Good Reads

Ok I’m over my whiney rant from Wednesday. Thank you so much to those who have reached out with your encouraging words — I know that I really need to take care of my health before I worry about everything else, and all of your comments, etc. help to reiterate this! So truly, thank you. Have I ever told you how much I love my readers? :)

Anyway, I’ve been doing a good amount of reading lately, trying to gain some inspiration for some new posts. As I mentioned, I have some good things in the works, but while they’re still in process I thought I’d share some of the awesomeness I’ve come across. There’s a lot of brilliance in the blog world (and also a lot of idiocy too, but I’ll leave that for another time), so this is my way of wading through the bullish*t for you and just giving you the good stuff. You can thank me later!

The Planet Fitness Nightmare – from T-Nation. I’m all for people finding the kind of workout that works for them, and I really try not to shame people who are at least doing something to better themselves. Planet Fitness seems to work really hard to invite criticism though, unfortunately at the expense of their members.

How To Attain A Slender Look (Like Jessica Alba and Zoe Saldana) – From Bret Contreras.  Don’t let the title turn you off like it almost did to me! The title of this piece is actually misleading, as Bret touches on in the article itself, as it is impossible to look like Jessica Alba or Zoe Saldana unless you share their genes. The thing I like about this is that as much as I hate to admit it, not every female wants to have a muscular physique, but that doesn’t mean that strength training can’t help them to reach their goals. Bret touches on how to use strength training whether your goal is to become muscular or slender, and acknowledges that as personal trainers, we need to realize that there is no one way to train all females — especially when their goals vary so greatly.

Edible Bugs and Insects – From Precision Nutrition. Remember when I talked about wanting to try some cricket flour? Well this makes me want to try it even more! I seriously need to get my hands on and start cooking with it, if only so that I can trick my friends into eating bugs. Muhahaha. No but seriously, I think this an under-utilized source of protein, and could be great for people who don’t like to eat a ton of meat/poultry.

The US Government Is Full Of Bad Ideas About Food – From the folks at Breaking Muscle. I  whole-heartedly second the statement that fruits and vegetables should be at the base of the food pyramid – or whatever My Plate scheme the USDA is going with these days. I have long had issues with the government dietary recommendations, for many of the same reasons mentioned in this article. Besides, haven’t the USDA guidelines gotten us to where we are now as a country? Something needs to change.

Two Ears, Two Eyes, and One Mouth – From Tony Gentilcore. Tony reminds us to listen and observe twice as much as we speak, which is advice that I think we can all use a reminder of every once in a while! There are a lot of differing opinions out there, especially in the world of fitness and nutrition. Is there one right answer? Usually, no. Play nice, listen, and learn what you can from others. It’s helpful, I promise. Even when you think you’re right.

That’s all for today! Enjoy the links, and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

Frustrated

Guys, I’m frustrated.

If you didn’t come here to listen to me and my whiney-pants, then move along. This is a bitch fest.

I apologize, because I had no intention of this blog turning into the concussion chronicles, but here we are. This is what I’m feeling and living, so this is what I’m writing about. It’s been almost a month without an intense workout, and I think I’m going a little bit crazy.

My symptoms got much better, my mental fogginess went away, I have been able to tolerate screens again (yay blogging!). But my headache has held steady — I have not been headache free since I got hit, which is frustrating in itself. But that’s not the main problem here. I had started to do some light workouts again, and by light workout, I mean walking the hill by my house a few times in a row. La di da.

I did increase the intensity of this last week by jogging some portions of the hill, which did raise my headache temporarily but felt good anyway. I even considered going back to stadiums last week, but then thought better of it when my medically-sensible husband advised me to wait until I had done a few more intensive workouts first. So I waited. And then this past Saturday, I did a workout at the gym for the first time in 3 weeks (I’ve just been doing light stuff at home). I did a 20 minute spin that was at least half “recovery” which means I only did about 10 minutes of actual work, and then followed that up with a light lift. I’m talking front squatting 65 pounds for sets of six. And bicep curls. Yes, it was a light lift.

And afterward, I felt miserable. By the time I got home after that workout, my headache and nausea were so bad that I had to lay down in a dark room for about 45 minutes before I could function again, and my headache has stayed at a high level since then.  Since then, my head has honestly felt like it did during the first couple of days after I got hit.

