Category Archives: health

From daydreaming to “in progress”

I am in a place of having goals for my health again. It has been a long time. I reflect on some of my writing from 5 or 7 years ago – and sometimes I can hardly recognize that person. Someone so dedicated to workout routines and health goals – and putting those goals first and foremost. I know that girl exists inside me somewhere…but I am hoping we have evolved. Priorities certainly shift as life changes. As I was re-reading a blog from the summer of 2010 – I wrote about how important it was to not skip a workout, because that meant it wasn’t a priority and how you should always make it one. And that makes me chuckle a bit now as a  working mom of two. It has been a long time since I have made myself a priority.

On my 36th birthday this year – I did make a new commitment to myself. I was going to spend some time and money on getting back to a place where I felt good about myself. It has been incredibly challenging to eat super clean – no dairy, no fats, no oils, no grains/wheats. I am on day 34 and I have been really pleased with my results. Yesterday, a friend stopped me in the hall at work to comment on my progress. It is those moments where reality sets in….that I am doing something that is changing me from the inside out.

For the first time in…a REALLY long time, I am feeling more confident in myself. I put on a more fitted outfit this week and didn’t feel disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. I am making progress.

In this world where I know I put everyone else in front of me, especially my kids, I feel empowered by this decision to focus on my health again. I haven’t added back in the daily workouts that I did many years ago. I am honest with myself that I likely don’t have time or energy for that at this point. I am focusing 100% on nutrition and am going to ride this wave until it’s obvious I need to add in the workouts to continue to make progress. That feels efficient and smart to me right now. I know myself and my current state of life (read: 1 year old & 4 year old plus working full time) well enough to not take on more than I can handle. Because I’ll get frustrated and just quit.

I am a little over halfway to my first goal. And everyday – I get more excited about the progress I’m making. Not just on the scale and how my clothes fit…but how much better I am starting to feel about myself. This journey is emotional – it really is about letting go of somethings I’ve held onto for a really long time.

The other day in the car, I was thinking about what was holding my back. What has kept me from really trying to do this for so many years? And out of nowhere, I said out loud, “I need to give myself permission to be beautiful.” And that felt really weird to say. I wanted to take it back because it seemed so….stereotypical? I am not sure what it made me feel. Maybe even embarrassed a little. But as I’ve lived with that thought for a few days, I think my inner voice was onto something. We get in our own way – whether it’s confidence, losing weight, going after a dream job, and we have to give ourselves permission to be successful! That it’s okay to do a good job and enjoy the reward.

I am not where I want to be yet – but it feels really empowering to be IN PROGRESS instead of just daydreaming about doing something different.

I don’t get a chance to write here very often, but since I am on a roll with some #lifechanges, I thought I’d try to document some of this work I’m doing!

Until next time…..

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Recovering, finally

It’s true what they say…”the days are long but the years are short.” I am feeling that completely as I realize that today will make 1 month of Daykin being here! I haven’t had any time to write since her arrival – things have been so chaotic. But she is sleeping at the moment so I’m stealing the time to capture some of my thoughts!

Daykin Lennox Manoni arrived on Wednesday, May 11 at 12:01 pm. She was 8.1 oz and 20 inches long. The first thing the doctors commented on was her full head of blonde hair. She arrived bow ready 🙂

I had a planned c-section and the surgery went well. Part of the reason I had to have a c-section was due to a large cyst they found on my right ovary. They wanted to remove it. So on May 11, I delivered an 8 pound baby girl and a 2 pound cyst. Isn’t that crazy? They ended up having to remove my right ovary, but my doctor said based on the cyst size and location – my right ovary hadn’t been functioning in awhile.

My recovery from the c-section has been anything but simple. I’ve had a csection before, so I knew what type of pain to expect…but this time it was worse. I had this really hard “lump” above part of my c-section incision and was suffering from these crazy chills and night sweats. I thought it was all hormonal stuff until about a week later when I was putting Daykin in her PJ’s and looked down at the rug in her room where I was standing and it was covered in blood. I freaked out and started checking her everywhere until I realized I was the one bleeding. It was everywhere and I have never been more glad that my mom was staying at my house with me.

