Category Archives: Health

Hot Yoga?

fat yoga

Have you ever done Hot Yoga?
I haven’t. I’m thinking about giving it a try. For $29 I can go unlimited times in a month.  After that an unlimited month is a whopping $180.

Today I have this dull ache in my lower back and in the back of my thighs. It started last night. Feels a bit the way I feel when I have a fever. Wondering if this is detoxing from coffee and wheat.  Thing is, I don’t feel deprived yet with taking gluten out. We’ve been pretty good this summer avoiding processed foods and had very little bread. Same with the sugar. I bought some black tea and had it with a packet of Stevia. Really like it. I think I’ll be able to transition from coffee to this fairly well.  I’m just not sure what this ache is all about. Definitely not exercise related.

So, I’m feeling like a good body stretch would make me feel better. A colleague of mine did it over the summer and loved it. Also said she thought of me several times thinking I’d love it. I’m a bit intimidated though. I don’t look anything like those pretty little yoga girls. I’m mortified at the thought of exposing my flabby arms. Showing up in my oversized Rangers t-shirt might be blasphemy! Perhaps this is a misconception of mine. The website seems to underscore how okay it is if you’re not flexible or a beginner. I want to ignore my concern about not fitting in. Hell, I’m not much of a fitter-in’er anyway.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt the calling of yoga. It’s always been something I thought I should try. That and meditation. I’ve done some Deepak Chopra meditations this last year, and really liked them. They’re probably like kindergarten meditations in the scheme of things, but a good start for me. Last spring my son and I would even listen to them driving to school in the morning!

Looking forward to getting my copy of Wheat Belly. Might even be in the mailbox now.
I think I’ll go check.

(Remembering my Dad on his birthday today.)

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Buh-bye, Wheat!

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And coffee, too!

Did you know I’m a coffee snob?  Only the darkest roast, black, cup o’ java for me.
Three or four a day, actually.
Yet here I sit,
bravely,
day 1
with no coffee
AND
day 1 being gluten-free.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

                                                                                                                                                               Wahhhhhwhahhhhwhahhhh!!!

This is when the fun begins. I’ve just had my second visit with the naturopath~been scrutinized, analyzed, vitalized, and traumatized. Had me a big drink of Kool-Aid, and 24 hours later, diarrhea, headache, fatigue. You get the picture.  Although I only have a mild resistance to gluten on one test, my thyroid and other measures of who-knows-what, are screaming for me to cut out the wheat.

So, while I anxiously await my copy of the Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis, and my $200+ of supplements to be delivered, I am actually getting a smidge excited about such deprivation.

This is how desperately I want to feel better.

 

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Mind, Body and Soul

I’ve been thinking about this burden of weight I’ve carried all of my life.  What has been the function of it? Why does it matter?

Early on food was comfort for me.  An only child, with a single working mom and a grandma raising me, I was a pretty lonely kid. Food was my companion. My weight became a hot issue between my mother and me and I resorted to hiding food from her. I was teased through junior high school, but still managed, through all of my school years to be involved in activities.  I had the lead in our school play, frequently sang and played guitar on stage, and was a class officer in high school. I suppose weight protected me from all of those boys, though I longed more than anything to have a boyfriend, to be a part of this mysterious, heart-pounding world that would sweep me off my feet.

I was the girl with the “pretty face.” I convinced myself that any boy for me would have to look past my weight and know my heart. If he couldn’t see it, he wasn’t worth it. Then, in my mid-twenties, I came face to face with that dilemma.  Except I was the one who about to do the rejecting.  And oddly enough, it was a cat who was the object of my rejection. All these years later, the lesson still rings in my heart.

I had been on a teaching assignment about eight hours away from home.  While there I happened to find a dairy farm run by a family with same last name as me. They became my home away from home for a few weeks.  Anyway, where there are cows, there are kitties and I soon found myself attached to them. I decided that I would take one home with me.  The day before my departure, I called Farmer Joe and said that I thought two would probably be just as easy to take care of as one, and would he please pick out another kitten for me to take home? Upon my arrival to pick up my new kittens and bid my farewell, Joe had collected the kittens in the front seat of his pick up. There was ‘Blackie,’ the one who first stole my heart, and to my surprise, two other kittens, brother and sister, cuddled up on the seat. Joe said they were both good kitties, and left it to me to pick which one I would take. One instantly snuggled up under my chin and made himself at home. So sweet…But the other one, she was perhaps the most beautiful cat I had ever seen. She was stunning. I knew she would be coming home with me. And as I put down the snuggler, I stopped in my tracks. I was behaving just like those boys who never glanced my way! Whoa! Had I not noticed in that moment, the choice I was making, I would have left behind the best cat I ever knew. I took home all three.