I am beyond frustrated. We’re closing in on a month, and I feel like I’m losing everything I have worked so hard for in the weight room. Yes, I know my health is more important than my dead lifting max, but when I’ve been working so hard towards goals for the past few years, it’s very difficult to sit around and watch it all waste away. I also can not explain what it’s like to have a constant, 24/7 headache for a month straight. I feel irritable, I feel emotional, and the worst part is that I have no control over it. I try to ignore it when I’m around others, because I don’t want to be that person that is constantly complaining about something.  For the past couple weeks, I have not avoided social situations because of it, because I refuse to let a headache take me away from experiences with my husband, friends, and loved ones. But when I stop moving and sit by myself, there’s a pressure and an ache across the front of my head that just. won’t. quit.

I have always been someone who wants to push myself, who wants to go to the limit of what I should safely do, sometimes to my own detriment. And I can’t even really do that now. After how horrible I felt after that light workout on Saturday, I’m afraid to push again. If I end up feeling like that in the middle of a work week, when literally a hundred people per day are counting on me to make decisions about their health, I’m going to fall apart.

I’m just frustrated. Weight lifting, stadium runs, and working out are part of who I am. They are a major part of my identity, and I’m not really sure what I am or where I’m at without that. I’m not the complainer, I’m not the “debbie-downer”, but it’s really hard to stay positive when there’s a vice grip around your brain 24/7.  What am I without fitness in my life? What is this blog without a writer who can actually do anything that she’s writing about? I’m scared of how long I’ll have this headache. I’m scared of how long it will be until I can tolerate an intense workout. I’m scared that I’ll lose all of the muscular progress that I’ve been working on for years.

Okay. Rant over. I’ve got some good posts in progress, so I promise this hasn’t turned into a concussion blog. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and for tolerating my whiney-pants, I’ll try not to wear them again for a while. :)

My Weight Lifting Evolution – Part 2

I spent my last post talking about the very beginning stages of my weight lifting journey — back when I was a cardio bunny who wanted to lift weights but was just too scared to try.

traps

These muscles didn’t come from riding the elliptical all day! 

We pick up at around age 27, which was about a year into my relationship with Will. He was (and continues to be) very passionate about weight lifting, and I had finally come around to the idea that lifting heavy and trying out the “big three” (bench, squat, dead lift) was not going to turn me into a giant muscled up she-hulk. Around this time, although I really wanted to get more into weight lifting, I didn’t really know how to go about transitioning from dumbbell workouts to barbell workouts.

And let’s not forget the the weight room scared me silly at that time.

So what did I do? I started reading. Will introduced me to Tony Gentilcore’s blog, which I loved instantly. He was ridiculously funny and also let me know that weight lifting was not just awesome, it’s what all the cool kids were doing. From there, I started reading Eric Cressey, and also found some amazing female role models such as Molly Galbraith, Nia Shanks, and Neghar Fonooni. (All of these are wonderful resources if you’re interested in weight training, and I still read all of them regularly). I already had a very basic knowledge of weight lifting from my work as an athletic trainer, but that was just about mechanics and proper form. I had never actually been in a squat rack myself or dead lifted a dumbbell from the floor.

The first thing I had to over come at this time was my fear of the weight room. It was a difficult thing to walk into the weight room at Work Out World (where I was working out at the time, yuck), and see groups of huge muscle heads gathered around the benches. But I did it. I knew that the weight room was where I needed to be to reach my new goals, as the cardio room with weight machines wasn’t really going to work for me.  For a while, I stuck with dumbbells, but I increased my weights and worked out in the weight room consistently, eventually moving onto the small, weighted bars when I was ready.

Squatting began with goblet squats, eventually moving on to barbell squats when I felt confident with my form and moving more weight. I can’t even explain the way that it felt the first time I had that bar across my back. I wasn’t lifting a lot of weight at that point, but to know that I was moving in the direction of some of my fitness idols was encouraging. Back squatting soon became a regular part of my routine, although it would take a little more time and a little more courage to add in bench press and dead lifting.

The wonderful thing was that once I “mastered” the squat (i.e., knew I could do it without killing myself or making a complete fool or myself) my confidence skyrocketed in the gym which helped me to start trying other big lifts. As with the squat, I started very small with bench and dead lifting. I started with RDLs instead of traditional dead lifts, just to get the hip hinge pattern working. Once I was ready to pull from the rack, and then eventually from the floor, I had built up a good enough strength base in my posterior chain that I knew I shouldn’t hurt myself if I was smart. This was still scary, however, and the first time I pulled from the floor it was awkward. I’m sure I didn’t have perfect form, and I wasn’t lifting a lot of weight, but I was dead lifting! And that made me feel powerful. 

