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.

 

Type 2

Diabetes.  I did not want to hear that diagnosis.  It was already around me (family and friends) and I thought I’d escape it personally.  Nope.

I was first diagnosed in 2015, but I was more pre-Diabetic than Diabetic according to everything I was ordered to review.  Once my script ran out, I did not rush to refill it.  I believed I could handle things on my own with diet and exercise.  I did not plan for extended periods without more exercise due to pain, the depression- and stress-fueled binging, or the frequent ‘eff this’ days that led to fast food dinners.

The ‘yes, you have Type 2,’ was repeated in December 2016.  I’ve been taking my meds, eating decently for the most part until this past March-April, and moving more when I can.  I’m going back in sometime next month for an A1C test re-do and am not sure if I’ll be given the green light to stop meds.  My fasting Glucose has been in the 140+ range for a couple of weeks now.   I’m a little worried.

Yes, plant-based people can develop diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension.  It happens.  No, I will not go Paleo unless it’s completely plant-based.  You heard me.

I have noticed that my Glucose jumps after TexMex restaurant meals, fattier meals. and when I eat at random times in general.  I’ve also noticed that my pain flares are longer and have higher spikes.  Yes, Diabetes can cause that.  And my fat loss is currently at a standstill.  Why?  Pain.  It always goes back to pain.

I don’t mean a general discomfort, Dr. Who-Thinks-I’m-Just-Lazy (yes, a former doc said this to me and she knew about my spinal issues).  I am in pain.  Pain that makes it difficult to even breathe sometimes.   

I am trying to keep it positive, though.  I have a dusted off my copy of Eat to Live and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, have few new cookbooks with oil-free and high nutrient recipes, and follow more blogs that feature the dietary guidelines I need to follow.  I also registered for the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run and ordered my shirt a size smaller than I wear now.   Training begins now!  Goals!  My PLant-Fusion New Year is still in full-effect.

So, that’s what I’m up to now.  Well, in addition to more appointments to figure out what exactly is ailing me.  You know the drill – blood tests say this, but symptoms point to another thing.

Go with love, y’all.  Always choose love. If you need me, I’ll be over here with a book, game, or napping.  No telling.

VARIDESK Standing Desk review from Merilee Kern

Do you spend your workday at a desk?  I do.  I know I wanted to spend less time sitting during the day.  I work at a standard desk, so sitting is a major part of my day.  I occasionally move away from the desk and set up at the dining room table as a standing desk setup. In my dream office, my current desk and a separate standing desk would be set up in an L-shape and I’d include a sofa and coffee/drink station.  

Even though my private office is in the dream planning stage, I decided to look into standing desks and found  Merilee Kern’s review of the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36″.  My dream private office layout may change a bit.  I can see the Pro Plus  30″  next to my current desk.

If you haven’t looked into a standing desk for yourself, read on to learn about  Merilee’s experience.  

VARIDESK Standing Desk a Smart Wellness Solution

By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

The pitfalls of sitting too much have been well-proven, with the gravely serious risks ranging from medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity to increased mortality rates.  Prolonged sedentary time is also associated with a host of other adverse issues, including weight gain, neck and back pain and even anxiety. It’s no wonder that standing desks have become an increasingly popular way to combat these concerns.  


Even beyond mitigating actual health problems that can manifest from too much seat time, yet more research reveals that standing desks can give workers—and companies at large—an advantage by boosting productivity. In fact, one recent study by Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center School of Public Health found that stand-capable workstations did substantially improve worker productivity. Over the study’s six-month period, average worker productivity increased a full 46% over those with traditional, seated desk configurations.

