13 January 2011

The Great Health Manifesto


I did something really, really stupid.


Really. Stupid.


I was enjoying life as a vegetarian, saving the lives of innocent little animals and feeling like I was doing something good for my body. However, in the middle of finding myself back up to the weight I was at while at SBU in 2001 – no surprise since I’m back in school, sitting on my butt all day and stress-eating bags of sunchips and diet coke – and I had a moment of desperation. I know better. So what in the world was I thinking when I made this decision?


In a moment of pure insanity and desperation, I did something evil. Something really, really bad. I don’t even want to admit it. I’m embarrassed beyond anything.


I’m so ashamed about this...this awful, stupid decision to...ugh.


Fine. I’ll admit it.


I low-carbed it.


Ugh. Yes, that’s right. It was wonderful and disgusting all at the same time. I was dropping weight, but that was probably because I was sick to my stomach every time a fleshy piece of chicken or muscle-y piece of steak crossed my lips. The cheese – oh man. I could live on cheese alone. That part was wonderful. And salads and roasted veggies...that was all good.


But the meat. Oh, just the thought of it right now makes me want to throw up.


And now I find out that all that stupidity might be the reason why I got kidney stones again.


The ER doctor recommended that I talk with a dietician since this is my second time with the stones – the first time was on my honeymoon – and interestingly enough, I was on the low-carb wagon then too.


Hmmmm. There might be a connection here.


These stats kind of shocked me:


·         The younger a person is when they have their first kidney stone (I was 22) greatly increases the risk of having additional attacks. Peak stone formation is between the ages of 35-50.

·         There is an 80% chance of recurring stones ones a person suffers their first stone. There is a cumulative 10% chance each year (ex: 5 years = 50%).

·         60% of people who have experienced one kidney stone will likely develop another within seven years.


Guess what? Yep. It’s been seven years since my first stone.




So what did the dietician say?


First of all, she told me to knock off the low-carb mentality. Quick weight loss doesn’t equal healthy weight loss. Quick weight loss usually equals weight quickly coming back on. Which I know. I KNOW. I know that there are good carbs, good fats...I know the drill. I just don’t listen to myself very much, and I search for the next quick weight-loss option within my reach.


And look where it gets me.


Ugh. Fine. FINE. I surrender. I’m done.


We’ll do this the dietician’s way.


Here’s some info from my doctor, the dietician I talked to today, the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.


I like lots of sources.


So first of all, what are kidney stones?


Kidney stones form when there is a change in the normal balance of water, minerals, and other things found in urine. This can happen if you do not get enough fluids or if you eat too much of certain kinds of food, such as animal protein (!!!!). And, like previously mentioned, if you had kidney stones before, you are more likely to get them again.


My dietician said that by following the eating plan she suggests, I may be able to prevent new kidney stones. Here’s what she went over with me:


· It’s a common myth that a diet high in calcium contributes to kidney stones. Eat a moderate or high amount of calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. The calcium in the food you eat doesn't have an effect on your risk of kidney stones. Ask your doctor before taking calcium supplements, though, as these have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.


· Eat a balanced diet that is not too high in animal protein. This includes beef, chicken, pork, fish, and eggs. These foods contain a lot of protein, and too much protein may lead to kidney stones (No more low-carb stupid dieting for me!!). Choose non-animal protein sources, such as soy and legumes.


· Getting your recommended amounts of calcium, combined with a diet low in sodium and protein, may actually decrease your risk of kidney stones. (So, to summarize, increase calcium, decrease sodium and animal protein.)


· The number one way to prevent kidney stones is to drink plenty of water. The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough fluids, especially water. Avoid tea, dark colas and limit coffee intake. (Um, crap. That might be a problem. I still haven’t found a way to break my four-cups-of-coffee-in-the-morning-and-diet-coke-afternoon-pick-me-up habit yet.)


· Avoid grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice not only contributes to the formation of kidney stones, but it interacts with many medications as well. (True. Grapefruit juice and birth control do not mix.)