My weight lifting story is full of bench marks and mile stones. I don’t remember every gym session of course, but there are certain times that stick in my mind and remind me where I started and how far I’ve come.

I remember the first time I back squatted over 100 pounds.

I remember the first time I squatted 135 (plates!!).

I remember the first time I tackled the bench press, and how awkward I felt.

I remember the first time I dead lifted my body weight.

I remember the first time I back squatted my body weight.

I remember the first time I maxed out my bench, and 125 lbs, and felt so proud of that number.

My goals now are pretty simple:

  • Back squat 1.5x body weight
  • Dead lift 2x body weight
  • Bench body weight

I’m so close on the squat and dead lift, but know that the progress on my bench will take a little bit longer.  And once I hit those milestones, I’ll make some new, even more exciting goals. The most exciting thing to me about weight lifting is the sense of power it gives me, as well as the opportunity to do things that seem impossible at first glance. If you had told my 25 year old self that I would be dead lifting 235 pounds at age 32, I probably would have laughed and then asked you how big my legs were. If you had told me back then that my favorite workout would be a heavy day in the weight room, I would probably call you a liar and then hop back on the elliptical. And then I probably would have gone home and binged on some baked Cheetos. (yup)

Weight lifting has changed my life over the past 7 years. It has changed me from a mildly chubby, weak, supremely unconfident girl into a powerful, confident, muscular woman. It has changed me into someone who feels like she can do anything that she puts her mind to, even when something feels a little difficult the first time. It has helped me to focus on strength instead of “skinny”, and to value the process of gaining that strength. It has helped me to find body peace, in a body and mind that were at turmoil for quite some time. And no, my legs haven’t grown to the size of tree trunks. 

Hike1

For all of you weight lifters out there: At what age did you start lifting? Do you feel it’s changed your life and how? 

My Weight Lifting Evolution – Part 1

Hey there! I’m feeling much better finally. The headache is now really just a steady part of my day, but the computer screen no longer makes it much worse, and I’ve been able to increase the intensity of my training a little bit.  I’m finally getting back into the weight room this week, which will be nice after a two week hiatus! I don’t think I’ll be doing any max lifts right off, but just to be back in there, training in a way that I love will be enough for now.

Anyway, today I want to take a look back at my fitness life, more importantly when I started lifting weights and how it has changed me. I wasn’t always so hung up on the weight room, in fact I used to be terrified of it, thinking it was only for big, ‘roid-raging meat heads. So how did I get my start in the world of weight training, and how did this evolve from my early days of fitness?

Ages 18-22

I first started dabbling in “lifting weights” back in college. I put that in quotes, because at that time, the heaviest thing that I lifted were the 10 lb dumbbells, and I spent far more time on the elliptical than I ever did with the free weights. Not to mention, I was terrified of the weight room back then, so I spent any weight training time at the small set of dumbbells that were basically relegated to the lady/cardio section of the gym. Needless to say, I had no muscle tone, no definition, was pretty darn weak, and had very little body confidence. Yawn. I had been a mediocre athlete in high school, never really being pushed to take up weight training and never taking the initiative to do it on my own. Because of this, college was really the first time that I had the opportunity to experiment with different fitness styles, and it definitely took me a while to figure out what worked for me.

I also spent much of this time obsessing over the weight that I inevitably gained in college, experimenting with ephedra (which left me once feeling like I was floating over my physics lecture hall — never again). This was my attempt at health at this time; I clearly had a lot to learn.

Ages 22-25

Once I got out of college and joined a gym, I was still running a good amount, but I started adding in a little bit more weight training. At this point, I was still afraid of the weight room, I thought that was for the gym bros and their testosterone filled grunting. Most of my weight training at this time was done on machines, with some dumbbell exercises thrown in there too. I started getting a little heavier with the dumbbells at this point, but unfortunately still thought that I might get bulky if I lifted too much, so I never progressed past a certain point. Once again, my body didn’t change much besides the fact that I lost a few pounds now that I had to provide for myself and couldn’t sit in the dining hall for hours on end eating whatever I wanted.  Like I said, I was never really challenging myself by truly lifting heavy — I think 15 lbs was a lot for me back then. I did clean up my diet a little bit around this time, but I still wasn’t what I could call healthy. That, and my workouts did not at all support the types of foods I was eating (very high carb, low fat, bullshit bullshit bullshit).

