Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Building a Diet that Works

As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of the word "diet".  It seems overused as a temporary solution to a long-term issue.  The best diet plans are not just a quick fix, but an ongoing way of eating.

While I am definitely not a dietician or nutritionist, I have learned a lot of general guidelines that work to reach or maintain a healthy weight.  A healthy, balanced diet is a huge part of the battle.  You can't out-exercise a poor diet.

1.  Eliminate all unnatural sugars 

A limited amount of real fruit is fine, but try to eat it earlier in the day (I usually have one piece of fruit with breakfast and possibly a second piece with my second meal... and that's all for the day unless I have a good workout later on).  Watch labels for anything with "ose" at the end, as well as corn syrup and many other variations.  Almost anything in a package these days has some form of sugar in it.  Juice is also off-limits since a very small amount has more sugar than a piece of fruit, and none of the fibre.

2.  Eliminate processed foods and read labels carefully  

Anything in a package from my experience typically has 20+ ingredients, many of which I'm not entirely sure what they are.  If you do buy packaged goods, make sure to read the labels.  A shorter list of ingredients that you actually recognize is usually a good sign.

3.  Eat lean protein with every meal

Worst case scenario, I usually just throw a scoop of protein powder in a shaker cup with some water.  Whey protein isolate is also great to put in a post-workout smoothie with some fruit to build and repair those tired muscles.  Other great lean proteins are chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, lean beef, bison, egg whites, non-fat yogurt or greek yogurt, etc.

4.  Eat every 2-3 hours

Once your body gets used to this style of eating, it won't hold onto that weight so stubbornly because it knows when the next meal is coming.  This is why starvation diets don't work. Because eventually you'll have to eat, and when you do, your body will cling to those calories because who knows when you're going to feed it again!  I also find that when I go more than 3 hours between meals I'm a lot more willing to throw the diet plan away and just eat massive quantities of whatever I want.  Eating smaller meals on a regular schedule throughout the day keeps you from ever developing that dangerous ravenous appetite.

5.  Eat the right starchy carbs

Yams, oats, brown rice, quinoa, squash, chickpeas, beans, etc. are all fantastic starchy carbs.  You'll need slightly more starchy carbs any day that you're lifting heavy weights for extra energy.  I usually eat a serving of starchy carbs at the first 5 (out of 6 meals of the day) on training days and the first 4 on cardio or non-training days.

6.  Eat only healthy fats

Fats tend to get a bad reputation, but the right fats can actually help your weight-loss progress.  Avocados, unsalted nuts, omega 3's and flax are all examples of great healthy fats.  Morning and evening are the best times of the day to eat them.

7.  Drink plenty of water

Many people are regularly dehydrated, and regularly mistake thirst for hunger.

8.  Give yourself a cheat day or cheat meal each week

This sounds counter-productive, but it really helps!  If you're craving something you shouldn't have just remember that once you get to your cheat day you can have it.  This helps you stick with the plan mentally, and also keeps your body guessing.

9.  Keep a food journal

It really helps to write down everything you eat and at what time.  It helps you monitor trends and see where there's room for improvement, even if you don't ever show it to anyone else.

10.  Stock your fridge with real food and plan your meals ahead of time

If you find yourself hungry and don't have anything healthy readily available, what do you think you're going to reach for?  Pretty much anything.  You'll need lots of fresh veggies, fruit, lean proteins, starchy carbs, and healthy fats all ready to eat when you need to eat them.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Easing into Exercise

I admit I'm not very good at "easing" into anything.  I tend to be an "all or nothing" type person.

This pregnancy I once again managed to balloon right back up to my 200lb pregnancy body that I had at the end of my last pregnancy.  Even after being in the best shape of my life for my bodybuilding competition June 9th of last year.  Sigh.

But on the plus side for all you blog readers, I'm basically starting from scratch once again, so I'll make sure to post everything I'm doing right from day one.

On Thursday I had a rather depressing shopping trip.  I went out and bought the largest pair of jeans I've ever owned in my life, and also ran into someone I knew who, upon noticing my still-prominent belly, said, "Still in there, hey?".... before noticing the newborn in the shopping cart next to me.

So... me and my "all or nothing" mentality decided I was ready to hit the gym on Friday, just 6 days postpartum.  I had a great workout (back and rear delts) and it felt amazing to really push my muscles to exhaustion once again.  Unfortunately, my body didn't respond all that well afterwards and my postpartum bleeding started up again (it had already stopped).

One of these days I should really learn what the word "moderation" means.

I'm planning on taking the rest of the weekend off, and maybe I'll try hitting the gym again on Monday or Tuesday (though hopefully I can restrain myself from lifting the heaviest weights possible this time).

Welcome to the New Addition

Victoria Alyssa Grimsrud was born at 12:14am last Saturday, March 30th.  Welcome to our world, little one!  Here is the story of her birth:

Several times that last week I had false labour keeping me up past my bedtime, so I didn't get too excited when I was in bed last Friday night and they started once again.  This time they seemed a bit more regular, though not painful yet, so I started timing them.  Between 9-11pm I had consistent contractions 7 minutes apart for 30-40 seconds.  Around 11pm I decided that we were likely going to be heading to the hospital that night at some point as they seemed to be getting a bit stronger and headed back to the bedroom to wake up my hubby.  As soon as I got up and started moving around, the contractions jumped to 3 minutes apart and began intensifying.  By the time we left home I was certain this was the real thing.

Once at the hospital, I had a contraction in the car, on the way to the door, at the door, two in the entryway waiting for a nurse to buzz us in, two in the hallway on the way to the assessment room, and my next one once laying down in the assessment room broke my water.  The nurse left some hospital gowns and blankets for me and headed off.  When she got back, she gave me an exam and called it 7-8cm dilated.  She then left the room again to find a wheelchair to get me to the delivery room.  As soon as she left I had another contraction and began feeling the urge to push.  By the time she returned with several other nurses to try and move me, I really needed to push.  There didn't seem any other way to communicate this to them, so I just whipped open my legs and yelled, "I'M PUSHING!".  Someone glanced down and saw the head!  Then they all jumped into action, "Page a doctor from emergency, STAT!"... "Get warm towels!"... within 5 minutes my little 7lb 5oz baby entered this world.  It was less than 30 minutes from the time we arrived at the hospital!

What a night!