Nutrition Nerds Unite!

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 ÂŁ1 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!

25 thoughts on “Nutrition Nerds Unite!

  1. “geekgasm” Heeeee, that made my friday morning. I am so going to kill some time poking around that nutrition site! I just realized this week that I’m regularly managing at least 3 veg and 1-2 fruit every day, which is a big improvement from 6 months ago. Hooray for real food!

    Somebody asked me for cooking/diet tips the other day, and all I could really say was “Keep it simple and eat REAL FOOD, not processed pre-packaged chemical soup.” I think my questioner was disappointed that I didn’t just tell him to eat this one brand of lo-fat something or other and watch the weight fall away!

    Thanks for being honest about how to be healthy, not just skinny, we need a series of ads shown all over the weight obsessed world advertising “the real food diet”, and crazy concepts like “eating fresh fruit”. DG can be the star!

  2. I never thought I’d be a runner either. Then I got some decent shoes, and it’s changed my life. It’s amazing the different high-quality equipment can make.

  3. Love the blog, love your perspective – so healthy and so encouraging to others. I lost around 30 pounds four years ago by running and have kept it off by continuing to run. Be careful – it starts to get addictive! I never thought I would enjoy running, and I certainly never thought I’d ever be good enough at it to not look like a fool doing it. But I pushed through my insecurities and I went on to train and participate in two 10-mile races, and those have been two of my greatest accomplishments. There’s nothing like the feeling of doing something with your body that you never in a million years thought you were capable of. It makes you feel like you can do anything. So I just wanted to say congratulations, that I might not know you but I’m proud of you, and you absolutely should be proud of yourself.

  4. That World’s Healthiest Foods website is a real gem! Thanks for mentioning it. I’ve got so much catch-up to do foodwise, I’d better start straight away. Fantastic post about the running as well, I’m so scared I may look like a fool if I try it – you opened my eyes. Cheers and thanks for your encouraging comments on my blog 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for the link to the WHF list. I’ve already spent way too much time this morning looking around and suspect I’ll be spending more time there this weekend. I can’t wait to try a couple of the recipes there!!

  6. Thanks for the geekery, DG! I was pretty pleased to see that I’ve got most of my nutritional bases covered… It’s nice to see my favorite food, kale/mustard/collard greens, is on the good list.

    My favorite way to cook greens, and the easiest one if you’re new to cooked greens, is with rice: 1 cup rice, 2 cups chicken or veg stock, 3 cups chopped greens. Bring the stock to a boil, add a bit of butter or olive oil and some salt, add rice. Return to a boil, stir in greens a handful at a time. Cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Eat with hot sauce (my favorite) or Parmesan cheese. Personally I think this is so delicious you won’t even know it’s healthy.

    I feel your running shoe pain. Back in March (inspired by your example!) I bought the wrong shoes, too, because the salesgirl made me feel like I was wasting her time. Fortunately I tried wearing them for a while that day, realized they were wrong, and had the guts to go back. While Miss Snippy was waiting on me the other salesman noticed my dilemma and brought me the perfect pair of nice, roomy shoes. After that: running nirvana! So thank you, Nice Mr. Salesman.

  7. Cool! Love the WHF link. And guess what? Those were the same pair of running shoes I went home with after I went to the running store to be fitted for my first pair. Brooks Addiction 6. We must have the same feet! 🙂 I love them, too.

  8. zara! dude! i never had shoe twin before. that has made my day *g*

    and good to see some other nutrition nerds around here.

    flora – will definitely try your recipe. i love your blog url, btw!

  9. I have feet exactly like yours! (wide, right one larger etc.) Thanks so much for sharing the info on running – I’ve been to scared/embarrassed to do much besides think about it, but now I am willing to take the plunge — the Couch to 5K article makes it seem pretty simple. Please stay on the pulpit and keep it up with the recipes and nutrition tips — that information is priceless.

  10. Let me add my thanks for the WHF link. Continuing to improve my knowledge of nutrition and exercise is making all the difference to me now, and links such as these really help. Cheers!

