Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Natural

Well, it's been a while since I've written. I've lost 5 pounds so far, but have had some weird side effects. Really, only one side effect; the changes I've made effected my period, resulting in my being 12 days late. However, my period is normally bad enough to knock me on my ass with pain, meaning that I HAVE to take medicine to be able to go to work, or even get out of bed. While I am noticing slight discomfort, there hasn't been any trauma! This is simply amazing to me. My weight is fluctuating with the period, so I'll give an actual weigh-in once I'm all settled out again.

In the mean time, I've been experimenting with Primal recipes and trying to tweak my diet. My carb intake was in the ketosis range (read, good for short term, bad for long term), every single day. My caloric intake was also less than 1000 calories a day, which is why I was tired all of the time. I've had to add more EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and I'm also adding coconut oil, which is like a cure-all for anything and everything. Both have caloric ranges from 120-170 per tablespoon, so it's an easy way to add calories without adding bad fats. Coconut oil is also (supposedly) a great health and beauty product, especially when paired with olive oil.

I found a brand of body wash at the Heritage market made with organic ingredients. Coconut oil, of course, is among them, along with Plaintain Peel Powder, Cocoa pod powder, and Palm Kernel Oil. Those four are the only ingredients. I'm going to try it tonight and see how it feels. It's the "Original Black Soap", called Alata, from Abike Naturals. I'm also trying to replace other products I use regularly with more natural equivalents. Ever notice that you get sick if you swallow toothpaste? Flouride is toxic, so yeah, makes sense. So.......why do people tell us it's a good thing that we put it in our bodies? Beats me. I'd much rather use a natural alternative. However, that shall have to wait until my next paycheck, and the brand I'm going to try is Tooth Soap. I might try mixing my own together, if I can get some mint extract (or maybe even try without it). There's only 5 ingredients in any case; extra virgin olive oil (got it), coconut oil (got it), spring water (I'll cop out and use tap), calcium and magnesium (uhhh...?) and "essential oils" (don't got it). Still, I've heard of people only brushing with the coconut oil, so I might just experiment a little later this evening.

My goal is to stop using all of the chemical-laden products that are all over our stores and televisions, and go back to organic, natural products. It might not make me live longer, but I doubt it'll shorten my lifespan. Besides, I'll feel better for using natural products and cutting the crap out of my life.

Here's to living Primal. Salud.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Walking Shoes

Well, unfortunately, this is the smallest size picture I'm able to find of my beloved shoes. But, I'm super excited to be getting them! My local store (that I had heard of but never been in), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, carries these shoes, which are noted for helping to re-align the spine and for providing a more natural walking experience. I've noticed recently that any time I start walking, my feet swell and become painful. This isn't as bad in my athletic shoes as it is in, say, my boots, but it's still noticeable. Why? My feet, though comfortable, aren't being allowed to pan out to their full width. Even walking on the grass, my feet were still uncomfortable when I finished.

Enter Vibram's Five Fingered Shoes. The name is weird, but the testimony of the effectiveness of the shoes is compelling. So, today when I get off of work, I'm going to go purchase my very own pair of Vibram's. I'm getting the KSO variety, which is a good, basic variety for just walking around in. Hopefully, this will make my walking more pleasurable.

Naomi and I walked well over a mile yesterday around our local Mount Trashmore Park, and had a grand time, sniffing, watching ducks, jogging up the hill (though we walked down the hill!) and generally just hanging out and having a good time with each other. I plan to do the same with her today, but with pictures! It was absolutely glorious out, and today is an even prettier day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

All Tuckered Out - Focus on Nutrition

Well, as much fun as I had with last night's workout, it left me hardly able to move this morning! I was going to attempt to go for a walk, but that didn't work out all that well either. So, I decided to focus more on nutrition today.

I started off with a Tropical Smoothie (the one with strawberry, banana, and pineapple), and one of their Junior American Wraps, minus the cheese (prehistoric man didn't have access to cheese. of course, they didn't have tortillas either, but oh well). We kind of slept through lunch (neither of us were feeling great), and for dinner, had Ruby Tuesday's Asian salmon with broccoli and snap peas as my sides. I only ate half the salmon, so will probably throw some veggies in with the other half and take it for lunch or something this week.

We did manage to drag our not-quite-well selves to the grocery store to stock up on fruit. I found that fruit is a NECESSITY in this diet, for the natural sugars. My family has diabetes and hypoglycemia on both sides, and regulating sugar levels is a must. So, without any breads/grains/pastas, that task is delegated to fruit, which, I must say, is a healthier way to do it. Fruits have fiber and vitamins and such, and no added sugars (at least when bought fresh, which we did). The picture is of the fruit salad that I have made to have for breakfasts/snacks all week. Or however long it lasts. That shall be somewhat of an experiment in sealing and refrigeration. If I start getting tipsy off of it, chances are, it's done!!!

Friday night, I cooked up some stew beef and zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and broccoli in sesame oil and butter, and I have the leftovers from that to take for lunches this week as well. It should be yummy. The best part about the premise of the Primal diet (I have done very little research at this point, which shall be rectified tomorrow) is that it's all meat, fruit, and veggies. Simple, easy, and it even has Ed interested in the mouthwatering concotions I'm making in the kitchen. I snuck him tad bits of fruit as I was making the fruit salad, and snacked on some myself!

