Diets, Foods, Numbers Pt. II.V: Paleo

The Caveman Diet

Imagine yourself living before the phenomenon (hmm) of modern-day society. You spend a great deal of time napping in the sun, but far more time running away from bobcats and angry hippos. You get hungry from all of this napping and running and additionally spend a great deal of time (wow, these pre-civilization-ers had a lot of time on their hands) rooting around in the shrubs for berries, possibly some bananas…perhaps you fashioned yourself a sharp stick and were able to kill a chicken. Dinner is served.

You now know everything there is to know about the Paleo Diet, kind of. The basic principle of the paleo diet is eliminating everything that is not produced directly from the earth. As cavemen did not have agricultural abilities, processed grains are not permitted. Anything that you would not be able to make if you lived off the land is not permitted.

I have never really explored the science behind this or taken this diet literally, i.e. pretend you’re a Neanderthal living in South Africa….Ok, so now let’s explore what type of vegetation was abundant in South Africa 300,000 years ago. Not doing that.

The Paleo Diet is meant to be high in fats – similar to Keto Diets – and moderate in animal protein. There is also an emphasis on limiting carbohydrates with the exception of fruit, however fruit consumption is to be limited also. It is not advised to count calories, as a matter of fact DO NOT count calories. Just like Low-Carb diets, counting calories is not advisable. Dairy, processed food, and grains are omitted from Paleo.

I have had success with the Paleo Diet in the past. Now, when I say success I don’t mean I lost any weight, I just managed to keep it going for more than a few days. Why? I don’t really eat dairy, so pretty much the only thing I eliminated was grains and the occasional snickers bar. However, many people who experiment with paleo are not doing so for weight-related goals. Paleo is thought to help with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Essentially the Caveman diet is thought to be more in tune with what the body’s digestive system was built to eat. Because cavemen were extremely healthy, even though they died between the ages of like 18-32.

Issues with the Caveman Diet

It may cause you to overindulge:

In my experience, any diet with a selling point of ‘Eat as much as you want,’ is cause for potential disaster. Using myself as the research subject, an individual used to being constantly limited in the quantity of food permitted to them on a daily basis when faced with this type of slogan gets very excited and tends to overeat.One rotisserie chicken and three bananas later, you are probably not much closer to your weight/health goals and are also probably not feeling too hot.

 

A moderate amount of protein:

It is recommended that you should eat a moderate amount of animal protein on this diet. So what do you eat, because I for one cannot really get full from eating broccoli. Not for very long however. I’m sure some versions of the Paleo Diet do give you some specs to follow, i.e. how many grams of protein/fat blah blah. These specs are in fact just another way of counting calories. Tricky, huh? You’re not so free to eat as much as you want after all.

 

Wine:

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Image Source

 

Many Paleo studies include a glass of wine in the ramifications.

Don’t you have a wine tree growing in your yard?? We do. It’s like maple syrup, you just poke a hole in it and the wine flows out. Sometimes I just ditch the bucket and just hold my glass right up to the hole. Wine Tree. Super paleo.

 

Ok, that’s all for now! Next up, the 80/20 rule!

But first tell me, what is your experience with diets? Do you like Low Carb? Paleo? 

 

❤ Cammy

 

 

Diets, Foods, and Numbers Pt. II: Low Carb

The second installment in my fitness-blogging hiatus takes us to a land rich in leafy greens, abundant in lean proteins, cruciferous vegetables, and clear water with a squeeze of lemon. Not a grain or potato in sight. Welcome to the Land of Low Carb :).

If you read my last post, you might start to understand two things; 1. I have a lot of personal experience with dieting (as so many of us have), 2. I hate dieting (again, as many of us do).

Generally speaking, diets work to deprive the body of the full amount of energy that it requires to sustain itself, causing the body to instead burn fat for energy. There is emphasis on clean eating, i.e. not eating processed foods with lots of chemicals in them (for example, it is always a plus when you can read and understand the ingredients in what you’re eating). There are fad diets that omit certain random food groups with claims as to why eliminating particular foods is beneficial to weight loss, i.e. low carb. However, in my personal experience, no amount of clean eating or elimination will lead to weight loss if you are eating enough of it. In order to lose weight, you must be hungry for some amount of the time. The more frequently you feel hungry, the faster your weight loss progression. Ironically the faster you lose, the more fragile your ‘thinner’ state of being is, especially after your body kicks into starvation mode…*sigh* there is too much . I don’t know why it can’t just be simple…oh yeah, because it sucks.

