Monday, June 19, 2017

Weight Loss 101 - The Stall and Whoosh Effect

Third in the "Weight Loss 101" Series, I will be talking about adipose (not the cute little guys from Doctor Who, but the real life adipose). I will explain to you the Stall and Whoosh Effect, and why you may not be losing weight.. or at least *think* you aren't losing weight. This information could save your whole diet!

You’ve been sticking to your diet to the letter. You’ve been working out, counting calories, and have created a deficit. You step on the scale and nothing; the needle hasn’t budged. Another week passes. You’re weighing and logging everything you put in your mouth. You up the intensity of your workout. You just *know* this week you’re down a pound at least. Weigh in day comes, and still nothing. Not one ounce is gone. This is a frustrating thing that happens to all dieters. It is what causes so many to give up and go back to eating like they used to. You begin to rationalize, “I’m older now and my metabolism is too slow to lose weight”. “It must be my thyroid”. “My body just can’t slim down”. Before giving in and downing half of a Supreme thick crust pizza, let me tell you about something called “stall and whoosh”.

Adipose cells, also known as fat cells, are responsible for storing unused energy. This energy is stored inside the adipose in the form of triglycerides, or what we call fat. Fat isn’t a bad thing. Fat cushions our body, gives us shape, keeps us warm, and keeps our body running when we aren’t eating. We all need fat in order to live, and our body is programmed to keep those fat stores “just in case”.

When we diet or exercise, and there is no fuel in the blood stream to feed our other cells, such as the brain, liver, and lungs, the adipose cells release triglycerides into the blood stream. Those droplets of fat are used by the other cells in order to function, and when the triglycerides are converted, we eliminate whatever isn’t used as fuel by exhaling and through urination. This is what we refer to as “burning fat”.

Adipose cells deflate when they are emptied of fat, but they are also programmed to attempt to keep their size and shape for the next anticipated deposit. The way they keep their size is that they absorb water and hold that in place of the fat that they just released. When the adipose are satisfied that they no longer need to hold space open for fat stores, the water is absorbed back into the body and is then eliminated.

What is going on with a stall and whoosh is that you have burned the fat by diet and/or exercise. The water that the adipose is storing replaces that fat, making it look as if you haven’t lost weight, but you have. When the water is finally eliminated, there is a “whoosh” and you wake up the next morning weighing 3-6 lbs less than you did the day before.

There are a couple of signs that you can look for which are clues you are in a stall and whoosh cycle. Check your measurements. If you are losing inches but not weight, it’s a good indicator. Water weighs more than fat, so the inches could be gone, yet you would weigh the same thing (or even more). Another indicator is that your fat feels “squishy” or “loose”. Fat has a different texture than water and moves differently. If your belly or thighs (or wherever you store the most fat) feels extremely squishy or jiggly compared to normal, it is likely water that is being stored.

There are a few theories on how to trigger a “whoosh”. One theory is to up your sodium content temporarily. Sodium absorbs water and would allow the body to flush out the extra water. Alcohol is another theory. As a diuretic, drinking hard alcohol and staying within your daily calorie allowance could help flush out the water. Some say that carb loading for a day is a good way to get the adipose to release the water. I have tried all three of these with varied results.

The one thing that I know works every time is to stay the course, don’t eat the half of a Supreme pizza, and just allow the adipose to do their thing. If you are continually creating a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. Don’t let water retention prevent you from reaching your goals. Understand it, accept it, and wait it out. You can do this.

Friday, June 16, 2017

40 Things That Happen When You Lose Weight

I’ve been on my weight loss journey since September. It is now June. It hasn’t been particularly hard, and it really hasn’t taken that long considering the amount of weight I had to lose. I’ve lost nearly 80 lbs so far. So many things have changed in my life within the past nine months. Some things are great. Some things aren’t so good. There are pros and cons to everything that we do. I think my pros have outweighed my cons by a lot. If you’re toying with the idea of starting a diet and exercise program, read this list. It may give you the motivation you need.