Before I settled in to my traditional teaching job, the one I currently have, I led a bohemian sort of existence while teaching in less traditional ways. I’ve taught in England, had an assignment in the Middle East, and in several unique arenas in the U.S. Traveling alone in these places I learned more about loneliness, and came to understand that I alone was in charge of my happiness.

Despite all the travel, I eventually found my knight in shining armor right here at home. He saw past the weight, past my “pretty face,” and knew upon meeting me for the first time, that I was the girl he would marry (I still find this hard to believe). My man is much more evolved than me, and probably more in tune with realms beyond the mundane. Twenty-one years later, we’re still together–through thick and thin (pun intended). I’m a lucky girl indeed.

So, back to the function of carrying around all this weight (thanks for sticking with me to this point). In many ways my weight has sheltered me throughout my life. It has certainly been the thing I could hold up as the cause for this or that not working out the way I wanted it to–a barrier to my growth and self-actualization.  My weight barrier has evolved over time.  At first it blocked my loneliness. Then it became a barrier to having the kind of social life I wanted.  It was the ‘reason’ I didn’t have a boyfriend, and eventually, a husband.

What I’m leading up to here, is that I think I’m ready to rid myself of the barrier. I don’t need it. I am fully capable of keeping out unwanted energy.  Likewise, I believe I’m ready to claim my choices,  to go for it (still defining ‘it’). If I don’t succeed, I can handle it, wrap my heart around it. I don’t think I need my weight to be my reason ‘why.’ If I clear away the weight, I can be closer to the source.  The source of me and you.

My body isn’t in alignment with my soul, and it’s time to do something about it.

That, is why it matters.

 

 

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Patience

Haven’t lost a pound in two weeks.
I’m bummed. It means that I likely need to be on a ‘diet’ instead of the weight dropping off of me by virtue of eating healthy. Since sugar/flour/processed food put the weight on, I’d hoped it would be as simple as eliminating those foods to get the weight off.  I’m not giving up, but I’m beginning to think about how I just may need to count calories…or carbs. Because as we know, calories in, calories out. I think I’ll give it through September before I change anything.  My hub feels confident that I just need to be patient.  I’m not on a quick weight-loss plan.

But this is not the way of my life-long weight-loss experience. By now I’m usually getting my second (dieting) wind–feeling energized and like there’s no stopping me! But these days, it seems like I’m doing nothing at all about my weight.  And I have to say, I’m not so sure I’m feeling that much better, either.

Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned exercise? I haven’t been exercising enough. I need to figure something out. Now that I’m back to school, going to the gym is not convenient.  Getting committed to a walking regime right here at home is what I need to do. I’ve just got to get over this back-to-school hump.  I’m just exhausted.

 

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This and That and a Message from the Universe

The pace of my life is picking up.
Today was my first day back to school.
I aim to become more balanced, more positive in attitude, mindful, and less judgmental this school year. This, of course is in addition to my health goals. I was challenged twice today:  I passed on the potato chips and cookies offered at my meeting, and I nearly didn’t succeed in the judgmental department.  Well, I guess you could say I definitely did not succeed in that department, but I recognized it when I felt it, and by the end of the day, released my negative feelings. I’m feeling pretty good now, especially since I am updating my blog.

We got home from vacation late Sunday and I weighed myself Monday morning to face the music. I gained a pound. Wish I hadn’t but I’m not surprised.  There were a few indulgences over the week, but for the most part I’m pretty happy with my eating. I definitely had some of the best fish of my life, and did some hiking. I’m a bit concerned about keeping up with exercising now that I’m back to work. This summer I’ve been going to place relatively far from home to work out as it is where my son has been training this summer. It’s probably just a matter of me lacing up and hitting the pavement outside my front door.  And of course, I do have a treadmill here at home, but I really don’t like it so much. Regardless, I need to come up with something.

