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Archive for September, 2009

T-17 Hours

Yes, in less than 24 hours, I will be sitting down to take the LSAT.  In my efforts to not freak the Fu%! out, I thought I’d take a moment to blog.  Seeing as the lsat is a test of mental endurance and confidence,  I am grateful for my marathon training and general commitment to physical fitness.  However, my training schedule has NOT been grateful of my pre-test practice and anxiety.  The last few weeks have been a major impediment to my training, in terms of increasing mileage, improving time, fueling properly, and keeping up my strength- and cross- training.  I feel like I have turned to mush!  Also, while running helps me release some of the added stress this upcoming test has brought on, the extra stress has caused me to have some of my worst runs ever!!  Yesterday, my endurance was shot.  However, in keeping with my mantra of “You are stronger than these emotions”, I allowed myself to mix some walking into my run.  Instead of getting frustrated, I added a couple miles to my walk-run to focus on keeping my mileage up rather than consistent pace.  Then, I also added a set of 1oometer sprints to my workout.  I really liked being able to run as fast as I could for just a short period of time.  My endurance may have been shot yesterday, but I certainly had some nervous energy pent up and ready to push me through sprints.  I might have to go do some more of them this afternoon.

The last few weeks have also allowed me to experience how stress wreaks havoc on my body.  Apparently, I am one of the best emotional eaters on this planet.  No joke.  I have found myself eating all kinds of sugary, carby snacks and treats that usually never make it past my lips.  Not at all out of restriction, but because I simply do not crave junk food.  I train hard and my body wants quality nutrients.  Enter supreme stress and anxiety, and my body’s desire for nutritious fuel gets overloaded with alien-cravings for carbs of all kinds, but preferably of the high sugar variety.

And now, on the day before my test, I am thinking about how important it is for me to eat nutritiously today and to not overeat tonight in order to keep my mind clear and focused.  YET, why not keep this in mind at all times – -throughout the weeks of studying that have preceded today? Throughout any time of increased stress in my life?  From this experience,  I think I am learning that I need to pay attention to my stress levels and be especially mindful of what I am eating in times of increased stress.  Since stress will be an undeniable aspect of life, I think I need to get a better grip on stress management — focusing on how stress can either wreck your diet or your diet can wreck your stress.  I know that eating right can help reduce stress, while poor eating habits can simply add more stress to an increased stress load.  Things to think about tomorrow….

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Remember when the idea of staying home sick seemed like so much fun in elementary school?  Yeah, well, staying home as an adult in the real world is NO fun.  First of all, you actually have to be sick in order to (legitimately) stay home, and then, if you are sick enough to stay home, you REALLY don’t feel well.  And you don’t have a mom to bring you campbell’s chicken noodle soup, cinnamon sugar toast, popiscles, or whatever else your heart desires.  It’s just you and the germs, hanging out alone.  Today, I am home sick, most likely because of a wicked ear infection.  I have had various flu-like symptoms for the last 9 days, and then yesterday, my ear started hurting like mad!  It feels like it is full of fluid and it is driving me crazy.  In an hour and a half, I’ll be at the doctor, and hopefully I will be relieved of this awful feeling.  I might just leave early to go there because I can’t wait any longer.

Most likely, I got sick last week because I was eating all kinds of things I don’t normally eat while I was in NJ.  I didn’t check for wheat in the ingredients, and fooled myself into thinking it was ok.  Combine that with returning to DC while the seasons are changing, stress and anxiety surrounding the upcoming LSAT, and you get a big fat case of illness.  This is yet another case of circumstantial evidence for me that my immune system falls apart in response to stress.  I know from before that my wheat/gluten intolerance developed later in life (at age 20) as a result of stress and a weak immune system.  Back then, I was put on a gluten-free diet, and my symptoms improved almost overnight.  I learned that my body could not properly process the protein in wheat and consuming wheat products became a further stressor to my weakened immune system.  Removing wheat from my diet, as well as controlling other stressors in my life,  allowed my immune system to strengthen over time.  Years after the initial gluten sensitivity diagnosis, my sensitivity lessened a bit, so that if I accidentally ate something with wheat in it, I was able to digest it fine.  However, it had been awhile since I had the stress of a looming deadline or test in my life and I eased up on monitoring my food.  Big mistake!

Now I know that it is tremendously important for me to maintain a wheat-free, possibly even gluten-free, diet in order to maintain my health.  I do not want to get this sick again, simply because of something I ate.  My response to wheat consumption can range from mild to severe adverse effects, depending on my stress levels.  HOWEVER, since the wheat protein actually becomes a stressor to my body, even if I do not have any significant stress going on in my life, wheat consumption will still give me problems.  So, it is time for me to re-educate myself about wheat intolerance, and reacquaint myself with a wheat-free diet.  I do not know yet if I need to eliminate gluten as well, but it is off limits for now.

So, today’s gluten-free eats have included the following:

Breakfast:

Protein pancake – 3 egg whites plus 1/2 scoop Protein powder

Celery and carrots plus 1.5 T. Almond Butter

Coffee w/ skim

Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese, lotsa broccoli with a little tomato, and a small handful of Puffins

Snack 1: 1/2 banana with a 1/2 T. Almond Butter

Alright, time to get my ear drained. YESSSS!

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The Truth Hurts

Literally…in this case, the truth about my wheat allergy.  Over the last 2 weeks, it has been confirmed that I am indeed allergic to wheat.  Over the last few months, I have tried to incorporate small amounts of wheat into my diet.  THat seemed to be going fine, so about 2 weeks ago, I decided to begin adding more wheat products to my diet.  Suddenly able to eat so many foods that I could not enjoy before (since last finding out that wheat is a no-no for me), I was in chewy-carb heaven.  But my bliss could only last so long.  In retrospect, I can now see that my body has been experiencing averse reactions to the wheat.  To be more precise, I have had stomach pains, muscle aches, and flu-like symptoms for the last 2 weeks.  They got progressively worse until I had full-blown hay fever. Additionally, I have had extreme fatigue, rashes, and severe depressive episodes.  It took me a while to put two and two together, but I am sure of it now.