· Talk to your doctor if you take vitamins or supplements. He or she may want you to limit how much fish oil or calcium supplements you take. Also, do not take more than the recommended daily dose of vitamins C and D.


·  Increase how much fiber you eat. Fiber includes oat bran, beans, whole wheat breads, wheat cereals, etc.


·  Avoid pre-packaged foods that contain added sugars.


·  Avoid foods that are high in oxalate, such as dark leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, and chocolate (!!!).  (Seriously? No more spinach?? What in the world??)


·  Try not to add salt when you cook or eat. Remove the salt shaker from your table, avoid eating canned soups, microwave meals and packaged foods that are high in sodium and limit fast-food intake.


So, that’s what the dietician and I talked about, and WebMD and the Mayo Clinic concur.


On one hand, it’s a great excuse to tell M that I’m not eating meat again.


On the other...life without chocolate? Even life with chocolate in limited amounts?  


But I’m willing to try anything at this point. I cannot even describe how painful this is...I do not want this to come back. I’ll do anything to prevent that from happening.


Anything. I’m miserable right now.


And just to clarify – the kidney stone prevention diet isn’t necessarily a weight-loss diet. It’s a “get your body back to its optimal health” diet – something I apparently need right now. We’ll worry about weight loss later. Right now I just need to focus on being healthy.


“To insure good health: Eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness and maintain an interest in life.” ~ William Londen

12 January 2011

31 Days of Fitness and Kidney Stones

My 31 Days of Fitness reached Day 10 before it came to a screeching halt.
Kidney stones will do that to you.
Days 5-10 of Fitness consisted of walking 3.25 miles with my neighbors while alternating with JM's Yoga and Cardioblast at the Salem Fitness Center on Monday nights.
Day 10 ended with a trip to the ER at midnight in the middle of a snowstorm because I couldn't breathe due to the searing pain shooting through my left side. I was curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor when M was like, "This looks exactly like when you had kidney stones on our honeymoon. We're going to the ER." So, we went to the ER.
After I changed out of my pajamas and put on deodorant and brushed my teeth, of course. I did wear my slippers though. Mostly because I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes, and also because we live in rural Missouri. On a normal day you'll see people wearing slippers in our local Walmart, so I figured I'd be forgiven in a hospital.  
Long story short - lots of fluids and painkillers as needed. Just like last time.
Now for something fun. M went out of town for a couple days to a baseball coach's conference, and I painted our bedroom!
We've been living in the dark dinginess of wood panelling for the past two years, and I've been wanting to paint it for, well, the past two years. But since we rent, we didn't want to put the money into it. Good thing our landlord owns the local hardware store...I went and asked permission to paint, and he practically threw the supplies at me. I offered to pay, but he said he was getting free labor out of it...and if I felt like painting any other rooms in the house to just let him know.
So I'm kinda guessing he didn't like the wood panelling either.

Oh yeah, and I rearranged the furniture too. Big surprise, huh? 

04 January 2011

31 Days of Fitness - Day 4

I honestly thought after last night's workout I wouldn't be able to get out of bed, but I guess that's what dogs are for.
7am. Wet nose on my chin. Three sets of eyes looking at me like, "If you don't get out of bed right now, you're not going to like the result."
I'm up.
It took a couple cups of coffee and an hour or so of the Today Show, but I did it. Day 4. I was going to do yoga, but I felt like after last night's workout (and the -3lbs lost on the scale this morning) to keep the heart rate as accelerated as possible.
I really, really love Jillian's Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD. It's seriously one of the best cardio workouts I've done. I still want to try Bob Harper's, but...I'm nervous. I've heard it's ridiculously brutal.
Maybe tomorrow, if I'm feeling masochistic. 
Day 4 
Workout: Jillian Michaels Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism
Location: My living room
Equipment: Exercise mat, Garmin FR60 HR monitor
Start Time: 10:00am
Total Time: 55:00
Calories Burned: 602
Average HR: 158
Max HR: 190

Since I'm still on break and M's still on break, we're heading into Springfield today. Yay! We have absolutely no idea what we're going to do once we get there, but that's the fun of just running away for the day.
Speaking of running away, I had to pause my workout halfway through because I happened to glance outside to see UConn out in the front yard sunning herself near the ditch. Um...just 10 minutes earlier she was hooked in the BACK yard. I know she was, because I personally double-checked since she got loose yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that...how in the world does this dog manage to escape so much?? I just can't figure out how she does it. 
As for today's quote, I love this one. It's hanging on the wall at the Salem Fitness Center, and it's fabulous:
"A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs." ~ Joan Welsh 
How's that for motivation?

