Plantar Fasciitis

November 16, 2011

Hi everyone. Long time no talk.

I’m not even going to try to make excuses.

I’ve been slacking.

I’ve gotten so lazy I haven’t even made a real dinner in the last three days. I’ve been eating frozen chicken nuggets.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’m actually here to talk about my feet.

Oh yeah.

Remember a few months ago when I went on a rampage about “how this is it! I’m going to run race! A really long race! Rah rah rah rah, I’m going to read running books! And buy finger shoes! And run like a man doing Tai Chi! WEE!”

Ok, weelll– I started to do all of that. I did.

I began by reading Born to Run.

If you haven’t read it yet, you have to.

It basically made me wish I was an African bushman, living in a village and hunting antelope with my bare hands.

I was all like “Screw work! I’m moving! I’m quitting my job to live the life of a running vagabond, with nothing but the shoes on my feet and the fanny pack around my waist! Lindsay Gump!”

Thankfully, I came out of whatever dream world I was living in and came back to Earth when I finished the book.

(I mean, c’mon. We all know I wouldn’t actually wear a fanny pack. Africa, yes. Fanny pack, no.)

However, the book did inspire me to run again. (That was the point, right?)

So, I started in on my half marathon training program.

I even switched shoes. Goodbye over-cushioned Saucony’s– helloooo 5 year old Puma’s with the flat sole that I’ve had forever.

And let me tell you, I felt great.

I was running like the wind! I was passing people on the streets!

When I got tired, I simply did as one tribe in Born to Run did.

I would find a runner in front of me, pretend they were an antelope, and chase them.

Except the people on the book were chasing real antelope.

So they could eat. And, you know. Survive.

Me? I was just some creep running the streets of Boston, sneaking up on people, and doing a little dance when I came up on their heels in silent victory.

In my head I’d be like, “Ha! If you were an antelope, you’d be dead! Sucker!

In real life, if they turned around, I’d stop and pretend to tie my shoe.

This strategy was going great.

And then–disaster.

One day at the gym, I had forgotten my new trusty Puma’s, so I had to wear my old, over-cushioned, soul-crushing Saucony’s.

I sanely and rationally talked myself through it.

“Just one run won’t kill me. I wanted to do 5 miles, so that’s what I’m going to do. 5 miles. No less.”

So, I got on the treadmill and started happily running, pony tail bouncing, feet feeling over-burdened and claustrophobic, but essentially ok.

One mile down. Two miles down.

Three miles down.

Ow, my heel kind of hurts.

3.5 miles down.

Why does my heel feel like it’s cracking in half?

4 miles down.

Good God I think I shattered my foot but I’m finishing these 5 miles if it f*cking kills me.

5 miles later, I was literally whimpering like a wounded kitten abandoned on the side of the road.

I limped home, iced it, put my feet up, and assumed I’d feel better in the morning.

The next morning I woke up, stretched, and swung my legs out of bed, stood up…

…and promptly almost fell over.

The only way to describe the pain is– it felt like someone had shattered my heel with a hammer and then lit it on fire.

As it progressively got worse throughout the day, it became clear that walking ever again was out of the question. I had resigned to live the life of a person who never stood up.

I would simply be known as Sitting Lindsay.

A little research later, it was obvious I was suffering from the bane of every runner’s existence.

Plantar Fasciitis.

Bascially, it’s a horrible foot condition, typical in runner’s, that has no cure and has been known to last for up to two years.

Two years.

Never mind all that though. I was all hung up on the fact that one of the causes was “sudden weight gain.”

Not “overtraining” or “bad running form”.

Nope. Sudden weight gain.

No longer was I a stealth Bushman hunting unsuspecting antelope on the African plains.

I was reduced to a chubby, red-headed faux runner who thought running another half marathon was easily within my grasp, until I was stricken with an incurable foot condition.

Wah.

So in summary– my foot hurts.

Real bad.

I guess I could have just said that from the start.

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…what I eat on a regular, day-to-day basis.

Oh, you guys. You’re making me blush. I actually have a fanbase!

My question is– do you want the truth? (pizza)

Or the ideal? (um, pizza with whole wheat crust?)

I kid.

Here’s the thing– While I do try to eat healthy on a consistent basis, my diet is far from perfect.

I love cheeseburgers. I would die for baked goods. And alcohol has a pretty regular spot on my beverage rotation.