Given my penchant for physical fitness and maximized output during office hours, coupled with my own fair share of chronic back pain, I jumped at the chance to test out the “Pro Plus 36” standing desk from VARIDESK, which makes various active office products all designed to counter the sedentary lifestyle. I found this model of particular interest since its 36” width can accommodate dual-monitor setups or larger workspace needs thanks to a two-tiered design. The upper surface holds one or two displays, while a separate lower keyboard/mouse deck provides ample room for tech basics and accessories.

proplus36black_49900_environment01-copyright-varideskt

When my package arrived, I was thrilled to see that the unit came out of the box fully assembled, ready to be placed right on top of my existing desk. The engineering also proved to be marvelous, with the company’s patented, spring-assisted lift mechanism allowing the device to be easily and smoothly raised and lowered in mere seconds to the desired height amid the 11 settings that are available. Also notable is that you don’t need to move or rearrange any devices or components when raising or lowering the VARIDESK. It all just moves with the system.  Impressively sturdy, this apparatus can stably hold up to 35 pounds even when extended to its full height.

Within minutes my workspace was transformed, giving me the freedom to work either standing or sitting—and to alternate between these two options with abandon. While working while standing can admittedly take some getting used to, the allure of increased energy, focus and proficiency; more calories burned; fewer body aches and pains and even a longer life span make this standing desk innovation one well worth the nominal $395 investment.


