What happens when I stop tracking

Morning, y’all.

v cuts mug

I love this mug from the Vegan Cuts Coffee Box! 

It’s Saturday.  I usually sleep in until around 9-10 am as a weekend treat (and because I usually stay up until 2 am or so on Friday night/Saturday morning).  Not today.  Why?  In part because I went to bed just after midnight and because it’s a high pain morning.  The pain level this week had me thrown.  Yes, there’s a spike twice a month, but this spike has been 3 weeks long.  I decided to jump on the scale to see what’s what and found the culprit.  I’ve gained – part of it is due to typical hormonal changes and the other part is due to tracking.  Well, the lack of.

Why did I stop tracking?  I did not completely stop, but I did slack off.  I stopped paying attention to portions.  Yes, I still need to keep portions of some things in check, even when following a primarily whole foods plant-based plan.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.  More nuts and seeds (I’m looking at you peanut butter, cashews, and pecans) and letting too much bread and oil get in hurt when I overindulge.  The extra treat days don’t help, either.  I slipped back into an old pattern and am paying the price.

Why did I slip?  I get a little lazy and bored.  I feel like I can let go of the routine a little more than not and have not worried as much since my blood pressure and glucose readings have still been great (90-110 range fasting and 120-135 after meals) which keeps me on track for coming off of more meds.  I still have more energy and generally less pain than after the weird muscle spasms a few weeks back.

I know what I need to do and how to do it.  This gain was not a surprise and I should have paid more attention.  This it not beating myself up.  This is just a statement I need to see in print (well, on the screen) and a reminder that exercise alone does not work for me.

So, what’s next?  Getting back in gear and following my plan the way it works:

  1. water
  2. produce
  3. protein
  4. whole grains with portions of trigger foods in check
  5. treats twice a week at most

See, that’s not so bad.  It’s not boring when I put some thought into it.  The heat has sent my cooking mojo into hibernation, so i need to find ways to mix it up a bit.  Produce is banging this time of year, so between farmers markets and the produce department, I can be inspired.

Right now, I’m enjoying my morning smoothie (a blended salad as Dr. Fuhrman calls it), coffee, and water.  While my coach is not fond of me drinking my calories as a regular thing, she is happy with the way I make the program work.

I’ll share more about my fantastic Diabetes coach soon.  Until then, have a fantabulous day!

Peace!

 

 

Bloodwork update, May 2018

Xena 3-2018

Say hi to Xena

Howdy, y’all.  What?  I said I’d get back to the regularly scheduled posts.  This one is a quick update on how 2018 is working so far.  My goals for the year are to get off more medication and continue to get stronger.

As of February I am off of Metformin with an A1C at 6.1 thanks to plant-powered menus  and am working on getting off meds.  At the tail end of May, I had a 3 month follow up to see how things stand.  They stand on point!

Bad cholesterol is down 20 points.  In three months.  Believe me, the happy dancing started in my head and my smile almost hurt.

Weight was down 5 pounds.  Not a huge drop, but it was still lower than my February appointment (and after lunch, fully dressed) and it’s worth celebrating.  The happy dancing continued.

The biggest news was the A1C.  It was still at 6.1 and a sign to the doc that I do not need Metformin and am on my way to prediabetic levels. You hear that. Prediabetic!  Once my A1C is under 5, I’ll be in remission.  I almost cried.  Seriously.

Doc also cut one of my blood pressure meds in half and said I may come off of them too as I continue to lost weight and get my numbers down.  She said to keep doing what I’m doing and recommended I add in exercise a few days a week.  I go back for more bloodwork in August.  I plan to see better results.

What am I doing?  Tracking my meals and water on My Fitness Pal has been huge.  I see how I’m doing and where I need to tweak things.  I eat more greens, oats almost daily, limit processed foods and sweeteners, and planned cheat meals.  My coach may not approve of the cheat meals, but I know myself.  If I do not have the flexibility of the occasional treat, I will end up on a free-for-all of all the forbidden foods.  Not that anything is really forbidden, just limited.

