MARCIAC10's SparkPeople Blog MARCIAC10's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community End of 2014, Beginning of 2015 I ended 2014 with Shingles. Not a great way to end the year, but better than 2013 when I ended the year with histoplasmosis and a lengthy hospital stay! <BR> Shingles for me started with itching on the back of my neck. I had been walking the dogs daily and thought I had been bitten by a mosquito or something (we have a lot of bugs here!!). The next day that area was burning. And I had pain, all on the left side of my neck. Years ago I had damaged the disc on the left side of my neck and ... Thu, 1 Jan 2015 14:52:30 EST Recap of My Life so Far I am going to try to blog a bit more. It helps me to put my thoughts down on virtual paper! <BR> Thanksgiving week was a wonderful week. The Monday of that week our house closing took place and we were so glad to have sold our former house! Also that day DD got a job offer, her second, and for the job she really wanted. <BR> <BR> Thanksgiving dinner was small but nice. Just DH, DD, and me. Ham (DH doesn't eat poultry), turkey breast, dressing, green bean casserole, gravy and rolls, and... Fri, 5 Dec 2014 10:57:01 EST First of Dec: Recap of November Nov. 1: Weight 161.2 pounds <BR> Dec. 1: 156.7 pounds <BR> <BR> 4.5 pounds gone in November <BR> <BR> August 18th I weighed 176.7 pounds! <BR> 20 pounds gone now!! <BR> <BR> Not bad at all. <BR> <BR> Plan: eating low carb. I love eating low carb and getting to eat fats again. After years of eating low fat, heart healthy diets which had little impact on my health, I'm seeing weight loss and have gotten to stop taking blood pressure medicine for the first time in over 10 years! That fe... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 09:16:38 EST End of Oct. Recap Oct. 1: Weight 166 <BR> Oct. 31: Weight 161.4 <BR> <BR> Total loss: 4.6 pounds (15 pounds lost since Aug 1st) <BR> <BR> Exercise: 30 a day most days <BR> Diet: none. Eating low carb instead. Under 30 carbs right now. Basically Phase 1 Atkins with some Phase 2 at times. Not quite ready to go into Phase 2 full time. <BR> <BR> I'm just saying it works for me and I've never felt better. Was able to stop taking blood pressure meds. <BR> <BR> Reading: Why We Get Fat and What To Do Abou... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:55:50 EST New Research: Eat More Fat <link><BR>re-fat-54828? </link> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:05:56 EST The cats, my low carb, For a nonworking person I sure have had a busy week! <BR> Diabetic cat has been the most work this week, starting insulin shots, figuring out how to feed him separately in a way that doesn't stress him, taking him to the vet to check his glucose levels. Taking other cat with UTI in for a recheck today to find there is still blood in her urine, getting a different antibiotic for 10 days and then a recheck. Taking DD's dog in Monday for a check on her glaucoma (very improved) and forgetting... Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:44:12 EST Monday Aqua Exercise: <BR> The temps outside were low 60s when I left the house, which felt a bit chilly to me. The pool was heated but the air above was not, even though it's an inside pool. I felt chilled every time the upper part of my body was out of the water!! The temperatures here seem to stay cooler longer before heating up during the day, in comparison to Baton Rouge. And I'm not sure I will be able to keep doing the pool as the weather cools down, as I'm going to be adapting to a bit ... Tue, 7 Oct 2014 09:11:20 EST Adjusting to DD living at home DD returned home after two years overseas in the Peace Corps. She arrived home at the very first of September and spent a couple of days here then left for a "tour" of the southeast/midwest, visiting friends and family. After a month of travel she is back home. She is also job hunting and while on her travels spent time in DC networking, attending a job fair, etc as she has noncompetive status for a year for federal jobs. So we hope that she gets a job!!! In the meantime she is with us,... Mon, 6 Oct 2014 09:05:48 EST End of September 2014 Sept. 1st I weighed 171.5 <BR> Sept. 30 I weigh 166.5 <BR> <BR> Total loss: 5 pounds (10 pounds lost since Aug 1st) <BR> <BR> What have I done differently? Low carb. <BR> <BR> Low carb is basically more protein, veggies, a fat. No simple carbs. Right now my carb intake is below 30. And I'm not hungry. I cook. I keep a couple of Atkins meals (breakfast ones) on hand for emergencies) and I do use his shakes for one meal a day, since I'm not usually hungry. So if I do a shake for brea... Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:46:25 EST Yoga I have never been a very flexible person!! I started yoga years ago, taking classes first, then dropping out after awhile due to time constraints. Years would go by then I would try again. I found some great podcasts a few years back for yogadownload and enjoyed renewing my yoga sessions with those and took a few more classes, which I loved, but again, driving across town (big city) to take an hour class meant over a 2 hour time commitment for a class which was not doable on a regular basi... Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:47:00 EST Aqua Yoga Our aqua instructor started doing aqua yoga this semester on Wednesdays and I like it. It's a nice change from the aqua exercise classes on the other days! She does it in the morning and evening and I find I like the evening class best as it's a great way to end the day! <BR> <BR> I went yesterday and there was a young woman there getting in the pool when I was, we were pretty much the only ones at that time. She asked me how hard the class was and I said not hard. Well, it really isn't,... Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:07:51 EST Midweek Update: Low carb going well I took a one day break from low carb yesterday! I said I would not let it interfere with any special events and I had one yesterday. <BR> <BR> I was invited to a fund raiser luncheon in this new small town I live in. My ticket was already paid for by the realtor we used when we bought our house. So I went and sat at their table with their administrative assistant and her friend and two other women. It was a big to-do with a silent auction. I worked the luncheon like this when I was in M... Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:10:18 EST No longer obese I lost 20 pounds going low carb last summer. Then during Thanksgiving, when we found out we were being transferred, and Christmas and then the long months of living away from DH and house hunting and finally moving, then the big arthritis flare up and my back going out big time, plus three big summer trips, I gained back the 20 pounds and totally got back to junk food and carbs. <BR> <BR> So in reviewing the pattern of my weight loss and gain I realized it was time to go back to the low c... Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:46:36 EST Sat. Life goes on: Diabetic cat and 5% Fall Challenge Low carb is going well. I'm not as strict as I should be, so my weight is holding steady but I'm cooking and eating much better than before low carb. I need to get back into my evening walks, which have been hit or miss in the last two weeks due to lots of different things. And aqua exercise starts back this week (was on hiatus since it follows the University's schedule). So I should make some progress this next week. <BR> <BR> My elderly dog seems to be doing well on the heart meds. Sh... Sat, 6 Sep 2014 16:15:45 EST Physical Therapy I got a call from the Physical Therapy place in town and started today. So much happier, not only to be a 5 minute drive away instead of a 45 minute drive, but the PT guy was so much nicer! He stayed with me the whole time, only left when I was doing exercises, unlike the other guy who kept getting interrupted and didn't seem all that focused on me. And this guy did a more thorough assessment, including measurements of my range of motions using not only visual but a measurement tool on occ... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:41:59 EST Tuesday TidBits (Low carb, PT, Aging Pets) Low Carb is going well. I'm getting back in the hang of shopping for produce and protein and cooking more! That's what I found when I did Atkins last year, I ended up cooking a lot and eating a lot of veggies!! So I am eating a much healthier diet now than the past 8 months. About time! My fridge is stocked with veggies and I have some in my freezer, too, as back up. I have frozen fish and chicken (hard to find fresh fish here) and eggs and cheese, sausage and bacon. Had some ground b... Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:10:36 EST Sat: Update on my Low Carb progress Low carb is making progress. <BR> <BR> I'm not totally low carb yet but am eating much less than I was! Today will be the lowest carb day for me yet! Had dinner out last night and DH ordered a pretzel appetizer. They looked so good but I resisted. I ordered the salmon with potatoes and spring vegetables and asked them to leave off the potatoes and double up the veggies, which they did. Now, the spring veggies included peas, which are a higher carb veggie and not allowed when you start a... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:42:00 EST Visit to Rheumatologist and other odds and ends Went to Shreveport Tuesday to see the Rheumatologist. He discussed my arthritis issues and the possibilities of me having to go back on a biologic meds despite me telling him I can never take those again due to my history with histoplasmosis. My GI doctor had brought up putting me back on this stuff, too. Thank goodness my internist listens to me, as my Infectious Disease Specialist (who I no longer see) had told me firmly that I could never go back on those meds. <BR> <BR> Anyway, he x... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:20:33 EST Fall 5% Challenge: Sign Up Now!! <link><BR>ndividual.asp?gid=63518 </link> <BR> <BR> Fall 5% Challenge: a challenge where we aim to lose 5% of our weight during the 8 weeks of the Challenge. <BR> <BR> Do you like team work? <BR> Can you log your exercise minutes every day on your team's Challenge thread? <BR> Can you also log your Living The Good Life points every day on the same thread? (These LTGL's change each week, more in a bit about them). <BR> Can you weigh in each week and po... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 18:06:54 EST Summer 5% Challenge Wrap Up It's been an interesting challenge for me! I rejoined the 5% Challenge in the Spring after a bit of a break (almost a year, half of which I was either seriously ill or recovering). In the midst of the Spring 5% Challenge we moved out of state. In fact the week it started was the week before the move. I found it very challenging to work out during that challenge as the move set off a major arthritis flare up and my back went out. I ended up just over a pound higher than I started. <BR> ... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:54:08 EST Travels in Croatia: The End We drove the two hours to Zagreb and located a parking garage about a 10 minute walk from the Flower Square in the city where the apartment we rented for the night was located. Airbnb, you are so good! A two bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, with everything close enough to walk to, I mean right outside the door, and yet set just off the square so a bit quiet, for the price of one hotel room! And the hostess let my DD leave her luggage with her the next day as I had an early fligh... Mon, 4 Aug 2014 19:52:15 EST Travels in Croatia: Plivicka Jezera National Park We drove the 5 hour drive from Dubrovnik to Plivicka. This time the border crossings went faster, due to us leaving in the morning before the roads became too busy. One note on the roads in Croatia: they are in much better shape than the roads in America! Even the two lane highways are in good shape. When not on the two lane highways we took the toll road, four lanes, like an interstate highway. Drivers in Croatia are very courteous, like drivers in Germany. On four lane roads you drive i... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 16:26:01 EST Travels in Croatia: Dubrovnik We left for Dubrovnik, about a 3 hour drive if I remember correctly, mainly along a winding two lane highway on the coastline with beautiful views of the mountains and of the sea. We had to cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina, which took a little time, then after a short drive, crossed back into Croatia. That border crossing took longer as the line of cars was much longer. <BR> <BR> Dubrovnik is a smaller city than Split. We found our apartment and parked our car with help of o... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:30:31 EST Travels in Croatia: Split First let me recommend We used this site to book our stays in apartments in Croatia and got nice places to stay, two bedrooms, kitchen, family room, washing machines in bathroom, for the same price as a hotel room. At least in Croatia this was the case! Travel in Croatia is cheaper at this time than in other parts of Europe and it is a gorgeous country! <BR> <BR> We flew into Zagreb and rented a car and my daughter drove. Being overseas for almost two years (and only home tw... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:58:57 EST Travels: Part 2 More on Macedonia After visiting the Islamic Monastery we traveled to the Monastery of Lesok, just outside of Tetovo. This Monastery is Catholic, so we had the experience of two totally different styles of monasteries. My DD had attended a wedding at this historic monastery a couple of weeks prior, the wedding of a friend's sister, and while we were in the new church we saw part of the wedding decorations left from that wedding. <BR> <img src=""> <B... Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:14:15 EST Trip to Macedonia: Travel and Arrival and First Impressions This was my fourth trip overseas and it never gets easier! The long flight overseas is hard, crammed in a plane with a bunch of strangers for 8 or more hours with a limited number of bathrooms, narrow aisles to walk up and down when the flight attendants don't have them blocked with the food/drink carts, and in my case twitching legs that about drove me crazy! I managed to nap in spurts, was lucky with my seat mate, a nice young woman, and we lucked out in earning a second pillow due to my ... Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:22:34 EST Sweatin' to the Oldies 2 Now that my back and knee have recovered from the latest arthritis flareup, I decided to supplement my aqua wellness class with some workouts at home. I have exercises I can do at home, but I wanted something to add some cardio. <BR> <BR> My daughter sent me some YouTube links to some Yoga vidoes to try. I have some longer ones on my iPad, but these shorter ones are pretty good and have some that are tailor made for me (very stiff hips, etc). I mean, I can't even sit cross-legged on the... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:32:00 EST Follow up to my Dr. Oz blog Great editorial letter from the Food Safety News about Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola <BR> <BR> <link><BR>r-from-the-editor-dr-oz-takes-a-beatin<BR>g/#.U6bq4xYtq24 </link> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:44:05 EST Aqua Class I went to the evening class for a change and it was much more of a workout than the morning class. I ached a bit last night, which was good, but don't feel sore this morning. I think for the rest of the summer I'll do the Monday morning slower class, then do the Tuesday and Thursday evening faster paced class. <BR> <BR> In addition to getting to workout three days a week, I also get to know more people since I'm new in town. So that works out great for me! <BR> <BR> No I'm thinking I'd... Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:00:50 EST Updates on my life Tues. <BR> The detached apartment's ac broke: waiting for the repairman to come, which should be in a bit. <BR> Woke up fighting off a migraine and I think I'm winning the battle! <BR> Have already gone outside in the heat and pruned some bushes. The azaleas in the front yard were as high as my shoulders and over run with vines so after DH bought me a cordless hedge trimmer this weekend I started pruning them. Decided to go after them again today. They are about chest high now and a lot ... Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:51:05 EST Dr. Oz versus Spark People: my humble opinion Dr. Oz was called before the Senate today for a hearing. <BR> <BR> "I am concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers,” Sen. Claire McCaskill scolded Dr. Oz during the hearing. <BR> <BR> About time. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>dr-oz-effect-senators-scold-mehmet-oz-<BR>diet-scams-n133226 </link> <BR> <BR> He has a platform (his tv show and the media) to use to help people in an honest and good way, an... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:36:49 EST Two months in AR, Summer 5%, and Photography It's three weeks since my back went out and I've made great progress. The aqua wellness class is great for me! I overdid it a bit Monday I think. Got up Tuesday and felt that shoot of pain in the back and was very stiff for awhile on getting up: overworked muscles. So later in the morning I took a walk, which maybe I shouldn't have done, and took a short nap, as allergies had kept me up for two nights, and on rising from the nap my right knee tendon was painful. Big sigh!! Had to put th... Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:34:35 EST Getting back to normal Three aqua wellness classes this past week left me with some soreness from working out muscles that haven't been worked out in a bit! But the class is just what I need. And my knee and back are getting better, although I still have to be careful about how I move at times. I have a lot of stiffness on getting up so that is a danger time for my back, and going up and down steps and making sudden turns are danger times for my right knee. Slow and steady!! <BR> <BR> But I'm back to getting h... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 15:31:10 EST Wed. and second Water Wellness Class Had my second Water Wellness Class today. Enjoyed it a lot. No back or knee pain during it today. We even did some Tai Chi in the water!! I've been doing Tai Chi here at home for awhile so really enjoyed that. Instructor said we'd do some yoga poses, too soon. <BR> <BR> Electricity: off and on at the house today. I hope they have it fixed now as the temps have been hot! Thank goodness for the trees around our house, those tall pine trees help keep the house from getting too hot. Our ... Wed, 4 Jun 2014 20:01:51 EST Monday and back in Arkansas after DC trip I had a good time on my trip to DC. <BR> Recap: <BR> Arrived early Thursday morning :( due to flight delays due to weather. <BR> Stayed at Dupont Circle Hotel <BR> Escorted son to his medical appt. which was the main purpose of my visit. <BR> Afterwards he returned to my hotel room and took a nap as he was sleepy from the anesthesia and had a headache from before the procedure, probably a migraine. Slept until a late afternoon dr. appt after which we had dinner at a Greek restaurant: ... Mon, 2 Jun 2014 15:26:16 EST Tuesday update Visit with internist: This was a follow up visit. My labs were all good from last time. He wants me to stay on the statins but agreed to let my lower my BP meds from 100 to 50 mg. I was on 50 mg for quite a few years until I got the histo and then after that had to move up to the 100 mgs, so now that my bp is doing well and I'm healthy again I feel it's time to drop back down to the lower dose. <BR> <BR> My back was really stiff by the time I got to his office first thing this morning. I... Tue, 27 May 2014 16:13:23 EST Active & Less Active Spark Teams or How to Find A Great Team! Have you ever joined a Spark team only to find out that it's not very active? What a disappointment!! Or joined a Spark Team and tried to join in on the conversation and wasn't included? And found that other than the conversation there really wasn't much else happening on that team? <BR> <BR> Click the link below and read about the 2014 Summer 5% Challenge and why these Challenge teams stay fresh and exciting! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.... Mon, 26 May 2014 18:03:47 EST 2014 Summer 5% Challenge: Come on and Join Us! Click the link to join the 5% Summer 5% Challenge. This challenge has something for everyone, no matter what fitness level you are at present. Just log your exercise minutes and LTGL points daily on your teams Challenge thread. That's it! Oh, and weigh in weekly. LTGL, by the way, is Living the Good Life and it changes weekly. It can be tracking food, making "me" time each day, drinking water, etc. All LTGL are designed to instill healthy habits to further your journey to a healthier l... Sun, 25 May 2014 20:18:23 EST Sat. Back pain slowly improving and Spring 5% Challenge coming to and end Back is slowly improving. It's been frustrating, to say the least! Doing my back exercises and taking very slow walks around the yard has been the extent of my workouts for the past week. So I haven't logged very many minutes or mileage and haven't lost my 5% weight with this challenge. I even put back on a pound or two this past week, being so much more inactive than normal. <BR> <BR> But I keep checking in with my team and logging what few points I have and I have done most of the LTGL... Sat, 24 May 2014 18:47:51 EST Wed. Back on pain meds After bragging about how my back was getting better I ended Tuesday evening in a lot of pain! By 8:30 I was ready for a pain pill!! So this morning I decided to take another one and it has helped me get through the day without all the aches and stabbing pains and stiffness. A week from today I'm flying to DC so I have to be in better shape than I am today. So I did my back exercises and kept to very light activity today: no overdoing and making things worse by straining the back! <BR> <BR> Wed, 21 May 2014 17:41:44 EST Tuesday Things are improving. Was less stiff and achy this morning. Took a slow walk late in the morning, very slow! Came home and rested. Did some gentle stretching exercises this afternoon after a nap. Haven't done a lot around the house, other than laundry and cooking meals. Enjoyed time out in the backyard this afternoon with the dogs. <BR> The dogs: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> My backyard: <BR> <img src=" Tue, 20 May 2014 18:26:52 EST Monday Blues Had back pain again on Sunday. Lived on pain pills all day. Enjoyed having DH home for the first time in a week. <BR> <BR> Did the slow roll out of bed maneuver to keep the back from hurting this morning. That's the worse thing, when you can't get up or down quickly without the