Bye Bye Cincinnati and My thoughts on “diet advice”

I’m back in Norfolk! I’m happy and sad about it at the same time… Cincinnati was an amazing chapter in my life and I made some really great friends there and did a lot of really fun things.  And that’s saying something, considering the weather sucked 80% of the time I was there!  Last Thursday, I loaded up the car, strapped on the bikes, and drove all the way to DC where I spent the night with the family.

3 bikes, 1 car = Chuck petrified for 8 hours straight

Luckily, they all made it!  Then Friday morning, I headed down to Norfolk, and my mom arrived later that day and we packed everything into boxes.  Want to figure out how much of your crap you actually use?  Put it all in boxes and see what you can get by without!

Well, the movers were supposed to come today… then this morning it got delayed until tomorrow… now its delayed again until Wednesday!  I really want to get to Florida and get this whole move thing over with… plus, I really don’t have anything to do here in Norfolk besides workout and try to do my job from home.

I guess I have gotten a couple workouts while I’ve been here though.  Saturday was a 61 mile bike ride with a couple good triathletes here and I averaged about 19.5 mph, considering coming home was almost entirely in a headwind.  This was followed with a 7.5 mile run and some elliptical.  Today, I was able to get to get a good session in and take out my anger at the moving company on the gym lol.  I did a 9.1 mile run, 45+ minute spin class, 20 minutes of elliptical, and then some good core and yoga work.  The gym also got some new equipment so I was able to “play” on the TRX, Gymnastics rings, and heavy ropes for a while!

Before I left Cincinnati though, I was able to make one last Reds game: I was treated to front row tickets on the Red’s dugout!  Check out the view:

Joey Votto

Looking into the dugout

One good thing about being back in Norfolk though is that I’ve gotten to hang out with Hollie.  She came over and we made some mean salmon last night- true, just as her!  I’ll write more about this later this week.

And I have a confession, since my mom caught me doing this and laughed at me for it… but I mix a bunch of different Cheerio style cereals as well as Kashi into one big container… but when I pour a bowl, I always organize 5 of each flavor first, and eat them in order… OCD, I know!


Also, last night I made a bangin omelet! It was a cheese burger omelet!  Katelyn didn’t think this sounded very healthy lol, but I explained the ingredient list to her and this I changed her mind!  The omelet was made with Organic Cage-Free eggs, Locally farmed extra-lean grass-fed ground beef, organic cheese, and tons of vegetables.

In the skillet

Cheesed and plated!


But on another note, I read articles all the time preaching diet “rules and tricks” to help you lose weight, etc. and I have some of my own opinions on them:

  1. To not eat in front of the tv/computer: The thought here is that eating in front of the TV or computer will cause you to mindlessly eat more than if you sit down and savor your meal.  I eat dinner basically at the computer or in front of the TV while I read a magazine every night (I live alone- I’m not going to stare at a wall while I eat).  My response is to load your plate with however much it is you want to eat, sit down, at what you have planned to eat.  Stop if you feel full before you are done, and if you finish and you are still hungry, then have some more.  Just listen to your body.  Eating while at the computer or reading a magazine also helps me to eat much much slower and savor the food I have and also give me time to realize when I am full.
  2. To not finish everything on your plate:  For me, this goes back to what I said above.  Each night, I figure out exactly how much I plan to eat and only cook that much, or plan out a couple night in advance and know how much I want to eat per each night.  Then I put the next nights meals away, and eat what I have planned.  That way there’s no mindlessly piling food on your plate, or going back for second or thirds.  Granted, if you want more, go have it!  But I’m just saying in response to this diet “tip.”  Also, who wants to go through a meal, the whole time thinking “I’m not supposed to eat it all, I’m not supposed to eat it all.”
  3. To not eat while at the computer: “Studies have shown”, like in #1, that you’ll eat more if you’re eating distracted.  Therefore, like I said in the above 2, if you have your meal planned, there’s no worry about eating more.  I know that when I go to work and eat lunch at my desk, I only have enough food for what is lunch… so how would I eat more anyway?
  4. Cutting calories (or not eating enough in the first place) and expecting to get faster: I’m going to call out a lot of people on this one.  If you want to be a faster runner, cyclist, “elliptical-er”, or better “Body Pump-er” then you’ve got to eat to fuel that.  A meager bowl of oatmeal before a workout and then carrot sticks and hummus afterward aren’t going to get you faster.  For athletic improvement, about 20% comes from hard work and the other 80% comes from nutrition and recovery.  If you are not giving your body the energy it needs to put in the hard work, then you really can’t expect to see incredible results.  After a hard workout you need to eat high quality foods immediately afterward to replenish and rebuild.  If you workout is light, this is less important, but remember for the rest of the day that you still need to recover and you also need to eat well to prepare yourself for the next day.
  5. Reducing calories and increasing exercise:  I think Fitness Magazine or Shape has an article every month for “your first marathon” or “first mini-triathlon” where the plans usually call for increasing your training volume and at the same time cutting back on your calories to a paltry “1,500” which for some reason seems to be a magic number.  But like I said above, when your training increases, your calories do not need to decrease.  There’s no way you can cut calories AND begin doing the amount of work a marathon would take.  There are tons of pro athletes and people who have successfully lost weight by simply increasing their training and not doing a thing with their diets (and some of the diets were even pretty awful).
  6. Increasing the amount of time you workout: If you workout slow and add in more slow working out, your results on race day are still going to be… slow.  If you want to be fast(er), you’ve got to train faster.  30 minutes worth of intervals is going to not only get you in WAY better shape that a slow run for 60 minutes, but it’s also going to torch double the calories and also have a greater thermic effect on your metabolism for the rest of the day, meaning you’ll burn more calories at rest.  You need to get “comfortable with be uncomfortable” so when race day comes, you can go all out and be alright with how that feels.
  7. “Lifting” weights:  The same here go as above in its concept.  If you want to get stronger, you need to lift hard and the weight needs to be heavy.  There’s never a reason to lift a 4-pound dumbbell for 25 reps.  Grab a heavier one and do 6-10 reps where you are just able to finish the last rep.  This goes for endurance athletes as well.  You probably don’t realize it, but strength training places an enormous role in ability to be faster and work harder.
  8. If you want to run fast, you need to run.  Use the elliptical to cross-train and build you aerobic base (I use it all the time for intervals and to let my running legs recover), but hit the pavement to see faster times come race day
  9. Eat This, Not That:  This is a great book from Men’s Health and Women’s Health.  While it makes sense at most of the restaurants it suggests ordering a different option at, you can achieve the same thing by just tailoring your order.  When ordering a steak, just requested that it not be grilled in oil, or get the pancakes, but requested the whip cream and fruit on the side and order it with fresh fruit and some scrambled eggs (for protein) instead of sausage.  When getting a pizza just get what you want, but ask for light cheese and order it with extra tomato sauce.  As long as you are nice, lol, restaurants will gladly tailor your order to you… a lot of times with stuff that isn’t even on the menu.
  10. Low fat recipes:  Don’t fear fat!  Ok, I know, this is one of the toughest things for me and I find myself constantly looking for low-fat recipes, but we’ve got to stop that.  Low-fat diets are not satiating and take about 100% longer for those on them to lose weight, plus many of the items that are “low fat” are full or processed fillers, sugars, and additives.  Even in products your wouldn’t think!  Embrace goods fats- grass fed RED meat, real butter (no margarine!), avocados, nuts, coconut oil, wild caught fish, and anything else found in its natural form.

Ok, I’m done.  What do you think about this- agree or disagree?  I’d love to hear what you think!

  • What diet tips do you hear that you disagree with?
  • Which are some that you actually agree with?
Have an amazing week everyone and hopefully my next post will be from Florida!

14 thoughts on “Bye Bye Cincinnati and My thoughts on “diet advice”

  1. Sorry about your delay! but I love how you question “conventional wisdom.”

    as far as the fat thing goes, you know i used to be a fruititarian (all fruit vegan). when i switched to a HIGH-fat diet (think between 50-70 percent!), i now eat 1,000 calories less a day. yes… seriously. when you eat fat, you FEEL so much better. you never get that I MUST EAT NOW feeling anymore, and you don’t have to spend your thoughts obsessing about food/eating/not eating because you are satisfied. seriously. fat rocks.

    and performance-wise? my lifts have doubled in weight. rock on, real food.