Good news is, my books on hold at the library, The Primal Blueprint (Mark Sisson) and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (Mark Sisson with Jennifer Meier) are ready to be picked up. These should shed much more light on the Primal diet for me and give me more information as to the dos and don'ts, along with cool recipes to cook ^-^ I might have to eventually buy the cookbook, but the thing I love about libraries is that it gives you a chance to read and preview things without actually paying for anything.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

First Workout

Well, the Egoscue method has worked well enough that I was actually able to venture into my first workout in months! Ed got me the promised stability and medicine balls, and I had my little dumbell. I did a bit of everything, some bridges, bridges with curls, walking with the ball (laying on your tummy and walking forward till the ball is near your knees/feet), chops, twists, half ups (weird things you have to see to understand but were in my video), etc. Also threw in some of my martial arts training, with some jab/crosses (with my 3lb dumbell), stretch kicks, front kick/round kick combos, and tension side kicks from the ground.

I also got my own scale, so I can keep track of my weight here at home and on the same scale, so at least I'll have some consistency. When I weighed in earlier, I was at 154.5, and that is the weight I shall use to compare any weight loss in the future. I had originally got this fancy glass scale that was supposed to do your weight, BMI, body fat percentage, and water percentage. Too bad it weighed in kilograms and couldn't be adjusted, and also couldn't accept your height, weight, or gender to accurately predict any of the things it claimed it could. Needless to say, that one got returned.

I also did some walking today with Ed, mostly around Best Buy while we waited for his truck to get the new speakers installed. But, walking and being up off of the couch has got to account for something! Every little bit counts ^-^

Depressing News

Well, I went to the doctor yesterday because my job wants me to have a TB test done (tuberculosis) and of course they had to take my vitals. I got on the scale, full of dread, and saw the horrific number: 156.1. Ouch! A few more pounds, and I'll hit 160, a full 40 pounds higher than my high school weight.

Luckily, I have an amazing boyfriend that, as aforementioned, is very supportive. Even on the weekends, he's not letting me escape! We got a little cycle machine, like the one in the picture. However, it didn't work out very well. The rubber feet on the bottom didn't stay in place, and would cause the whole unit to start sliding forward on the carpet every 30 seconds or so. Seeing as I have no place to use this on a hard surface in my home, we are returning it and are going to be getting an exercise ball (the big one to help focus on the core workout) and a "medicine ball" (a weighted ball to mess around with while on the bouncy one).

The Egoscue e-cises are going well. When I wrote last, I had only tried some for the ankles and hips. Today, I added some of the back e-cises to them and am feeling surprisingly well! I feel well enough to start working (slowly, so as not to hurt myself) on an exercise regimen. Once we exchange the folding cycle, I'll be doing some of the core workout exercises that I found on Squidoo (on the link page). Don't know how I'm going to manage to be able to take continuous weights, but I shall somehow manage. Until next time!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Goals, goals, goals

Hey all, and welcome to my blog. I've decided to embark on a bit of lifestyle-changing, due to the number of difficulties I'm having at this point in my life. To start, a bit of background about me.

Back in September of '09, I injured a muscle in my back, called the erector spinae. For any that know Latin, this is the set of muscles that allows us humans to walk upright (erect). This was a rather devastating injury for me, and when I finally was able to get a job in April of '10, it limited me in what I was able to do. Six months later, I was able to get much more functionality out of it, which pleased me. I had started loosing weight due to working so much, often between 40-60 hours a week at Subway, so I was always active. However, just because I could do more, it didn't stop the pain. I started seeking a different place to work, hopefully at a desk.

November of '10, my wish was granted, and I got a job as a receptionist. Of course, changing from being active to a desk job was bound to have some effect on my weight. I was 130 pounds in April of '10, and now find myself at 155 pounds in March of '11. Seeing as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis all run in my family, I know I can't afford to continue gaining weight, much less to keep on what I've already gained.

So, obviously, I look to fixing my diet and getting some exercise. However, it has gotten to the point where I can barely stand to walk my dog for ten minutes. It's not for a lack of stamina, but that the pain in my back will get so intense that I have to severely slow down, if not abort, all exercise. This threw a major kink in the plans.

So, for about two weeks, I moped, wondering if I would end up like my mother, hardly able to move for years at a time, and limping and gimping about even on the good days. Well, one of the percs at my job is that there is a lot of down time and no restricted internet access. So today, I decided to do some research and see what kind of exercise programs were available for people with back injuries.

While it's not an exercise program, I stumbled upon something that seemed promising. It is the "Pain Free" method by Pete Egoscue. While not exactly an exercise regime, this program helps to correct chronic pain issues, most if not all of which are actually caused by musculoskeletal issues. After reading the millions of reviews on the Amazon page, I decided to check my local library, as I really try not to buy into hypes; especially if it means actually spending money!

The book has a no-nonsense approach and explains the author's thought processes very well. I am amazed to say that after even one session, only doing the hip and ankle exercises, I can already feel a noticeable difference. I am by no means cured, but I really didn't expect to feel a difference this quickly! I can twist side to side much better, and bending is much smoother now. Even walking has a more natural rhythm to it now and is a more smooth set of motions. I will keep everyone posted on it's continued effects, but for now, I'm one happy girl!

So, my goals.
1. To follow the Egoscue method daily
2. Once I feel confident enough, to start a daily work out regime
3. To eat healthier
4. To research diets and find something that will work for me and my lifestyle (though I'm considering the Primal Diet, link on the side of the blog)

Ultimately, I hope to loose some inches around the belly, and to get back down to around 130-135 pounds. My boyfriend is a big health and fitness nut, so once my back allows me to go to the gym, I'm sure I can count on him to drag me there. He's very supportive and is simply wonderful, never critiquing my body and always willing to help any way he can.