Here is a list of 40 things that happen when you lose weight.

1. You look homeless until you can buy new clothes because none of your clothes fit right.

2. You have several people ask you if you are losing weight and how you are doing it.

3. People tell you how great you look.

4. Some will try to sabotage your weight loss progress by tempting you with food.

5. All of a sudden everyone becomes concerned with you “starving yourself”, even if you’re still 50 lbs. overweight.

6. You start looking at yourself in the mirror more often.

7. You can actually fit into an airplane seat.

8. Your legs can actually cross.

9. Your thighs stop rubbing together when you walk.

10. Your rings no longer fit and you have to get them resized.

11. You discover bones that you never knew you had and mistake them for knots.

12. Sitting becomes uncomfortable because you feel the bones in your bum digging into the chair.

13. Finding a sleeping position becomes a task because your hip bones are digging into the mattress.

14. Walking becomes easier.

15. People around you start making healthier decisions for themselves.

16. You can fit on a stool without your butt fat hanging off.

17. You have more energy.

18. You sleep better.

19. You feel a sense of pride in your accomplishments.

20. People will flirt with you more. A LOT more.

21. Your friends start calling you by new nicknames, like “skinny mini” or “Incredible Shrinking Woman”.

22. You want to go out more often.

23. When you catch your reflection in a store window, you don’t immediately realize it’s you.

24. The meat manager at the local grocery store who you have seen weekly for the last 10 years all of a sudden speaks to you for the first time, asking how you are and how your day went.

25. Family and friends will brag on you behind your back.

26. Some people will criticize you.

27. Your husband (or wife) may start to become jealous.

28. Someone you haven’t seen in a while may not recognize you.

29. Your boobs and butt will shrink before your tummy trims down.

30. You feel cold all the time.

31. You look at the clothes on a rack in your new size and think, “That’s too small for me”.

32. People will like you more. Not because you look better, but because you don’t hate yourself any longer.

33. The people you used to envy now look fat to you.

34. You start *wanting* to have your picture taken.

35. You wish you had more pictures of yourself when you were fat.

36. People take you more seriously.

37. You can sit in the floor more comfortably.

38. Guys (or girls) will start checking you out.

39. You can now buy better looking and more fitted clothes in the stores instead of the “old people” clothes for plus sized people.

40. You wonder why the hell you didn’t start losing weight earlier.

If you've lost weight and have experienced different things than I've mentioned here, please comment below! I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Weight Loss 101 - Pitfalls - Eating Out

It happens to all of us when we are dieting. We just know we’re making the right choices. We choose healthy foods. We drink our water. We measure and we weigh our portions. We do everything that we’re supposed to do. On weigh in day, when we step on the scale… It hasn’t moved. The feeling of disappointment, frustration, and even anger creeps in and the thought of failure eats away at us. Why? Why is this happening to me? There are several reasons that the weight may not drop off of us as expected. Today in the second post in the series “Weight Loss 101”, I will discuss one of the pitfalls of dieting. Eating out.

My best friend celebrated his birthday last night. Several of us gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings, his favorite restaurant, to enjoy dinner together. Although I was eating out and celebrating, I was determined to stay on track. I decided against alcohol and I ordered an unsweetened tea at zero calories and declined sweetener (yeah, I have this down pat). The waitress brought out menus and I immediately opened mine to the salad section. My eyes scanned the selection of salads on the menu, but then something caught my eye. At the bottom of the description of each salad, right there next to the price, was the calorie count.

Honey BBQ Chicken Salad 1320 – 1440 CAL

Santa Fe Salad 1320 1440 CAL

Chicken Caesar Salad 720 CAL

Buffalo Chicken Salad 1090 – 1200 CAL

Garden Chicken Salad 800 – 1240 CAL

Seven Hells, Ned! The Big Jack Daddy burger is 1250 calories! I’d be better off having that than a couple of the salads listed above. My calorie allowance for the entire DAY is 1280! Since when is a salad so calorie dense? What the hell am I going to eat?

