Category Archives: Health

Love/Hate Relationships

This is not a post about people. This is a post about food. Just a warning, that’s all.

So I’ve been becoming more and more fed up with my belly area lately. I’m trying to accept that it will always be pooched out a bit more than I would like, because I have somewhat of a swayed back. However, it bothers me that it seems to change in size on the daily. Just last weekend at the Girl Scout camp I was joking with the other moms that it was so bloated and firm it felt like I was pregnant. And while that’s funny, and we chuckled about it, it’s also rather uncomfortable. So I have been doing more research into what foods cause that type of bloating and it turns out the biggest culprits are my favorite foods. Duh, right? Coffee, breads, pastas, protein bars, raw veggies! Oh, and sugar, which is of course, in everything under the sun.

My plan of action? I’ve started by doing a better job of reading nutrition labels to look for sugar content in addition to carb and protein content. And stopping to think before I eat something, and ask myself, “is it worth the bloated belly?” Sometimes I’ve decided it is, but more times than not I’ve been able to say no, and find an alternative snack or meal. One of my favorite replacements when I’m craving chocolate (which is daily) is to drink a glass of my ItWorks chocolate greens. I had been drinking it every day and somehow got away from it, so it’s good to have that resource. It curbs my chocolate craving without the inflammatory sugar, and as a bonus it provides me with all those nutrients my body needs to work better. Win-win.

I can avoid raw veggies by roasting them instead, no problem. And I think I can find replacements for the flat-out sugary foods. Its the breads and pastas that will be tricky because boy, do I love my carbs. I’m not the greatest cook, and what I am able or familiar with cooking pretty much all involves pasta or rice. I’ve not been real impressed with substitutes like cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles. I think those are going to be flavors and textures I just may have to endure at first and hopefully I’ll grow to like them.

I am still not eating dairy, because it was causing major headaches when I ‘cheated’, and I noticed the nerve pain in my feet was starting to come back. So that’s one inflammatory food that I have already eliminated. I have put eggs and some meat back in my diet, but only in small portions. With this half-marathon training I was feeling the need to find more variety in my protein sources, and I’m not creative or kitchen savvy enough to do it the way the actual vegans do it. My husband calls me a “chea-gan”. Vegan who cheats, get it?

So, that’s where I’m at. I guess. Trying to work on the inflammation. It’s challenging saying no to the foods I love, yes, but I noticed right away that it was making a difference in how I feel, so that motivates me to keep going with it. Over time I’m sure I will find more appealing alternatives and it will become a habit, just like all the other health choices I’ve been making over the years. I’ve got to stop loving the foods that seem to hate me. It’s just dysfunctional, you know?

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Waiting for the crash

Last night I stayed up way too late watching Pretty Woman on tv. Because I don’t know why. Because I had recorded it, and then started watching it not being entirely aware of the time, and then not being able to turn it off in the middle. Because you’ve gotta finish what you’ve started, right? I won’t get started on what a classic, feel good movie that is. It just is for me, and I don’t care if you judge me for it. Julia Roberts is just genius in that role. That’s all.

Anyway, so I was up way too late, and then had to get up early this morning to wake my daughter to get ready for the second day of horse camp. Then, even though I kept telling myself I was going to go back to bed, I just sort of kept moving on with my day. Luke and I rode bikes to get lunch at Taco Bell, my vitamins from Rite-Aid, and then ice cream at Sweet Sensations. It was a great afternoon, and then I thought maybe I would catch a nap before Natalie got home from camp, but I just, well, didn’t. Then I made dinner for the family and now I’m sitting here wondering when I’m going to hit that wall of fatigue. Yet, it just doesn’t seem to be coming. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, I’m operating like a normal healthy person!