Eventually I moved out of the city, closer to the job I was working at at the time. I was working at a prep school out in the sticks, so my gym options were limited. When I wasn’t running or rollerblading (yes, I did that, quite often), I did find a gym that was about a 30 minute drive away, so time there was limited. It was there that I continued on my running/elliptical/cardio train, but I also continued with dumbbells and started to increase my weights even more.

This was when I first began to take training more seriously, although I’m not sure what spurred it. I remember being there doing incline DB press one day, when a woman (who was absolutely jacked) came over to me and told me I should be lifting more, that I wasn’t challenging myself enough. I kind of gave her the side eye, but did end up taking her advice. I was still cautious, not wanting to become “bulky”, but what she said stuck with me. I started to realize that she was right, that I wasn’t challenging myself nearly enough. I began lifting a little bit heavier, but really just for upper body. At this time, I was still terrified of my legs getting any bigger (a chronic fear for a girl who grew up with a bubble butt and thunder thighs).

Ages 25-27

A few years later, I was still stuck on this light-medium weight schtick with a lot of circuit training and cardio. Lifting weights usually was part of a circuit, so it was not really strength based at this time. I also started really thinking about what I was eating, and did lose about 20 pounds from the time I was about 24-26. I don’t know if it was the increased confidence from the weight loss, or the fact that around that time I started dating Will, who was (and still is) into weight lifting. I can’t tell you how many times he tried to get me into heavier weight lifting, but I was still really stuck on my fear of increasing the size of my legs. “But these quads!” I’d say. “I’ll have legs like tree trunks!”. Of course, he knew better, and slowly convinced me over time that getting hugely bulky would not be an issue.  I’m not full of testosterone after all, and although I would build muscle, I would also lose body fat — or so he said.

As stated before, I had already increased weight that I was lifting with my upper body, and had built up an okay amount of upper body strength (nothing too impressive, but I wasn’t a weakling anymore!). It was the elusive lower body, and making myself comfortable in the big boys weight room that was the biggest barrier to me. I was perfectly happy with my dumbbells and pull up bar, but I also knew the key to really getting stronger would be to start incorporating some of the larger lifts into my routine. 

This was scary to me. This was terrifying. I hardly knew what a squat rack was at this time — let alone how to use one. And dead lifts? Forget about it. The weight room was a foreign place with lots of large, heavy equipment, equipment that I felt like I wasn’t supposed to use. Getting over that fear was the first step in really transforming my fitness experience, and I can honestly say that it improved my life immensely. How is that? Well, that’s what I’ll get into in Part 2 of this series.

Readers: Have you always been fitness minded, or did you develop your fitness routine later in life? Were there any instances (like my stranger-lady-lifter comment) that changed your fitness outlook? 

 

 

 

Life Lately – Concussion Edition

hello-is-anybody-out-there

Hey there! Thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes after my last blurb on here — I really couldn’t tolerate the screen for several days but I appreciate each and every one of your comments! I am feeling much better now — it’s really just the headache that plagues me at this point. I’m at a point where I can tolerate screen time up to a point. Too much and my headache goes through the roof, but on-and-off during the work day and for short intervals at home, I’m golden. :)  For the first few days after I got hit, I was extremely nauseous and mentally foggy — I stood over the stove one day and couldn’t figure out how to make oatmeal. Brain injury, anyone? Luckily  my brain is back on track and I can now again make oatmeal with my eyes closed. Which, I don’t really want to do because that might get a bit messy, but my brain is clear as a bell.

So, headache be damned, life will go on.

Training Lately

Well, this is one area that I don’t feel great about. Because I spent most of my summer running, I had started slowly back in the weight room in August. Before last week, I was just starting to feel like I was starting to hit my stride again with dead lifts, and then I had this set back. I’m not back to heavy lifting yet, but I know what to do when I’m ready and I know it’s not the end of the world that I’ve been off for a week and a half. I’ll ease back into it again, just a little bit behind where I planned to be. I took all of last week completely off of exercise, as I was still symptomatic and really just needed rest and healing time for my brain. It used to be a rule that you couldn’t start exercising until concussion symptoms had been gone for at least 24 hours, but there is newer research out there suggesting that light exercise once symptoms have significantly decreased may be beneficial to healing time.