I’m looking at you, coconut, nuts, seeds, Nada Moo, and Go Max Go Bars. I love you all.

I’m walking more.  I take the psychos out every morning and get in a mile.  If I am up to it, I take another lap or two around the neighborhood. I keep a moderate pace and add faster intervals.  Xena has a pretty quick pace naturally, so when I’m ready to jog, she’ll be by my side.  Victor is getting older and likes to take his time.  He’s the perfect warm up or cool down partner.

My yoga/Pilates PT routine should be a priority, but it has slipped aside in favor of daily flexibility.  Just 10 minutes a day is the plan for now, but I see a 3-Week Yoga Retreat in my future.  I need more flexibility to help ease the daily pain and with recovery.  I am not 21 anymore and I feel it on a daily basis.

So, that’s the update. If you have any questions for me, just ask.  You know I’ll answer.  I know this is not an easy path, especially if there are chronic issues and emotional eating in the way.  I’m learning to work around my limits and finding my best path.  I hope you can find yours.

Until next time, peace!

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Victor thinks he should help me with my practice.

 

Reappearing

It’s been a while, eh?  You may be wondering where I’ve been.  If not, I’ll tell you anyway.
It started with a car accident on July 31.  Hubs and I were minding our own business when another driver hit us hard enough to bend the car’s frame.   We did not think we were hurt at first, but we were both wrong.  We both felt the result of the impact a few days later and are both currently in recovery (meaning physical therapy, massage therapy, and meds).

What else am I up to these days?  Working as much as I can.  Because two kids in college are almost as expensive as they were when they were younger.  Scratch that.  They’re more expensive now because the needs grew up with them.

Something had to give, so my blogs took a back seat while I worked out the kinks.  My fellow spoonies, you know how it is.  I’m still around (just check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds), but not as chatty as I have been.

So, let me know what you;d like to see.  The holidays are coming up, so expect sample menus and other yummy goodness.  Until next time, peace!

Catching up

train shirtMorning, y’all.  Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is slowly coming out of hiding. Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.

Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.  Although I have realized that my normal means that I will hurt and feel tired more often than not, I started feeling sorry for myself and pictured my future with more pain and less mobility.  This sent me down a darker path and binge eating.

What brought me out of it was a combination of things.  Well, I’m still in it, but fighting to pull out of it.  Physically, I’m getting better (thank you anti-inflammatory foods and support sleeves), but the brain still needs work.  Hubs and I joined a gym and are still tweaking our schedule.  I’m learning to recognize and listen to my body. I know when I need to switch to a different body part while training, when to start getting my heart rate down, and to start more slowly so that I can get stronger without hurting myself.  After a little over an hour yesterday (treadmill and a full-body lifting session), I don’t feel that bad.  The BCAAs do make a difference.

I would love to skip supplements and get off all meds, but that is not in the cards for me now and may not be later.  And I’m okay with that.  I refuse to let anyone shame me for doing what I need to do.

Some days are better than others, but that’s how things are with everyone.   I may move more slowly than I used to, but my inner athlete is coming back.  And she is badass.

Until next time, peace.

Human Barometer and yoga

I think that my new nickname should be Human Barometer. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling or moving when the changes in barometric pressure are dramatic.

It always starts in my ankles. They feel a little tight, but not tight enough for a support or anything. I’ve I’d been training, I usually chalk it up to that. Then my knees get sore. That makes me check the weather a little more closely. If I see rain in the forecast, I know what is on the way and get out the turmeric and Aleve.

Once my hip and spine stiffen and go from an ache to throbbing pain, it’s on. So much on. Right now I’m typing this in a recliner with my back, neck, and head firmly against the back of the chair, legs raised in a partial recline. It’s the only comfortable position at the moment. My ribs, elbows, wrists, and shoulders are feeling it now, too. Tropical Storm Cindy is not heading my way (be safe, y’all), but I feel it anyway. Rain is coming ad we’ve had some here in Charleston since Sunday night’s thunderstorm.

