• Training or Draining?

    September 25, 2012

    Did you happen to notice my workouts for the week in this morning’s post? They’re a lot less intense than usual, right? Well, it’s because I’m taking it easy to give my body a little rest and also because I think the intensity of some of my workouts is preventing me from fully healing. Even after 11 days of steroids, I’m still not 100%, so I’m hoping that giving my body a break will do the trick. (I talked to my doctor on Friday, and she said it sometimes takes time for steroids to work their magic, so I just need to be patient.)

    I’ve been thinking a lot about why it’s taken me so long to kick this flare, which, frankly, is child’s play compared to my previous two, but never-ending and scary none the less. This whole time I’ve been looking for a nutritional solution to my colitis issues, but I now realize it’s not just one thing that is making me flare. It’s a whole bunch of things—a lifestyle problem—that I need to address, so I’m taking it down a notch with my workouts and trying to manage the other stresses in my life.

    I’m really glad I’ve made changes to my diet (I have so much ENERGY nowadays!) because nutrition is an important piece of good health, but it’s not the only piece. In the Balanced Bites podcast that I listened to last week, Chris Kresser said the number one reason his patients don’t heal is because they’re not managing their stress. It’s not because they aren’t eating or exercising properly. Stress management is hard. It’s so much easier to take drugs or supplements or switch up your diet than it is to change your relationship with life and deal with those feelings. Most people (myself included) tend to ignore stress because it’s so difficult to manage, but, of course, it’s essential to one’s health.

    At the Whole9 seminar that I attended last month, Melissa and Dallas talked about The Whole9 Health Equation:

    Health-Equation-Header1
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    image source]

    Here’s an explanation from the Whole9 website:

    We think of each individual’s health status like a “bank account”, to and from which you make deposits and withdrawals. Like a bank account, your Health Balance is a product of Credits minus Debits. If you make more frequent (or larger) deposits than withdrawals, you accumulate “Health Wealth”. And, hopefully not to take this analogy too far, that Wealth pays dividends down the road. Conversely, if you overextend your resources (withdrawing more than you’re depositing), you’ll find yourself in the red – “Health Debt”. Think about overdrafting your bank account – you can continue spending for a while, but at some point, you simply can’t spend any more, because there’s nothing left in the bank. (Needless to say, that scenario stinks.)

    Basically, you want to keep your “bank account” in the black with more “credits” of good healthy things than “debits” of things that stress you out and don’t allow your body to fully heal and recover.

    Health-Equation
    [image source]

    Examples of credits:

    • Proper nutrition
    • Sleep
    • Napping
    • Mobility work
    • Yoga
    • Meditation

    Examples of debits:

    • High-intensity training
    • Job-related stress
    • Family/marital stress
    • Anxiety and phobias
    • Low self-esteem

    Melissa and Dallas go into great detail and give a number of examples (<— very helpful) on the Whole9 website to further explain their “Health Equation,” but how much you can withdraw from your bank account depends on the size and frequency of your credits. So, for me, this means I can still partake in high-intensity workouts, but not as frequently as I used to and, when I do, I’ll need to incorporate proper recovery, sleep, nutrition, and, of course, manage the other stresses in my life to keep myself happy and healthy.

    I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy for me to get to this point. Obviously, I want to get better, so I was all about making changes to improve my health, but I completely overlooked and undervalued a number of stresses in my life (intense exercise included). And, honestly, it was easier to make changes to my diet as a solution than consider the whole picture and deal with the tough stuff. The Whole9 Health Equation has really prompted some honest introspection and a good, hard look at my current lifestyle, so, hopefully, I’m in a better place now and on my way to good health soon.

    Lunch

    Yesterday’s lunch was one of my favorite new combos: chicken + avocado.

    IMG_2747 (750x563)

    It’s pretty much chicken salad, but instead of mayo, I use mashed avocado (+ salt and pepper), and it’s so delicious. I actually like this combo a lot more than regular chicken salad.

    IMG_2741 (563x750)

    On the side, I had some red grapes.

    IMG_2743 (750x563)

    Under the chicken salad is steamed spinach.

    IMG_2745 (750x563)

    Health News & Views

    After a workout, I know it’s important to eat something within 30 minutes to jump-start the recovery process, so I often bring along a snack to consume immediately after my sweat session. Protein helps to build and repair muscles and potassium balances electrolytes and fluids. I often stock my kitchen with a variety of healthy foods, so I always have a grab-and-go option when it comes to post-workout snacks. Here are some of my favorites!

    5 Post-Workout Snacks to Refuel Muscles

    Question of the Day

    Has stress (mental or physical) ever negatively affected your health? How did/do you deal?

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    { 90 comments… read them below or add one }

    Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings September 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    It’s so good of you to listen to your body! So many people don’t and I’m kind of stubborn when it comes to letting myself relax or taking a break from intense workouts when I need to so thanks for the encouragement! I hope you feel 100% soon!

    Reply

    Deb September 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I have social anxiety, and depending on the situation, it can cause a lot of problems. I’ve had panic attacks during many job interviews, been up all night throwing up when I knew I was meeting someone new the next day, and at one point I’d have anxiety attacks if I tried to sleep at night. Daytime sleeping I was fine. Pretty much any time I am emotionally upset, I get physically ill.

    Reply

    Amber September 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    In times of high stress I always get physically ill. Stress just drives my immune system into the ground causing whatever I’ve been in contact with to ravage my body. I’ve been living Paleo for over a year now, and stress is still one of those things that alludes me. All we can do is just try to be as mentally aware of our situations as we can, and do our best to relax. Good Luck!

