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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fad Dieting

Ask any woman or man and they will tell you at some point in their life they have been on a diet.  Ask those same people to name a "Diet" they have tried or heard of and you will get a very long list. Paleo, South Beach, Gluten-free, Slimfast, No-Carb, Sugar-free, High-Protein, Grapefruit Diet, Cleanses, Detoxes.  I could go on and on.  The problem is, these are diets that provide quick but temporary results. Once you go back to eating normal foods you will gain the weight back and probably more.  With these types of diets, Fad Diets, your body is not being trained to get a normal, well balanced, portion controlled diet and you run the risk of not getting the proper nutrition to run your body. Some restrict entire food groups or only allow you to eat "real food" once a day. The reason why restricting certain food works is that it leaves you with less food options so you tend to eat less. Restricting certain foods or food all together can result in binge eating. Let's talk about some of the most common Fad Diets.

The Paleo Diet focuses on "fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood", foods that "are high in the beneficial nutrients (soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates) that promote good health and are low in the foods and nutrients (refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods...".

This all sounded good but they lost me when I read, "The Paleo Diet encourages dieters to replace dairy and grain products with fresh fruits and vegetables -- foods that are more nutritious than whole grains or dairy products." What? Dairy and whole grains provide very important nutrients and benefits.  This is restricting entire groups of food. Dairy provides Calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.  It has been shown to promote healthy bone growth, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of some cancers and diabetes.  Whole grains provide fiber, help reduce cholesterol and the risk of diabetes. While you can find these benefits in other foods you will need to work really hard to fit them into your diet. Furthermore, both food groups help with healthy weight maintenance.  Isn't that why you are on a diet in the first place? So why would you restrict two food groups that would help promote just that?

South Beach
According to them, "What you won't eat: For the first 14 days you won't have any bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, or baked goods. No fruit, even. Before you panic: You'll begin adding those things back into your diet again in two weeks. But for right now, they're off-limits. You also won't eat candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, or sugar for two weeks. Also no beer or alcohol. After this phase, though, you'll be free to drink wine again and eat a wider variety of desserts."

 My question to you is, why restrict them only for the first 14 days?  I'll tell you why, because they know that we cannot maintain such a restricted diet but they want you to lose the weight quickly so you are convinced that the diet is working.  I've been told by people that they tried South Beach but none have said, "Yeah, I can see myself eating like this forever."  I also have never heard of someone going on it twice. The other thing that bothers me is their reference to "normal size meals".  What is that suppose to me? Without portion control people's idea of "normal" is subjective. In my research I could not find anything about portion control though I need to say without signing up I could not access the full plan.

Slimfast (or other meal replacement diets)
These types of diets are fairly simple to understand. You replace 2 food meals and/or meal replacement bars.  A classic example of food restriction.  This one I am guilty of in my younger days.  I was not able to stick to it because I was not satisfied with drinking my food.  I always ended up eating anyway to satisfy the need to "chew".  Way back when they didn't have the bars.  Even so, I don't think I would have stuck to it.

As you can tell I am not a fan of Fad Diets.  Never have been. I have chosen to use a method of portion control, calories counting, whole and minimally processed food as well as exercise.  I would hate to label it a diet because it is really a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that I feel I can maintain for years to come. This method has helped me easily lose 50lbs. I'm never hungry when I shouldn't be. I don't feel deprived because if I want ice cream. I just eat a single serving.

My intention with this post is not to talk you out of one of these "Fad Diets" but to provide you with knowledge so that you can make an well-informed decision.  As obvious my dislike of these diets I have tried to provide you with accurate information and links so that you may do your own research and form your own opinion.  In spirit of this blog and my Facebook page I encourage you to share your suggestions, experiences, and opinions in the comment section below.  Life is a journey, let's Run it together.

While doing my research I found this funny little article that made me giggle about the History of Fad Diets. Who knows, maybe one day the diets I mentioned will make it to this list.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rules of the Road

Ahhh, the fresh air, the adrenaline pumping. You are thinking, "What a great day to be out for a run!". At that very moment you step off the curb and are nearly hit by a car. On Saturday, in Norwalk, we were reminded of this all too common occurrence. A runner was struck and killed on a busy stretch of highway.  We have had 3 pedestrian death in 2012 alone.

