Ooh I just had a great brekkie. It was my usual combination of oats (uncooked), pumpkin and sunflower seeds, Yeo Valley yogurt and chopped banana, except this time I chucked some blueberries in as well, since the little blue bastards were actually on sale this week instead of costing approximately £1 per berry! I stirred all this stuff until it became one chunky, vomitous clump then chomped away quite happily with the occassional blueberry pleasantly exploding with superhealthy antioxidant goodness. Sweeeeeeeeeeet.
That blueberry link was from the World's Healthiest Foods site, which aside from Krista's Weights page is probably the best site I've ever found for lard-busting advice and ideas. While I may eaten whole jars of Nutella with a spoon in the past, these days I am a nutrition nerd and love learning about vitamins and essential fatty acids and so-called superfoods. This site is an invaluable tool if you want to learn more about the benefits of eating healthy whole, REAL foods instead of your crazy-processed LF FF NF Cheezy Stikz or Diet Lite Choco-Crunch or Reduced Carb Pasta or whatnot.
The site has an exhaustive A – Z list of the World's Healthiest Foods, with detailed nutritional info per serving. Not just about calories, but vitamins and minerals. For example take kale, the under-appreciated leafy green. It's got vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, folate and magnesium… and bazillions of other healthy shit. Ooh, geekgasm! There are also recipes, menu plans and best of all the Food Advisor quiz, where you can answer a few questions about what you eat and it tells you where your diet may be lacking (eg. possible vitamin deficiencies) and what percentage of foods you are eating from the WHF list.
I took the test again today and this week I am eating 88% WHF, no doubt boosted by all the goddamn birdseed I eat. This is good, but it also suggested I need to eat more foods containing Vitamin B12, D and E. So I just click on the little link and it tells me a bunch of suitable foods. Easy peasy. Improving my diet looks as simple as adding an egg and perhaps a serve of meat. Plus I ain't eating enough greens. If you have five minutes to take the test, it's really worth it. Be brutally honest in your answers because it really helps you to see areas you could improve on.
I am sorry if the above has bored your pants off, but if you're a fellow nutrition nerd you may just get a nice warm feeling in your naughty areas by spending some quality time on that site.
. . .
One year ago I wrote about buying my first pair of running shoes. You can relive the grand melodrama here, but basically it took me three attempts and a few tears before I actually got inside the store. Why? Because I was bloody intimidated by the idea of running, thinking I didn't belong and my lardy arse would be laughed out of the shop. The saleslady was actually very helpful and patient, but I was so flustered that I ended up grabbing a random pair coz I was freaking out and not wanting her to watch me run up and down the shop again. Big mistake.
It wasn't until April this year that I actually started training properly. Initially things were okay but always felt some discomfort with the shoes. I chalked it up to them not being worn in yet, but after about six weeks my right knee was causing serious pain. When I finally sat down and tried to figure out the cause, I realised that my shoes really did not fit me properly. They were just totally bloody wrong for my feet. The toes on my right foot would shove up against the front of the shoe when I ran. My feet oozed over the sides of the shoe as they weren't wide enough. In fact, the sides of the shoe were starting to split.
But I didn't have the time or funds for a new pair of shoes, so after couple weeks of no running and copious leg exercises, I did the 5k race in the shitty shoes. Weeks of EVIL eeeeeevil knee pain followed. I couldn't run at all, I had to drop all my weights for squats and lunges. Stairs were a nightmare. So I ended up going to the physio, and after six weeks of exercises and RPM, my knee finally felt okay again. So last Friday I finally went back to the running store!
What a difference from a year ago. This time I charged right into the shop and felt comfortable, like I had every right to be there. Gone was the nausea and trembling fear, huzzah! I spoke to the same chick as last time and explained I'd bought these shoes from her but I'd done so far too quickly and didn't get the right ones, because I'd been an absolute beginner and quite scared by the idea of buying running shoes. She gave me a puzzled look, as if I'd told her I was scared of kittens or chocolate bars. Who'd be afraid of that?
But anyway. I showed her my old shoes and she agreed that while they were the right style (some motion control) they were totally wrong fit for my feet. They were way too small and narrow. So she started dragging out a bazillion boxes of shoes. She said it would be a lot of trial and error as I belonged to "quite a specific niche" of the shoe market. My feet are very wide, I overpronate and my right foot is bigger than the left. I tried over a bloody dozen pairs. The more popular breeds were too narrow or didn't feel like they were giving me any support. I tried some mens shoes but they felt too heavy. Arrgh. Too narrow! Too soft! Too heavy! It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bazillion Shoes.
The same thing happened last year, and I'd sat there surrounded by shoe boxes trying not to hyperventilate. But this time I was calm and patient. I'd lace up each different pair then run up and down the shop without having to be asked, letting her watch my ass blobbing along. I was so focused on finding The Right Pair that I did not give a shit what my thighs looked like, nor did I freak out at all the skinny chicks cluttering up my path as they shopped for tiny running shorts. I just ran around them! I was not going to waste my time or money with crappy shoes.
I ended up with Brooks Addiction 6, whatever that means. All I know is my big fat foot finally feels nestled and nutured. I've done two runs this week and walked round in them heaps and they fit like a dream. No blisters, no toenail grating. When I put these on I am amazed at what a dimwit I'd been to put up with the old pair. I still feel the odd twinge in the knee, so for now I am just taking it easy, running on grass and avoiding hills for the moment. I'll see how it goes.
The point of all this is just to show you what damage you can do by Thinking Like A Fat Chick. A year ago I thought I didn't bloody deserve decent shoes. I was wasting the saleslady's time. People Like Me did not belong in running stores. So I grabbed a random pair just to get out of there.
What bullshit! Just because you're not bloody Beethoven doesn't mean you're not allowed to buy a piano. Just because you're not Michael Schumacher doesn't mean you shouldn't drive a car. THEREFORE, just because you're not Paula Radcliffe doesn't mean you don't deserve shoes that don't fit. My misguided fatty fat fat self-beliefs ended up contributing to a really shitty injury and expensive physio. I am not saying my knee problems were entirely caused by ill-fitting shoes – my pain really kicked in after I accidentally ran 20 minutes too long coz I didn't read Julia's instructions properly – but they were certainly a major problem.
I often get emails from people asking how to get into running, so here is what I have learned in my very limited experience. We all know I am still an absolute beginner with guidance from the lovely Mistress Julia. However, please take it from someone who has hobbled round for a month, if you seriously want to make running part of your exercise regime, PLEASE take the time and expense to go to a proper running store and get some proper shoes. Your smelly old cross trainers will not do. Get someone to watch you trot around to see if your feet do anything wacky. This is particularly good advice if you're heavy and have not run at all before. Running is a total shock to a body that's used to just sittin' round or the occasional swish on the elliptical machine. Running is high impact stuff. If you're a total beginner, ease into it with a simple plan like Couch To 5k and stick to it precisely. Allow your fitness to build steadily – don't skip ahead or add sessions or run further until it says to. So many people start C25K then burn out after three or four weeks coz they thought they could do more but wound up injured. Be patient and give your body time to adjust. I learned the hard way (crap shoes, accidentally increasing distance) and really wish I'd listened to my body more. So be kind to your bodies, groovers.
Arrgh! I promised never to be preachy on here. Yikes! Anyway, now I will climb off the pulpit and wish you all a tops weekend!