Thursday, May 10, 2012
First the woohoos.
The first I passed maybe a week ago, maybe a little more, but didn't make a big deal about. The site on which I record my weight daily (in addition to SparkPeople) tells me extra information such as my calorie deficit based on my rate of loss, my trend weight, and my BMI. The BMI is something I check once a week on Wednesday and record on SparkPeople.
As of 2 May 2012, I was below 30! (29.9, in fact) That means I am "officially" out of the obese category and into the overweight one.
The second is on my scale, but not my pounds. My scale has metal sensors to do a body fat percentage. Every day when I weigh, I record both the pounds and the % it gives me. I don't grant it a whole lot in the accuracy department, but over the now almost 8 months it has been gradually decreasing.
When I first started on SparkPeople it was bouncing between 49 and 47.
As of today, I have a new low of 39%, though I rather expect to bounce between 39 and 41 for a while.
Now, I don't know what my actual Body Fat % is. For comparison, a hand version at the mall had 34% when my home scale said 43% (March 2012) - and the hand version at the gym was something like 35% when my home scale said 45% (Jan 2012). To me it isn't exactly important. Just the fact it's a whole 10 down makes me happy.
The third was tonight. I've been watching others in the gym doing lunges where they have weights in their hands and "walk" across the gym. Now, the lunges I remember from school (and thus how I've been doing them all along when I could) are not proper lunges at all, and it wasn't until I started watching the trainers and other members that I really came to understand this fully.
Trying to do lunges with the personal trainer back in January just did not go well - a combination of me not getting the form and my knees complaining. He did try to correct my form, but my knees weren't going to let me keep trying.
However, since I know I can do squats now with minimal issues, today after I'd finished my workout completely, including stretches, I took a little time to try out a slow and careful lunge. I succeeded in doing 5 on each side with only a minimum of knee griping that continued up the stairs but was fine by the time I left and went down the stairs.
The wild wild week. I think it started with Friday. Basically, any time I meet up with my DDa, the evening ends with two hours worth of riding the light rail or bus, walking her home, walking back to the light rail station and me getting home a touch after midnight. It also tends to involve redoing the food plan I had earlier in the day - sometimes going over, sometimes not (by my choice).
I am her #1 person to go to when she has anything she wants to talk about. She does have friends. One is unreliable (self-centered, suffers depression and some variant on an eating disorder, and boy-crazed). The other is busy (works, other friends, hobbies, etc). The rest aren't as long-term or close. And I did raise my kids to feel free to discuss ANYTHING with me.
This means that not only are the last two hours mostly out of the house, but even if I'm at home, she is there because she wants an attentive ear -- and my usual hours of doing what I please go poof.
Mix that with Saturday and Sunday being Cinco de Mayo madness in our city to the point that getting groceries on Sunday involved waiting over an hour for a bus that got rerouted, and walking about 8 blocks with my 40-50 pounds of groceries coming home - a 3+ hour trip compared to my more usual hour and a half.
Then Monday DDa needed to talk again, so any thoughts of catching a breather then went poof. Tuesday I finally got the laundry I usually do Sunday night done.
I honestly feared that tonight would bring a call or a text.
I'm relieved it didn't. So amazingly relieved.
Though as I mentioned in my status, I can't count on this weekend being mine. Odds are my DS and DDa will decide they want to spend the day with me - either Saturday or Sunday.
Mayhap I raised them too well?
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I think I've gotten myself into the middle of reading too many things at once.
Yes, there really is such a thing.
1) Einstein's Theories of Relativity and Gravitation
This was available free from Google on my phone and I've been reading it for a while now. It's not actually what Einstein wrote. It's a collection of two essays and an editorial article. (It explains at the beginning that a monetary reward was offered for the best essay that could take Einstein's theorems and express them in a way that could make sense to the lay man.)
It has been fascinating reading so far, though I only read it in smaller chunks so I can really chew over the concepts for a while.
2) Grimm's Fairy Tales
Another available free from Google on my phone. I usually read one or two at a time when I want some light diversion. I'm not at all sure how many more there are to go.
3) The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Recently finished this. My DDa, interestingly, has gotten into a real obsession with the Sherlock Holmes BBC episodes and reading the books in the order they were written - without knowing I was reading it, so we can spend an hour just talking about his cases.
