Health and Fitness Magazine Obsession

Health and Fitness Magazine Obsession

Lots of magazines on shelves

I was waiting in line at the grocery store the other day and saw a magazine stand that is typical of checkout lines to have. The magazines are always there but for whatever reason I paid attention to them more this time. Memories suddenly came flying back in my head after reading their titles.

My love of magazines started early

I remember back when I was around eight years old, I came across my dad’s magazines that were about running (he ran marathons). This was not really an interest of mine but I decided to start reading them anyways. I eventually found myself pouring through all of them (a huge box full).

It was amazing to me that people could come up with all of the articles I read. I even dreamed about starting my own magazine company when I was older. That clearly did not and was not going to happen but that is okay. A lot of dreams that kids have for their futures do not always come true.

I ended up reading each magazine probably around 20 times. That sounds absolutely crazy looking back on it. I even remember one story word-for-word because it was so haunting. It involved a runner going missing and it still has not been solved to this day (see this case here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Amy_Wroe_Bechtel).

Once my dad got rid of these magazines the obsession went away for a few years.

Cue the start of my interest in Fitness

Once I started getting into regular exercise at my home and gym, I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. I took notice of the health/fitness magazines that were at stores and began to buy them.  The ones I bought were Women’s Health, Health, Shape and Oxygen. 

 At the beginning, being on the cardio machines (elliptical and stair master) was all mainly what I wanted to do in terms of exercise. I would place a magazine on the dashboard and get to work. I did not understand until a little later on that that is not the way to get a good workout in.

I let the magazines keep piling up as I went through my eating disorder phase. The fact that I read them during my college classes (when I should have been listening to the professors) was a sign that things were getting WAY out of hand. 

I do not need them anymore

As I moved out of my eating disorder phase, I also moved out of my health/fitness magazine collecting phase. I realized that they were not crucial in my journey to healthiness. 

The day that I recycled all of them was a step in the right direction for me. I am not knocking anyone that likes to read them but they were unnecessary for me.

I also think that my obsession with the magazines had to do with me being on the autism spectrum. Who knows though!

 

 

PMS-Past and Present Symptoms

PMS-Past and Present Symptoms

Wow have things changed over the years for me physically and mentally! It is interesting to look back on the way I was years ago and see the way things used to be. When it comes to PMS, things have definitely changed and not necessarily for the better.

PMS up to age 27

I went through puberty pretty early at age 11. This could be due to my race (African American girls tend to go through puberty earlier) and/or my heftiness. I hated the fact that I was the first of my friends to start my period.

I can only remember my PMS symptoms starting around the eighth grade. From age 14-20, the symptoms were moderate. They included salt cravings,appetite increase, acne breakouts and crying about things that are not that sad.

After my eating disorder phase, it seemed like my PMS got to a severe level until I was 22.5. This time I experienced rage which was particularly bad while I was driving. Yikes! I also had intense sugar cravings, acne breakouts,bloating and quite severe scalp itching.

From age 22.5-27, my PMS symptoms were not all that bad. These included slight emotional sensitivity, acne breakouts and a small increase in appetite. Nothing I could not manage!

PMS after turning 27

This was when things got bad. I started experiencing days of intense nausea and dizziness before I started my period. It was excruciating and debilitating.

It affected my ability to work because I had to call in sick a lot which made me seem unreliable. For a while I thought that there was something wrong with my stomach so I ended up getting a bunch of tests done that all came out negative. It is all hormonal.

My doctor told me that my severe monthly symptoms are stress related. This led me to stop working altogether to see if he was right. He was not right. Again, it is all hormonal.

I found out about taking Unisom and B6 for nausea just like pregnant women do for their morning sickness. This helps take the edge off of it which is great but I just wish I did not have to do that at all. I also take this supplement combination with the generic version of Zofran (an anti-nausea medication) which I get from an online pharmacy.

I really wish that I could go back to having the PMS symptoms I had before. They were annoying but a lot easier to handle.

In February of this year

I ended up downloading a hormone horoscope app (https://www.myhormonology.com/apps/hormone-horoscope-lite/) which was really interesting and helpful. I realized that it was also during my fertile window that I have severe physical symptoms as well. This and the Period Tracker app has given me the ability to predict when I will feel sick so I can schedule appointments around those times if need be.

I would highly recommend this app to any women. It is like an astrology report but actually scientifically accurate! Each day it tells you what your hormones are most likely doing and how it will affect you emotionally, physically and cognitively.

