Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Less is More but More is Better

Less is More but More is Better - What's that about? I know, it sounds like a contradiction doesn't it? It's all part of this eating & exercise overhaul I've been undergoing. Basically it's less exercise (than what I was used to) and more food (than I could possibly ever had imagined consuming in any given day). Both of these concepts, when combined and carefully managed, are aimed at getting my body in the best possible shape it's ever been in. I'm not talking in terms of 'fitness levels' or 'lowest body weight' - just 'best'. Let me explain.

Less is More:
This is the exercise part of it. By performing the correct (as determined by my qualified trainer) amount of resistance (strength/weights) exercise - just 2 x 45min sessions per week, one x max 30min high intensity (cardio) session and two x 30-40 min low intensity (walking, core body work, yoga etc) per week I am not only putting my muscles (many of them newly found) to workout but more importantly giving them a bit of good ol' R&R. This is so different from getting up early every 2nd day to go out in the cold and dark for a 30-60min run. Something good is happening as I am consistently now managing to lift heavier weights than I ever would have tried by myself in the gym. Also, I can certainly say it was a very odd feeling going to the gym to do a hard 25 mins on the exercise bike and 5 mins extra on the 'arm cycle' and be done. I almost felt like I was cheating.

More is Better:
More food! Eat more! As said, I don't think I've ever consumed the amount of food that I am slowly becoming accustomed to, ever before. Even when I was 10kg heavier than I am now. When you learn to eat the right things, you quickly see & feel how your body needs to keep re-fuelling. I used to have quick (oat based with a dash of yoghurt for protein) breakfast, starved my body it of nutrients until lunchtime, then a hasty mid afternoon snack of anything I could get my hands on) with a cuppa to avert the 4pm slump and dinner (fairly consistently high in carbs) to finish my day - thus leaving a huge 10-12hr gap until breakfast again. I am learning to eat little and often. And I mean often. A day for me now looks more like this - breakfast of eggs (mostly whites) & side of veggies, mid-morning protein based smoothie, lunch of a protein (fish, meat, tofu etc) with fresh salad or stir fried veggies, early afternoon snack of some kind of protein based liquid meal,  late afternoon snack of an apple/carrot with some cottage cheese, evening meal of more protein and veggies and an evening smoothie of berries/mango/yoghurt. (All meals must include a protein and have an additional extra of omega-3 added in some form). All of this is on a 'non' exercise day. On days that I have strength or cardio training I'll add in high energy carbs (grains of varying kinds) to the two meals following my workout. Plus I'll have had a protein shake immediatly before and after training. And get this - if I start to get hungry at any time - a sure sign that my metabolism is starting to speed up and it's time to re-fuel those muscles with more protein - so  - I eat or drink something again! 

Now, all of this has (mostly) a good impact so far. My digestion has never been better; I have less stomach bloating and other annoying digestive difficulties I've had forever have pretty much subsided altogether. The hard part is as I mentioned in my last post, being prepared and never getting caught off-guard without access to a decent balanced meal. This has happened on a few occasions (I'm still learning) and leads to a massive drop in my blood-sugar levels, cravings for all sorts of 'wrong' foods and a HISSsy fit of mammoth proportions (HISS = Hungry Irritable Sarah Syndrome). I will not lie - there have been a few good and proper emotional dummy spits over the past couple of weeks. If you were in the firing line, I appologise. It also occurred to me that my body is also going through a kind of detox. Not just from sugar but from other things like perhaps a build of of gluten (from breads and grains) and a good cleanse from the extraordinary increase in vegetables. Kale and celery growers must be rubbing their hands with glee these days - they are two ingredients that I NEVER bought and now add them as a DAILY base ingredient to at least one of my smoothies for the day. You can't imagine how excited I was to see an entire bunch of celery on sale for $1 at the supermarket today!

The other thing that happens is Mind Games. Yes, those tiny little critters in my brain are beginning to play tricks on me, telling me that all this extra food and decrease in exercise must surely be leading to an increase in weight. I also think my mirror image of myself is pretty distorted at the moment. Despite being able to (comfortably) fit back in to jeans that were getting pretty snug, I can't actually see any changes and therefore don't believe yet that it's working. I think next week is the first of the re-measures so we will see. I'll be sure to let you know.

To give you some idea as to the amount of protein we are now consuming in our family, besides from the fish, meat, dairy and protein supplements, here's a little snap shot from my grocery shop this week. I don't think this will last very long.
A tray of 30 eggs and two cartons of egg whites, each containing the equivalent of 16 egg-whites

On a final note for today, I thought I'd also share with how my lovely husband is also trying to adapt. Here he is reading a chapter on how to create 'metabolically precise' liquid meals.
Hmmm, judging by what's in his hand, I'm not quite sure he's quite got the hang of it yet! 

This however, is a delicious and very pretty choc-berry smoothie he made. I wonder if there's a calling for a smoothie-art?

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