Posted in Uncategorized

Healthy with Friends

As I’ve mentioned, I really started focusing on new ways to get healthier in August 2018. But before that, I had tried so many times to lose weight and would get to a certain weight and get stuck! In the in-between times, I would just think – screw this – and eat or do whatever I wanted, even if it wasn’t healthy.

What I have learned in this health journey is that having others who are moving in the same direction as me is key. That being said – a memory popped up on FB today from 7 years ago with a good friend. In the “then” picture, she had lost 15 pounds and I had not even tried again.

And then there’s our now pictures. We took very different paths to achieve better health but look how far we’ve come! My friend is a workout queen, working her way down to a size 6. I am more the lighter workout (think yoga, walking, bike riding) person and am at a size 8. And we both changed our eating habits, though I am much more strict since I’m following the AIP.

And I have other friends who are working on their health too! Be that person who motivates others to make a change to become healthier 🤗. I recently read a quote that where you will be in 5 years will depend on the people you hang around. Get some friends traveling in the same direction as you. It makes a difference!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Update: first of the year

So I had my annual physical with my primary care doctor today. I really like working with her because she listens and tries to help based on my lab results, how I’m feeling and what might have been treated by other doctors in the past. Below is my update on issues I’ve mentioned in the past:

  • Iron level: still sketchy. I tested 6 months ago and it was low. Now, it dropped almost another point even though I take iron 3 times each day and liver pills. Since I have heavier cycles, I’ll be getting some testing done with an ob/gym
  • C reactive protein level: still elevated BUT…lower! In the past, I had hs CRP measured but the lab with the doctor just did CRP. And from my understanding, the conversion is based on a factor of roughly 10. So in converting my 39.5 CRP to hs CRP, I would be at a 3.9! This is AMAZING!!!!!!! My last test was done at the end of 2020, around November and it was 19

So, mixed results. My weight was about 8 pounds less than last year but I’m not really concerned about weight. I’m more than okay where I am. I’m just trying to see what is going on with these iron levels!

What are my health intentions this year?

1. Increase iron level

2. Continue to decrease c reactive protein

3. Better mobility in knee and neck areas

To help, I started the autoimmune protocol. It’s basically an elimination diet to help lower inflammation, heal the gut and find out what food triggers I might have by systematically reintroducing foods with a journal of results. I’m starting with 3 months but may go up to 6 months if needed. And I’m trying to find a functional or integrative doctor.

What are your health intentions this year? How are you going to make it happen? All the best in this new year! 🤩

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s your why?

Everyday, I have a decision to make: to either do all the things to give me a chance to feel great that day or revert back to old habits that weren’t the best for me. Every. Single. Day. I say this because every day is NOT a great day but I choose to move forward with something that can help tomorrow.

Why? Even when it’s hard. Why? Even when I seem stuck. Why? Even when there’s no progress. Because I cling to my reasoning behind what I’m doing. See, when I started my journey in getting healthier, my nutritionist asked – what’s your why? I took that to mean- what’s the reason that is so strong that even when I don’t feel like it, I’ll keep at it. My why?

Elimination of pain

So as I’ve mentioned, PCOS can cause low grade chronic inflammation which I definitely deal with. Well when everything is inflammatory, then it can have negative effects on the body including the wearing and tearing of joints; this can lead to osteoarthritis. And arthritis is painful. Pain is that motivator for me.

I plan to start the autoimmune protocol diet in January to start targeting what may be causing pain and to heal the gut, which I need in the worst way. When you wake up in some level of pain everyday, then you will look for ways to reduce pain – physical therapy, gentle exercise, NSAIDs, more sleep, Epsom salt baths, CBD oil, dietary changes, weighted blanket. I’m trying them all in an effort to minimize pain and enjoy each day.

So what is your why? Whether you are just starting or looking for ways to stay motivated, I encourage you to find a strong reason to stay on track. Writing it down and sharing your reason with accountability partners are both great recommendations that I’ve used. On my vision board, I even include ways to accomplish my goal.