4) The Spark
I've finished the first part of Chapter 1 that is his story, so next is the philosophy behind the SparkPeople program (still Chapter 1). I'd already heard / read most of the story, so it wasn't new, but I'm making a point to not skip ahead and actually reread that portion. I'm looking forward to moving on through the book now.
5) The Spark Cookbook
I finished the whole intro section and got to the recipes. I've been offhandedly flipping through them to see if any catch my interest and look like they can be modified for a single person with a microwave. The smoothie recipes amused me - my protein shake trial and errors led me to a very similar mixture as what is described.
6) Easy Vegan Meals
Honestly not really interested in veganism, but I did start reading the first part of this for the information on the nutrients that are particularly important to meet and where vegans get them from. I just figure if any of the recipes look interesting without requiring ingredients I wouldn't normally buy, I might try them out. I do like my veggies after all.
7) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The first book I've BOUGHT in I couldn't say how long. I took the seminar around two decades ago, had cassette tapes and an annual day-planner based on it for a few years. I still remember a lot of it and, as I'm reading it, realize just how much I did manage to internalize in my way of thinking - but also how much I forgot or never knew.
Loving the Kindle's ability to highlight things. I've got several quotes I keep rereading:
== For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root. (Henry David Thoreau) ==
(My thinking from it: Leave out "of evil", and it applies to anything really. How often do we hack away at the symptoms, the problems, instead of seeking out and destroying the root cause?)
== But until a person can say deeply and honestly, "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday," that person cannot say, "I can choose otherwise." (Franklin Covey) ==
(My thinking from it: Whenever we make a mistake and start over, that is a great thing. But we do have to acknowledge that those mistakes have created the position from which we start. We create our future by choosing new paths.)
== It's so much easier to say, "I am not responsible." If I say "I am responsible," I might have to say, "I am irresponsible." (Franklin Covey) ==
(My thinking from it: And truly, for all that I consider myself mature, responsible, independent and so on, I have more than a few areas in my life in which I would prefer to say "It wasn't my fault" - a variant on saying "I am not responsible". I need to accept that I have been irresponsible and change that.)
== Anytime we think the problem is "out there", that thought is the problem. (Franklin Covey) ==
(My thinking from it: For a while now I've been griping to myself and sometimes out loud about the annoying behaviors of my boss. Which is fruitless. I can't change him. I can, however, change my productivity at work and the way in which I report completed tasks. I can change how I think about and react to his calls. And, in that, change it from annoying to being just a routine part of my day that I'm prepared for.)
8) Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann
Another free book, this one from Amazon. I actually spent a while my first night just downloading a bunch of free books. Some of them may be of no interest to me, but I've always loved reading. (What? You couldn't tell? *COUGH*)
This one is certainly a fascinating story about a woman who survives a dangerous fall with amnesia. It's not a book for someone with any antipathy toward belief in God to read - as faith is an important subtext - but the action of the story was certainly enough to have me up far later than I should have been last night. Almost done with this one as the climax has hit.
And maybe I should have included as 9) reading everyone's blogs. I'm getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, but intend to spend a chunk of tomorrow trying to get caught up. I know there was a chunk of blogs from about mid-week that I missed ... but I'm not sure how to figure out which I've read or not, so I sincerely apologize if I've missed one!
Friday, May 04, 2012
It's pretty much back to normal now (WHEW!), but those who saw my statuses Monday and Tuesday would have caught a little about my ankle tweaking. So here's the much longer (and boring) story.
Sunday night as I was sitting in bed, I came to notice my ankle didn't feel comfortable. I flexed and pointed it and rotated it, only to hear a snapping pop sound.
No, no, it wasn't THAT bad!
I know about the cause of the sound (and inner feel) from two things. One is an old habit as a teen of popping my knuckles. The step-mother, of course, hated it and tried the "you'll end up with arthritis at 25" kind of statement to get me to stop with no success. However, being me, I couldn't leave it at that. I had to go research it - learning how the popping noise from knuckles is basically an air bubble being burst which takes an amount of time to reform.
The other was a Sparker some time back who had a question about a popping sound in her hip. Curious, since no one else had answered, off I went. Could it also be an air bubble? That didn't seem likely. Sure enough, most other spots on the body, the popping (or snapping) noise and/or sensation is related to tendons instead of air bubbles.
