Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Has Taught Me...

about myself.

Exactly four weeks ago, when I was taking my little blog break, I decided to conduct an experiment. It seems, within the course of a few weeks I had been seeing a lot about gluten* intolerance and it's symptoms. I found more than just a few of them seemed to describe different things going on with me, so I decided to try to pin it down. Besides a blood test done at the doctor's office, another way to find out is to eliminate gluten from your diet for a month to see if the symptoms subside.

I did a bit of research; I even started another blog which I have since abandoned (see why further on) and found out what items from my prior diet I could still eat and what I would need to buy and eat during this period.

Now this is where I try to let you know just how much this here girl loves bread and wheat-made products; from cooked oats, Cream of Wheat (Duh!!), barley, and whole grain products. To find out one must avoid these things, including cakes, pies, and most CUPCAKES was a daunting thing. However, most of these can be replaced by products made with rice and other grains AND I did find the most delicious cupcakes ever, gluten-free or not. (Shout out to the moist, dense, coconut cupcakes with luscious cream cheese frosting made by 3 Fellers Bakery in Goochland, VA!)

I first started out listing my daily food intake in the new blog, but really wanted the calorie information included. That led me to, where I could search for my usual food items or enter the dietary information for the items that were not already in their database. After doing this, I didn't want to duplicate the same information into the blog, so I ended up scrapping the blog pretty quickly.

Using dailyburn taught me a few things about my eating habits. Most importantly, I found out that I don't eat enough; rarely making it to 1,000 calories a day, and when I did it was only because I ate half a bag of potato chips or something else high fat and unhealthy. I sometimes exceeded the carbohydrates or fat I should be consuming per day; however, I was always far below the amount of protein that I needed daily. No wonder I felt sluggish and tired all the time, my body wasn't getting enough nutrients to create any energy.

It was shocking to find out that on a regular basis I've only eaten about 800 calories a day when the normal calorie count recommended in order to maintain my weight would be 1600 to 1800 calories a day! I also frequently skip breakfast. So, I definitely believe that the body can go into "starvation mode" and hold on to calories and pounds. Because despite this calorie deficit I've been under for months , I hadn't noticed any weight loss which it seems I should have experienced having effectively cut what is considered a normal calorie count in half! Not that I want to lose any weight, but presumably my metabolism is now so extremely slow because of this (and my sedentary lifestyle), that my body is not letting go of anything!

So this is what I need to work on:

EAT breakfast!
Add more protein to my diet on a daily basis
Take my daily vitamin daily
Eat more vegetables (a rare occurrence, unless I eat out) and fruit
Get some exercise
Drink more water ( I've been recording only 2-3 glasses a day.)
Develop a consistent sleep pattern. Instead of falling into bed after midnight and having an understandably hard time getting up in the morning (after thoroughly exhausting all of the snooze options at my command)

* Gluten is a form of protein found in many grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye.


scb said...

You have described me to a T in your post. Except for the calories thing, which I think I keep up because of the far too high amount of cheese I consume. I must check out that website. (Today I'm going to the doc, for prescription renewal, and I'll have to confess I haven't had the yearly blood workup that he requested last time, because I keep intending to "build myself up" first, and keep not doing it.)

Now I know I'm not alone. Thank you!

I wish you well in your quest for a balanced diet, and I wish you *well* in the health sense.

Swestie said...

HOW have you managed to subsist on fewer than 800 calories per day? Girl! No wonder you are tired! I can give you some lessons in how to get more to eat! ;)

Kate Brown said...


Glad you like DailyBurn! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out.


The Slapdash Sewist said...

Goodness, I can't imagine how one eats only 800 calories a day! I go to the gym twice a day during the week, but I more than make up for it with my caloric intake.

lsaspacey said...

I seemed to have trained myself to not be hungry, and then easily satisfied when fed. I think also, my current lack of money has something to do with it, subconsciously. I dread going to the grocery store.

ATG said...

Did you monitor your progress on Daily Burn for a whole month? I'm so going to try it. I tried another website like that a long time ago and searching their food data base was so tedious that it was a real pain to use...

Antoinette said...

I didn't pay enough attention to my nutritional intake until I went (ovo-lacto) vegetarian 3 years ago, and then it was all I thought about for 30 days recently when I went vegan/ non-processed. My body is not trained to ignore hunger so I needed to be sure I ate well. I see how spending less on food might mean eating less. A couple of thoughts:

Beans are a wonderful source of protein. Many nuts offer, protein, iron, and fats -- a prepackaged bag may carry a high price tag, so maybe buying partial pounds will decrease the sticker shock. Avocado and artichoke have been tasty superfoods, too, and even better when on sale.

golden star said...

Thanks for this post. I am learning more about the food/fuel data. Will check out daily burn.

Another look at our diet is the daily apple site by Mark Sisson.

Anonymous said...

You basically described me from a few years back---it's no good! A few things I've done/learned that might be helpful for you:

Buy a re-usable water bottle that is not plastic. My $20 Sigg bottle has paid for itself a hundred times over. I bring it with me everywhere and now drink more than enough water.

I once was someone who skipped breakfast, but no more! I'm on tight budget, but my go-to breakfast is super cheap, healthy & easy to adapt to your own taste. I mix a huge batch of my own version of muesli: about 3lbs of oatmeal, 1 cup each of sliced almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes & dried cranberries (I don't like raisins) & 2-3T of flax seed. Every night I measure about 1/2 cup of the mix and sprinkle 1-2T of water on top and let it soften up overnight. In the morning I mix it with some plain yogurt & either canned or fresh fruit or prunes (they get an bad "old lady" rep, but they are really tasty!). I buy everything from the bulk section so I can buy the exact amount I need.

Eat more beans: they are chock full of protein and super cheap. I'm especially fond of black beans & garbanzo beans (chick peas!). Smitten Kitchen has some yummy recipes and the New York Times did a whole series on black beans last year.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck with your goals!
~Christine H.

ATG said...

By the way I tried a 3 Fellas coconut cupcake the other night and you're right...absolutely delish!