Sceptically Fit


Lots of Links

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:44

Some stories that caught my eye this last week (and slightly longer…)

Richelle McCulloch from Skeptic North takes a look at the importance of vaccinating your children and questions what it means to be making an informed choice.

Another quack practice attempts to intimidate critical examination of their services and serve to bring attention to their dodgy practices.

Oh the embarrassing body – Mark Sisson looks at the causes and solutions to the not-always-hilarious problem of flatulence.

Pharyngula points to a comic outlining the effectiveness of acupuncture.

It seems guidelines to avoid alcohol during pregnancy were drawn up without actual evidence of safe or unsafe levels. New studies are suggesting light and moderate drinking is not a problem.



Weekly review

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 08:05

I’m reasonably happy with the last weeks progress.

Starting the week with a pretty clean low-carb diet seems to have had a pretty quick effect on getting me to feel a lot better – less bloated, digestion feeling better and more energy. I weighed myself three times during the week and have dropped 2kg which I’m guessing is water weight – no wonder I feel less bloated.

So when I’m at home, I can keep my diet under control – but I’m not so good outside. According to myfitnesspal my diet was 5246 calories over my weekly goal. Ratios aren’t too bad – 30/20/50 but with all that stress going on last week, I needed that pizza on Thurs!

So clearly still working on balancing emotional eating but feel like I’m getting somewhere on motivating myself exercise-wise.

Strength: managed two sessions this week. Maintaining the gains I pushed for last week but not ready to go up yet.

Running: a 8km run outdoors on Tuesday which went well and some treadmill hills on Saturday – hard the day after weights but I do feel like I’m getting the benefit

This week I’m going to aim for the same level of activity – have another run planned for Tuesday. Also working on not looking for food treats at work!


Months of Stress and Inaction

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 15:35

I’ve spent the last few months in a state of constant stress from several different sources. This is is not a good state to be in and its a state I want to change.

The stresses that I’m not going to detail aren’t going to go away immediately. In fact I see much of the stress staying at a similar level for quite a while even if the direct cause changes. But what has to change is how I’m coping with them.

I don’t expect it to change over night – this kind of thing never does. But I’m starting.

Diet: I’ve been binging terribly on carbs over the summer and I’ve definitely lost muscle and gained fat.  I’ve started trying to track my diet. I’m going to try and keep my carbohydrates under about 100grams a day. And based on a lot of what I’ve read, a woman who exercises a lot needs approximately 1.3 grams of protein per kg. So basically my plan is to aim for a ratio of 20/20/60 (carbs/protein/fat). With that I’m trying to cut back on my refined carbohydrates (specifically grains). The party season is about the start, and rather than bring a sense of guilt or  asceticism and denial into my lifestyle I’m going to ease myself into it. I’d like to try and tidy up now, and in the new year try the 30 day primal challenge to see how that goes.

I’ve been coming across a lot of tasty sounding recipes but haven’t tried them. I’ve not really explored cooking and creating anything myself. Once again – things I want to work at.

Exercise: Over summer, I haven’t completely dropped this, even through Autumn I managed to keep up enough running and weights to not completely set myself back. But its been directionless, and probably contributing to the stress at times. In the last month I’ve started feeling like I can’t neglect myself any long (so a big tick there). I’ve started building up my weight training again – and I’d say I’m back a little bit ahead of where I was before it all went to head. My squat, deadlift and overhead press have increased. My bench hasn’t but I do that after the other three so that could be why. I’ve also decided to concentrate on my pullup over winter – as in to be able to do one. So I pushed a bit, and now I’m down to a 12kg counterweight on the assisted pullup machine (ie 5kg less than previously).

I’m now feeling more ready to start up my running again. I’ve decided I do want to do a half marathon again next year. But I want to build up to it more slowly. Spread the training over the week a bit more and increase mileage slowly enough to match an increase in carbohydrate consumption so I don’t get two weeks before the race and am ravenously eating everything in sight. I managed to turn up at a running club and keep up with them for the 8km run – though I’m going to have to work at being able to chat while running.

Sleep – get some! I bought one of those sun alarm clocks about two months ago and I’d recommend it. I only bought the cheap one which increases brightness every five minutes for twenty minutes instead of a gradual increase over twenty minutes/hour as some do. I’m very sensitive to light so usually wake up within the first five minutes. Even though its not the gradual adjustment of dawn, its better than a sudden alarm. The other side of things – going to sleep – has to improve. I need to go to bed earlier, and I need to be less stressed so I do.

Mental Health – working on making time for non-exercise related activities. I’m planning on going back to dance classes in the new year. I’m trying to make time for creative outlets, and cut back on the web surfing (oh the irony of saying that on a blog). I’m also seriously looking at exploring meditation/mindfulness as a path to helping my mental state.


Months of thinking – lots of links

Due to a multitude of life stress going on I’ve really feel behind on this site. So in an attempt to catch up I’m going to just link to all the stories that have caught my eye over the last few months.

Vitamin C supplementation may aid recovery from intense exercise in the cold. Is honey even honey any more? Why do we keep messing with our food.   Are our agricultural staples trying to kill us? A look at which nutrients are essential for healthy mitochondria. Can you eat too much liquorice? Yoghurt doesn’t work the way we thought. A look at the effect of a paleo diet on testosterone. The evolution of lactose tolerance and how to use it if you have it. An interview with Dr Loren CordainWholegrain pasta offers no benefit over refined pasta. A look at preparing traditional grains. Are eggs the answer to weightloss? Here’s seven more reasons to eat them.

Meat doesn’t rot in your colon – grains do. Another study shows that grass-fed red meat is healthier. A diet high in fat is not fattening. A ted talk on using diet to stop angiogenesis. And a diet high in carbohydrates is linked to cancer. So while low carb seems better for reducing cancer and heart disease, its best to keep it high in vegetables.

However, is it just a matter of  eating whole foods that’s more important than individual nutrients. The Perfect Health Diet offers a food apple guide, and lifehacker suggests how to begin eating ancestrally

Are you always aware of what you eat – a look at how your subconscious mind affects your diet. The link between  omega3  imbalances and depression and how increasing your omega3 levels can reduce inflammation and anxiety. How to balance your omega 6 vs omega 3 ratios. A guide to cravings and what your body might actually be needing.

Mark Sisson talks about the idea of gateway foods and helpfully provides a delicious sounding recipe for pumpkin pie. How about paleo egg-cupcakes? On the low-carb front – if you’re missing burgers how about a recipe for an oopsie bun. When the winter colds hit – here’s some suggestions for healthy comfort food. And now you’re inspired – here’s a big recipe roundup.

Letting children’s playground be fun results in less accidents then those awful safety playgrounds. A look at the differences of American-European values. Interesting how a respect for individual rights plays out when the people are women. Alas offers a simple primer to evaluate the anti-women’s health arguments. Another reason to damn the development of agriculture. Sam Harris looks at how to be safe in a world with a propensity for violence.

Weightlifting for women is starting to hit the mainstream. A guide to dynamic stretching. Does muscle really burn more calories? Its important to pay attention to muscle imbalances.  Is chocolate milk the best post-exercise drink? Exercising on an empty stomach may not be a good idea. Why cardio is not the best way to lose fat. How exercise can you become more sensitive to feeling full when eating. What ever you do – just stop sitting  down!

Cycling can be dangerous – the Florida Dept of Transport says riding 4-5 ft from curb, not wearing spandex, being a woman all cause cars to move further over in the lane when passing you. And its shown to be cheaper to build cycling infrastructure than not.

Seven ideas to improve your running, and how to improve your mileage.

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