Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday Ten: First World Problems

1.  Our weather has been cooler than normal.  In fact, we have had to put the heat on first thing in the morning to take the chill off the house.  But, after seeing the severe weather in Texas and Oklahoma lately, I guess I shouldn't complain.  At least it's calm cool weather.

2.  I'm still rehabbing my thigh but have been able to at least walk 2-3 miles in the morning.  When I try to add in a jog, I feel it tug. Interesting to me is that when I walk, I feel a definite pull through my hip as well.  Something is all connected up in there and I just have to be careful.  Lord knows I want to be better sooner than later.

3.  We spent 14 hours painting our lower level over the past weekend. Funny thing is that when we went to pick out paint colors and got samples, we had basically picked out lighter shades of the colors we had down there already.  Now that it's done, we like the lighter colors better and are glad we finally sucked it up and gave up a weekend to get it done, but we had to give up a weekend to get it done.

4. I'm moving right along with the plans for Mr. Helen's surprise 60th birthday party.  There's a local restaurant that has a downstairs room with it's own bar and bathrooms that I rented plus I've hired a DJ.  I'm having a soul food buffet of southern fried chicken, jerk chicken, BBQ ribs, collard greens, mac and cheese, rice, and cornbread.  Plus a cake of course. I'm not super creative so I've ordered a custom banner to hang, plus a bunch of 60th style decorations.  Decided instead of doing centerpieces (as this is a more casual place) I'd decorate from the ceiling so the decorations are things that will hang down and can be scattered on the cake table, etc.  I have had to keep it all at my office because Mr. Helen has been home a lot more lately. Hopefully this will stay a surprise - 2 weeks to go.

5. Helen Cranky Moment:  Why don't people RSVP?  I can plainly see I am going to have to contact people on Thursday.  I'm paying for the food per person so I have to know!  Why can't people just RSVP?!!!

6. I'm also surprising him with tickets to see Pitbull in concert, which I'll give him in his card..  We like Pitbull and both of us have a lot of his songs in our workout playlists.  I just wanted us to do something fun, instead of buying another "thing."  He's playing at Foxwoods, the big casino about 1/2 hour away from us.  So we can go throw some quarters in the slots if we want to.

7. Of course, since I'm this far along with everything, Mr. Helen finally went and got an MRI on his knee that has been bothering him.  (Side note: you should have seen us trying to paint between my messed up thigh/hip and his knee. Pretty funny). Went to the doctor last Friday and was told he has torn his meniscus AGAIN.  This is the knee that was operated on 7 years ago, not the one that was done recently.  As soon as the doctor told him surgery, he looked right at the doctor and said, "I can't do anything until after May 10th.  I have my anniversary and my birthday in there and I'm pretty sure my wife will KILL ME DEAD if I am laid up." And he said that without even knowing about the party.  I have him well trained.  The surgery is scheduled for May 18th which may mean I'll be on Facebook selling the Pitbull tickets at face value.  We won't know until the doctor gets into the knee if it's going to be an easy/fast or hard/months-long recovery.

8. He keeps asking me where I want to go eat out for our anniversary (which is this Saturday and 1 week before the party). I haven't answered because truth be told I don't want to spend the money with what I'm putting out for the party. Of course, I can't tell him that so I need to come up with a plan and quickly. Plus I don't want to cook either lol. Originally I was going to suggest we hike then go to the winery or something completely different than going out but with his knee that would be a no go.

9.  I ordered two sizes of the Calvin Klein MOB dress and when it came in, it was all wrong.  The material was too heavy for July - a very thick taffeta I think.  The smaller size fit me in the top and was too tight in the bottom, the larger size fit me on the bottom and the top was practically falling off. Plus the back was cut so low I have no idea what sort of undergarment could be worn with it.  Frustrating.  Back they went.

