Thursday, April 26, 2012

The toxins in my feet?

A new gym opened up down the street from my house.  It's AWESOME!  It has tons of cardio equipment, including those really cool treadmills that go both uphill and downhill!  It has a whole section devoted to TRX, and it has towel service (you have no idea how much I LOVE towel service at a gym!). It also has a nice, open swimming pool. The swimming pool area includes a hot tub, a steam room, and a sauna. My adventure took place in the sauna.

I don't know how familiar any of you are with this toxin-in-your-feet theory, and I couldn't really find a site to direct you to to explain this theory. (Although I did find this link discussing how it's basically a bunch of hooey.) As best as I can reconstruct it, the theory is basically that, because your feet are the lowest point in you body, all of the toxins pool there. Therefore, you want to detox from your feet.

So, the other day, at the gym, I was sitting in the sauna, minding my own business, reading my magazine, when the woman sitting next to me (wearing a bathing suit and a beanie) started to ask me what my goals were of sitting in the sauna.  I told her I was trying to lose weight (we're not going to get into the water weight debate here...I really like how much I sweat in the sauna, even if it is just water weight). She told me I should take off my shoes and get a pair of flip-flops for the sauna.

She kindly pointed out that I was doing this sauna thing all wrong.  Because I was sweating into my sneakers, all of the toxins that I sweat out today, I would reabsorb the next time I put on my shoes.  Moreover, what I needed to be doing was split my sauna experience: I should take a warm shower in the middle of my sauna time and then come back into the sauna, and then I would sweat even more.  The shower serves two purposes: it washes off all of the toxins that I already sweated out, and it opens my pores.

So let's discuss some of the problems with this theory.  I am aware that your body does absorb stuff through your skin.  Right, wasn't that the problem with PABA in sunscreen, and the basis of the argument that the aluminum in antiperspirants increases the chance of breast cancer? Nonetheless, I'm not sure I should be concerned with reabsorbing toxins through my feet that have settled into my shoes because...

Aren't we really just concerned with the fat-soluble toxins here? I mean, aren't toxins either fat-soluble or water-soluble? This is why you don't worry about overdosing on vitamin is possible, but you have to consume A LOT of it because it's water-soluble and you pee it out (I'm not actually suggesting that vitamin C is a toxin, but you could argue that anything in excess is a toxin, but really, it was just an example).

I'm not concerned at all with the water-soluble toxins because I drink a crazy amount of water.  But the fat-soluble me crazy here, but they're probably all sitting in the fat in my midsection...not in my feet. Even if you subscribe to the "gravity is pulling the toxins down" notion, my feet, quite simply, aren't fat.  I'm not sure where the toxins could be hanging out.

So how did my bizarre conversation with the beanie-clad woman conclude? I decided to take the high road and let her prattle on. I've never met a crazy person, who, when you poke holes in their theory, say, ah, yes, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I didn't feel like getting into a debate. In fact, I didn't feel like getting into a conversation (remember, I had a magazine). So I politely let her speak and nodded and smiled as if she was making complete sense and wasn't a total lunatic.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A hard week

I've been having a hard week, for no particular reason.  It's just been one of those weeks where I haven't had enough sleep, and don't have enough time to get everything done.  It's also been a week of thinking: what in the world am I doing with myself?

Don't get me wrong; I have a REALLY REALLY good life.  I've got a super-fantastic husband, tremendous friends, a good job, my family is healthy, and the list goes on.

I actually attribute it to the luxury of having a good life that I can even wonder what I'm doing with myself.  I mean, it's not like I'm worrying where my next meal is coming from or anything. 

There's actually a name for this exercise, but I'm going to call it the "What if" game.  It was something I was taught when I was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.  When you start to panic about something, you ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen...and if that happens, then what's the worst that can happen, and so on.  It breaks the situation down into the tiniest piece, but it also give the panicer permission to hyper-focus on what it is.  And inevitably, you will almost always get to a point where nothing (or some equivalent)is what is going to happen. 

So what I've actually been doing is a variation of that game.  I've been trying to figure out what's changed that's made this week harder.  And I've narrowed it down to two things: watching movies and grocery shopping during the week.

Seriously.  When I lived in Oregon, and my life was easier (news flash: being married isn't easy, even when your husband is as easy to live with as mine is) (second news flash: having a roommate who cooks always makes everything easier), we did the grocery shopping on Saturdays.  Saturday afternoons in particular, which is just about the worst time of the week to go to the grocery store, but it was also when my roommate and I were both available to go, and inevitably if we went separately, we'd both get the same things and we'd end up with 197 rolls of Costco toilet paper.  Your average apartment cannot store 197 rolls of toilet paper.  The thing is, I didn't really mind grocery shopping on Saturday.  No, I don't like the crowds, and it took a lot longer than doing it on a weekday, but somehow it was easier.  I'm pretty sure it was because I wasn't thinking...I have to get the laundry...pack lunch for tomorrow...pack the gym bag...etc.  Because it wasn't a work night. 

I used to think that I didn't go grocery shopping on Saturdays anymore because I was now spending my Saturdays with my husband.  And in fact, I did spend this Saturday with him.  But because of his work schedule and our different interests, we really don't spend our Saturdays together.  So, it's not a reason to not go grocery shopping on Saturdays.

Now that we can record TV, I watch a lot more of it than I used to.  I also rent a lot more movies from the library.  I've recently discovered that I don't mind stopping a movie in the middle if it's bedtime, but somehow I haven't applied that logic to a TV show.  I'm also trying to limit the number of shows I'm recording, but that's really hard because just about EVERYTHING on NatGeo is interesting!

So I haven't actually rectified the situation, but at least I have some ideas as to why I'm so tired!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sparkpeople and my sugar intake

Have I mentioned that I've been using sparkpeople to track my caloric intake and exercise time?  The website was suggested to me by a fellow exercise- and number-junkie, and is the most fun I've ever had keeping a food journal (which still does not mean that keeping a food journal is actually fun).  Also, there's an app, so it's accessible from my phone.

So what I've learned is that I consume a lot of sugar.  I've always known this--I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth.  But I've never bothered to count the number of grams of carbs I consume.  What's fun is that the site tells you how many calories you should consume, and then breaks it down to grams of carbs, fats, and protein.  So while I always knew I consumed a lot of sugar, I never knew what my consumption should look like. 

I guess now that I have the knowledge, the next step would be to figure out ways to reduce the amount of carbs I eat.  But that doesn't sound like a fun thing to tackle on a Friday.