What is YOUR why? Share below and motivate someone today!

Posted in Uncategorized

Sugar Rush

It’s that time of year when sweets are in abundance EVERYWHERE! I even saw this display at a local big box store. There were even TWO displays and they were gone within a couple of weeks 😱

Bags of sugar!

And it’s sooooooo tempting to give into all the sweets. But the sweets are laced with so much sugar! And yes, I used the word “laced” because sugar lights up the same parts of the brain as drugs. I have been researching the effects of sugar for years and while I don’t have the links for proof, please take the time to research what I mention below:

  • Sugar is addictive (as mentioned above)
  • Regular sugar has no nutrient value to add to your food
  • Sugar suppresses the immune system, making it harder to get better when you’re sick and consuming it
  • Sugar in excess seems to affect the level of sweetness that your taste buds become accustomed to
  • Sugar is detrimental to so many body processes and functions

When I consume too much sugar in a sitting or in a day, I can quite literally FEEL all these areas of my head lighting up because I try to minimize sugar as much as possible. My joints ache and hurt, making mobility much harder. And the uveitis in my eye begins to flare and it’s really hard to get that down. Whew!

So what do I do? When I do add sugar on purpose, it’s usually honey or maple syrup. I do have treats sometimes – there’s a non-dairy frozen dessert that I like or I may have portions of organic dark chocolate. But pain is a motivator and on my quest to live and feel optimally, then avoiding excessive sugar is a must.

Enjoy your holiday season! I’m just reminding you to be mindful of what you eat. Everything affects your body and wouldn’t it be great to be at your best over the holidays? 🤩 That’s my goal!

Got any recommendations on how to keep the sugar to a minimum during the holidays? I would love to hear your advice!

Posted in Uncategorized

Then and Now

About a month into my journey to feel better, I started taking pictures to chronicle my progress as the scale doesn’t always correlate to progress. And I still do it because the body dysmorphia is real! I may not see myself as the size that I started, but I also don’t see my current size the same way others do.

So …the left hand picture is from September 2018. I remember buying that shirt; I loved it! It was a size XXL from JCPenney. The picture on the right is from last week. I am going to a funeral and, as usual, most of my clothes are too big *sigh*. I live by a Gap factory store that has AMAZING prices so I headed there to find something appropriate. The sweater is a small 😱 I haven’t worn a small since 8th grade while running track! The skirt is a size 8, both by banana republic 😱 I don’t ever remember wearing anything below a size 9. I’m always amazed when I see these comparisons.

How it started. How it’s going

And as you can see, I still have a knee sleeve on as my right knee continues to be a challenge. That day, I had gotten steroid shots in both knees so I’m still researching ways to improve joint health and minimize inflammation and arthritis. I plan to start the autoimmune protocol (AIP) in January to continue to reduce inflammation and figure out what triggers I may have.

I’m also focusing on gut health and started a new probiotic that is supposed to be great. With all the research available about the gut and the need for bacterial diversity to support health, I’m hoping that the probiotic, along with continued modifications, will help. And on most days, I aim for 5-6 servings of veggies and 1-2 servings of fruit along with protein; I eat a good deal of fish. All of this is a change from then to now.

Let me know what changes you’ve made and seen in your health. And any tips to reduce inflammation are great appreciated! To your good health…

Posted in Uncategorized

Experiencing Cryotherapy

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

Sooooo I decided to give cryotherapy a try! It’s touted to help decrease inflammation, which I am still trying to work on. So I thought- why not?! I decided to search for locations in a couple of areas and landed on one that has a special if you were visiting for the first time. Great!

Near the entrance

While the location that I visited was small, the staff was super helpful. I used the changing room to switch to shorts and a workout shirt. Then I had to pile on a ton of safety gear so that there’s no frostbite or anything; this includes heavy gloves, extra thick socks, heavy slippers and a covering for my ears. I felt like I was going camping in Alaska!

