Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

As I watched the Biggest Losers weigh in tonight, it was obvious to me that they need so much more than a reality tv show and a famous trainer.  These people are broken, they are depressed, they are consoling themselves with food.   I had been there once, but I was able to break free.  It’s their inner turmoil that is creating this outer shell of fat.   

So, as New Year’s diet resolutions fly around the office and the internet, I have a resolution for my blog and my practice this year, not only for my patients and those that might read this, but for myself.  I will no longer echo the same message that is continually enforced….eat more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, etc.  People know this!  After all these years, I,  for one, should know that knowledge is not the answer. 

“Intellegence will be used in the service of the neurosis.”   Sigmund Freud

I read this phrase the other day, and it really spoke to me.  That is exactly what I did.  Food and controlling food and weight was my neurosis, I sought out knowledge of nutrition and exercise, and even managed to get a degree in it.  But, did all that knowledge solve all my misery and my poor relationship with food?  No.  It really only made it worse.  Now I had the knowledge, and with that knowledge came the guilt that I was doing it wrong and the feeling of failure because even with that knowledge I couldn’t be as skinny as I wanted to be.  And, so began my downward sprial into an eating disorder, although it began long ago.

Recently, I saw my “Course in Miracles” book sitting on a shelf, and thought, hmmm, maybe I should dust that off.  I haven’t.   Now, I’ve had this book for about 10 years and have maybe gotten through 7 lessons…its pretty heavy, both physically and spiritually.   Then, my husband and I were at Borders, and I saw “The Course in Weight Loss” by Marianne Williamson.  Coincidence or divine intervention?  Whatever the reason that brought that book and I together, I bought it. 

So, my blog for this year is working through these 21 spiritual lessons that constitute the Course in Weight Loss. It is my journey to ultimately be free of the painstaking messages that I am never enough or I should look like Angelina Jolie.  I want to no longer allow certain foods to hold the power to give me comfort or to make me feel guilty.

I am ready to begin my year of self-reflection no matter how uncomfortable it might be.  My goal would be to do a lesson a week, but I must also consider that some lessons may take a little more time.  I invite anyone to do these lessons with me and we can discuss the shit that comes up right here on my blog.  I want everyone to be free from the clutches of food and diet obsession….which comes in many forms.  For some, its the weight watchers and fad diets, for others, its feeling that they should be eating organic, or no meat, or whatever!  I’m jumping, are you with me?

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This would be yours truly to the left attempting to get up after a hit.  Falling is part of roller derby, and I do it alot.  I skate for Indianapolis’ Naptown Roller Girls, who in my opinion, have the best team and fans in the nation…wOOt.  Playing roller derby, or even watching, is not for the light-hearted. Roller girls experience mostly bruises and soreness, but there is the occasional bloody nose, concussion, and even broken bones, mostly tailbones, legs, and ribs.  Even some spectators may leave a bout with some bruises, although this is the chance one takes when sitting in the suicide seats.  You have been warned. 

If you have never witnessed a bout, check out this video of big hits from the Carolina Rollergirls.  And, if you want more roller derby knock-outs, check out our website for upcoming bouts.    

As a roller girl, I know that I am putting my body at risk everytime I hit the track….I have signed all the waivers and release forms….but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

As a dietitian, I know that there are important nutritients to consume to keep bones strong, speed healing of bruises, and alleviate, not eliminate, stiff joints and muscles.  In my experience as a runner and yoga instructor, there are many things one can do to aid in recovery and alleviate soreness.  Here are my recommendations for roller girls and others that put them self at risk of bumps and bruises on a daily basis:

