Posts Tagged ‘health’


January 17, 2013

At 11-weeks and 5 days I started to get some brown spotting, which a day later turned into blood and on the date of 12 weeks exactly the doctor confirmed I’m having a miscarriage.

It sucks, of course. It beyond sucks. I’m angry and sad and frustrated and confused.

What I know is there is nothing I could have done. I’m simply in that unlucky 25-30% who have a first-trimester miscarriage. I know that a first-trimester miscarriage is common, is usually the result of the fetus not being viable in the first place usually because of chromosomal anomalies, and I know that most women who have a first-trimester miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy resulting in live birth. This information doesn’t make it suck any less right now.

However, if there is one thing that this year has taught me is that I will keep going, even when not all of me wants to.

So, why am I blogging about this on a weight and health blog?

Well, the way I see it, it’s part of the process. I stopped trying to lose weight when I found out I was pregnant. And, I know that to be healthy – especially given that I want to try to get pregnant again – I need to continue this health journey.

So, where am I in that journey. During the 12 weeks of pregnancy I gained 3.6 lbs for a total of 203.6 lbs (not bad – well within the 5 lbs recommendation for first trimester).

I’m going to spend the next week simply recovering from this, and then go back to my paleo eating plan with a new energy. Really go after that 40 lb goal (which happens at 197.8 lbs) and look into joining a crossfit gym.


You Live and You Die

April 26, 2012

I write my blogs and then schedule them to appear approximately one week apart. The day before my last blog entry was published my younger brother died suddenly, unexpectedly and without cause.

He was 30 years and 28 days. We were close. We had recently had a nice long visit to celebrate his 30th birthday. I was teasing him gently about turning 30, but went on to explain how much more I was enjoying my 30s than my 20s. In my 30s I feel like I have found myself. I am more confident, less anxious and take life in stride. My brother was an amazing person, he was already a phenomenal young man and I was looking forward to watching him finish his graduate studies, travel, raise a family and become a phenomenal old man.

I was at work when I got the news. It started by my mother leaving a voice mail on my phone that she had received a call from my brother’s land lady who said tenants had phoned her to say there were police at his apartment. She had contacted my Dad who lives in Hamilton and he was on his way over. I was in a meeting when my mother called. When I got the voice mail around 11:00 a.m. I called my Dad immediately. My Dad told me and I collapsed at work. I remember being on the floor with people asking me what was wrong and just saying over and over that my brother was dead.

The next few days are a blur. We went to Hamilton to meet my Dad, and we began a very surreal journey navigating the coroner and police investigation. Because he was young there was an investigation and an autopsy. We were told by the police and coroner that there was no sign of any criminal cause of death. What this means – and it took me some time to unpack it with the coroner – is that there was no indication of homicide or suicide. We asked for a full autopsy, which was scheduled to be done in this case anyways and received the results a few days later. There was no known cause of death. Except for being dead he was the picture of health.

He always had been healthy. He was incredibly conscious of his footprint on this earth. All his foods were organic and local. A little over a year ago he had biked across the country coming back from B.C. where he did his undergraduate studies. He was active, fit, rock climbed. Never preachy or self righteous. He led by example and those who knew him wanted to follow.

We were able to do a 100% green funeral including environmentally friendly embalming fluid (who knew?) and a fully green burial where his body is placed in an eco-conservation in a burlap wrap. We used a 100% local wood casket for the viewing that was all hand made and included no nails or varnish or stain so the wood can be fully recycled.

The best we can figure, and I have no medical basis for this besides a suggestion from the coroner and my own internet digging is that he died of one of a variety of Sudden Adult Death Syndromes you can find more information here: He had no warning signs, unlike 50% of cases, and to our knowledge we have no genetic history of SADS, although it is difficult to tell since my father never knew his father, and his mother was an orphan.

There are really no words to express this loss. Everything I say has been said before, and will be said again.

I am lucky, I have been surrounded by friends and family who have been doing their best to support me and they are helping quite a lot. We had a beautiful memorial in a local pub that was packed and we celebrated his life. Friends and family continue to reach out to me to help, and it does day by day.

I could get much more esoteric here and wax on about the grieving process, but I am going to try to keep this blog close to the topic of my health journey.

It likely goes without saying that this kind of grief has a very real physical impact and in terms of plans for getting in shape and eating right throws everything out the window.

I was fully prepared to be an emotional guilt eater. I even emailed a friend in the first few days and told her I may need some company for some no-judgement guilt eating and drinking. Turns our this is not how my body reacts. It was day 8 after his death that I realized I had not consumed anything aside from mint tea. It was day 10 before I was willing to even try to look at food as something that does in fact go into my body.

By the time I was ready to start consuming food again I had dealt my system such a shock that it didn’t want food. My first few attempts were disasters. Even basic broth soup would not stay down at first. A friend of mine helped to put me on a juice diet. We used lots of light juices that contained ginger because ginger helps digestive. We also discovered I could drink some sweet juices with banana which were staying down after a few days.

It has been almost six weeks now and I am only now tentatively back on solid foods.

Part of my plan, before my life fell apart, was to try to transition onto a Paleo Diet. This was part of the plan not so much from a weight loss perspective but to help me navigate some food allergy issues.

From a health and eating perspective grief has been helpful and hurtful.