I decided to look around the menu for something a little lighter on the calorie end. I remember having a veggie plate there a few years ago there. I looked for that in the appetizer section. Ahhh. There it is. The Garden Crasher. The plate contains pita bread, hummus and tzatziki sauce, kalamata olives, carrots, celery, red peppers, and cucumbers. THAT would be a good choice, right? WRONG. A quick glance at the calorie count revealed 1310 calories – still more than the burger (What the f*@& is in the pita and the hummus?).

I started searching the menu again. This time, I wasn’t looking at the food, but the calories. I finally settled on the most unsuspecting item. I decided on fried popcorn shrimp. Depending on the choice of sauce, the calorie count was 500 – 790. I chose the cocktail sauce, which made my total for the meal only 500 calories, the lowest calorie item on the menu.

Who would have thought a salad would be two to three times higher in calories than popcorn shrimp? I know that at other restaurants I’ve chosen the salad every single time. At what cost? I usually log a salad at a restaurant at around 500 calories by doing a mental calorie count in my head. How many times have I eaten at 1500 calorie salad and gone over my daily allowance by 1000 calories? Going out to eat even twice a week and doing that each time nets a 2000 calorie surplus. That is almost a whole pound!

My point is, that when you are logging your calories each day, make sure you have an accurate calorie count on your items. Not all restaurants list their calories on the menu. Take a minute to look them up online and see if you can find the calorie count there. Think twice about ordering that salad. Sometimes you’re better off having fried shrimp, the cheese sticks, or even the Big Jack Daddy burger.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Weight Loss 101 - Calories In - Calories Out

I’m starting a new series of posts today. This is the first in a series, “Weight Loss 101”. In this series, I am going to talk about the things that have worked for me in my journey to lose 100 lbs. I’m going to explore the nerdy side of weight loss and discuss calories and adipose (fat cells) and how they work. I’ll be talking about glycogen, triglycerides, and water weight. There’s also a phenomenon I will tell you about called “Stall and Woosh” which can explain weight loss plateaus and will show you how a plateau isn’t exactly what you think. Exploring the scientific side of weight loss has helped me tremendously. Hopefully the posts in this series will help someone else.

Today, I’m going to talk about my diet strategy, calories in – calories out. This is the most straightforward diet that I know of, is based on scientific law, and has worked for anyone who has correctly applied it. I’ve tried the Weight Watchers points system, Nutrisystem, Atkins, and several other diets, mostly hand written and copied thousands of times on a Xerox machine, and have come to the conclusion that for me, calories in – calories out works the best. It’s all simple math and physics.

First, let’s look at how weight loss works. One pound is equal to 3500 calories (energy units). The average 150 lb person burns 1800 calories, or units of energy, per day for someone with a sedentary lifestyle (your personal Basal Metabolic Rate can be calculated by a doctor or estimated using a BMR calculator). In order to lose one pound, you must create a deficit of 3500 calories. On a 1200 calorie per day diet, a deficit of 600 calories per day occurs. That means that it will take six days for me to lose one pound, provided I stay within that 1200 calorie per day limit.

Let’s add in exercise. Each mile I run burns roughly 100 calories. I’m currently running approximately 10 miles per week, burning about 1000 calories, or .28 pounds. If I follow my diet to the letter, and run five days per week, I can expect to lose 1.28 pounds per week.