  1. Eat high quality protein.  If you’re a meat eater, then lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, all preferably organic.  If you don’t eat meat, then beans, grains, nuts, and seeds will likely provide you with adequate protein. 
  2. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  These provide the greatest amount of vitamins and antioxidants.  I am not a big advocate of multivitamins as they have not been proven to be adequately absorbed, but I suppose they are a cheap insurance if you aren’t getting much variety.  Fruits also contain fructose, a natural sugar, that can aid in replenishing muscle glycogen stores, which if not replenished, can leave your muscles feeling sore. 
  3. Read my previous post on my favorite recovery drink, chocolate milk.  If you don’t drink dairy, coconut water can be a good recovery drink as well, although, I do not have personal experience with this. 
  4. Obviously, drink plenty of water.  The amount of water one needs is certainly dependent on amount and intensity of training, weather, body fat percentage, age, and gender.  If your pee is bright yellow, you likely aren’t drinking enough. 
  5. As stated in # 2, I rarely advocate supplements, however, Omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil or flax seed oil, have been shown in many studies to reduce inflammation in the joints.  Nuts and seeds can also provide these.
  6. Stretch.  Yoga Journal’s website is a good resource to find poses for particular muscle groups. 
  7. Rest.  Rest is not something that roller girls do well.  They want to go out 100% all the time or they think they will lose their strength.  Rest is just as important as training.  Rest allows your muscles to recover and get stronger from training.  The amount of rest depends on the intensity of training and will likely be different for every individual.

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Not only is it delicious, but chocolate milk has been shown in studies to be an excellent recovery drink for endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, swimmers, and, of course, triathletes.  I have been known to drink it after a rough, 2-hour roller derby practice as well.  To get the most out of this, it is best to drink within 60 minutes of exercise.  One cup (8 oz) is really all most need, but more might be appropriate depending on the duration and intensity of the work out.

Let me explain a little about the reasons that chocolate milk is a perfect recovery drink.  It happens to have a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, which is excellent to replete glycogen stores lost during training and to aid in muscle repair. One cup of milk provides 24 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protein, again in the 3:1 ratio that has been found to be effective for recovery.  

It also contains important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are needed for energy converting in our body’s cells and need to be replaced due to losses through sweat during activity.  One cup of chocolate milk provides 480mg of potassium, which is actually more than a medium-sized banana.   There are about 250mg of sodium found in 1 cup of chocolate milk.  This might seem high, but the ratio of potassium to sodium is important.  Most commercial “recovery” drinks have more sodium than potassium. 

Some may scowl that it contains sugar, and it does, but that is also the reason it is a good recovery drink.  Athletes that have used most of their muscle’s glycogen stores from activity will need those replaced, and quickly, to prevent fatigue and alleviate some muscle soreness.  I started using chocolate milk as a recovery drink during my last marathon training.  I did not have as much fatigue and soreness as in previous years of training.  I can’t be 100% sure it was the chocolate milk, but that was really the only thing that I had changed. 

And, lastly, did I mention it was delicious?  It is like drinking a dessert and makes that 15-22 miles that I just ran so worth it.

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Yep, that’s right, Shape-Ups.  I was only familiar with these through advertisements that claim the shoes are designed to “tone the calves and firm the glutes.”  When my niece pointed out that “grandpa” was wearing Shape-Ups, I laughed so hard I almost cried.  I had no idea my dad was into firming his glutes or calves, maybe he had a modeling contract that I hadn’t heard about yet. 

So, I decided to ask my dad about these crazy, dutch-looking shoes.  He said that the shoes make his back and joints feel better when walking….nice cover dad, just tell the truth, that you really want shapely legs and buns.  BTW, I am still laughing.  And, then, I see a commercial for these shoes that very same night.  And, low and behold, Joe Montana is the spokesperson for the “Shape-Ups.”  It all comes together now.  You see, my dad loves Joe and would probably buy pink tutus or a ticket to the moon from him, if he were selling those.  At this point, I am still chuckling to myself. 

