Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fear Foods

To most people, food is not a scary thing. However, I, and I'm sure a lot of my readers, aren't most people. I'll tell you something, I am scared of very few things. Heights don't bother me much, I think sharks are adorable, I prefer being alone in the dark, and I absolutely LOVE public speaking. However, I have a crippling fear of snakes, death, and food. Eating disorders are very irrational. Most people affected with an eating disorder have 'safe foods' and 'fear foods'.

Safe foods are the foods you will allow yourself to eat with out any guilt or repercussions. For me, prior to recovery, these foods were: vegetables, BBQ sauce, frozen fruit, marinara sauce, cereal, almond milk, and canned soups.

Fear foods are the foods you will avoid eating at all costs. These are the foods that you're SURE if you take just one bite of, your scale will read at least 5 lbs heavier in the morning. For me, prior to recovery, these foods were everything except for the foods listed above. Obviously I was the picture of health.

I've come really far in my recovery, but I've hit a plateau. I realized this last week at my appointment with my dietician Brooke. I told her I still had some pretty bad anxiety eating out at places that I wasn't used to eating out at, or places that were out of my comfort zone. (like places that are not Natural Cafe or Whole Foods to be honest). So she handed me a menu from a Chinese restaurant and asked me to pick something I'd order off of it. She tried talking to me while I was reading the menu and I couldn't focus at all. Which is when she pointed out that I couldn't hold a conversation with her at because I was having an internal conversation with my eating disorder.


So we did an exercise where I had to choose what I would eat if I was still in the worst phases of my eating disorder (Chinese chicken salad with no chicken, no almonds, no rice straws, dressing on the side). Then I had to choose what I would eat if I was fully recovered or when I was 10 years old, before I had any disordered thoughts (orange chicken). Then I had to choose what I would realistically order if I was at this restaurant right now (chicken lettuce cups).

Brooke: "Why not the orange chicken?"
Me: "Because it's fried"
Brooke: "So that's scary for you?"
Me: "Does a bear shit in the woods?"
Brooke: "Can you give me a straight answer?"
Me: "Yes Brooke it's scary for me"

So obviously I still have some major fear foods. Basically anything fried or anything with the word 'crispy' or 'crunchy' in the description is out of the question for me at this point. Also, red meat, and fast food. More specifically, fast food that I can't special order. So Brooke gave me a challenge, and knowing that I can't turn down a challenge, I obviously responded with--
The challenge was to kill two birds with one stone: Go to In n Out, order a cheeseburger animal style, eat the entire thing. Take a picture of yourself before and after to see that you didn't magically gain weight.

Seemed simple enough. But you know me. I'm dramatic. And naturally, I had a mild anxiety attack as soon as I parked my car. Walked in the restaurant--nope, can't do it. Casually stood in line pretending to debate the menu for a solid 10 minutes. (There's 4 things on the menu...they probably thought I was illiterate). Anyways I did it. I ordered a cheeseburger animal style. No lettuce for bun, no 'light sauce', nothing special ordered. This is literally the first time in 4 years I have ordered ANYTHING without a special request. I'm a waiter's nightmare.

And so it began--

After the first bite, clearly thrilled--
Boom son, dominated--

& here is me after--

Now, I'm not allowed to weight myself, but I'm preeeeeeetty sure I weigh the same. So how do you get over your fear foods? 


That's it. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Nothing worth doing comes easily. But we give food WAAAAAAY too much power, myself included. Going back to previous posts, I know I've said this a million times but I need to repeat it to myself as well, IT'S JUST FOOD. Is eating In n Out everyday a great idea? Absolutely not. Is eating In n Out a lovely thing to treat yourself to whenever you damn well feel like it? Absolutely. Just like the previous post about drinking, most of us don't eat fast food every day, and I am not condoning that. But free yourself. If you're afraid of eating Oreos because of the preservatives or because they have sugar in them or because they're "bad for you", challenge yourself! Pull out 3 of them and put them away. ENJOY THEM. And know that you don't have to eat them every day, but facing your fears frees you. Trust me. 

