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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds reid eat

you might be surprised at how far she'd get with her feet on the ground

Following discussion of diet, health, and exercise may be triggery to some. If you think that's you, page down fast!

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Tobias Buckell is blogging about regaining his fitness after having his activity levels sharply curtailed by a congenital cardiac issue. This had inspired me to talk about my own efforts towards greater health and physical fitness.

As some of you know, Bob, last year I was diagnosed with borderline hypertension. Not actually a surprise: my grandmother had high blood pressure, and I have a lot of diabetes in the family. While I lived in Nevada (1999-2006) what with one thing and another, I went from a relatively comfortable size for me (165-170 pounds: I'm a strapping lass) to around a hundred pounds heavier--and I lost pretty much all of my previous reasonably good level of physical fitness.

Since 2006, I've been working to get myself back in the shape for it to be a trivial activity to run three miles. Last spring, I was actually making some pretty good progress on it (I could jog two and a half miles, and was down to 215 or so.) Alas, then the year of deadlines and stress eating hit, and all the kayaking in the world could not save me. Net result: fifteen pound weight gain, and blood pressure running at 130/90. Eeep! Also, I went from climbing 5.9 and working on 5.10s to struggling up 5.8s and thrashing on 5.9s I used to send easily. And running up those hills got a hell of a lot harder.

Obviously, something needed to be done. Especially since I haven't given up on hiking Kilimanjaro someday.

Now, I'm not interested in being skinny, or squeezing into a size eight dress (At 145, which I have been, I am too skinny. And I just about fit into a size 8. Not for nothing did my ancestors say, When ox die, harness wife.), or whatever. What I am interested in is not winding up diabetic, not having a stroke, and climbing 5.10 again.

Thus, The Discipline. This is what I do: it is the result of lots of trial and error, and it will make most people healthier than they are--and a hell of a lot fitter. It may not work for you, and it is, in fact, a Discipline. It is not a crash diet. It is not something you do for six months and walk away from and never have to do again.

1) Exercise most days. I climb (strength and balance, some cardio) two or three days a week. I do yoga (flexibility, strength, balance, cardio) 4 or 5 days a week. Some days it's just 20 minutes of stretching; some days it's an hour of power yoga. I move (cardiovascular) 5 or 6 days a week--this may be walking 3 or 4 miles, or running/walking 2. I am a really crap runner: last spring I was up to 11 minute miles and absolutely thrilled with myself.

In the summer, I hike and kayak.

Not everybody can do these things, or all of them, or any of them. It could be walking the dog around the block. That's awesome. It could be chair yoga. Swimming. Wheelchair biathalons. Whatever. It's good.

2) Diet. This is not diet in the modern sense of "weight loss diet," but diet as in "what you put in your body has an effect."

Step 1: Like Toby, I figured out my daily calories (roughly) intake and outgo. I use fitday. If I am trying to lose weight, I figure out what I am burning in a day (remembering to log sleep!) and I undershoot it. I log what I do, and I log what I eat.

Step 2: Weigh or measure every goddamned thing I put in my mouth and write it down.

I believe I need to eat. I believe I need to eat good food, and plenty of it, and it should taste good and leave me feeling good.

Right now I am aiming for around 800 calories a day less than I burn. It does mean I'm often hungry, but such is life--and considering my workout schedule, that's between 1600-2200 calories a day, which is really rather a lot of food, especially when (and here's where it gets hard for me) one institutes portion control. Yes, I weigh my pasta. Yes, 2 ounces of uncooked pasta is less than I think it is. But it's really enough for my body, even if my brain does not think so.

Like Toby, I eat whatever the hell I want, if it's in the budget. However, I try to stick to the whole/live/low glycemic/things that grow on plants/whole grain end of the spectrum. Because I feel better when I do. Clearer head, better energy levels, less pain, fewer Moods.

Doesn't mean I won't eat a brownie if I want one. The brownie is Nature's Perfect Food.

I'm fortunate not to have any dietary sensitivities. I'm not a vegetarian; I had a 4-ounce steak yesterday. But I also don't fret too much about Making Sure I Eat Meat Every Day.

I try to keep my fat intake between 25-35 percent and my protein intake over 15%. This is a challenge, but I've noticed I build muscle faster and heal quicker when the protein is high. Also, I feel better and I'm less hungry.

