Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Knowing is not the same as Doing

Isn't this the crux of all our weight loss problems?

We KNOW what to do. It's the DOING that can be so difficult.

My brain if filled with knowledge. Overfilled, I'd say. I love to read and research and pull data together in my head. I'll over analyze a problem to death. I've bought more books and bookmarked more websites on health, running, parenting, and ADHD than I'll ever be able to do anything with.

The latest book in my arsenal is filled with new information (for me) on biochemistry. It's not new information on the basics of nutrition. I know to eat a good breakfast of protein & complex carbs. I know to not eat junk food at 11 p.m. at night. I know to workout 3-5 times a week. I know to get a good night's sleep.

I know. But I don't always do.

The brain chemistry information in Potatoes Not Prozac is fascinating. Did you know that when you don't eat breakfast, your brain releases a chemical called beta endorphin? Beta endorphin is the same chemical that's released on my long runs & is responsible for my craved-for runner's high. You can read more about it on the author's website, here.

Beta endorphin is released when you don't eat breakfast because your brain thinks you are in starvation mode & it wants to protect you. So you feel sort of high for a while when you don't eat breakfast. Pair that with a cup of coffee with cream & sugar (or a Red Bull) and you have an even bigger hit of beta endorphin, because sugar causes it to be released, too.

Is it any wonder I wake up, drink my coffee, get the girl on the school bus, get ready for work, get the boy to day care, and finally arrive at work without putting a bite of food in my mouth? I've conditioned my brain to want that feel good chemical every morning. And I do feel great most mornings when I don't eat breakfast.

When I'm doing a Diet Plan, I eat a good breakfast. It's part of the plan, so I do it.

But when I'm Off the Wagon, I go back to the old habits, which includes skipping a solid meal in the morning. I'll have my coffee, maybe a couple of low fat cheese sticks in the car, and then I'll have a good lunch, a mid afternoon snack, a fairly healthy dinner, then all hell breaks loose as I consume sugar & alcohol so those beta endorphins can wash over my brain before I fall asleep.

I've never read about beta endorphins before this book. There's a lot more to it, too. I'll share more about WHY it's so easy to fall off the wagon after a couple weeks of being "good" on a plan. She explains that, as well.

So. I'm working this first step, which, like I said yesterday, is simple but not easy. It's work, and it's not what my messed up addicted little brain wants. But I'm doing it anyway.

Day 2. Breakfast. Done.
BTW, I need breakfast ideas. I've done eggs & egg whites & Ezekial toast & turkey bacon. Two days in a row. I've got to get creative with the protein. So lay it on me if you've got some good combinations. 26 grams of protein is a lot, I'm finding.

BTW-2: The protein deal is figured thusly-- divide your weight in half, that's how many grams of protein you should have in a day. Divide that number in 3, & that's how much protein for each meal. So for me, that's 155 / 2 = 77.5 / 3 = 25.8 grams for breakfast. (She says you should not have more than 42 grams at any one meal, so for higher-weight people there is a limit that is outside the weight formula.)


debby said...

Hey Laura, here is a great idea. If you get eggbeaters and add them to a smoothie, they have no taste, and add a nice foamy texture. I don't know if that is enough protein, but did you know that all fruits and veggies have protein in them? I have one of those calorie books, and there is a protein counter in the back. Spinach has some protein, and I really recommend the green smoothie with spinach. You can't taste it, and of course my sweet tooth loves the fruit in the smoothie.

Oh, yeah! Greek yogurt!!! It has a ton more protein than regular. And I always add yogurt to my smoothie. Anyways, I have never liked drinking my meals, but I swear that these smoothies hold me for quite a while. And, I think they are helping me to kick the coffee habit...

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

It certainly can be a downfall to a lot of people who are trying to lose weight.

It's so easy to do something for finite period of time without really embracing a new lifestyle.

Thanks for this post!

Jill said...

Really interesting research Laura. Keep us posted on what else you learn - this is pretty fascinating stuff!

