Thursday, December 10, 2015

You know by now that I am a fitness fanatic. Beside helping me to maintain my weight, it is a huge stress reliever. It's taken me a long time to figure out what workouts, combined with my running, work best for my body.

I have grown up to realise my Mom and I are very similar in our body shapes and the way our bodies react to certain foods. I've seen her yo-yo between diets and weight, and 28 years on I think I have finally found what works, for me. Since I can remember I have suffered from IBS. Not the kind that makes you dash to the bathroom, the kind where my tummy bloats so bad from certain foods (white grains, too much sugar, or even stress) that I can barely stand up straight. It comes out of nowhere sometimes, and feels debilitating. In general what I eat, you can see on me. I can wake up with a flat tummy, and normal face and by the end of the day, depending on what I have eaten, will have a bloated stomach and swollen face. Even my fingers swell sometimes if I've eaten or drunk something specific. It's taken a long time for me to sift through foods and learn what affects my IBS. Some of it I don't touch anyways because I've always feared carbs like white rice, pasta, bread, pizza. I don't buy any of it and very rarely eat it out. Unless it's pizza, i'll suffer for a good pizza. After I saw a stomach doc, we realised other things effect it too like high sugar fruit, sugary sweets, anything gummy. I know if I eat these things, I'll be in pain. I've found herbal meds and probiotics that help in preventing it, but I have to take them every day. It's a pain, literally and figuratively. My Mom's suffered from it so she's the one person who understands. 

At the end of last year I was trainging a lot and running upto four times a week but was always hungry. I went to see a great sports nutritionist in Cape Town who basically told me to increase my portion sizes and change up my carb vs. protein intake depending on if I workout that day or not. He also taught me to eat before a workout and after as a recovery. He doesn't believe in cutting anything out. Carbs can be good! It was high protein, semi-low carbs (brown carbs that my tummy could handle as well as greens - yep, spinach leaves are fibourous crabs and are good ones to eat!). I ate a lot of eggs. A lot. And it worked. Flashback to this time last year, I was more toned then I had ever been. I had previously spent hours in gyms, had a personal trainer, I did it all but could not tone because my muscles had nothing to use, I learnt. I reached my goal, went on summer holiday, turned 28 and came back and carried on the plan. For a while it worked. and then training for my first marathon began. I went back to my nutritionist who changed up the plan to include more carbs (in line with my more intensive training programme) and also added whey protein into some of my meals and snacks. I ran so much I thought I would surely loose a bit of weight. I gained. Let me tell you, running won't make you skinny. I finished the marathon heavier than when I began training. My skin was bad and in the two months since, I struggled so badly to drop wight and tone up again. And let's not even get into how my tummy was suffering.

Let's go back to April this year. I took a work trip to Stockholm, home of the freshest fish you'll ever eat. Think salmon for days. Literally. Not one piece of chicken or red meat passed my mouth. I ate fish for lunch and dinner. I drank wine. I had very limited sweets and chocs (have you seen the exchange rate!?). I touched down back home with glowing skin. I didn't have one issue with IBS there either. It made me start to think about how animal products affects my system. But life happens and I never got round to eating cleaner. I carried on gyming my ass off, and trying to follow the original eating plan. I dunno if turning 28 set some bad hormones into effect, but I've never struggled to drop weight as I have in the last few months. Beside for this, my skin hated me. Then about two weeks ago I landed up eating red meat almost every day, including biltong for snacking. I felt gross, and my skin, omg! I finally realised how it was affecting me and decided to try cut out red meat. I had coffee around the same time with a friend who is vegetarian. We got chatting about this and he sent me a documentary to watch on veganism. That was three weeks ago, I have not eaten red meat, chicken, eggs or milk since. Yes I've had milk in a choccie, but no more milk in my oats or yogurt or cheese (unless it's in the dish I order). My tummy is already flatter, my skin is glowing and at night I go to bed feeling as good as I woke up. I've been to see a plant based dietitian who is going to help make sure I get enough of the good things we need, the right amounts of protein for example. She is also going to give me recipe ideas. I can only eat so much fish and vegs! So I will chronicle bits of this food journey because I know there are loads more women who suffer with severe IBS like I do and it helps hearing what works for others.

I know it's been a long read, thanks for sticking with it. For the next few months I am going to share my journey with you along with my workout gear posts. I'm no medical person, but this is working for me so if you can get any tips, yay!

I've realside three main things so far. One, red meat ferments in your stomach, that's why my tummy hurt when I ate it. Plus, most of the meat we eat is so basted with sauce we never taste the meat. Taste it plain, you won't like it. Sure I'll have a burger once in a while, but I'm also going to TRY make more effort to know where the meat came from and how it got to be on my plate. That documentary opened my eye's to the harsh treatment of these animals. I've never been a huge animal fan but even I find it sad. That goes for the chickens too. Two, after watching, reading and learning a bit I honestly believe we are not meant to eat milk after we finish having it from our mother's breast milk as babies. That milk has loads of good things we need. The milk we buy in store has pus in it. Serious. And three, I learnt where eggs actually come from. I just can't eat them daily like before. It's all in the documentary. Watch it, but I am warning you...you may not eat properly again. Also, carbs are good - just because we are drilled to eat high protein and low carb, doesn't mean it is right. Oh and five, try avoid anything that is an extract of something For example, juicing isn't always good...they've extracted all the goodness out and left you with sugary water basically. Whey, why? Why eat whey protein when there is so much of the real thing to choose from?

These are just my personal thoughts about my personal journey, I hope you can relate in some way and find some useful tips going forward. I would never project my thoughts on eating certain foods onto anyone, but I don't doubt that there are other women who share similar issues.

P.S I am loving Cotton On Body's range of gym bras and workout tops. They invited me to pick out some new gear and I dashed straight to this open back top. The criss-cross bra is built in and love that the top is open back! Feeling good in your workout gear is the best way to start your session, feeling confident in your skin and your gear is the first step to getting in shape! Also, I love their knee length gym tights. I always stock up on these because they fit really well and don't cost a fortune.

P.P.S These are an early birthday present, I so badly needed a new pair or running shoes. Finally I am in a lighter running shoe with a little less stability because I am now a stronger runner, yay! These are Asics GT 1000's that I bought at The Sweat Shop in Cape Town - if you need running shoes, this is the store to go buy at. They have legit real marathon runners helping you so they know what they are talking about! Not mad about the colour option but it's not about the look, it's all about the shoe.

That's it for me, I'm off to Plett for the Summer holiday's next week, cannot wait! Please feel free to use this as a platform to share your food and exercise journey's with me too! Happy holiday's everyone! X


Candice said...

Yay! For experimenting with your body, seeing what works for you - and giving plants a chance. I've been vegetarian since the beginning of the year and recently switched to vegan. Give me a shout if I can help in any way. And, good luck!

Cara-Lee Ruditzky said...

Thanks Candice! I've been following your journey online too :) We should meet for lunch in the new year, so keen to get recipes and restaurant ideas from others! X

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