Weather-related pain flare aside, I will get in some yoga today. It is International Yoga Day after all. I recognize my current limits and have a mix of workouts in my arsenal. I also know that I will always have a dog on my yoga mat if I step away.  16422838_10154381378520679_8437767875822278167_oFlexibility training helps make these bad days easier and make good days better.

Between yoga and walking, I am getting stronger physically. It just doesn’t feel like it on days like this. I’m trying not to fall into the pit that seems to open up whenever a flare is extended. Spoonies, you get me, right?

Happy Wednesday, Happy Solstice, and Happy International Yoga Day! May it be amazing!

It’s Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.    Send good thoughts to someone who deals with this.  If you don;t have it, imagine a daily migraine, but all over your body.  Or a horrible case of the flu.  Some days are better than others.  Some of us can work, others can’t.  The pain and fatigue can be debilitating.  And don’t get me started on the brain fog.

What’s your Fibro story?  My personal Fibro story began years before my diagnosis,  You’ve heard it before, so I won’t repeat it.  I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it by now.   Pain is my constant companion and I am incredibly thankful for a family who gets it for the most part.  The kids (adults now) know when I need the sleep and don’t necessarily see it as me taking a lazy day.  Hubs has taken over 95% of laundry duties because the bending and reaching tend to lead to pain spikes.

After my official diagnosis in 2016, I went into research mode; searching on and offline for resources that would help.  The National Fibromyalgia Association has been a weekly stop. The resources have been invaluable to me.   If you know someone with Fibro and don’t know much about it, this is a great place to start.

To my fellow spoonies, let’s raise our glasses to the doctors and researchers who get it and are looking for ways to make our lives better.  Cheers!

Chronic pain killed Prince?

I loved Prince.  I loved him since 1979 when “I Wanna Be Your Lover” hit the airwaves.  I loved how he was different.  He cared not for haters and did his own thing.  He inspired me.

I read an article a few minutes ago that made his death even sadder.  Lorraine Berry’s Raw Story post states the Prince died from chronic pain.   There is speculation that he has a cocaine habit.  He could have tried self-medicating, something I’ve done from time to time. I don’t know what happened with him, and will not speculate any further on what happened to him . I do know what chronic pain does to me.

Some days it’s like I can feel the life draining out of me. When meds stop working, I get desperate to find anything that helps.  Sleeping all the time does not work because I have things to do and people to care for.  Self-medication becomes a necessity at times, and that is not how things should be. I’m  not just looking to score drugs. I want relief; to feel close to the old normal again.

And now this post is coming to an end.  You know,  because things to do and people to care for.  Taking a few deep breaths, pasting on a less grouchy face, and going for it.

Costochondritis

I’ve been feeling like crud lately and thought this would be a good time to discuss various side issues that go along with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis.  I am not a  medical professional and don’t claim to be.  Don’t assume that my experiences are the same as yours.  If something is happening that you don’t recognize, go get checked out. 

Costochondritis is literally a pain in the chest.  It’s terrifying to anyone, especially one with a family history of cardiovascular issues.  My first experience with it came in the early 90s.  I was in the middle of an argument with my then boyfriend and started feeling bad.  I put the argument aside and went to bed, hoping rest would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  I awakened with strong chest pains and trouble breathing. The trip to the ER cost a pretty penny to the uninsured food service employee. but it was worth it to know that I wasn’t having a heart attack.

Many years and a few similar episodes later and it still results in a similar fear.  I know now what symptoms to look for and know the attack will pass.  Costochondritis is a regular part of my life now and just part of a severe Fibro flare.

