Friday, March 14, 2014
Recapping my week –
1) Had major neck issues Tues/Weds and couldn’t turn my head and therefore couldn’t really do much in the form of a workout. It was the worst it has been in a long time and I can’t figure out what I did to cause it. I know I should probably go back to PT but if I do, I’m thinking that I have find a new one which is a bit stressful. Finding new medical stuff never seems to be easy! But I’ve been getting more and more issues that I feel like I should probably get checked out before they get worse (ie. My knees popping with sharp pain – yikes).
2) I ate out on Wednesday. And by “eat out” I mean I ate chips and guacamole at a Mexican place while my bf ate worse. I tracked the chips and guac but still – not what I planned to cook and not very healthy.
1) Packed breakfast, lunch and snacks every day this week! Lettuce turkey wraps, hummus and cucumber, string cheese, etc. Turned down free doughnuts twice!
2) Cooked two new healthy recipes that got added to the “keeper” list (AKA very much approved!)
3) I did go out to eat with a friend last night, but I ordered a non-fried entrée and only ate half (versus the last time I was at that restaurant where I added fries and had a burger… like night and day!)
4) Still managed to hit my step goals 2 days this week and very close one other day. Even being sort of disabled! My new trick is to use the bathroom at work that is furthest from my desk. I’ve also started marching in place while I do silly things like fill my water bottle or brush my teeth.
5) Stopped off last night at a store and found two pairs of NICE normally expensive work pants (petites too!) for $15/piece – and in size 12. I’m trying not to be a bit bummed about that, afterall it is not my largest size by far, but I was almost comfortably down to an 8 before. I tried to remind myself that it’s a work in progress and for some people size 12 is their goal – it is NOT a terrible thing.
6) Drumroll please… this is a big one… I PAID OFF MY NEW CAR! With the events recently (taxes filing, raise, bonus, etc…) I was able to plunk down some cash and knock that one out. My bank account doesn’t look as fabulous anymore but I won’t have monthly payments anymore and now the car is all mine less than a year after I got it. Woo hoo!!!!!! I’m pretty darn proud of myself to be honest!
Going to try to be “good” this weekend in prep for our friends coming to visit next week. Hopefully the weather actually does improve for tomorrow so I can get some outside activity in, and then I have a lot of food and crafty prep stuff to do for next week. I am going to force myself to try that bridesmaids dress on again. I’m terrified (what if it’s worse?!) but I need to face it. Gotta tackle things head on right?!
Overall I’m pretty proud of myself for this week. It wasn’t perfect, but I tried and didn’t throw in the towel. I’m still feeling like I’m on a better path and like things are grooving for the first time in a while. Yay! TGIF!
Monday, March 10, 2014
I came down with… I don’t know… some sort of stomach bug last week. Woke up really early on Thursday feeling terrible, had to call out of work, fell asleep on the couch around 9am and woke up nearly at 2pm confused where I was. I think my body must have needed some down time. I ended up going to bed early that night too and the next day I barely recognized myself – haven’t had that much sleep in years!
Friday I had dinner with my old coworkers. We went to sushi – which normally I can eat 2-3 rolls and still be hungry. Friday I had 1 and had tummy pain after, probably lingering bug problems. But I didn’t drink anything or go crazy!
Saturday my bf and I went for a walk in the sunshine and ate outside at a new little café. I got a veggie wrap with hummus & feta, no chips. We went grocery shopping and then I came home to open up all of the windows and do some major cleaning. It felt good!
Yesterday I woke up and was so happy to see the sun again that I did 10 sun salutations. I used my new Pampered Chef toys to whip up my egg muffins and Moroccan chicken in the slow cooker, which we ate over couscous (side note: couscous is like the glitter of grains. It gets everywhere!) Danced around the kitchen. I did some fun “me” things – brought out my viola, put on the new strings I got for xmas, gave it a whirl. I can still read the notes and play. Did 45 minutes of DDR which left me quite sweaty but felt good! Overall a pretty good day.
Daylight Savings has me a bit thrown off. Had a hard time falling and staying asleep last night, had some weird dreams about Jeff Bridges, and then my alarm went off and it was dark as night outside. I was a little disoriented! Traffic was surprisingly light this morning so maybe everyone else missed their alarms and I was actually better off? Hah.
I brought my sneakers today because it was supposed to be warm and walkable outside but it looks like it really wants to rain instead. Wah. Getting caught in the rain in work clothes is not the same as street clothes so I’m not as willing to risk it. Guess I will do a video when I get home. Something is better than nothing, right?! Just ate my lettuce wrapped turkey and baked lays for lunch. I had my first one on one with my new boss this morning and right off the bat it was an immense improvement from my last boss/situation. Feeling really good today!