Given my love for food, I try to take the “you can eat anything as long as it’s in moderation” approach.

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

(Shameful truth– if I make a pizza at home, I can easily take down at least half of it. I try really hard not to do this, but, you know, sometimes I do. And I may or may not be watching Jerseylicious while doing it. Whatever. Go ahead and judge me.)

However, while I’m not one to be giving out nutrition advice (just yesterday I had 2 chocolate cookies after lunch. What? They were getting old. Someone had to eat them. I don’t bake cookies to throw them away. God.), I will be happy to share with you the healthier side of my diet.

My healthy eating tends to occur Monday-Friday between the hours of 8-4.

Eating right is so much easier when you’re on a schedule, am I right?

And, since today is Thursday and therefore falls into that time slot, I’ve eaten pretty well so far today.

So, let the meal tracking commence.

Breakfast today was my typical go-to Breakfast Sundae. (How is it that even for breakfast, I manage to make it sound like I’m eating sweets?)

I’m a sucker for Chobani Greek yogurt, but the flavored kinds are chock-full of sugar. This made me sad, since the peach kind if my fave.

Enter– chocolate protein powder. Yes, still sugary, but I can control how much I put in, and it adds a little extra protein to boot.

Throw in a few frozen blueberries, and voila! You’ve got yourself a very tasty, kind of frozen, sweet but not-too-sweet-for-breakfast Breakfast Sundae.

Nom nom nom

I also try to eat another piece of fruit along with this. Today it was an apple. A Fuji apple from the grocery store to be exact. I don’t usually like to eat fruit from the grocery store, but I haven’t been home to stock up in a while so Shaw’s apples it is.

And while I’m at it, I might as well start tracking my work outs too.

Wow– look at you guys keeping me on track!

So, yesterday was the big day I decided to officially start training for another half. I’ll be running 4 days a week, which leaves me two days a week to strength train, with one day rest.

Thursdays are a strength training day. Today’s workout was:

Warm Up:
Ankle/Knee/Hip/Shoulder Rolls
Random Stretching
Alternating Back Lunges
Side-to-Side Squats
More Random Stretching
(I have an actual warm up routine I should follow, but that doesn’t always happen. Today was one of those days.)

Main Set:
12x (per arm) 8kg Kettlebell Snatches
15x Bosu Ball sit ups
(Repeat 3 times)

Alternating 3 sets Incline Dumbbell Press/Lat Pulldown
Set 1– 10x @ 30 lbs Press
12x @ 80lbs Pulldown

Set 2– 8x @ 35lbs Press
6x @ 100 lbs Pulldown

Set 3– 6x @ 35lbs Press (meh)
5x @ 100 lbs Pulldown

Cardio Boost:
12x 28 kg Kettlebell Swings
15x 15 lb. Medicine Ball Slams
(Alternate 3x’s through)

Alternating 3 sets Chest Fly Machine/Bent-Over Row
Set 1– 10x @ 70lbs Flies
12x @ 65lbs Row

Set 2–
8x @ 80lbs Flies
8x @ 75 lbs Row

Set 3– 6x @ 80lbs Flies
6x @ 75lbs Row

Final Set– Ropes
100 Alternating
25 Rope Slams/25 Alternating
Repeat 25/25
Finish with 100 Alternating

Took me about 45 minutes, kicked my butt, and I feel good.

So, tell me loyal readers. Do you want to read about what I eat and what I do in the gym? Or should I stay away from the fitness/nutrition stuff and leave that to the pros?

For the better part of my life after college, my goal has been to be an “effortless runner”.

You know, like one of those people who can just run. Someone who makes it look easy. And fun.

Sadly, I am not one of those people.

Sure, I’ve run a half marathon before (with a time of 2:15, which averages out to about a 10:30 pace. Not bad. But certainly not “effortless runner” status.)

And aside from that, I’ve got several 5 milers and 10ks under my belt.

My fastest pace in a race has been a 9:02 mile. It was a 10k. And boy was I proud. (Side note: this is not where I am now. It makes me sad.)

Anyway, the bottom line is– I can run. I’m just not good at it.

Recently, I haven’t really been focusing too much on my running, and have been concentrating more on strength, flexibility, and functional exercises.

But the past few weeks, I’ve been getting the itch to run another long race. For a while I couldn’t figure out why, but yesterday, in the middle of a set of 28kg kettlebell swings, it hit me.