  2. First of all, I’m so glad you had fun with Hollie. Is she from your hometown?
    Second of all. Wow what a great post. I find that the same thing is true of me. If I’ve put what I want on a plate then I can just sit in front of the computer or a book/magazine and finish it. I am less likely to shovel it into my mouth (tmi!) if I’m a bit distracted as well. The same goes for sharing a meal with someone (as in, the space, not the food). I’ll keep up a conversation and will be much more likely to be mindful about when I am full.
    I love what you said about the ETNT book. I’ve always been a firm believer in asking for what you want/need. But that doesn’t mean that I always feel brave when I do it!! Eating out is still quite scary for me, but it’s easier knowing that the ball can be in my court as much as I need it to be.
    What you said about workout lengths really stuck with me as well. I’m sure we all fall victim to the comparison trap in the blog world and I all too often find myself beating myself up over not running 7 miles each morning or whatever. a. I workout how much I can for myself and b. I’m working my way up and c. my workouts tend to be intense and shorter, spaced out through the day. I like them like that, so why push myself through something grueling and long?
    That low fat thing. SO HARD for me to get over. I’m trying really hard to challenge myself by eating more fat but I always feel like it needs to be justified. Thank goodness for the nut butters though; I swear those things saved my life!
    and as hard as it is for me to actually enact it and wrap my head around it, I don’t agree with the “low carb” diet thing. Carbs help our brains function, our muscles go and just taste good! In fact, we should eat everything in moderation, that’s how we balance our meals!!
    Another great, thoughtful post. and I love how you do that to your cereal. I actually eat my cereal in order/or mixed fruits in order when I’ve mixed them up too. love it!

  3. Hell yeah. When we hang out again, I’m going to take 1000 photos. So wake up now. mkay. Sorry about the movers though. If I’m at your apartment on Wednesday when they come-I’ll drop kick them.

    I’m exactly the same way as you. I cook what I intend to eat and then go about my business. I hate leftovers so I never really cook more than is needed. I think they are referring to people that just bring a bag of chips over or tub of ice cream with a spoon and watch tv (uh story of my housemates). I think that if you already have your plate with what you want and are doing other things, you aren’t going to really make more effort to go keep refilling your plate. Maybe that is just me though…

    I agree about god fats. They keep you more full than other things. Speaking of fats which reminded me of yogurt. Guess what I bought today at Kroger.

    Enough of my rambling. I think that people are always just looking for a quick fix to lose weight or a magical cure and there isn’t one. I see these tips all the time in tons of magazines but it really just takes willpower I guess.

  4. Great diet thoughts! I agree 100% with all of them–especially that last one. The right fat is everyone’s friend! I’m also a huge proponent of egg yolks. That whole egg white fad is ridiculous. If someone has a cholesterol problem, then it’s probably not the one egg yolk a day they’re eating. And some of the most nutritious parts of the egg are in the yolk–including the fat. Anyway, it’s a big thing I preach. Eat yer damn yolks! 🙂

    Good luck with the move!!!

  5. Booooo dang movers! What company are they from? Slash if it is Allied, they suck.

    I am so with you. Eating in front of the computer is a BAD idea, I do that alll the time because I have so much work. BUT, when I do that I don’t even realize I am full until I am TOO full.

    Hahaha your cheeseburger omlette 🙂 You have to know I was just bustin your chops, I know that you would neverrr eat a cheeseburger in your omlette:) Haha.

    Most of the “diet” tips out there really don’t work, in my viewpoint anyway. No one is going to lose weight on 100-calorie packs (or at least for long), or by eating processed “diet” foods. The key to losing weight is a diet of WHOLE foods (so if someone eats meat, getting the cuts directly from your store or butcher, not in deli slices) and virtually no white sugar. The things you suggested would pair very well with a diet of whole, unprocessed foods – they would most likely all work!

  6. Good luck with the move. I don’t like the word diet, but I think these are healthy approaches. I agree with most of them. But to each his own, right?

  7. As a family dinner time is our family time. We turn off the tv and put the phones away and actually talk to each other. Its quite nice. Does this affect my appetite or my intake? Probably not because I make the plate and that is what I eat. I focus on good whole foods and that alone gets me full and I don’t have to worry about over indulging.

    Eat the fat. It is necessary as 1/3 of the macronutrients BUT be careful of how much. Just like anything else it is all in moderation. I can’t stress that enough. Even us vegetarians have to eat in moderation. It is plain simple math of calories in minus calories out, not matter where the calories are coming from.

    Eat until you are full. Listen to your hunger queues. If you are hungry then eat, just eat sensibly. If you are full STOP eating. Not hard right?