Costochondritis, or inflamed breast bone,  is painful inflammation of the breast bone and rib cage.  Like me, if may make you think you’re having a heart attack.  The pain may come out of nowhere like mine did, or it may be the result of overtraining, an injury, or extended coughing fits that accompany a cold or flu bug.  Treatment is easy – just over the counter anti-inflammatory solutions like tylenol or Advil should do the trick. When Fibromyalgia is involved, the pain is intensified and does not always fade as quickly as one would hope.  Extended pain saps energy, and when the chest pain combines with the spine pain, makes Sherrie tired and angry rather than friendly.

Do you have Costochrondritis?  How do you deal with it?

Review – Renard Compression Socks

I received a pair at a discounted price for review purposes via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it. 

The muscle and joint aches after a solid workout are manageable for the most part until the next day.  That’s when I really feel it, especially after leg day.  Foam rolling, stretching, and muscle rub just don’t do enough after ambitious leg days. Add in the misfiring pain messages (thanks, Fibromyalgia) and Arthritis and I want to skip leg day for weeks. I wear a compression sleeve on my knee and wrap on my ankle when the pain gets bad, but had not considered compression socks until after the 5K in January.  I loved how good my back and shoulders felt after the run/walk and I think the compression top likely played a role.  I know the support for my knee and ankle made a difference, too. renard off

I’ve checked prices on compression socks and leg sleeves and decide I could try them later.  You know, when my wallet felt heavier. I was approached with an offer to purchase my first pair of compression socks at a deep discount and figured it couldn’t hurt.  I am now officially in love with Renard Compression Socks. Sorry, hubby.

Why Renard Compression Socks?  According to Renard (and others), they provide muscle support and functionality, increase blood circulation, inhibit accumulation of lactic acid, all of which reduce soreness after a workout.  I decided to put them to the test while lifting, walking, and in general when a pain flare kicked in.  I felt like I could go further while walking and hit the 4 mile mark at close to a 4 mph pace.  I felt it in my shins and calves while speeding up, but that feeling was fleeting and did not result in excessive soreness or pain the next day.  My feet were also dry thanks to the breathable Nylon/Spandex blend.

I tried them a second time on leg day.  Oh, man, was it leg day.  There were squats, lunges, and deadlifts for what felt like days.  I finished with a good stretch and put my feet up afterward.  I expected pain the next day, but did not feel as much as I expected.  Renard promises calf and shin support and I had it. My thighs, however, were not as pleased.  Then again, they were not covered by compression gear. 

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On the third try, it was just a pain flare day.  My ankles were swelling and I had leg cramps.  I decided to slip on the compression socks to see if they would reduce the pain in my legs so I could sleep.  They did!  I felt a reduction in ankle pain and the leg cramps seemed to fade.  Compression socks were like a constant massage – a gentle, yet effective massage.  I felt fantastic the next morning and couldn’t believe the difference that type of support made.

Like I said, I’m now in love with Renard Compression Socks.  The best part, they’re on sale right now for $15.99 a pair on Amazon and they fit over my healthy runner’s calves.

Do you use compression gear?  What is your favorite type?

One week ago

This time last Saturday,  your friendly neighborhood Sherrie walked her first 5K.

The original plan was to walk/run, but the joints were not having it.

I arrived late and started after everyone was gone.  Adele was singing her heart out in my ears and I was near tears myself.   But I kept going.  Besides, Charleston needed to see me repping for #TeamVegan.  I had someone ask about my shirt and plant-based living, which is what I’d hoped.

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And this band was my mantra.  I was there to compete with the Sherrie from a few months ago.  The Sherrie who wouldn’t have pushed the crowd out of her head and just walked.

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But I did it!  Black Girls Run Charleston,  Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness community, Official Team Green, Vegan N3rd Squad,  and my Facebook fitness families and running clubs, thank you.  To my family,  thanks.   To Sherrie from a few months ago,  see what you did?  We’ve got this!

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On to the next one!