Had an interesting experience yesterday at Whole Foods. My son and I have had a routine this summer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We set out for his training and my workout, then head to Whole Foods afterwards to get fresh food for the next two days, and eat lunch there from the salad bar. As I was checking out yesterday, the cashier said to me, “You’re a good person.”  I was a bit surprised, as I thought of her as being one of the more cranky check out ladies (see how judgmental I am?!?).  “How do you know?” I asked. “Because I’ve been watching you all summer having lunch with your son.”  She continued, “And I’m psychic.  I also know you’re a hard worker.” At this point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  The psychic stuff is a bit too hocus-pocus for me, but her words were speaking directly to my heart. Then she said, “But you are very emotional, so I am going to stop, but I want you to know that the happiness you seek will come. You will be surprised.” At that point (while I’m bagging and filling up my cart), I am literally fighting back the tears. We talked a bit more … about astrology, about God (yes, all of this while checking out) and I thanked her for kindness and for the twinkle in her eye.  I resisted the urge jump over the conveyor belt to hug her. Before I left, I told her how this was basically my last day of summer (she corrected me to say, “No it isn’t, you have many summers ahead of you”), and that I was feeling particularly sorry for myself on this day, and that her words meant a lot.

On the one hand, I feel pretty pathetic that the kind words of this stranger meant so much (too much?) to me.  But on the other hand, I am amazed at the ways in which the universe provides for me exactly what I need, when I need it. This ‘manifesting’ is something that seems to be happening more and more in my life.  Perhaps not, though.  Perhaps it always has, but I haven’t been quiet enough to notice. Either way, I sent a silent gratitude prayer to the universe for the little gift delivered to me by the compassionate soul behind the cash register at Whole Foods.

What about you?  What are you manifesting?

 

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A Diagnosis

Euthyroid Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

It’s the beginning of the end for my thyroid. Granted, the end is likely a long way off, but my body is gathering up the troops (antibodies) to attack the enemy (my thyroid, and the essence of an autoimmune disease). The ‘Eu’ in Euthyroid means that my thyroid is still producing proper amounts of TSH despite elevated levels of antibodies. My endocrinologist has prescribed a low dose of synthetic thyroid, serving two purposes. The first is to (hopefully) eliminate my symptoms of lethargy, muscle and joint pain, and hair loss (eyebrows). The second is to slow down or halt the progression of Hashimoto’s. From my research, it appears that most doctors do not prescribe this synthetic hormone at this stage to the disease, however, studies are showing positive results for doing so. The presence of the antibodies is enough to throw me out of whack.

I am oh-so-hopeful that this medication will make a difference. In addition to the thyroid med, the doctor prescribed a multivitamin with iron (apparently I’m low in that as well). This morning I felt somewhat disconcerted by the handful of pills I was popping: thyroid, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and fish oil. I don’t even have the multivitamin yet. Nonetheless, the blood results show I am out of balance, and I am clearly seeking a remedy to my physical state, so I will pop these pills with a prayer everyday in the hopes I can get my vitality back.

Next in line to see the endocrinologist is my hubby.

Weight Gain
The doctor wasn’t so quick to blame my weight gain on my thyroid. More likely quitting smoking tipped the scales. I’m not so sure. She did say that the weight is not as harmful, comparatively, as the smoking. I suppose that’s something to be happy about. Regardless, gaining 50 pounds in two and a half years is stressful to my body, and an obvious source for not feeling well.

Two Pounds Down, One Pound Up
Even though I record my weight on Mondays, I usually end up weighing myself by the end of the week, making a mental note. Hence, on my ‘Numbers’ page it looks as though I lost a pound this week. What’s not apparent is that I had actually lost two pounds and gained back one! I suppose this is as good enough reason as any to stay off the scale, but as much as I’m focused on eating well, I am, of course, seeking to lose weight. Since I’m not really counting carbs and calories, I am assuming that the side effect of eating healthy will be to lose weight.  As for my new handy, dandy weight chart, I already had colored in a pound that I have since gained…here’s what the chart looks like now:

chart gain

Vacation
Friday marks the beginning of our vacation. We will be camping waaaaaaay up north for a week with some friends.  They arrive on Friday, and we will head out on Saturday, caravaning our way north. While I’m looking forward to some R&R it also means that the end of my summer is near. When we return, I have just a day before it’s back to school for me. Ho hum.

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Splash of Color

Weight Chart

Weight Chart

Created a little weight chart for myself.  I have it posted on my kitchen cabinet right where I stand when I make coffee in the morning.  Am hoping it will provide some motivation and a positive reminder of my progress.  My hub wants one too, just not so big as he wont be pulling out the watercolors when he drops weight…

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An Update

Didn’t mean to be away so long!  I returned late Wednesday night from down south, visiting my mom. I’ve become hyper-aware that my summer is almost over.  We’re headed out in a week for a last hurrah camping trip, which basically means I have a week left to myself before vacation and then school starting. If I’m ever gonna do it, I better do it now (‘It’ being myriad tasks ranging from getting passports to cleaning out closets).