  11. I agree 100% with your comment about getting good running shoes. A few years ago I decided to start running with a marathon (yes, I was crazy!!). I thought real “running shoes” were just an excuse to sell expensive shoes. But my cousin, who’d been running for years told me to get them and I followed his advice. The difference was unbelievable. I don’t think I ever would have reached my goal without proper shoes.

  12. hurrah nutrition nerds… that site has been my homepage for a couple years now i could probably recite the entire thing in my sleep lol
    thanks for posting all about that running and going for proper shoes, we do deserve it no matter what and have every right to belong. now going wont seem so scary. you’re a great gal 🙂

  13. One of the best pairs of shoes I ever had was a pair of Brooks that I got while in Australia. Since then though I found a home in New Balance, and in the last three years have acquired about six pair of the EXACT SAME SHOE. It’s quite funny. But alas, I now much move on, since NB has ‘updated’ the style I wore. At least they’re about 90% similar. Not a perfect switch over, though. Sigh.

  14. You were lucky not to end up getting bunions like I have done to myself wearing the wrong training shoes. I had a crappy pair from a warehouse store and have a nasty bunion by my little toe from wearing them and squashing up my toes. I have bought some really expensive ones now and they are great! Hard lesson to learn though. It is so important to have the correct footwear for exercise.

  15. Hi Shauna – I have to tell you from years of experience for widefooted people like us – Brooks are the absolute business – in future get rit of the addiction – and go straight to the beast its the running shoe for non gazelles – a category I fit strictly into.

  16. Great post. I also was very scared but got the fit test and now own the most brilliant pair of Ryka womens sneakers that don’t make me look like Minnie Mouse.

    Will be back tomorrow to check out your links. Cheers.

  17. I’ve also recently bought a pair of Brooks running shoes. I have very wide feet also. I’ve always been a Saucony wearer, but I couldn’t find the ones I wanted so tried on the Brooks instead! Instant comfort!

    Have just completed two 1/2 marathons and my feet felt fantastic both times, wearing the brooks trainers.

    Love the WHF site too…

  18. Thank you for all of the good advice!

    I also have “Brooks Addiction 6” I love them…
    I went into one of those scary stores that are specific to runners needs….not like the big mall shops with Nikes to match every outfit in your wardrobe. They had me try on all kinds…had me run all over…and in the end I got my Brooks…I was scared and since my husband needed new shoes too I dragged him along so I wasn’t alone….I didn’t tell him I was scared…because I know he would have said “I love to see your ass giggle!” or even worse something practical like “well if you don’t want it to giggle and you need to run to stop the giggle and you need to run in different shoes than this is just what you need to do.”

    I am doing’s C25K and I am keeping a log on their site:;s=retta

    I haven’t run in a week! I am so depressed about it…I have had a super bad head cold or something….so much sinus pressure I could hardly walk up the stairs with out the feeling of my head exploding!

    But I just wanted to say that even though I was scared that I was going to look like a fool at the shop and didn’t think I could run in public, because people would laugh and snigger and say “what does that fat girl think she is doing?” I did it…I found that people are really either too self absorbed to notice you…or are really friendly and say hi or give a little smile and nod…”that girl is running she is one of us…she is part of the club!” (The secret running club that you can not belong to until you have been seen running by other runners.)

  19. Running saved my life and I was well over 200 pounds (220-ish) when I first started. Like you said, the key is to have the right shoes and to follow the program. Cheers to you for being such an inspiration to others!

  20. Thanks for the great story, DG! I really empathize with your shoe shopping experience. I’m running a whole bunch these days, training for my third marathon, so you’d think I’d have gotten over the whole “I’m too fat to be a real runner” thing by now. However, I found myself not going to the cool running shoe store that maps out your foot pattern and weight distribution or the other store that will video tape you running for gait analysis because I don’t want to step on a scale or watch myself on film in front of other people. You’ve helped to remind me how ridiculous this is! (but very very real!)

  21. you should live here in Sweden. The woods are filled with blueberries at the moment. More then you can eat and save. Just walk out there and pick as much as you want and freeze, make jam etc.

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at