So, on Monday, I woke up with a mild headache per usual, but headed out to walk some hills. I walked the big hill near my house five times, which after being pretty sedentary for a week was kind of tough! I also did some light body weight stuff at home, being careful not to push my heart rate and blood pressure to a point where my symptoms increased too much. Each time my headache increased, I just backed off a little bit to bring the BP down. This went well, and I’ll stick with this light exercise plan for the next several days or so or until my symptoms finally go away for good.

I did try some jogging intervals on Tuesday that made my headache and nausea increase with a vengeance, so things will stay easy until I can increase without feeling like complete crap. Regardless, it felt so good to move and to get my heart rate up a little bit — it’s easy to take exercise for granted until you can’t do it anymore. Movement is such a big part of a happy life for me, so even just a little bit of light exercise makes me feel so much better.

Food Lately

You guys, I’m such an idiot. How many times have I written on here about GI issues, food intolerances/sensitivities, etc? I feel like I’ve tried everything under the sun to take control of some nagging GI stuff, but every time I thought I figured it out, symptoms would come back again. I’ve tried gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free, alcohol free — and all of it worked to a certain extent. But I still had days multiple times per week where my belly would bloat to the point of me looking 5 months pregnant by dinner time, and I couldn’t figure out what to do about it. I eliminated foods that I knew bothered me, and still, the bloat. Until the other day, when I finally came to my senses.

Soy.

Soy kills my stomach. There’s a takeout dish I get from one of my favorite places here in Boston, Life Alive Cafe. Every week, I order the Adventurer Bowl without quinoa, and with tofu. Every week, after eating it my stomach has ballooned up within a few hours. I couldn’t figure out why, because the bowl consists of veggies, greens, nuts, brown rice and a little bit of cheese. So what the heck was going on — was it too much fiber? (I know, I know, why would I keep ordering it? It’s simply that good.) But the problem happened with my stomach on days when Life Alive wasn’t in the picture, so I couldn’t figure it out. And then it hit me.

Soy.

I started reading labels of things in our pantry, and surprise surprise, found soy in a few things. Not necessarily things that I eat every day, but things that will make their way into my diet a couple times per week. A bar here, some cereal in my yogurt there, soy soy soy. So I made a concerted effort to avoid all soy products (including the tofu in my Life Alive bowls) and surprise surprise, I haven’t had any issues since! This has been a good three weeks now, and my gut health is going strong. Such a scientific study, I know.

Soy. It’s the devil in disguise (at least when it comes to me that is).

Too much screen time still increases my headache/nausea at this point, so that’s all for today. Do any of you have food intolerances that took you forever to figure out? Have you ever had a concussion? How long did it take you to return to full exercise?

Ooh, also, I now have my wedding pictures from my photographer. Anyone interested in a picture-filled wedding recap… two months after the fact? :)

 

Concussed

Eek! I haven’t posted since September 10th? Good lord, I guess life has been a little busier than I thought.

Anyway, I had big plans for a post today, but unfortunately I got hit in the head on Saturday and have a concussion. I’m still pretty symptomatic, especially when it comes to reading/writing/concentrating (this is making me nauseous as we speak), so unfortunately this is all you’re getting today. The only way to help a concussion is with brain rest, so I’ll be staying away from the blog until my brain feels a bit better. :)

Have a wonderful day/week, and remember, take care of your noggin. You only get one brain, after all!

Figuring Out What Works: My Nutrition Plan

I wrote on Friday about making your diet work for you instead of miserably slaving away to follow a diet just because you think you “should”. I mentioned that I have tried several different dietary styles over the past couple of years, a few for my own personal well being, and a few just so that I could provide some first hand commentary on the blog. Throughout this process, I’ve learned a lot about how my body responds to certain foods, how I feel with variances in food timing, and things that I just like and don’t like.

As I mentioned on Friday, this is not one set of hard and fast rules from one specific diet or plan. This is a mashup of foods and habits that make me feel by best, and also allow me to live my life without stressing too much about when and what I’m eating.