 If you told me 2 years ago that I would go to In n Out and eat a cheeseburger and not freak out, I'd call you a dirty dirty liar. But I did it. I loved it. And I'd do it again. Free yourself. x

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Freshmen 15, Beer Belly, Slut Gut.

Okay copyright right now on 'Slut Gut'. That shit is genius and it just came to me. I feel like I just gave birth to a brilliant new term and I'm so excited. Anyways! Today I wanna talk about alcohol. I feel like there is no better time to discuss this since it would appear that my New Years resolution was to drink more...spoiler alert: It wasn't.

It is a society accepted fact that alcohol makes you fat. Hence the terms freshman 15, beer belly, and now, (you're welcome), slut gut. But why? How does it actually make you fat? This was a mystery to me until literally 7 hours ago when I decided to figure it out.

Your liver, as you probably know, it the organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol. But what you may not know, it that alcohol is metabolized as a fat. Your body views alcohol as a poison. A toxin. Something it wants to get out of there as soon as possible. Once alcohol is in your system, your body makes metabolizing it the top priority. That means that it will stop metabolizing anything else in order to first get the alcohol metabolized. The reason for this is because unlike protein, carbohydrates, and actual fats, there is nowhere for alcohol to be stored in our body so it has be metabolized first. (Could I have used the work 'metabolized' one more time there? Yep. Metabolized.)

So how does this make you fat? It doesn't. In fact, most alcoholics that drink the majority of their calories are pretty thin. Granted their insides are a mess but generally, they aren't fat. (Obviously there are exceptions). The thing that makes you fat is this:

It's 10:00 PM on a Friday night. You've eaten all your meals for the day. You're at a comfortable 2,000 calories. Now your friends want to go clubbin'. So you go. You have ONE Long Island Iced Tea because you're being *good*. (1.5 oz vodka, 1.5 oz gin, 1.5 oz rum, 1.5 oz triple sec, 1 teaspoon tequila, 2 teaspoons orange juice, 2 oz. cola) You get back home at 2 AM and are starving because you haven't eaten since 9 PM. You have 2 slices of cold pizza and go to bed.

Let me break this down for you: 2,000 calories + 1 Long Island iced tea (507 calories) + 2 slices of cheese pizza (270 x 2= 540) = 3,047 calories for the day.

Aaaaaaaand that is why we gain weight from drinking.

But, again, alcohol is metabolized FIRST. So let's say it's 4 PM, you're going out to happy hour with your girlfriends. Adorable. You're feeling good because you've eaten well all day. You've eaten breakfast, snack, lunch, snack. You've eaten about 1,400 calories so far. You go out, and have 3 glasses of sangria at 150 calories per glass, and you guys get some pizza. The alcohol is absorbed and broken down first. Always no matter what. No question. Even if you are eating/drinking at the same time.

When you drink alcohol, it’s broken down into acetate (basically vinegar), which the body will burn before any other calorie you’ve consumed or stored, including fat or even sugar. So if you drink and consume more calories than you need, you’re more likely to store the fat from the pizza you ate because your body is getting all its energy from the acetate in the sangria you sucked down. This is where the term 'empty calories' comes from. Because you are most definitely absorbing all the calories from the alcohol, but nutrition wise, it's doing absolutely nothing for you. Just giving you calories and carbs and storing anything else you put in your body as fat for the time being. Further, studies show that alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidation”— in other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there.

Now, having said all of that, over eating/drinking is OKAY once in a while! (Like once a week for me...sorry mom). Your body can handle it. It's not going to ruin your metabolism or wreak total chaos on your body. Here are some 'healthy' suggestions I try and follow though if I know I'm going to be drinking :)

  • Make the 'right' wrong choice. Vodka is the best choice at around 95 calories per 1.5 oz. (Vodka+Soda water+Lime...mmm)

  • For me, I love tequila (Again, sorry Mom.) Me, being the cliche girl that I am, am OBSESSED with Bethenny Frankel's "Skinny Girl Margaritas". It comes bottled and only has 100 calories/serving. 400 calories/bottle! And at most bars, if you order a Skinny Girl Margarita, they know what you want. And still around 100 calories. (recipe below!)

Here's the bar version!