Okay, I will stop making fun of my father and his Shape-Ups, that was not the intention of this post.  The Shape-Ups are just a segue into my father’s walking.  He walks 2-4 miles per day.  He goes outside when the weather is nice, and goes to Menard’s to walk the perimeter in inclimate weather.  I use him as an example to my patients, whether they are in their 20’s or 80’s.  And, mostly, whenever I hear them say that their activity is weather-dependent, which is quite often.  Indiana…its either too hot, too cold, too rainy, too icy, etc….the weather is never going to be consistently nice, its not an excuse anymore.  If my 76 year old father can do it, so can they, so can I, and so can you, with or without Shape-Ups.

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Happy Earth Day from Eve!  It just so happened that I was able to ride my bike in to work this most beautiful morning. Unfortunately, I can’t do this everyday and realize that in order to sustain our planet, we need to make an effort on more than just one day per year.  I am not here to argue if global warming is real or not, which, to me, the “label” doesn’t matter. I feel politicos and talking heads get too caught up in the details and definitions, what matters is that we use our common sense and conscience in making choices to maintain our planet.  And, I don’t think we have to be extreme in our actions, although that would certainly speed things up, but I know how change and people work together, so let’s start small.  I believe that small changes by a majority of people can make a significant impact on the place we call home, Earth.  The space program has been put on hold, so it’s not looking good that we could move to the moon if we continue to destroy this home, so we need to focus on the actions that can uphold this abode for future generations.

Now, since I am a dietitian and avid runner, I will focus on our food purchases and fitness.  Activity is much easier to address, so I’ll start there first.  Ride your bike to work like I did today, it was a beautiful way to get to work, definitely less stressful than driving and I was able to get in some activity. I know others that have skateboarded to work and maybe even some roller girls that have strapped on those skates to get form place to place.  Instead of driving from parking lot to parking lot, park centrally and walk to the usually very close stores.  Walking, biking, and skating to places accomplishes much more than just sparing the world from more carbon emissions; it is also kind to the pocket book, can reduce stress, and increase activity.  So, it’s a win, win, win, win!!!! 

On to the food…most would probably think that I would talk about organic here and focus on that aspect, which is certainly much more sustaining to our soil and doesn’t pollute our waters or food, which is a definite plus.  But, unfortunately, even with organic foods from South America, Hawaii, Florida, and California, they have to get to us through the use of fuel and they are usually packaged in lots of plastic and other goods that will likely not get recycled.  I am not saying that you should go to the extreme of a locavore, someone that only eats within a 100 miles radius of their home, but when you can, buy local.  It would be pretty difficult to be a locavore here in Indiana, I am sure some have done it, but I would certainly miss avocados, bananas, almonds, and mangoes…mmmm….well, I suppose I could move to Chile or Brazil.  Short of moving across the world, small changes like substituting some local foods into your diet can make a difference.  You are supporting your local economy and the small farmer, giving them income to continue doing what they’re doing. Also, by buying local, you are more than likely getting organic, getting fresher foods as they haven’t traveled days or weeks, reducing the use of fuels to get these foods to you, and eliminating the excessive packaging.  Most have the “all or nothing” mindset, but I do believe that small changes in your purchasing decisions can make a big impact! 

There are so many ways to get local foods here in Indiana.  I have links to the right with local farms that have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for vegetables, chickens, and eggs, all of which I belong to.  The guy in the picture is Todd Jameson, he is the owner, along with his wife, of Balanced Harvest Farms, which is where my husband and I get our produce during the summer months.  I am pretty sure that Simpson Family Farm is still enlisting for the chicken CSA….these chickens eat grass and bugs, might be smaller, probably due to lack of steroids, but they are delicious!  If you can’t afford a CSA, some can be costly upfront, maybe recruit some friends or neighbors that might share the cost with you and the enjoyment of the delicious food to come.

Farmer’s Markets are another great way to get local produce and meats without the cost of the CSA.  I have also added a link to the farmer’s markets in Indianapolis in my local links.  Hope to see you there, without car, of course!  Happy Earth Eternity!

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Cheers to Running!