10. I was in our local Macy's store and saw they had a ton of dresses out due to prom season.  May I just say, I'm too young to wear the typical lacy, sequinny, MOB dress with jacket?  I tried some and they made me look 75 years old - which is fine if you ARE 75.  I did find one dress that I really loved - light, airy, a beautiful shade of aqua with gold accents, so I went ahead and bought it because it fits me fine now and will just look a bit better if I lose any weight.Plus I can always return it if I find something I like better. Not to mention that I got it for less than half price. Now I'm trying to accessorize it and cannot find the right shoes. Shoes are usually my easiest thing.  I've built entire outfits around shoes!

First world problems indeed. But isn't it pretty?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Want a Do Over

I always have a tough time transitioning from the treadmill to the outdoors, even though I run on an incline with the treadmill.  There's just something different about the varying road conditions, rolling hills, and traffic that is different enough for me to feel uncomfortable during my first times out in the spring.  I can also guarantee that if I'm going to have an injury, this is when it will happen.  

Last week after my weekend run, I started feeling a tug at the top of my right leg.  I babied it and only walked a couple of days but it seemed to get worse, to the point where when I would try to bear weight on that leg alone (like when going up stairs), something would twinge and it would feel as if I was going to fall. I wondered if it was a pinched nerve somewhere causing it as it was very hard to figure out where the feeling was coming from, but I wasn't sure as I also had some clicking in the knee area and my hip felt very tight. After my run this past Saturday, I kept moving all day busy with weekend tasks and my leg felt fine - until I sat down.  Then it sort of locked up and when I went to stand and walk, the feeling of collapse came back.  I finally gave up and took 800mg of ibuprofen.  About 30 minutes later, it felt like a miracle healing!  OK, so now I know it's inflammation.  So I started babying it and using the RICE technique.  Stopped running and only walked a bit and by yesterday it was feeling better enough that I contemplated a run on Friday morning.

Yesterday morning I got up and my leg was OK but I was truly feeling lousy.  As I got coffee and watched the news they said the pollen count was really high so I took an Allegra.  The lousy feeling continued on, along with intermittent sneezing and then a dull headache.  I began to suspect a cold vs. allergies but didn't want to admit it as I just got over the bronchitis I had.  I was really dragging by the time I left work but no rest for the weary as I had to go to my mall job. As I left work walking down the 3 flights of stairs to the parking lot where I put my car, I got to the second floor landing and suddenly my leg twinged, I reacted to stop from falling but I ended up jamming my injured leg so hard it took my breath away and I saw stars.

There went all my progress and I got definite confirmation (I'd been researching the pain) that it wasn't a nerve but rather somehow I'd managed a pull to my rectus femoris thigh muscle right at the very top.  Or maybe the nerve in that area had been pinched and was causing the initial feeling but now I've got a full-on strain.

While at work, it was bothering me so much, it was hard to stand and especially hard to sit as when I would then stand it felt like my leg was collapsing.  Additionally, I was getting stuffier and stuffier and sneezing like a maniac.  I absolutely could not wait for 9 p.m. to come so I could go home.

When the mall closed, I staggered back to the office and deposited my paperwork and the cash bags then staggered out to my car and went home.  As I was walking in the house I thought,"I feel so lousy, I almost wish I could just lay down and cry."  I put my things away and reached into my coat pocket to make sure I put all my keys back into my purse for the next day and....pulled out the keys for the mall.  

Yep, I had to get back in the car, drive back, find a security officer to let me in the office and deposit the keys in the overnight locker.

Finally crawled into bed around 10:00, but not before having a good cry while I washed my face and taking an Aleve D-Cold, 10 mg muscle relaxer, 600 mg Motrin, (both of those for the leg) and a Xanax because baby, it was just that kind of day.  Mr. Helen pulled me close, kissed the top of my head and said, "Come here my sweet, hard-working, drug addict wife - tomorrow will be a new and better day."

According to my Fitbit I got 6 hours of sleep - probably thanks to the Xanax and muscle relaxer but I don't care, at this point I'll take the sleep however I can get it. Woke up with a full blown cold and a tender right leg thinking please God, let Mr. Helen be right about today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Running, Clam Shacks, and Nom Nom Raw Veggie Rice Bowl!