  • EAT FIRST!!!!! Can't stress that one enough. If you go out on an empty stomach, you're not the sharpest tool in the shed. But you are a tool. This will not only lead to getting sick, but overeating also. Like not eating in general, this will backfire.

  • Drunk Munchies...we all get them. So munch smartly! If you're at a party, bring a veggie platter or some baked chips and hummus. If everyone is going to Denny's at 2 AM, compromise. Maybe don't get the 'Grand Slam', just go with the pancakes!

Because at the end of the day, you can't sacrifice life and fun and friends and being social for being 'healthy'. As long as you're not drinking and eating like a maniac every night of the week, you're good. You will not gain weight from one or two days of over eating. Most importantly, don't punish yourself the next day. Just resume your routine. Please drink responsibly. Now....who's thirsty? :0)

Ps I SO badly want to make this for when I come home from a drunken night out...YUM. Anyone down? x

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happiness is Hard

It's taking everything I've got not to make a sexual remark about the title of this post. Just know that.

hap·py [hap-ee] 
1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to behappy to see a person.

 2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, orjoy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.

 3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land  

 I have come to the realization (not recently, but this realization comes and goes in waves) that I don't know how to be happy. Not completely happy anyways. Instead of dwelling on past epiphanies, I will just tell you about this morning's.  

 I was totally planning on writing today's post last night, but I got side tracked and watched Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 instead. I was going to write it afterwards, but I just So I decided I'd write it this morning. I woke up at 8 AM and literally the first thought that went through my head was, "Ew you feel fat today". What? Really brain? Really? It's 8 in the morning give me an effing break.   Now that I'm finally getting my emotions under control and starting to get my shit together, my eating disorder is like, "Lol nope. Remember me? You're fat. Lol. You should skip breakfast. Lol. And lunch." 

I just feel so defeated and like I can't win. I don't feel like I'm in any position to be giving advice today to be honest. I'd just feel really hypocritical. I posted on my facebook page this morning that my post wouldn't be as prompt as usual because of my mental state. Four minutes later, my mom came in my room to ask me what was wrong. I have a love/hate relationship with being my mom's friend on facebook. She gets really mad at me when I say the 'F' word. 

Anyways, she came in my room and was like, "Okay, let's talk about it". One of the BIGGEST hurdles for me in recovery is talking to people about it. ESPECIALLY my mom. I don't know why. My mom has ALWAYS been here for me, no matter what. But something about opening up to her about my eating issues always makes me cry. This morning was no exception. (Who cries before 9 AM? I mean really.) She asked me if I could say 3 nice things about myself this morning. Nope. *Cue the tears*. I couldn't do it. I just cried and snapped at her and kept saying, "No mom I can't, I'm too fat." To be honest, it's 1 PM and the feelings are not much better. I did eat breakfast though, which is a good start to a non-eating disordered day.   

So I just want to publicly apologize to my lovely mother who never tries to do anything except make me feel better. I love you Mama. 

I have no idea how to turn this day around. I'll probably just chalk it up as a loss. But, if I could be rational for a minute, this would be what my recovery team would ask me and these would be my responses:

Team: How are you feeling right now?
Claudia: Fat. 
Team: Fat is not a feeling. How are you feeling?
Claudia: Inadequate. Disgusting. Not good enough. Hypocritical for running this blog when I can't even take my own advice half of the time.
Team: If your best friend, or your daughter, came to you and told you they were feeling this way, what would you tell her?
Claudia: That she's beautiful just the way she is. And that she is doing this the right way. Everyone else is just looking for a quick fix but the joke will be on them because she is doing this the healthy, sustainable way. 
Team: So why isn't that true for you?
Claudia: Because I'm fat?
Team: *Throws hands up in the air and rolls eyes*
Claudia: Okay sorry. I'm just having a bad day.

Usually I can talk myself down doing these monologues in my head. Today is an exception. Probably because I'm wicked hormonal and sometimes I just gotta have a bad day. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. Tomorrow is a new day. I will just keep repeating this:

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Night Time Eaters...UNITE!