On the other side of the coin, let’s explore weight gain. I had gained 100 lbs over an 8 year period. It isn’t that hard to gain weight, and the pounds can sneak up on you even when you don’t think you’re doing that badly. A seemingly normal diet can hold more calories than we’re even aware. A typical day for me before I began my diet, and on a day that I cooked a “normal” dinner and not one of my gourmet masterpieces, would include:
  • Two Pop Tarts for breakfast at 400 calories. 
  • A pack of cookies or nabs in the afternoon (I rarely ate lunch) at 200 calories. 
  • Dinner might be a plate of spaghetti, 329 calories, 2 slices garlic bread, 412 calories, and a salad with 100 Island 200 calories. 
  • In the evening, I usually had 3 glasses of wine or beer while I cooked dinner and later watched TV - 381 calories. 
  • TV time snacks. I’m going to lowball with microwave popcorn at 350 calories. 
I am up to 2272 calories for the day. Although it doesn’t sound like a lot, this is 472 calories above the 1800 calorie target. The thing about the human body is that when it finds extra calories, it stores those calories for energy that may be needed later. These calories are converted and stored as fat. This means that it would take only 7 days of this type of food to gain one pound, and eating every day like this for one year would net a weight gain of 52 lbs. Those foods I listed in my normal day don’t seem like that much until you break down the calorie count. Now take into consideration vacations, holidays, birthdays, dinner and drinks with friends on the weekends, and other events where food is the main focus. Talk about disaster!

Understanding the way calories work is an important part of weight loss and maintenance. With mainstream diets, you don’t have the advantage of learning the calorie count of foods. On the calories in – calories out method, you begin to memorize the calorie counts of foods. When going out to eat, you can then easily calculate the calories in any meal by adding the calories of the ingredients. With mainstream diets you don’t learn to eat differently. You end up following the plan to the letter, and sometimes only eat pre-packaged meals, and when you hit your weight loss goal and go off of your "diet", you go back to old habits. In a year or two, you’ve gained back all the weight and then can’t understand why.

Once I’ve hit my weight loss goal, I will have to tinker with the number of calories I need for maintenance. The 1800 a day is a good starting point. From there, I can monitor how my weight fluctuates by the week.  If I’m still losing weight, I can up my calorie intake. If I’m gaining, I can lower it again. I know that I will always have to count calories and pay close attention to the scale to prevent myself from falling back into those old habits. That’s fine with me too. I’ve developed the habit of weighing myself religiously and logging calories on my app. It only takes a few minutes each day.

Those are the basics of calories in – calories out, and is my diet strategy. More “Weight Loss 101” posts will be coming soon! Please let me know if there is something you’d like for me to discuss.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Would Do Anything

When I was around fourteen years old, I saw a girl at Carowinds amusement park with the prettiest, darkest tan I had ever seen. It was the 80’s, and dark tans were the most covetous feature a girl could have in the Summer. I was so impressed by her tan that I turned to my dad, excited, and said, “I would do *anything* to have her tan”.

Not missing a beat, and never even looking at me, dad responded, “No you wouldn’t”. I was confused and offended that my dad would presume to tell me what I thought or how I felt. “I would too”, I protested.

Dad, still not showing any thought nor feeling to my desire, said to me, “No, you wouldn’t. The fact that you don’t have that tan right now proves it. If you would do anything to have her tan, then you would have been working toward it just like she has been. You don’t think it just fell on her, do you”?

I stared blankly at him, mouth wide open and nothing coming out. Dad had just taught me something that has stayed with me to this day. If it is something I wanted, then I would have to work for it.

In late September of this year, I finally admitted to myself that I had been abusing my body for quite some time. I was eating anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was drinking vast amounts of wine or beer on a daily basis. I had gained over one hundred pounds in around an 8 year period. I could barely walk, my hands would go numb and my legs would often cramp from lack of circulation. My weight had skyrocketed to its highest ever, 254.5 lbs. I had to do something.

I began a diet (again) on a Monday morning in late September. I had tried and failed a hundred times before. This time, I wasn’t going to do Weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig, or any of the other popular diets. I was going to create my own and just cut calories by eating healthier and limiting alcohol. It wasn’t really difficult, but what made it not-so-hard this time is the “Doggonit-ness” I had. I clamped onto the idea of this weight loss journey and wouldn’t let go of it for any man’s money. I’d give anything to lose that weight.

