Tuesday, March 06, 2012
For the last week and a half, I have been getting severe headaches. I wake up with them and they don't go away all day no matter if I take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). They weren't related to dehydration (thanks to SP, I'm keeping track of how much water I drink) or caffeine-withdrawal (yeah, I know I should stop drinking coffee but I'm addicted). They were bad enough that I scheduled an appointment with an internist to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.
This was my first time I saw this doctor as I have recently switched PCPs and I have to say I really liked her. She took my medical history and we had a long conversation - a real, useful doctor-patient conversation. Of course by the time I see her today, I am asymptomatic. No headaches today so far and they've been tapering off since Friday. Based on everything so far, she thinks I might have had a viral infection. But I got bloodwork done too so I'll know if anything is being missed. I'm soooo looking forward to seeing my cholesterol results (I have a family history of high cholesterol so it's not going to be pretty). I had to fast before my bloodwork and I thought I was going to pass out by the time I left the office since I was sooo hungry.
Obviously diet and exercise questions are part of what the doctor had to ask me during my physical. And she was impressed when I told her that I do exercise 5X a week for 30 min each session. I told her about how much I'm eating, what I'm eating, and how much weight I've lost. She says everything I'm doing is right. I'm losing the right amount of weight at the right pace. I'm eating multiple small meals throughout the day. My exercise includes strength training. However, I might be eating too much right now and that I should really only need about 1200 calories per day. I'm probably losing weight still because I have net loss with exercise but she told me expect plateauing if I continue consuming what I am currently eating now. She also told me to incorporate more protein into my diet to prevent those feelings of hunger when I reduce my caloric intake.
I told her I was worried about not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals and she told me not to worry. Unless my bloodwork comes back really abnormal, I shouldn't worry about not eating enough potassium. "Your kidneys will adjust." I asked about taking a multi-vitamin supplement. She confirmed my suspicions: they really don't help as anything that isn't immediately absorbed is excreted. If I do have a deficiency, I should supplement, but only with that particular mineral. I don't need a multi-vitamin. The best way to get what I need is from food. True dat, doc, true dat.
Yeah, it sucks that by the time I see the doc, my symptoms have gone away but it's nice to hear from her that I'm doing right by my health. I'm already doing what she would have told me, which is "lose weight and exercise".
Monday, February 27, 2012
Today's daily Spark blog has a feature on the menu changes that Taco Bell is implementing. www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=som
ething_new_coming_south_of_the_border I thought this would be a good time for me to blog about how Taco Bell was a factor in my initial decision over 7 years ago to give up fast food.
I am certainly no saint when it comes to eating healthy and I used to be a regular fast food eater. As a graduate student, I worked long hours in the lab and would get home late. When I got home, I just wanted a quick hot meal. Enter fast food: conveniently located, not time-consuming, and cheap (always a good thing to a poor graduate student). However, since I would get home very late, there were few places that would be open. Taco Bell was one of them. Wendy's was the other (more on that later).
I regularly ate my dinner meals in the Taco Bell parking lot after 11 pm since the restaurant portion would no longer be open. Well, guess what? When it's late at night, the "wildlife" come out. There were 2 skunks and a raccoon who also regularly ate their dinner meals in the Taco Bell parking lot too. They ate the garbage that was thrown out by the restaurant. I know they ate Taco Bell regularly since I was also eating there regularly. I don't want to offend any skunks or raccoons out there but the only way to describe these animals was obese.
I had gained a significant amount of weight those first few years of grad school and seeing the obese skunks was very off putting. The skunks were getting fat because of the bad food they were eating. I was eating that same bad food. I realized that if I continued to eat the way I was eating, I was going to go the way of the skunks. Life is strange that way in that obese skunks became the mirror I could not avoid.
Even after I gave up Taco Bell, I didn't give up fast food completely. I had cut it out of my diet significantly but there were still those times when I would leave the lab at midnight and just wanted something, anything to eat. Enter Wendy's. After twice suffering from severe gastrointestinal distress (I will spare you the details) at two different Wendy's locations and with no one else also getting sick, I realized my body was no longer capable of eating fast food without getting severely sick. I can proudly say that it has been 5 years since I have willingly consumed fast food.
Friday, February 24, 2012
I decided back in December that I needed to (re)-lose the weight I gained during my honeymoon and the holidays. I thought it was awesome that SparkPeople issued a challenge for January (the January Jumpstart challenge) because it was the exact kind of thing that I needed to kick my butt back into gear.
The first week wasn't really all that hard since the challenge was only to do 10 min of cardio at least 5 times a week and although I am out of shape, I do walk nearly 45 min/day to and from work. However, as the challenge progressed, I had to do cardio for either longer time, more times per week, or more intense sessions. That was the hard part and actually, was the part I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the aspect of pushing myself harder. By the time I finished the Jumpstart challenge, I had lost 5 lbs and a half inch of my waist. And I was no longer busting out of my pants (that was the best part).
After the challenge ended, I decided to keep up with the goal I had set for myself during January Jumpstart: 30 min of cardio at least 5X a week. I was hoping that I could exceed the goal I had set for myself. I was hoping I could either do longer sessions or more times per week. As February progressed, I realized I was meeting my goals so I decided to set a new challenge for myself: 1500 minutes of cardio for the month.
Today I met that goal and I admit I feel very proud of myself for being able to challenge myself and then meet those challenges. I know there is still more work to do so for next month, I plan on exceeding my February minutes and am now aiming for 1750 minutes for March. I do strength training but I know I need to do more. I work out my upper body often but I need to incorporate more lower body and core strength training sessions. So for March, my goal is to do lower body and core at least 4X a week. I hope that at the end of March, I can once again say that I set challenges for myself and met them.
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