Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ten Commandments for Improved Nutrition

Follow these ten rules:
  1. Feed your body, five to six meals a day.  Some of those will be snacks.
  2. Get the right number of calories. This means keeping track. Make a game of it.
  3. Each meal, even the snacks, should be balanced. A carb, a vegetable, a protein, and a fruit.  If you feed your body balanced and regularly, it will not torture you with great hunger and it will not hoard nutrition in case it needs it later.  Try hard to figure out what balanced nutrition means. Everyone agrees that it's important. No two people agree on what it is.
  4. Don't binge, eat smaller portions.  In most restaurants, aim to take half of your main course home.
  5. Avoid temptation. Don't even go to Mexican restaurants. If you must go, say NO THANKS when they put the salsa and chips on the table.  Don't eat even one...Never think about desert or sweets. Don't have dreams.
  6. Before you take a drink with alcohol, think hard about the calories.  Ditto for any salad dressing or sauce. Drink water all the time.  Accept that you'll never sleep through the night again and most meetings will be torturous. Drink lots of water. You'll be uncomfortable but won't be fat or have heart attacks. 
  7. Some foods are better than others. Almonds are less fatty than cashews. Avocado's are fattier than...anything. Get good glasses and study the labels.  
  8. Track your habits and improve them.  Think and talk about nutrition all the time. Of course, it's going to bore a lot of people to tears.  Find other people who care and be nerdy with them about nutrition and calories.  You can also use a service like FitnessPal. It has no personality but lots of info. And is available on the web, on your phone, and on your tablet. You can give your trainer access and she can point out what a job you are doing.  
  9. Hang out with people who eat sensibly. At night, don't eat. Hungry? Drink more water.
  10. Plan to eat well. Spontaneous meals are nearly impossible to manage. Don't be spontaneous. Don't drink.
Fun fun.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Staying Fit Over Fifty, Recent Challenges

Here's the recent story of challenges, successes, and initiatives in getting and staying fit.

When 2012 opened, I was going to the dojo three to four times a week and also doing some running and spending time at the gym. While I was planning to go earn my third degree, I was losing ground due to recurring back spasm crisis which would force me to spend seemingly every third week in recovery time.  I was seeing a chiro regularly but I was unable to exercise maybe 40% of the time.  BTW, I turned 54 in March 2012.

In the summer, I reduced my karate time and decided to improve my fundamentals.  I started doing hot yoga for increased flexibility and core strength. And to improve my cardio, I started training for a set of triathalons down in Miami. I made it two of the tris but, after a nice long bike ride one Sunday, I had another big back spasm.  One of the worst yet. I backed off the additional training and stayed in that messy pattern of recurring problems until March 1, 2013 (when I turned 55).

Once the birthday crisis passed, I decided to try again to break the pattern of recurring back problems and started intensive physical therapy which I did through the spring. I did all the exercises that they asked and I stopped with the dojo and chiro.  By the summer, my back felt a lot stronger and I started searching for some new sports while I continued to rebuilt. I went back to swimming, working out at the gym, and started playing some tennis.

Tennis, sadly,seems to leave my back pretty stiff and sore. So I'm limiting myself to twice a week. But overall, I'm still losing ground. I'm losing fitness, strength, and flexibility. I'm putting on weight.  At this point (Nov 2013), I have pretty much put on one pound per month over the last year taking me up to 205. Big Problem. Need a Massive Action Plan to resolve.

Nicole Hollar Focus Studio
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1.  Face up to learning about proper nutrition and becoming a disciplined eater.  Something that I had hoped to avoid since I love to eat but, to stop the trend, I'm shifting to studying nutrition and watching what I eat.
2.  Weight training and cardio to rebuild by muscle mass and get rid of the fat buildup.  Once I get back to a much better balance, I might not have to be quite so disciplined.
3.   Build better basics for weight training and posture to build muscles that should help me avoid future back problems.

I'm not going about this on my own, I'm working closely for the rest of this year with Nicole from Focus Studio. She has turned me on to MyFitnessPal, an app and website for tracking nutrition and exercise. I'm thinking of trying to hook its reporting into this blog.

And I've decided to be obsessive about it both in terms of watching my consumption and building the level and techniques of my workouts. Hopefully, I'll get back in a groove so that in Q1, I can return to exercise regimes that are driven by my sense of fun, not duty.