In case you guys haven't heard, or maybe this is your first post of mine you're reading (hi!), I am the Snacking Queen. (My army would be called the "Snack Attack"...So pun-ny). Yeah, I love to snack. In my dreams, I would rather snack all day and all night than ever eat a proper meal. I don't, except for on those weird Saturday's where you wake up at like 2 PM and don't know what to do and just end up snacking until bed time. (Does this happen to anyone else?). A question that surprisingly, no one has asked me, but that I was extremely curious about is:

"Does eating past a certain time of night make you gain weight?"

Here's the answer: NO. I will now back it up with science in the way I understand it just in case my word is not enough for you.

The ONLY way you can *gain* weight, is by eating *above* your caloric maintenance needs. If your caloric maintenance needs are 2,000 calories/day, it's 11 PM, and you have only eaten 1,400 so far, you are probably hungry! By eating another 600 calories, you are simply fulfilling your needs for the day, it is NOT stored as fat. (PS this doesn't all change at midnight, a day ends, for the sake of this post, when you go to sleep). If you have already reached your calories needed during the day and you eat over that, the excess calories will then be stored as fat. Despite the time of day. If you eat a 2,000 calorie breakfast, God help you first of all, and then eat lunch, your lunch will be stored as fat. Even if it's a salad. Boom son facts.

So why does eating at night get such a bad rap? Real talk-- at night time, before bed, which of these sounds better?

Grilled Chicken Breast with Veggies?

Or Chocolates?

Exactly. And in here lies the problem. As we wind down for the day, our bodies start to go into sleepy mode. Your blood glucose levels go down and your body now would like the quickest form of energy to spike it back up; sugar. These things are high in calories and we tend to eat over our caloric needs, without even realizing it. Also, at least in my family, we are hard wired since we are kids that after dinner we get dessert. I'm pretty sure one of my first words that I understood was dessert. And the first time I crawled, it was because someone put a chocolate cake across the room and said, "You want it? Come get it". True story. 

If I don't eat at night though, or I don't eat like 3 or 4 hours before bed, I miraculously feel skinnier in the morning. Why? I'm not totally sure to be honest. But I went to a holistic doctor once who told me it was because instead of my body sleeping and repairing itself like it should be during sleep, it spent that time slowing digesting my food. Digestion is much slower when you're asleep. It makes sense to me so I am sticking with it. But alas, as I sit here at 12:40 AM with my bag of Veggie Chips, I will never give up night time eating. I regret nothing. 

Here are a couple of healthy choices to make before bed, that I like, and for the most part, satisfy my sweet tooth.

Cottage cheese: I put a tablespoon of raspberry jam in it and some almonds

Greek yogurt: Obviously my favorite thing ever. I put anything in it from peanut butter, cinnamon and stevia, jam, but my favorite for night time is putting the powdered chocolate pudding Jell-O mix in it. Totally artificial and not super duper healthy but when I want to be healthy and want chocolate, this is magical. 

But really, it doesn't matter. Those two are supposedly the best because they are slow digesting proteins. 

Ps if you haven't tried Greek Yogurt yet in your life, go today and get some. Go get one (Fage brand is my favorite but Chobani is great too and they have flavors). Or get a plain one, drizzle some honey and throw some almonds in it. 20 grams of protein/ 100 calories. I better hear back from some of you on this! It's your homework. Until next week ... xxxx

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mean Girls

Unfortunately, this isn't a post about the movie. Because seriously, who doesn't love it. How many times can I watch "Mean Girls" before I'm sick of it? The limit does not exist. Boom.

Anyways, today I want to talk about mental health. More specifically, my mental health as of late. I've been doing pretty well until a few days ago and this is just something I need to get off my chest. Not that this is any brilliant epiphany or new found knowledge, but, girls are mean. Girls are ruthless. And clearly, when girls are upset at another girl for something, they lash out, and they hit below the belt. (Luckily I don't have balls, but it still hurts).

On Super Bowl Sunday (after the Patriots lost, just adding insult to injury), a girl apparently said that I was, and I quote, "short, ugly, and fucked up with an eating disorder." Reading it the first time, I rolled my eyes. Ridiculous. (since when is being short bad? Plus I'm 5'3...on the shorter side of average for a girl!). Also, why do girls ALAWYS call other girls they don't like 'ugly'? Granted, that's her opinion and that's okay, I just wish girls would use new adjectives. Anyways, I didn't think much of it when I read it. I just thought, if those are the only bad things she can say about a person she has A) never met and B) never seen, that's cool.

