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Posts tagged ‘diet’

A hard-fought diet battle

Over the past four weeks my stomach has waged a relentless war against me. Everything I eat has made me sick. Every run I went on suffered from it. Every training decision I made was marred by the fact that I couldn’t fuel properly.

And now, as the problems seem to be receding, I’m having to make some difficult decisions about the marathon I’m supposed to be running in less than a month. The likelihood is that now I can’t. I won’t be able to get in my long runs. I don’t have enough energy to do so with a very limited diet either.

I’m losing the war.

When my gallbladder was removed in emergency surgery, I was told, repeatedly, that my diet had to change. I HAD to cut out certain foods and drinks. There was no way around it.

But over a seven-month period, my bad habits creeped back into what was once a very clean diet.

Those bad habits include an very dependent relationship on Diet Coke. And a love of the occasional cupcake. Then there’s a horrible habit of overeating.

Over summer, when I was working from home more, my diet became worse and worse. I was still running 100 miles a month, but I was also eating a lot of burrito bowls. Then I was drinking a lot of diet soda.

In July, I realized that I had packed on some pounds. My time for the Summer Breeze Half Marathon wasn’t bad at 2:19, but I was tired the entire run. It was definitely not my 2:16 half time from June. I was sluggish. But I also just wanted to stop running again, half way through 13.1 and give up.

By mid-August, I was having digestion issues that were causing to me call and cancel my runs with Sam and Jennie. The two had started running early in the morning three days a week. I could, maybe, get my stomach under control one day of the three to run with them.

My diet was all out of sorts.

I reverted to treadmill running where I had control over my situation a little better. By situation I meant that if I had to go to the bathroom immediately, I would be able to quickly. I know that’s TMI, but quick trips to the bathroom have become commonplace.

So two weeks ago, I did something drastic: I severely cut my diet. I removed nearly everything that was making me sick, or that I thought was, and added everything back one by one, slowly.

It meant that for about four days, all I ate was toast with an almond-butter spread from A Loving Spoon.

Seriously, two slices of wheat toast with a little almond butter (which is made locally in Mountain House with all-natural ingredients), was the only thing I could stomach for about three days.

In a week, I lost four pounds.

This past week, I started adding fruits (which were really, really hard on my stomach) back in moderation. Bananas first. Then apples. No peaches yet. My one experience with pineapples this week left me feeling a little queasy, so I won’t be trying that again for another couple weeks.

I’ve had chicken, but red-meat hasn’t been good to me either.

I’m also eating significantly less, cutting my portions by more than half.

So far, my stomach has felt A LOT better. I haven’t had as many issues with rushed bathroom trips (this is a good thing since school started back up and half of the women’s rooms in my building have been torn down). Yesterday, I finally got through a six-mile run without trouble.

It took two weeks. I know my stomach is nowhere near “healed.” I know I did a lot of damage to it with a summer of eating bad stuff.

And these weeks where it hurt more to run than it should have mean that I’m likely going to switch to the half marathon at for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon. I know I could probably slog (slow+jog) through 26.2 miles, but I’m starting to feel like it may not be worth it.

What would my motivation be if I knew I wouldn’t be at my top performing shape? Just to finish another one? To tell people I ran a marathon that weekend? It just doesn’t seem worth it.

Plus, I have two more half marathons the following weekends that I want to run. I don’t want to injure myself on Sept. 29 and NOT be able to run the other races, particularly the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, which will be my “Grand Slam” Heavy Medal finish (and my last for this year).

Perspective is telling me there will be more marathons. Experience is telling me I’m not ready for this one.


All I know is I’m tired of looking like I did above, struggling, at the end of a race.

So instead of gunning for a PR in the full at Half Moon Bay, I’m going to work on getting through my next couple races while trying to work through these ongoing stomach issues. I feel like it’s going to be a hard-fought battle … which I’m hopefully now getting the upper hand in.