In all, VARIDESK is a sound all-in-one way to work smarter, be healthier and perform at peak levels.


~~~

“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

MAIN RT HI Tight 2
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25599350

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22890825

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16005804

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23057991

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24297826

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26088005

http://today.tamu.edu/2016/05/25/boosting-productivity-at-work-may-be-simple-stand-up/

 

Healing by any means

No, this is not another ‘no longer vegan,’ posts.  It’s just a commentary on trying work around meds and supplements that aren’t exactly veg-friendly. 

It’s a struggle,  y’all.  Not sticking to my way of eating, but trying to find vegan supplements and meds.  I’ve found many that work, but not all are veg-friendly.   Does it make me less compassionate?   No.  It means I’m one of the many dealing with this.

If you choose to judge me based on this mindset, so be it. Step into  body on a high pain day(well, week)  and talk to me afterward.  I’m doing what needs to be done while I find the optimal balance.

Does it mean veg-friendly instead of certified vegan supplements?   If the veg-friendly products work best, yes.  Does it mean dealing with meds that have no vegan alternative?   Yes, unfortunately.   Does it make me sad?  Yes.

I need to keep it together while on the journey.   On days like today, that means healing by any means necessary.

Social dieting – do you participate?

Do you share your fitness journey on social media?  I do.  I share the good and bad, and have found a tribe of like-minded folks who support and share as well.  My feed is full of people at all stages of the fitness journey and it helps me keep motivated and focused. Note:   I compete with myself and see other’s journeys as theirs alone.  My progress is mine and where I am is directly related to me and former versions of me. 

Support and challenge groups are not new, but a new type of challenge is on the rise.  If you follow fitness accounts on social media, you’re sure to run across calls for challenges or bets that award prizes to the biggest loser.  Some challenges call for pledges of  $5, $10, $25 or more and the winners get to split the pot at challenge end.  I haven’t participated in this sort of challenge, but they are many.  Studies show that incentive-based challenges may increase motivation and success.  A Mayo Clinic study on “Individual- Versus Group-Based Financial Incentives for Weight Loss” not only found that “sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives” and that “financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence,” but lead author, Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., also cited the advantages of social dynamics for employers offering such awards to help control health care costs while also improving the health of employees, noting, “We found that these incentives were substantially more powerful when delivered in groups…” The study concluded that “A group-based financial incentive was more effective than an individual incentive.”  A Brown University suggests that shedding pounds can have a “contagious” ripple effect and concluded that social networks and teamwork play a significant role in enhancing weight loss outcomes in weight loss interventions.

If you want to start or join a cash prize challenge to kick off 2016 with a bang, consider signing up with HealthyWageHealthyWage provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.  How does a $10,000 top prize sound to you?  One top winner, Kristin Westerfield of Indianapolis, IN lost 114 pounds and won $4,000.

Are you a social dieter?  Which platform do you use?  Does it keep you motivated?

 

Sources: 

N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 357(4): 370-79 (July 2007)
Teamwork Makes Weight Loss More Fun & Successful

Leahey, T.M., Kumar, R., Weinberg, B., Wing, R.R., “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-based Weight Loss Competition,” Obesity, 20 7, 1413-18 (2012)

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1671710

Review: Forever Flex Exercise Ball

I received the Forever Flex Exercise Ball for free to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it.

I love lifting weights, but lifting doesn’t always love me.  During the times when my bones and joints are particularly sensitive, Pilates and yoga are my jams.  When I need to get off the floor for lifting or ab work, I get on a ball.  Well, I used to until the dogs made a chew toy out of my last one.  It’s my fault for leaving a partially deflated ball within their lines of sight.  I loved that thing.  I’d sit on it when working at my desk or reading in addition to using it in place of a weight bench.  And it was purple, too! Sigh.

I was on the market for a new one when a review opportunity brought one to me.  Live Infinitely’s Forever Flex Exercise Ball is perfect!  It’s available in several sizes, two colors, affordably priced, strong, and comes with a pump, extra valve plug, plug remover, and training plan.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, I had mine in my hands two days after placing the order.  I went with the dark gray instead of purple this time.  Hopefully the pups won’t mistake it for one of their toys.

exercise ball ball 2
Have you used an exercise ball?  If not, you need to make sure you get the right size for your needs.  Since I’m not the tallest person, I selected the 55 cm size (for those of us under 5′ 6″).  Live Infinitely has them available for people in the 5′ 6″ to 5′ 11′ range (65 cm), 6′ to 6′ 4″ (75 cm) and taller than 6′ 4″ (85 cm).   Using one that’s too small or large will throw you out of proper alignment.

Oops, looks like the man and boy will need their own since mine is too small for them. 

Once I inflated this baby, I decided to get some ab work in.  This industrial PVC ball is strong!  It holds up to 2200 pounds (way over my weight) and anti-burst tested.   I finished my workout and was beginning to regret but not regret how hard I went.  I sat on the ball for a while before making a recovery drink.

The Forever Flex Exercise Ball is  easy to clean and has non-slip ridges that came in handy on the hardwood floor.  It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and fantastic customer service.  Would I buy this?  Yes, and I will buy a bigger one for the man and boy if they request it.  I might make that one purple.  You know, so we can tell them apart at a quick glance.

So, do you use an exercise ball?  Tell me about it.

 

Having a bad night