What I am going to do about my bad PMS

I have been trying to get a referral to be seen by an endocrinologist for my hormonal issues. My doctor keeps denying my requests and refers me to gynecologists instead. I tried two different types of birth control recently that I was told would help me but they both caused severe adverse side effects. I will be getting a hormonal allergy test soon and I really hope that it will give me some answers.

There are some supplements that are said to reduce PMS and I think I will be trying them out. The Healthline site (see here: https://www.healthline.com/health/pms-supplements) talks about taking calcium and vitamin D daily along with the vitamin B6 I am already taking. I will start taking those two things but it is too bad that it will take around six months to see any difference. I want some relief now!

 

I feel for women that have to go through severe physical PMS like I do. I hope that we can all find something that helps us because it really sucks!

 

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

I am pretty sure that most people have heard of intermittent fasting. This type of eating plan is talked about a lot these days due to the benefits it is said to have. After reading success stories from the women who post on https://www.reddit.com/r/PCOS/, I decided to try it  out for myself.

What made me want to try fasting

I am determined to live a healthy life and try to manage my PCOS symptoms. Reading about the benefits that can come with intermittent fasting really intrigued me because I felt like it might be part of the answer to my health problems.

The benefits that stuck out to me the most are as follows:

  1. Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes (Kris Gunnars, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting)- Plain and simple…I do not want diabetes!
  2. Mood and clarity of thought ( Leigh Weingus, https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/intermittent-fasting-affects-mood/)- Who does not want a brain boost once in a while?
  3. Bloat relief- I suffer from bloating like a lot of other people do so having a reduction in it sounded awesome.

How I started it

There are multiple ways to do intermittent fasting (see them here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-do-intermittent-fasting#section3). I decided on the 16:8 method which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an eight hour window.

I chose for my eating window to be between 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. This seemed to be a good idea when it came to having to go to family gatherings involving meals because they are usually done within that time frame. I was originally thinking of doing an eating window of 2:30 PM to 10:30 PM but that is too late in the day.

In terms of exercising, I changed my usual time of 8:00 PM to doing it fasted in the morning (9:00 AM). This would allow me to have a meal shortly after putting in some hard work in my home gym.

How it went for me

Instead of starting intermittent fasting off slowly like experts usually recommend, I jumped right in with a full 16 hour fast. The first two days were easy for some reason in terms of my hunger level. I really did not feel that hungry but I did experience grouchiness.

The third and forth days were really difficult. No clue why. Not only was I grouchy, I also felt extremely hungry and lightheaded. Considering that I woke up at 6:00 AM and could not go back to sleep, waiting until 11:00 AM to eat was hard! I worked through this by trying to get in as much water as I possibly could.

There were times that I wanted to throw in the towel and go back to eating whenever I wanted to but I stuck with it. After the first week passed, everything became much easier. This was when I started to notice some changes-mainly good ones.

The good:

  1. Less bloating: Just like I wanted to have happen!
  2. Better mood: I definitely felt happier.
  3. Less stomach issues: This was an amazing benefit for me because I struggle with indigestion and nausea so much.
  4. Lots of energy: Did not feel like I needed to take caffeine.
  5. Mental clarity: I felt like I could concentrate better for my free online college course I decided to take (https://learn.saylor.org/course/view.php?id=63)

The not so good:

  1. Heartburn: I do not know if this was due to the intermittent fasting but I started getting it during my fasting hours. I wasn’t able to take Tums so I used baking soda mixed with water instead.
  2. Insomnia: This was pretty bad. It would take me a very long time to fall asleep despite trying all of the tips sleep experts recommend.

Will I continue to do intermittent fasting?

I did the fasting for eight weeks straight and recently returned to normal eating just to see if I was imagining the effects I was experiencing. As it turns out, I do not feel like I was imagining them. I am back to feeling bloated, tired and my bad stomach issues have returned.

I will definitely be returning to intermittent fasting this week. If this is really helping my physical health than there is no reason why I should not be doing this type of eating schedule.

I hate to be the one to jump on to bandwagons when it comes to these types of trends but I feel like this one really has worked for me.

 

Have any of you tried intermittent fasting?

