Wednesday, April 02, 2014
I'm not sure today is the best of days to be blogging because mentally I have had a coupe of rough days (and I'm not sure why), but at the beginning of 2014 I set a goal for myself to refocus on SP and my Healthy Lifestyle Journey and that I would review how I am doing with they goal on a quarterly basis. Well, the first quarter of 2014 is up!
January was out the window as I was still in post-surgical recover mode and not doing so well. I did, however, put my Spark Tracker back on towards the end of the month which was the first step to reaching my goal of getting healthy.
I had been so sick to my stomach in January as a result of the pain pills that I was taking that I didn't tolerate eating very much. Well, let me tell you, that I made up for lost time! I ate and drank way more than I should have and the scale showed it. This approach was not going to get me where I wanted to be! Towards the end of February start a healthy journey journal so I could review where I had been, what I was doing and feeling, and where I needed to go from here.
I have kept my journaling up throughout March and made sure I noted what lessons I could learn from my mistakes. I also renewed my Spark Coach and started over at Stage I. Here is what I have figured out so far from my journal:
1. Lessons Learned: Drinking less would put me in better control.
2. Lessons Learned: Stick to small social groups. Do not skip a meal even if you can only manage a small one.
3. Lesson Learned: Taking a day off may be a nice treat, but don’t skip absolutely everything; do a little some of your routine, but just not as much of it.
4. Lesson Learned: Take a pain pill when you hurt!
5. Lesson Learned: It is o.k. not finish every bite on your plate. Remember the phrase “Can I think about it for a while?”. It can apply to many aspects of my life.
6. Lesson Learned: If you are going to have a snack during TV time, plan ahead so you have some healthy ones to choose from.
7. Lesson Learned: I need my life to be ordered both mentally and physically.
8. Lesson Learned: I need to stick to my plan.
9. Lesson Learned: Oh well! What’s done is done and today is another day.
10. Lesson Learned: Don’t give up. Keep working on “Staying In The Moment”.
11. Lesson Learned: Social outings cause me anxiety and TV watching can bore me. I need to work on portion control; all things in moderation.
12. Lesson Learned: Portion Control is something I will need to work on for some time!
13. Lesson Leaned: Life happens and that is part of the journey. It is alright to celebrate once in a while, but not every day.
These are some important lessons for me that will guide me to the healthy lifestyle I really want to live and so for the second quarter of 2014 I will need to keep reviewing these lessons over and over.
Friday, March 28, 2014
My last blog was a review of the journey I have taken with my hip over the past 4 months. Although it was most likely a bit boring for you, I want to thank all of my Spark Friends who trudged through it and offered support as it helped me focus on some of the things I learned about disabilities and empathy for others. It's our Spark Friends who help us keep going.
This blog is also a review of sorts as I have been struggling recently with some concepts. Blogging out my thoughts really seems to help me put things in order for me. The issue I have been struggling with is fitness minutes.
Shortly after I recommitted to SP I was able to develop a fitness plan for myself. This is something that I had never done in my entire life or even given it any thought! I was doing yoga 2d/w, Curves 2d/w, and jogging almost every day to prepare for my first 5K. That 5K was the end of jogging for me as my hip pain really flared up after that. So in place of jogging I switched to walking. Even though I have long legs I have never been able to make them move at a speed faster than 3.5 mph, but even that got to be a challenge because of the pain. So I decided to slow it down a notch to 3.0 mph and be satisfied with the fact that I was at least doing something and still following my fitness schedule.
At the same time a Spark Friend of mine introduced me to the MapMyRun app on my phone which helped me keep track of my walk speed and distance while outside. All around Spark people were also talking about their FitBits. I was considering a purchase, but put it off due to the price. Then SP came out with their own tracker! The price was right and so I took the plunge and purchased one. I started tracking steps October 21, 2013.
It has been interesting looking back over that time and seeing my weekly step results. Getting the hang of this "step" business took me a while, but I built my numbers up from 8412 to 19,716. That's right. That was for an entire week! When I look at those numbers now I laugh at how pathetic they are for me. In reviewing the results it became very clear by mid-November that I was struggling since my steps started to fluctuate greatly most likely depending on how much pain I was having on any given day. By December my fitness schedule was done for and I generally became a couch potato while I waited for my surgery day.
I started using my Tracker again in mid-January and although I had a bit of a health setback I have built my weekly steps up to 30,564. Today is my last visit to P.T. and last week I started back at Curves which I am very happy about. It is these "steps" that are really getting my down. I have read that for general good health you should get 10,000 steps in per day and for weight loss you should get 12,000 - 15,000 steps in per day. Has anyone else heard or read this same thing? Are they kidding me!? On a lazy Sunday I can get as few as 600 steps in around the house. Right now on a busy day for me with running errands and chores around the house I get somewhere around 2,500 steps in. I have really been pushing myself to build the strength back up in my leg/hip/glut muscles that get destroyed during a hip replacement. Last night I managed to walk on my TM for 1 hour at an average pace of 2.7 mph. Really! Is that all I've got?! Where is that 3.0 mph feels like a stroll in the park?! This is killing me!
