Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Break From the Countdown: Tight Pants and Bad Research

OK, a slight break planning the double whammy feast to concentrate once again on exercise and diet. I still delight in many of my body changes. Many but not all. There is some thrill along with the frustration when clothes do not fit properly, but only in certain body areas.

My shoulders and lats have exceeded my nice suit jacket? Makes me preen all the more.
My chest and biceps too big for some of my size medium button-downs? Dan-tastic!
My quads actually flexing through my trousers? Well, hello!
My pants not buttoning properly? OK, wait a minute...

Yes for all my continued intense exercise and training, and all the accompanying muscle bloat, two other things have happened:
1) My weight training has now far exceeded cardio time
2) My sense of portion control spun somewhat askew

In regards to the former, I admit I really enjoy weight training and the results I see. Sure it burns calories but more intense weight training means more time spent on weight training. At this time last year, I was probably spending 30-40 minutes on weights and then 20-30 minutes on cardio. A quick self-check shows me I now spend 75 minutes on weight training, which usually leaves not much time at all to get cardio in before I have to book it up to work. Non-weight days are spent running, but now that the weather is turning crappy, there's more of a need to go do it inside.

So, I decided this week would be all cardio. Give my muscles a week's respite and really concentrate on cardio and returning to portion awareness. After a week, I'll how I'll reset this. Even after only a few days some of the water weight has already come off, so I can see it was a good decision.

Except for the cardio itself. I thought I could spend the days with boxing, HIIT and then the cardio machines. But while I'm doing it I quickly remembered that cardio at the gym is SO FRIGGIN' BORING!!

This is why I never could keep exercise plans afloat all those years past! This is why I finally got a trainer and learned what else I could do at a gym. Treadmills and ellipticals are really not very motivating. I'm glad that I now have a lot of gym experience so I can manage to get through this. Maybe add even more HIIT, switching to some light weight workouts with mega reps and little rest, those sort of things. 

I think it's just driven home that I miss that push my trainer gave me. 90% of the work may have been me, but, man some of this stuff is dull! I'm sure other people find that true about weight training, but to me, you're switching it up every day and with different body parts.I really love it.

It's also driven home how easy it can be to just not be motivated.

Now, on to the latter part regarding portion control. No real biggie there, for me. The food scale and measuring devices came back out, so I could really set in my mind how big a portion is. And more self-awareness as I was eating meals. For now, there are no "special treats." Not having a cupcake or a second helping for a few weeks ain't gonna kill me. And there may be a few evenings where I am feeling peckish, but I let it go. 

But I'm also not seeing this as a way to become super-buff. It's merely to get myself back to comfy pants size. My Streamlined Ska Librarian body still looks hot (Yes, it does!). But 10 lbs off the frame will probably be all I need. 

I will not be trying to exceed any levels of diet craziness. I'm not going to end up like this fellow. (Talk about a special diet and routine gone wrong!)

But this doesn't mean I can't still peruse the food blogs out there to continue my search for Thanksgiving-Chanukah recipe inspiration. And there's always the Dietitians blogs. Except now comes this recently published study by Dietitians seeing if food blogs provide nutritionally balanced recipes.

OK, I hate to diss my new favorite profession, but as a Librarian, as a blogger and as someone who reads a lot of food blogs, I'm not sure this is great research.

Mind you, the food blogs they chose were pretty popular (Smitten Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman), but they weren't marketed as "healthy" blogs. What were the findings? 

"Recipes met energy recommendations but were excessive in saturated fat and sodium."

OK, that's not so unusual. And:

This study revealed an opportunity for dietitians and public health professionals to improve recipes accessed on social media...Dietitians may also partner with existing food blog authors to add more healthy options or to create alternative, healthy versions of each recipe using modified ingredients. Other possible interventions include designing a branded icon for labeling recipes that meet specific nutritional standards."

Um...isn't that why you have your own blogs, as linked above? If the blogs in this study were claiming to be healthy or specifically targeting weight loss, then that might be different. It's your job as nutrition professionals to ensure that there should be some vetting of fact. But they're not. These are just regular, albeit popular, food blogs. 

To try to push one's agenda on something fairly open to interpretation doesn't work, and it also doesn't do the profession any favors. I would most definitely go to a RD blog to learn more about healthy food trends (I already do that!), and if someone was claiming health from their "special food system," I would hope Dietitians would weight in. 

But this smacks of just grasping at research straws. I'd be more concerned of RDs played a larger role in the social media of community health initiatives, school lunch programs, even the Affordable Care Act.

Maybe it's the sugar deprivation and the cardio boredom but my take is: Be a professional. Don't be a nudge.

Next post will be back to recipes (probably not RD approved.)


“I Got Six-Pack Abs in Six Weeks. Here’s How I Feel One Year Later.” Greatist. Accessed November 13, 2013. http://greatist.com/fitness/six-pack-abs-six-weeks-one-year-later.

Schneider, E. P., McGovern, E. E., Lynch, C. L., & Brown, L. S. (2013). Do Food Blogs Serve as a Source of Nutritionally Balanced Recipes? An Analysis of 6 Popular Food Blogs. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45(6), 696-700. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2013.07.002

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