stabbing pain! But I was able to fix breakfast without the annoying pain so decided to skip the pain pill (narcotic kind) and stick with ibuprofen. Made it through the day! <BR> <BR> I do think this is all tie... Mon, 19 May 2014 22:04:26 EST Sat. Today is my DD's 26th birthday. She is currently overseas finishing her second year with the Peace Corps, serving in Macedonia. <BR> <BR> My back got worse during the night so I have been on pain pills since last night and minimal activity. Have done some simple back exercises from the Mackenzie Back exercises that my orthopedist gave me to do and hope to add a few more exercises tomorrow. It's not much fun when getting out of bed in the morning is difficult to do without the stabbing ba... Sat, 17 May 2014 20:49:00 EST Friday Had a nice chat with my DS Thursday evening about my trip to visit him in DC. I will say, he may have been upset about me not including him on my overseas solo trip to visit DD, but we don't stay mad long, at least DH, my two kids and I don't! It's not worth the time and effort to hold grudges. <BR> <BR> I woke up this morning, bent over and the back started cramping again. So I've been resting the back as it's doing it's normal pain thing again. So limited activity today. I did get a c... Fri, 16 May 2014 18:37:44 EST Thursday and Sunshine Wednesday afternoon I booked my flight to Macedonia. DD has to put in for her days off in July when I come to visit so we worked on this together. Since it's Ramadan in July she won't have a lot to do, work wise, that month which means she can take off easily as the organization she works with will be basically..not shut down but not running like normal. <BR> Anyway, DS got a little mad as he wanted to go, too, but can't afford to and wanted us to pay his way. I kind of feel that a grown s... Thu, 15 May 2014 18:51:32 EST May 14 Check In on a Dreary Day It's been a wet, chilly week so far!! My arthritis has eased up but the weather is keeping me down!! No energy, as this soggy mess makes me want to stay in bed and stay warm. And it's only in the 50's here, but a few days ago it was in the 80's and I was wearing shorts and sunscreen and insect repellant! Today, jeans, long sleeved shirt, cardigan. Only going outside for doggy breaks. <BR> <BR> Working on making progress on my book for book club, just over 30% done and a week and a half ... Wed, 14 May 2014 14:56:42 EST May 1st Check In Weight, Exercise, Personal Goals Starting weight in April 170.5 <BR> Starting weight in May 170.2 <BR> <BR> Not a lot of difference <BR> During this month we moved from Louisiana to Arkansas. The actual move took place April 16th but the week before and the days after, until I unpacked my cookware, we lived on a lot of fast food, meals picked up from local places, frozen foods, convenience foods, etc. You do what you have to do in those situations to get by. Exercise options were often limited, too. The day of the move ... Thu, 1 May 2014 09:54:34 EST The move and the day after Update on my move: <BR> <BR> Movers showed up on time but we had an issue with one of my pianos which was crated. I have three pianos, one is electronic and not an issue (older), but the other two are and the one that was crated is the one I bought in 2012 with money I inherited from my aunt. I had waited years to get a really good piano and when I got the money from her I knew she would approve of me using some of it to buy a really good piano. So we had major concerns with this move of ... Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:00:19 EST New House We bought the house today. It's official. Now to get the moving van scheduled. I did talk to them today so it will be in a couple of weeks. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is the view out of the breakfast nook. Look across the patio and you can see the window of the MIL apartment which will be my piano studio. I can't wait to settle in! Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:48:58 EST Sunday the 16th of March: Chaotic Days getting ready to Move Last week was a bit chaotic. Lots of work was done on our house which meant the pets had to be confined to the back of the house for a good part of the week. No access to the kitchen and laundry room for three days: that was tough! <BR> <BR> I finally took a walk on Saturday, the first time in days. So my fitness and healthy eating got way off track with all the chaos in the house this past week. <BR> <BR> We are due to close on our new house on the 28th if all goes well. And the move s... Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:32:29 EST