It does mean that I may have to decide between cocoa and ice cream, instead of having both. But you know, the ice cream will be there tomorrow. It does mean I have to eschew alcohol most of the time (*sob!*) because whoa, the empty calories.

I try to eat lots of good fats (I do not believe in low fat diets. In fact, I believe they are the devil, and will leave me hungry and sad and grassy-haired. I do believe in making sure that bunches and bunches of my 30% fat comes from almonds and avocados and sardines. My cholesterol, by the way, is amazingly good.)

And like Toby, I have a blow out day a week. 3500 calories? Fine. The metabolism likes the reminder that it's not starving, and it's nice to not be sharp set all the time. (Sharp set is a good term. Borrowed from falconry: it's not the same thing as "hungry," but it's basically "unsatisfied." If I eat until I'm satisfied, I'm not undershooting my caloric demand. The pants stay tight.)

As an example, here's my menu for today:

1 cup raisin bran granola   190 calories
1/2 cup rolled oats            148 calories
1 cup almond milk               60 calories
1 tbsp fiber supplement        15 calories
3 fish oil capsules                 15 calories
.75 ounce roasted cashews124 calories 
1 tsp sugar                        16 calories
1.2 cup blackberries    31 calories

2 ounces Barilla
  whole grain pasta             200 calories
1/2 cup cottage cheese         92 calories
1/2 cup Newman's sauce   110 calories
1 1/4 cup almond milk          75 calories
3 tbsp cocoa mix               105 calories
1 tbsp fiber supplement         15 calories
Apple                                   72 calories (normally I weigh my fruit, but I was lazy)

1/2 avocado                      138 calories
juice of 1/2 lime                      5 calories
1/2 chili pepper                       9 calories
arugula &spinach                   12 calories
cucumber                              14 calories
garlic                                        1 calorie

Dinner (revised):
1 1/2 cups potato/pea curry  303 calories
For some reason, the potatoes refused to cook, so I had cheese and whole-grain crackers and a spoonful of that ice cream after all: 320 calories
Apple cider (because we were out of cookies) 117 calories

total, ~1800 calories
28% fat, 13% protein

With 20 minutes of yoga and the hour long walk I am about to take, my outlay for the day is around 2700.

So technically, I could have a cookie, too.


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Go Bear!

As a data point, I agree that your body can tolerate a lot less than you think it needs. I'm pregnant right now and had heinous morning sickness--I lost ten pounds, but the actual net result is that I learned that I could feel full with less. And even though I'm eating as much calories as my doctor wants me to, I'm gaining weight much slower than the normal pregnant lady.

And that's a good thing because the baby is healthy, I will be healthy, and afterwards, I can keep eating healthy and exercising.
Awww! You are so good! I'm sitting here feeling envious because I don't have the guts to start dieting, no less exercising. Have your cookie and feel good about it. My experience is that you should allow yourself a little bit of a reward now and again, because you are liable to break the diet if you don't.
I don't believe in dieting--that's kind of the point of the post. Just portion control, and trying to make sure not too much of it is empty of nutritional value.
Have the cookie, because you're awesome and you deserve it. :)

I'm struggling with "writer's spread" (as in, being over 100 lbs beyond my healthy weight) myself. I ate high carbs, lots of sugar, and empty calories all my life until recently, because that's what I was fed as a child and thought was normal food. I've discovered that someone can be overweight and suffer from malnutrition.

I don't hold with fad diets and I'm not vegetarian either. I'm taking baby steps right now to get to something that resembles health. For the moment I've instituted a "no empty calories" rule. Everything I eat has to nourish my body. When my body and brain get comfortable with this change I'll start adding more vegetables to my plate. I can't afford the gym but I've got some inexpensive fitness equipment and I'm starting to work out at home.

Yes, there are people who find posts about health/fitness to be triggering. I have one dear friend in particular. When I say "I want to be healthier, stronger, and more supple" she hears "I hate myself because I'm fat and I hate fat people." I've learned to take discussions of weight loss and fitness elsewhere so as not to set her off.