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Image source

I just want to make one thing clear, I do not diet anymore. What I do is eat very clean and very simply. The reason that this is not a diet is because I’m not hungry all the time, just incase you didn’t read the paragraph above. Healthy eating is so frequently mistaken for dieting. This is something that causes me sorrow as it really dictates the current health status of our society. Sometimes my eating habits have even lead to ridicule (check out my post on health-food-shaming).

In direct opposition to the theory I expressed above about deprivation of sustenance no matter the source, Low-Carb diets’ claim to fame is the ability to eat as much as you want  and still lose weight. A spin-off of the Low Carb diet I also wish do discuss (but not now) is the Paleo diet. And now straight to it.

Low Carb Diet

Carbohydrates are broken down in our bodies and used as a main energy source. They are broken into sugars during digestion, where they are then absorbed into the blood stream and converted to glucose (source). Depleting glucose levels in the blood stream decreases insulin levels. I am not going to discuss Keto diets or putting the body in Ketosis. Anyways, a diet with an all-you-can-eat bacon motto? Sign me up!

Now one benefit of eating super healthy all the time is that you automatically eat fewer carbs. Many carbs found in the ‘American’ diet are hidden in the form of added sugars in packaged foods, items that I rarely partake in. However I pretty much live off sweet potatoes and I eat 1-3 pieces of fruit every day, items that are congruent with heathenism to any low-carber.

I have limited carbs more than this in the past, and I did go full on low carb for about 2-3 weeks. The results? I was terribly ill. Not like a flu (again we are not discussing ketosis, Keto flu, none of it), but horrible indigestion, I won’t get into detail. To be fair this could have been a coincidental stomach bug. The more likely scenario; our bodies are supposed to eat carbs, especially if you are a fitness instructor (duh), and my body was also reacting to too much protein.

What happens when you eat too much protein? Well, your kidneys can fail actually. That’s what can happen…Ok so this is extreme. What is more probable and less apocalyptic is that the kidney’s work overtime to remove the excess protein and nitrogen, which cause excess urination, which leads to dehydration. Dehydration, as we know, can cause stomach upset. (source)

So I ate all the bacon I could eat (and all the other low carb stuff), for about 3 weeks. I was starving the whole time. I found myself needing to eat every hour, I felt ill, I had no energy, and my craving for anything but meat and vegetables was overwhelming. My tummy was very trim however, but honestly at this point I didn’t care. So I called it quits, ate like one cracker and all of my weight loss came back in that single bite (exaggerating).

Long story shortish; I like my carbs. Guys, there is so much more to eliminating carbs. The type of carbs in question, the time of day to eat carbs, and more. For example it is said that avoiding carbs at night will help your weight goals. I don’t really have a problem with this. Why? because I don’t necessarily need that much energy before I go to bed (go figure), and stuffing carbs before bed actually makes me feel quite icky in the morning. The science behind this for weight loss however, is that eating carbs at night causes weight gain because your metabolism slows down so the excess carbohydrate will be stored as fat (source).

Limiting or omitting carbs works for some people. Not for me. The Paleo or Caveman diet I did actually make friends with, and will tell you about in my next post.

 

This is what I ate for breakfast.

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Oatmeal, sprinkled with peanuts and almonds. Normally there would be different adornments (pistachios, almond milk, walnuts, banana, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon) I have not made it to the grocery store this week..

 

Until next time!

 

 

❤ Cammy

 

Diets, Foods, and Numbers Pt. I: The 3,500 Theory

For those who have ever become an active member in the dieting world, you have most likely been privy to the multitude of theories and fads that circulate on the WWW. The grand take-away is that some combination of clean eating and exercise will eventually lead you to your weight goals.

