Friday, February 18, 2011

Week One of Couch to 5k Complete + What I'm Eating

So here we are, day three of the couch to 5k, and I actually WANTED to run today.  Mostly because it was either go for a run or kill somebody and throw my computer out the window.  But since I know that running beats the frustration out of me, I figured that was the better alternative!

It was another session of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking for twenty minutes total, and today's run was a bit punishing.  In part because I was pushing myself out of frustration, and in part because the humidity is pretty high here today - you know how I love humidity.

At any rate, the run did it's job - I feel much less stressed now and hopefully I can remember this feeling the next time I'm feeling frustrated - running works like nothing else.

Now, to change the subject a bit...

One of the things I remember reading during my last stint as a runner was about how important nutrition is.  You may remember that I was having some serious problems with migraines when I first started running in 2009, and it turned out that I wasn't drinking nearly enough water.  As part of a year-long resolutions project I'm working on, one of this month's tasks was to drink at least four glasses of water a day.

I know some suggest that it should be eight, but I was going from maybe one glass a day.  I know, it's terrible, I admit it.

When I'd done my few trips to the gym, I talked to a fitness coach there, who said that over time, your body will get used to drinking more and more water, and will crave it, so it's a good idea to build up to eight glasses.  So that was my plan.

It's been 18 days, and I've stuck with 4-5, sometimes 6 glasses of water a day.  With that much water, there isn't room for drinking too much else, with the exception of a small glass of skim milk here and there.  I had a pretty major addiction to Pepsi (I still love it), and I've found that I'm not good at moderation.  So I just haven't brought any into the house, and I'm sticking with water.

I hate to admit it, but I feel better.

On the nutrition side of things, this is also the first time I'm focusing on really eating better while working out - usually I'm guilty of doing one or the other.  In January, I gave up "candies" - my definition of candies is anything that's just sugary, like nerds, sweet tarts, etc.  I LOVE that stuff.  But again, I'm not good with moderation.  I would get one roll of sweet tarts one day, crave them again the next day, pick up three rolls, planning to eat them over the period of three days and eat them all in one day.  And so on.

No wonder I put on nine pounds in the last ten months.

So I gave that all up in January - I'm trying to make small changes, so that instead of feeling deprived, I just gradually phase it out.  February was just supposed to be about giving up Pepsi, but now I've given up most sweets.

I read somewhere that oatmeal is the breakfast of champions.  I'd tried it once and hated it, but more for the texture than the taste (I'm very sensitive to food textures).  But I suddenly had a craving for it the other day, so I picked up a box - there are three flavors, which I know isn't the healthiest kind of oatmeal, but it's about baby steps.  I've eaten it for breakfast the past three days, and I have to say that it's really good!

Not only does it taste good, but it fills me up and keeps me full until lunchtime.  Lunch is my other major issue.  I like lunch foods (I love sandwiches), but I never feel like eating them at lunch.  Plus, in addition to processed meats not being very good for you, they're a nightmare for migraine sufferers.  I had a leftover Italian hero a few weeks ago, and it gave me a terrible migraine.  So I'm usually at a loss as to what to eat for lunch, end up eating a yogurt and feeling hungry about thirty minutes later.

So because I'm eating the oatmeal for breakfast, I can now have my carnation instant breakfast for lunch! I get the dark chocolate packets, and blend it with skim milk and slow churned vanilla ice cream and it's good.  And that keeps me full for a good three hours.  So I have a snack then, and have a decent home cooked meal for dinner.

I'm also finding that I'm pretty hungry by dinner, so I'm splitting up the meal into something easy to eat, and what I'm cooking.  If I eat a quick salad (mixed greens, walnuts, dried cherries, oil & vinegar) or a bunch of carrots, I'm more likely to have the patience to wait for my meal to cook.  One of my biggest problems is thinking that cooking will take forever (it never does, but it feels that way), and then I just decide to order or pick up take out. And that's never as good for me as cooking.

So this gives me a bit of food, adds in veggies, which I'm not a huge fan of generally, and motivates me to cook instead.  Another thing that's been working for me is planning my meals - on Sunday, I looked at what I had in the fridge and planned all my meals out for the week.  Then, I didn't have to figure out what I was going to make that night - I just made it.

At the end of a long day, when I'm tired and don't feel like hunting through the cabinets and fridge for what to make, it's handy to just have options in front of me.  I admit I did stray from the list a bit this week - I stuck with the meals on it, but not always on the right days - but in general, it worked out great.

The only issue I'm having in my new focus on self-care is sleeping.  I am having trouble getting myself to turn the lights off before 2am, so I'm really tired during the day.  I'm not sure why I can never seem to meet the basics of self care all at once - I'm either taking care of my sleep schedule, eating well or exercising, but not usually all three at the same time.   But I'll get there!

I've lost 1.6 pounds since Monday, so that's good motivation to keep going.  Plus, I've been checking out some races for the upcoming months, so I'll keep you updated on what I'm planning to run in this year!


  1. I am addicted to oatmeal for breakfast! I hadn't had it since childhood, where I ate only the maple and brown sugar quaker instant oatmeal with extra maple syrup on top (NOT the breakfast of champions!) and remember it just being lumpy and gloopy and uninteresting.

    Anyway, I've turned over a new oatmeal leaf. I love it now! I'm particularly into how customizable it can be, based on whatever toppings/mix-ins I use on a given day.

    Some favorites:
    * Sunflower seeds, pepitas, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, coconut flakes (a trail mix I have) - the cranberry, ginger, coconut add a nice sweetness and flavors and the seeds give some great crunch!

    * Walnuts, almonds, raisins (salted trail mix) and ground cinnamon - nice and savory, saltiness goes well with oats.

    * Dried figs, apricots, toasted hazelnuts.

    But really, any mix of nuts (even better if you toast them to bring out flavors) and dried fruits can be really yummy! Or, if you like it sweeter, brown sugar/maple syrup are great additions. I sometimes like to add some milk on top to give a nice cool/warm contrast and make some bites more soupy. Or add some butter for pure decadence. And you can experiment with different types of oats and different cooking times to get creamier/fluffier/crunchier/nuttier etc. I've actually moved on from oatmeal to heartier 9 grain hot cereal - keeps you full even longer and has even more complex flavors, but it took me a long time to make that change, it definitely was too wholesome or something for me at first.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling so much, I just really love oatmeal for breakfast and do agree, it is the breakfast of champions. Nothing else keeps me quite as full, satisfied, and lets me personalize it to my moods quite as easily :)

    (If you are looking to really up the ante, this is the blog of a girl who really makes crazy oatmeals - she makes it with mashed up banana and adds all sorts of nut butters and what not:

  2. Wow, thanks for all the great info! These are some great tips - I do get bored from time to time, so I'm glad you pointed out that I can change it up, while still sticking with the basic staple of oatmeal. I'm definitely really enjoying it!

    Also, thanks for the tip about the nine-grain hot cereal. I'm sure it would take me a while to get used to that too, but it will be worth trying!