Trying to keep a little bit of momentum this week. New 311 album comes out tomorrow! It is nearly spring, I have a fresh start in my career, why not give my body some good stuff too?! Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I get emails from a thyroid advocacy group and today’s post was extremely relevant. It addresses the question “How do you explain to family/friends/colleagues what you’re going through with your thyroid problems?” The job one also hit home especially because of my coworker who loves on commenting on my eating habits (“such a good eater, you’d think you’d be tiny!” etc) Sometimes I feel so isolated, or almost crazy, because I feel exactly how this post describes and when I try to articulate it, it sounds a bit nuts. Or I don’t think it will be believed. And it often feels like I’m the only one in this boat. Point being – I want to share this to you guys just in case you or someone you love has thyroid problems. They are real, I live them every day, and just one helpful spark of support would mean so much to us! I thought this article REALLY described what it is like to be me.
The job-related article can be found here: http://thyroid.about.com/od/Empowered-Pati
-Boss-Has-Thyroid-Disease.htm I’m summarizing it below. I included this one instead of the friends one because I thought it made such great points about how an office should accommodate thyroid patients and I thought it might explain some of my need for BALANCE in life:
Someone you work with has thyroid disease. You may not know much about thyroid problems, but I imagine, like many of us, you've heard things here and there. If anything, you may associate the thyroid with symptoms like weight problems, or think it's an excuse people use for being overweight. Or, you may have someone among your family or friends who is taking thyroid medication -- usually Synthroid -- and they seem to be doing fine, and don't have what you think are signs of thyroid disease, so you assume thyroid disease is similar for most patients.
There are many dimensions to thyroid disease, and while the whole picture is far greater than I can cover in a letter, I'll do my best to give you a brief overview of what your colleague is facing.
The thyroid is our master gland of metabolism and energy. Every single bodily function that requires oxygen and energy -- basically, everything that goes on in the body -- requires thyroid hormone in proper amounts. That means we need the proper balance of thyroid hormone in order think clearly, to remember things, to maintain a good mood, to have basic energy to get through the day, to see well, and much more. Think about thyroid hormone as the gasoline that makes the car go. If there's no gas, there's no way to move forward……
If your colleague is hypothyroid, they are dealing with different challenges. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid is underactive, isn't producing enough of the energy and oxygen-delivering thyroid hormone. This is like trying to get somewhere with barely enough gas and feet that can't reach the gas pedal.
If your colleague is hypothyroid, he or she may be feeling sluggish and tired, and exhausted all the time. Think about the worst flu you've ever had, and how tired, and achy and exhausted you felt. Now imagine waking up every day feeling like that, but having to get up, and drag yourself into work feeling that way. Depression -- or feeling blue -- is common in hypothyroidism, as are memory problems and being fuzzy-brained -- we patients call it "brain fog." Your colleague may also look different; some common thyroid signs include the loss of the outer half of the eyebrows, thin/dry/coarse hair, hair loss, puffy face and eyelids, and weight gain. Your colleague may be the healthiest eater at the office, or the one who eats the least and works out the most, and yet be unable to lose weight. He or she might even be gaining weight on that program.
So what many thyroid patients have in common is living in a world that overlooks, downplays, poorly treats -- and sometimes even makes fun of -- their condition. Magazine articles, books by doctors, patients brochures in doctors offices -- and doctors themselves -- insist simplistically that thyroid disease is "easy to diagnose, easy to treat" -- even though patients know that this is far from the truth.
As for "easy to diagnose," your colleague may have even struggled for years to get diagnosed -- to get taken seriously -- in the first place. Doctors regularly misdiagnose hyperthyroid patients as having an eating or anxiety disorder, and hypothyroid patients as having stress, depression, PMS, menopause, or "laziness." Worse yet are the truly unsympathetic physicians that we all too frequently encounter in thyroid care. Like the marathon runner with hypothyroidism who was in training, on a strict diet, and still gaining weight and was told by her doctor that she had "fork in mouth disease." Or the endocrinologist who discourages patients from speaking up, and instead tells them they must do what he says, because, "I'm the doctor, you're the patient."
There are advertisements and comedians who use the words "thyroid problem" as the not-so-secret code to describe someone who is fat. And there's a whole realm of scam artists out there trying to sell us cockamamie Thyro-this and Thyro-that "cures" for thyroid disease that in many cases can make things a whole lot worse -- or at best, not help at all.
