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Posts tagged ‘health’

Day 12: I’m in the double digits

Despite the ups and downs of the past two weeks, I’ve hit double digits on my step streak. Today marks 10 straight days of walking 15,000 steps a day. Woo hoo!

Now that I seem to have this whole step thing somewhat under control, I think it’s time to start working on getting my sleep on track. Sleep has eluded me since childhood, so I kinda sorta feel like this is going to be a much harder goal to hit. There’s just so much info out there on how to get more (and better) sleep. I need a plan, and I need it before Monday.

Monday is the day.

That means, I need to get smart on all things sleep related. So, from now until then, I’m going to listen to podcasts about sleep, read articles and books about sleep, think about sleep, and write about sleep. Exciting stuff, huh?

It gets better: Monday is also the day of my next Bod Pod.

Although I did make it to the gym a few times this month, I don’t expect any significant changes. I didn’t really do all that well with restricting my eating window, and the scale says I’m bloated. My measurements haven’t change much either.

I’m still looking forward to it though – It’s a great starting point to see what getting proper sleep can do (assuming I’m successful at getting proper sleep that is).

Speaking of sleep, it is past my bedtime. Hasta mañana!

Day 8: Adventures in gluten-free dining

I woke up feeling a lot better this morning. I still have some symptoms lingering about, but the stomach pain is gone. And no stomach pain means I’m a much happier person at the moment.

We started off this warm Sunday morning picking blueberries at a local farm with some friends.

It was a lot of fun. The little man had a great time eating blueberries and filling his bucket (for the first couple of minutes). Then he discovered there were little frogs scattered about the greenhouse, so he and the other kids went searching for them. We grown-up types continued to pick (and eat) blueberries to our heart’s content. I may or may not have eaten my weight in blueberries by the time we were done.

After stuffing our faces with said blueberries, we went to Hamazushi for lunch (somehow we were still hungry) – this is where the adventure began.

I learned from my Japanese friend that most larger restaurants have an allergen menu they can provide upon request. With that in mind, I asked an employee for one when we arrived. I assumed it would in Japanese (which it was), but I figured I could make it work. I have the Google translate app – I was ready for the challenge.

I did not anticipate that it would be 4 pages of very, very small print.

So there I was, fighting with Google translate.

First, I tried translating it by section. I assumed trying to do the entirety page at once wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, it couldn’t seem to figure out where one item ended and the next one began.

Then I tried looking up the Japanese names for the items I wanted to find, so that I could search for them manually – but, that didn’t really work either.

I tried just doing the automatic translation thing, but that was a disaster too.

I really didn’t want to bother the staff and ask for help. I know it may sound dumb, but I wanted to figure it out on my own. I was getting increasingly frustrated though, so I caved and asked someone to please point out the two items I thought (hoped) might be safe. She kindly obliged. Both had gluten.

At that point I considered giving up. I figured I could just sit there and sip on my Coke until everyone was done eating. Fortunately, I had one last idea:

Hamazushi is a conveyer belt sushi chain. Once you get to your table, you place your order using the small computer screen. The sushi is then delivered to your table via the conveyor belt. There’s an option to view the menu and order in English, so it’s super easy. Every item has a picture to go along with it too, just in case your not sure what something is. Instead of trying to Google translate all of the items that did not have gluten or milk in them on the menu, I decided to go through the English menu and chose the different things I wanted to eat. Then I switched to the Japanese menu and searched for the photos that matched those items. I took a picture of each of the names of the items I wanted in Japanese and then proceeded to search the 4-page menu for each. It was a tad time consuming at first, but once I found the first one, it was easy to find the others. They seemed to be grouped together in the same way on both the allergen and computer menus.

Thankfully, it worked, and I was able to order some prosciutto sushi and edamame. It was all really good!

Granted, I am assuming there is a risk of cross-contamination. Unless you eat at a dedicated gluten-free restaurant, there’s always a risk. It’s the unfortunate part of eating out with celiac disease.

I’m sure someone might wonder why bother even taking the risk (especially after my post from last night). Well, that’s not easy to answer. But I’ll try – in a future post.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Sunday!

Day 3: Let’s try this again

I turned 38 yesterday by catching up on work, playing around with my new dermaroller, and going to Korean BBQ for dinner with my husband and our friends. It may not have been the most exciting of days, but it was the sort of day I needed: quiet and relaxing.

My plan was to get all of my steps in before dinner because I knew it’d be hard to get them all in afterwards, but the day flew by. Dinner came and went. At 9 pm, I was still about 6,000 steps short.

I wasn’t worried (although I probably should have been). I’ve walked thousands of steps before by doing laps around my living room, so I figured I’d just suck it up and get pacing. Unfortunately, I messed up. My little guy wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. I wasn’t in the mood for bedtime drama, so I took the easy route and I gave in.

It worked. He fell asleep easily… but, so did I.

One minute, I’m laying in bed, thinking about how many laps I’ll need to walk to get 15,000 steps before midnight. The next minute, I’m waking up, it’s 6 am, and I’m still wearing my contact lenses. Obviously, I didn’t hit my step goal. Talk about a great start to this challenge!

Its ok though. I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m just going to start over again today. No biggie. That’s the great thing about getting up in the morning (even for us non-morning people): a new day brings new beginnings and new opportunities for change.

Speaking of change, I listened to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s latest podcast episode on sleep today. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of the book, “How to Make Disease Disappear,” which I’m obsessed with inspired my goals for this latest attempt at my 15,000 steps challenge. I’ve known for a while that sleep is important, but it wasn’t until I read Dr. Chatterjee’s book that I really understood just how much sleep affects my overall health.