Basically, the tendon can be thought of kind of like a tense rubber band. If you pull it sideways along a smooth surface, it will probably just slide. But if anything on the surface exists for it to catch on, it will pull until there's enough tension to get past that point - making a popping or snapping sound as it catches up with the ends.
(Yes, there can be more serious causes as well - so if there's any concerns or very real pain, a doctor should be consulted. When I sprained my calf a few years ago, it made a very audible to me pop sound. It was a serious enough sprain to have me on crutches several days.)
Now, hearing and feeling these isn't unusual for me. When I'm doing squats or leg presses, each of my ankles and knees has particular points where I can feel and hear the tendons shift slightly. In fact, I'm slower about increasing my weights than purely based on muscle ability because the joints and tendons need far more time to fully strengthen to handle things.
BUT, the difference with this was it hurt after it popped. Not a sharp pain, but certainly no relief from the uncomfortable sensation.
Several times through the night I would wake up and instinctively be responding to the ache by flexing and rotating my ankle until it would "pop". I was able to walk on it, but it felt similar to how a mildly sprained ankle would feel and I was immensely careful about avoiding anything that would tilt my ankle in or out.
By mid-morning or whenever it was I posted my status, I went searching online (are you seeing a pattern in my responses to things?) about the tendons in the ankle. Now, I knew about the Achilles tendon, but the two that were snapping were not at the back. One felt like it was on the inside just behind the ankle bone and the other felt like it was on the right at the ankle bone.
I learned a little about them, though I have to admit the site I found (might have been a webmd page) was showing one that was dislocated and couldn't be returned to its correct position without surgery, said surgery the next pictures down the page.
I made the deliberate decision at that point to stop flexing and rotating my ankle. The way the first pictures of the tendon under the skin looked weren't how mine looked and the LAST thing I wanted was to make it worse enough to need surgery!
I think that made a lot of difference. It still felt achey as I headed to the gym. And, yes, even with it tweaking, I did head to the gym. HOWEVER, I moved my M, W, F strength-training to T, Th, Sat. I figured that I could try the Recumbent bike and if a couple minutes of that hurt in any way at all, I'd go use either the rower or the ergometer (arm-pedaling). Luckily, it was actually feeling okay enough to do my full time on the bike.
Changing socks after, I thought my ankle looked a little swollen, but couldn't tell if it actually was or I was just expecting it to be. I took side-by-side pics of my ankles after I got home to visually compare. It didn't look swollen in those.
I did, however, make a point of more Rest, Ice, and Elevation that night. By Tuesday it was feeling better - sensitive, but not aching any more. It was then that it clicked the likely cause. On Sunday I was wearing my heels after leaving the gym, dropped my stuff at home, then went right back out to the mall to get some more shirts. I spent a couple of hours wandering the mall, picked up a pair of flats but didn't think to change into them, and then the place where I got the shirts was packed and I stood in line for 15 or so minutes. By that point the balls of my feet were hurting and I was doing a lot of shifting to ease the pressure on them. I suspect I seriously overworked those stabilizing tendons in all that walking and standing, especially since outside of work last week I haven't worn heels in years.
Tuesday I was able to do most of my workout without a hitch - being extremely careful about form on any that required ankle stability. The calf raises were the only one that were just a no go at my normal weight, so I dropped it down and did it carefully. Today I was back to normal activity. In fact, I had a different tendon in the front of my opposite ankle snapping a little during those calf raises and making me do them very slow and careful.
Now, that is only the current tale of that ankle. This is the same ankle that I pretty seriously sprained when I was in my sophomore year in high school. I was on crutches a couple of days, then had some knee trouble add to the ankle still healing in the days after (probably over-compensated to ease pressure on the ankle). All that led up to a Dr.'s note that I wasn't supposed to jog or run and a P.E. class final of doing a mile in a maximum of 12 minutes for an A, 17 minutes for a D-. I got my first bad grade after trying the best I could and getting something like 18:12.
I've sprained the same ankle multiple times since, though never as badly. Instead, it's almost as though my ankle reacts defensively. The slightest imbalance of ground and instead of just twisting, it will completely collapse under me past a specific point. (This being one part of my klutziness - I fall easily, but thankfully I've learned to fall well.)