On the “silver lining” side, I have dropped nearly 20 pounds without trying. I’m also significantly less hungry and interested in food than I can ever remember being. I’m in a place where I need to remember to eat and make a conscious effort to put food into my body. So, over eating is not an issue at the moment.

On the hurtful side I know that this weight is likely to come back on now that I am eating again and might come with a 2-4-1 pound deal. I have put my body through a very unhealthy starvation and I know my body is in shock. I will need to be prepared for my body and digestive to go through some real yo-yo changes as I try to re-acclimatize to how I should eat, which now has a whole new dynamic than it did in early March.

Past the Pain

April 22, 2009

It took me until Sunday to really feel normal again after Thursday’s workout. Sleeping was difficult my muscles hurt so much and walking was really bad. I did however make it through my social night, not with grace, but still standing.

I repeated the workout again today, in a slightly different order, with much better results.

I began with the New Rules of Lifting for Women weights work out and finished with Health Habits aerobic HIIT work out and then anaerobic HIIT.

This pattern proved much less painful, and more productive. I can increase the weights on my Barbell Squat and Seated Row (also increased to 50 lbs for this workout), the 45 degree push up is ready to be lowered. I increased the weights and the number of steps for the step up and will leave it there for at least one more work out.

The Prone Jacknife however is unbelievably difficult for me. I have a small moment of saving grace in that I accidentally thought I had to complete 15 reps, and it was only 8, but they were painful and in poor form nonetheless. This one will take some work.

The Aerobic HIIT on the elliptical was much harder after completing the weights work out, but the overall work out was much more manageable. Not bad on squats or push ups for anaerobic.

I did use proper waiting times between sets and a better warm up this time for a total work out time of 1 hr 20 min. I can feel the work out in my legs and lower belly, and mildly in my arms but not the debilitating ‘hurts to breath’ of the last work out.

NROLFW is supposed to be done three times a week, so I’m not considering myself ‘on’ that program until I actually get to three times (likely next week) but I am following the Health Habits HIIT program since it started with one work out per week.

I’m planning a return to the gym on Friday, with this B-side workout. The HIIT will change as I advance through it, once I get to three times a week the NROLFW parts will be the same alternating workout A (last entry) to work out B exercises for sixteen weeks.

NROLFW – Deadlift
Planning 45 lb bar + 40 lbs total. = 85 lbs.

NROLFW – Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Planning 20 lbs per arm
This exercise is very difficult for me as I smashed up my shoulder a few years back.

NROLFW – Wide Grip Lat Pullown
Planning – 40 lbs
(yes, I picked this video for the accent)

NROLFW – Lunge
Planning – 20 lbs each arm = 40 lbs
(if you can get past the first 10 sec of this video it’s actually good, except for the ugly product push at the end)

NROLFW – Swiss Ball Crunches
Body Weight

HIIT – Elliptical
12 min, 10 sec sprint 50 sec recovery
I did notice I’m only supposed to be doing one aerobic HIIT per week, but I’m comfortable with one per work out, so when I get to two per week I’m simply going to add a new machine.

HIIT – 1 Leg Deadlift
Body weight
(they seem to look different when you get weights, but this looked reasonable for a body weight exercise)

At some point if I ever get a personal trainer I should ask them about form in the videos I select. The variety of videos on youtube is astounding, and for a novice like me it’s really about selecting which ones give me confidence. That, and I try to select as many as possible with women, for well, a female perspective.

Timex: Interval Timer Review

April 16, 2009

As I mentioned in the last post the gadget that I ‘had’ to buy before I could in good conscious start my work out was an interval timer. A count down timer that can time at least two different set times in a row.

In my case I wanted to set a short time interval (10 sec) so that when I hit start it would count down ten seconds and then beep, then count down my recovery time (60 sec) then beep and then I would reset for the next set.

After doing a bunch of online research here is what I found:

1. Stop Watches are not interval timers. The purpose of a stop watch is to allow someone to do an activity (laps in the pool say) and then find out how much time it takes them to do the activity. Almost every single box store and convenience store carries stop watches, they are however useless if you want to tell yourself when to stop, not how long it took you.

2. If you type in interval timers generally into most store searches you will get a large listing of home security, and sprinkler devices.

I was about ready to buy a kids watch with a basic countdown timer when I came across the Timex site and read through some of their women’s sports watches, several of which have interval timers. Thank you Timex!

I got the Women’s 50-Lap Ironman Triathalon Sleek 59201.

Calls to four Zellers stores (3 out of stock) and $60 (CDN) later, I was trying the watch in the car. I figured I’d better find out if it was too difficult to program, beeper works and so on, so that if I had to return it I could do it right then.

It was really easy to program, the instructions were blessedly clear.

The chime was loud enough in the car, so I proceeded to the gym. Testing the timer along the way (bad driver, I know!) and figuring out I could set, hear the two intervals, reset and restart without having to actually look down at the watch once. Bonus!

The only drawback is that in the gym with the music going, it was more difficult to hear. I was really worried about disturbing other people, that will not happen with this timer. However I had to get used to listening for it and in the first few sets missed the 10 second timer.

Overall I’m not sure if it was worth the $60 just for the timer, but keeping in mind that I don’t currently have a watch, it’s got lots of other features, and it was a major barrier in me getting off my butt and into the gym, I think purchase well worth it.