R is for Rocket Chix Triathlon

Last summer, my sister and I competed in the Rocket Chix Triathlon. This is an all female, sprint distance triathlon on the campus of Louisiana State University. This year, we are headed back for more and my only goal is to improve my time from last year.  I have already been working on my running speed, but the next step is to get my bike tuned up and get back on the road. I will be taking care of that chore this weekend. Happy training!


Torching Ten – Week 2 Update

This week I have managed to torch zero, unfortunately.  This is part of the process, and patience is always required when losing weight.  I am taking a moderate carbohydrate, zero sugar approach to weight loss as recommended by my doctor. I am strength training two to three times per week, also as recommended. I think the real loss will come when I bump my running back up to about 20 miles per week. For comparison, this week I ran about 11 miles. Training for the triathlon required me to sacrifice some of my running time to biking and swimming, so it will take a few weeks to build up to my optimal levels again.

Photo by Daniella Segura. Used with permission under Creative Commons License.
Photo by Daniella Segura. Used with permission under Creative Commons License.: F

For this week’s weight loss research report, I was very interested to read about a small study in  Science Daily (30 men and 30 women) that used a “concentrated extract of thylakoids” of the kind found in spinach. The subjects were give either a single dose of the concentrate or a placebo and it was found the in men the extract showed a “trend toward decreased energy intake” (i.e. eating less), while a previous study showed a decrease in cravings for sweets in women.  While this study did use a double blind methodology, meaning that neither the subject nor the researchers knew who was getting the actual extract instead of a placebo, the sample size is really too small to indicate anything except that further testing is required. My take away from this small study is that a spinach salad for lunch may help to alleviate my afternoon sweet cravings.  As spinach is full of nutrients and I like it anyway, it seems like a good n=1 experiment. I will report my findings here next week!

Torching Ten

In an homage to the Zen Runner’s Burning Twenty podcast and a real need to lose ten pounds, I am launching the blog series Torching Ten. The main purpose is to be accountable here for my weight loss, but also to serve as a collection of weight loss research, conversations, and inspiration. Feel free to Torch Ten with me here and on twitter, where I am @musingrunner.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver Used with permission under Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver
Used with permission under Creative Commons

For the first bit of weight loss research, this was in my blog reader this morning via Science Daily: Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil, fructose.  To summarize this article, mice given a diet rich in soybean oil gained 25% more fat than mice fed a coconut oil rich diet and 9% more than mice on a high fructose diet. The high fructose mice gained 12% more than the coconut oil mice.

Now, a mouse model is not a human model and no one is saying to go coconut oil crazy. Also, correlation does not prove causation, or just because two events are linked does not mean that one caused the other. Further, one research paper is not enough data to prove anything scientifically, so we should be careful about drawing conclusions from them. However, common sense will tell us that snack foods, where high concentrations of soybean oil can be found, are NOT good for us, especially if we are trying to control our weight. Didn’t we know that already? Yes, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, even if it is by mice.