Even Oprah admitted she had a thyroid problem, then claimed it went away, then said she had it but it wasn't an excuse for her weight gain, then decided not to get treatment, and continues to struggle with her health issues. And perhaps saddest of all, there are friends, relatives and coworkers who say "I don't buy this thyroid disease thing, it's just an excuse for not losing weight" or "Thyroid? Hah! She's just lazy!" Or, "Why can't he just get OVER it and get back to normal?" Husbands criticize their wives for gaining weight. Teenagers whisper behind a friend's back about anorexia. Coworkers complain that their colleague is "lazy."
Once we're diagnosed, treatment is not an easy fix for many thyroid patients. Doctors try to rush hyperthyroid patients into permanently disabling the thyroid with a radioactive treatment that will make them hypothyroid for life. Even then, many doctors believe there is only one medication to treat hypothyroidism -- a medication that does not resolve symptoms for all patients. When patients learn about other available options, doctors may stonewall, refuse additional treatments, or push antidepressants, cholesterol medications, weight loss pills and more, instead of addressing the thyroid issues.
In the end, the conventional medical establishment believes that treatment for thyroid problems is for the most part one-size-fits-all. This cavalier attitude means that many thyroid patients struggle for years to live and feel well, despite being diagnosed and "treated."
Not every job can accommodate it, but when you are in a position to do so, some of the things you can do to help the thyroid patient in your workplace include:
• Allowing for part-time or full-time tele-work or telecommuting / work-from-home
• More flexible working hours in general
• Half-day Fridays
• Access to workout facilities onsite
• A nap room
• On-site daycare
• Healthier foods in the workplace (cafeteria, vending, healthy catered lunches, healthy snack cart, etc.)
• More comprehensive health coverage (especially plans that cover some or all holistic and complementary medical care)
• Flexible spending accounts / medical savings accounts - so patients can use money on supplements, vitamins, and holistic health services
In a world where thyroid patients are disregarded, overlooked, misdiagnosed, abused, exploited, mocked, and ignored -- it's important to be a colleague who truly "gets it" for the thyroid patients in your workplace. As a colleague, you can be the person who understands that while thyroid disease may not be visible, it is causing your colleague(s) to suffer.
You can be the person who understands that even though celebrities aren't constantly talking about thyroid disease, and sports figures aren't wearing bracelets to promote thyroid awareness, that this is a genuine, difficult, and life-changing diagnosis. You can be the colleague who listens and learns about the struggles and challenges. You can be the colleague who empowers the thyroid patients in your workplace.
Thyroid Patient Advocate
Monday, March 03, 2014
SO… my first official day in my new “role” is a work from home snow day. Okay! We’ve got a few inches, but it fell over ice and it is continuing to fall so pretty much everyone is at home today. I have a three hour training class this afternoon that thankfully was already webbased, but I know that means I won’t be moving around much today. Already did one round of shoveling and I have a feeling that is going to be most of the “activity” that gets tracked today! Made some scrambled eggs for the BF & I for breakfast and have forced myself away from the kitchen and upstairs in the office. It still hasn't really sunk in yet that I've been promoted and my situation has changed. I've always struggled with taking compliments but at the same time I'm also pinching myself to make sure this is real!
Here is a little recap of the past few weeks, as far as my health/wellness/fitness is concerned:
- Two of my daily meds have changed. One by choice, one the prescription company sent me a different manufacturer. The doc said I could experience up to a 90 day adjustment period on both of them. Seeing as how both affect my thyroid and metabolism, she said not to be surprised if I struggle there too. Awesome. So I have pretty much lost a whole whopping pound in the past month. I know I could have been doing way more exercise, but it still feels like… wow, a whole stinkin’ pound.
- Since starting the first med, my stomach has been really disruptive… or maybe just not even working right at all. It is finally starting to get a bit better but I actually have not been eating that much because it seems like food doesn’t digest anymore and I’m avoiding pain by avoiding overeating. I’ve also ridiculously cut down on booze for the same reason. Which brings me back to the… “A whole stinkin’ pound?!” I spent most of the fall eating whatever and drinking a beer or two like every night so I thought for sure cutting that would do SOMETHING!
- I have been cooking bangin’ meals! I make my egg “muffins” every Sunday for the week’s breakfasts and it is working SO well. They fill me up so much that I’ve skipped my usual morning snack many times. I’ve been making big batches of veggie soup on Sundays to have for lunches. I’ve been packing raw veggies, almonds, or string cheese for snacks. My BF has actually been bragging about the dinners I have been making. Food wise – I think I am doing really well!