This may be the healthiest I have ever felt. I don’t even remember having this kind of energy when I was in my twenties. I’m sure I did, I just don’t remember it, ha! So I’m writing this down so that I can remember how I feel and perhaps what I’m doing to feel so good. I believe it’s all the healthy things combined that work together to allow my body to operate at its best. Staying active with running, cycling, and walking. Eating my fruits and veggies, taking my greens daily, drinking lots of water. Even the celery juice I’ve been drinking every morning seems to be having a positive effect on my sleep quality, somehow. I know the celery juice is a fad right now, but you never know, this might be one that sticks. We shall see. But all the exercise and the healthy eating (with itty bitty cheats here and there) is really working.

The best part about feeling good is that I am feeling confident about the upcoming commitments I’ve made: leading a bible study, a discipleship group, and a Financial Peace class. I’m not afraid that it will be more than I can handle, or be too much to take on as a person living with MS. I do realize that none of this healthy living makes me immune to a relapse, so I’m keeping a level head about that, but I’m praying that all this healthy stuff I’m doing will make a relapse far less likely. I’ve always said I don’t want to let fear drive my decisions, and that applies here. I can’t say no to these exciting opportunities to serve God for fear that I’ll relapse. I’m trusting that He’s the one that gave me these desires and that He’s leading me down these paths, and if that’s true, He’ll take care of the details. M.S. is no match for my God!

Just an overall great day

Today was a really great day. Nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular, it was just a good day, so I wanted to share before I head off to bed.

The kids and I went to church this morning. Hubby was at a shooting competition so it was just the three of us. We had been preparing to ride the bus, but were able to secure a ride with the pastor’s wife at the last minute. So while we were a bit excited about doing something new by riding the fixed route bus, we were thankful we didn’t have to get up super early to catch the bus. We’ll hopefully try again on another day before the summer is over.

Church was great, as usual. I love my church family, because they are just like that: family. I was able to have a bit of time after the service to catch up with the some of the other women and invited two of them to BSF in the fall.

The afternoon was spent relaxing, having lunch with the kids, chatting with my sister, and doing a bit of bookkeeping for the church. By the evening, after dinner, I was feeling pretty sluggish and the sun hadn’t set yet, so I threw on some running clothes and went for a quick two miles around the neighborhood. I’ve been doing a pretty good job with resting my knee and doing the exercises the doctor gave me, and tonight’s run really showed me that it’s paying off, because I only took a few brief walking breaks and I had no knee pain throughout the run! Even after I got home I didn’t feel any pain. Not only that, but my pace was pretty strong for the time I was running, at around 11 or 12 minutes, which is pretty fast for me. I usually average closer to 13 minute miles. So I was pretty ecstatic about that run, and it really gives me hope that I’ll still be able to complete the half marathon in 56 days!

I’m excited about the upcoming race, but I’m even more excited about a lot of leadership opportunities I have coming up. Leadership is not necessarily my comfort zone, but I feel like God has really been working on me in this area, and helping me to step out of my comfort zone little by little. I can still be my introvert self and interact with others. I really enjoy getting to know people and hearing their stories. In the fall I’ll be leading a Bible Study Fellowship group, a discipleship group through my church, and Financial Peace University. That sounds like a lot, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to keep a good balance and manage my time well enough to handle it all.

Shifting gears here, but I recently saw the dermatologist and I thought it was just going to be a follow up to get refills on the antibiotic for my rosacea, but the doctor I was seeing left the practice so I was seeing a new one. Not new to the practice, just new to me. I was very reassured from the minute he walked in the room because he actually examined my face under the light, and the last doctor never did that, which I always thought was odd. This new doctor is changing up my medication a little bit and putting me on something stronger, with the hopes that eventually I won’t have to take the antibiotics. He also gave me a prescription for a cream that should help the specific problem areas on my face. So that was a really positive visit and I went home feeling hopeful that we can get my face cleared up even more.

So the last couple weeks were filled with a couple doctor’s visits, my monthly Tysabri infusion, and lab work to make sure I can still take the Tysabri. Then in a week or so we go to the dentist for cleanings, and take the kids to the orthodontist for evaluations. Not exactly your idea of summer fun, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Being healthy is super important to me because if I didn’t have this energy, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the volunteering that I’m signed up to do. So I’m staying focused (i.e. mildly obsessed) with the running, daily exercises, eating my fruits and veggies, drinking my greens, and taking my vitamins. Staying healthy for this M.S. girl is kind of a full time job.

