Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Movin on UP!

So... two three things.

He-who-trains said, tactfully, "You spend too much time sitting on your [butt]." Well, duh.  I'm a pastor-- pretty well qualifies as a sedentary job.  You know, except for those times when I'm running around screaming (or trying not too) or those times when I'm doubling as a fire fighter.  But mostly sedentary. I should've known better than to ask "What do you want me to do about it?" Of course, he had a solution: Don't sit down. All day.  I thought he was kidding-- he was not. So he threw down the gauntlet.  I made it all day Monday and today (except for lunch). I'm standing at my kitchen counter as I write this. Yesterday I had a meeting and thought it'd be weird to stand-- but maybe I can do that later.  I'm definitely more tired than I would be at the end of a sitting day. I suppose I'm burning more calories.  Interestingly, though, I feel like I'm thinking more clearly. I'm more creative.  (And I'm sure I'm making people confused as they walk by and see me standing.)

Maybe those things (at least the serious ones) are related to food.  Since returning from my writer's retreat, I've been trying to mimic my eating there.  I'm eating a lot of spinach, both in green smoothies and in large salads. I'm trying to eat from the rainbow, and even eating grapefruit.  I don't hate it as much as I once did...  I've completely dropped dairy (except for the creamer in my coffee-- and that can't have much lactose.) I miss the yogurt and cottage cheese and milk, but my stomach bothers me less, and I feel like I have more energy.  I'm going to drop gluten soon.  I long ago realized that white bread was a trigger food that made me want more and more-- and made me crave sugar, but I'm also wondering if maybe I'd feel better if I dropped it all together. I'm eating an actual breakfast of eggs and meat, and that's progress because I've never liked breakfast... at least not at breakfast time. I'm interested to see what my body does with some of these changes.

In a complete show of nerdiness, I joined the UP movement.  UP is a wearable fitness tracker that looks like a small wristband.  It tracks steps, and gives me more data than I ever wanted to know about myself. It can tell me exactly how long I was deeply asleep and how long I was lightly asleep and how many times I woke up during the night. It watches my sleep cycles and I can set an alarm to wake me-- only it will wake me up when I am sleeping lightly instead of soundly--and do it within a 20 minute window of my requested wakeup time.  It has the capabilities of syncing with popular apps like Gym-pact and Runkeeper, and with wireless scales like those by Withings.  One of the things I love most is its food tracker.  Finally-- an app that I can scan labels of foods I eat, and it compiles them.  It also has an extensive database of non-barcoded items. I can see my entire day by steps and nutrtional information and sleep.  I'm one of those people who was well motivated by incentive charts-- and couldn't stand to have a box that didn't get a star in it. So setting a goal of 10,000 steps (more later) will make sure I hit 10,000 steps...even if I'm on a treadmill at 10 p.m.  It's nerdy I know. But, maybe that's ok, if it makes keeping track fun.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Body Spirit Connection

"I will feed you things that nourish your creativity.  I will feed you really healthy things, but they'll be delicious, so I hope you won't mind too much." I'm at a writer's workshop at Whidbey Island, and that's what the chef said to us as we started the week.

She's done just that-- beautiful displays of food that is mostly locally grown, and whole.  Nothing is processed. A lot of things I've never heard of, but have been surprised at how wonderful they taste. Things I would've never eaten on my own.

I've been thinking a lot about what she said about foods that nourish creativity.  I'm not sure what that means exactly. I've read in other places that too much sugar can dull creativity, because it increases dopamine levels, which in turn acts as a numbing agent.  It's that "food coma" effect we all sort of know. Here's an article if you're interested:  Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist's Way and The Write Diet, suggests that food can become a distraction to our creativity. She says, "Food is a seditive. We use it to block our feelings of discomfort. We use it to block our feelings, period. Rather than buckle down and accomplish the difficult piece of work that looms just ahead, we scoop up a snack and tell ourselves it can wait until tomorrow." 

I'm not sure how much of this is food related, but I do feel clearer and more articulate. I wake up with words, and a powerful need to write-- which though I love words, is not something I've felt in a long time. I have dreams that speak powerfully. Perhaps it is as much the environment.  Perhaps its the quiet or time set aside to just write, but I wonder if a little bit of it has to do with the food. I wonder if maybe not the specific food I've been eating, but the way I've been eating, is functioning as a seditive or creative blocker.

I've been thinking about going Paleo anyway-- trying to get over this blasted hump of a plateau.  But now I'm thinking more about it, maybe in a different way. These last few days, my skin somehow looks better (or maybe the lighting here is bad?) and I feel better. I feel more aware of my body, and less sluggish.  I guess this is silly, but I feel somehow more whole and connected?  If I do, in fact, want to write, I need to adopt a lifestyle that will help me do that, but not at the expense of my other fitness and life goals.  I'm going to talk to He-who-trains when I get back and see what he thinks.  Will I still be able to lift and run if I adopt this lifestyle? Will I have enough energy and be able to take in enough protein? Even if Paleo isn't right for me, maybe I can find a way to incorporate more whole foods into my life. 

How much does intake foodwise affect outgo productivity wise? I'm curious to see what comes out of this experiment.