And so here lies the struggle I mentioned above. I am not happy right now with all of this. I find myself frustrated that I can't do what I used to do, frustrated that I am not doing 3,000+ FM like many of my Spark Friends are, frustrated that I am even comparing myself to others. I tossed and turned all night last night because my hips and back hurt. Yes, it did feel good to be able to increase my speed and time on the TM last night, but is pushing myself worth the pain (after all I did yesterday I still only got 7,632 steps in). I know some people think it would be, but this is my journey to healthier living and so I have to figure out if I want to continue down this path of push or if I want to back off from the Spark Tracker for a bit and be happy once again with the fact that I am doing something, no matter how small in comparison to others, that is leading me to a healthier life style.
Today is my DH birthday and it will be a busy w/e of celebrating. I think I will relax and enjoy it. I hope you all have a Sparkling w/e.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Life has been such a struggle for me during the past 4 months that I thought I would lay it all out in a blog for my SP friends and anyone else interested. This may be a bit long, but laying it all out will help me put my life in perspective.
I have struggle for about 6 years with hip pain and trying to get the bottom of the cause so that an appropriate plan of action could be taken. Is this problem generating from my back or my hips? Any of you who have had similar health issues probably know what I am talking about. It has been back and forth from one doctor to another for one test or x-ray and then back to the doctors again. Whenever I have any health issues I am so thankful for my professional background in nursing. I can't imagine what a struggle it is for non-medical people to deal with the medical world so they can figure their health info out.
As the years went on the pain in my hips shifted from one to the other ( for no apparent reason) and progressively got worse. I was referred to a pain clinic and at first I thought that would be my answer until I found out that at each visit I would be injected somewhere else in order to determine, again, where the pain was generating from. In the end a did get a definitive diagnosis, I stopped getting the steroid injections, and a plan for surgery was formulated.
I stopped the injections because I thought they were not helping only to discover "What did I know!" as the steroids were metabolized out of my body. I started on narcotic pain pills and it all seemed down hill from there. I had so wanted to make it through the holidays, but the medication made me so nauseated that the holidays were horrible for me (and for my family I'm sure). I couldn't wait for my surgery date of 12/22 to get here.
Family and friends in real life and here on SP were so supportive; telling me how much better I would feel when my surgery was done. I entered the surgery room with happiness in my heart. I came out of the surgery room and thought "What the heck! This hurts like H***! ! !" Why didn't anyone tell me how much this was going to hurt.
The new year, 2014, was not off to a good start. The care I received in the hospital was horrible, the home care agency nurse wasn't much better, and I ended back in the hospital, sicker than a dog, due to pain med complications.
The point I want to talk about here is how depressing this life event was. Not because of all I went through with the surgery and pain, but because of the altering body image I had of myself. I was missing a body part! Even though it was replaced artificially, I felt like it was not really me. This experience has given me new insight into how others with disabilities, whether they be obesity, the loss of a body part, or any other abnormality, may feel. I think I went through a sort of grieving process the same as you would if you lost a loved one. Although not quite the same, I lost a loved body part and it made me feel less than normal, human, and worthy to some degree. I not only lost a body part I also lost my independence for a time. As part of any post-op recovery and because of additional "hip precautions", my DH had to do everything for me. I was once a strong and active person who could do many things that others my age could not do and now I was reduced to almost total dependence on someone else. Talk about altering your self-image! It was pretty devastating for me.
Almost a month to the date I ended back in the hospital with diverticulitis. When I was discharged I felt so much better. I was off all pain meds and had actually regained enough of my strength so that I could at least bathe and dress myself except for my knees to my feet. I felt like a new person who could accomplish the rest of the recovery period and reach my goal of complete independence once again.
This life experience has helped me become a better person. Someone with more empathy and love in my heart for others. Someone less judgemental about others. Someone who has been shown, again, that we are all equal in God's eyes!
Thank you my dear SP for listening to my confession today. I hope it wasn't too soppy for you
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Geez, it feels rather strange to be here I haven't blogged in so long! I have floundered for months now, but that is another story. Perhaps it is because there is the faintest hint of spring in the air here in Michigan that I have gotten sick and tired of myself. So, after a self-pep talk, I am trying to buckle down to business. Today I need help with the SP Recipe Calculator.
I love to cook and my cookbook shelf shows it. In addition to various cookbooks, which I tried to thin out a year ago, I also have a large 3-ring binder that is chucked full of recipes that I have gotten from others or cut from magazines. I can honestly say that there was a long streak of several years when DH and I never ate the same thing twice; every night it was a new recipe.
My hip is strong enough now that I am back to doing our grocery shopping by myself. The other day the red peppers were on sale and a light bulb went off in my head - Red Pepper Soup - yum, yum! So I bought the peppers and headed home to look for a recipe on-line. Heaven forbid that I would check out all of those recipes I already have saved - LOL!
I love the Food Channel and if you ever wonder what I am doing in the late afternoon you can know that most likely I am sitting in front of the TV watching their cooking shows. So I checked out their web site for my soup recipe and wha-la there it was - Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup w/ Roasted Sweet Corn and Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream by Emeril no less. Many of you already know that these recipes are not calorie friendly and I was o.k. with that because, outside of a couple slices of multigrain bread, that was all I was planning on eating for dinner.