Long story short – my csection incision  re-opened and I had an infection and a hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues). I had been running a fever for days but again – just thought I was having hormonal hot flashes, etc. I spent the next week going to the doctor’s office every single day.  I had to keep my “wound” packed (which is about as much fun as you think it would be), take an antibiotic 4 times a day which required me to set an alarm in the middle of the night in addition to my wake up times to feed my newborn. I also had to see a wound care specialist who called in Home Health to visit my house several times a week to change out my packing.

For a few days, I had to wear a wound vac, which is a machine that basically suctions onto your wound to help it heal faster. It means you have to carry around this black “purse” where ever you go.

Lastly, I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics which gave me itchy hives all over my body. For those that know me, I already suffer from skin allergies, so this was no joke.

Needless to say, recovery has been a LONG and painful road for me. I am fortunate that the wound vac thing didn’t last for very long and they felt good about canceling home health moving forward as of my last appointment. So I’m now in charge of keeping my wound bandaged and I’ll go to what I’m praying is my last wound center appointment next week.

So, a month into this newborn thing and I’ve been through the ringer. I feel extra proud of myself for still being able to take care of Daykin and keep breastfeeding. She is happy and healthy weighing in at 9 pounds and 9 ounces at her most recent appointment. I figure all this chaos of recovery will be a good story to remind her of when she is causing me grief later in life. I can hear me now..”Daykin, do I need to remind you what I went through in the first month of your life?!”

But look at this face, I’d do it all over again.

 

 

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Turbulence Training

Just because I haven’t been posting as often doesn’t mean that I’m not working toward goals! Today marks the wrap up of week three of a fat loss program I’m doing called Turbulence Training. I wanted to start working out again, but knew I had limited time and honestly – a little bit of a struggle about getting excited about the whole exercise thing as well. It’s way more difficult now to find time to work out and when I do have down time, I usually would rather sleep or catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done at my house!

So – what’s a new mom to do?

I had been searching for a program that wouldn’t take up a lot of my time, but would give me a total body workout. I needed something I could do during my lunch break at work because trying to commit to something in the morning or after work right now just isn’t realistic. I got an email from Dave at PaleoHacks (great email subscription if you are interested in Paleo/Primal stuff!) and he was putting up details about a conversation/interview with Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training and the Home Workout Revolution. So anyway, there are 10,000 workouts associated with these two programs and it’s a little overwhelming. But I ended up buying the Turbulence Training stuff to get started. It’s a digital download and pretty inexpensive. $7 gets you all the material for 21 days and if you like it, you’ll be charged another $37. So whatever, that isn’t  bad considering what I’ve paid for other programs in the past. I just need SOMETHING to help get me back on track.

So this program is cool because it has lots of options. I decided to do the 4 week Fat Loss Program for Women. There are many, many other options but the basic format is circuit training utilizing supersets and then an interval cardio at the end. So the whole workout is about 30-45 minutes (depending on how quickly you can get things set up to move through the sets). So that is pretty good! You do 3 supersets and some of them you do up to 3 times. It’s definitely a total body workout and I can tell that I’m stronger in week three for sure! In week one, just after the warm up circuit I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly make it through a workout like that. And now I’m pushing hard during the warm up and getting faster with the transitions. It feels good to be doing something productive again with my workouts.

I haven’t seen much change in my weight, but I have been measuring and I’ve lost in that area – so I take that as a win. This initial “back in the gym” routine was more about just getting into a healthy pattern again of being active and working on my fitness. I will probably take on another 4 (or maybe even 12!!) week program from Turbulence Training since I have all the materials and resources! And I will probably be lining up some other goals for myself that focus more on my eating (and being better when we do eat out…as that seems to be my main issue!).

I’ll keep you posted on my progress – but if you are looking for a shorter workout that fits into a hectic schedule, or you want to do something at home that takes very little equipment – you should check out TT!

 

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Bulletproof Coffee Review

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I started with a new breakfast approach. I am doing Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. If you haven’t heard about it by now – what rock are you living under? No, I kid. I hadn’t heard of it either until my neighbors enlightened me prior to Thanksgiving. So, I did a little internet research, scouted out thoughts and feelings about it on Facebook – and then ordered some to try it out. I figured a few days of doing anything wasn’t really a great review – so now that i’ve been doing it fairly consistently for a few weeks, it’s time to give you my opinion.