In the years since, I ice skated, roller-bladed, and did other things - all strengthening my ankle. But other than walking, until September of last year, I had let all of that pretty much slide for a few years. I honestly think if I hadn't been doing the strength training I've been doing, the result of that weekend on heels could have been more painful - so I'm thankful I only bought them somewhat recently. (I also won't be likely to be wearing them outside of work for a while. Obviously more strengthening is needed. But I'll get there.)
One thing this really does bring to my mind is just how closely I try to pay attention to how my body works. Instead of saying "that hurts", I try to pay attention to where it hurts, how it hurts, how much it hurts, under what conditions it hurts. Those are all good things to help in diagnosing the problem.
Which leads to a problem I have - self-diagnosing. Thus far I have been extremely lucky to have no injuries serious enough to need a doctor's review. Well, almost. My employer actually made me go to the doctor about the calf sprain I mentioned above, paying for the visit. (We had no medical insurance and I wasn't going to pay a doctor when it seemed, to me, to be getting better. The money was better spent on a reusable ice pack and compression bandage.) Turned out I was right, BUT it was very low Grade 2. The slightest bit worse and it could have needed different treatment than I was giving it.
But I've got another issue that I haven't been able to self-diagnose. The first time I had a gym membership, I remember having trouble with a couple of specific exercises. My left arm would hurt - not horribly, but enough that I wouldn't be able to put full force into the move. I compensated. Several years later, new gym, I'd compensated so well I didn't even think about the fact I avoided certain motions. Now, more than a decade later, which tells me it would have healed long ago if it was going to, I still compensate for it doing various weights.
What am I afraid of?
Well, arm strength has always been my weakness. Even in middle school doing weights (yeah, best P.E. class EVAR!) I could leg press 300+ but not do a pullup (I weighed less than 150) or a military pushup. Heck, I remember having trouble with the government fitness standard in 5th grade for a pullup or holding ourselves up for 30 seconds or longer.
When I think of me as fit as I'd like to be, that includes pullups and pushups.
But if this injury that I've compensated for hasn't healed in all this time, no matter how strong I can get my biceps and my deltoids and my pectorals, I may not be able to make the leap.
I don't ~think~ it's rotary cuff; that's up in the shoulder from what I've read. (Or maybe I'm deluding myself. The usual motions that can make it hurt are ones that involve shoulder pivots. And that shoulder will pop more than the other during motions.) This is in the upper arm, closer to the top than the bottom, but a couple/few inches below the lowest point of the shoulder joint. If I'm doing the Popeye flex to show my bicep and put a finger at the high point of the bulge, then circle my arm to the outside, it's in that area.
I just need to grit my teeth and schedule a preliminary doctor's visit to review concerns. Time to start writing each of the concerns down to make sure I don't forget anything.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
So many things going on. I initially was thinking to stuff them all in this blog, but it would be WAY too much. So first about my new toy! (My brother has labeled me JenniGeek now.)
Back in mid-April my SparkFriends noticed that I had submitted a photo of my refrigerator in the SparkPeople contest and was one of four that were featured. In that picture, only the middle shelf of the fridge and the top right of the freezer (including door) were my food. The fridge shelf below mine is often stocked with rather healthy food as well. (I'm always amused when he has similar veggies to my shelf.) The shelf above goes through odd mixes - sometimes just chilled water and a few restaurant leftovers, but he is family of the landlord/landlady, so I think he actually eats with them most of the time.
It was pretty fun taking the picture and seeing what is most visible in front. I didn't really, as I said, have any consideration about showing what was in there. Food isn't a good / bad, guilty / not guilty thing to me.
(In that same view, I keep my nutrition and fitness trackers displayed at all times. I don't do that for accountability. In my opinion, my body holds me far more accountable for what I eat at all times. There is no sneaking a bite and my body not knowing. I do it because why not? Some days I eat way over, some days I eat junk food, and other days I eat incredibly healthy - and I can show that eating what I please but in proper portions the majority of the time works for me.)