The only downside is that this means no more Ezekiel Bread, wheat-based wraps, cereal!, granola made with wheat, baked goods, crackers, pretzels, etc.  I need to go back to the wheat-free diet.

This is disappointing because I thought I could be normal again, but the pain I have been in these last couple weeks is not normal!  Part of the reason I wanted to reincorporate “normal” wheat foods is because I grew self-conscious about my dietary needs again.  I had successfully embraced it before, but in recent months, my self-confidence regarding my diet shattered, and I didn’t want to be ‘different’ anymore.  I think this was a result of recent stress.

This has been a major setback, but I can recover from it.  At least i know how to eliminate the havoc thas was wrought on my body over the last few months!  And honestly, I enjoy the wheat-free diet.  I like my sweet potatoes and brown rice, and I have not been eating them recently AT ALL!  I’m going to change that tonight with a trip to TRader Joe’s!

Anyway, time for a super small lunch since I cannot handle much food right now.  My tummy is hurting from the intense wheat consumption yesterday!

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Breaking the Fast

I did it this morning. I ate breakfast at its proper time: upon waking.  Truth be told, I did wake up several times throughout the night with the urge to eat, and I did nibble a bit, but I did not eat massive meals in the middle of the night.  Improvement is in the making!  For breakfast, I brewed vanilla caramel coffee and made a simple piece of toast with almond butter and Ezekiel bread.  Scrumptious!  I forgot how good toast can be, and how filling it can be — when made, of course, with wholesome ingredients.  My breakfast was quite small because my appetite has subsided with my lack of running the last few days, and because I’m headed out for a run now.  Though, I did snack on some granola as I sit in the kitchen reading the newspaper and blogs.  I better get out of the kitchen!

Many things to do today:

30 Day Shred, Long run – it’s going to be rough after my sickness-induced hiatus

Lunch, then grocery shop – TJs, maybe Whole Foods

LSAT practice!, read about Teach for America

Set up my printer and upload pictures

Take bike for repair

Vitamin Shoppe, if time permits

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The pressure is on now –the LSAT is less than 2 weeks away!  And I still have not kicked this nasty cold to the ground.  If I am still feeling groggy tonight/tomorrow, I am taking a sick day tomorrow!  I need my health now, more than ever! 

I was forced to take a rest day yesterday, which I guess is fine, but I need to start tracking my mileage better.  Too many rest days have been sneaking into my training.  Guff, I don’t like training when training is not my first priority, but I am making it work. 

Last night, I let my tendency to eat when anxious get the best of me, and I indulged in more than my fair share of F1 caramel delight cereal.  It wasn’t too bad of a slip-up, but it’s the repetitive behaviour that bothers me most.

This morning, I missed my wakeup call for a morning run, but I needed the sleep.  I’ll get the run in tonight.  For breakfast, I had 1/2 c. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Granola, a new favorite!, and 1/2 c. cottage cheese.  Iced coffee on the side. 

Lunch today will be an avocado and spinach salad.  Snack – protein oats and maybe some Barney Butter.

Gotta run!

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Reigning in my hunger

So, I’ve realized in recent weeks that my hunger has been outta control!  I suspect much of this is running induced – -the marathon training makes me a hangry girl! (So does LSAT study, or more accurately, avoidance of LSAT study.  Must.Stop.Procrastin-eating! Oh, and so does the supreme boredom that comes from my job — so working on changing that situation once I have the LSAT behind me.)  In an effort to figure out what’s going on, I have been keeping track of almost every morsel that passes through my lips.  I have become rather adept at tabulating my consumption, but that practice has not helped me become more mindful of my eating!  Instead, I have been relying on my memory to record everything I eat AFTER the fact. Not.The.Point.  Sheesh!  I have realized that my memory works very well!

Oh well, this week, I decided to try something new.  I will write out a meal plan each night for the next day.  I was going to say I would use it simply as a guideline, but I changed my mind.  I am craving discipline right now, and I need to hold myself accountable.  Were I to use a meal plan simply as a guideline, I would be setting myself up for failure.  I would use that fact to justify eating in the middle of the night and then counting it as breakfast for the next day.  NO!  Iam not doing that anymore.  So, meal plan it is.  I will create my mealplans with all of my favorite nutritious foods in mind.  Discipline is what I need to set myself free from mindless eating.  I am excited to make changes in my eating habits;  I just need to have faith in myself that I am capable of change.  I am, so I will, today. 🙂

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Yeah, because some dude stopped me on the street to introduce himself to me.  Admittedly, I am wearing a cute dress today, but I have NO makeup on – which means ghost pale, death face – and I’m a sick lil pup today.  The guy was half-decent looking, so it would have made my day, if it didn’t just remind me that Washington DC is seriously pitiful.  Like really, I was the best you could find on the street today?!?  Well, maybe I’ll actually take him up on the lunch offer.  I could use some attention and some first date practice.  I hesitated giving him my number, but then I was so perturbed and flustered, I should gave it to him.  So much for being cautious with my digits!

I did get my Starbucks this afternoon, and snacked on a PB Pure Protein BAr and a Slim-fast snackbar throughout the afternoon.  I know, Slim-fast=fake food like woah, but I got a box on super-sale, and it was the last one, so I’m on my way to super-clean eats.

Time to peace out of the office and get my run on! hey, maybe I’ll post pictures tonight!

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