In my new "gung-ho" mode I have been making an effort to track all of my food (yuk!) and so I entered the recipe into the SP Recipe Calculator in order to get the nutritional info I needed for tracking. After I entered everything and hit "enter" I realized I had failed to put in the # of servings so I did a "makeover" to correct that. When you view the recipe it screams "MAKEOVER" at you. Talk about embarrassing! OMG, I made a mistake! ! ! This must be the perfectionist in my talking.
So now the issue is this. Based on 6 servings the calories were 463.4, fat gr. 34.8, and the Sodium gr. was 1908.8 per serving ! With all of that being said, for our serving size of 1 1/2 cups, it became very obvious that this recipe made 8 servings instead of 6. I really would like to revise this recipe to correct the servings and lower the cals/fat/sodium, but when I looked into doing so the Calculator screamed "MAKEOVER, MAKEOVER" at me!
Is anyone familiar with the SP Recipe Calculator? Is there any way I can fix my recipe w/o seeing the "MAKEOVER, MAKEOVER" or completely entering the entire thing as a new recipe? I'm feeling like a real idiot!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
I have been MIA for some time from the Blog world, but thought it was time to bring my Spark friends up to date.
It is a strange phenomena what stress can do to a person and there are all kind of stressors in this life. It seems the more stress you are under the more your focus diminishes until you end up with tunnel vision and can hardly see the forest from the tree. My stress has been my health.
A brief review for my new Spark friends. I joined SP last March and was very gung-ho to lose weight and get fit. At the same time I was dealing with some hip pain and had been trying to get a definitive diagnosis for the past 5 years so I could develop a plan of action; either side, the choice is yours! Just the same I was not going to let that pain stand in my way. My doctor sent me to the pain clinic for injections and at first I felt on top of the world. I even trained for and jogged my first 5K at 61 years old in May 2013. That turned out to be the beginning of the end for me as it really did me in as far as my hip pain went.
I can really thank my Pain Clinic doctor for finally helping me sort this all out. The pain injections just weren't working like they did at first. He sent me for x-rays which showed a possible hairline hip fracture and then forwarded me back to one of my orthopedic surgeons. I stopped getting those steroid injections because, after all, if they aren't going to work why bother?! My surgeon took one look at my x=rays and said "Yup, when do you want to do this?". The game plan was on. As time passed and the benefits of the steroids (the ones that I thought weren't helping, but found out they really were) wore off, my tunnel vision set in more and more. I thank the heavens for my DH as the Holiday Season is sooooo busy and he was such a big help at getting up through it. I laugh with my daughter now that 2013 will go down as our worst Holiday Season ever when we remember back about it. By the time December hit I couldn't wait to get my Left Total Hip replacement done. December 23 couldn't get here fast enough for me! I even dropped out of my 5% Fall Challenge Team which was an unbearable decision for me.
Well, I gotta tell you. No one ever told me how much it would hurt afterwards! ! ! My first week post-op was unbearable, but things did get a bit better as the weeks past. This kind of major surgery really turns your life around and upside down. For an active person to go to an extremely sedentary lifestyle where it is work just to put one foot in front of the other and to have to think about every move you make so you don't exceed your "hip precautions" (for 3 months none the less) can be very discouraging and depressing. To go from being active to having your Spark Tracker only record 550 steps for the day! I want you to try sitting down in your favorite chair and then I want you to sit there all day long, day after day. It quickly becomes your not-so-very-favorite chair in a hurry.
Do you think Tunnel Vision and Pity Party go together? I'm beginning to wonder! There was a moment of sunshine in all of this by week 4. I even started to venture out of the house and met some gals I knew to attend a Wine About Winter event in my downtown area. I started to set up some new fitness goals for myself too; increasing my steps from 550 to 750 - whoo hoo! But it was a start. Then the set-back came. I ended up in the hospital last week with Acute Diverticulitis. What the heck! ! !
On top of all of this bodily insult I have been dealing with nausea and a horrible appetite for the past 2 months and even lost 6# this past week. Don't think I am doing such a wonderful job at losing weight. This is not the way to do it! Although I won't turn down any weight loss any way I can get it, I am now off of all narcotic pain meds and playing it day by day to see what my stomach and bowels will tolerate. At least I can say that food once again tastes good to me even if I do get full pretty fast.
So here I am at this w/e. I am feeling reasonably well and I am trying to stay positive. I am eager to see my physical therapist this coming Tuesday so we can increase my ST exercises and I would like to get the o.k. to do a little walking on my TM of Stationary Bike. Our 5% Challenge this week is Tracking. I hate this necessary evil and haven't done it in months. I'm not sure I will even be able to do it now as I am just happy to tolerate any food I put in my mouth without worrying about what it is. That might be hard to understand unless you have gone through weeks of nothing tasting good and no desire to eat what-so-ever. I will contribute the best I can to my team.
My Peripheral Vision is improving as my Tunnel Vision diminishes. I do believe there is light at the end of this tunnel and I look forward to reaching it!
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