Tag Archives: nutrition

Revelations from Tracking Food

There’s a saying, if you track it, you will improve it. ‘It’ can stand for just about anything: lifting weights, running 5k, doing homework, heck, even how much time you spend cleaning up around the house. If you track these things, you can look at trends, see what’s working and what’s not, and then you can make an informed decision.

Now, the opposite is also true: if you don’t track it, it won’t improve, or will improve very slowly if at all. If you have no numbers or facts, how can you know what’s working? It could be random, it could be dumb luck. I’m a big fan of luck, but I don’t want to rely on it for any of my goals. This includes nutrition. I’ve greatly improved my diet in recent months … but what does that mean? I have no numbers, no facts, no anything to base that off of.

I guess I’m lean, if you’re being charitable, or scrawny if you’re not.

Since the last week of July, I’ve been tracking what I eat, not just the names of food but the individual macros, the proteins, carbs and the like. One week, and the results have been fascinating. Continue reading

Glorious, Glorious Ice Cream

We’ve had a heatwave ravaging my city for the last week. So far it has broken records and shows no sign of stopping. Today was especially bad, as we had high temperatures, no clouds to cover the scorching hot sun and, to top it off, very high humidity. The temperatures were in the low 30s, but with the humidex it felt like the 40s.

Even people start melting at that temperature.

Unsurprisingly, work was very slow today. I’m a martial arts instructor, and even though we have a fully air-conditioned building, the last thing anyone wanted to do after braving the heat all day was go workout and sweat some more. I don’t blame them, as I didn’t want to be there myself. The heat completely knocked me out, and I was ready to nap by 4pm.

Now, that said, I’ve promised not to complain about the heat, so let’s switch gears and talk about the one positive of a heatwave: having ice cream. Continue reading

The Year is Half Over

Today is July 1st, a very special day. Most importantly, it’s Canada Day, a national holiday.  That’s always nice.  Of secondary importance, it’s the beginning of the NHL free agency period, one of the busiest days in terms of player movement.  There may be no better day for a Canadian hockey fan than July 1.

More than that, though, today is the beginning of July, the seventh month.  The year is officially half over.  Six months have gone, six months remain.  It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in 2016, and now it’s half over and soon it will be done.  That’s … quite sobering, really.

Most people have long since abandoned their new year’s resolutions, but not me.  I’m constantly thinking about how I can improve, where I need to improve and what I need to do to get there.  I set some pretty lofty goals back at the beginning of the year, and now is the perfect time to make sure I’m still trending in the right direction or if I need to change something. Continue reading

June 2016 Month in Review

June has been a rollercoaster, mostly in the up and down sense.  It started with grim determination … and then I immediately got sick and had all my plans thrown into chaos.  I spent two weeks getting back to normal, and once normal I resumed my grim determination to make myself the best person I can be … and so far it’s working.

I briefly experimented with using ‘themed days’ throughout the week, so one day devoted entirely to fitness, another entirely to chess, etc etc.  This lasted for about a week before I hated it and went back to my old standard of doing a little bit of everything every day, and I’m much happier for it.

Still, it’s been strange, as I’ve spent half the month basically recovering from sickness and other half trying to go full speed ahead, which is a strange dichotomy.  I don’t know if it affected me in any way, but it’s been a mental grind at times. Continue reading

May 2016 Month in Review

May has been an interesting month.  Really, it’s a tale of two half-months.  The first two weeks I was unhappy, cranky and borderline depressed … though I don’t know why.  The world just didn’t look as bright.  Then a thunderstorm rolled in, seemingly blasting me out of my funk, and May has rocketed forward ever since.

For the last six weeks or so I had been mostly existing, not really progressing.  I managed to put effort into my workouts and not much else.  That changed halfway through this month, when I got a burst of energy and have been riding it every since.  Let’s take a look.

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The Problem With Quality

This post has what might what be a controversial title. The problem with quality? How is quality a problem? If anything, the problem is usually a lack of quality. So many things are overpriced and under-deliver. I can go to the dollar store and find a thousand things that will break within five minutes of use. The problem with quality? No, the problem is no quality!

Oh Dilbert.

Yes, yes, I agree. Obviously quality is superior to a lack of quality … but that’s exactly the problem. Imagine driving a top-of-the-line sportscar, something by Ferrari. Maybe you get it for a month, all expenses paid. Rides like an absolute dream. Afterwards, though, you have to go back to driving your used economy model. It will feel terrible, clunky, awful, everything negative you can think about.

You had a taste of superb quality, and now it’s so much harder to accept mediocrity. Continue reading

April 2016 Updates

April’s over.  Cool.  April wasn’t as kind to me as March.  Honestly, I think a big reason was simply the weather: it snowed in April, and then it rained and got very cold and never really warmed up.  That doesn’t make for a good month, and it more or less mimicked my mental state.  I never really got going.

More accurately, about halfway through I took a break from most of my things.  I did less chess, less poi, less of everything.  Now that the month is ending, though, I feel recharged and ready to take on the world in May.  I’m getting ahead of myself, though.  First let’s look at what happened the last 30 days.

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Eating Clean vs Eating Healthy

I sometimes think there is nothing more simple and yet so complex as nutrition. At its core, we all know eating healthy is a good thing; we all know we should do it. We also have a pretty good idea of how to do it. Eat more good food, eat less bad food. Intuitively, we understand this. Potatoes are good, potato chips are bad. Vegetables are good, veggie thins are less good.

This fight isn’t even close.

We all know this, and if nutrition were that simple we’d all be in great shape with amazing, healthy, vibrant bodies. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Searching for ‘diet’ on Google gives approximately eighty-trillion different results. Some diets have names, like the paleo diet, and then there are variations and sub-variations of that diet: paleo with rice, pseudo-paleo, half-paleo, vegan-paleo, dinosaur-paleo, etc etc. There is extensive literature here, and that’s just one type of diet. The rabbit hole goes down seemingly forever. Continue reading

The Big Cheat

Different diet plans recommend cheat days or cheat meals. If you deny yourself your favourite sweets and chocolates for too long, you might explode one day in a ravenous, glutinous frenzy. Rather than letting it build to this extreme, you have one day a week where you have less restrictions. Go nuts, have a chocolate bar, no regrets. Cheat days help restore your willpower and give you a reward for staying true the other six days of the week.

There’s an important idea here, though, that’s easy to miss. I said ‘less restrictions,’ not ‘no restrictions.’ If you eat an entire pizza by yourself, washing it down with cake and Coke, then you’ve gone overboard a wee little bit. You want to ease the temptation, not go hog wild with it. You’ve just undone all the good you’ve spent the previous work eating healthy. Come on, get your act together.

This isn’t what a cheat day is supposed to be!

Sorry, I was talking to myself there. You see, I went a little overboard. I like donuts, and I, uh, ate a whole case. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Continue reading

Eating to Live

Some things in life you want to savour, and others you just want to get out of the way. No one wants a trip to the dentist to last a minute longer than necessary, whereas a back rub could last forever and no one would complain. If anything, no massage lasts long enough. Hmm, I just realized I haven’t had a massage in a while…

Note to self: get a massage.

Anyway, some things are worth slowing down for. I think we all understand this, but sometimes we have trouble living in. Take food. A well-prepared meal is delicious and nutritious, and you want to savour the flavour… and yet it’s so delicious that you want to eat it as fast as possible. These two things don’t mix very well, and most people tend to either over-eat or eat too quickly, getting bloated after.

I have the exact opposite problem: I under-eat and do it very slowly. Continue reading