03 January 2011

31 Days of Fitness - Days 2-3

So I had a good, pure and holy reason all made up in my mind for why I didn't post my fitness results yesterday...something along the lines of "it's the Lord's day," or "honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy."
But I can't lie.
I was too involved in re-reading the entire Twilight series from start to finish. Start, being Saturday morning. Finish, being Sunday night.
Baz-inga! Four massive novels in two days. M keeps whispering "you're a freak" in my ear. And shouting it at me from the other room.
I love to read!! Nerdynerdynerd.
Anyway, I still made time to get Day 2 in.
Day 2 
Workout: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown
Location: My living room
Equipment: Yoga mat, Garmin FR60 HR monitor
Start Time: 7:30am
Total Time: 35:00
Calories Burned: 208
Average HR: 118
Max HR: 168
And today's - which was BRUTAL. Susie Cahill, you kicked my butt. Actually, you killed my arms. I can't reach up to wash my hair. That's how bad I hurt. And I really, really need to wash my hair.
Day 3
Workout: Cardioblast Class
Location: Salem Fitness Center
Equipment: Exercise mat, Garmin FR60 HR monitor, 3lb weights, 5lb weights, step block
Start Time: 6:45pm
Total Time: 01:05:00
Calories Burned: 682
Average HR: 150
Max HR: 184

How are the rest of you doing so far? Any fun fitness ideas?
"Fitness to me itsn't about a crunch or a push up. It's about taking your power back." ~ Jillian Michaels

01 January 2011

31 Days of Fitness - Day 1

Happy New Year!
Know what that means??
31 Days of Fitness starts...now! Who's with me? That means doing some sort of workout every single day during the month of January - whether it's walking the dog around the block or pulling out an Insanity DVD. Mopping the kitchen with a little extra intensity, or training for a marathon.
Whatever gets you off the couch.
Confession: I'm bored to death with my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD, and I wanted to try something new. So for Christmas, I was happy to open two more of her workouts - Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and No More Trouble Zones. Along with that, I also got Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior and Cardio Conditioning DVDs that go along with his Body Rev series - think Insanity but with a way cuter instructor.
A little backstory: after hurting my knee during the Chicago Marathon and having a persistent right shin splint that refuses to go away, I was desperate to find a good workout that would allow me to build strength and tone without aggravating these nuisances.
I found it: Jillian's Yoga Meltdown.
Can you tell that I really, really like JM?
Plus, M got me a super-cute yoga mat and carrier from Gaiam for Christmas. It just begs you to workout on it:
After just two weeks of Yoga Meltdown, let me tell you - the stiffness in my quads and hamstrings are GONE. I can do toe touches and actually TOUCH my TOES. Amazing. My shin doesn't hurt - which is great because Jillian's Banish Fat DVD has some explosive moves, which is the reason why I stopped doing Insanity - those explosive plyometrics just about killed my knee and shin repeatedly.
So now it's time to get back in shape. Who's with me for the next 31 days? 30 minutes a day, 60 minutes a day, whatever you can do. It doesn't have to be complicated or difficult. Anything to get moving!
Here we go...
Day 1
Workout: Jillian Michaels Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism
Location: My living room
Equipment: Exercise mat, Garmin FR60 HR monitor
Start Time: 10:00am
Total Time: 55:00
Calories Burned: 598
Average HR: 160
Max HR: 189
What will you do today?
"I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it if I don't." ~ Anonymous