I’ve had a number of people ask me about my rule of only working out on an empty stomach. Most people are sceptical by this and think that my blood sugar must drop during my session causing me to feel weak and shaky before I’m even finished my reps. This couldn’t be further from the truth, actually.
When I head to the gym I am usually feeling hungry and sometimes my stomach is even rumbling but the minute I start my warmup that all goes away. I’m filled with adrenaline instead as well as a burst of endorphins. I’m not thinking about food. No part of my body is at this point. Why this happens is kind of a mystery to me but I have learned a few things while doing research on the concept of a fasting exercise routine.
According to Dr. Mercola at fitness.mercola.com when you exercise while fasting intermittently it essentially forces your body to shed fat, as your body’s fat burning processes are controlled by your sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and your SNS is activated by exercise and lack of food.
Something you need to take note of, however, which is the situation in my case, is if you are lifting weights (even if your lifting with a machine) it’s important to eat within 30 minutes after your workout, and your meal should include fast-assimilating protein such as Whey (Rice and pea isolate proteins if you’re Vegan)
So there you have it. Maximum fat burning at your fingertips and more importantly a little bit of new knowledge. Whether you decide to give it a try or not is entirely up to you but now at least you know the science behind it.
Just because I’m feeling random today I’ve decided to share what it is I have in my gym bag on any given workout day. The contents rarely varies as I’m a pure creature of habit so here it is, in all it’s gym bag glory!
A Water bottle (24oz)
This is the bottle I am using currently. It has the company logo I’m working for and it’s a pretty decent bottle. It fits on all the cup holders at the gym and has a straw which is a huge bonus for me because i tend to drink more water with a straw, though I’m not really sure why. I make sure I drink all 24 oz before I leave the gym.
Saucony sneakers are the only type of sneaker I buy anymore. They are beyond amazing and the Everrun line is so lightweight it’s like you aren’t even wearing anything at all.
I got these Cylo Cobra Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds in my fall FabFitFun box last year. I’d been putting off buying a pair so I was super excited to find them. And let me tell you, bluetooth headphones are sooooo much better than regular headphones while working out at the gym. I cannot stress this enough. Get a pair, you won’t regret it.
For post workout skin hydration I use Garnier Skinactive Hydrating Facial Mist. Because I don’t take a shower till I get home and because my face barely perspires during my workouts, I use this spray to help keep it hydrated till I can get home to give myself a good wash. Additionally, this is also really great to use on your face post shower too.
I feel like this one is kind of self explanatory. My immune system took a few months to get adjusted to the new cluster of germs found in a gym. I sanitize my hands frequently while there and as I’m leaving. President’s Choice has some really nice smelling ones if you aren’t near a Bath & Bodyworks.
I don’t always need a brace but there are some days when one of my ankles doesn’t want to cooperate with me (long story involving a bad car accident in my teens) On those days I use a standard elastic ankle brace that can be found at pretty much any drug store.
The type of bar I bring with me varies from each visit but these are two of my favourites. I tend to stick to high protein, high fats, low carbs when it comes to choosing a protein bar. I also like keeping with natural healthy ingredients I can pronounce.
One month ago today I made the conscious decision to remove dieting from my life once and for all. A big decision for me as recently I’ve come to realize that I’m a chronic dieter. I’ve been a chronic dieter for all of my adult life and sadly, for most of my teen life too.
For those who don’t know what chronic dieting is, it’s an eating disorder of sorts, that causes individuals who suffer from it to either always be dieting or, to be yo-yo-ing back and forth from dieting and living an unhealthy binging lifestyle.
The first thing I needed to do in order to train myself to stop the cycle was to stop weighing myself entirely. That was the hardest and I’m still struggling with it every day. The second thing I needed to do was to teach myself to eat healthy even though I wasn’t weighing myself. That wasn’t as difficult because I actually enjoy eating healthy now and can’t really eat unhealthy meal after unhealthy meal anymore without feeling it in my mood as well as feeling the sluggishness in my body. I guess you could say that I’m much more mindful about what food does to me now and that helps me make better choices.
Another thing I’ve done is increase my protein intake and I’ve done that for two important reasons: (1) I’m muscle building and protein is essential for building strong and healthy muscles; and (2) protein keeps me fuller longer which, during busy work days, comes in handy. I’ve also learned about the importance of complex carbohydrates for MY body type and what kinds of macronutrients I should be putting more emphasis on in my diet. All this information I’ve been learning has been exciting and eye-opening for me because it truly is not about the weight anymore. It’s about feeling good and fitting my clothes comfortably and being happy with my food decisions.
Because I don’t want to feel bad about how far I’ve come anymore. I don’t want to be beating myself up over those 15 final pounds I’ve led myself to believe makes all the difference. How much I’ve transformed in the last year and a half is amazing and should be celebrated. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about not reaching a perceived idea of what I deemed to be an ideal weight. HEALTH ISN’T A NUMBER. It’s being able to live your life to the fullest; it’s loving yourself unconditionally; and it’s freeing yourself from anything that holds you down. HEALTH IS HAPPINESS!