Although not particularly qualified scientifically per say- becoming a nutritionist is on my to do list- I want to offer a few thoughts based off of my own personal, very in-depth and well-rounded, experience on these topics. Plus, doing a ton of research on the internet for multiple years is kind of the same thing as being qualified…I digress. These are the specific theories that I want to discuss.

  1. One Lb is equal to 3,500 Calories.
  2. The Low-Carb diet.
  3. The 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, rule.

These three diet stipulations are just a very minor scratch on the surface of the myriad of  diet commandments, however these are the ones that really hit home for me both good and bad ways. Let me tell you about my personal experience with all of these, and why I believe that all-encompassing dieting rules geared towards EVERYONE is the biggest load of horse…..

Anyways, so as not to overwhelm I’m going to break down these three theories into three separate posts.

Beginning with the first;

 

One Lb is equal to 3,500 calories; Healthy foods Vs. Numbers

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(My birthday cake, we ran out of candles…)

I am not going to question science because I think we can all agree that would be a bit presumptuous of me, so let’s all agree for now that, yes, one lb equals 3,500 Kcal. Good. Fantastic. And now, I’m going to just move right along and say straight out that it is really not that simple, it simply cannot be! Losing weight is not about numbers; subtracting caloric intake from expenditure and adding up the deficit to equal 3500, wah-la you have lost a pound. I personally couldn’t disagree more with this.

Not all bodies are as consistent as math. Some people have very high metabolisms, some are a little more sluggish. For example, a 12 year old boy who maintains a daily 500 calorie deficit as opposed to a post-menopausal woman maintaining the same deficit. I think we all know who would lose more weight. But if losing weight is all math, then how is this possible? Because the faster metabolism of the child burns through energy at a substantially higher rate, the equation must be altered and cannot apply across the board. Additionally, a women’s menstrual cycle is shown to alter metabolic rate, specifically showing an increase in metabolism in the luteal phase (about a week prior to her period), so even our own equations must be adjusted frequently.

If we all had an equation specific to our own bodies perhaps I could see the light in this, however my own personal experience tells a different story…

What I do believe is that the type of foods you eat make a difference. Weight loss cannot be about changing something for a short amount of time and then going back to your original habits after you lost a few pounds, it needs to be a lifestyle. But we all know this. I’m not saying that your diet should consist of kale smoothies- that would get terribly boring- but, as in all things, there should be a balance.

Now these two schools of diet thought are somewhat congruent. Whether your focus be geared towards healthy eating or strictly adding up numbers, healthier foods tend to have far less calories. Shall we compare a Twinkie to an apple? You could eat three apples compared to just one Twinkie pack, and will probably be so full after the second apple that you will not finish the third, equalling fewer calories total.

I have found that there is a weight that my body just really wants to be at. While at this weight (between 127-134 lbs), my indulgences vs. abstaining from said indulgences really make no noticeable difference. I certainly make healthy choices, but I never go hungry. Now, a few years ago it was a different story. My weight ranged from about 119-125, which is fairly thin for me (I’m 5’5), and maintaining this range involved far fewer indulgences. My indulgences were fewer and further between and I was definitely maintaining a caloric deficit to a degree, but I didn’t lose any weight. I just maintained a smaller figure.

Fast track a few years and I gained a moderate amount of weight, as some do in their mid-20’s. But this was not a continual thing, as the equations would have us believe. My body decided how much weight it wanted to gain now that it was being given the freedom to do so, and then it just said, “Yep, this right here. I like this.” And then it stopped! I just evened out. It was not very mathematical.

For those attempting to lose a substantial amount of weight, it is generally true that the pounds come off far easier at first. For those who are twiddling around with 5-10lbs, it is a whole different set of struggles. The deficit must continually be increased, accompanying workouts increasingly more challenging.

Again I would address the difference between creating a deficit and focusing on clean eating. I could incorporate a deficit into my diet once again, but in order to maintain a weight of 5-10 lbs less, this deficit would have to be maintained ultimately, and increased over time, or my body would just go right back to where it is.