I had to say no to a lot of things that I wanted, and I still have to say no. When my friends were having burgers or pizza, I ordered salad. When it was someone’s birthday, I didn’t eat the cake. On vacations, I’d only choose lean fish and vegetables from the all you can eat calabash seafood buffet. I even declined dinner at Rioz , an all you can eat meat-lover’s paradise, and also my favorite restaurant at Myrtle Beach. After losing 50 lbs, I began walking, then ultimately running every day. These sacrifices were all needed to keep me on track, and I accepted it happily. I knew that the reward would be worth it in the end. I would do anything to lose that weight.

Over the last seven months, I have managed to drop 67 lbs, placing me at 187.9 lbs. I’ve also dropped from a size 20 to a size 12. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come to me telling me how great I’m doing or how amazing I look. I have men trying to catch my interest again. I have women telling me I look so much better. I also have people asking me daily how I am doing it. I always give the same answer. Diet and exercise.

I am no different than the girl with the tan at Carowinds. I’m not “lucky”. I didn’t find a magic pill or potion. There is no such thing – results from those are at best temporary if they work at all. The fat didn’t “just walk away” like Adipose on an episode of Doctor Who, and frankly I wouldn’t want it to – if you haven’t seen that episode, you should. (Yikes!) I wanted it. I am working for it. I am achieving it.

I will succeed at my goal to shed 100+ lbs and ultimately reach my 150 lb target weight. I would do anything to do it. I’m proving that every single day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Low Calorie Meal Options

I was asked by a friend to get together a week’s worth of recipes that I use on my diet. I then had requests from other friends to be included in the list. This is what I’ve come up with. The following seven dinner recipes are mine and the pictures are what I actually made. Everything is portioned to serve four, but quantities can be adjusted easily for a larger or smaller group.

I have only included dinner recipes, but will share with you some of the options I use for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. All of these are in my rotation, and have yielded a 68 lb weight loss over a six month period as of today.

I keep my calorie count to 1200 per day. Men will need more calories to function. Please check with your doctor before starting any diet plan. 


1 envelope Quaker instant oatmeal – 100 – 130 calories (depending on flavor)


2 hard-boiled eggs – 140 calories


Egg and Cheese Muffin: - 190 calories
  • ·         Thomas’ Lite English muffin
  • ·         Scrambled egg
  • ·         Sargento thin sliced cheddar (1 slice)


Vegetable and Cheese Omelet - 205
  • ·         2 Eggs
  • ·         ½ oz shredded cheddar
  • ·         ½ Green pepper
  • ·         ½ onion

Lunches and Snacks

Garden salad – 2 Cups salad with raw vegetables – 30 calories (add dressing calories)

Shrimp cocktail – 8 large shrimp with sauce – 150 calories

Raw Vegetable plate with 1 oz Cheddar – 125 Calories (add calories for using dips)

2 Cups cubed Cantaloupe/Watermelon/Pineapple/Honey Dew – 120/96/200/128 Calories (respectively)

Turkey wrap (Made with Xtreme Wellness Low Carb Wraps) – 250 calories
  • ·         1 – 50 calorie wrap
  • ·         4 oz sliced turkey cold cuts
  • ·         Lettuce
  • ·         Tomato

I always see how many calories I have at the end of the day. I try to supplement by indulging my cravings. Some days I have enough to have a bowl of popcorn and a beer with a movie. Depending on the number of calories left after that, I may have 1-3 pieces of chocolate! Some of my guiltLESS pleasures include:

1-3 Hershey minis – 42 calories EACH

¼ cup popcorn – (pop in an air popper and use spray butter and sea salt) – 160 calories

