El-Tanein Diet Week #5

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I did a lot of research this week on fitness practices and what can backfire when you’re trying to implement long-term changes in your diet and gym regimen. Focusing on the wrong successes can be demoralizing because you think your workouts aren’t producing results and your motivation fizzles.

Workout Tally

1 Boot Camp
1 5K Run
1 Taebo

The schedule is slipping again – uh oh. I’ve got to get my butt to more classes or run more often. I did realize that going to 1/day is better than pushing for 2 back-to-back because I’m pretty wiped out by the second class which makes it less effective. I’ve got to improve my stamina before I up the daily tally.

According to the Discovery Science channel, running for a half hour will buy you a half hour of life so that’s the cherry on top of a treadmill session. One thing that I read about and fully support was beating your own records as a way to gauge your progress. It’s fair since you’re not depending on arbitrary numbers that don’t take other factors into account. I was also encouraged to take note of measurements instead of bi-weekly weigh-ins because it’s not always an accurate depiction of your progress. I’ll still keep track of my weight but it won’t be a cornerstone to this process; I want to focus more on breaking my own records. Time to get a measuring tape.

Mini Victories
Planked for 1:10 (up from 0:40 sec)
Ran my 5K one minute faster than week #3

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Fun Fact
The Nike+ Running app taught me that the interval training I’ve been doing during my runs is called fartleks. It’s a Swedish term that means “speed play.”

Outdoor Activity

I was supposed to be going on a walking tour this Saturday but it got canceled botching my outdoor activity plan. I should’ve gone biking instead but I fell asleep. I’m not even joking.

Fitbit Flex

Oddly enough, I got a few people asking me about my Fitbit and what kind of watch it was. After explaining the purpose of the wearable, the general reply was “so all it does is count your steps?” as if it was a useless pedometer. Besides the data that the app gives you, the wearable is also handy because it is a constant yet simple reminder of how inactive you’ve been during the day through 5 dotted lights that indicate 20% increments of your daily goal. You can also challenge fellow Fitbit users via the app so there’s the added competitive angle.

With that said, I missed the 10K mark every day this week so here’s a new goal: hit 10K steps each day or at least get 50K/week total as a minimum.

Cheat Meal

This is a category that needs to be rethought. After the last few weeks, I don’t think having a cheat meal has been wise and not because of the calories. I am eating normally throughout the week without blacklisting food groups. However, I don’t think there should be this one special meal because it creates pressure that leaves you disappointed and upset if you ingest calories that don’t make you happy. All you’re left with is guilt which gives this “reward” a negative connotation. I don’t want my diet to become something I obsess over, I just want to make the right healthy choices.

For example, when I was having spicy shrimp, the first thought I had was, “will I really enjoy this and is it worth the calories?” If the answer was no, I’d pass because if you’re ingesting calories and it’s leaving you guilty rather than satisfying an indulgence, there’s no win there. The problem was that I wasn’t enjoying food anymore. The key is to be unapologetic when you make your decisions but still be conscious of what you’re putting in your body. And if you have a cupcake, savor the moment, and don’t feel bad about it. Making yourself feel bad about having a treat also makes you feel like you need to be punished for committing food crimes and the punishment comes in the form of exercise. Working out is associated with punishment rather than feeling good.

I’m changing the name of “cheat meal” to “best meal of the week” because I’m avoiding bingeing and feeling like my workouts are a form of damage control. Instead of thinking about this meal as a “cheat,” it’s more about the epitome of flavor and satisfaction.

This week’s best meal was honey chipotle chicken crispers from Chilis. Not guilty although I admit, I can make an effort to choose best meals that have less fried items.

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Other Highlights

Lift Like a Girl Podcast: Nia Shanks hosts this weekly podcast that I just discovered. It’s more of a lifestyle podcast, not just about reps and fitness. This week’s episode introduced me to Lumoid, a service that allows you to test out wearables or other gadgets, choose your favorite, and return the ones you don’t like. She also talked about our habits, how we create them, and how to reshape them. Armi Legge of Evidence Mag discussed the 3 Rs of habits: reminder, response, reward. He also said that effectively changing habits could be better than setting goals and the way to do so is to change your response to reminders/cues. Let’s say you overeat (response) when you get bored (cue). Once you recognize that that is your response and you change it, your habit can be less destructive/unhealthy. It’s all about knowing what your triggers are. The habit I’m going to work on is drinking more water when bored instead of lingering outside the pantry.

Friday at Iris Beach Club: ‘Twas a lazy day spent in the pool and that’s not an understatement. Although this beach resort is of the pricier spots in the country, I can’t say it wasn’t very enjoyable to become a fish after being in the pool for 4 hours straight without noticing. I always wanted to be Ariel.

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Discovering El Hajj Ali: Another Sunday road trip had us wandering around Tripoli looking for a place to lunch. After taking a few wrong turns by the old fair grounds, we ended up at a Lebanese restaurant with generously large plates of mezza. We had a full table of food (and leftovers) for under $90 total for a party of 5 which is very fair considering the quality, quantity, service, and ambiance. Not a fan of the tabbouli though because it had red quinoa and pomegranate molasses in the dressing; I prefer the usual lemon oil.

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Workout Track of the Week

I put together a soundcloud playlist for my 5K runs. Feel free to use it if in need of some tunes. The track that pushed me to 9.5 on the tread was Kanye’s Black Skinheads. Only Yeezy would make you feel like he’s breathing along with your while you run like a maniac.

Cheese of the Week

I’m a fan of cheese and, when in need of a snack, I’ve been turning to mini Babybel singles or mozzarella string cheese. They hold off the hunger monster so you don’t end up getting cosy with the bag of nacho cheese Doritos.

I was exempt from a second 5K run on Sunday because our overused generator was like “f*ck this, I’m out” leaving us to the mercy of the electricity gods of Beirut. As we were all sprawled out on the cool floor tiles, I couldn’t help but wonder…

Are there any Zahle apartments available on airbnb?

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