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

bulletproof coffee, upgraded coffee

Bulletproof Coffee Kit I ordered to get me started

Well, Dave Asprey explains it way better on his website, but the basic description would be a really, really, clean cup of coffee. Superior coffee beans that get rid of all those hidden toxins most coffee has when you make it. So, for coffee snobs – this is a good cup of joe. And it’s pricey, too (12 oz for 18.95), so I definitely was hoping I liked it (A LOT). My previous “good coffee” buying experience was more like $12-13 per POUND so this Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee was a stretch for me. But I liked the idea behind it, and I can appreciate special beans, special processing to offer a better, healthier coffee obviously cost more than other typical methods.

So..the coffee beans are just one piece of Bulletproof Coffee. The make it Bulletproof – you need his coffee beans, pasture fed butter and MCT oil. Say, what? I know – it’s weird. I saw a few friends post about putting butter in their coffee and I gagged a bit in my mouthpiece before I did a bit of research. And when I tried it – I have to say: butter is good. I do recommend high quality butter – and pasture fed is best. It’s crazy, I’ve never really spent a lot of money on high quality butter, we usually just get whatever is cheapest. But when I use this pasture fed butter (I buy unsalted Kerrygold), the texture is so different from other butter I’ve used. You can really SEE the difference.

MCT oil is “derived from palm and coconut oil, medium chain triglyceride oil delivers hours of sustained energy (because Upgraded MCT Oil defies storage as body fat). The human brain loves MCT–studies show MCT improves memory and cognition.” (source – Dave Asprey). The idea is to give your body lots of HEALTHY fat, and stop loading up on carbs to fill you up.

So you make your coffee, blend in butter and MCT oil and you get a frothy coffee that tastes really darn good. No need for creamer, although I admit that I put a packet of stevia in mine because I lean toward the sweet side.

Why should you drink Bulletproof Coffee?

Well, I’m not making any money off telling people to buy expensive coffee, fancy pants butter, or medium chain trigylceride oil. But I will say, for someone who has been a breakfast eater for several years and someone who wakes up HUNGRY, this coffee is a good breakfast. I won’t say that it fills me up until lunch time as some people have told me. But compared to a normal cup of coffee that I would drink alongside a normal breakfast? Yah, it makes those hunger pains go away for a few hours until its time for my morning snack. As PART of a primal (or paleo) diet, it’s a great option for breakfast on the go. Believe me, I’d love to have a giant veggie and meat omelet every morning before work, but with an almost 8 month old and still trying to manage getting to work on time and breastfeeding…I just don’t have time. So the Bulletproof Coffee is a great way to get in healthy fats and it gives me great energy.

I want to talk a bit more about the energy part. I am by no means a morning person. Since I had a baby – I have no choice. I am up around 6am everyday – sometimes earlier, and sometimes 6am is the second time I wake up (or third). So like it or not, I am UP in the mornings. Since I’ve started doing the Bulletproof Coffee – I have noticed a lot of energy in the mornings. I’m just..AWAKE by the time I get to work (I drink my coffee in the car on the way to daycare). I have a noticeable “pep in my step” as I walk into work now. And that is weird for me. But, it’s good! I like a breakfast that fills me up, doesn’t take much time and gives me good energy to help me through the morning at work.

Conclusions

So – in the end, I’ve been pleased with my new breakfast experience. It’s been hard being 100% consistent due to Holiday parties, holiday travel and weekends. But during the normal week – I make my coffee every morning. The first two weeks I did Bulletproof coffee alongside a primal diet – I lost 6 pounds. Then Thanksgiving happened (and 4 turkey day meals in 3 days) and I gained a few of those pounds back. Stupid holiday treats that I just can’t say no to! So I’ll be weighing in again this Friday to see how another week back on plan has done. Hopefully, I’ll be back down to that 6 pounds lost and I can keep moving forward despite Christmas and the New Year. I will say that after eating holiday meals and indulging in my old “wheat/grain filled ways” I am overly full and majorly tired. I end up feeling pretty bad after those meals – so I don’t know why I can’t conquer those cravings once and for all. I feel SO much better when I’m eating primal, but it’s hard to break those wheat/grain eating habits of 30 years. If only everyone around me would just eat the same way – my life would be easier. 🙂 A big goal for me in 2014 will be to move past “eating as a habit” and hopefully I can move toward eating as fuel to do the things I want to do.