Making everyday recipes low fat


I’m trying to really make better choices since my gallbladder removal, especially when it comes to consumption of many of my favorite foods. One that I love more than anything else? Cheese.

Cheese is always one of the things I told to consider cutting out completely.

The problem is that my husband can eat whatever he wants to. But I’m the one who cooks. So I have to make things for dinner that we both like.

As I was recuperating from surgery, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest. I don’t think I ever let my iPad go unless I was sleeping, which happened quite often as well. It was there I came across a recipe for a rolled chicken-bake like creation.

If you live near a Costco, you know the allure of a chicken bake. My husband loves them. I forgot to pin it, though, after I found it. So I tried to recreate it from memory, but with some low fat and fat free substitutes.


  • Two chicken breasts
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix
  • 1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package fat free cream cheese
  • 1 cylinder pre-made pizza dough
  • Fat free cooking oil



1. Start by frying the chicken with a fat free cooking oil. Add 1/4 of the ranch mix for seasoning. Move the chicken off the stove, let cool down.



2. Put the cream cheese and mozzarella into a bowl, mix in with 1/2 pack of the ranch dry mix. Set aside. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

3. Open dough, spread out on a 13-by-9-inch pan in the shape of a rectangle.


4. Mix the chicken into the cream cheese and mozzarella.

5. Spread the chicken mixture along the center of the dough.


6. Roll the dough over the chicken mixture, making sure to pinch the ends so that the chicken mixture doesn’t come out.

7. Put roll in the oven for 20 minutes (this may change depending on the oven, my oven runs hot so it didn’t take 20 minutes).


8. Let cool. Cut in slices and serve. The ends will likely be a little more bulked up, so you can either cut the loaf in half and split the two separate  pieces or cut in smaller slices, serving the two end pieces a little larger than the rest.

The verdict? My husband loved it. He’s planning on taking the rest of it to work tomorrow for lunch.

Plus, he didn’t really notice the difference in taste from regular to low fat.

I have a great recipe for homemade pizza crust that I have from a recipe book from one of our favorite wineries, I’m hoping to try it with as well. I think next time I won’t put so much of the dry ranch dressing into the cream cheese mixture (which is why I said only about 1/2 the packet), so that it doesn’t taste as “ranchy” as I thought it did.

I don’t know exact calories, but I know it doesn’t taste as dense as the Costco chicken bakes. In fact, it actually isn’t all that bad on my newly sensitive stomach.

My (somewhat) daily diet


First thing: I’m very grateful for the thoughts, sentiments and such I’ve received through email. This hasn’t exactly been the easiest week of my life. And I think it’s awesome that people I don’t even know personally choose to reach out.

Second: I’ve been asked about what my diet is typically like on a day-to-day basis.

It’s a good question, especially considering that the gallstone my doctor found was incredibly huge.

So what does a typical, not splurging at Boudin day, look like for me? It’s pretty basic.


– Banana

– 100 calorie Grek yogurt



– Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine meal

– Or a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread

– Or a quick, small salad


Snack options (Usually two or three during the day)

– Simply Fruit Rolls or sticks

– Granola bar

– Banana

– Golden Delicious apple

– Wheat thins

– Sugar Free Jello

– Another Greek yogurt



If I’m alone…

– Progresso Light Soup

– Sushi (Because my husband hates sushi, so if I’m alone this is the only time I can actually eat sushi)

– Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine meal

If my husband is around…

– Chicken breast

– Side vegetable, usually corn, but sometimes zucchini

– Potatoes, pasta or some other starch

Doesn’t seem too bad, right?

My problem is overeating. If I make potatoes au gratin, I’m only really supposed to eat about a cup full. But, unfortunately, I have to eat more than that. I usually go back for seconds and thirds without hesitation.

Or when I eat chips, I grab more than the handful I am supposed to. I can’t seem to control it very well.

Is that what let to the gallstone and gallbladder issues? Maybe. Who knows. I’ve been dealing with these pains since a long time before I gained a ton of weight. The first time I can remember having this pain, I was in high school. At that point, I was only 135 pounds.