I'm running outside again, even in the early mornings - YAY! YAY! YAY! But let me tell you, I'd forgotten what a b*tch it is to transition from the treadmill back to pavement and hills.  Even though I run with a 2% incline on the treadmill, it's just not the same since the treadmill sort of propels you a bit and outside you have to propel yourself.  This is the time of year when I pay no attention to my Garmin and instead just get out there and move.

The weekend was spectacular - we're finally getting real spring weather.  Saturday I waited until about 8:15 to go out for my run because I really wanted to give the sun a chance to warm things up since it is *still* right at or just below freezing here in the early mornings.  It felt so good to have the sun on my face!  As usual during my first spring runs, I overdressed.  Dressing for 45 degrees in the dark and 45 degrees in the bright sun requires different things.  You'd think after all these years I'd remember that I need to feel a little chilly when I start out, but nope.  I didn't care though, it was simply wonderful to be outdoors.  About a mile from the house I saw this:

That dirty pile is snow that is hanging on.  And, that's not even a place where snow was pushed therefore making it a deeper pile - it's just the leftover from all the snow we got this winter.  Stubborn.

It was such a beautiful day we decided to make our first trip to our local outdoor "clam shack," Fred's Shanty; known far and wide for fried seafood dinners and foot long hotdogs. Even though they opened in March, we always wait until it's warm enough to actually dine al fresco - that's half the fun! Still had to wear a light jacket but I was in heaven soaking up the sun. The first trip there we always share our food so we can have a taste of a couple things.  After that, Mr. Helen wants his own food and won't share.

Unfortunately Sunday (which was actually the better of the two days weather wise), I had to work at the mall.  I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to recreate the raw veggie rice bowl I had at Uma Temakeria in NYC.

Now, if I was a food blogger, I'd have photos of everything as I chopped it, etc. but I'm not, so you get some photos of the finished product along with an explanation of what I did.

Nom Nom Raw Veggie Rice Bowl
1 serving, approximately 300 calories without sauce

1 cup cooked brown rice (room temperature, not cold!)
1 cup broccoli slaw mix
1/2 cup julienned red pepper strips
1/2 cup julienned carrot strips
1 large stalk celery cut into julienne strips

Put your room temperature brown rice in a bowl, top with vegetables and sauce of your choice.  Eat.

Spicy Mayo Sauce: 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon Sriracha, 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (approximately 135 calories)

Here's my bowl topped with the sauce.  I was reading on how to run like Meb... in my dreams!!!

Although I didn't have the exact vegetables they did, I have to say, I did a damn good job at capturing the flavors.  Also, if you are a sushi lover, you could add sushi-grade fish of some sort (salmon seemed to be popular). I don't like raw fish but I do think the addition of some cooked chicken would be delicious if you wanted to add protein.

Personally I think it's pretty delicious just the way it is in its vegetarian state.  It was also a fabulous change from a green salad.

The sesame oil in this spicy mayo dressing gives the bowl a real Asian flair.  (I actually had the thought that I might try to make homemade mayo with sesame oil.  I'll let you know if that experiment works.) If you wanted to change up the flavor profile, you could make this Cilantro-Avocado dressing or this Lemon-Tahini dressing because the bowl is like a blank slate waiting for whatever flavors your palate would enjoy.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New York City, Mother of the Bride, and Other Thursday Thoughts

Last Wednesday, my boss took several of us to a meeting in New York City.  We got to ride down via limousine which is nice and stress free except if you get car sick like I do.  I did OK, but was so glad to get the heck out of the car.

He has invested in a start-up restaurant called Uma Temakeria.  It's basically a hand made sushi place - all fresh ingredients. First stop was there for lunch.  I'm soooooooo not a sushi fan, but they had a rice bowl so I topped it with all fresh vegetables and a spicy mayonnaise sauce.  This was so delicious!  I am going to try to recreate this for a lunch at work.