    Reply

    Tina September 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    True that! :)

    Reply

    Karen September 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Great post Tina! As much as I love running I was doing it too much and ended up getting shin splints, and having knee and hip trouble. Thus, I cut back and added weights and aqua gym. So far so good.

    Reply

    Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset September 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Such an awesome post! Health IS about so much more than just good nutrition and exercise! Stress may even be #1. That’s what I need to work on too, cause I have the food/exercise in good hands :) That pseudo chicken salad looks delicious!!!

    Reply

    rebecca @ blueberry smiles September 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I finally downloaded the Balanced Bites podcasts this week– they’re great! Really enjoying them

    Reply

    Michelle September 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I’ve stolen your chicken+avocado “recipe”. Love!! Thanks for the idea.
    I’m also starting to think that stress is a big roadblock in my weight loss. Not sure how to deal with it yet so I’m really interested to see if you have any advice now that you’re trying to be more aware of your stress levels. Good luck!!

    Reply

    Lu @ Wine Required September 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    That chicken with avocado looks absolutely amazing. I have to try it. Just out of curiosity, where do you buy avocados? I haven’t found any in MA that I like. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    Tina September 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I typically buy them from Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, or Fresh Market.

    Reply

    Katie H. September 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    My workouts have definitely affected my anxiety level and vice versa–for good and bad. There is a fine balance between working out enough to stay fit and healthy (mentally and physically) and doing your body harm. Glad to hear someone else struggles with the same issue sometimes :-)

    Reply

    Apple A Day September 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to hear right now! I’ve been cutting back on intense workouts too because my body needs more rest. At first I was afraid I’d lose my fitness level going from running 3x a week to 1-2x a week but now I have more time to concentrate on weight training. I’m noticing my muscles are stronger and recovering faster now. I actually feel MORE fit with less cardio. I never would have allowed myself to do this in the past. So glad I’m learning to take better care of myself these days. Looks like you are too!
    We shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of ourselves.

    Reply

    April C. September 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I love the thoughts of debits and credits and I’ve heard those terms in relation to relationships as well. I think it can be so hard to listen to our bodies so I give you major kudos for constantly striving for balance and health despite how crazy busy you get.

    I definitely feel more debits lately than credits but I am constantly trying to remember to breathe, remember to be strong, and remember that it probably isn’t that big of a deal and if it is, it will work itself out.

    Reply

    Aya September 26, 2012 at 12:56 am

    How do you cook the chicken? This looks so good and so simple!

    Reply

    Tina September 26, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Usually, on the grill with salt and pepper.

    Reply

    Amanda Jewell September 26, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Hey Tina,

    Quick question:What’s your thought on rotisserie chicken; is chicken skin paleo? When you buy chicken, do you buy skinless? I recently started eating chicken again (after 4 yrs of pescatarian diet) and more paleo in an attempt to alleviate some of my PCOS symptoms.

    Also, fantastic post. It literally couldn’t have come in a better time. I too have decided to remove one day (baby steps..) of my crossfit regime (normally Mon-Fri) to take as an active rest day (walking with the pup). I feel this will help me focus on my nutrition a little more too. I have been noticing that I am just so tired during my workouts and don’t have enough “reserves” to dig deep and push through the hard moments anymore.

    Reply

    Amanda Jewell September 26, 2012 at 3:44 am

    oh, and you must try take on your chicken avocado recipe: chicken, avocado, sliced fresh figs, small drizzle of coconut oil, & sea salt. It’s seriously amazeballs (yea, I said it).

    Reply

    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

    That equation is awesome! It’s such a good way to think about our health. I hope stepping back a bit from your workouts helps to heal you up quicker! :)

    Reply

    Angela@The Chicken Scoop September 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have been going through a ton of stress lately and having a difficult time dealing with it. Normally, I have my husband to lean on but I am away at school right now and only see him on the weekends (another stresser). I am finally ready to kick this thing in the butt though and I lean on my friends, in real life and online. Luckily I am part of an amazing community where I also blog and have lots of friends there to support me when I need it as I am there for them!). Finally ready to get back to normal!

    And like you, I have taken a step back from workouts, not stressing over them too much. I had to completely take off because I wore myself out so much, I got sick! But I have a marathon to train for and I can’t miss my 20 miler this weekend! Eek!
    ~Ang

    Reply

    Samantha September 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I like learning things from your blogs – this one especially was very interesting and I feel like I learned a lot! I know that you have a lot of information and background in nutrition and exercise – I appreciate when your blogs include info about why to eat certain things or do certain things. Very helpful. I’ll be taking a banana to my zumba workout tonight! :)

    Reply

    Iris Lee September 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    So awesome that you recognize the stressors in your life and how they affect your health! I’m reading It Starts With Food right now (found out about Melissa and Dallas from your blog!), and it’s really thought-provoking. I love the bank account idea you brought up – definitely something to keep in mind! Some of my “credits” for keeping stress away include yoga, sleep (and making an event of it – turning off all technology, keeping the room super dark, lighting a yummy candle beforehand, using fresh and soft sheets, etc.), and cooking. :)

    Reply

    Melissa September 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I have had a lot of stress affect me over the last year or so. Family drama, weddings (my own included) and work were the main culprits. I have to say, reading this post has really gotten me thinking about my own health and how I need to manage my stress better. I just don’t really know how to do it!

    Reply

    Julie September 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Best post I’ve read in a long time. Thank you!

    Reply

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