While my workouts have certainly been kicking my butt, there’s been something lacking.

I just haven’t been feeling…accomplished.

I don’t want to work out just to work out. I need a goal. Something to work towards.

And since I accomplished my push up goal (3 sets of 12 full ones! Go me! Go me!), I think it might be time to embark on another running goal.

Perhaps a…marathon.

Or, maybe another half first. (Baby steps, here, people. Baby steps.)

But, I have also decided that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to this right. I don’t want to run a long race just to run it.

I want to run it, and feel good.

I want to feel accomplished.

So, step one is to work on how I run. After years of running in my Saucony’s, my gait, posture, and overall technique leaves much to be desired.

I basically look like I’m always running headlong into a gust of 30 mph wind.

Which is why I’ll be purchasing this book:

Without boring you too much with science, it teaches you to run from your core, not from your legs. Translation: Less injury. Stronger body.

If you want to read more, go to the Chi Running website. And if you want the book, you can get it on Amazon.

For a little more inspiration, I will also be getting Born to Run:

And along with the books, I’m making the jump to Vibram Five Fingers.

Yes. These things:

Don’t knock ’em til you try ’em. (Actually, I haven’t tried them yet. But, I know they are what I need.)

So, expect a few posts here and there as I slowly wade into the barefoot running craze. My research suggests it’s a very slow process, so a long race might be kind of far off.

But for the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited about the gym again.

And in the words of Martha Stewart, that is a very good thing.

Eat Spuds, Gain Pudge

July 7, 2011

What the hell, Denise Austin!

All this time you’ve been selling me the idea that Idaho potatoes are good for me:

And then I had to find out from Harvard University that all you’ve been selling me are lies.

Lies!

I haven’t done a health post in a while, but I thought this new study was worth mentioning.

Tell me– Do you love your spuds?

That’s a silly question. Of course you love potatoes. What’s not to love?

However, I (along with almost every other human being I know) know that potatoes that have been fried, mashed with butter, or turned into a chip aren’t good for me.

And I do a (pretty) good job of only eating these foods on occasion, as a treat.

Or at least only on the weekends.

At the very least, not every day.

Usually.

Oh who am I kidding. I freaking love potatoes in every form and eat them all the time.

But, french fries and buttery mashed potatoes aside, I have always been under the assumption that a potato, a plain, unaltered potato, was a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet.

I mean, it’s from the earth. Mother Nature created it. Not to mention, the good ‘ol spud is a certified “heart healthy” food by the American Heart Association.

Seems to me like this should be one hell of a super food, eh?

Alas, all tasty, seemingly good-for-you foods usually crash and burn. (That is, depending how much “weight” you want to put into this study.)

According to a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine has found that an individual who eats an extra serving of potatoes each day will gain more weight than if they consumed an extra 12-ounce sugary drink or extra helping of red or processed meats.

Say it isn’t so!

Here’s the breakdown: In general, the participants in the study gained an average of 0.8 pounds per year. However, those who regularly ate potatoes gained more.

Those who ate an extra serving of french fries every day added an average of 3.4 pounds to their total weight over 4 years.

Potato chips added 1.7 pounds.

And any potato in non-chip form contributed 1.3 pounds.

Now, I know this doesn’t seem like a lot, and to many, it isn’t worth giving up the starchy goodness of this diet staple.

But when you add up the weight gain over 20 years, even the seemingly innocent 0.8 pounds balloon to a whopping 16 extra pounds you have to carry around.

Add the extra weight you’ll gain from your potato-laden diet and you’ll be heaving around much more than you are today.

OK. I got that.

Extra potatoes = more fat on your bones year over year.

Not exactly mind-blowing, if you ask me.

Potatoes are starchy, fairly high in calories for a veggie, and are almost never eaten in their natural state. And you mean to tell me that they are going to make me gain weight?

No offense Harvard, but even I, with my unassuming 4-year degree from a liberal arts college, could have told you that.

So, do we need to give up potatoes in an effort to reach healthy diet nirvana?

No.

I mean, in all honesty, who eats an extra serving of french fries, potato chips, or any form of potato for that matter, every single day?

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say probably not too many people.

And if you are, chances are your diet isn’t all that healthy anyway, potato-gorging habits aside.

So, in all honesty, I’m not sold on this study. To me, it seems kind of like common sense.