Sleep impacts everything. For example, there was a study done in 2011 to measure how sleep deprivation affects muscle mass growth and recovery. They took a group of people, put them on a diet, and then split them into two smaller groups: one that was supposed to sleep 5.5 hours a night and another that slept 8.5 hours a night. At the end of the study, the people who slept less had 60% less muscle mass than when they started. The other group had actually gained 40% more muscle mass. Back when I did my Experiments 1 and 2, I didn’t even consider how sleep might impact my efforts in the gym. I focused solely on my workouts and the number of calories I ate. I was certain my experiments failed because I didn’t eat enough protein or work out hard enough, but it’s entirely possible my poor sleep habits were to blame.

This is the main takeaway I got from Dr. Chatterjee’s book: the body is interconnected. There isn’t just one thing that will cause you to gain weight, get ill, or feel bad. It’s everything. It’s all the different choices you make and how they interact with each other in your body. It’s genetics, environment, what you eat, what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you don’t do.

That’s why there’s no magic pill and there likely won’t ever be.

After listening to this podcast episode, I’m convinced that my sleep goal is the first one I need to tackle after getting my step goal back on track. Not because I think it’ll help me lose weight or gain muscle, but because I know it will impact my ability to meet all the other goals I’ve set. I need to set myself up for success and getting enough sleep is the first step.

Now what?

Having made the decision to give this challenge another go, I decided to go through my old posts for motivation. When I started this challenge, my intent was to post every day, and for a while, I did. I made myself do it – even when I didn’t want to. It was great for accountability’s sake, but the posts themselves left a lot to be desired. On a whim, I decided to delete some of the more mundane ones, but, I got a tad bit carried away. It seems I may have inadvertently deleted a few posts that I would have preferred to keep (like my Bod Pod results). C’est la vie.

I can’t go back and recreate those posts, but I figure it might be a good idea to do an update post of sorts, kind of like a Day 1 versus now thing. A lot has changed since I wrote my very first post on this blog last summer:

  • I had an ectopic pregnancy that required emergency surgery.
  • I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, celiac disease, and lactose intolerance.
  • I gained some weight, then lost it again – rinse and repeat a couple of times.
  • I attempted and failed to complete this challenge more than once.
  • I didn’t complete any of the DietBets I joined.
  • I think my Experiments 1 and 2 may have failed.
  • I created an Instagram account and a new blog to write specifically about cooking and eating gluten and dairy-free food.
  • I quickly got bored with the new blog and abandoned it, but I kept the Instagram account.
  • My views on all things health and fitness related shifted – there will definitely be posts about those changes in the future.
  • And most importantly, my priorities changed – I care less about losing weight and a lot more about being healthy.

I’m sure those changes will affect the tone and content of this blog a bit (maybe more than a bit), but for today, I’m going to keep it old school and just focus on goals.

In yesterday’s post (which I wrote very late at night, while knocking back some cocktails), I mentioned that I’d had two thoughts while watching the movie Julie & Julia: I can still enjoy food, and I need to refocus on my health.

That right there my friends, those two thoughts, are why I came back to this blog. I want to wholeheartedly commit to doing those two things, but I need help. I need accountability. I’m weak. I stumble. I fail. I make poor decisions. I stay up until 2 am, knowing full well that I need to be up by 6 am for work and I’m going to feel like shit in the morning because I didn’t get enough sleep.

But, I’m also determined, hopeful, stubborn, and unwilling to fold. No matter how many times I stumble and fall down, I eventually get back up (even if it takes a while). Despite falling off the wagon over and over and over again, I’ve continued to climb right back on it. So, now that I’m back on my feet and back on the wagon, I’m ready to try again.

And you know what trying again means, new goals! For this latest attempt at walking 15,000 steps a day, every day, for a year, I want to work on goals inspired by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s book, “How to Make Disease Disappear.” If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I’m pretty much obsessed with it – and the good Dr’s got a great podcast too.

Anywho, the book focuses on what Dr. Chatterjee calls the “four pillars of health” – sleep, food, movement, and relaxation/stress. I could easily spend hours writing about his pillars and all of the great information I read in this book, but that’s a whole other post unto itself. For now, I’m just going to dive straight into the goals:

  • First and foremost, I need to walk 15,000 steps each day – it’s the whole point of this blog.
  • Secondly, I desperately have to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – I am severely sleep deprived. 
  • Third, I need to drink 64 ounces of water daily – I’ve been feeling pretty dehydrated lately.
  • Fourth, I want to practice time-restricted eating instead of CICO for all the reasons (to be explained in a future post).
  • Fifth, I have to get back in the gym. My little muscles are just ghosts of their former selves at this point.
  • Sixth, I seriously need to get back to meditating every day. I never thought I’d be a person who meditates, but I have to tell you, that shit is life-changing.
  • And finally, seventh, I need to cut back on the use of electronic devices. Just trust me on this one. for now.

I know it’s a lot. There’s a good change that I may be in way over my head by trying to make so many changes all at once. In fact, I’m still trying to decide if I really want to go there and set myself up for failure, or if I should just focus on one or two of these at a time. Maybe it’d be best if I add a new one each week? I don’t know what I’m going to commit to just yet, but I’m going to make a decision about it tomorrow for sure. I can’t keep putting this off, I need to start now.  Anyone want to join me?

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