Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heard it all before

Even though I've heard it before, I was intrigued by this article when perusing Google News yesterday morning. As I read through it, I thought I would share it with you.

Diet soda is probably my arch nemesis as a Registered Dietitian. Clients and patients alike cling to it like it's their last redemption and give me the side eye if they sense I am evening thinking of  talking about their beloved diet soda. I can certainly see the benefit of using diet soda to help wean off of the full sugar version but not a long-term replacement. I feel the same about artificial sweeteners in general.

The University of Texas, San Antonio presented the findings of their San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) at the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Scientific Sessions. What are those findings? Diet sodas may contribute to weight gain! The study included 474 older adults. When compared to non-diet soda drinkiers, participants who sipped the artifically sweetened syrup had a 70% growth in girth. Those who were drinking two or more diet sodas daily had a 500% increase in their waistlines.

Unfortunately, the exact mechanism by which weight is gained is unknown but there are theories. When sweet tasting foods are consumed, the brain expects a large amount of calories to follow. In diet foods, the sweetness is there but the calories aren't, i.e. empty calories. You've heard that term before, right? This difference may actually prompt you to eat more than you would have and therefore consume unneeded calories. 

So, what to do?

If you're expecting me to say "only drink water" ... you're right! Just kidding ... sorta :) I am definitely an advocate of greater water intake. Many of us are likely in a dehydrated state and could stand to drink more H2O. However, I'm a realist. If you are a regular diet soda drinker (especially more than one a day), make a plan to decrease your intake slowly. Even decreasing intake to two or three sodas a week will probably help decrease the likelihood of your waistline expanding. Try replacing diet soda with herbal tea; or spice up your water with lemon, orange or lime; and I'll even recommend juice but instead of a full glass try diluting it with plain or carbonated water. I love mixing 1/4 glass of cranberry juice with 3/4 glass Perrier water. Hits the spot!  

Simply eliminating diet soda intake will not end obesity but reducing our intake is just one more weapon in our arsenal as we fight this good fight towards better health.

How do you quench your thirst?

- Kareen, RD

Monday, June 27, 2011

Health Naturally - Vitamins & You!

Hello all!

Here's the latest installation of my blog collaboration series with Naturaleza: Health Naturally. Part 3 is all about vitamins and minerals. Hope you find the information helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment on my blog or Tasha's!

- Kareen, RD

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shin Splints and Burning Arches

I purchased my current pair of running shoes about 3 years ago and it shows.

The general consensus is that running shoes should be replaced approximately every 300 to 500 miles. Since I wasn't running outdoors, I didn't think about the miles I put on the treadmill, elliptical, aerobics classes, home DVDs, walking .  .  . you get the idea.

I started to feel the burning arches when I first started Crossfit during jumping jacks but attributed it muscle fatigue. The discomfort has only increased to pain and this past week during a 2 mile run (yay me!) the shin splints started. It finally dawned on me that part of the problem could be my shoes.

Today I went to a running store to get fitted. I'm still a slight overpronator and ended up with the same shoes I've purchased the past two times: Nike Structure Triax. Why mess with a good thing? My only complaint is the colour. I kinda wanted something flashier this time around but I know - safety before fashion.

Here they are

I'm looking forward to seeing how the new kicks help improve my performance this week!

- kareen

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scenes from a Sunday Hike

Today we went for a hike in our backyard:
Pic taken late afternoon after the 'gloom' cleared out
While I like to look at the hills, my husband likes to hike them. Every now and then, I join him and you know what, I enjoy it every time! This morning was no different. We covered 3.4 miles in two hours. I am not sure how much altitude we gained but it was steep climb after steep climb. The hike was a nice change of pace from Crossfit WODs and of course, I enjoyed QT with the hubby.

Here are some cell phone pics. June gloom was in full effect this morning but that made for very pleasant hiking conditions.

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Sunday!

- Kareen, RD

Thanks Dad!

I take after my dad in my body type. I prone to obesity and also prone to rapid muscle gain. Not too cool when you're a girl trying get that long lean look especially at 5'1". I've spent years focusing on cardio for weight loss so I wouldn't look thick and then I would get frustrated when the weight loss was accompanied by flabby arms! Even with that, I continued to avoid weights or lifting heavy.  

A couple of weeks ago, I started Crossfit and getting out of the traditional gym was the change I needed to begin to embrace my physical self. This past week, my strengths were applauded and that couldn't have happened without the body I inherited from my dad.

I have never front squatted before yet I was able to max out at 125 lbs. It's been at least 2.5 years and a 30 lb weight gain since I've done a deadlift and yet I was more than comfortable at 105 lbs. I grinned when my Crossfit coach said "we love strong women!" When the other Crossfitters also joined in on the praise, all I could reply was "I get it from my dad." 

I grew up watching him run 5k and 10k races; riding his bike and even today, after being sidelined with knee injuries years ago, he goes to the gym faithfully and loves spin class. He still struggles with weight as I do but his signature 'diesel' legs are still. . .well. . .diesel! Those are my genetics and until this past week, I was never truly thankful for or proud of that legacy. Yes, I will never have "thin" legs and arms but they will be muscular. And for that I can't wait!

So, thanks Dad. Happy Father's Day. I love you.

- Kareen, RD

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Letting Go

While cleaning up today, I stubbed my toe against this very full suitcase.

And it hurt. 

The suitcase has been sitting in the bedroom since we moved back to Cali in February. I've been ignoring it but today I was painfully reminded of its existence. I also knew today I needed to make a decision about it. The suitcase contains reminders of a lower weight, tinier waist and smaller thighs: my smaller and cuter clothing that one day I aspired to fit into again. 

Here's a snapshot of what the suitcase contains.
Some pants
Some tops
Some skirts
Some dresses
I clean out my closet yearly but these are the items that always survive the culling. I love them and I want to be able to wear them again even if it's been at least five years since I've worn any of it. The problem is that I no longer have the space to store them.

I have tossed around the idea of donating or selling them but today I realized why I haven't been able to get rid of them. In my mind, it would be an acknowledgement of my weight loss failure. Thinking clearly, I know that is not the case. While I was on a roll with clarity of thought, I also realized that perhaps holding onto to the past could be preventing me from moving forward. 

It's just clothing but I have a lot of emotion wrapped up in that suitcase. I know the exact weight I was when I fit into each piece of clothing. That's probably not healthy. I know I will reach my goal weight but my body will likely be different than it was 10 years ago. I need to embrace that fact and be proud of what I accomplish instead of beating myself up for not being able to fit into some old dress. No more focusing on the past. I'm going to enjoy the journey of getting healthier and when I'm ready, I'll have a great time shopping for new clothes!

I'll be donating the contents of the suitcase to my church's community service department. I'm excited to know that the clothes will be put to good use. 

Make this week a great one.

- Kareen, RD