But, hey, maybe after reading this, it will help deter you the next time you’re eyeing the all-you-can-eat baked potato bar at your favorite restaurant.

Maybe just knowing these facts will help you clean up your diet a little, and maybe next time you order a Friday night burger, you’ll order a side salad instead of steak fries.

Maybe.

Or maybe not. Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ll find room in your diet for a little spud-goodness.

But anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.

Check in next time for my firsthand account on the trials and tribulations of wearing pocket-less pants.

Until then 🙂

Why is it that most of my work stories revolve around the kitchen, and what I do there?

Back story: I decided to start Weight Watchers about two weeks ago. For me, it was less about losing weight and more about being a little more aware of what I’m actually putting in my mouth. I had gotten to the point where dessert was no longer a treat, and more of an everyday staple.

And if I have any intention of putting on a bathing suit this summer, I’d rather not get horrified glances from other beach-goers. So alas, Weight Watchers and point counting it is.

I get 29 points a day. I’m quickly learning how to divvy up those points in a way that won’t leave me starving/gnawing on my hand for sustenance by the time I go to bed.

And, that includes my new and improved 7 point Egg/American Cheese/English Muffin sandwich.

We all know my adoration for all things English muffins. Adding an egg and cheese just heightens my adoration by, ohhhh, 500%.

However, while the sandwich is delicious, it involves me cooking an egg in the microwave at work.

And this, apparently, is quite a spectacle for anyone who happens to be in the kitchen at the same time.

(That, or they’re just really bored at 9 am and have nothing better to do than grill me on how, exactly, to cook an egg in the microwave.)

This morning, there were no less than 5 people crowded around the microwave, watching my poor egg spin and fry under the rays of said microwave.

I’m telling you, you would have thought I was inventing a cure for AIDS. They actually “ooh-ed” and “aah-ed” when it came out.

They then watched me assemble my breakfast, hovering a little too close over my shoulder as I sprinkled on a little pepper.

When my mind-blowing creation was complete, I held a question and answer session by the fridge in order to answer any lingering questions, such as “How long does it take to fry an egg in the microwave??”

“Oh, I don’t know. 30 seconds? I just kind of guess and then add more time if I need to.”

“How many eggs can you cook at a time?”

“I only eat one. But I’d hazard to guess you can cook several, with the same results.”

“Tell me Lindsay, does it taste the same as it does at home?”

“Well, I don’t know how your microwave at home works, but to me, it tastes the same.”

“Can you show me how to do it?”

“Crack an egg in the a bowl, put it in the microwave, set it for 30 seconds, and hit ‘Start’.”

“Wow. That really is just so cool.”

(As they all trickle out of the kitchen, muttering about the egg and cheese sandwiches that will no doubt fill their mornings with glory now that they know how to fry an egg in the microwave.)

That, combined with toasting an English muffin, left me feeling kind of stressed out.

However, according to my last night’s weigh-in, I have lost 1.4 pounds. If my current weight loss keeps up, I’ll be at my target weight…by the end of swimsuit season.

Excellent.

ABC has pulled Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution from May sweeps in favor of airing recaps of Dancing with the Stars.

Apparently, ABC would rather overload the American public with 4 hours a week of a dancing show than educate them on the importance of healthy eating and sensible food choices.

You know, because people sitting on their asses while watching others dance their butts off will surely help the obesity epidemic that is quickly engulfing this country.

According to the network, their reasoning was the DWTS recap show was “a better complement to the results show” than JO’s show, and that his ratings simply weren’t as good as the first season.

Excuse my language– but I call bullshit.

I think the real reason ABC pulled the show is because they bowed to the pressure of overweight, lazy Americans who can’t handle the truth– that this country is obese and needs help.

And the fact that Jamie Oliver is bringing light to this issue struck a chord.

Instead of manning up and accepting the truth, the LA school district took the cowardly route by attempting to get the American public to turn a blind eye to what it is they’re actually doing— continuing to breed obesity in America.

They’ve fought Jamie tooth and nail the entire time he has been filming.

First, they wouldn’t let him into their school’s kitchens.

Then, he wasn’t allowed in the cafeterias.

He asked if he could simply peek in the windows– they had a problem with that.

At the end of the last episode, he was no longer allowed to speak to students about what they ate for lunch.

Why? Because the LA school district knows that the food they are serving is crap.