Bfast ideas - have you ever made egg muffins? They are kind of like crustless quiches, but you just mix up some eggs (like you would for scrambled eggs) add in some bacon, onions, peppers, cheese - whatever you want, pour the mixture into a muffin pan and bake - then you can eat a couple on the run and throw the rest in the fridge for other days. I may need to make some of these myself again! I'll try to email you the specifics tonight when I get my recipe and look at it.

You're doing great - just keep at it! :)

radiantkd said...

A lot of us use shake...especially good if you are a runner. So whey protein powder, almond milk, some baby oatmeal like Gerbers and you are set to go.

Don't use soy protein powders if you are under 45 or so - they are estrogenic and mess with hormones. Look for one without sweeteners or scary stuff like Splenda or ACE.

I am not brave enough for spinach in my shake! LOL.

Selena said...

I loved your comments that *I'm doing it anyway*! What a great attitude!

Eating breakfast is where the magic begins - and the programme works better than I could have ever imagined!

BEst wishes!

Vickie said...

I am wondering if a protein powder might be helpful to you - you would just have to be sure that it was PROTEIN (and not mostly carbs).

I am not a health food store person - but AM a food coop person and I am actually on my way to mine today to buy this for the middle child to add to homemade protein bars.

SO not eating them myself - too much like a dessert thing - but she needs them as substitute for school (something she can take for herself on the days that a class is having a 'treat').

I will be little help - I eat oatmeal and egg white omlete EVERY day. Before I did the omelete - I did whatever we had for dinner leftovers (pork chop, burger, etc) when we were still eating beef and pork. Now I just do the egg white (1/2 of egg beaters) every day. I don't mind the lack of variety AT ALL.

I guess google protein a whole bunch of ways - like VEGAN protein, vegetarian protein, lean protein, breakfast protein and see what you get. There might be ideas that way.

We are polar opposite. (And you sound like my husband). I have NO desire to know all the nitty gritty as to WHY. Just tell me that I need to (Francis/Kay 4 years ago) and I will just DO. I don't want a lot of detail - can NOT imagine reading that book. If I need to, I need to. If it IS, then it just IS. And I do.

Vickie said...

I will thoroughly enjoy reading everything you write about this book - like what is the basic stuff that people don't DO - even though they know to do?

Wonder if it will ALL be food related - (please don't peak ahead - just talking out loud - I will be interested to see how the don't move on until the current step is stable - how long does she suggest for stable - days/weeks?).

Sleep, water, exercise, meditation, de-stress, stable routine, good communication, secrets, clutter, $$$ being spent, handling any debt - thinking out loud what it might be if she expands out of the food category.

Heather said...

Oh breakfast has made a world of difference in my life. I have done eggs, shake, and even beef stew for breakfast. Yep, beef stew :). For quite a while I tried non-traditional breakfast items and they were great!

I am especially excited to see you are a runner! I've run a few marathons, and am training for my first triathlon right now. I think the Potatoes Not Prozak and Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Program gave me such great tools to avoid overdoing it (and releasing more of those extra Beta Endorphins that cause a rise and then horrible fall). I'm really glad you found the books and I can't wait to see how your journey goes :).

Doc Manette said...

I like the whey protein powder (very low calorie - one scoop is approx. 20 protein grams and only 3 carbs). I buy the one at Wally's so nothing fancy.

I will put a scoop of it in high fiber ceral (Fiber One ) with low fat milk - very delicious.

Love Jill's idea of the egg muffins - I want that recipe!

Fiber One now makes muffin mix - just add protein powder to "power" it up. Another quick grab and go breakfast (if made ahead).

Vickie said...

back from the food coop

there were protein powders based on rice, whey (dairy), egg whites, and soy.

The numbers were pretty close. I think whey might have been the highest. I got one with NO added flavor. And one that specifically said it could be added to liquids for shakes or added to baked goods.

I picked the rice based one as the middle child does not eat a lot of rice. I thought it would skew her intake to add any of the other three because she already eats soy, egg white and dairy on a regular basis.