1 Craft beer, such as a porter or stout – 200 calories (average)

2 oz bourbon with Diet Coke – 140 calories

Pudding Pie with Whipped Cream – 180 calories
  • ·         1 Keebler mini graham cracker pie crust (100 cal)
  • ·         1 container sugar free pudding (chocolate is my go to) (60 cal)
  • ·         2 Tbs lite Cool Whip (20 cal)

Banana Pudding with Whipped Cream – 205 calories
  • ·         1 Keebler mini graham cracker pie crust (100 cal)
  • ·         1 container vanilla sugar free pudding (60 cal)
  • ·         ¼ banana, sliced (25 cal)
  • ·         2 Tbs lite Cool Whip (20 cal)

Angel Food Cake with Fruit and Whipped Cream – 210 calories
  • 1/12 Angel Food cake – 120
  • 1 Container fruit cup no sugar added (check calories on package) (70 cal)
  • 2 Tbs Lite Cool Whip – (20 cal)

Here are some great brands I use.


Teriyaki Chicken and Mushrooms with Roasted Vegetables
Servings: 4
Calories: 264
Total time: 30 minutes

Chicken and Mushrooms
4 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approx. 4 oz each)
1 pint baby portabella or other mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 Tbs Teriyaki sauce
2 Tbs Sweet Chili sauce
Cooking spray
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat pan and spray with cooking spray. Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and mushrooms to hot pan and drizzle with teriyaki and sweet chili sauce. Sautee’ until done, but do not overcook.

Roasted Vegetables
2 Zucchini
2 Yellow squash
1 lb Fresh green beans
Kosher salt (to taste)
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Cut zucchini and squash into ¼” rounds and place on sheet pan, slightly overlapping the edges. Cut ends from green beans and cut in half. Scatter on sheet pan. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.

Pulled Chicken Tostadas with Black Beans
Servings: 4 (1 serving = 2 tostadas – Picture showing three nets 700 calories)
Calories: 480
Total time: 60 minutes

Pulled Chicken Tostadas with Black Beans
1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast, boiled, baked, or roasted, shredded
1 Cup shredded mild cheddar
8 Corn tostada shells
1 Can Fat Free Refried Beans (I use Casa Mamita)
Shredded lettuce
2 Medium tomatoes, diced
8 Tbs Pace Picante Sauce
3 Tbs Taco seasoning
1 Can black beans

Cook boneless, skinless chicken breast, Shred and season with taco seasoning. Spread refried beans over tostadas with a knife. Pile on chicken mixture, dividing equally among 8 tostadas. Add cheddar to each tostada, dividing equally. Microwave 2 at a time on serving plate for 30 seconds to melt cheese. Add shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and picante sauce. Serve with black beans.

Baked Flounder with Bullion Orzo and Raw Veggies
Servings: 4
Calories: 240
Total time: 30 minutes

Baked Flounder
1 lb Flounder
Old Bay Seasoning
Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 450°. Line sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place flounder onto sheet pan and sprinkle generously with Old Bay. Bake for 20-25 minutes until fish flakes. Do not overcook.

Bullion Orzo
1 Cup orzo
1 Chicken bouillon packet or cube
2 Green onions, chopped

Cook orzo to package instructions, adding bullion to water. Sprinkle with green onion.

Raw Veggies
12 Grape tomatoes
1 Cucumber

Cut grape tomatoes in half. Slice cucumber. Serve raw.

Teriyaki Shrimp with Roasted Asparagus, Carrots, and Bullion Orzo

Servings: 4
Calories: 358
Total time: 30 minutes

Teriyaki Shrimp
1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Teriyaki Sauce
Cooking Spray
Green onions, chopped

Marinade shrimp at least one hour in teriyaki sauce. Preheat oven to 450°. Line sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place vegetables onto sheet pan and spray top with cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes until carrots are tender. Serve over orzo and sprinkle with green onions.

Bullion Orzo
1 Cup orzo
1 Chicken bouillon packet or cube
Cook orzo to package instructions, adding bullion to water.