As spring hits, my miles starts to amp up as does my love of running. The picture to the left is of last year’s Dances with Dirt relay….and, yes, we wore the tutus the entire race!  We were crossing the finish line, with beers in hand, after 60 miles out in the mud, bushes, ravines, hills, and tunnels.  I have NEVER been so sore in all my years of running or other sports, for that matter.  Our team, the eXXtreme dirty dancers, will ride again on May 15 in Gnaw Bone, IN.  


Then, after this, I start marathon training.  I will be embarking on my 6th full marathon this fall, training starts at the end of May.  My first marathon was Chicago in 2006 with a finish time of 3:38:40.  I was on my way to Boston, which was a fantastic experience, although I swore off running full marathons after the hilly and Nor’easter experience that was the 2007 Boston Marathon.   But, I had somehow blocked out the pain that fall as I began training for the New York City marathon.  NYC was my favorite, maybe it had something to do with my entourage, but it is awesome experience to run through Central Park as thousands of screaming spectators cheer you on for those last grueling miles towards an amazing finish. This picture is with a few of my entourage, Kimmy and Gordo!   Last year I revisited Chicago to get my personal best time of 3:29:30; my goal was 3:30:00.  The weather was absolutely perfect and my hard training paid off.  Immediately after the race, I started thinking about my next marathon.  Other runners understand this crazy obsession, but many stand open-jawed as I tell them that I am going to run, yet another, 26.2 mile marathon and put in about three 20+ mile runs during training.  For me, running provides some clarity to an otherwise busy and sometimes stressful day.  Nothing gives me more peace than hearing that repetitive foot strike on pavement.  Marathons give me something to work toward.  Training for 18 weeks provides me with the structure to reach those goals.  I like goals! And so, again, I embark on my next goal…The Berlin Marathon….and since finishing is just not enough for me, my time goal is 3:25:00.  My husband will be running his first marathon with Berlin, we’ll see if he catches the running bug.  You may ask how I finally convinced him to run…with beer, of course. Well, it was actually all his idea, although beer may have had something to do with it.  After the marathon, we are heading down to Oktoberfest in Munich.  Good German beer shall be our reward. Prost!

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A friend sent me this article which details the new way that AstraZeneca, with the approval of the FDA, is helping Americans avoid heart attacks….to encourage Americans to start taking Crestor for prevention.  Crestor is a statin drug that, up until now, was prescribed for those with high cholesterol, not those that might be at risk.  Crestor has potential side effects that include headache, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea, constipation, and abdominal pain, not to mention that pesky risk for liver damage. 

I can just see the billboards and commercials now….for only $3.50 a day, you can reduce your risk for heart attacks without treadmills or vegetables.  That works out to $105 per month, or $1260 per year.  And, this medication will be intended to be taken for years, which is definitely good for AstraZeneca.  I suppose this is also good news for insurance companies, a once daily pill is much cheaper than a 5-day hospital stay for a heart attack along with the bypass graft or stent placement surgery that will likely follow.  I don’t fault AstraZeneca, or the insurance companies, for this; some may even applaud their efforts.  They are in the business of making money just like food companies, fast food giants, soda retailers, and the producers of the latest diet gimmick.     

Really?  This is where we have turned?  We have resorted to popping a pill every day to prevent heart attacks?  I guess there are pills to prevent pregnancy, but that is a little different.  I can’t really get the same results with eating vegetables and getting more exercise.   And, babies aren’t anything like heart attacks, very close, but I suppose even that’s debatable. 

I was under the impression that preventing heart attacks had something to do with regular exercise, eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and balancing stress?  But, that certainly is a lot more work than popping a pill.  News like this leaves me feeling very defeated as a professional and in what I aim to promote to people.  Will we ever learn that the consumption of whole foods, exercise, and stress reduction are what keep us healthy?  The food and pharmaceutical companies certainly don’t want you to believe this, and today, I feel like they’re winning.  Eve 2-AstraZeneca 1000.  Scores updated weekly.

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