But my issue has always been the overeating. I eat a lot of good stuff.

In fact, when my husband brought me home from the hospital he started searching around for the things I could eat. He found sugar free Jello and the soup and a bunch of low-fat foods. He didn’t need to go buy much at all.

So if I had been eating this stuff all along, why has my stomach hurt so bad lately?

I don’t know. But I went back and looked at recent posts where I complained about abdomen issues while running, I can say that it was likely the result of the gallbladder issues getting really, really severe. Two emergency room visits in two weeks? Yes, that should tell me something.

But now my diet is definitely more exclusive than inclusive.

So I’m cutting back even more so. But my diet will likely stay very, very similar. Now, though, it’s much more important to stay within portion limits and not overdo the fat.

Making better choices

I’m pretty sure Lululemon did a ton of research when considering the “manifesto” to put on the bags you get at the store and withe everyone online order. I’m currently alternating between a black bag and a red bag for my carrying my lunch to work. I have a lunch bag that keeps things cool, but I now have a refrigerator/microwave in my office at school.

Plus, the Lululemon bags are much cuter than that one.

And it screams “I work out! Yes I do!” to everyone who cares. Which is likely no one at either job.

But I digress.

I saw the featured part of my bag the other day, about stress being related to illness. My first thought: “Oh yeah.”

I mentioned in my somewhat more open previous post that I had a stomach issue that forced me to have an unplanned surgery in July 2010. I’ll explain more.

I had pain. Horrible pain. For about two years, I just kept letting it go. It would come at night mostly. It would hit me hard. I thought it was kidney stones.

Kidney stones run in my family. So it made sense. I had tests run. Lots of test. Lots of uncomfortable peeing in a cup. Yep, I said it.

I had a bunch of blood tests too. Not as many as when I diagnosed with high blood sugar a few years before. But many. No root cause. Nothing that would indicate a condition underlying.

“Perhaps you should consider that the pain is a physical manifestation of your stress,” the doctor said.

“Seriously?” I said, half astonished, half sarcastic.

It was and wasn’t in the end. Surgery proved that.

Still, it made me think.

Stress. Ah, stress.

I’ve spent most of my recent life in some sort of stage of stress. I pushed myself to graduate from college in three years. I’m still not sure how I did it.

In graduate school, I developed an ulcer from the stress of working on my masters project and running, quickly, out of money (thanks Grandma for saving me! If it wasn’t for her unexpected checks here and there, wrapped in tinfoil for a reason only own to her, I wouldn’t have made it to my summer internship in Dallas).

Then I took a job with no time off between it and my internship. And I immediately plunged into wedding planning. For eight months I came home and planned during my off hours from work. Moved into a rental house 25+ miles from my job two days before the wedding. Then had to adjust to the commute.

Then we bought a house.

Stress. Yes. I know stress well.

But last night and today, I officially decided my new mantra is “make better choices.”

In life. In fitness. In my goals.

How did I start? With a strawberry Chobani yogurt for breakfast. A Weight Watchers lunch. And pretzel chip snacks.

I’m getting a little hungry, but I’m making it through.

Today, I start making better choices in general.

That means not going for a run to make a quota, but because my body wants to. Today I slept in and got up and ran eight miles on the treadmill. Every step I wanted to stop (because my legs are more tired than usual), but I didn’t. I kept going.

I started this blog to share my views on running. I’ve been reluctant to really get into anything about my diet or my weight just because I didn’t feel as if it would “fit” here.

Well, it’s my blog and I can complain if I want to. I’m not changing the theme, I’m adding more variety.

It makes sense to me. So I’ve added a category, the first in a long while: “Making better choices.”

So here I start. Today and tomorrow and on and on are about making better choices. I’m hoping to continue my path by going to the store with my husband this evening. We haven’t been for awhile together. Either or the other goes. But when we used to go together, we’d eat better.

I want to start that again.

And it’s a step, right?