After the meeting we had a bit of free time but not really any good amount of time to shop, so we went and strolled Fifth Avenue.  Some of us went into Bergdorf Goodman and walked through the designer salons.  It was actually fun dreaming about wearing really well made clothing.  I saw a pair of shoes that I adored and if I had the money, these would be a contender for Little Helen's wedding.  Aren't they fabulous?!!

Alas, they are Louboutin's and a bit out of my price range...

After our stroll, he treated us to dinner and drinks in Little Italy.  This is the first thing you see when you walk into the skylight room at Il Cortile.

Dinner was good Italian food and lots of bread which we all enjoyed immensely.  After dinner we went to a couple of bars for drinks.  At this point it was getting late so I had a fancy coffee and went to water.  I could tell it was going to be a late night and sure enough, I walked through the door of home at 1:50 am.  Had to work on Thursday, which I managed but boy was I dragging!  It was a different sort of NYC trip for me, but still enjoyable to be out of the office for the day.


This has been me, pretty much all winter...

The end result is this is how I'm feeling now...


I've started looking for a dress for Little Helen's wedding.  Not quite ready to buy yet, but I've learned to stop looking at Mother of the Bride Dresses and just look at cocktail or evening dresses.  Based on what I like, this dress will probably be one of the most expensive I've ever bought but I don't care.  The wedding is in July and I want to be cool, comfortable, and most importantly Spanx-free!  I've also decided to just stop worrying about my size, look, weight etc.  I know I can put myself together enough to look just fine.  Besides, Little Helen is the real star of that show, right?

Eliza J Embellished Neckline Dress.  I like this color and also am thinking about Navy Blue, which it is also available in. This one is at Nordstrom and I found out the mall about an hour away from my house has it so I am going to try to go soon and try it on to see if I like it.

Calvin Klein Pleated Cocktail Dress.  This one would definitely be in Navy Blue.  I can get this one through Macy's but I may have to order it and then return it if I don't like it.


The stupid, stupid snow that has been taunting me is finally gone!  I thought it might last the week because we've had cooler than normal temps (it was 31 degrees Monday morning), but the rain finally got the better of it. Seriously, here is how the patio and front yard looked just this past Monday. TAUNTING me I tell ya!


Saw this somewhere a few days ago and can't stop thinking about how true it is for every single area of our lives - whether we realize it or not!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Solving a Mystery

First of all, thank you to every single person who commented with loving support on my last post.  You guys are the best!  I read every comment and found I just couldn't respond because I felt I would say the same thing over and over again about being frustrated.  All I truly want is an answer to why my body doesn't seem to participate in the healthy living I try to do!

Just as I am a big advocate for my own nutrition, I am one for my own health.  After my doctor appointment, I started doing some research on two of the meds she wanted me to take and decided against them, for now. I want to revisit the meds with her when I go back in a couple weeks.  Part of that decision was also made because she completely changed my blood pressure meds and upped my thyroid med.  I want my body to have a chance to see how it's going to handle those basic things before I add in anything else.  The other part is that I'm not quite convinced that I need additional meds.

I honestly feel that there is something underlying that no one has been able to pick up on and if I could get whatever that issue is fixed, other areas may respond.

Last week, just before our Good Friday break, a coworker came into my office and held out a FitBit. Her husband had bought her the newest model and she had this extra lying around. She told me she wanted me to take it and try it - not for the calorie or water or step counting, but to wear as a sleep tracker.  She said she'd been thinking long and hard about some of the things I'd shared and she remembered how for a long while, I've been complaining about my sleep.

She just may be onto something. Here are four days worth of charts which you can read as follows: pink means awake, turquoise means restless and not sleeping well, blue means sleeping.  I knew it was bad, but had no idea just how bad it is!!

Thursday-Friday - the night after I'd been on a trip to New York City with my boss and had gotten home at 2 am and had worked all day.  I should have slept like a LOG.