The more I think about it though, the more it bothers me. And I know when girls are mean, you're supposed to 'be the bigger person' and keep your mouth shut, but I just can't. Because I know for me, I would NEVER prey on a person's insecurities like that, no matter how upset I was at them. The medical dictionary defines an eating disorder as:

 "A potentially life-threatening neurotic condition, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, usually seen in young women."

Would you ever make fun of someone that was schizophrenic? Bipolar? Depressed? Obsessive compulsive? Suicidal? God I hope not. So why an eating disorder? Eating disorders are not taken as seriously, which, if I remove myself from my situation, I can see why. If I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to "just eat", I'd probably be able to buy a baby tiger. But eating disorders are serious. And guys and girls, it is NEVER too late OR too early to get help for one. I feel sorry for the girl who said those things about me. & what's even worse, she didn't say them to me, she said them to someone who she knew I was with. Lovely. And maybe I'm no better for making a passive aggressive type post about it, but girls, come on. Stop being so mean. Don't prety on people's insecurities. Don't call anyone fat, ugly, stupid, etc. because for all you know, they could already be saying it to themselves all day long. You have no idea what another person is going through. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. As cliche as it is, treat others the way you'd like to be treated. It's cliche because it's true. Now I'm rambling and it's not even Thursday yet.  If I was Taylor Swift I'd start singing that song, "Mean" but I'll just lip synch it in the mirror to myself later.  x

*Disclaimer- I wrote this on a 15 minute break from class, not my best work*

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Get off the elliptical Claudia, you've been on it way too long."

......But I've only been on it for 37 minutes....?

Cardio. I, like every other exercising chick up in here, was OBSESSED with cardio. I mean at LEAST an hour a day, 45 minutes if I'm giving myself a 'break' that day. I have been through countless trainers (that's dramatic, I can count them, there's been 4) and all of them were totally on board with me getting my pale ass on the elliptical and killing it for an hour...after we had trained for an hour.

I have always been obsessed with the gym. I'm pretty sure ever since my mom got the 'go ahead' after pushing me out of the womb, her first stop was the gym. Monkey see, monkey do. When I was 6, I used to go with my grandpa on the weekends to the gym. I couldn't understand why I had to sit in the underwater themed Kid's Club while he got to play racquetball and lift weights. SO unfair. When I was 14, it was finally all me. I made my mom drop me off at the gym, and my dad would pick me up on my way home from work. I loved it. When my heart was broken, the gym was there. When I had anxiety, the gym was there. When I was angry, the gym was there. And then something changed. It suddenly became:

  • When I ate dessert, the gym was there.
  • When I felt fat, the gym was there.
  • When I ate breakfast, the gym was there.
  • When I ate lunch, the gym was there.
  • When I ate dinner, the gym was there.
  • When I didn't eat at all, the gym was still there.
In the low points of my eating disorder, I was scheduling my classes at school from 8:30 AM until 7:30 PM, with 10 minute breaks in between. I was leaving my wallet at home so I couldn't even be tempted to buy food. I came home, ate a can of 200 calorie soup, went to the gym to run for 90 minutes, took a Nyquil, and passed out. Repeat, repeat, repeat. When I eventually went to be evaluated I was diagnosed with anorexia with bulimic tendencies. Uhhhhh what?

Today, I have a much healthier attitude towards exercise. This is due LARGELY in part to my amazing, god send of a trainer, Jon Gustin. My body has changed more in the last few months I've been training with him than ever before. I have muscles now guys! AND I'm doing barely any cardio. Coincidence? I think not. So I asked Jon if he would write today's entry about why we DON'T need to do so much god damn cardio. Because let's face it, it is SO boring after 15 minutes.

 As a trainer almost every time I train someone new they come to me with one goal, 'I want to lose weight' or 'I want to tone up.'
The first question I ask is, "Well, what have you been doing recently for your workouts?” 
They respond, “cardio.” 
Then I ask, “How long do you typically do cardio?” 
They respond "anywhere between 45 min to two hours!"