Roasted Asparagus and Carrots
1 lb Asparagus, woody ends cut off
½ lb Carrots
Kosher salt (to taste)
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.. Scatter vegetables on sheet pan. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are fork tender.

Grilled Pork Chop with Italian Green Beans and Salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 456 (Add calories for your choice of salad dressing)
Total time: 30 minutes

Grilled Pork Chops
4 – 4oz pork chops
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Meat Tenderizer
Allow the pork chops to come to room temperature. Preheat grill (you want this screaming hot). Lightly coat both sides of the pork chops with olive oil. Sprinkle meat tenderizer on both sides. Place on hot grill for five minutes, then turn ¼ turn. Let cook another five minutes. Flip pork chops and cook five minutes on the other side. Turn ¼ turn and cook an additional five minutes. Flipping causes the pretty score marks on the meat.

Italian Green Beans
2 cans Italian green beans, drained and rinsed (important to remove extra sodium)
Kosher salt (optional)
Prepare green beans to instructions

My Usual Salad
Iceberg lettuce
Baby spinach
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cucumber
Chopped green pepper
Chopped carrots
Shredded cheddar (1/2 oz per salad)
Real bacon bits (1/2 oz per salad
Croutons (6 per salad)


Broiled Salmon with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots
Servings: 4
Calories: 278
Total time: 30 minutes

Broiled Salmon
4 – 6oz Salmon fillets
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat broiler on its low setting, or preheat on bake to 500°. Lightly coat salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Broil in oven to desired doneness. (Fish should be firm to the touch but not tough)

Roasted Brussels sprouts and Carrots
1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half
½ lb Carrots
Kosher salt (to taste)
Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.. Scatter vegetables on sheet pan. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are fork tender.

Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Medley with Angel Hair Pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 374
Total time: 30 minutes

Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Medley
1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Zucchini, cubed
1 Yellow (or green is fine) bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in pan until shimmering. Sautee’ zucchini, onion, and bell pepper until tender. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Angel Hair Pasta
8 oz dry angel hair pasta
Kosher salt
Make pasta according to package directions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What Am I Running From?

I had a breakdown on my two mile run yesterday.

I started my run not feeling so great. The first quarter mile, my thighs were burning and aching, and I felt that every step was labored and heavy. Everything within me kept screaming “Stop and go back to the car”. I kept running, speeding my pace, and ignored the desire to quit. After the quarter mile, my legs didn’t hurt quite as badly. I checked my pace on my Garmin. I was running faster than I usually do. At around the ¾ mile mark, I felt so thirsty that it was becoming uncomfortable. That isn’t normal for me. I usually don’t get that dry, but I made a 3 second stop at the water fountain for a quick sip and got my pace back. I was almost at the one mile marker, and my time was looking amazing (for me). Across the pedestrian bridge, around the curve and up the hill to the bridge I went, speeding up as I got to the hill. My one mile buzzer went off on my watch and I checked my pace as I turned to go back. I’d completed that mile in 13:11. Not too bad!

Wanting to beat my 13 minute mile from a couple of weeks ago, I pressed a little harder. I sped up and checked my pace. I was running at a 9.14 minute mile. I was feeling pretty decent at this point even though I was still thirsty and getting hot. My footsteps became lighter and I was feeling as if I had found my groove. But then, my mind stopped concentrating on my breathing pattern. I forgot about paying attention to my foot strike. My mind had started to wander. I had tuned out the music that was turned up high on my ear buds. I began thinking. Negative thinking. I was thinking about things that had happened years ago. Lost loves and abandoned friends streamed through my head. I thought about problems that I’d had at work 10 years ago. I thought about people I loved who have passed away. I thought about the wrongs that I had done to others. I thought about the wrongs that others have done to me. I began to get angry, and I felt my eyes filling with tears. I pressed even harder, running as I’d never run before.