Then the attendant explained that I would walk into the first chamber for and be there for 20 seconds. He would then buzz for me to enter the freezer where I would be for 3 minutes! I do like that they allowed me to pick my choice of song that would be played inside the chamber to take my mind off the cold 🥶

Just outside the cryo chamber

The first chamber actually was not that bad. But when I had to step into the freezer – 😱 is I’m sure what I looked like. Well not at first. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I tend to get cold really easy. But it wasn’t bone chilling cold, just I’m shivering through these 3 minutes cold! But I made it out 😁

Would I go again? Yes- I want to get tested for my c reactive protein level before I go again and then retest in about six months to monitor the effectiveness of cryotherapy. They also have an option to do localized cryotherapy which I could try on specific parts, like my knee. I think that would be helpful.

So what about you? Have you tried cryotherapy or similar? Let me know what you think and share your story!

Posted in Uncategorized

Trying CBD

So I’ve read the info about CBD oil and given my battle with inflammation and sleep challenges, I decided to give it a try because why not 🤷🏽‍♀️ What do I have to lose but inflammation?! And if I sleep better, inflammation naturally decreases.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

I tried more than one brand on my way to choosing the one that I use now. Since I don’t want a potential lawsuit, I’ll not mention the names of the others. The first was from a health food store that I frequent often. It seemed to work but the taste was awful. Just imagine eating weed. That’s how the oil tasted as it was unflavored. I don’t know how anyone could use that long term. So I decided to try flavored CBD oils. One flavored one was from another health food store that I go to alllllll the time. A plus for the flavor but OMG- I stayed sleepy with that brand and always had brain fog. So I kept researching until …

I decided to give One Farm a try. Now, I really didn’t want to try it because I have to order online and I’d rather get something in person, if possible. I learned of the brand through my part time job; I work for a research doctor who had discussed the results of studies and mentioned this product. So I made sure to order a flavored version.

And – this one has a great taste which is a plus for sure. I tend to sleep better when I take a dose along side winding down at night (easier said than done!). I’m not sure where I stand with inflammation levels just yet. I am researching functional doctors so that I can get my C Reactive protein tested and see where I land. My trial period is always 3 months to decide whether I’ll stick with a practice as natural methods tend to take more time to resolve issues.

Just a note – I am not affiliated with One Farm. I do not get any kickbacks from mentioning the product here. They have other products that I’m going to try in the future and will share the results. Have you tried any CBD products? What has been your experience?

Posted in Uncategorized

Anniversary Sunday!

Three years ago, in the latter half of August 2018, I decided to make a real effort with getting healthier. I was tired of being sick and tired all of the time. Nothing was working and it seemed that something new was wrong all of the time. And I knew that I needed to do something in a different way this time.

See I had been to an expert in PCOS while living in Baltimore. And I was told to just take birth control pills until I died, unless I planned on having kids and we could look at other meds then. WTH! 🤯🤦🏽‍♀️ ummm, no I’ll pass. I had been following different docs for awhile and kept hearing about keto and thought – hey why not? Nothing else had worked.

Left – before an interview, Aug 2021. Right – before work, Aug 2018

So I started on keto and did that for 3 months until I literally had no appetite and couldn’t sleep. While I lost weight, keto was much too harsh for me physically. Some do well on it; I just couldn’t continue. I then migrated over to paleo. The weight released slower but it was a much more sustainable way for me, especially due to a heavy travel schedule for work.

And after doing the work, here I am, 3 years later. It’s not all about the number on the scale. Yes I’ve lost 100 pounds which is AMAZING and I’ve kept it off. But I also can sleep more than 4 hours per night. I don’t feel sluggish and sick all the time. Brain fog is gone. My outlook on everything is more optimistic. PCOS is much improved. Are there still challenges? Absolutely, but as I continue to research, read, learn and grow, I hope to find ways to smash those challenges too.