I do believe that our bodies have a natural resting place in terms of weight, and no, it does not mean that I eat cake every night or put heavy cream in my coffee. I listen to my body and, like anything, it’s ok so say yes to yourself just as it’s ok to also say no.

One last thought on the subject while we’re on it…I hate counting calories. I have done it religiously in the past on and off for many, many years, and yes I am young so there will be more rants about the many disgusting aspects of our society. Besides all of that, I stumbled across this article about ‘Why Calorie Counting is Crazy,’ and I have to say I love all of it.

Calorie counting made me feel deprived on an unreal level. I was depressed when I saw how many calories I had left in the day guilty when I exceeded my daily limit. Sometimes counting calories actually made me eat more. I would see a remainder and feel elated that I had room for one more snack even if I didn’t want it. There were days where I didn’t count, and probably far exceeded what I needed to eat in a day, which is bad for you in several ways. Long story semi-short, I am traumatized from counting calories. It made me feel terrible about myself, constantly deprived, always hungry, and just bad bad bad.

Assuming that our bodies need the same amount of energy each and every day is inspirationally delusional. Fitness aside, some days I just need more food than others and a calorie tracker has no way of knowing this, it just knows how to make you feel bad about exceeding your limit, even when you’re starving.

Next up…Low Carb Diets

❤ Cammy

Featured Image Source

 

 

Reacting Vs. Overreacting

Good morning readers!

 

We are in the process of booking a trip to the Dominican Republic! Very exciting and a very thoughtful and wonderful birthday surprise from my sweetie. We are fortunate that the recent onslaught of hurricane action skipped over our island (and are so fortunate compared to the poor individuals who were not missed by Irma/Harvey/the other 10 hurricanes).

While I am so excited and can’t wait to be sipping a drink on a tropical beach, I haven’t been out of the county in many, many years so our trip preparation has me a little stressed. It seems as though at every turn I am encountering some type of road block. Renovations on the pool at the resort for part of our stay causing potential disturbance of our relaxation, general flight confusion, which resort to even stay at (we are being offered an alternative due to said reno). And we are leaving in about 10 days. Eek! As a low-key perfectionist and detail oriented person I am experiencing waves of anxiety about the unknown aspects of our trip, and it doesn’t help that everyone I have talked to seems unwilling to be of any help or exhibit any kind of helpful solution to the extent of not even returning my emails.

Before you roll your eyes and think, “Oh, lord she’s one of those nightmare customers who is never satisfied and wants everything delivered on a silver platter.” Well, to a degree that is true. However before I dig myself a whole I can’t climb out of, I must inform you that I too work in customer service and have for my entire adult life, starting at the age of 16. I have worked in sales, hotels, and predominately restaurants pretty much non-stop for the past nine years and therefore I am used to consumers such as myself. We are not bad people. We just want something that we believe is congruent with what we are paying for and we want it delivered in a friendly way.

I try every day to deliver what I consider to be excellent customer service because it is what I would want to receive, even when I want to across the bar and tackle the high-maintenance patron to the floor.

So what does this have to do with Pilates, you might ask? Everything. I believe this subject actually pertains to every aspect of life. I believe it is just and fair to receive what we give in return. In teaching, I hope to give 1000% to my clients, as I would hope to receive from any instructor I may have (I have been lucky in this thus far :)). However sometimes you just don’t. Sometimes you encounter someone who is just not having it. So what do we do in this instance? Do we accept that we are not going to receive what we believe is appropriate? Do we continue talking to this unpleasant person, or do we ask to speak to someone else?

Where is the line between an acceptable response to something like this and a response that is just completely over the top? When does a simple reaction to a poor situation turn into an overreaction

I do not have an answer to any of these questions. All I know is that we must try to give all we can, and if we find that impossible it might be a good idea to look for a different career. People get burnt out, it’s happened to me. But what I did not do was hold on to the thing that was making me unhappy. I moved on, I found a new passion. Perhaps I am being narrow-minded because I have had the luxury of being able to move on, where other may not have. And this brings me back to my original question; Do we factor in these if’s, and’s and but’s when we have an unsatisfying encounter? Or do we hold to our standards and have a reaction? 