 

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Primal Progress such as NOT eating a cookie

Well, I know it’s only 3 days in to being back on Primal track. But the first few weeks of any new challenge is the hardest, so I thought checking in would be a good idea.

Overall, i’m feeling good. I haven’t had too many cravings – but I know it’s only been three days! I will say that I’m so much more aware of how temptation is everywhere. I went to a meeting on Monday and what did they have? Sodas (UGH I wanted a free diet coke sooo.bad.), cookies (work cookies are MY FAVORITE. As in, I want to steal them and eat more later). And brownies (just stab me).

I maintained total control. I was all “in your face, cookies. I don’t need you!

And I didn’t. I brought my water and focused on the content of the meeting, not on how good those cookies and brownies looked that everyone else was eating. I am not everyone else right now, I am a woman on a mission. And the only thing that will come between me and my goals…is me, right? (cue cheers from the crowd!)

I often hesitate to make any final decisions because I like to be open to changing things up, I like flexibility and the option to change my mind (hello fellow Perceivers for my MBTI folk). So making a hard and fast decision to go back to Primal eating is a challenge in itself. I’m really glad we built in the cheat day because knowing myself – I would probably crumble apart the first time I screwed up and throw in the towel. But life isn’t all or nothing, although I think we are all guilty of acting like it is sometimes.

I’m going into this new challenge with the idea that it’s going to be HARD. I’m not going to get to eat cookies everyday (I might need counseling about this). There will be some weeks where more than one fun event happens and I’ll have to  choose which thing will be my cheat and find a way to stay on track at the other one. In the end, there will be times I screw up and accidentally have a bite of cake that someone brought in before I realize the error of my ways. But that is okay. There have been a lot of things in my life this past year that have been way more challenging than this (like figuring out how to take care of a newborn) and I can figure it out.

I really wish I just didn’t care about food so much. I envy people who can really view food as just “energy” or “fuel” vs. an opportunity to experience food because it’s so delicious. It seems like changing up what you eat wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could get to that place. I remember when I was doing the Primal eating consistently last year and I definitely got to the place where I enjoyed foods differently. Like today I snacked on organic raw walnuts. Me from 2 years ago would have thrown up in her mouth a little at that idea.

But I like them now…I just needed to give myself the chance to try them. So I know that with this challenge, there is also great opportunity to discover new things about what I like and what I’m capable of (apparently NOT ending a sentence in a preposition is NOT on that list).

So as I head into the last half of this week – I’m feeling optimistic. And maybe I’m not so scared of the scale on Friday!

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Back to my Primal Ways

Today is my first day back “on a plan.” I’ve been stewing about what to do for the past month or so. I think part of meeting health goals (or really any type of goal) is best served by knowing what type of person you are and then coming up with a game plan that meshes well with your personality type. I am a pretty laid back person, but when it comes to health and fitness – I know that I need a regimen. Something to put on the calendar, a schedule – a guide. Books to read ABOUT the plan. You get the point. This is in severe contrast to my actual personality and it took me awhile to figure that out about myself.

So I’ve been hesitant to commit to a plan because I feel like my life no longer revolves around me, and that makes sticking to any sort of personal schedule really difficult impossible. As I’ve  been reflecting on things I’ve done in the past and what worked, what didn’t work – what I hated and all that fun stuff, I kept on arriving back at the Primal inspired eating habits I took on right before I got pregnant. The first few weeks were not fun, but once I got past all the carb and sugar cravings, I felt really good. I wasn’t starving all the time. I got to eat good things, even if they were different from what I had eaten in the past. But making a decision to give up grains/wheat is a big one. It’s not something I was ready to do right away after returning to it again – all my cravings are in full effect and the idea of not eating sandwiches and bread sticks seems really terrible and hard.