Based on the first couple of charts, I decided to buy myself the FitBit Charge HR which also shows heart rate, and instead of having to set the sleep, it automatically senses your sleep when your heartrate drops. So the Sunday-Monday chart is the first using the Charge.  Still no better though.

The bottom line is, this is just terrible.  Now we're all trying to figure out how I even manage to function on 4-5 hours of sleep, none of which is steady sleep.  Who on earth spends 240 minutes restless during the night?  Ridiculous. I'd bet if I could get 6 hours of mostly straight sleep, I'd feel like Superwoman!  Mr. Helen was so distressed by my Saturday-Sunday chart he told me to go back to bed. (Couldn't had too much to do.)  And how sad to say this is my sleep with melatonin in my system.

With the Charge heart rate readings, I immediately discovered that my resting heart rate is so high that the FitBit thinks I'm in "fat burning" mode all day long. Here's the chart showing my heart rate effort on Sunday. I swapped over to the Charge around noonish, which was after my exercise.  Most of this time I was at my mother's house sitting around eating Easter dinner and then came home and finalized the crockpot meal I'd made us for Monday's dinner.  After that I was mostly sitting, messing around on my computer, watching TV and looking at a new Runner's World..  No exertion and certainly not 9 hours of fat burning effort. Maybe this high heart rate is also why I tend to feel warmer than most people most of the time?

 My co-worker (who is also a certified trainer) said she thinks a lot of this is why the usual formulas are just not working for me. I don't know what is right and what is wrong, but I do feel like I'm onto something. Now if I can just find someone who knows what to do with this information, maybe I'll get the body and fitness I deserve.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Right Back Where We Started From

My 12 weeks with the nutritionist is said and done.  At my last weigh in I weighed exactly what I did the day I started.  In between, I lost 3 pounds then slowly gained until I was 5 pounds heavier than my starting weight.  Then lost back down to that weight.

When I sent her my final weigh in, I said, "I know I've been sick all week and haven't exercised a lick since last Monday but I was also eating 1200 or calories or so every day because I wasn't feeling well. In fact, there were some days when you asked me to eat more because it was so low. I mean really that should have equaled weight loss. Whatever.  And so, now you know exactly what I've been doing for a very long time now... round and round, upside down. And now you also know why I just stopped the madness and quit tracking.  I mean if I can not track and just eat and exercise and weigh this weight or I can track, count every bite I put into my mouth and weigh this weight, well....  the whole process is exhausting."

It's easy to blame my thyroid, which is almost what she did when she emailed me back, but the point was I KNOW my thyroid is an issue and you're supposed to help me figure that out.  She did say that she feels my metabolism is seriously stuck, even eating about 1400 calories a day and exercising 5 days a week, then she apologized that she couldn't seem to help. Funny (not ha ha but ironically funny), I'm the first person she's ever taken on that was unable to lose weight.  I'm her first failure.  I'M NUMBER ONE!! Go, me.

She really wanted me to try another 12 weeks but I'm choosing not to at this time. Even though my doctor is adjusting my medications it takes a while for that to kick in and honestly, I don't have much faith in that anyway. I've worked very hard in the last year to stop the dieting madness and mentality and the whole process had begun to make me feel crazed.

I do have some disappointments surrounding this.  You know how when you begin you are optimistic?  I'm more of a glass half empty type of person but I allowed myself to think glass half full and even believed that I might be able to lose about 10% of my weight over the course of the 12 weeks.  That gave me some pictures in my head as to the possibilities for the beautiful dresses I might buy in July for Little Helen's wedding (contingent on slow but steady weight loss).  At my current size I'm pretty sure I can't even shop at the place where I wanted to get my dress, so I've got to let that go and make peace with it.

Of course I'm also disappointed because I was hoping for improvements in my overall health instead of the sort of distastrous visit I had with the doctor.  Another thing I need to just face and make peace with.

In any case, I'm right back where I started with no more clarity than I had in January.  I wish it was where I started pre-thyroid disease, but it's just not.  I may never get to be there again.