- It is just the exercise area that sucks. Some of it is work related exhaustion, some of it is mental, some of it is because it was dark and freezing. A lot of nights if I could get home and do 20 minutes of yoga I’d pat myself on the back. I was working crazy hours and dealing with that insane boss and it rubbed off on this area the worst of them all.
Speaking of, last Friday was my “last day” in that job and working for her – and she had me at work until 7pm. My BF said I should have just left but what he didn’t realize is that she had me cornered, in my office, she was WITH me, so I had no choice. In her claws ‘til the very last! I worked a 12 hour day that day, straight through lunch as well, so Friday night I was EXHAUSTED. I never ever do this, and I STILL regret it several days later, but I stopped at Wendys to pick up dinner on the way home. I didn’t even eat all of it and I felt TERRIBLE all night afterwards, mentally and physically. My mind and body rejected it. It was a SOLID reminder of how I have changed and I do not live that lifestyle anymore. It really is true – after a while of eating well, your body changes and doesn’t want that anymore. I wish my brain could play catch up (I think it still remembers the “good” taste and tried tricking me…) but right afterwards my brain was like “NOPE!” Just took a little jolt to remember that. And then my brain went quickly into that regret spirals “You can’t fit in that bridesmaids dress! You only lost a pound! Now you feel terrible, look what you’ve done!” so that wasn’t good either.
Saturday my BF and I went to get crabs to celebrate everything and yesterday I went to a baby shower where I mildly indulged (an amazing cupcake… sigh). I’m looking ahead to this week and I have three dinners out in a row. I’m not quite sure how this happened. I guess a bunch of friends had a bunch of things going on all at the same time. I normally try to space this out much more. I’m just going to try to be extra mindful of my choices, limit alcohol as much as possible, and have fun while seeing my friends!
At this point in time, I still don’t fit in that dress and I still haven’t lost much weight. I’m trying not to feel like a failure after all of this. I know I have done really well with parts of this stuff and that I could also be doing more.
Which brings me to…. Dun dun dun… My “Plans”!
Continue to make egg muffins, maybe explore alternatives to the soup lunches as the weather warms up (any make ahead lunches ideas out there Sparkland?!) and continue with cooking dinner. I recently bought myself pretty much a new kitchen from Pampered Chef which was supposed to arrive today (let’s see if UPS can make it through the snow) and it makes me so excited to get cooking! I will continue to abstain from booze during the week with the exception of special occasions and in those cases I MUST track it to count it.
My coworker challenged me through our work activity tracker system to “Most Steps in March” – loser buys the other chipotle. I think it is a little unfair of a setup, as she has a dog and therefore naturally takes more walks, but it is a little nagging in my brain to know that it’s out there and I should be taking more steps. SO I cleaned out my gym bag that I haven’t touched since Thanksgiving. With my new role, I am hopeful that I at least can get some more walking time in at the gym on lunches at least 3 days a week. I hope to no longer have to work through lunch every day. I am not going to force myself into a full blown sweat session, but SOME activity is better than none. I may never be a runner, but that doesn’t mean I can’t walk. Speaking of - I also have a growing group of interested ladies at work for a walking club when the weather warms up. I might try to make that official! And hopefully the weather cooperates soon. AND I want to work out at least one weekend day. No more of this lazy bones nonsense. OH and keep up the 20/20/20, maybe even expanding it somehow… 20/20/20/20+ or 40/40/40 perhaps?!
Continue trying to get these meds adjusted. I might finally bite the bullet and try to go back to chiro/PT. I quit, quite frankly, because it was costing too much money. But I have seen a steady decline in my neck and back. I think I need to at least go once a month, even if it costs an arm and a leg. I am also working up a concoction of vitamins – just gotta keep remember to keep taking them lol.
Bedtime yoga is really helping. I think I do sleep better. I am feeling very hopeful that the changes at work will result in improved mental health. I can already tell that my new boss is a whole different ballgame. I also want to keep scheduling more special events such as dinners with friends, date nights with BF, classes, etc so that I avoid any ruts and also try not to feel guilty if any of these things deviate a bit from a meal plan. If I cook at home most nights, eat my packed food, a little time out is NOT the end, right?! I tend to get very focused on perfection so I want to swing more towards the 80/20 rule.
All that being said, I’m feeling like I’ve been given a fresh start here. New role, new season, new chance to fire up all of my engines. And that feels really really good. Wow that is a long blog isn't it? Cheers!
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