Sunday, November 18, 2012

Low Cholesterol + Junk Food = Weight Gain

          Taking advantage of my lower cholesterol level due to taking generic Lipitor, I went to Vons grocery store to buy ice cream which was on sale. Not merely a sale but the container had exactly ½ gallon instead of the downsized 1 ½ quarts which is the norm nowadays. I don’t remember the last time I bought ice cream, but I know it’s been years. With the ice cream, I became a little bit more adventurous with my diet which meant that I started eating food that I used to eat before my cholesterol level started going up. For three days I ate a couple of hamburgers, ham and cheese sandwiches for two nights at work, and half gallon of ice cream (a coffee flavored concoction with caramel bits, YUM!). That's not even counting halloween candy. Well,  in just those few days of a fare of unhealthy foods, I gained weight. I don't know how all that eating has affected my cholesterol level but I'm supposed to have it checked a week after Thanksgiving.
 That just shows you that even if cholesterol level is normal or low, you still have to be mindful of what you eat because the calories can still make you gain weight. To add to that, it's the type of calories that will do it and in this case, fat calories from the burger, ham, and ice cream. The weight gain is a risk factor in itself so regardless of cholesterol level, I still have to eat healthy foods, especially that I am no longer able to run and can't rely on it to burn off the extra calories.
                So I ate badly for three days and gained about three pounds which I tried to work off with exercise. I had to add extra minutes to my workouts to try to burn off the weight gain but that didn't work out too well. Even an intense one hour session of a spinning workout barely made a dent. In my delusion, I tried to justify the weight gain as muscular weight due to a more consistent routine of weight training in recent weeks. Um, yeah, right!
 Then I did two days of sensible eating and got my weight back in control. It all boils down to portion control, not going overboard with the calorie intake, and choosing good calories instead of junk ones. Mind you, this is just an experiment of one and I'm not trying to be preachy here since all I've said has been researched and advised time and again. The most important thing about losing or maintaining weight is eating sensibly and using exercise as a supplement. A healthy diet counts more in keeping weight down than making it up by exercising excessively just to compensate for eating badly.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Zamboanga Chronicles

I went to Zamboanga City, Philippines at the end of August to see my mother and brother and to face end-of-life issues, and came back to the U.S. two weeks later. This is a compilation of my posts about that trip. Some of them, I can't bear to read again because they are too emotional for me. I hope some of you who have dealt with the similar situation can appreciate how that feels. Thank you.

The rest that follow are more or less chronological.

These last two are just random thoughts that were not addressed in the previous posts.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

More About Life, None About Running

For a few decades, running dominated my life. That's why I started this blog, didn't I? In the recent past, since running has become a much lesser part of my so called life, other realities happened (like my trip to Zamboanga and being assaulted by a patient).
                So why haven't I written anything about running? After all this blog is about life and running, right? Well that's because I haven't done any running lately. I did try doing so last Monday with disastrous results. Yep, you're right, another injury. My legs seem to have readjusted themselves in a way that they are no longer built to propel me forward faster than walking. About last Monday - having not run consistently for awhile (about 3 times in 6 weeks), I started very conservatively, running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute. After about 10 minutes of that, I ran for 2 minutes and walked 1 minute. When I reached 30 minutes, I ran for 3 minutes and walked 1 minute. It was on the subsequent attempt at 3 minutes when I felt a twinge of pain in left upper thigh near the hip area. It felt like the same muscle strain I had last spring at the 3 mile mark of a 12 mile run. If I were to guess, it seems like it’s the upper part of the vastus lateralis. The difference between now and then? I stopped running immediately and walked the rest of the way back home. Last spring, I kept on going until the pain got worst. I was hoping that this time, by nipping it in the bud, so to speak, I could keep the injury at a minimum and hoping the recovery would be quicker, instead of several weeks it usually takes. Good idea, right? Over the next few days, I could feel a discomfort on the thigh so my workouts were limited to the stationary bikes (recumbent and spinning).
 Then last Saturday morning, I again joined the Long Beach Area walking club at Signal Hill (wow, three Saturdays in a row for me!). The first hint of trouble came when I ran across the street for a couple of seconds to avoid a car. The hip discomfort was still present so I knew I wouldn’t be doing any running that day. The pace of the walk was pretty brisk and I was making good time covering the distance. It was with about a quarter mile left when we were negotiating a slight downhill on a dirt and gravel trail when disaster struck again. The loose gravel made me slip and while trying to keep my balance, I felt a spasm on the already injured hip muscle. I had strained it further and the pain was so excruciating that I could barely walk back to my car. I knew then that it would take weeks to rehab the injury.
 So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do in the past week – trying to strengthen the thigh muscle when the pain diminished. My indoor cycling workouts had to be limited to the easiest gear so as not to further strain the injured area. I couldn’t even walk on the treadmill, and I had to take the utmost care going up and down stairs because of the pain. Only in the last couple of days have I started doing slow body weight squats and a few wall sits. I guess I’ll be letting you know when everything starts to feel normal again. In the meantime, it looks like more indoor cycling for me.

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