Product Feature: Chocolate Greens

I am the kind of person who once I find something I love, I stick with it. I commit. Seriously. I wore the same pair of Doc Marten sandals until they were literally falling apart (and was devastated to find I couldn’t replace them because they had been discontinued 10 years prior). I’ve been using the same scent of body wash since college (sweet pea & violet). I’ve been married to the same man for over 20 years. And my favorite band has not changed since the 90s (R.E.M.). I’m loyal, and I’m not crazy about change, especially if I’ve found something that works.

So believe me when I tell you this is a product worth trying. The greens was the first product that I tried from It Works many many years ago, and I still love it. This is a powder that you can mix with just water. It is soy-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and vegan. Its loaded with 34 fruits and veggies and 52 herbs and nutrient rich superfoods. It also has a blend of magnesium and potassium to fight acidity in your body. Y’all, this stuff is a game changer. I love to eat my fruits and veggies, but I know I still leave a lot of nutrition on the table. This is a super easy and delicious way to give my body the fuel it needs to function every day.

I first tried the orange flavor greens from a vendor at a hot air balloon show several years ago and what I remember most is that the day after I drank it, I had one of the best bowel movements I had had in a long time. Because this was way back when I was still struggling with constipation and that was kind of a big deal. So I’m sorry if you think that’s too much information, but come on. We all do it. They even wrote a book about it.

Moving on though (no pun intended ha!!).. They didn’t keep the orange flavor greens, which makes me kind of sad, but they kept two great flavors with the chocolate and the berry. If you like sweets, you’ll love the berry. If you’re a chocolate lover like myself, go with the chocolate. I’ve been trying to make a point to drink this stuff every day because I feel very strongly that it’s contributing to how great I’m feeling lately. The mental clarity I have when I’m taking it is significant. The brain fog that comes with multiple sclerosis is very common, and its both frustrating and scary. To be honest, I hadn’t really noticed that the brain fog was gone until I stopped drinking the greens regularly for awhile and it came back. I was starting to feel crummy again and it dawned on me that the only thing that had really changed was that. So now I’m making a point to drink the stuff every day, and my brain is back to its happy self again.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in trying, or if you have questions, let me know! Or if you just want to chat about your health journey and what’s working (or not) for you, I’m all ears! I am always eager to talk with others about their successes and struggles. We people gotta stick together, right?

It’s Working!!

People! I was so excited to get on the scale this morning and discover I had finally dropped below 125. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m short, and though medical professionals would say I’m within a healthy weight range, I am not happy with where I am. Or shall I say, where I was? Because I’ve lost almost 7 pounds since starting this process, and my goal is to lose another 9.

I’m still on this diet plan of six small meals per day, and I’m still really loving it. I believe it’s something I’ll be able to sustain even after I hit my goal weight. I’ve also been drinking my daily greens and the occasional skinny coffee and chocolate mousse meal replacement (my new BFF from It Works!!) and I’m exercising every day with my daughter. I invested in two cheap yoga mats so it’s a little more comfortable to do the floor exercises. We’re up to day 18 and doing 50 second planks (which apparently are no longer “her jam” lol).

The best news of all is that I still feel so much better. Light on my feet most of the time. In the past, a trip like the one we took to the zoo would have knocked me down and I would have needed several days to recover. It’s no small miracle that I was able to be up and around Sunday, given all the physical activity I did on Friday and Saturday. I have energy to do the things that need to be done, with plenty left over to do the things I enjoy, like spending time with my family, running, walking the dog, etc.

Now if we can just get this knee back in shape so I can get back to training for my half. The weather has been kind of perfect for running and I really miss it. I might get out for a short jog tomorrow, we’ll see.

