Saturday, February 27, 2010

On the Road Again!

I got permission from Dr. Nguyen yesterday to run again. He said he'd like to start seeing how running affects my improved posture now that I've been in treatments for about a month. He also said he was really happy with how my body is responding to the adjustments.

So today I strapped on the nikes and hit the trail. I pretty much expected what I got. It's been nearly a month since I've run - 25 days actually - and I figured that even with the elliptical that I've been doing twice a week that my cardio would suffer as would my muscle strength. The good news is that I'm not sore. I didn't really push myself either. The bad news is that my lungs wanted to die after the first run. I got a new inhaler that is a different prescription from my old one. I think it probably worked just fine, but I think that my lungs have had a chance to regress. The good news is that that my knees didn't hurt, my shins started to, but then I adjusted my technique so they didn't hurt, my feet hurt like hell, and I didn't feel over-tired.

While it would have been super cool to get back out and run the full workout for week two, I'm happy that I was able to run the two intervals that I did. I'm sure it will only be a matter of a couple more runs for my cardio to catch back up to my activity level. I think I am also going to try to do the elliptical on non-running days so that I get in the habit of doing daily activity.

I'm glad to be back on the 5k challenge!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Comfortable Stage

I've been doing the weekday veggie thing about a month now. So far I've been able to stick to it for the most part given a couple holidays and my justification of sushi. The last few days I've been thinking about what the point of the veggie thing is. Is it to be healthier? Is it to reduce my calorie intake? Is it to save cows? The answer is yes to the first two and kind of to the cows. Sorry cows.

I realize now that I'm slipping into the comfortable stage. This is the stage in anyone's lifestyle change (or any other project/change) where you stop thinking about what you're doing and start justifying doing things the way you did them before. It's the most dangerous stage because if you don't trudge through with stubborn force, you'll never come out having changed anything. Everyone should know what I'm talking about. I've hit this wall.

I caught myself at lunch yesterday really grappling with this. We went out to the Rogue Brewery for lunch since Paul got a free stein and a t-shirt for his birthday. Of course I had a beer with him because it would be wrong of me not to. As I searched through the menu I tried to stay honed in on the salads. When those didn't seem promising I tried finding vegetarian options. There weren't any outside the salads. So I looked for fish. That didn't sound too appealing so I started looking at the rest of the menu. Kobe beef meatballs, reuben sandwiches, meat meat meat, fat fat fat. I thought, it's Paul's birthday, surely it's okay to eat what I want today.

And then I caught myself. I began to think about the rest of the day. I knew we'd be eating dinner at Todai's and that I would probably eat mostly fish, but that in a buffet situation I was bound to consume far more calories than I could control. And they are expensive and I wanted to eat my money's worth! I knew that this would be enough to jeopardize my day and that if I ate a big burger for lunch I'd be weighing in the same again this week. Sure, it's one meal. But every meal is one meal. I have to start thinking about these little slips in weekly terms rather than in terms of that one instance. Because I choose to splurge more times than I choose to control myself. This is my norm. This is where I start to revert to when I've hit the comfortable stage. When I realized this, I chose to fight!

I ended up ordering the black bean and quinoa salad, the only real vegetarian option on the menu besides bread. I wasn't very excited about it, but when I finally got it it was so good! I had a tiny bite of Paul's meatball sandwich and I was actually happier with my choice.  At Todai'se I ate some crab legs, a shrimp, a small bite of beef short ribs, and some sushi. While I could have done even better than that, I still feel like I didn't overdo it and most of my meal was udon noodles and seaweed besides these tidbits. I feel good about having made conscientious choices even if I did eat more than I should have.

Now I just have to master my urge to eat cake and sweets and I'll be on the right track!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Debate


I'm contemplating being naughty today and going running. The weather has been so perfect for running and I'm stuck with the elliptical. I think the thing that I really like about the running/walking is my nike tracker. I can post my progress and see my stats every time I work out. It's very motivating. Not to mention that I feel like my body was starting to change and I'm not happy about losing it. Maybe I'll just walk really fast.

On another note, I got boots! Boots that fit around my legs! Boots that are cute and were on clearance so I got an awesome deal on them! They weren't the ones that I was goaling for. These were what I really wanted.

I actually got to try them on finally because Macy's randomly had one pair that was two sizes to small, but it was clear that the calf was never going to fit. So I ended up with These instead.

