Day 4 and an easy way to start exercising

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Everyone knows that the key to losing weight is diet AND exercise (sorry about that, I didn’t make the rules). But those of us who are trying to heal our bodies through diet also need exercise, even though that might sound counter intuitive, especially if you’re struggling to maintain your weight.

Exercise doesn’t have to be about burning 500 calories on the treadmill or ripping through a crossfit workout (although it can be!). Doing yoga or taking a walk is amazing exercise for anyone trying to develop a stronger, healthier body without necessarily losing weight. As we know, exercise is one of the most important building blocks of physical and psychological wellness. My nutritionalist recommends a 4km walk several times a week (it only takes about 40 minutes), or a few yoga or Pilates sessions each week.

K recently joined our local gym and she and a couple of colleagues work out during lunch time. One of them – J9 – happens to be a pro fitness buff, and she accompanied K today. I later received this email:

Time: 1.41pm

Subject: J9 killed me. I am dead.

She made me do all this [workout attached – it was pretty insane]
I did everthing except the burpies.
Not that I have anything against burpies but by that point I was on the verge of throwing up. And I didn’t want to make a mess.
This whole thing took us an hour.
Oh and as a warm-up I did 9 mins walk/run on the treadmill… and of those 9 mins I did a full 3 mins of running (not in a row). But still. That’s more than I did yesterday.
OK I’m going to go whimper whilst I eat my lunch… If only I can bring the spoon to my mouth. I may have to eat it out the bowl with my FACE.

This week alone, K’s been gymming (after not exercising in years) AND following my paleo diet and she says she’s feeling ‘lighter’ – not necessarily weight-wise, but in terms of not being weighed down by stodgy carbs and sugar.

For my part, I’ve been slowing getting back into exercise too. I lapsed on my Jillian workouts for a few months and now I’m starting to get active again slowly. I’m sure you’ve seen those ’30 day’ challenges online, so I’ve printed out a few and stuck them on my lounge wall to encourage me to do them every day. Today my thighs were so sprained from squats that I thought my muscles might burst right through my skin and splatter over my colleagues.

These are the two I’m using:

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It’s an easy, manageable way to get back into it and I do love a challenge so it works for me. If you like the idea of this kind of workout, use these templates or Google your own. There are tons of different ones – arm workouts, leg workouts, abs, etc. Obviously you need to keep it up after 30 days, but it’s a great way to transition into more strenuous workouts – well I think so anyway.

Tonight we had the most amazing paleo Thai chicken curry with cauli rice. It’s super healthy thanks to the coconut milk (homemade, so zero additives) and truck-load of green veggies we added. Meals like this really make you feel like you’re not missing a thing.

And tomorrow is FRIDAY! The weekend is going to be our first paleo hurdle together: Saturday night we’re going to a show that I’m so, so excited about I might just BURST… but it includes a 3-course set meal. Luckily for me, I’m there for the star of the show – my most favourite drag performer, Cathy Specific – and I could DIE DIE DIE I’m so excited!! I actually feel like instead of my thighs, my stomach might burst all over this screen and splatter you all with butterflies. So I’m hardly concerned about the dishes but I know it’s going to be a challenge for K and it’s going to be exciting to see how we navigate it together.

Okay OMG I’ve gotta go. I need to start thinking about what I’m going to WEAR!

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Day 67: Observations part 2 – Besides food, what else can cause bloating?

Yesterday I spoke a lot about bloating and the food that I think is causing my biggest problems.

Today,  I didn’t eat ANY bananas! I know! Amazing! I did experience some bloating and also some cramps after a lunch of vegetables and avo, which I suspect will require further investigation. But I also had a realisation about other factors that could be causing my bloating:

1. Eating too much. I’ve never been one for moderate portions, which is probably what helped get me into this predicament in the first place! Whether I’m eating a bowl of chips or a bowl of broccoli, I eat a lot of it. I’ve always said that I’m missing the ‘fullness indicator’ and that I could just keep eating and eating and eating without stopping until I burst like a cartoon character. Anyone else have this talent problem?

Basically me at every meal, minus the roll

Basically me at every meal, minus the bread

The average adult stomach is roughly the size of a clenched fist and can stretch to fit about a litre’s worth of food in it. I like to take that as a personal challenge and try to pack in around 3kg at every meal. And then I’m surprised when my belly blows up to the size of the Times Square ball.

2. Eating too fast. I’ve never had any reason to eat my food like a prison inmate about to have it snatched away. My parents always cooked plenty of food and there was always enough for seconds and thirds… for us and the neighbours. My dad also eats super fast, and in fact, when I go out to eat with other people, I have to consciously slow myself down so as not to embarrass myself. Thank goodness K and I seem to keep the same pace!

3. Not exercising. In Jan and Feb, the first two official months on the job (prior I was freelancing for the same company), I was able to leave work at about 4.45 each day, and be home by 5.30. I’d exercise until 6, shower and then make supper, with plenty of time to spare. When we hit a crisis at work about three weeks ago, I found myself easily staying at the office until 6 or even 7, getting home after dark and then still having to cook supper. I simply haven’t had the time to work out, and I know it’s so bad for me. Could this be contributing to the bloat?

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4. What I’m drinking. For the first 19 days on this diet, I drank only water. For the first 30, I drank no coffee or booze. Now, I still drink my 2l of water a day – but I also have a glass of wine most days, and one to two cups of coffee. There’s no doubt that drinks can have just as big an impact on your gut as food, and it’s careless to think they don’t.