Then I remembered that when I was eating Primal – I stopped having those cravings and it wasn’t so bad. And I gave myself one cheat meal a week so if I felt like I HAD to indulge (like say….my birthday cake or something!) – I had the option to do so and I could plan for it. It really all boils down to just committing to something. For me. I realized over the past few weeks that I’ve stopped making any decisions for ME since I’ve become a mom. And now I understand all those moms I would see on What Not To Wear who had gained weight and lost touch with their own sense of individuality. I can totally see how that happens now. It’s easy to lose sight of your own goals and interests when you have someone else 100% dependent on you to live.

And that decided things for me. I can’t give up on me…on my goals and my own personal sense of happiness. Being healthy, or at least working toward that goal was a big part of who I was pre-baby. And I have to find that part of myself again. Instead of waiting for some “return to normal life” switch to flip on (not going to happen), I just have to jump in and figure it out as I go. I’ve done Primal before, I can do it again.

So today is a new day. A new start. This is my first decision for me that I’ve made in awhile and I think it’s a good one. Today is our return to Primal eating in an effort to be healthier and have more energy for my ever more difficult to juggle schedule. I think starting with an eating habit makeover is easier than trying to find time to work out right now, so this is at least a start! And as research shows – diet alone can be a major impact on weight loss and exercise is bonus points. I want those bonus points, but not making it my focus right now.

My first goal is to lose the baby weight I’m still carrying around. I forgot to get on the scale this morning to having a starting point – but my estimate is somewhere between 10-12 pounds. And then once I’m there, I’ll set my next goal! As usual, I start my fitness and healthy eating plans at terrible times – like holiday season. I guess I like a challenge!

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Fighting My Way Back to You

Over the weekend, I made a decision. Screw waiting to “feel better” – I’m just going to go for it. I keep waiting for my knees to not hurt, to feel like they used to…but what if that NEVER happens? What if I always have knee pain from now on? Does that give me a good enough excuse to just not work out? Absolutely not.

I have always struggled with some different forms of pain during my working out years – foot pain, knee pain (of a different sort), back/neck pain…I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios – but I never let it stop me from working out. I realize this weekend that I may never be the same person I was pre-pregnancy again – my body will forever be different because having a child changes you. And instead of mourning that loss of who I was before, I have to start getting to know this new person. The new Dre. And if that means starting at square one again and building my way back toward regular exercise, then so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.

And despite having some new types of pain and limitations – I can still work out. It just may look and feel different than it did before. I think a big part of this process was just not wanting to accept that I needed to start over, and what that would feel like. Being totally out of shape was something I could fortunately say I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Despite still having weight to lose before I got pregnant, I still considered myself to be more on the in shape side of things. I had great endurance and strength and I felt like my energy level was in a good place. When I got blood work done and my metabolism tested – everything pointed in a good direction.

But after almost a year of just being out of synch with that part of myself, it just felt like a long journey to start again. And I think that first step was the hardest one for me to take. But I decided to just jump back in and see how things went. So last night, I re-entered our make shift work out room, dug out one of my turbo instructor dvds and pressed play. I determined I would do 30 minutes of turbo and just modify it to avoid the jumping/high impact stuff as I knew my knees wouldn’t like that.

My joints screamed a little as I did my double bob and jab knees. My hamstrings screeched a little during those front and back push kicks. My shoulders and arms complained about the 4 crosses and triples to the left. But, man – my heart sang. It felt good to lose myself a little bit – or maybe it felt good to FIND my old self again. To put back on her shoes, to listen to her music – I found myself signaling the imaginary participants behind me to punch right. I found myself smiling as my heart rate climbed, and even though I couldn’t jump, I could still reach high and practice good form. It felt good, even if I felt different.

My workout was bittersweet. I was pleased with myself in just following through, and being able to do 30 minutes without stopping. But it was hard because I know that the old me would have had a lot more pep in her step and would have been able to do more. I know I’m on the way back to that part of myself, and I realize that it’s not going to look or feel the same for me in a lot of ways. But not trying isn’t an option. That is not a good enough excuse.

Becoming a parent involves a lot of sacrifices, but it also means that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. And I won’t let myself forget that.

I’m setting small goals for myself – 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week. I plan to do it after Daxton goes to bed around 8. I can carve out 30 minutes of my day three times a week. And maybe 30 minutes a week will turn into more, or maybe 3x a week will turn into everyday. Who knows, I just know that life is going to go on whether I participate or not, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out who this new version of me will be.

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