Posted by: kurunner | April 26, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Ugh, my first weight gain since I’ve had Harper.  I needed to lose 1.6 lbs this week to keep up with my birthday goal; instead, I’m up 0.8.  Yeah, yeah… it’s not even a pound.  But it really sucks that I’m at the point where the weight isn’t just falling off anymore.  I’m breastfeeding!  Aren’t breastfeeding moms supposed to burn like a kajillion calories a day and wake up looking like Heidi Klum ready to don tiny lingerie and strut down a runway?

I guess not.

Well, I really didn’t want it to come to this, but I guess I’m going to go back to tracking calories.  Sadly, the 5th anniversary of my 24th birthday is only 5 weeks away and I have 10.4 lbs left to lose.  I’m not going to throw the towel in yet since 2 lbs a week is still doable, but I really need to reign in the eating.  Weight loss is 80% nutrition and I have to admit, I’ve been enjoying the freedom of eating whatever crap I wanted and still see the numbers going down. 

I guess I’m off to Nutrition Data to see how much I can eat today.

Posted by: kurunner | April 25, 2010

Memory Lane

While googling myself (don’t pretend like I’m the only one who does it), I came across a xanga blog.  I had completely forgotten about the short-lived blog I had back in college.  Anyways, reading through it, I found one of the funniest posts.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

So, here are my goals for the next 3 weeks:

1. No more fast food. Period. I know that I can eat badly when I cook at home too, but it won’t be 1600 calories for a combo meal with a shake every night.
2. Go to the gym twice a week. I am done by 4:00 on Mondays and Tuesdays so I will hit the gym for an hour before I go get Kaelin.
3. No more soda. This is going to limit my caffeine, and I am sure I will get a massive headache the first few days, but I will feel much better when I start drinking more water. And it’s cheaper.

Maybe it’s not so funny as much as it is sad.  Apparently, I’ve been trying to kick some of these habits for longer than I thought.  It’s a bit discouraging.  I mean, if I haven’t been able to kick soda over the last 4 years, am I ever going to be able to do it?

Then I want to slap myself.  There are tons of people who are able to quit real addictions everyday.  My mom smoked for 20+ years, and has been cigarette free for almost two.  It took her who knows how many attempts to do it (and a nice dose of Chantix) but she managed.

Know of any drugs to kick the Red Bull habit?

Posted by: kurunner | April 23, 2010

Chemical of the Week

This week’s chemical of the week is … aspartame.

I’ve been working on this post for weeks because if there is anything I’m passionate about it’s chemistry (and why we shouldn’t eat things found on a lab bench.)  I want to do a new chemical that’s commonly found in food each week, but I’ve decided to start with aspartame because it is everywhere.  It’s also one of the most dangerous food additives currently being used and if I could just stop one person (including myself) from eating the crap, I’ll have done my job.

What is it?
Aspartame is a chemical sweetener invented in 1965, also known as N-(L-α-Aspartyl)-L-phenylalanine, 1-methyl ester.  While aspartame isn’t calorie free, it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar so smaller quantities are used to get the same sweetness.


Aspartame was denied by the FDA 8 times before it got approval.  In fact, when it was finally approved, the FDA revoked it’s approval and determined that the company’s safety data on aspartame had been manipulated.  The US Attorneys Office began proceedings against the head of the company, G.D. Searle.  However, while the investigation was underway, the lead attorney left the case and took a job with Searle’s law firm.  Sketchy, right?  In 1980, the FDA set up a review board which found that aspartame had not been shown to be safe for use as a food additive.  A year later, a new FDA commissioner was appointed and overrulled the review board allowing aspartame to be used in food.  Want to take a guess who he started working for after he left the FDA?  Yep, he started working for Searle’s public relations firm.  Congress began to prosecute Searle for giving the government false information, but the attorneys assigned to the case chose not to proceed.  Not to sound repetitive, but they also landed jobs with Searle’s law firm. 

In 1996, the FDA approved aspartame without restrictions and without public notice.

Health Benefits
Although aspartame supporters argue that the chemical is useful in the management of diabetes, studies show otherwise.  Not eating sugar is really what helps manage diabetes, not eating chemically sweetened products made from aspartame.  Heroin doesn’t cause lung cancer, but is it really a good replacement for cigarettes?