And now, the show is pulled.

I’m sorry, but whether or not you are fan of this show, you should be as angry as I am.

Your tax dollars go towards the national school lunch program.

They go towards feeing your children.

And if you don’t have an issue with school districts hiding what it is they are putting into your children’s mouths, then shame on you.

You should be skeptical and outraged that the school system won’t let you see. Why? Because they know that if the American public saw what they were serving in school cafeterias, there would be an uproar.

If anything, this should make Jamie Oliver’s ratings soar, because, to me, this blatant disregard for America’s children’s health is borderline child abuse.

Most of these kids don’t have a choice about what it is they are eating.

And it disgusts me that the one person trying to change the obesity epidemic for the better is punished for ruffling the feathers of some bigwigs over at the LA Board of Education.

And ABC didn’t even have the decency (read: courage) to let Jamie’s followers know his show was pulled for May sweeps.

Instead, I found out last night, when I was subjected to yet another hour of DWTS at 8pm, the normal time Food Revolution airs.

Shame on you ABC. Shame. On. You.

Bad, Bad Beer

April 6, 2011

Sorry people. Today’s post is a venting session.

I’m angry. At myself.

I got on the scale today for the first time in a Very. Long. Time.

I’ve been avoiding weighing myself for quite awhile, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t like the number that would inevitably be glaring back at me.

But, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, and since I don’t usually like surprises, I figured I should get a ball park figure of how much I’m weighing in these days, so I didn’t faint in disgust and astonishment tomorrow morning.

Let’s just say, I probably would have fainted tomorrow morning, mainly from disgust.

According to the scale, and despite my best efforts, I’ve apparently gained 10 pounds.

I mean, I’m healthy. I know I am. Those of you who know me, know I am.

I work out 4-6 days/week. When I say I “work out”, I don’t mean jumping on the elliptical and doing 30 minutes at level 10 and then daintily doing bicep curls with 5 lb. dumbbells.

I go balls to the wall. Sprint intervals, kettlebell workouts, plyos…the works. If I’m lifting, the lightest dumbbell I use is 30 lbs.

I’m not saying this for a pat on the back, all I’m saying is that I make my hour or so that I have at the gym count.

My diet? It consists mainly of plain Greek yogurt, fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes, chicken, and the occasional omelet. If I eat pasta, it’s whole wheat. I eat dessert, but in moderation. Fast food disgusts me. I do like to eat out, but it’s not often and I don’t go overboard on a regular basis. I like to cook, rarely use butter, and practice pretty good portion control.

So by all accounts, I should be lean…right?

Enter beer.

Beer is the reason I’ve gained weight. Beer is the reason why I’m not losing weight.

After seeing the number on the scale this morning, right now, beer is my mortal enemy.

I’m not going to go into the health effects of drinking too much alcohol. This post is strictly from a weight perspective.

I don’t drink during the week, but I’m a social drinker on the weekends.

And it doesn’t help that I tend to be very social on Friday and Saturday nights. (I once stayed home by myself on a Saturday night and felt like I was doing something wrong. Although once that feeling passed, I have to say– it was pretty effing great. I got takeout and watched a chick flick, for those of you who are wondering what one does on a Saturday night alone.)

Anyway, being the little social butterfly that I am, I’d say I average 4-5 drinks per night on any given weekend.

That means 8-10 drinks in a two day span…and that’s on a pretty low key night. It can easily jump to 12-15 if there’s a special occasion or if I get particularly rowdy.

Say I’m drinking light beer (which I don’t– I like my Belgians). 110 calories a pop (on average). Times 10. That’s 1,100 extra calories I consume in two days. (Not counting the greasy food and late night snacks I tend to eat.)

Considering the beers I drink probably have anywhere between 150-200 calories…ouch. I don’t even want to do the math.

Now, consider this– to gain 1 pound, you have to consume 3,500 more calories than you are expending.

Sure, that might sound like a lot. But if I’m consuming 1,000-2,000 extra calories a weekend in alcohol alone, it’s no wonder my waistline has a pretty little spare tire wrapped around it.

I used to be in the fitness field. I know all this. But, writing that out makes me realize how disgusting it all is.

So, it’s high time I cut back.

3 drinks a week— MAX.

No exceptions…well, except for weddings.

But that’s it.

All I need for motivation is the number I saw on the scale this morning.

It’s go time people. Wish me luck.