The awesome thing is that they're not what I would typically want. I'm a girly girl when it comes to boots, but I branched out a little and got something that I probably would have never considered. They're very comfortable and versatile enough that I can dress them up or wear them very casual. There's still room in the footbed to add orthotics when my doctor finally has me fitted and I have to start using them. The best part is that that darker panel in the middle is all stretch, so they fit around my legs easily and they stay on! It's a miracle! You might notice from the link that they're $190 originally. I got them for $60. The boots that I wanted before were probably going to be $200 and I've never seen them for less than that, so even if I did get skinny enough, I probably couldn't have got them anyway. Don't you love when you find a fantastic deal?

Now if only I could run in them haha!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Cheese,

Dear Cheese,
I have been thinking about writing this letter to you for awhile now. It's never easy to say what I'm about to say. I must inform you of the unhealthy level our relationship has reached. I love you now more than ever, and yet I have decided that it would be best for both of us to see less of each other. You might be wondering why.

Over the years I have grown to admire and understand your many forms. You thrill my senses with your creaminess, your many varieties of textures and flavors are amazing and I love that you get along well with others like sandwiches and burritos. You are even strong enough to stand on your own. I like that so much about you cheese. It's just that in spite of how delightful you are, you have been unhealthy for me. My thighs have gotten wider, and I have much unwanted cellulite and belly fat. If only you weren't so high in fat. Then our love could be uninhibited. But alas, I cannot allow myself to give in to your gloriousness without restraint any longer.

So, cheese, I have decided that in spite of all of your wonderful qualities, we need to see less of each other. I know you don't intend to hurt me. I know you were just doing what you do best, and that is to taste good. But I can't allow myself to continue the frequency of this unhealthy relationship. Sure, we will see each other from time to time. I hope we can still be friends even. But we can't keep going on like this. I will miss you being a part of my daily life.

I know you will understand.

Sincerely,

Bethany

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's about time!

This morning was the first since November that the scale was under 180. It was probably 179.5, but a victory just the same. The last couple months it's been waning between 180 and 185. To celebrate, I got the extra fancy yogurt at New Seasons that I've been wanting to try. Yes. I'm celebrating with yogurt.

This is how dramatic my eating has changed.

Lunch today was a Trader Joe's frozen meal of vegetable panang curry and jasmine rice. It was a bit high in calories, but worth it. Dinner is brown rice, yakisoba noodles, a huge bowl of stir fried veggies (zucchini, red pepper, brussels sprouts and carrots) and teriyaki mushrooms. Snacks were this fabulous trail mix I got at TJ's that's mixed nuts and dried cranberries, an orange, and a ton of oolong tea.  I haven't been hungry all day. I think I may finally have my eating habits under control!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Posture makes Perfect

I was comparing a picture of me in my honeymoon photos (the one that I took in the mirror) to the New Years Eve photos that my friend Amber just posted and I think I look better. Screw the scale!
I think I owe some of this to my posture. As I've been having my spine adjusted I realize i carry my weight better and I am probably also a little taller since he's slowly uncurling my spine.

I'm going to get my butt on an elliptical tomorrow if it kills me. I don't want to look at any more pictures and think, "I can't possibly still look like that!" I'm back on the veggie diet today after nearly a week off. I forgot this morning and had a chunk of chicken pepperoni on accident! But I did pretty well the rest of the day.
It will be more of a challenge to figure out food and exercise the rest of this week. Tomorrow is a normal work day but Wednesday is a 12 hour day, Thursday's a 10 and Friday's a 9 hour day between work, voice lessons, and chiropractor appointments. Perhaps I'll bring my tennis shoes so I can walk on the track during lunch!

Friday, February 12, 2010

*groan*

Well, our honeymoon was lovely and I shall soon post pictures on facebook. It was even nice enough that we could walk on the beach the day we got there. Unfortunately our fancy dinner turned out to be riddled with food poisoning. So our drive home yesterday was less than pleasant and we're still trying to recover today. Perhaps I'm being punished for taking a break from my weekday veggie diet. I figured that eating seafood wasn't the worst thing I could do for my diet, and you only get your honeymoon once right!?

What really sucks is that I haven't been able to exercise for three days! I was all gung ho wednesday to get up and go for a run on the beach. I figured the impact wouldn't be so bad since it would be sand and I was excited. But when we woke up it was pouring down rain. I figured I could just do the elliptical when we got home, but being sick has put a wrench in that plan as well.

I was thinking about how good I've felt with the running I've been doing and how it's going to really suck to rebuild my endurance again when I'm allowed to run again. At least I can still do stuff to maintain my cardio I guess.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Moving on

I did 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning instead of going on a run. I think I will try to alternate days of elliptical and walking. That way I can still do updates with my nike tracker. I really like being able to track my progress. I think that has been the biggest motivator.