I need to just write a while to keep things honest.

It’s been a good weekend so far.  The pre – holiday food shopping is done, hubs had an extra day off, I completed training on a new project, and the weather’s been great.

It’s been a busy day, so I’m not upset about needing a little extra time to wind down.  Then the pain creeped up a little.   I started deep breathing, but needed something more.  I took Advil and Melatonin,  then went to bed.

I laid here a while, started deep breathing again, then realized I needec zometjing stronger than Advil.  I took half a dose of something stronger and went back to bed.

Out of nowhere,  my hands hands began to ache.  I looked down to see the puffy knuckles of arthritis and Fibro.

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I’m covered in pain relied cream, full of pain relievers, and still feeling 80% of the pain that forced me to reach for the meds.

Nights like this make me sad.  It’s frustrating how quickly a pain flare can steal my joy.  My mind wanders to thoughts of what the next 10 years could bring.  My spine is already 20 years older than my chonological age.  I’m already having trouble with my grip.  Fear clouds my thoughts and blocks the light.

But I can see the sun.  I refuse to let the clouds steal it from me.  I will have bad times, but there will be good times, too.  I just to ride it out.  After some sleep.

Here’s to better days.

 

Semi-wordless Wednesday: Books

You know I have a cookbook problem.

SAMSUNG

A few of my favorites, including books from authors I have a girl crush on. HInt – all of them.

al fresco

I reviewed this book and still pull ideas and recipes from it from time to time.

ice cream sandwiches

Don’t think any commentary is necessary.

Supercharged-Juices-Smoothies

Because your friendly neighborhood Sherrie does not fear the green,

meal plan bb

Meal planning was in full effect here.

 

Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules!

Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules! Noms!

A classic.

A classic.

One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.

One of my go-to’s for healthy vegan eats.

HappyHerbivoreLight-2526Lean_FrontCover

I’m digging the recipes here. They help me stick to my eating plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter if the books are from the library or part of my personal collection.  I have one within reach daily.

By the way, if you’re in or near Charleston, SC, you can meet Happy Herbivore herself, Lindsay Nixon at the College of Charleston on Thursday!  I missed her back in 2012, but will be there this time.  Hope you can make it, too!

See ya, January! Happy February!

I’m glad to see January 2015 go. It was a craptacular month and I don’t think I could easily handle a second month of it. An annoying reason I hated the month is the setback. Grr, the setback. But, January is over and February is here. I’m ready for it.

I tried to post this yesterday, but the January Kick Ass continued for an extra day. My saved pots disappeared three times.  I was not amused.

My goals this month are to get my eating back on track and learn more about what ails me. Research might drive some people crazy, but it helps me feel like I have more control. The Fibromyalgia quirks and tummy issues don’t bother me as much since I have an idea what to expect. I hope that makes sense. I wonder sometimes if it does. If it doesn’t, I blame Fibro Brain. 🙂

And speaking of research, I picked up this goodie a few days ago. candida

Ricki Heller‘s blog is one of my favorite stops and I know the advice in this book in my hands will make a huge difference.  I’ll share more about the book and recipes here and in my Examiner column.  If you need sugar-free, gut-healing whole food recipes, take a look.

I was advised to consider the possibility of candida overgrowth a little over a year ago.  I took the assessment and scored in the top range before I completed the whole thing.  Oy.  Overachiever, I am.  These recipes work with my eating plan.  I just have to tweak things here and there.

For fitness, I’m starting another round of 21 Day Fix starting on February 8.  21 Day Fix Extreme drops today, but I am not ready for that one.  Both 21DF and 21DFX are designed to get you on track with 30 minute workouts (yes), an easy clean eating plan, and quick results.  All moves include a modifier front and center and only minimum equipment is required.  I’ll use resistance bands and my favorite exercise mat.  If you’d like more information on either program, give me a shout or visit my store.

21 day fix dvd

30 minutes a day, clean eats, and modified moves that even I can do. Love it!

 

Do you have specific plans or goals for February? If you need or want support and encouragement, give me a shout.  If you’re following a different program, it’s all good. This is all about support for whatever your goals are. Swing by Facebook and say hi.

Until next time, be good to yourself.  Remember that you are not alone and that you are your competition.

Peace!

 

Review: Number One Nutrition’s Advanced Probiotic

nin adv probiotics

 

I’ve learned a lot in this past few years about the importance of a happy and healthy gut. Probiotics play a huge role in the process. I treat my body like a lab at times. One experiment involved cutting the use of a probiotic for 30 days. That was a huge mistake. The bloating and, um, irregularity were painful. Use of the wrong probiotic wasn’t good for me, either. My gut is pretty wrecked after years of antibiotics and other medications along with previously unknown food sensitivities. Limited peanut butter, coffee, and wheat, and no more dairy, period. The peanut butter and coffee hurt the most, but that’s another story for another day.

I noticed that my daily dose of nutrition in a glass wasn’t giving me enough gut protection, so I went back to a separate probiotic. Number One Nutrition’s Advanced Probiotic fit the bill. It’s vegetarian-friendly and dairy-free!

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I gave Advanced Probiotic a try and it made a big difference. It worked as well as more expensive brands I’ve tried and I felt the difference almost immediately when I ran out for a few days. Finding a good probiotic without dairy is huge when dairy is an issue. I picked up a bottle of a different brand for comparison and will go back to Advanced Probiotic as soon as I finish this jar. When I find something that works, I stick with it.

Give Advanced Probiotics and other products from Number One Nutrition a look. You might find the supplement you body’s looking for.  Pick it up directly from Number One Nutrition or on Amazon.com.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.