Food

My relationship with food is a tad dysfunctional. I’m what Oprah (or most therapists) calls an “overthinker” and that’s certainly true when it comes to food. But I can never seem to find a middle ground. Either I’m obsessing over what I should be eating, or I’m eating whatever is available. Like, I love leftovers. You cook once, you eat for days! But sometimes the leftovers aren’t even mine. They are left from my family members, who won’t eat leftovers (with the exception of cold pizza). So I see them in the fridge and I think, “Hey we don’t want to waste that delicious food I prepared a few days ago! I better eat it.”

But the other day I was introduced to a novel concept by a friend who is also a health and nutrition coach. She talked about eating only what your body needs, and pairing healthy proteins and carbs. So you aren’t feeling deprived, and your body starts using those fat stores. I think. I maybe have it a little wrong. But here’s what I started doing. New Plan: eat 6 meals a day, up to 200 calories per meal, every 2 to 3 hours. Each meal should have a healthy protein and carb, heavy focus on the protein. And drink lots of water! And exercise.

Folks, I’ve been on this new plan since Memorial Day and I have needed zero naps to get through the day, and I’ve lost 3 pounds already. It’s crazy! I almost think it’s a fluke but I’m gonna keep going with the plan in case it’s actually working. I mean, what a concept. Exercise daily, eat healthy portions of nutritious food, and your body is happy. I’m doing all this because I had gained weight this past year. Not a ton, but enough that I had to buy new pants and I don’t feel so good in my skin. So I had started counting my calories and I lost a whopping 6 pounds and then… nothing. I was stalled for several weeks. So it’s incredible that in less than two weeks I got the scale moving in the right direction again. My end goal is to lose another 16 pounds. Folks, that may not sound like a lot, but on a 5’1″ frame, it’s significant. It’s as if I’m carrying around a gallon and a half of milk around my waist and legs. I would really love to shed those gallons.

Another incredible change that I’ve noticed is that I don’t have nearly as much brain fog. I don’t struggle as much to remember or to process things. I find this especially true on the days I’m drinking my “greens”, my It Works drink powders that have my fruits and veggie nutrients and just a tiny bit of caffeine. It’s all about the veggies, people 🙂 I’m still taking a B12 supplement but I think all of these changes put together is really helping my brain to work better.

My favorite change of all? No napping required. Stable energy levels. I’m getting up at 7ish every morning, and I have the energy throughout the day to do things. Not boundless energy like when you chug a Red Bull, but normal, constant energy. Up in the morning, devotions, coffee and breakfast, a few chores maybe, then another meal (snack), more work around the house, lunch, and on it goes. I’m not feeling like I’m losing half my day like I was when I would crash at 1 pm and wake up 2 hours later. That, and I’m kind of always eating. And do you know who loves eating? This gal, right here.

It’s like some kind of freaking miracle. I’m here, present in my surroundings. Life is finally not moving too fast for me. I’m able to keep up, and without much effort. I am so grateful to be where I am today, and I’ll never forget where I was 6 years ago. I’m going to stay on this path to better health and wellness, because there is so much life going on around me and I want to be a participant, not just a bystander. Amen? Amen.

We were on a break

Piper looks like she’s mad, doesn’t she? Probably cuz I didn’t bring her with me on this run. She’s passive-aggressive just like her momma lol.

It felt great to get back to running after my 8 mile fail a couple weeks ago! The knee is healing but I wrapped it for this run just to be on the safer side. I’ve been trying to be careful while staying active with walks and home exercises. The safest bet would be to keep resting it but I’m stubborn and I missed running!

So small steps, slow, short runs, compression wraps, and ice afterwards and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to keep training for that half. The good news is that though it gave me a couple twinges during the run, the pain didn’t last and the knee feels great now! Yay for healing bodies!

In other but sort of related news, I’m really excited to share with y’all some of the changes I’ve been making with my health. I’ll try to get a post up about that tomorrow. Stay tuned and happy Friday folks!