan, despite the cons listed above. I like that I am trying new things and pushing a few personal limits. I have only missed one day in the month, so I feel that I have followed this part of the program very well.
But the diet...nope. Even my general "high protein, low cal" plan was thwarted (by me) on multiple occasions. Mead...drink of the gods, or drink straight from Satan to my doorstep? Sigh. And this is the probable explanation for why I have thus far yet to lose a single pound on this plan. I will say that I have reservations anyway about eating a lot of animal products, as suggested. I don't think it's helpful in my quest to tamp down inflammation. One thing I feel good about is that I have been eating more healthfully than I normally would, even if not necessarily with high protein and low calorie restrictions. I've enjoyed some delicious raw foods and salads and have been eating substantially less gluten. So even though the weight loss has come to a standstill, I feel good about where I am. I'll report back in a month, and hopefully I'll have more self-control over the coming 30 days, at least in the calorie department...stay tuned!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthy and Raw Recipes I've Enjoyed Recently

Several of you have asked for some of the recipes I've been mentioning on Facebook, so here are a few. Enjoy!

Shivie’s Marinated Stuffed Mushrooms

20 Crimini mushrooms, stems removed and saved for filling
2 tsp tamari
2 tsp lemon juice
Clean mushrooms and add them to marinade in a bowl with a cover. Marinate for 20 mins
1 cup mushroom stems
1 ½ cups soaked sunflower seeds
½ cup soaked walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tsp tamari
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a food processor with s blade. Blend until filling is combined well and has a smooth consistency. Stuff mushroom caps with this mixture.
Brazil Nut Parmesan:
1 cup brazil nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in food processor and process until fluffy, then sprinkle on top.
Raw Food Recipe for Mango Pie
Mango Pie Crust
3 Cups Almonds
1 1/2 Cup Dates
In food processor, grind almonds until they’re finely ground. Put in separate bowl. Process dates into a paste. Add to almonds and massage into crust. Put crust into pie dish. Make filling and then pour into dish.
Mango Pie Filling
2 Cups Dried Mango
2 Cups Water
1 Scoop Kev’s Super-Delicious Smoothie Powder
Soak mangoes in the water and blend. Add as pie filling- chill & serve!
** Note- I just used 3 fresh mangos and used the green smoothie powder I had on hand*

Elaina Love’s Raw Food Recipe for Peach Cobbler
Pie Crust
2 Cups Walnuts
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Dates
Pinch of Salt
Put in Food Processor and pulse until crumbly. Take out 1/2 and put to the side for topping.
Process the rest until gummy.
Lay down on the bottom of a pie or glass pan.
6-7 Peaches sliced
1/2 Cup Dates
Tablespoon Psylium Husk
Pinch Nutmeg
Pinch Lemon Zest
Pinch Cinnamon
Put 1/2 of sliced peaches in the food processor with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Take blended mix and add back to sliced peaches.
Pour on top of crust and add crumble on top.
Here’s where you can check out more of Elaina Love’s raw food recipes:
Also, to see about more events in the Pacific Northwest, please visit

For the Immune-Boosting Chai tea
go to herb mentor

Here is a REALLY EASY raw recipe that my son enjoys(and I do too!):
Mix raw oats, raw nut butter, and raw honey together (just enough of the moister ingredients to make the mixture clump)- ratios to taste. It's a lot like a no-bake oatmeal cookie.
To win a Gluten-Free cookbook as well as GF oats and oat flour, go to Bob's Red Mill.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Blog to Follow

My husband Paul has started his own blog about health and fitness, and he is actually multi-degreed in the topic and has decades of experience in the area, so I am hoping to learn and grow from reading what he has to say. He and his business partner are hoping to take what I'm doing (trial runs of various popular diet & exercise programs) and utilize the feedback about the pros & cons of each one to create something that is even better than all these plans I've been testing! I am excited to see the results! Pop on over and give him some feedback about what YOU'D like to see and what your favorite and least favorite aspects are of the exercise & diet plans that are currently out there. The website is called Vigorous Vocals.
By the way, I am 1.5 weeks into P90x and am HATING the creator of the program right now. I think I injured my shoulder and was hobbling around like a 90-year old for several days because of my screaming calves. I will blog about what I am seeing so far and the pros and cons as I see them in the early part of April. Since it's a 3-month program, I plan to blog at the end of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd months. Stay tuned!