Thursday started bright and early with an appointment with a naturopathic physician and functional medicine practitioner. I learned about this doctor from the website of Dr. Hyman (whom I have mentioned in a previous post, and I believe is one of the spokespeople in the film, FedUp). Do you know what functional medicine is?  I didn’t until I started up with all of this whole foods eating this summer.  Functional medicine, as I understand it, focuses on the whole body, and seeks to find the underlying causes for disease and/or lack of optimal health. The appointment lasted about 90 minutes, and I left with orders for blood tests, urine analysis and supplements (vitamin D, fish oil, and protein powder for morning shakes). The focus of our discussion was mostly about my newly diagnosed autoimmune thyroid disease. I was able to bring lab results from extensive blood work I had done just after this past Christmas, ordered by an endocrinologist. I am scheduled to meet her for the first time on the 5th. I’m curious as to how what she will say about this other doctor I’m seeing.  I’m trying to figure out if I’ve gone over the deep end, or if I’m really on the right track.  Do any of you have experience with naturopathic doctors?

This morning I woke up and felt differently. I could tell I’ve dropped some weight (overnight?!?). Did pretty well with the eating while I was gone. So I headed for the scale, mostly curious as to the accuracy of my sensitivity to losing something. Afterall, I had just weighed myself the day before. It registered at 207. Ten pounds lost since I started. (Ya-hoooo!). Not going to post it above in The Numbers page, though, as I’d like to stick to weekly weigh-ins for the record.

Read a book while I was away,  Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes. My son parked himself next to me, fascinated, as I boo-hooed my way through the last pages.  It’s a good book. A major theme of the story is the right to die. If any of you book-clubbers are looking for good read, capable of generating discussion, you may want to consider this one. There’s a sequel to it as well. Not sure I will read it though.

 

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Slow and Steady

No weight loss this week.
No gain either, which I suppose is good, but I’m disappointed. Since I’m not really “dieting,” I have been staying off the scale but once per week.  I am operating under the (misguided?) belief that if I consistently make choices to avoid sugar, flour, and processed foods coupled with regular exercise, that the weight will eventually come off. I have to be prepared to accept the slowness of it. Slow and steady is supposed to win the race, right?

This is soooo opposite the way I’ve spent my life dieting. Used to be, once I set my mind to it, all I had to do was eliminate carbs, pee on a keto-stick to make sure it turned a deep maroon color, and the weight melted off. I remember one of my favorite snacks was to roll salami around cream cheese!  Buffalo chicken wings, eggs & bacon and diet soda provided most of my malnutrition. I could go indefinitely without cheating.  The Atkins Diet was for me.  Problem was, that once I resumed ‘normal’ eating, it didn’t take long to gain the weight back and then some.

So looking ahead, I have 364 more days to lose sixty-one pounds. I can’t remember the last time I had a real, long-term goal to work towards. As I’ve mentioned before, I plan to be <150 lbs. when I turn fifty next year. Let’s do some numbers:
61 pounds /52 weeks =  1.17 pounds per week
61 pounds/12 months= 5.08 pounds to lose per month

Seems reasonable enough to me.

Holy moly, I would be so happy if I could really do it.

Slow and steady.

 

 

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Midlife Waltz

I used to be a dancer. A chubby dancer, but toe shoes and tap shoes still count, right? My mother started me dancing when I was two years old. I endured weekly lessons and yearly recitals until I was about thirteen. Not a team sports kinda girl, it’s a good thing I had these weekly opportunities to move my body. I developed strong legs, flexible joints, and (dare I say) a bit of grace. I believe this early training set me up in life to be more agile and coordinated. I liken it to regular deposits in my ‘physical’ bank account.

Approaching fifty, I guess you could say I’ve been auditing my state of affairs. Aside from the obvious (weight loss), I am coming to terms with my dwindling energy reserves and (lack of) physical prowess. It occurs to me that I’ve been surviving on my trust fund–the physical deposits made in my earlier years, with only occasional boosts to the account as I yo-yo’ed through the next three decades.

The cold, hard truth is that my account is drying up. I can’t believe how weak I’ve become! I hobble for a bit upon rising from a chair, my joints ache, and I have become less sure-footed. I can think of three falls I’ve taken in the last year! I’m an old lady at forty-nine. How could I have let this happen?!?

Recently, I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease. This may account for some of my lethargy. I don’t yet know the severity, or what, if anything I can do about it. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist in a few weeks and will hopefully get some answers. But I’m worried about myself. I’m worried that I will succumb to inertia. I’m worried that I won’t be able to put myself back together again. I’m worried about my ability to reverse this track I’m on. I must remember how hard it is this time to pick myself up and dance again.

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