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5. Stress. When our work crisis hit, our stress levels shot right up. Some days, my colleagues were running to the bathroom with diarrhoea – and they don’t have IBD! I felt a gnawing nausea for days on end, and I was constantly in a state of high-strung anxiety. I’ve no doubt that this not only aggravated my gut, but also contributed to my bloating.

So what’s the next step?

Now that I’ve got a more holistic picture, so to speak, of the root causes of my bloating, I can start to fix the problem (if I can commit to it). It’s almost like working retroactively, going back and fixing what I’ve broken. Now that the bananas are gone, I know I should take a break from booze and coffee too, and keep working backwards like that until I am able to identify the food causes of the bloating – and then of course I need to address the non-food causes too.

I’ve just had dinner and I tried not to overeat. I had yogurt for ‘dessert’, with honey, because I’ve already cut out bananas today and I felt I deserved it!

Ugh, damn bloating. I feel like a stuck record. Imagine how AMAZING life would be without bloat!

Oh, to be a cat and be so unconcerned about bloating!

Oh, to be a cat and be so unconcerned about bloating!

Day 9: I started exercising again. Here’s how THAT went

I didn’t work out last week due to intro – I felt I just didn’t have the strength. And thanks to the intensity of the workouts I do, I often feel like I might puke afterwards. I definitely didn’t think I could handle that on top of the nausea I already felt!

Oh Jillian, how I missed you.

Since about May last year, I’ve been doing the Jillian Michaels DVDs. I love the exercises, I love the intensity, and I love Jillian. I think that has a lot to do with how hot she is. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to work out with this every day:

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She doesn’t often work out in heels, but when she does, it’s awesome 😉 Okay I’m kidding… but wouldn’t that be amazeballs?

She’s also hugely motivating – I really agree with so many of the things she says, like how we’re much stronger than we think we are, and how we can do anything we set our minds to. I really need to be reminded of that every now and then. Here are two of my favourite Jillian quotes:

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I’ve done the whole of Ripped in 30, 30 Day Shred, Yoga Meltdown and 6 Week 6-pack. I’ve also attempted Extreme Shed and Shred but that was just crazy!

A few weeks ago I started Body Revolution, which is supposed to be her most intense workout series yet, and spans 3 months. During the first week, you can boost your weight-loss/toning by doing the 30-minute workout video PLUS the 30-minute cardio video… which I did. I had THAT much energy.

How I felt working out on SCD

Today… not so much. It’s been 10 days which is a fairly long hiatus from exercise, but I’m pretty fit and I’ve taken breaks before (though not usually this long), and never found it so hard to get back into it. I felt much weaker today, and struggled to do things I usually find manageable, like planks and lifting dumbbells. I think I need to eat more – even if it’s just more of what I am eating. I think my body is really feeling the effects of a total carb black-out and it still needs a bit of time to adjust.

But I’ll never give up on the JM workouts – I just love her too much 😉 And also, there are some other benefits besides the eye candy (I know – who knew?!).

Why exercise is good for UC

Apart from all the obvious advantages we know about exercise – helping to stave off dire diseases, keeping our weight in check, boosting brain function, improving circulation and every other good thing that exists for the human body – it also really, really helps the gut.

I immediately felt things shifting and working inside my belly, and after the workout, I had a fairly normal BM – my second of the day which makes me REALLY happy. No more constipation!

If you’re having a flare, it’s a really bad idea to work out vigorously – or even at all in some instances. Be guided by your doctor.

I didn’t know this during my first flares, and pushed through relentlessly, which probably made things so much worse. I don’t know how I did it, but I was defiant. The only days I didn’t work out were the few days when my feet were so sore I could barely walk . Do any of you get sore feet during a flare?

Anyway, light exercise is always recommended, and the guys at SCDLifestyle.com say that it actually aids in the healing process. So go for walks or bike rides, or whatever else you enjoy. I think even a bit of Jillian is okay – I certainly don’t want to give it up. But do bear in mind that super vigorous exercise is never really recommended for UC patients. Here’s why, explained by Jordan and Steve at SCDLifestyle.com:

“Strenuous exercise (sprinting, performing work where you are so out of breath you can’t talk) breaks down your muscle fibers at a micro level and causes inflammation requiring the body to repair these muscle fibers and clear out the inflammation to make them bigger and stronger. In the SCD
diet we are trying very hard to reduce inflammation throughout the entire body, so creating excess inflammation can be counterproductive. Also if your body is busy shuttling nutrients to your muscles to repair them it will not be working on repairing your intestinal injuries.”

So there you have it. Don’t kick the exercise, but maybe take it down a notch. I might have to, lest I undo all this good work. I know my limits but I push through them anyway. Everything in excess with me – another of my challenges. And getting stuck in ruts. I’m STILL doing mostly intro food which means I MUST introduce a new veg tomorrow.

Speaking of challenges, it’s been 9 days on this diet – which also means 9 days without any booze, coffee, juice, sugar – everything! Where are you on the diet? Give yourself a damn good pat on the back. Freaking rockstar!

To congratulate you on how well you’ve done, here’s a little gift from me: A few more Jillian pics 😛 And if you’re not a Jillian Michaels fan… go google some pics of Ryan Gosling 😉

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