 Now this response is applicable to female and male clients, however, male clients are more open to the fact that our weight loss/tone up program will include a small amount of cardio. Female clients freak out at the idea. Then, I proceed to tell them that we will mostly be doing weights and they REALLY freak out. They usually respond with, “But I don’t want to get bulky!” So if your current long duration cardio program is working so well, why are you coming to me for training? Oh that's right, because it’s not working. 

Let me explain how first the so-called “fat burning zone” is a very old technique that is proven nearly to be ineffective in weight loss. Also I’ll explain how you can burn more calories and more fat in half the time. Because let's be honest, if you’re talking on the phone, facebooking, or watching a movie in the gym…. You aren’t working hard enough!  I know there are tons and tons of theories on fat loss and the most effective ways to go about it. I’m going to lay the facts out and you can either choose to continue to spend hours in the gym or use your time more efficiently. 

The Fat Burning Zone is claimed to be the optimal training intensity for burning fat: intensity between 60 and 75 percent of your predicted maximum heart rate. (Which is estimated at 220 minus your age.) The theory behind this is that the lower the exercise intensity, the greater percentage of energy requirements is met by fat. Then there is the 'cardio zone', 70 and 85 percent of max heart rate and the major energy requirements are met by carbs. So here is where the “fat burning zone” shows it flaws. When sleeping, 90 percent of energy comes from fat stores. So why workout at all? We have come to the realization that the “fat burning zone” has a complete disregard for total calories consumed.

 So here comes the simple part. They key to weight loss is a calorie deficit (more energy out than in). For example, if you train in your “fat burning zone” for 30 min and burn 400 calories, 60 percent coming from fat, you will have burned a total of 240 calories from fat. But if you trained in your "cardio zone" and burned an estimated 700 calories, with a lower 40 percent coming from fat, your calories from fat burned equals 280. So now you have the same amount of time but nearly double the calories and MORE fat calories. You’ll NEVER stay at intensity where you’ll just burn fat. Your body uses fat, carbohydrates, and sometimes protein for energy. However, using protein for energy is the result of not enough carbohydrates and calories resulting in muscle loss. This is the quickest route to looking “soft.” So make sure you have a simple sugar before and after you workout.

 Ok, back to cardio. Does a lower intensity result in a higher percentage of fat loss, yes. The example above proves that. But is it going to help in losing weight and toning up? Maybe, but definitely not the most effective. Look, have you seen a marathon runner? They do tons and tons of “fat burning” cardio. Are they in great shape? Yes. Do they look toned? No. Now, look at a sprinter. Do they have a toned look? Yes! My point is the more intense and shorter bouts of exercise are most effective. There's interval training, cross training, circuit training, and if you are capable, there’s crossfit. All are extremely effective in burning a ton of calories, increasing metabolic rate throughout the whole day, and toning you up. “Fat burning” cardio burns calories while you are participating in it but because of the low stress on your system, your body doesn’t really need to adapt, resulting in practically no change in metabolic rate. 

Here’s the simplest theory I can give you. Bust your ass! Spend no more than an hour in the gym, put music on and turn off any outside distractions. Bust your ass for that hour, lift weights with high reps, little rest between sets (30 sec – 60 secs), do intervals for 10 – 20 min. Make sure to eat sufficient carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, and overall enough calories throughout the day. Forget the “fat burning zone!” It’s an old school method that bodybuilders still use in fear that they will lose muscle. These techniques are proven to be the least effective nowadays. Eat Clean, Train Dirty, and leave the excuses elsewhere. 
One of my favorite lines, "Cardio makes you look good in cloths, lifting weights makes you look good naked" 

 Bottom line yo, weight lifting > cardio. Ladies, you aren't going to get bulky. You actually couldn't do it even if you tried. Unless you were on steroids in which case, well, you're probably huge. Start lifting weights and doing INTENSE cardio (the kind where you literally can't speak you're so exhausted, let alone update your status about how bad the dude next to you smells) for 20 minutes max. Your body will respond so well, you don't even know. Because you haven't done it. So seriously why are you still reading! x