On my Facebook Page I have addressed self-defense safety a few times but never "Rules of the Road".  Before you go out on your next run please remember these few simple rules to keep you safe.
  • If there is a sidewalk, use it. I can hear you now, "But the concrete is harder than the pavement.....". So what! This is your safety we are talking about.
  • Run against traffic.
  • Make eye contact with the drivers. Some people even make a big waving motion to draw attention to themselves.  It may seem like an awkward thing to do but we have all been in the situation when driving where we didn't notice a pedestrian until on top of them.
  • If you run at night or early morning,  as I do, invest in a light and reflective gear. There are many options to chose from so you can find what works for you. I purchased a shirt from Saucony that was made with reflective fabric and detachable LED lights. No added weight and nothing to hold on to.
  • Do not wear headphones. Headphones don't allow you to hear what is going on around you.  If you insist on wearing them, keep the volume low and use only one in the ear that is away from traffic.
Now that you are armed with some valuable rules, go out, be alert, be safe and enjoy the run!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who is this woman and how does she know?

Current members of my Facebook page have been sharing it to help spread the word and I was thinking that a lot of you don't know who I am.  Some of you may even be asking, "Why is she doing this?"  So here is a little background on me to help you see where I am coming from.

It is amazing how life is starting to get so busy. I have my son, my home, and my pets to care for. My job takes up 8.5 hrs of my day. I wish could win the lottery so it can support my son's nasty habit of wanting to eat at least 3 times a day. I joke. My job is great. It is rewarding and I get to work with the greatest group of guys and a few gals sprinkled in.

For most people that would be enough. Not for me. No, I decided I needed to create a Facebook page, Running a Healthy, Mind, Body, & Soul . The page brings motivation, new recipes, healthy modifications to recipes, advice, tips and resources which are all focused on living a healthy lifestyle. I try to also include some of my goofy personality. The page even has a book club group with the same name. Our first book is "We need to talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. It sounds like an exciting read.  I can't wait to get started. I like to read but the books have to really be good to keep my attention or I will put it down and never pick it up again.

How did this all come about? In July 2011 a high school friend of mine asked me to run a Half Marathon with her. I said, "Sure!" In that moment all suspicions were confirmed that I was certifiable. What was I thinking? I had never seriously run a day in my life except to pass The President's Physical Fitness Test.  My BFF would say it's because I'm stubborn and impulsive.  She, in part, she is right. The impulsive part, sure, initially but that would not have kept me on task.  The stubbornness? Yes, it has been handed down from my Grandma to my Mom, to me and finally to my Son. For better or worse, we are stubborn people. However, I feel there is a deeper reason. The stubborn trait does help me but I believe it is my deepest desire to live life to the fullest is what keeps me going.

So began my journey into the unknown. I trained and trained well for the Half. I changed my diet, ran every other day and mixed in strength training. When October came around I was sidelined and couldn't run the race but by then it was too late. I was hooked. I got orthodics and slowly began training again.  Here we are in March 2012 and I have run three 5k's since November. With each race I see my speed increasing, the recovery time decreasing and my confidence soaring through the roof. I am currently training to run my first Half Marathon this May. 

I have always loved learning about health and nutrition but I did not fully appreciate its importance until I was using it to compliment my training.  So when people kept asking how I lost my weight and had questions about training I knew I had to find a way to reach as many people as possible. I needed to help them reach their goals. A Facebook Page seemed like the best way to do just that. I have tried to keep it an upbeat place to go for information, healthy recipes and motivation.  I encourage members to post their experiences, tips for things that work for them and to ask any questions they may have.

Let me not forget the Moms RUN This Town running club chapter I started. It is a free nationwide running club for women.  We run together. We support, encourage and motivate one another in the spirit of love for the sport and sisterhood.  To date there are only 4 members of the Norwalk, CT Chapter but I know we will grow rapidly.  Go to to find your local chapter.

I hope this has helped fill you in on who I am and what I am trying to do.  I hope to see you on Facebook and as a subscriber to this blog.  I look forward to being your biggest cheerleader.

Friday, March 16, 2012

You know I had to do it!

I think creating a Blog was only inevitable after starting with a page on facebook. I can bring you more information. I am so excited about this new dimension of Running a Healthy Mind, Body, & Soul. You will be hearing from me soon.