Connected to the Refrigerator feature in the DailySpark, I'd been notified a little before that my picture had been chosen and would be featured. I would be receiving a Kindle Fire as well as copies of The Spark, The Spark Cookbook, and the vegan eating cookbook. I didn't say anything at the time (though I know some asked or mentioned it) because I have this perhaps odd tendency to wait until I have something in my possession before considering it really mine.
It arrived on Monday at work to my happy "SQUEE!" and promptly was plugged in to charge. When I got home that night I set about figuring it out a little - part of which was finding out that yes, I had made an Amazon account even if I never used it, and registering it. (Hee, until I did that, it was actually registered to the SparkPeople employee who ordered it. Threw me for a loop when I got it connected to WiFi and received a welcome letter to Stepfanie.)
A bit of poking around and soon I had those three books downloaded and had bought another book I've been thinking about getting a copy of for years, since I took the seminar (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People).
I've read through the beginning of The Spark Cookbook and reached the recipes. Let's just say I'm putting that off until I can work through my negative reaction to feeling force-fed egg whites. I love the whole Diet Food Taste Test idea, BUT I never went for "diet" food in the first place. So the food isn't going to be competing against that - and in comparison to "normal" food, that makes these recipes "diet" food in my little gut reaction. (I am NOT claiming my reaction is rational. I know I have some messed up food issues. They just, thankfully, don't connect to portions or emotions and overeating.)
Hence my May goal to read the first chapter of The Spark. I'd read the intro a while back as a free download and reread it as the first thing I read on the Fire other than the manual.
Now, with my reading speed (100 wpm), I could finish the book in a couple days. I'm trying very hard not to do so. I want to let myself ponder and chew on ideas long enough to get the full flavor of them. I haven't done more than enter the codes. Even though I know there's a team, I need to keep from getting even more dispersed than I already am keeping up with blogs and Teams. But I'm definitely likely to talk about things in the future.
I do need to find and buy a case / cover for it. Even my own finger smudges on it make me antsy. The one office supply store I dropped by Monday didn't have any that would fit - they had ones for iPads and a few for others that were varying sizes, but none for the Fire. Barnes & Noble nearby only carries the Nook and accessories. For now I have it in this thin plastic that it shipped in but that's difficult to avoid reflections from in the sun. So I'm poking around to order a case or find out where I can go to get one (and if there's a similar protective sheet for the touch screen as my phone.)
JenniGeek in full effect!
** EDIT: For those who didn't see the refrigerator blog, here is the link.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
To try to answer why I'm making sodium a focus in my goals, first the reason why we often hear sodium levels talked about as a concern:
"High levels of sodium can cause the body to retain too much fluid. This can be harmful to people with high blood pressure or heart, liver or kidney diseases." That's from SparkPeople's own article Shakin' It Up with the Skinny on Salt. www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutriti
It is interesting to note that other than that, there isn't anything clearly stated to say why excess salt is bad for us - just a reference to the USDA recommendations that our need is 1,000 -3,300 mg daily.
And I'm nicely in that range, actually. My highest day exceed that by only about 300 mg and my normal range through the month was 1600-3000 mg. My goal for May is right about where I want my sodium range to sit normally. (I don't really have a problem with wanting things excessively salty. Even gaining weight, I was never a "must have fries with that" or "pour salt on my food" person. I only ever ordered fries when I was craving salt, usually my body's signal that I'd been drinking a lot of water and needed more balance.)
For me what the days I consume more sodium tend to reflect is the number of processed foods I've eaten. I have frozen dinners for lunch fairly often. Those can have 800-1000 mg of sodium. I used to have a cup of cottage cheese to boost my protein until I discovered it has 350-400 mg of salt added to it. Eating out is often a minefield of added sodium because so many places equate that with "enhancing flavor".
For me, eating healthier is all about balance.
I think of it like a jigsaw puzzle (or Tetris, being a gamer). My nutrient ranges are the borders of the area so I can see how much space things can take up. And the foods I choose are the pieces that I change in and out until I find the ones that fit together without spilling over.
What my sodium "limit" does to me is force me to think about and balance what I eat during a single day to include more natural foods - fruits and vegetables, meals I make rather than buy - with the processed foods. I'm also enjoying it because I am pickier about flavors. I want the flavors of the foods I eat to stand out because the FOOD is exceptional, not because it was salted enough to taste okay.
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