I was feeling kind of guilty today about what I ate, but I realized that I'm being kind of hard on myself. I had a veggie burrito from Chipotle and some chicken nuggets from Wendy's for a very late lunch/early dinner, an orange, and a donut. That's all I ate today. The donut was probably not the best thing I could have eaten, but I can't exactly remember the last time I had one, and it was the best donut I've had in a long time. So I will forgive myself for having it. The fact that I'm beating myself up over a donut after eating fairly healthily the rest of the day tells me that I'm in the right mindset though. Now if only the scale would catch up to my efforts!

Elliptical Blues

I've been relegated to the elliptical. My chiropractor said that doing a high impact sport like running could put a damper on treatments. He said it was okay for me to do the elliptical though. There's one at my complex I can use, but it needs to be serviced because it grinds and squeaks when used. He said I could walk, but that the elliptical would be better.
I guess this is okay because I'm losing some of my steam with the C25K stuff. I could use a break. I think I will keep up walking so that I can challenge myself at least in some way. It will probably be difficult without the high from running though. That stuff's addictive in an oh so good way!

I've noticed a change in my relationship with food. We got Burgerville for lunch today and I got the bacon cheeseburger because it's my day to eat meat! It was very delicious, but I found myself struggling to order it over the white bean burger they have right now. I kept thinking about how much healthier it is and how much better I would feel if I ate it instead. Fortunately I didn't feel that bad afterward because Burgerville is good people and they don't give you food that makes you sick. I found myself wanting veggie food for dinner though. I had the best falafel sandwich ever at Old Market Pub. The waitress made fun of me because I wanted carrot sticks instead of fries. Carrot sticks wasn't a given option, I asked for them. I wanted them because they actually sounded better than fries. I'm not even kidding. I didn't feel for a second like I was giving up food that I would rather have for food I should have. It wasn't until she made fun of me that I realized what an odd choice it was. Who prefers carrot sticks to fries? Why not just get the salad for crying out loud? Being weird is awesome!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change of Plans

I think life is the biggest deterrent in being healthy. Today I was supposed to go to my chiropractor appointment and then go teach lessons and I was going to ask Dr. Nugyen about whether I should be running while I'm getting all these treatments. Last night I get a phone call from my CT from the middle school asking if I want to sub. Of course I had to say yes because a) it's money and b) it's a day of subbing that is really rewarding since I know the kids already. So today I had no chiropractor appointment, no run, and an 10 hour work day. It's amazing how fast your plans can go out the window.
Fortunately I'll be able to do everything I had planned on doing today tomorrow.

I sang for the middle school kids while I was at the school and realized I wasn't accessing my high notes quite the same. It took a couple tries for it to really hinge. I haven't had problems with my high notes for a long time and it occurred to me that this spinal readjustment stuff might drastically affect my singing. This could be a good thing though. A huge amount of singing high notes is the ability to relax your jaw. I haven't been able to do that completely before so perhaps I'll be able to access notes I haven't been able to sing before. Wouldn't that be fabulous! Then I can stop having a voice type identity crisis!

I also realized today that I've been able to visualize what I will look and feel like at a goal weight more than I have been able to before. I look in the mirror and I like what I see because I know where I'm heading. I think my diet has helped my belly be less bloated. Still no change on the scale or in my clothes, but I have faith that I'm doing the right things!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Price of Health

Well, I went back to the chiropractor today and it looks like I have more problems than I thought. The good news is that they can all be fixed at this stage in a fairly short amount of time for a fairly reasonable amount of money. The bad news is that even with the cost being reasonable, it's going to be very hard on our budget.

What he determined is that my lower lumbar spine curves to the left. As a result, my hips are imbalanced to that my left foot bears more weight than my right foot (which explains why it's flatter and why that knee hurts), my mid-back/shoulder blade area is starting to curve, and my neck is curved. The curvatures cause my muscles to compensate for the strain which explains the knots in my shoulders, neck and jaw that I've had for years. The x-ray of my spine basically looked like an S. It's known as subluxation of of the lower spine or scoliosis. It kind of looked like this, but the curvature was much lower than in this picture:


It was actually kind of scary to see it. He said that what eventually could happen is that the discs supporting my spine will start to wear from the uneven weight distribution in my low back and that the bone will grow over them as they wear away. The final result looked like the bones were all fused together with teeth. This eventually leads to a plethora of different problems the first of which is a massive amount of pain.