Health Hazards
Numerous studies have shown a link between aspartame and brain tumors.  There are more than 90 different side effects from aspartame consumption ranging from headaches and dizziness to memory loss and seizures.  Aspartame is directly linked to weight gain and causes formaldehyde accumulation in the body.  (Thing of high school biology.)  More than 75% of complaints to the FDA are aspartame related.  Aspartame has also been linked to birth defects.  Sadly, the FDA must not be informed of any of these studies.  Their official position is:

Since it was first approved for use in the United States, the safety of aspartame has been questioned by some. To date, however, the agency has not been presented with scientific information that would support a change in our conclusions about the safety of aspartame. Those conclusions are based on a detailed review of a large body of information, including more than 100 toxicological and clinical studies regarding the sweetener’s safety.

Good luck trying to track down any of those 100 studies, though.  Their website turned up very little information of aspartame.  And, um, what about the hundreds of studies I found after a quick search on Google Scholar?

The Bottom Line
Aspartame is obviously bad stuff.  If you are wondering why the FDA would approve something so dangerous, remember that it’s a $1 billion industry. 

Whether or not you believe the hype on either side of the debate, the important fact is that aspartame is NOT food.  Aspartame is a chemical.  Apples don’t have aspartame.  Eggs don’t have aspartame.  Spinach doesn’t have aspartame.  Sodas do have aspartame.  Processed foods do have aspartame.  Candies do have aspartame.  I don’t think you need a scientific study (or goverment organization) telling you which diet is healthier.

I swear, it's my last one!

Posted by: kurunner | April 22, 2010

Recipe Find

Don't let the color fool you!

Lately, I’ve been hearing about Green Monsters.  I must admit, I’m not a huge smoothie person, but I was curious.  So, I got out the blender and gave the original Green Monster a go.  It wasn’t bad.  It definitely wasn’t good, but it wasn’t repulsive.  Of course, the recipe made like 4 cups and I wasn’t about to chug it, so down the sink it went.

This morning, I decided to tweak the recipe and give it another go.


It made enough to for two cups and I had no problem drinking it all.  You seriously can’t even taste the spinach in it.  Plus, the health benefits are amazing.  Spinach really is a superfood and since I’m not a fan of green leafies, it’s great to hide it in a drink.  Anyways, here is the version I made this morning.

Strawberry Green Monster

2 cups raw spinach
1 banana
3 large strawberries
1/2 cup milk
1 cup ice

194 calories, 0g fat, 7 g protein, 42 g carbs, 6 g fiber

Vit A 119%
Vit C 102%
Vit D 13%
Vit E 7%
Vit K 363%
Thiamin 11%
Riboflavin 25%
Vit B6 34%
Folic Acid 41%
Vit B12 11%
Pantothenic Acid 9%
Calcium 22%
Iron 12%
Magnesium 27%
Phosphorus 17%
Potassium 33%
Sodium 4%
Zinc 3%
Copper 9%
Manganese 47%
Selenium 7%

You could easily add in some protein powder, different fruits, and some flax or other seeds for a dose of healthy fats. 

It's like a salad for breakfast!

Posted by: kurunner | April 21, 2010

I pHail at blogging

I suck.  I admit it.  I’ve been working on this new weekly feature that I was wanting to unveil today and it’s still not done.  I could give excuses like the crying adolescent in her room or the screaming baby downstairs.  I could even blame it on the dog, who if he doesn’t stop clawing at the door costing us our security deposit, will be let loose without his collar. 

But the truth is, I suck at time management.  I get caught on facebook or reading blogs then I realize it’s been 3 hours and I’ve accomplished nothing.  Now, the husband will hopefully be home in 30 minutes and I haven’t done a thing.  I still have a couple loads of laundry to run, dishes to do, floors to sweep, bathtubs to scrub. 

Instead, I’m going to sit here and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa and resist the urge to ask Jason to go get me a Milky Way and a Red Bull.  Yes, I’m a stress eater but I know that eating a candy bar will just make me feel worse.

P.S.  Bonus points if you enjoyed my attempt at chemistry humor.

Posted by: kurunner | April 20, 2010

Ten Weeks

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks since Harper’s been home from the hospital.  (Technically, 10 weeks and 2 days, but who’s counting?)  She’s just shy of 13 lbs now and is happily wearing large 3-6 and small 6-9 clothing.  I’m very proud since not a drop of formula has passed her mouth and she’s gaining like a bottle baby.  Strangers don’t believe that she’s only 2 months old and she’s an expert at rolling over now.  Unfortunately, Kaelin’s not gaining as well; she only put on a pound in the last six weeks.