 

Also, if you are looking for an easy treat for your family or any type of occasion, try making donuts using a box of cake mix like I did!  My husband says they are lighter and less fatty than regular donuts.

nfd

 

That Time I Had A Gallstone

That Time I Had A Gallstone

It is incredibly disappointing that I have not found out how to treat my health issues yet. Last night I was really upset about this and I decided to ask myself, “when was the worst I ever felt?” I scrolled through the memories in my brain and then I found it. It was that time I had a gallstone!

What is a gallstone?

These are little hard stones that form in the gallbladder which is located on the right side of our bodies.  This can cause excruciatingly uncomfortable symptoms if the gallbladder becomes inflamed(Christian Nordqvist, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153981.php)

The symptoms that people can have include extreme pain under ribs on the right side, back pain and nausea. Treatment is necessary if experiencing these symptoms. Risk factors for getting gallstones include being overweight/obese,  having diabetes, being a female, consuming a lot of cholesterol and being over 60 years old (Macon, Nall, Yu, https://www.healthline.com/health/gallstones#pictures).

How I think I got a gallstone

Around the time of me having the gallstone I had been trying to treat my PCOS with a variety of supplements that I had read about on forums. I was just knocking them back everyday because I was desperate to control my symptoms. I am not entirely sure what I was taking but I know it was too much.

In terms of diet, I also was not doing well. Way too much junk. I do not know how I expected to have any control over PCOS when I was eating the way I was.

So basically, these two things combined are what I believe to be the cause  of me getting one of these nasty buggers!

How it felt

This was the absolute worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  It was even worse than my labor contractions. The intense pain struck me like a thunder clap! I was on the floor screaming and crying at work.

My husband took me to the ER and I was there for a few hours. They gave me something called a “GI cocktail.” This is a disgusting, chalky “drink” that has a mix of things that are supposed to treat stomach issues. It was so hard to choke it down.

A while after I drank the cocktail, I began to feel a tiny bit better. I was sent on my way almost immediately after that admission to the doctor. When at home, I was out of commission for the next couple of days due to the pain I was still experiencing.

Moral of the story

Try to watch what you put in your mouth because it can lead to some bad consequences. I am not perfect with my diet but I do make an effort to watch what I eat more than I did before.

Also, I would encourage people to really research and be careful about supplements. Do not be like me and take a ton of stuff in hopes that it will lead to positive results. I would not wish my horrible experience on anyone else.

 

Have any of you ever had a gallstone before?

My Flexmaster Stepper/ Home Gym Wants/ Another Yummy Meal

My Flexmaster Stepper/ Home Gym Wants/ Another Yummy Meal

I love having a home gym. It is certainly not as great as an actual workout center or a home gym of someone who has a lot more money than I do. The good thing is that I can still get great workouts in!

My stepper

dav

I bought this Flexmaster brand stepper a while back because I wanted something compact and inexpensive that I could use for cardio. While it is not bad, the cardio workout you can get with it is not that great.  For only $60 I guess you can not expect it to be as good as a regular stair master/stepper!

I think it is great for a warm up before any kind of a workout or a cool down. It is also good for getting some movement in if you have a desk job and have been sitting too long.

What I would really like to add in my home gym

I am currently happy with the things I have in my home gym but I would like to add more things in the future. Here are the items that I have been thinking about:

  1. Resistance band set (like this:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GCA4BJC/ref=psdc_3407931_t3_7245456313)- I have one resistant band and it would be nice to have more so I could have a complete workout routine.
  2. Folding treadmill- I want one that does not take up much space or cost a ton. Being able to do HIIT this way would be awesome!
  3. PowerBlock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells- I have the PowerBlock Classic 50 dumbbells but I guess I will need more weight sometime soon. Unfortunately there is no expansion weight kit to add on to it so I will have to buy a whole new set that allows for more weight. I feel like adjustable dumbbells like these are a must for home gyms unless you can afford and have room for the racks of weights that are at workout centers.
  4.  Inspirational wall decals- Decorations can really do a lot for a person’s attitude so I  figured it would be nice to have one up in my gym!

Easy low carb meal

A while ago I put a picture on a post that was of an easy sausage and peppers crock pot meal (see here: Life Check In and a Yummy Low Carb Meal). I wanted to make it again but instead of sausage, I used 1.5 pounds of meatballs. Here is what it looked like:

nfd

I apologize for the bad photo again. Trust me, this is really good!

 

 

So, what do you have for home gym equipment?

 

Random Number Workout/Mowed For The First Time

Random Number Workout/Mowed For The First Time

Sometimes people just want a simple workout. Maybe they do a lot of sitting at a desk during the day and want to get up once in a while or they just do not feel like using any equipment. I started doing this random number workout occasionally about a year ago and it can provide a good calorie burn!