The good news is that it's early enough that he can fix it. Potentially I should be able to exercise and move and sing without any tension or pain at all. I've always attributed my problems with physical activities to being overweight.  It's such a relief to know that I don't have to feel this way the rest of my life! I am so looking forward to experiencing what it feels like to run without my knees or feet hurting, to sing without my jaw feeling like it's in a vice, to do yoga without cramping in places I didn't know I had!

The toughest part is going to be making payments on the treatments for the next year. I have to go to about 36 appointments roughly, have two nerve scans, another x-ray, and get orthotics for my shoes. The nice thing is that this doctor gives discounts if you're uninsured for chiropractic because it saves his office the time and hassle of dealing with the insurance companies. I'm really glad I did this. I haven't been fixed yet, but I would definitely recommend checking out a chiropractor if you're having any issues with your health!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life Makeover

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking the last few days. I've been thinking about my life and where it's going. I've accomplished so much in the last year. Paul and I got married, I finished my masters degree, we moved to a grown up apartment, and I've really stepped up in the last couple months and have really committed to my personal health. This is the first time in my life that I've been eating well and exercising at the same time. And the craziest thing is that it's not hard. It's like I've found this zen place where I can just exist outside my previous norm. The bad news is I still haven't lost any weight. My clothes still don't feel any looser. But I feel like I look better even if it's not measurable.

With this new found sense of balance I have to wonder what to do with it. I try to picture my life at a healthy weight and what I can achieve. And I feel strong and brave to take my life by the reigns and drive! I've started contemplating the idea of teaching in Japan if I don't get a job next year. At this point it's just an idea for a backup plan. I know that if I end up doing it though it will be something I won't regret. What I will regret is if I never go. Kristi's comment on my last post got me thinking about how being in good shape in a foreign country would really be advantageous. If a culture values health, wouldn't I want to show them how I value it also?

I finally got added to Paul's health insurance policy only to find that chiropractic isn't covered. So I decided that I would just go anyway and leave if we couldn't afford it. The good news is that the particular chiropractor I went to see is awesome. He said that he gives a discount to the uninsured because it's a lot of extra hassle for them to process insurance claims anyway. He did a sort of physical thing where he checked my flexibility, my spinal health, my balance and reflexes, blood pressure, and did an x-ray.
The bad news is that he said that my blood pressure was high and that I have some signs of hypertension. The good news is that it was likely caused by my asthma and the higher heart rate when I'm running and will improve the more I keep up my running regimen. I have an appointment to go over the test results tomorrow morning. I'm really excited to start feeling better with my knees and also with the tension I've had for years in my shoulders, neck and jaw. The coolest thing is that Doctor Nguyen was really great about not making me feel stupid and answered my questions and even offered me useful information pertaining to singing and breathing. He's a doctor with the heart of a teacher and that's really important to me. His office also has the coolest bathroom I've ever seen! I want to buy a house so I can remodel the bathroom to look like the bathroom at his clinic haha!

I just had a little bit more to say in this very long post. I've been drinking a boatload of tea the last couple days and I noticed that I'm not as hungry. I also drug my butt to Fanno Creek Trail near our complex. It's a nice paved trail that's about a mile and a half that runs through the neighborhood. I liked the trail and the day was a gorgeous day to be outside, but it was shaded the whole way and thus freezing! I liked having new scenery though.

Why the Japanese are so thin

I've heard it said many times that people from asian cultures are thin because of what they eat. I beg to differ! I went to Uwajimaya's to grab something to eat on my way to choir rehearsal this evening thinking I would find some rice balls or some veggies with rice...something along those lines. I headed over to the deli and began searching for something and soon realized that everything had meat. Everything! Fish, pork, chicken, stuff I'd never thought came from animals! I think American's have bastardized healthy asain food. I ended up with a sweet bun filled with red bean paste. Probably not the least fattening or sweet thing I could have found, but alas the only thing that didn't have any meat.

The good news is that I have half of it figured out. I've been watching tons of Japanese tv shows and in pretty much every episode one of the characters ends up running to catch/find/meet another person. But it's not like a light run, it's full out sprinting every time. These people don't mess around! And it's never a short distance either, it's like two or three minutes of all out sprinting to dramatic music in the rain! For some reason this is motivating to me. Perhaps my runs aren't quite as dramatic, but at least the more I work at this the better my chances of being ready for my dramatic sprinting scene! Or just being ready to wear a smaller size of pants. Either way works for me.