Barefoot life

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I suffer from an injury (shin splints) for a year now. It all started when I decided to be serious about my running, and started to do interval and hill training last year.

I have literally tried almost everything! From rest, to stretching, to exercise, strength training, physical therapists, new shoes, compression socks, insoles, trying to change my foot strike, compression sleeves, another physical therapist, painful manual treatment, more stretching, complete rest, biking, swimming, another pair of new shoes….. and, still not gone…..

I got really fed up, because I was doing everything the experts say, but I still had a lot of pain. I decided to go a bit ‘alternative’ after reading an article about walking and running barefoot or with minimal shoes. I must say, I always thought that feet needed support, but when you really think of it: we have a perfectly developed body, that has a perfect springing mechanism in our feet and lower leg, but we choose to override it with shoes that will force the feet in a different shape and constricts it so it can’t move like it naturally would.

So for about 3 weeks now, I am barefoot, and I do foot strengthening exercises almost daily. Ok, not completely barefoot, because it’s not really possible at work, I wear Vibram FiveFingers when I can’t walk barefoot. I’ve seen lots of nice minimal shoes, but they’re quite expensive and I don’t want to invest in a whole lot of shoes when I’m not convinced yet πŸ˜‰

In the first couple of days, I felt some pains in my feet and some sole scraping from some real barefoot walks on pavement. But all was fine, I rested a bit when I thought it was too uncomfortable, and I continued with my exercise program I’m currently on (home strength training twice a week, swimming twice a week and bike rides to work). The idea is to eventually start running barefoot, but I’m still getting used to the walking, so I’m not rushing myself.

And now, after 3 weeks, I’m not sure if it’s the placebo effect, but I significantly feel less pain in my shins. Let’s see how it goes from here!

(I did start shockwave therapy last week, but I’m sure it can’t already work after 1 session!)

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How I fell from the wagon and how I’m getting back

Hello everybody!

Like I promised on my Instagram account, I’m writing something about what happened in the last couple of weeks and months, so here it is.Β 447391030_640

Technically what happened is that I slowly had more and more difficulty with making healthy choices, which finally ended with being off track for about 2 months. And when I say off track I mean OFF track, like eating junk all day, next to Β no mealprepping, no gym. I still tried to keep contact with some of my fit friends and I was still accepting fitbit challenges. Doing that, I got to the point where I realised what needed to be done.

Now the emotional part, because really, my eating is just a way of coping. What I’m going to write now are reasons why I think it went south, you can also interpret them as excuses, anything that works for you is fine by me πŸ™‚ So at the beginning of this year, I started my residency. It was really exciting and something I worked very hard for. I knew it was difficult and very time consuming, but it is what I really want, so I went for it. In april I started working at a very busy ward, came home late, tired and had to endure a lot of stress at work with very sick people. I struggled with the lack of time, where I usually would go to the gym. Slowly, I started to get worse at prepping and gymming and that’s where it really went south.Β  So stupid, I know, but the mind is stupid sometimes…..

So at one point I felt like this is enough, and I felt like I didn’t feel good in my clothes anymore. I talked with some of my fit friends about it and came to the conclusion that I needed to change my environment. I decided to ditch the scale. I know when I’m on track/off track and don’t need the scale to tell me that. I will slowly feel better in my clothes, which is more important that the number on the scale.

In the end, I’m very happy that I was able to stop before I got to my old weight, which is what happened throughout my life!

Clean eating

So what is this ‘clean eating’ everybody is talking about? It certainly isn’t cleaning your food really well before eating lol! But I’ve found so many definitions and ‘rules’ for clean eating, it kind of gets a forest of information out there and you’ll not know what to follow. In no way I say my own vision is the right or correct one, I’m just going to say something about how I envision clean eating (aka just healthy eating in general).

Paleo-vs-Clean-EatingWhen  you look up clean eating on the internet, you’ll find a lot of lists of food to avoid, or even worse, food that’s forbidden. You’ll find a 30 day clean eating cleanse or the ‘whole 30’, which is practically the same to me, or the Paleo diet. Personally, I believe in moderation. Yes, of course, I would love to be able to eat clean 100% of the time, but then life happens and social situations occur and there’s also the inner fat girl that just wants to eat pizza and drink wine. So I’ve learned the hard way that by forbidding myself to eat something ‘unclean’ I will end up eating a truckload of it, so that doesn’t work for me personally.

Of course, there are foods that I’d rather not eat and are ‘unclean’ in my eyes, which is to me simply everything that’s been processed. It comes down to: all types of bread and pasta, white rice, all types of dairy, processed meats like burgers or sausages, all ‘diet’ products, anything with white flour or sugar in it, like cookies or nutella, fast food and probably some other things I forgot to mention. I’d rather not eat dairy because it seems unnatural to me to take another species mother milk that’s meant for its baby, but that doesn’t mean I never take it, because cheese is one of my weaknesses. (I know generally dairy is allowed in the ‘clean eating society’.)

So to me, it’s all about that balance, I try to eat as natural as possible, but allow myself to eat certain unclean things on a daily/weekly basis.

So why is this important?

Well, to start, clean and whole foods contain a lot of nutrients. Yes, a nice big steak contains more calories than a skinny chicken sausage, but have you read the labels of those sausages? Most of them only contain 40-50 % meat, they add all kind of things (mostly white flour and other unclean things). In the end, you’ll get more nutrients (protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals) from the steak than you’ll get from the sausage. If you look at losing weight, people might choose the sausage because it contains less calories. I think this is a very important mistake many make! We are surrounded by ‘diet’ products, low fat this, sugar free that….. and they all try to convince us it’s healthy. You might be able to lose weight with it, but at what cost? It’s time for us to stand up to those big brands and say: NO! We want real food and if I decide to take something ‘unclean’, I’ll go for the real deal, full fat/sugar dark chocolate and wine, or a really cheesy pizza.

Basis for a clean and healthy lifestyle:

Vegetables, fruit, legumes/beans, whole meat, whole fish, eggs, nuts/seeds, whole grains (including brown rice) and starchy veg/roots like (sweet) potatoes.