I work in a care home. One of the perks of working in this particular care home is having a home-cooked meal and desert available to me every day at no cost. And when I say home-cooked I’m not exaggerating. The food is delicious and filled with flavour; the deserts made from scratch and decadent AF.
But if I want to keep on track with my current healthy lifestyle I have to limit myself from accepting these meals more times than not. And sometime that is soooooo hard to do.
This week, for instance, a ham boiled dinner was on the menu. For those who don’t know, a boiled dinner is the ULTIMATE comfort food for me. It was the meal I asked my mom to make me for my birthday every year and so it holds a very special place in my heart. I could NOT turn that meal down and even hugged our amazing cook after I had my share.
That’s not so bad. A boiled dinner, though high in salt, is actually pretty nutritious and so I wasn’t concerned about making the decision to eat it instead of my usual whole food and lean meat type of meal. But where I went wrong was this weekend when I decided to eat a tiny piece of desert. This particular desert was some sort of square clearly made with loads of butter and sweetened condensed milk and it was AMAZING! I had no regrets.
That was Friday. When Sunday rolled around some sort of orange creamy delight came about and this time I didn’t even hesitate to eat it which is a red-flag because if I’m not consciously aware of what I take in my body even just once a new cycle begins for me. And the cycle that began after consuming that piece of cake was daunting. So much so that I wasn’t able to fight what came after.
Binge Fest 2019, to the most ultimate degree, started immediately after I got home last night. I ate two Pillsbury Pizza Pops. After that, I made a full box of KD and ate that. As if that wasn’t enough, I found a bag of croutons (my Kryptonite when chips aren’t in my cupboard) and ate the whole bag!!
Needless to say, Sugar consumption, especially of the highly refined variety, makes me CRAVE carbs. And when I crave carbs I become a MONSTER that can’t stop eating!
So why does this happen??
According to Mbgfood (mindbodygreen.com) craving carbohydrates almost always means our body is searching for a serotonin boost. Seeing, smelling, and even thinking about indulging in certain foods triggers the release of the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, in your body, which has been stored in memories as past pleasure. What does that mean exactly? Well, basically, what we ate as kids and associated with happiness will be what we crave when we are emotionally drained and in need of a “happy boost.”
But my issue isn’t just about searching for happiness. It’s about the chain of events that occurs the minute I get one taste of refined sugars in my system. It seems that sugar gives me a boost of dopamine and that high is what has me searching for more like a junkie searching for her next fix.
For those who don’t know, Sugar is a carbohydrate too. 100 grams of refined sugar equals 100 grams of carbohydrates. So it’s safe to say that whether it’s a sweet desert, or a large serving of pasta, the results are the same. We want more!
So what’s the solution?
For me, yesterday was a lesson in learning to indulge in a conscious manor. Something I’m (very slowly) getting a grasp on. This video by Kerry Glassman at nutritiouslife.com has all the information and constructive pointers I need to help me make a better decision next time around. Because healthy eating isn’t a ride you get off after a while, it’s a rollercoaster that never ends and I’m completely okay with that.
I love food. No, that’s too mild of a word. I adore food, I’m obsessed with food, I’m addicted to food. There. Addicted. That’s more like it. I’m addicted to food. Once upon a time I used to find that fact difficult to confess. After all, we live in a world where it’s perfectly acceptable to be a food addict. I mean, it’s frowned upon by ‘society’ but in the real world, it’s more acceptable than being addicted to alcohol or drugs. After all, every special occasion is surrounded by the most decadent versions of food out there.
Everyone knows what kind of food I’m talking about. The rich, carb-filled, fatty, and decadent meals our mothers made us when we had a bad day; or the ones served during a family gathering hosted by our grandmothers, or that special fast food place where our dads would take us after school. The worst foods for our bodies are the most magical ones for our brains. We’re wired that way, or at least I am. That’s why I’ve decided that in order for me to maintain my new healthy lifestyle, I have to plan to eat badly.
I know what you are thinking, isn’t that kind of counter intuitive? Planning to eat badly while on a “diet” seems like setting yourself up for failure. But for me, having a day put aside where I can freely eat whatever my heart desires helps me keep on track the other 6 days of the week.
Now that I’m at a place in this weight-loss journey where it’s basically not moving forward no matter how much calorie restrictions and macro tracking I put on myself, this method of maintaining is keeping my eye on the prize. It’s discouraging getting on the scale and seeing little change. On a logical level I understand that I’m building muscle mass and the numbers on the scale might not being showing my progress but there’s a much more emotional level of illogical thinking on my part about this lack of visible progression on the scale. I feel like I am failing and that feeling makes me want to eat. A lot.
And that’s where the “bad” day rule came into place. I’ll allow my cravings to happen but only on my terms and in moderation. Not that it works all the time. I’ve had my nights where I can’t wait for that set aside day and I just go crazy eating everything I can find till I feel fulfilled. And I’m going to be completely honest, I’m rarely every regretful. Which only goes to show that I need these “breaks” from time to time. After all, it’s a known fact that most people’s problems with food are psychological and that’s definitely the case for me. But let’s save that story for another day, shall we?