Left – Aug 2021 brunch bday celebration. Right – Apr 2018 work gala (I had very few full length pics that year 😲)

Change is hard. Growth is hard. I get that. But I had to learn that to get where I wanted to go, I had to change and grow. And you know what? You can too! I’m not so special that being healthier is exclusive to me. Just start, today. And that decision to start in August 2018 has led me to where I am today. Until next time, to your health! 💥

Posted in Uncategorized

Losing Inflammation- Wellness Wednesdays

Everyone deals with inflammation. You get a cut, a bruise or some other bodily harm and your body has an acute inflammatory response to help heal the area. But what do you do when the body has a low level chronic inflammatory response that doesn’t turn off?

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health. But I do want to provide further info on inflammation that can be found at https://inflammationresearchfoundation.org/inflammation-science/inflammation-details/time-cellular-inflammation-article/

So when I found out that I had osteoarthritis, I was blown away. I mean, I wasn’t even 40 and one of my knees was near bone and bone?! Well, after doing research, I found that one of the ways PCOS can affect women is to cause low grade chronic inflammation. And it can happen in so many ways – being overweight, lifestyle choices, eating too many inflammatory foods – the wrong oils, processed foods etc- not getting quality sleep which means that your body doesn’t have a chance to repair from inflammation. I could go on and on.

When I started with the nutritionist, one of the markers for inflammation, C-reactive protein was SKY high. So we started changing what I ate, making better lifestyle choices, losing weight and doing gentle exercise. Exercise can be tricky because the body can think that higher intensity is a stress which can result in higher inflammation. Ugh! 😩 what to do??

My nutritionist recommended using vitamin c. Vitamin c has been researched and shown to aid in reducing the C-reactive protein level. So I started taking that 3 times a day. Below is the link for one of the articles that I read- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18952164/

I also started using spices that have been shown to reduce inflammation – ginger and turmeric. A note if you try turmeric: to activate it, you have to use it in conjunction with black pepper. I drink hot ginger or turmeric teas on most days as well as take turmeric supplements. With the lifestyle and food changes, my C-reactive protein has been cut in half. I haven’t checked it recently but hope to sooner rather than later. Hopefully, my continued efforts will decrease the level even more! 🤞🏾 the earthclinic website has so many details on both spices.

Lastly, I made lifestyle changes to incorporate more holistic long term adjustments. Yes, making changes this way can take longer but I’d rather not keep taking ibuprofen or nsaids. I also take Epsom salt baths weekly, do yoga and have started grounding. If there is a possible natural remedy, I’m going to try it.

What recommendations do you have to tackle inflammation? Has anything worked for you? Leave a comment below and let’s chat. Until next time!

Posted in Uncategorized

Iron! – Wellness Wednesdays

One of the markers that I have to monitor is my iron level. Minimum should be 12 but to feel great, the goal is at least 50. And let me tell you, this marker has been a struggle!

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

About 14 years ago, I had a huge drop in my iron level. Long story short, my menstrual cycle stayed on for almost a year. There were ebbs and flows but just constant. It was so bad that I was freezing while everyone at work was warm. I went to an outpatient urgent care and found out that my iron level was 6!!! The nurses were surprised that I didn’t have more complications with such a low level.

Soooooo I had to get a blood transfusion of two pints and stay in the hospital overnight. Not a fun process but I was able to begin the work on having a higher iron level. But with heavy cycles, it’s a challenge to have a higher iron level. It typically hovers around 12 🤯

I was taking a really good iron supplement once daily and recently switched to desiccated beef liver, which has a higher bioavailability. I actually had lab work taken today that included my iron level so I am hopeful that the desiccated liver has helped. 🤞🏾

Why mention all this? Your hemoglobin level is so critical to many body functions. Did you know that you can have heart palpitations if your iron level is too low? Or that you may develop pica? I’ve not had these symptoms but a friend did. Developing a healthy iron level is still my goal and I’m determined to keep pushing the envelope for better health in this area.

Any suggestions on how to increase the iron level? I’m definitely open to suggestions. See you next week!