The workout

So the random number cardio workout requires only two things-you and your smart phone. Download one of the random number generator apps and compile a list of calisthenic cardio exercises you want to do. Here is the list of the ones I do:

  1. High knees
  2. Butt kicks
  3. Jump squats
  4. Burpees
  5. Mountain climbers
  6. Mountain climbers-variation
  7. Star jumps( If I am feeling up to it)

I start the random number generator app so that the numbers from 1-15 come up (not in order). When each number comes up on my screen, I pick an exercise from my list and do that many of them. I continue doing this without long breaks so it becomes kind of like a HIIT type workout. Try it out!

Mowing

Speaking of good workouts! I tried mowing for the very first time yesterday just to see what it was like. Oh my goodness! I had no idea it was going to be such a workout. It always looked like people mowing were just gliding around effortlessly. I feel stupid for thinking that.

My backyard has a big hill and pushing the mower up it was torture. I was pouring with sweat and had to take some short breaks. My legs are still aching from it. I feel like mowing was just as good of a workout as my regular workouts are.

I went on a site that had a “calories burned” calculator based on my weight. It estimated I burned 433 calories mowing. I do not know if that is accurate but I do know that it was really hard work.

I will be doing it again next week!

 

How My Body Changed After Pregnancy/My Cardio Ladder Workout

How My Body Changed After Pregnancy/My Cardio Ladder Workout

As many women who have been pregnant know, our bodies can change after we have had a baby (or multiple). We go through so much when growing a baby so it makes sense that the changes can be permanent.  I know that some women might go back to looking exactly the same but that did not happen to me.

I already had stretch marks from puberty so I was really worried that I would get a million more from pregnancy. Well, I did end up getting some but luckily it was not that many. I got a few streaks on my upper thighs and a couple on my lower abdomen. They are light yellow in color.

My lower abdomen has some wrinkling on it along with the stretch marks. The area is also a little softer (more fat) than it was before. I do not think it will change without plastic surgery which is not something I plan on doing.

btfmdn
Not the clearest picture but you can still see some of the stretchmarks.

Another thing about my abdomen was that it turned completely black after I gave birth. This was terrifying to me! It took about seven months before it went back to brown. I guess this is common occurrence in brown skinned people.

Now onto my hips. They are wider! I can not say that I appreciate having them. The pants I used to wear pre-pregnancy just do not fit right anymore. My husband really likes them because he says it makes me more feminine. I am glad that this change did not turn him off.

The last thing that is different is the varicose vein that came in after giving birth. It is ugly! It starts mid thigh on my right leg and goes down to the ankle. I think if there was one thing I were to go see a plastic surgeon/nurse injector for, sclerotherapy (https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-sclerotherapy#1) would be the thing I would get. Too bad it is so expensive and I am not rich.

So all in all, I can not complain too much about my body. I still look pretty good-just a little different from before I got pregnant. It is not fair for me to sit up here and criticize the way I look when other women have had a much harder time with their bodies post-pregnancy.

I know that the really red stretch marks that light skinned women get can be upsetting to them. Hopefully some day soon there is a treatment that will actually work to get rid of them (maybe there already is?). I wish that all women could get to a place where they feel at least a little happy about the way they look. It can be a long journey and I am not totally there yet myself but I try to keep moving towards it.

My cardio ladder workout

Image result for cardio ladder

Using a cardio ladder is my favorite way to get in a tough workout. I am not exactly sure how many calories it burns but I feel like it must be a decent amount. If I get another heart rate monitor watch I would be really interested to see what it says.

I used to be a competitive soccer player and we would have to do a lot of agility type drills during our practices. Back then I was in such great shape and the drills were part of that reason. This is what prompted me to get a cardio ladder around seven years ago.

I did quit using it for a couple of years due to finding another type of cardio I really liked. Recently (in the last year), I decided to get back into doing it again and I will definitely continue to use it regularly. It is pretty easy to up the intensity level if need be to keep my body challenged.

Currently, I do ten drills and perform each two times. After I get done with the ten drills, I take a rest and repeat them. I do this three times and become a sweaty mess afterwards. Here is some great information on it which is where I found inspiration for my routine: https://gethealthyu.com/agility-ladder-drills-to-burn-calories/

I would highly encourage everyone to try it!