As for me, I’m down 25.6 lbs since we came home from the hospital and 40 lbs total.  I still have about 10 lbs to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and another 40 lbs after that).  The goal is to make it by Memorial Day (aka my birthday!).  That’s only 6 weeks!  Yikes…  1.6 lbs/week.  I really need to step it up this next month. 

On to the bad habits…  well, um, that’s why they are bad habits.  I hate to admit it, but I made it 4 days without my Red Bull.  Between the headaches and my lack of sleep, the family and I decided it would be better if I had a little caffeine in my system.  I’ve also had a bit of chocolate (bit being defined as a pound’s worth) over the last week, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  I can only move forward, right?

haven’t had any soda or fast food though.  Yay me!

Tomorrow, I’ll be unveiling a new weekly feature so make sure to check back!

Edit:  I made it 4 days without Red Bull, 5 days without candy, and an amazing 8 days without soda or fast food.  Back to the drawing board.

Posted by: kurunner | April 13, 2010

Bad Habits

The theory is that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit so it makes sense that it would take 3 weeks to break a bad habit, right?

Oh goodness, do I have some bad habits that need breaking.

Normally, I eat fairly healthy.  I don’t care whether or not high fructose corn syrup is bad for you because I don’t eat it.  It’s not food.  If it has more than 5 ingredients or it has an ingredient I recognize from my chemistry class, I just don’t eat it.  Lately, I’ve been slipping though.

I have a small caffeine problem.  I am a Red Bull addict.  When I got pregnant, I stopped drinking it for a few months, but my OB recommended picking it back up because I was getting the WORST headaches.  But now, with a new baby and little sleep, I find myself reaching for 2 or 3 a day.  This isn’t good.  Red Bull is full of CRAP.  I drink the sugar-free stuff but it’s not like that’s any better.  Aspartame.  Acesulfame potassium.  Both of these chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as cancer and obesity.  (More on that topic later.)  Plus, it’s expensive.  I can get it at the commissary for about $1.50, but you can pay as much as $2.50 for a small can at other stores.  That’s about $100 a month!  Man, I can think of a lot better things to spend a hundred bucks on.

My second bad habit is… diet soda.  (Yes, I supposed Red Bull is technically soda, but still.)  During my hard-core World of Warcraft days, I was going through about 6 12-packs a week of soda.  My desk looked like a recycling center.  I don’t remember when, how, or why, but I stopped drinking soda.  Ok, maybe I didn’t actually stop because any time I eat out or get fast food, I get a Diet Coke, but I wasn’t drinking 10+ cans a day.  Yet, for some reason, I’ve been buying soda at the store again and my desk now looks like a recycling center.  Soda is bad!  In addition to the chemicals in Red Bull, the acid in soda leeches calcium out of your body.  I can only imagine how good that is for a nursing mother with joint problems and a family history of osteoporosis. 

Next up — candy.  Mmmmm, candy.  I have a sweet tooth.  If it’s sweet or made of chocolate, I’ll eat it.  I got really fussy for a while and wouldn’t eat anything that was less than the most expensive gourmet chocolate (which isn’t bad because you can only afford so much of that stuff), but lately, I’ve been binging on crap.  I’ve eaten BAGS of white chocolate truffles over the last few weeks.  I haven’t counted, but I would say at least a dozen.  I’ve been eating crappy candy bars almost daily.  I’ve been picking in Kaelin’s candy stash more than I should.  I’ve eaten so many black jelly beans that I felt sick. 

Finally, I’m a fast food fiend.  I hate this because I don’t even like most of the fast food I eat.  McDonald’s is terrible on so many levels, but there I am sitting in the drive-thru.  Actually, I’ve been doing much better with fast food recently than I have in the past.  I used to eat it 3+ meals a day and my cholesterol levels were scary high for someone in their 20s.  Now, I’m only getting it once every couple of days, but that’s still too much considering that I don’t even like how it tastes.  Seriously, when I was still married to my first husband, we were spending about $1000 a month on fast food.  We NEVER ate at home.  Now, Jason and I have a $100 a month limit on eating out, and I would much rather go to a decent restaurant every now and then instead of giving the money to a stupid clown face. 

Four bad habits (at least, 4 that I’m focusing on for now).  Four bad habits of which I’m getting rid.  It’s going to be painful and Jason doubts that I can do it, but for the next three weeks — no Red Bull, no soda, no candy or chocolate and no fast food.  Twenty-one days.  I know that in moderation, none of my habits are particularly bad, but I’m not a very moderate person.  If I have candy, I’m going to eat the whole bag.  If I have a case of Red Bull, I’m going to drink it over a couple of days. 