 

Still, I know all of this will seem like silliness when I am laying on that beach 🙂

 

❤ Cammy

Long-term Recovery

I spent the past couple of weeks recovering from a very annoying cold and arguing with the chillier weather and earlier sunsets (yes, arguing. I stood on the porch shaking my fist at the sky, yelling, “Whyyy!?”)

Whilst preoccupied with this time consuming pursuit, I started focusing less on the things that make me feel good; Gardening, drawing, painting, and of course fitness. The motivation was decreasing and I just felt EXHAUSTED. This scared me. I was starting to feel like I would never get it back, I would never reach my goals, and I wasn’t doing anything to accomplish…well, anything.

This is silly for a few reasons and I will tell you why.

Irrational fear

I have been through this cycle with myself a number of times. It is not just the fitness, but everything. I just loose focus. Mundane things are included in this. Things like cooking, sweeping the floor, laundry. And then there are ‘me’ things like drawing and pilates. I simply don’t want to do it, and I have zero physical energy.

So I do the bare minimum. I don’t want to but I still do because, well, I need clean clothes. When I take a step back and think about it, the bare minimum isn’t as bad as I think it is. However, it is the feeling of lost motivation that makes it seem so much worse.

Merely having such a huge lack of motivation causes me to feel like I am getting nothing done, but it isn’t true!

Take a break, stay awake, for sanity’s sake

I’ll admit to having high standards for myself in terms of my personal feelings of accomplishment. As I said, I’ve been through this cycle with myself before and I have always snapped out of it.

The general melancholy that overwhelms me on occasion and the accompanying exhaustion prevents me from performing any of these strenuous activities (I am including laundry in the strenuous activity category, that is how exhausted I feel). And honestly, quite honestly, I believe that somehow my body and mind shared a conversation that I wasn’t included in. Sometimes the daily routine and schedule, whether strenuous or not, just adds up and my body gets tired. Those of us in the fitness world are champions of ignoring these pangs of tiredness, so I believe my body and my mind communicate and force me to slow down.

I very occasionally over do it and I try to keep things in moderation. However over a long time span, even sustaining a moderately active daily routine gets tiring. When we get tired we should all just take a break and trust that we are all motivated and strong enough individuals to get back on the horse after we are rested.

 

How about you? Have you ever gotten worn out and wondered why? Do you feel guilty about it?

 

❤ Cammy

 

Living Life Unlimited

Good Morning readers!

I am getting the sense that the common cold that I have been fighting for the past few weeks is actually just that; common. Therefore my desire to abandon all hope, sit morosely on the couch and binge watch Disney princess knockoff movies (Ever After, anyone?) is a little dramatic. Half way through the third week of feeling less-than, and my streak of not getting sick for two years definitely broken, my feeling of invincibility is fading. My pride is also a little hurt, I do not get sick! Yet here I am, couchin’ it up. Livin’ the couch life. That was also a little dramatic. I have not by any means been bed-ridden, just moving a little slower, coughing, generally just sick. I am also being a baby.

To my point…

The winding down of the summer season brings with it a frenzy of productivity. School is in session, and for some reason even those of us not directly affected by the school term feel like play time is over. My goals are ever-present in my mind and often I catch myself  feeling anxious if I’m not doing something every second to progress my long-term goals. Whether it be creating short-term goals for myself on a daily basis, doing Pilates like a crazy person, or just feeling guilty if I’m not picking up extra shifts at the restaurant.

I recognize the necessity to take a break and be easy on myself, but I just love the feeling of being productive and seeing my hard work come together in front of me. So what to do if you want to be productive and still have satisfaction in your life? What if you DO love your job but there are still other things that you are truly passionate about?

I always felt such extreme pressure to ‘choose a career’ all through my schooling years, I’m talking elementary school through college. How was I supposed to pick one single thing that I would love doing for a really long time that I really excelled at and would give me both a feeling of satisfaction and hopefully success? There was no way! I like doing so many different things! I went to school for art, criminal justice, visual arts, computer graphics and design, marketing and public relations, and finally said NEVERMIND I’ll just become a certified Pilates instructor because I love that the most, now, in this moment. But I still have a passion for so many other things.

