Conspiracy To Keep Me Out Of The Gym

fight

I can’t prove it, but I suspect these 2 conspired to keep me at home and away from the gym this week.

After a week of taking it easy so my ankle can start healing, I was ready to hit the gym. Albeit, in a very gentle way.

So what does life toss at me? First up, a lethargic 17-year-old cat who refused food for 2 days.

Spider has kidney disease. We know at some point we’re going to have to make the “quality of life” decision. A few days before kitty stopped eating we noticed his jumping skills declined sharply over the last few weeks. Missing easy jumps. Falling off furniture (and not landing on feet).

The next up he refused food and instead just wanted water. More and more water. Read More


Lots of Physical Therapy In My Future

Strasburg sock

How do you fix chronic Achilles tendon pain? By wearing the Strasburg sock while you sleep. Ugh!

First the good news – no bone spur. Which means no surgery in my future.

 

The bad? According to my physical therapist, my calf muscle is “one big knotted ball.” Which means it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to fix…depending on how I respond to therapy.

Limited Mobility
I learned the calf is made up of 2 muscles, the gastrocnemius (upper calf) and the soleus (lower calf). My issue is the gastrocnemius is overly tight and, as a result of that tightness, shortened.

The gastrocnemius is so tight that I’ve lost a lot of mobility in my left foot. My therapist had me sit on a table with my legs straight out and tested how far my foot moved as I stretched my toes towards my body. Normal mobility is between 12-20 degrees.

My right foot is 15 degrees. The left? Four degrees. Read More


Achilles Tendon Fights Back!

Achilles Tendon

After a week of awesomeness in the gym, my Achilles heel decided it’s had enough. But I’m not waving the white flag just yet when it comes to the Gold’s Gym Challenge.

This week is looking promising, no?

I started in earnest on my Gold’s Gym Challenge. My trainer upped the intensity of my sessions (i.e., heavier weights). I’ve enrolled in boot camp and yoga classes, each 3 times a week. And my idea of cooling down after each session is about 30-40 minutes on the elliptical (it’s just too cold to walk outside).

But Sunday is rest day…thank god!

Physical Therapy In My Immediate Future
I’ve hit the wall when it comes to my Achilles tendon.

I’ll have 4-5 really great days. No pain. Oh sure my ankle is very stiff mornings, but it loosens up with some stretching.

Yet one day a week I’m now in intense pain. All day. Eventually my ankle loosens up and the pain isn’t as intense. But that’s not good enough.

I’m now worried surgery is a possibility. Crap!

So this morning I’m putting in a call to the big dogs. My doctor and a physical therapist – someone with an emphasis on sports injuries.

Last night I noticed a bump behind my left ankle…and it hurt…bad.  My right ankle was pretty smooth. I get that swelling happens. But this is different. So there is a possibility of bone spurs.

There are just too many things I want to do. From running a Tough Mudder to ice skating, all require a healthy Achilles tendon.

Pain relief is my first goal. But I also want to make sure I’ve got good movement. I certainly don’t want any unnecessary strain on my Achilles.

Rethinking Gold’s Gym Challenge
It goes without saying that boot camp is out for now. So is walking. My trainer has work arounds when it comes to strength training that don’t aggravate my ankle.   As for yoga, it seems like most poses require ankle power.  I’ll probably have to talk with my instructor to see if there are alternative stretches I can do in class.

That means cycling classes are in my very near future. So tonight I’m digging out the cycling pants and shoes.


First My Ankle, Now My Voice

quiet post itI wake up this fine, sunny morning with no voice. The sore throat hit Thursday night. Now it’s laryngitis. Great. Of course I was going to shoot a cooking video today. Who says my timing isn’t great?

For those who’ve never experienced the joys of laryngitis, it means my vocal chords are swollen and irritated. Potentially it can last 7-10 days.

The treatment is pretty simple.

  • No talking, shouting, singing, whispering. Not one dang peep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Breath in humid air – not hard in August.

Well if I can’t make a cooking video, I can at least test out some recipe ideas.


Ankle Still A Hot Mess; Skipping The 10K

I’m not a happy camper this morning. It’s already mid August and I’m still not running yet. Heck, I’m not even doing my daily walks. For a month I’ve diligently stretched my calf and foot in an effort to deal with the Achilles tendonitis.

The pain in the morning is just as bad as ever.

Now I’m finding that the comfort my sneakers provided in decline. Great.

That means I’ll miss the George Washington 10k in September. I can’t run it if I’m not training. And I certainly can’t run on this ankle anytime soon.

With the pain not going away, I’ve decided a little more aggressive action is needed. First up is an ankle splint. I’m picking one up this morning.

Next is massage therapy that focuses on the tendon and the main culprit, an overly tight calf muscle. I found this video online showing the massage technique.