I was a half mile away from my end point, and all of a sudden those tears began to stream down my cheek. I couldn’t breathe and was gasping for every breath I took in. I was crying full on, pissed off, hurt. I was sobbing. I stopped running and began to walk the last half mile back to my car. The thoughts kept coming, one after the other. I cried harder and harder as I made my way closer to the car. I finally got to my car, sat down and laid my head on the steering wheel and sobbed until I could gain enough composure to drive back to work. I drove back, parked my car, and posted the incident on Facebook:

My work phone rung only minutes after I returned to my desk, and on the other end was who I now consider my guardian angel. He told me that I’d “hit the wall”, which was normal under extreme exertion, and said that when I break through the wall that everything in the past can now get through as well. He told me that I had all this excess baggage holding me back that was being dropped, and that I wasn’t running FROM something, but that I was running TOWARD something – the new me. He told me so much more, and had me built up. I’m so appreciative of this man and his wisdom.

When I finally got home I pulled up my trusty Google search. “Hitting the wall runners”, “emotional while running”, and a few other key phrases. I read a few forums and a few good articles. THIS ONE, from, and THIS ONE from outline physiological causes behind psychological issues when endurance running.

I also found THIS GEM on a Reddit forum:

[–]boojieboy 25 points 3 years ago
I think the emotions that people experience after severe exertion like long runs are probably due to momentary frontal lobe insufficiency, resulting in momentary disregulation of emotions. Why crying in particular is what most people seem to experience, rather than euphoria, sadness, or what have you, is not clear to me.

[–]boojieboy 13 points 3 years ago*
The relevant idea in cognitive-neuroscience is called "transient hypofrontality" LINK
Basically, the theory is that when you exercise you drive your body into a state of heightened physiological arousal (i.e. you get excited) and this pushes your frontal lobes to supply an interpretation of that arousal. High arousal states tend to be interpreted as being either extremely positive ("euphoric") or extremely negative ("sadness") and, in a situation where the resources your frontal lobes draw upon to do that job are depleted, it can result in an unstable mix of those two ends of the emotional spectrum. The outcome is often a surge of what most of us understand as a kind of exquisite bittersweet emotion (a mix of both positive and negative), the natural expression of which is (da DAH!) crying. It won't last very long, and the period of time during which you are most vulnerable is within an hour or so of the completion of the exercise bout. Once your cognitive resources recover (i.e. you suck down a huge dose of carbs, ninja edit: and take a nap!) the frontal lobes recover their strength and stability is restored.

Everything that causes the issues discussed in the articles I’ve read line up completely with what happened yesterday. Looking back, here’s what happened:

  • I normally have 4-5 bottles of water between 7-12 before my run. Yesterday I was extremely busy and I only had ½ bottle. I was dehydrated.
  • I didn’t eat anything before the run. The last “meal” I had was a lite English muffin, plain. I had that muffin at 5:30 AM. I wasn’t fueled.
  • Yesterday was the warmest day that I have run. I was overheated and not acclimated. 
  • I was pushing myself harder and faster than I had before. I finished my 2 miles in 14:08. My fastest pace recorded on my Garmin that day was 8:16/mi. Let me add that I finished up my 2 miles WALKING the last half mile, and still almost made my lowest lap time ever, missing the mark by only: 13 seconds. Had I finished the run, I was on target to hit my first 11 minute mile. I was overexerted. 

Everything above explains perfectly what happened to me yesterday. Although I can’t say I “enjoyed” the run, I'll always say that no run is a bad run, I learned so much from the experience. I’m getting faster. I’m learning my body. I’m not only getting stronger physically, but mentally as well. I’m learning just how important water and fuel is to a runner. I’ve learned that running is helping me drop old baggage and that the “new me” is where I’m headed. I’ve also learned that there are people out there watching out for me and that are good enough to speak up and help me get through it. And I appreciate it oh so much.

Thanks to my guardian angel, I now know that I’m definitely not running FROM anything. I’m running TOWARD it. At full speed ahead.