For many, though -- including myself -- such posts are motivating. They remind me to evaluate what I'm eating and drag out the aerobic stepper. You and Laurell K. Hamilton are my heroes for this.
Yeah. I hear you. I am more interested in gaining health than losing weight, quite frankly. Although my sport, alas, is one where every goddamned ounce counts...
Have a cookie

I am going to make so many of these at the weekend. I love brown rice and almonds as much as the next person (maybe a bit more with the amount I eat), but sometimes I want to eat something that's even just pretending it's bad for me.

and I am right with you on the low fat diet front.
Yeah. I had that issue with my ex, who basically lived on hamburgers, baloney, and potato chips. My eventual solution was to cook for myself and let him bitch, or do the same.

peanut butter and oatmeal are both real food.
I think it was either you or Chaz who alerted me to fitday - I find it really useful and logging what I'm eating really helps keep an eye on all the stuff that I could eat without even noticing. I've started weighing stuff too for the same reason - otherwise I'm eating far more than I'm writing down because I'm underestimating.

I'm trying to watch what I eat because although I don't think I need to lose a large amount, I would benefit from being leaner and having fewer wobbly bits.

Thanks for sharing this - and I hope your cookie was good!
Thanks for the post. I actually find this sort of discussion motivating.

I need to lose a few pounds because I have developed more wobbly bits than I should have. :( I haven't been eating a huge amount and generally I eat pretty healthily, but I've been hibernating over the cold dark weeks of midwinter and spending too much time sitting and not enough time moving about energetically.
Thank you very much for typing that and posting it. It is something I had wondered about when I noticed that the Discipline was capitalised. Thanks to you I found out why it was a word related to Disciple.

Thinking about Discipline now.
Weighing things and working out calorie counts for recipes has made a huge difference to the way I eat. Yes, I know, I'm not skinny and I don't eat healthily ... but now I am at least aware of where I'm going wrong (cheap red wine and cheese = major downfall) and making more sensible choices comes as a result of that, without thought.

I was walking daily, I fell out of the habit at Christmas and the weather ... well, OK, I'll get back onto that. And that will make me feel better. Also am starting to understand about core muscles (and that mine are missing!) and doing hula hooping on the Wii Fit. I like that there are Wii-mini-avatars cheering me on. Is that sad?

Thanks for the triggering, I needed a reminder!

Red wine and cheese are healthy! Within limits, anyway. (OMG cheeeeese <3<3<3)

What an excellently useful post! Thank you!
That sounds all very sensible and balanced. You are a lot more disciplined that I am. I give in a lot.
Thanks for the link to fitday. I need to eat in a more healthy fashion and that little pie chart at the end was certainly an eye-opener for me.

The deadly pie chart! The sodium count is fatal, too.
Wise Bear.

From your photos, I've always thought you'd be an awesome rugby prop.

I've found, through trial and error, that Nancy Clark has some really sensible things to say about nutrition, and her guidance looks a hell of a lot like your Discipline. She might advocate for less of a deficit, but if it works for you, then that's what's important.

As you were...
All of my sports are sports that reward flexibility, a good strength to weight ratio, and a small frame.

You'd think I had a thing for lost causes.

This is why I am falling in love with kayaking. Finally, the brawn is good for something!
When you mention that you are often hungry, is that "hungry" as in "Hm, I'd really enjoy a (fill in food of your choice) right about now.", or is it "It's been enough hours since I last ate that my stomach is not only empty, it's rumbling or cramping."?

If it's the latter, and if you start to notice that you're maintaining your weight or gaining some at calorie levels where you used to lose, you might want to consider the possibility that your body may be getting a little more adjusted to the lower intake than you could wish.

That may not happen for you. But if it does, it can sneak up on you, and it's a royal pain.
Thank you, I know that.
Once upon a time, I would've been triggered by a post like this, because OMG any post about someone's eating habits was pointing right at my fat ass.

I've gotten better. :)

This is truly fascinating to me, because over the past year I've started to come to terms with an eating disorder that I've spent about 40 years developing and then ignoring. When I'm working on the issue directly these days, I also work on stopping eating before I'm 'full'. It's surprising what an emotionally fraught thing that is for me. Not being 'full' can trigger some serious anxiety. It's really eye opening to hear from people who are more normal in that regard.

I actually have that, too--the "I must eat until I cannot physically eat any more" thing. I pretty much know when it got installed, too.

I don't actually ENJOY not eating as much as I'd like, mind you. It's not very fun. But neither is flossing, and I do that because it's good for me....
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