Next up are more stretching and strengthening exercises. This physical therapy video demonstrates techniques that I can try using my stairs and resistance bands. The video also demonstrates how I can massage my tendon myself.

Hopefully I’ll feel a difference over the next few weeks.


Saying “No” To Sabotage

restaurant dining

The next 30-Day Challenge: No eating out. Only home cooked meals for us. That includes running to the store to pick up a bottle of wine! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and Serge Bertasius Photography.

August marks the month where my husband and I are finally in sync about health and fitness goals. Over the last year, it came too easy for us to sabotage each other. Whether I’m feeling sorry for myself or he’s stressing out over the job, we always seem to end up in the same place – one of us suggests we go out for dinner and a few drinks to relax.

Sure we’d always eat low carb, but if I can’t control the food (how it’s prepared, the ingredients, etc.) it isn’t necessarily low carb! Also when you go out carb creep escalates – a dessert here, an extra glass of wine there. Read More


10K Training Detour: Achilles Tendonitis

crossing finish line 2015

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. I am awesome! I’m determined to do the same in a 10K race.

Well this is a fine how-do-you-do. My ankle problem is back which means my 10k training is taking a slight detour. I’m not running for a few weeks. I’m having issues with my ankle once again. My doctor suspects its Achilles tendonitis.

So I’m trying to minimize the impact on my foot. That means no running for a couple of weeks. Instead I’ll go to more spin classes during the week.

Per my doctor’s advice I’m giving up wearing high heals, flats and flip-flops for the time being. My ankle prefers walking shoes. The pain goes away quickly once I put those magic shoes on (provided I don’t stay on my feet for more than a couple of hours).

Since the pain is the greatest in the morning my doctor recommended some stretching to help loosen up my calf muscle (the main culprit) and some light foot stretches. I may pick up an ankle splint too, but I’m waiting to see if the stretching and training modifications help.

Fingers crossed I’ll be back hitting the pavement in August.


Learning To Say “No” Again

This morning I find myself sitting down with a cup of coffee and a book I read more than a year ago – Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I find myself in need of remastering one simple yet special word.

In a world where nearly everything is at your fingertips, it’s a word you don’t hear very often — “No.”

“No” was my essential tool in losing 150 pounds over 4 years.  But if you don’t use it you lose it. And I haven’t used it for a long time.

The Vacation Is Over
I just got back from a weeklong visit with family in Texas. It was fun but I discovered I lost the ability to tell myself “no” when it came to snacks, desserts and alcohol. I told myself, “Your on vacation. Enjoy it.”

The problem is my vacation has lasted 373 days. Read More



Thyroid, Calories Or Vitamins: Which Is Causing My Ice Cold Hands, Feet?

HEALTH

Have cold hands and/or feet? Sometimes doctors overlook these symptoms as frivolous. But ignoring them could lead to bigger problems. Image courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net and Kromkrathog.

The game plan for the week was to start a 7-day fast on Sunday. It started off great but about 12 hours into the fast I started feeling cold all over. The next thing I knew my hands and feet were freezing. Now cold hands and feet are nothing new to me. But this wasn’t normal (not that cold hands and feet are normal). I’m talking ice-cold extremities. No amount of mittens or socks could warm me up.

So I started doing a little digging. Turns out there are a few options as to why this happens

A Sluggish Thyroid?
The butterfly shaped thyroid is a gland that sits above the collarbone in the front of our necks. It pumps out hormones that regulates our metabolic rate. If the thyroid starts slowing down your body temperature can drop, causing hypothyroidism (an over active thyroid is hyperthyroidism and another set of problems).

Too Little Calories?
On non-fasting days I’ve been eating between 1600-1800 calories a day…or at least that’s what My Fitness Pal claims. Of course I’ve railed against this app about inaccurate data before. However, going into a fast I’ve never felt hungry.

Low Red Blood Cell Count?
Too few red blood cells means anemia. I experienced anemia when I was obese and had month-long periods (Yikes!). But with the weight loss my red blood cell count has been normal…or at least that’s my assumption. However, when I had my surgery in June, the only problem I encountered was the very slow recovery of my red blood cells. In fact, I was kept in the hospital because of it. I remember my husband and mother commenting on how pale I looked. While lack iron can be the major cause of anemia, there are a few other micronutrients — vitamins B-12 and D — that can also trigger it.

Other micronutrient deficiencies  that can trigger cold extremities? Niacin (Vitamin B3) and magnesium.

I ended up calling off the fast for now. We ended up going out for dinner and I made sure I ate my full calories for the day. That helped to warm the hands and feet, but they were still a little cold.

I’ve got a month to go before visiting a doctor regarding my menopause symptoms. But the cold concerns me. A lot of thyroid symptoms are identical to menopause. In fact, most doctors mistake thyroid problems for menopause. And frankly, you can have both problems at the same time.