Then, after 3 weeks, when I kick this challenge’s ass, Jason will owe me.  BIG.

Posted by: kurunner | April 12, 2010

Hello, 5:00 AM

As I was lying in bed this morning, I was mentally writing today’s post.  It started something like this:

“I feel like a failure.  My workout clothes are neatly laid out, my shoes are at the door, and my iPod is charged, but I just can’t do it.  I can’t get dressed and go run.  I’m tired.  It’s early.  I didn’t sleep well.  The baby was up less than an hour ago to nurse.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  I’ll do it tonight.”

Screw that.  I got up, put my shoes on, and ran. 

It wasn’t long.  It wasn’t fast.  It wasn’t far.  But I did it. 

The feeling of accomplishing something, something that is hard and that most people don’t do (I mean, really…  how many runners are out there at 5:00 AM compared to 5:00 PM?), is so much better than an extra 9 minutes of sleep.

Hello, 5:00 AM.  I kicked your ass today.  See you Wednesday!

Posted by: kurunner | April 6, 2010

P90X — Phase 2


So, I suck.  Yesterday started Phase 2 of P90X.  The workout was Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps and it kicked my ass… not in a good way either.  I couldn’t finish the workout.  I’m really frustrated about it, but I’m going to have to go back and repeat Phase 1.  I mean, it’s not that big of a deal.  If I don’t have the strength for Phase 2, there is nothing wrong with staying in Phase 1.  I was making progress.  My reps and weights were going up.  It just sucks because I’m a perfectionist and this screws up my timetable.  It’s supposed to be 90 days.  I’m already a week behind as it is.  *sigh*  I guess my 90 days are going to last 44 days longer.

Posted by: kurunner | March 28, 2010

Recovery Week

Tomorrow starts recovery week.  I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous about not lifting for a whole week.  The general consensus is that you should take a break from your routine every couple of months or so, but it seems a little early since we’ve only been doing P90X for 3 weeks. 

I snuck a peek at my measurements this morning — down an inch of my hips and an inch and a half of my waist.  I don’t do my “official” P90X pictures until next week though.  I’m not sure how much of a difference there will be since the program is designed to see results after the second month, but not so much after the first.  When I look at Jason, I see a difference, but I can’t really tell any physical changes in myself yet.  I’m down almost 7 lbs, I think, and some inches, but I don’t really look different.  Maybe I’ll wake up on Day 90 with rippling muscles.  Ha!  Of course, I started the program with a good chunk of weight to lose whereas Jason only has about 10 lbs or so.  At least my muscles will be chiseled by the time I lose 50 lbs or so.

My eating has been a gazillion times better than it was a month ago.  I’ve reigned in my sweet tooth and we haven’t been eating out nearly as much.  I had a Milky Way yesterday (which I was eating pretty much daily after Harper was born) and it tasted weird… way too sweet.  I’ve been eating chocolate, but when I do, it’s higher quality dark chocolate.  It’s a nice (and strange) change not to be craving sweets ALL the time.  Now, to kick my Red Bull addiction.  When we moved a few months ago, I went three weeks without a drop touching my lips, but I’ve really been relying on caffeine since we came home from the hospital.  I wonder if I’ll ever sleep more than 3 hours at a time again.

I’ve also decided not to sign up for the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon.  First, Jason starts 60-84 hour work weeks in April, and there’s almost no way for him to fit a long run into his schedule.  I could always run it without him, but I really want him by my side.  Then, I have to admit, I’m nervous.  I’m pretty sure I could go from my current 0 miles a week to running a marathon in less than 7 months, but I’m worried about my time.  It’s stupid because first time marathoners aren’t supposed to have a number in their head.  The goal is supposed to be just to finish. 

But I don’t want my first marathon time to suck.

Yeah, I’m letting my ego get in the way here, but I can’t help it.  Plus, I’m planning on running the 2011 Kansas Marathon in Lawrence.  I haven’t been back “home” since I moved to Virginia a couple of years ago.  I’m dying to see my friends and some of my former professors.  Also, Lawrence has some of the most kick-ass food I’ve ever had.  I plan on taking a week of vacation and enjoying the town.

Another thing:  I’m really not looking forward to running a marathon while breastfeeding.  It’s messy and painful enough as it is.

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