But why limit yourself to one thing? Who says you can only have one career, one job, one area of expertise. I want to do everything.

Turning my passions and hobbies into careers is not far-fetched. I can write and maybe one day make a career out of it. I will create works of art (I love chalk art, check out my INSTA) and I will teach Pilates. Everything. Now, when I am inspired, I can be still be productive and learn about something I have true a passion for. There is no such thing as an unproductive day when you are truly passionate about everything you do.  

 

What do you think? Do you have passions you never paid attention to? Do you regret not doing more with something you just know you would be great at?

 

❤ Cammy

Tiny Things and a Little Flow

Current mood: Becoming one with the couch and a cup of tea.

My tirade a couple of days ago about the onset of colder weather has changed from fear and despair to a grim determination. Due to the rain and a terrible sneezy cold I have, my cup is neither half full or empty, but simply has liquid in it. Currently that liquid is tea.

On any normal day it takes a great deal for me to feel productive. Simply completing my to-do list on a day off is not enough and I need to really go above and beyond physically, mentally, emotionally…However I was feeling really accomplished from the simple act of moving my coughing aching chassis from bed to couch. Propelled by this tiny achievement I managed to summon my laptop and typed up a beginner Mat 1 Pilates flow.

Here:

pilates flow

Guys, I even made it purple.

This workout was for teaching purposes so I took out a lot of the in-text notes I made for myself, mostly reminding myself of variations I want to try, cues, arm positions, etc… but it’s a great, simple, Pilates-basic workout and should take about 45 minutes.

After celebrating my grand departure from bed and arrival to couch, I really feel like I went above and beyond. Piecing together my notes from the past few days and typing out my routine for an upcoming class was more than I had hoped to achieve. It just goes to show you that sometimes even accomplishing the tiniest goals can make all the difference.

So tell me…

Do you ever feel amazing after accomplishing the tiniest little thing?

 

Ta ta,

 

❤ Cammy

Winter is Coming

When I started writing this it was actually still August. Last night I had a dream that it started snowing. A little back story; I am not a cold-weather person. I am in fact, adverse to all things winter including skiing. It does not mean I can’t party with slow-cooker stews, hot coco around the fire-place, Christmas cookies, family holidays, etc. It just the rest that really gets me down. The rest meaning howling winds whipping against the windows and the 5 hours of shoveling prior to every trip to the grocery store.

I know these twinges of fear are irrational on the first day of September, however the leaves are beginning to turn and the air smells like fall. I’m already imagining hunkering down for the long dark months that have turned us New Englanders into such bitter warriors, going to war against the elements for six months out of the year. I’m not ready for this battle.

And my biggest concern? How am I going to keep my passion for Pilates alive when all I want to do is eat beef stew and drink brown liquor, preferably in bed?

I, like many I’m sure, rely on external influences to keep my motivation alive. It’s a bad habit I know, but it is so easy in the summer to just frolic in the sunshine and watch the productivity just happen around you. I look forward all year to jogging down the sun-dappled sidewalk, creating works of art, and having dinner parties. When it ends I hunt around for the little joys that give me that spark of inspiration, and they are few and far between.

It’s a little bit like this; We see an image of a cracking fireplace and a happy group huddled, laughing in front of it. How could winter be so bad with the fluffy socks and the warm fire and the tea and pretty white snow? What this image isn’t showing is the hour before hand, when the fire wasn’t lit and the door was frozen shut. Stanlee (the little doggy) and Stella (the other little doggy) partially emerging from a heap of everything blanket-like they could drag into a corner, howling sadly (yes we have heat, don’t worry).

I am worried that I won’t be able to continue what I have started because of something as un-preventable as the weather. Which is ridiculous. If I learned anything in my brief career as a sales agent, it is that you must always be responsible for motivating yourself. Be able to get excited about the things you dread most. To a lucky few I think this comes naturally, The rest of us must work very hard to see the cup half full when things are full of snow.

I, as the self-elected leader of the cup-half empty-ers, vow to change things this year. The sunlight that originally had me motivated in my endeavors will not be by downfall when it goes into hibernation.

 

❤ Cammy

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