The basics of my personal plan are as follows*:

  • MOST of my daily intake comes from whole foods such as veggies, lean meats, cage free eggs, wild caught fish, nuts, some dairy and fruit. (And peanut butter. Because, let’s be real, I don’t go a day without the stuff). I eat a lot of salads (big, hearty salads), and dinner is usually a mix of meat/fish and veggies.
  • Keep bread products to once per day (if that much). Like I said, I don’t have negative symptoms related to gluten, but I do feel sluggish and get heartburn if I eat too much in the way of bread, grains, pasta, etc. If I have an english muffin for breakfast, lunch will be a salad and dinner will be a mix of veggies and meat. If I know I’m going out for dinner where there will be a delicious bread basket, I’ll skip the english muffin at breakfast. It’s all about balance, folks.
  • Include a significant source of protein at EVERY meal and most snacks. I have no carb-phobia, but a carb heavy meal with little protein will leave me crashing and hungry without a doubt. This is especially important for lunches — most of the time my lunch at work is a hearty salad (I’m not talking just lettuce here!) topped with a homemade turkey burger or grilled chicken. Rarely I’ll have just a piece of fruit as a snack if I’m not very hungry, but usually that will be paired with some nuts or nut butter to increase the protein and keep me full longer.
  • Intermittent Fasting on off days**. For the past few months I have been following a loose IF program on days that I don’t work out, and I’ve been loving it. It takes away the stress of following a strict timeline every single day, but also keeps me from snacking a ton on my off days. I’ll usually follow a 14-16 hour fast from the night before into the off day (say, if I eat dinner at 7 pm on Wednesday night, I won’t eat on Thursday until 11am). For the record, IF does not mean “skipping meals”. Even after a fast, I still get all my calories in for the day, just in a shorter period of time. For whatever reason, I really respond well to this, where I know some people do not. It’s all about knowing your body!
  • Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs carbs, my body needs carbs. We all need carbs, just how much of them you need is entirely dependent on your activity levels and goals. If you go from sitting on your couch to sitting in your cubicle and back again in the course of a day, you probably want to eat fewer over all carbs. If you’re a highly active person or athlete, your body actually needs carbs to fuel all of that awesome activity. What type of carbs? I try to stick with grains such as rice (I eat both brown and white varieties), potatoes (more sweet potatoes but also white on occasion), fruit, and limited bread products. I strongly prefer sprouted grain bread such as Ezekial over other options, but if I’m out at a restaurant with some warm, freshly baked rolls, you better believe that I’m going to have some!
  • Time high-carb meals strategically. I try to eat my higher carb meals immediately pre and post workout, so that I can optimally time the influx of glycogen into my muscles. This is not a hard and fast rule that I stress over, just a general guideline that I follow. If I’m trying to lean out, I’ll follow this much more strictly.
  • Balance my indulgences. If someone brings me a delicious treat at work, I won’t also have dessert that night after dinner. I do occasionally go out to a delicious meal where I’ll enjoy both a drink and dessert (horrors!) but that is the exception, not the rule. Generally, an indulgence such as dessert or drinks is enjoyed on it’s own, without the others, and most importantly without any guilt.

The thing is, these are all things that I’ve found work wonderfully for me, and most are also things that I would recommend to people who are trying to clean up their diet. I would never tell people to avoid certain macronutrients or foods “just because”, as long as they are real, nutritious foods and not chemically processed crap. If you don’t have a negative reaction to gluten, there is no reason to eliminate it completely from your diet. Likewise, if you know that almonds give you a stomach ache, there is no reason to eat them just because someone told you that they are a health food! It can take a lot of work to figure out what works and what does not for your body, but in the end, the hard work is well worth it. Whether you respond well to IF or to another style of eating, it’s important to do what’s best for you and not what’s best for the people around you.

*Like I said before, these are general guidelines that I follow, they are not hard and fast rules. I do not beat myself up if I enjoy carb heavy meals for both lunch and dinner — I just take it in stride and try to balance out a little more the next day. I do not obsess over the restaurant bread basket, but I will generally make a decision on which indulgence is more worth it to me (bread or dessert? wine or bread?) But let’s face it — sometimes I just end up getting all of the above, and that’s okay too as long as it’s not an every day occurrence.

**I just want to clear up any misgivings that people have about Intermittent Fasting. This does not equate to “skipping meals”, but rather timing food within a smaller window throughout the day. If I fast until 11 am, I’ll eat breakfast at that time, lunch around 2:00 or 3:00, and dinner generally around 7:00. I still consume enough calories throughout the day, I really just eliminate the mindless snacking since my meals are a little bit closer together. I really enjoy doing this a few days per week; I find it helps keep me in better control of my hunger and my ability to control my hunger rage.

Readers: What are some general rules that you try to follow with your diet? Have you ever tried Intermittent Fasting or variations on your food timing? Does any of this sound totally crazy to you?