    Visualize food as the fuel to get your motor running and heading out on the highway (I think there is a song like that) but seriously it is nothing more than that. Not for comfort or boredom or stress. Fuel. No if ands or buts about it.

    I life weights but I do them aerobically. 2x per week you will find me sweating up a storm by lifting weights at 12-15 reps for 2 sets using a weight that is 50% – 60% of my 1 rep max. If I bench 200 lbs 1x then I am lifting 100 to 120 lbs 12-15x and supersetting it with dumbell pullovers and then right back to bench and then back to dumbbell press. I am a sweaty mess who is out of breathe when my lifting is done.

    Speed doesn’t come in a bag at Sears. If you train slow you race slow. That being said you need to make sure of your recovery as well. Today I did a 45 minute run that had me at a 10+ minute pace. I loved it and enjoyed it tremendously. Tomorrow during my 1hour 30 minute run I will be closer to an 8 minute mile and that is where the base builds up into speed.

  8. Heya Chuck,

    Good luck with the moving hope its all going ok. Up-rooting can be an absolute pain. I’ve been out here 2 months and I still don’t fully feel moved in.

    I’m totally down with your first point. I think if you don’t live alone then fair enough, just eat with other people, but if you do then well er, what else are you gonna do.

    I’m of the opinion of an impulse diet haha. I just eat what I feel. Generally if your preparing and cooking all the ingredients from scratch yourself you can’t go far wrong. I actually had a go at cooking Octopus the other day. It’s a bit more effort than squid but very worth it. Although saying that I’ve been eating far too much instant ramen at the mo, damn it’s tasty convenience.

    Haha I love mixing up cereal to, though I’m deffo a mixer not a separator I like to moosh everything together. My new fave breakfast is a block of soft tofu with pb over fruit and muesli. It’s almost as good as having yoghurt, almost. In all seriousness though I think the body is amazingly good at letting you know what it wants, so long as your always mindful of that you don’t need any diet ‘rules’. Personally my brain is too filled with complex X-ray science right now, who needs to worry about more complex calculations like macronutrient ratios and meal compositions.

  9. if i can add a challenge? i hear what Jason is saying, and i think he has some good thoughts! but food IS more than fuel. food is a gift that we’re meant to enjoy. it is meant to be pleasure! food is meant to be enjoyed and treasured and should thrill you. there should be meals that you crave and anticipate. you should eat things you LOVE, and that’s healthy! food is a GIFT from God… nourishment didn’t have to taste good. it could be just straight protein powder all day long, but we have variety, options, flavors!!! but the flip side is that most people eschew discipline. most people don’t accept self-control. that’s really what the problem is – not seeing food as more than fuel.

    love you, bud. say hi to your family for me, especially tracy.

  10. Wow, so much going on for you! AND a HIM this weekend, wow:) Sorry to hear about the movers…that’s so frustrating! All the stress will be over soon and you’ll be on to the next exciting chapter of your life.

    I like your thoughts on the diet tips. There is SO much information out there, and sometimes I think it’s just best to use your common sense and figure out what works best for you!

  11. I feel ya with worrying about the bikes on the rack! I am the same way! I have had an… accident with that 😉 I hope everything goes well! (I am sure it will)

    I agree on the diet rules as well. I just commented on Daniel’s blog, and it was about a similar topic. I have come to the conclusion that these “Tips” are complete BS, and everyone is different! Sure, some of these things might work for those that wrote them, but they aren’t for everyone. Moderation is key I think 🙂

  12. I definitely agree with the vast majority of what you have to say! Plus I just hate the word “diet”, it sounds really temporary and superficial, to be healthy it needs to be a lifestyle change. I was just wondering though when you said there is no point in doing a lighter weight at a higher rep, isn’t that just the difference between muscular strength and muscular endurance, both of which are important?

  13. Congrats on the AWESOME race!! I still can’t believe you got up the day after that crazy drive/move and did the race. I’m sorry your time wasn’t great compared to your PR, but you still did great for the course/heat and compared to the rest of the pack.

    Even though I’m not anywhere close to as fast as you, I feel you on the swim/bike thing. I am always in the bottom third of my swim wave and then usually mid bike and top third of run. It drives me nuts that I suck at swimming so much!

    The highlight of my weekend was just getting to spend some time with my husband. He’s been working late hours and I’ve been so busy working on my thesis, so it was nice to finally have a little down time over the weekend!

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